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News & Updates

Summertime Planning Updates

Kansas DOT Seeking Input on Transportation Gaps for Poor, Disabled, Elderly

  • State transportation officials have scheduled several public meetings around the state this month to take comment on how to respond to gaps in public transportation services for the elderly, poor and disabled. Hearing sites will include Dodge City, Hays, Hutchinson and Wichita. The Hutchinson meeting is 3 p.m., July 26, at the Rcat Building, 120 W. Ave. B. “Basically what we’re doing is looking at existing transportation services and existing human services – such as hospitals, medical centers, nursing homes – and making sure there are no gaps,” said Cory Davis, a comprehensive transportation planning manager with the Kansas Department of Transportation.

PLANNING

Miami-Dade Transportation Planners Factoring in Autonomous Vehicles

  • Miami-Dade transportation officials are incorporating autonomous vehicles and other technologies into decisions for the country’s future. The Transportation Planning Organization commissioned an 82-page study (paid for by a combination of federal, state and local funds) by the Corradino Group, an engineering and transportation consulting firm. It examined which existing and future technologies will impact the county’s 2045 long-range transportation plan.

How the Twin Cities Can Use Innovative Planning to Develop Its Vanishing Industrial Land

  • The city of Minneapolis recently examined its inventory of industrial land. It found such areas make up just 4 percent of the city’s total – and much of that is polluted, cut up into small parcels or owned by railroads unwilling to sell. The City Council also recently voted to allow residential development in a previously industrially zoned area, and there is pressure to remove or at least reduce the industrial uses along the Mississippi River adjacent to North Minneapolis over concerns they’re a detriment to the health of the neighborhood.

Toll Lanes Around Entire DC Beltway, Paying More for Parking, Massive Metro Expansion Proposed for Study

  • Toll lanes could blanket the region’s highway; more roads could have reversible rush hour lanes; new bus-only lanes could be built, and Metro or the yet-to-be-built Purple Line could be extended – they’re all ideas from a regional long=range planning task force for massive regional changes that would be great if money were no object. The 10 initiatives were proposed by the Long Range Plan Task Force of the Transportation Planning Board, part of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

MPOs

Binghamton Transportation Study Committee Receives National Recognition

  • The committee in charge of looking out for pedestrians, drivers and bicyclists has received recognition for its inclusion of all types of transportation in our community. Now, BMTS is being honored by the National Complete Streets Coalition at Smart Growth America. BMTS’s execution of Complete Streets Policy was ranked in the top 5 among similar policies adopted nationwide in 2016. A Complete Street is a street that is redesigned to meet the needs of all users such as pedestrians and bicyclists.

Lake County, Florida to Make Governor Aware of MPO Stance

  • County commissioners on Tuesday agreed to make the governor aware of their official stance regarding the Lake-Sumter Metropolitan Planning Organization in regards to a suggestion from Sumter County that it merge with MetroPlan, an MPO that covers all of Central Florida. They previously agreed that a letter was in order, but on Tuesday decided that hand delivery and an in-person summarization would ensure complete understanding.

ALTERNATE TRANSPORTATION

Interactive ‘Wikimap’ Is New Tool for Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan in Georgia County

  • A Saturday incident on Tennessee’s Natchez Trace Parkway in which a motorist hit a bicyclist and fled from the scene formed a backdrop for Monday’s meeting of the committee guiding development of a bicycle and pedestrian master plan for Athens-Clarke County. The incident, in which University School of Nashville administrator Marshall Grant Neely III, 58, is facing charges of felony reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to immediately notify of an accident and failure to render aid, was captured on a helmet camera being used by a riding companion of Tyler Noe of Nolensville, Tenn., who sustained serious injuries but has been released from the hospital.

Leonia, New Jersey Reduces Pedestrian-Vehicle Accidents at Dangerous Crosswalk to Zero Using All-Red Signal Phase

  • A once-dangerous intersection hasn’t had a single pedestrian-motor vehicle accident in the last year after the implementation of an all-red phase traffic signal – stopping traffic in all directions for 26 seconds every few minutes. During the two years before the all-red phase was introduced, seven pedestrians were hit by cars at Fort Lee Road and Broad Avenue, including one Fort Lee woman who was dragged more than 70 feet along the road to her death. Now, all four directions at the intersection turn red for 26 seconds every other cycle. That allows people on foot to cross the busy intersection safely.

FREIGHT

Freight Bump Fuels Hope for Transportation Sector

  • Improving freight demand could signal brighter days ahead for transportation companies – if they can persuade retailers and manufacturers to pay more for shipping. Trucking and logistics firms should give their outlooks for the rest of the year as they begin to report earnings next week, with investors watching for signs of a rebound from a two-year slump in freight rates. J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., one of the largest U.S. freight carriers, is expected to announce its second-quarter earnings Monday. C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., the biggest freight brokerage, reports Thursday. Several large trucking companies report the following week.

