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Transportation

When Transit Riders Refuse To Just Sit Back

Public transportation benefits everyone, and many people rely on buses and trains daily to get to work or school. But despite high-quality public transportation being so important for people and the planet, government doesn’t always adequately invest in it. “The analogy with labor unions is interesting because it’s obviously different in the sense that we don’t all work for the same employer, we can’t strike and bargain with our employer for benefits,” Katie Wilson said in 2012, six months after helping form the Seattle Transit Riders Union. ​“But it’s more of a political thing. This is the new working poor, organizing and trying to win political gains.”

Transit Workers Demand ‘Fix Our Schedules,’ Packing Board Meeting

“Fix our schedules.” That’s the demand that filled the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit board room in Oakland, California, beyond capacity on June 5. Bus operators are “not able to have a break,” Transit (ATU) Local 192 President LaTrina Meredith said, opening two hours of public comment. “They’re trying to make a schedule that is unsafe. They won’t drink water because they don’t have time to use the restroom.” Dozens of drivers spoke. For busy bus lines, despite the 15-minute layover on paper, in reality “we get there maybe six or seven minutes after,” said Linda Muhammad, who has 20 years of experience. “And then we have to secure the bus, answer questions, run to the bathroom, come back, load up, and when we load up, we’re usually pulling out late.”

Chicago’s Unique Bike Giveaway Program Is A Win

When the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) launched its Bike Chicago program in the summer of 2022, the city began working on its goal to promote active transportation and target “mobility hardship” by injecting working-class communities with free access to cycling. Now, a report on the first two years of the country’s biggest free bike distribution program says it’s proven an “effective, cost-efficient model for getting bicycles into users’ hands for transportation” in disinvested neighborhoods. “First and foremost, it’s an incredible program,” says Pete Lauer, program manager at the nonprofit Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC), which promotes equitable and ecological alternatives to car-centric transport.

Hawaii To Decarbonize Transportation In Youth Climate Change Settlement

On Thursday, Hawaii agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by 13 young people alleging the state had violated their constitutional rights with infrastructure that adds to greenhouse (GHG) emissions, exacerbating climate change. In the settlement, the state agreed to decarbonize its transportation system by 2045. At a news conference, Governor of Hawaii Josh Green, a Democrat, called the settlement “groundbreaking,” reported Reuters. “We’re addressing the impacts of climate change today, and needless to say, this is a priority because we know now that climate change is here,” Green said, as Reuters reported. “It is not something that we’re considering in an abstract way in the future.”

What Paris Can Teach Other Cities About Removing Roads

Can removing a road make it easier to drive more freely elsewhere? A major study of 63 roads and squares closed to motor traffic in various European cities (mainly in Britain and Germany) suggests that it does. In many cases, cars disappeared altogether, rather than being displaced into parallel streets, lessening the dreaded congestion. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, made the same claim, but the court disagreed, holding that the research was inadequate. However, actual measures of traffic levels before and after the road closure along the Seine, announced the week the court handed down its decision, indicated a reduction in motor traffic in nearby areas.

Electric Trains Are The Powerhouse Electric Vehicles

Lawmakers and business leaders alike are touting electric cars as a game-changer for climate change. And it’s true that cutting carbon pollution from vehicles is critical. The transportation sector accounts for about 29 percent of greenhouse-gas pollution in the US. The on-road emissions in Texas alone account for nearly ½ of 1 percent of all carbon-dioxide pollution globally. But the hype around electric cars is misplaced. Electric trains are the true powerhouse EV in the fight against climate change. And it’s not even close. Data from the UK shows that the national rail system is about 25% more energy efficient than electric cars, and London’s subway system is about 40% more efficient.

Essential Voices For The Turn Away From Car Dependency

In forward-thinking municipalities across North America, elected officials and staff members can learn important lessons by taking on the Week Without Driving Challenge. As Anna Letitia Zivarts describes it, “participants have to try to get around for a week without driving. They can take transit, walk, roll, bike, or ask or pay for rides as they try to keep to their regular schedules ….” In most municipalities, the challenge leads to a difficult but eye-opening week. That’s because in most areas getting around without driving is inconvenient, dangerous, very time-consuming, or next to impossible. As Zivarts writes, Even for participants who might already bike, walk or take transit for some of their weekly trips, we’ve heard that the experience has helped them comprehend the difference between taking the easy trips and taking all trips without driving.

