Big Plans Rolled Out for MassDOT Transportation Improvements

East
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
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Boston MBTA, "the T" (Courtesy of Ccarlstead/Flickr)

Boston MBTA, “the T” (Courtesy of Ccarlstead/Flickr)

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard Davey announced plans for expanding and maintaining the state’s transportation system on Monday. The improvements outlined in the proposal would require an estimated $1.02 billion a year reported Masslive.com, and include everything from adding new tracks at South Station and implementing a commuter rail to South Coast, to major road repairs in Western Massachusetts and a pedestrian and bike program.

One critical component remains rather vague, however—how the state intends on funding this costly agenda. MassDOT suggests a number revenue sources in its proposal such as a green fee (a fee assessed by the amount of carbon emissions released), an increase in tolls and fares, and an income tax that would increase the tax rate from 5.25 percent to approximately 5.66 percent. Governor Deval Patrick is expected to address the transportation plan in his State of the Commonwealth speech tonight, and the Boston Globe reports that he will likely come out in support of a raise in income tax.

NACTO Celebrates 21st Century Transportation Planning in New York

National
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
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Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood addresses the NACTO Designing Cities conference in New York. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood addresses the NACTO Designing Cities conference in New York. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

Planning and transportation wonks from around the country gathered at NYU’s Kimmel Center this morning to mark the beginning of three-days of the NACTO Designing Cities conference, emphasizing new and innovative ideas for designing streets and public spaces. To jumpstart the event, the National Association of City Transportation Officials released the Urban Street Design Guide, collecting design principles, strategies, and case studies from across the country on how to best design and implement everything from cycletracks to bus rapid transit.

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Cermak is Next: New CTA Stop Primes Chicago’s South Loop

Midwest
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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Rendering of the CTA's new Green Line station. (Courtesy CTA)

Rendering of the CTA’s new Green Line station. (Courtesy CTA)

The CTA is abuzz with new projects these days, having successfully avoided fare hikes during dire budget negotiations this summer. Now another $65 million investment will deliver the new Cermak / McCormick Place El Station Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised early this year, as well as new library, school and three-story building rehab for the South Loop.

New renderings presented by the Mayor on Friday show the new Green Line stop, which will be designed by Carol Ross Barney, principal at Ross Barney Architects. It’s a sleek tunnel shape, reminiscent of Rem Koolhaas’ IIT Green Line stop.

Continue reading after the jump.

DOT INTRODUCES NEW STREET SAFETY CAMPAIGN

City Terrain, East, Transportation
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
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“Safety is in the eye of the beholder,” says New York City DOT Commissioner Sadik Khan. Khan’s remarks came Wednesday as the New York City Department of Transportation unveiled its new LOOK! safety campaign urging self-responsibility on the part of drivers and pedestrians alike. The updated campaign features thermoplastic curbside lettering spelling L-O-O-K with appropriately focused eyeballs replacing the O’s on crosswalks at 110 of the most fatality ridden intersections across the city. The street markings are accompanied by witty color photograph ads on nearby phone stalls, bus shelters, and the backs of city buses warning us to heed our mothers’ advice and look both ways before crossing the street. The campaign plans to eventually increase their range to include 200 intersections and more than 300 buses.

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Construction Fully Funded for St. Louis’ Loop Trolley Project

Midwest
Monday, September 10, 2012
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One of the vintage trolley cars that will eventually traverse St. Louis' Delmar Loop. (Claudia Daggett/Flickr)

One of the vintage trolley cars that will eventually traverse St. Louis’ Delmar Loop. (Claudia Daggett/Flickr)

Plans for a fixed-track trolley system in St. Louis got a $22 million infusion last week, when the Federal Transit Administration followed through with plans to fund construction of the city’s long-awaited Loop Trolley system.

The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District would administer a 2.2-mile track from the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park to the University City Library—part of a regional plan for more sustainable transit. Three hybrid electric trolleys will make nine stops along the way, offering connection with the existing light rail MetroLink system.

