How We Roll, Jan. 3: sticking our toe in the waters of 2017

Happy New Year’s everyone! Hope everyone enjoyed the parade and game yesterday (only 1,040 yards in offense!). It has been a little slow news-wise over the holidays, but let’s stick a toe in the water of 2017…

Art of Transit: 


The world-class art of New York’s Second Avenue subway (Citylab)

The new subway extension opened on Sunday and features some pretty great art, judging from this Flickr album from our friends at the Gotham MTA. Some pics above. It’s still early but, yes, our Purple Line Extension will certainly feature art, too.

“The final cost for the three stations, and two miles of track was $4.5 billion,” reports NPR. Building in extremely dense Manhattan obviously has its challenges so an apples-to-apples comparison isn’t really possible (or fair, IMHO), but the first leg of Purple Line Extension will add 3.9 miles of track and three stations with the project budgeted at a cost of $3.154 billion.

The original tracks that sat over Second Avenue in Manhattan being demolished in 1942. Only 74 years later, rail service has returned but under the street. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

And check out this photo that ran in the NYT from a 1972 groundbreaking for the project. New York’s financial woes stopped the project that time around and it wasn’t until the new century that things got going again.

Highways aren’t enough: what Trump needs to know about remaking the Rust Belt (Politico Magazine)

Politico brought together a number of stakeholders and elected officials and asked them what they think should be done by President-elect Trump and the new Congress to help local economies.

On the transpo front, there is general agreement that better transit is needed although some disagreement whether that should take the form of traditional bus systems or big rail projects. And it sounds like everyone continues to wrestle with the role that cheap taxis (i.e. Uber, Lyft, etc.) should play.

Bus 75: Hiddlen Portland

Fun photo essay and commentary by photographer Geoffrey Hiller and writer Tom Vandel of things seen near the 75 bus in Portland, Oregon. Check out the pic of the wrestling match — I’d love to know what happened to the ref although I can probably guess 🙂

From the Dept. of Yikes: 

Dept. of Ridership:

Laura is the L.A. Time’s transportation reporter and has both an informative and entertaining Twitter stream. Metro publishes its ridership statistics here. The American Public Transportation Assn. publishes national transit ridership stats — here’s a spreadsheet that shows quarterly results since 1990; it also shows that in recent years ridership hit a high nationally in the fourth quarter of 2014 and that ridership in recent years is generally up on rail and down on buses across the U.S.

What’s happening? Ridership has always waxed and waned and it’s hard to pinpoint any one reason why. But it’s probably fair to surmise that a stronger national economy (when times are good, people buy cars — and cheaper gas probably helps that) is playing a significant role and buses in the U.S. — which rarely have their own lanes — have to both compete with car traffic and stop more often than other vehicles.

Related: Daniel Kay Hertz looks at bus ridership in Chicago, which between 2008 and 2016 fell about 20 percent. But why? Well, that’s the subject of this blog post, which finds that most of the ridership was lost in a single month and that may mean it’s more of a measurement issue.