The Fight To Reclaim Texas’ Highways For People

Freeways rip apart neighborhoods, displace primarily Black and Brown people and increase greenhouse gas emissions — so why do we keep building them? According to a new book from Austin-based journalist Megan Kimble, “​​City Limits: Infrastructure, Inequality, and the Future of America’s Highways,” it doesn’t have to be this way. Right now, a new generation of freeway fighters is battling freeway expansion across the country. Kimble’s book profiles three campaigns in Texas to build places for people, not cars: Stop TxDOT I-45 in Houston, Rethink35 in Austin and the campaign to remove the I-345 highway in Dallas.

What If Non-Drivers Helped Plan Our Transportation Systems?

In the fall of 2021, I was invited by Roger Millar, the head of the Washington State Department of Transportation, to speak to the board of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials at its annual meeting. Before the meeting, Secretary Millar explained that I’d be presenting to the heads of each state department of transportation, and I started to get nervous. I am not a civil engineer. I don’t have a degree in urban planning. I have never worked for a transit agency or department of transportation. What I had was my lifetime of experience as a disabled nondriver and stories from the hundreds of other nondrivers from every corner of Washington State.

Riders Alliance Has A Vision For Better, Safer Subway With Less Policing

For years, New York City’s famous subway system has been caught in the crosshairs of a contentious public debate over crime — but in recent months it has entered a new frontier. In March, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul deployed 750 National Guard members to conduct random bag searches at Metropolitan Transit Authority, or MTA, stations. Later that month, the NYPD announced a surge of 800 additional officers to crack down on fare evasion. These surges follow broader increases in policing on public transit in New York City over the past decade, which accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

London Luton Airport Hit With Greenwashing Complaint

Eight climate groups have asked the UK advertising watchdog to assess whether environmental claims in recent Luton Airport ads are misleading the public. In the complaint, filed with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in April, Ad Free Cities, Badvertising, Stay Grounded and other organizations contend that the adverts omit key information regarding the airport’s significant environmental harms. The ads state that the proposed expansion of Luton Airport would be “stopped in its tracks” if it misses its “environmental limits”.

Philly Is Giving Free SEPTA Rides To 25,000 Low-Income Residents

Getting to where you need to go is a matter of economic and social justice. Now, low-income Philadelphia residents are getting a boost. In August, the city began a two-year Zero Fare pilot program, distributing 25,000 SEPTA Key cards (valued at $204 each) for unlimited free rides — and the majority of participants don’t need to take any action to enroll. “Transportation has been identified as a barrier for folks seeking employment, especially in Philadelphia, because of the high poverty rate,” says Nicola Mammes, Zero Fare program director. Over 20% of Philadelphians live below the poverty line, and 50% of those households don’t own a car.

Youth Are Calling For Free Public Transit Across British Columbia

Public transportation is woven into the fabric of daily lives for teens. For many, it’s the bridge between home, school and extracurricular activities. What if public transit for youth was a public good? The Transit for Teens campaign aims to make that a reality across British Columbia. We are members of the Transit for Teens youth leadership coalition with the Centre for Family Equity, and we’re raising awareness in the lead-up to the provincial election this fall about how free transit is a globally tested approach that can meet climate, social inclusion and health goals here in B.C.

St. Louis’ Turn-Of-The-Century Transit Renaissance

Heartland Urbanist, Columbus-based organizer Matt Caffrey digs into the story behind St. Louis’s light metro system. In the mid-1980s, while many other transit agencies were moving toward developing trams – slow street-running light rail – St. Louis made the bold choice to build a light rail system on dedicated right of way. Opened in 1993, it’s now a 46-mile light rail system with two lines and 6.7 million riders in 2022. It’s also, he explains, a massive driver of private investment. Part of the reason why residents and visitors are able to take advantage of this system was local organizers with a St. Louis nonprofit, Citizens for Modern Transit.

A Radical Vision For The Housing Crisis In The West Of Ireland

Transit-oriented development is a land use planning approach that concentrates high-density, mixed-use development – housing, groceries, retail, employment, childcare – within walking distance from rapid transit services. Centering development around transit hubs helps create vibrant, active, affordable and accessible neighbourhoods where both businesses and people – residents, workers and tourists alike – can thrive. Polysee chose a 32-hectare parcel of land by Oranmore station, just outside Galway City, to model what this could look like.
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