RAIL

Amtrak Co-CEO Optimistic About Restoring Service to Gulf Coast

  • The co-CEO of Amtrak remains optimistic about the possibility of restoring passenger train service to the Gulf Coast, despite comments from a CSX executive saying reinstatement of the service is unlikely. Wick Moorman, co-CEO of Amtrak, told a reporter with the USA Today Network at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that he believes there is a need for passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast. David Dech, assistant vice president for passenger operations for CSX, told the News Journal on Monday that because of a 2016 federal regulation requiring passenger trains to run on-schedule 80 percent of the time, restoring passenger-train service from New Orleans to Jacksonville is virtually impossible.

ROADWAYS

City Driving Spikes, Rural Driving Falls as Opportunity Shifts

  • The divide between urban and rural America is widening in another area that has nothing to do with politics: driving. U.S. city driving has spiked since 2000, while rural driving has declined in a sudden turnabout that cannot be explained by population trends, according to a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study released Tuesday. The trend may show how economic activity is increasingly concentrated in urban areas, leaving rural communities with fewer opportunities. It also comes amid the rise of ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft, though it’s not yet clear whether those services have had a significant effect on total miles driven.

Why Denver is Converting Busy Uptown Avenues to Two-Way Traffic

  • By the end of the year, some busy streets in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood that have seen one-way traffic for decades will have cars-and bikes-traveling in both directions. Construction began Monday to convert East 19th and 20th avenues to two-way thoroughfares between Broadway and Park Avenue West and add bike lanes to the city’s quickly expanding Uptown. Grant and Logan streets will also be converted to two-way streets between 18th and 20th avenues. The changes should be complete by late fall this year.

TRANSIT

With the Click of a Camera, USC Professor Tracks New York City’s Transit Development

  • Martin Krieger took an unconventional approach to studying transit-oriented development around New York City Subway stations. He picked up a camera and snapped tens of thousands of photographs. “The people who talk about transit-oriented development have a very lovely image of a little village where people would work and reside and shop, and there would be more walking and less automobile commuting – and there may be truth to that,” said Krieger, professor of planning at the USC Price School of Public Policy. “But I thought it would be useful to look at what the world was really like.”

VIA Needs Public Input About Rapid Transit Including Possible Light Rail in San Antonio

  • A big plan including the possibility of light rail to relieve the congestion on San Antonio roads is moving forward, and VIA needs the public’s input. Everyone’s been there. They’re stuck in traffic, wishing for another way to or from work. VIA’s Government and Community Relations director Leroy Alloway is tasked with finding those other options. “We’re looking at ways to bring possible bus rapid transit in its own lane and possibly light rail transit to the San Antonio region to help provide opportunity and the ability to move people with the expectation of another million people coming to our community,” Alloway said.

FUNDING

AASHTO Calls for ‘Simpler, More Reliable’ USDOT Process to Spur Use of TIFIA Project Loans

  • The group that represents state departments of transportation wants to see the USDOT increase the federal share of financing projects under TIFIA, the department’s main infrastructure loan program, and “develop a simpler, faster and more reliable application process.” The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials made the comments in written testimony to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for a July 12 hearing on TIFIA and innovative financing options to pay for transportation projects.

Virginia Congressman Eyes Defense Dollars to Reduce Toll on Coleman Bridge

  • The Coleman Bridge connecting Gloucester and York counties plays a critical national security role for the U.S. Navy, according to U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman – enough so that he is suggesting the Department of Defense pay for some of the bridge’s management and upkeep. If he is successful, the funding could help reduce the bridge tolls that drivers have been paying for more than 20 years. Wittman has introduced language in the National Defense Authorization Act that asks the Navy to assess its use of the bridge and the operations and maintenance costs associated. That assessment, Wittman said, could lead to a cost-sharing agreement between Gloucester County and the Department of Defense.

OTHER

With More Electric Cars Coming, Minnesota Officials Consider Charging Network

  • Thousands of electric cars could soon be rolling on Minnesota’s roads, spurring discussions about how to keep them all juiced for long hauls from Austin to Alexandria or Blue Earth to Bemidji. Still a novelty in the state, electric vehicles are poised at the edge of the mainstream with the coming release of several more affordable models boasting lengthy ranges. Minnesotans could buy a Chevrolet Bolt as of July 1, and the Tesla Model 3 began production this week – a year after dozens lined up at the Eden Prairie dealership to reserve one. Volvo announced Wednesday it would introduce only hybrid or electric models beginning in 2019.