Category Archives: Transit

Wrinkles in BQX project as review process is delayed

Brooklyn Reporter

The Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) project reportedly has missed a deadline to start its public review process, which was slated to begin at the end of 2017.

According to Crain’s, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) now plans to begin the public review process for the $2.8 billion proposed streetcar project that would stretch along the waterfront for 16 miles between Sunset Park and Astoria, Queens early this year.

“The BQX will dramatically increase opportunity for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront who are clamoring for better access to jobs, education, healthcare and recreation,” wrote a spokesperson for the Friends of BQX, the group that has been promoting the project, to this paper. “We’re optimistic that the project will take significant, concrete strides forward in 2018.”


Mayor Bill de Blasio, who originally unveiled the BQX initiative, continues to support the ambitious project.

“I proposed it. I said I want the most transportation I can get in the city,” he said in a town hall in the Sunset Park area on Thursday, December 14. “NYC Ferry started the last two years out of scratch. It didn’t exist. We created a whole new approach. You have it in a lot of places and it’s going to keep growing in the city. We need that. The subways are overcrowded.”

De Blasio also referenced other cities where light rail has succeeded. “Look at cities all over the country,” he said. “Light rail can be added to communities. New subways can’t.  Look how long the Second Avenue subway took. It took decades and decades to add a small amount more. If we’re going to add more transportation, light rail is part of it in my opinion.”



MTA, NJ TRANSIT Ban Alcohol For SantaCon This Weekend

You better watch out because SantaCon is coming to town!

The bar crawling Kris Kringles have occasionally misbehaved, but believe it or not they do have a code of conduct.

“Santa respects the NYPD, police will be at every one of our stops. Respect them and do not break laws. (open container, urinating in public, jaywalking, doing anything illegal!)” reads one of the rules on the SantaCon website.

SantaCon vet and unofficial historian Mike Montone said SantaCon hearkens back to earlier, rowdier yuletide celebrations.

“Winter Solstice feasts, the Roman Saturnalia and Medieval Christmases were all rather raucous affairs with closer resemblance to contemporary Halloween and Mardi Gras festivities,” Montone explained to his father 1010 WINS’ John Montone.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and NJ TRANSIT are banning alcohol this weekend as Santas, reindeer and elves storm the city.

Alcohol will not be permitted on Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad trains and in stations from noon Saturday through noon on Sunday.

MTA police officers will be on duty at Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, stations and trains to enforce the restriction. Police will confiscate alcoholic beverages and issue summonses carrying fines or imprisonment. Police also may remove violators from trains or stations.

Beverages will not be allowed on any NJ TRANSIT trains, light rail vehicles or buses this weekend.



The 3 Essential Ingredients for Cooking Up Transit That People Want to Ride

Streetsblog USA via California Rail News

Speed. Routes should be direct, instead of cutting labyrinthine paths across a city. Fare payment needs to be fast and easy, via off-board fare collection or tap-and-go entry at every door. Transit can’t get bogged down in traffic, either, so features like dedicated space on the street and priority at traffic lights are needed to keep things moving.
Frequency and Reliability. People won’t ride transit if they can’t depend on it…
Walkability and Accessibility. Transit works best when people can walk to it. That means both concentrating transit in compact, walkable places, and making it easier to walk to transit in places where pedestrian infrastructure is lacking…
On the Dublin buses you can pay your fare with a tap card. Passengers can walk past the farebox next to the driver to tap the card reader and not wait behind cash paying riders to dig out their money.

Paris to Rome in one hour: France backs the Hyperloop


Photo: Hyperloop Transport Technologies

Imagine Paris to Marseille in just 40 minutes, or Paris to Rome in just over one hour. French rail chiefs believe it’s not just a pie in the sky idea.

Hyperloop One startup, intent on zipping people along at near-supersonic speeds in pressurized tubes, announced Tuesday that the French national rail company had joined its growing list of backers.

Hyperloop One said that it raised $80 million in fresh funding from an array of investors, including GE Ventures and France’s SNCF.

“The overwhelming response we’ve had already confirms what we’ve always known, that Hyperloop One is at the forefront of a movement to solve one of the planet’s most pressing problems,” Hyperloop One co-founder Shervin Pishevar said.

“The brightest minds are coming together at the right time to eliminate the distances and borders that separate economies and cultures.”

While the idea of the Hyperloop replacing France’s already high-speed TGV services might seem a little…

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Metra to use $14 million TIGER grant to replace Fox River Bridge

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded Metra a $14 million grant through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery VII (TIGER) program, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) announced yesterday.

The Chicago commuter-rail agency will use the funds to replace the existing 134-year-old bridge over the Fox River. A new double track bridge will be built to eliminate a traffic bottleneck between freight rail and Metra’s Milwaukee District-West Line. The new bridge also will allow for new positive train control technology, according to a joint press release from the lawmakers.

“Traffic is only going to increase in the future and our region’s infrastructure needs to keep up if we want our economy to grow,” said Duckworth.

The only remaining single-track segment of the line into Chicago, the bridge is the source of traffic delays for the 50 Metra trains and up to eight freight trains that pass over it every day.

“Metra’s improvement plan will bring an outdated bridge into the 21st century with new technology that will dramatically improve safety and double tracking that will increase speed and reliability for the 6.8 million passengers that rely on the MD-W line every year,” said Durbin.

Duckworth and Durbin are among U.S. lawmakers and state leaders that began announcing TIGER VII grant awards on Monday, after the USDOT began notifying states and cities of grant money coming their way.

Kansas City Streetcar wires go live

Last week, Kansas City Streetcar Authority officials began testing the streetcar’s overhead wire.

Testing continued throughout the week along the streetcar route, KC Streetcar officials said in a press release.

“This latest round of streetcar activity signifies the intense progress being made on this project as we prepare the infrastructure for the arrival of the first streetcar vehicle,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

The first streetcar is expected to arrive by the end of this month, at which point integrated testing can begin.

In the meanwhile, KC Streetcar Constructors are testing track, facilities, power infrastructure, and communication systems associated with the project, streetcar officials said.

The KC Streetcar project includes more than 24,000 feet of both overhead and underground wire.

MBTA plots improvements to Worcester/Framingham commuter line

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito yesterday announced a series of enhancements to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Worcester/Framingham commuter-rail line.

The changes include the addition of nonstop train service between Union Station in Worcester and Boston beginning in May 2016.

“For the first time ever, nonstop train service between Worcester and Boston in under one hour will become a reality,” said Polito. “The new schedule will give commuters more options on an improved schedule that reflect the needs of today for both our residents and our economy.”

The nonstop service is expected to trim 30 minutes of travel time for Worcester Line riders, MBTA officials said in a news release.

Additionally, crews have begun the process of de-stresssing the rail, which is aimed at reducing the need for speed restrictions during periods of sustained, extreme heat. They’re also installing new rail and working on making the entire commuter-rail system more resilient during the winter, MBTA officials said.