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With New Rankings, Pedaling Cleveland Forward.  A bike rack in Cleveland. (Spacing Magazine/Flickr) Despite an increased focus on sustainable transportation, Cleveland lost its spot on Bicycling Magazine’s list of the 50 most bike-friendly cities. With New York’s bike share program delayed, DC reporting increased bike ownership, and Chicago rolling out new protected lanes, efforts to promote pedaling in Cleveland have not dominated national bike news. But after landing 39th on the magazine’s list in 2011, the city was not named this year. That prompted Rust Wire to rally for Cleveland to “boldly prioritize bicycle infrastructure,” building on a recent safety ordinance considered one of the most progressive in the state. (Photo: Spacing Magazine/Flickr)

 

Proposal Could Triple Pedestrian Space on the Brooklyn Bridge

East
Thursday, August 9, 2012
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Camera-wielding scofflaw risks crossing into bike lane (Flickr/g.bremer)

Camera-wielding scofflaw risks crossing into bike lane (Flickr/g.bremer)

Every day, an average 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the upper-level pathway of the Brooklyn Bridge. Commuters, tourists, and joggers vie for space on the congested path, whose width varies from 16 feet to as little as 8 feet—creating a bottleneck for two-way bike traffic. For years observers have recounted harrowing tales of near collisions on the overcrowded span, like the bike-phobic Post pitting reckless cyclists against merely oblivious tourists and the Times calling for the appropriation of a traffic lane for bike use. But now a proposal to double the width of the path could offer a solution to the overcrowding.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Yorkers Feeling Blue as Bike Share System Delayed

East
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
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Coming to a curb near you...in August. (Branden Klayko/AN)

Coming to a curb near you...in August. (Branden Klayko/AN)

We’ve been anxiously waiting for the city to drop off the planned 10,000 Citi Bikes—after all, there will be 82 bikes parked just outside AN’s HQ in Lower Manhattan!—as part of NYC’s bike share system originally slated to open this month. Our dreams of riding with the wind in our hair were crushed, or at least postponed, when system operator Alta began surreptitiously tweeting news of the delay: “Look for the launch in August.”

When the bike share system is complete, 10,000 bright-blue bicycles will be scattered throughout three boroughs, docked at 600 stations located in Manhattan, Long Island City, and a healthy chunk of Brooklyn from Downtown Brooklyn to Bed-Stuy and north through Greenpoint.

The bikes and stations are being assembled at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and with 20,000 tires to inflate, we’re willing to give them a little slack. In the meantime, check here for public demonstrations being staged around the city, where you might just land yourself a free helmet.

Mayor’s Challenge Seeks the Next Big Idea for City Life

National
Monday, June 18, 2012
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With nine million dollars total in prizes up for grabs, The Mayor’s Challenge simply asks for innovations in city life, a subject that’s been a growing concern for countless architects, planners, and governments worldwide. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the competition last week calling for individual designers and teams to address urban challenges from sustainability to citizen empowerment. “Every day, mayors around America are tackling increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Our cities are uniquely positioned to inspire and foster the innovation, creativity, and solutions needed to improve people’s lives and move America forward.”

Continue reading after the jump.

ONE Lab: Summer Session on Future Cities 2012

Dean's List, East
Thursday, March 29, 2012
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The Future Brooklyn Navy Yards Home of ONE Lab. (Courtesy Terraform ONE)

The Future Brooklyn Navy Yards Home of ONE Lab. (Courtesy Terraform ONE)

ONE Lab, New York School for Design + Science is a non-profit research and education collaborative that plans to begin year-round programming when the historic renovation of Building 128 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is complete in 2014. This innovative, interdisciplinary school currently operates out of the Metropolitan Exchange, a professional cooperative at 33 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  The co-chairs, Maria Aiolova and Mitchell Joachim of urban ecology thinktank Terreform ONE, seek to promote “research and education at the intersection of design and science.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Parking Increasingly Passé in Downtown Chicago Towers.  Parking Increasingly Passé in Downtown Chicago Towers Crain’s has an encouraging report on the drop in demand for parking spaces in Chicago’s downtown residential buildings. At Lakeshore East, which includes Studio Gang’s Aqua tower, only 40% of renters are leasing parking spaces. The developers had forecast a 55% demand. As a result many buildings are dropping the price for spaces. Other factors including buildings with on-site car sharing and secure bicycle storage areas are also likely cutting demand for parking spaces. As a result, some developers are rethinking how much parking to include in new projects, which would mean smaller podiums and more active street life, something any city would want.

 

Minnesotans Driving Less, Taking Transit a lot More.  Minnesotans Driving Less, Taking Transit a lot More Nationally the number of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) has been declining in recent years. Transit ridership has also held steady or been climbing slightly. Minnesota seems to be a dramatic example of this new transportation reality, according to figures from the Minnesota Department of Transportation as reported on Minnpost.com. They cite a 40% increase in transit ridership from 2004 to 2011, and a small but significant decline in VMTs 2011 from their 2007 peak. Road congestion has also been easing slightly. High gas prices, an increasing preference for walkable neighborhoods, and teenagers postponing getting their licenses are all cited as contributing factors. It all adds up to further evidence that political rhetoric around gas prices, transportation, and energy policy needs to catch up to the reality on the ground.

 

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