Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Shorter news items

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There’s a bunch of stuff today on my Google alerts. I don’t really have time to get into any of them in detail. So here are some clips that you might like to follow up. And I would welcome feedback – is this something you would like to see here as a feature – or do you prefer the longer commentary stuff?

The LA Times has a “Bottleneck Blog” dealing with local transportation issues. It is not exactly transit friendly as this piece on Transit Oriented Development demonstrates – it is worth scrolling down to read the comments.

Mind you if the transit system in LA is as bad as SEPTA is said to be I am not surprised. For those who think I am hard on Translink try this:

Its riders could well be effective political lobbyists. Many, I suspect, have been thoroughly alienated by a transit system that punishes them routinely with small indignities.

In short, SEPTA is run for those who have no other choice, and thus it treats too many of its riders with contempt. Those who do have other choices, of course, too often choose not to take SEPTA. So at a moment when SEPTA needs all the friends it can get, it is discovering that it hasn’t worked very hard to make them.

Some Wisconsin kids came up with this neat idea to save all those hassles at the airport. Beats Air Canada anyday!

Serious progress appears to be made in Ottawa. The sharing of rail lines between LRT and mainline trains is common in places like Germany has been slower to take off here, but experience with the OTrain otrain-approaching-bayview-2006_0608.jpg seems to be boosting Transport Canada’s confidence.

Transport Canada, which oversees rail operations from coast to coast, doesn’t see a problem with track sharing, said Mike Coghlan, the department’s director of engineering at its rail safety branch, as long as safety rules are followed and some differences are ironed out.

“There may be some issue with running light rail equipment with heavy equipment,” he said.

Meanwhile, in California more details are being uncovered of the Bush administration’s attempts to undermine that State’s efforts to tackle the world’s major environmental problem – global warming.

Rep. Henry Waxman, the Los Angeles Democrat who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said he will seek more data from Transportation officials on its contacts with the White House and other federal agencies.

“This initial set of documents reveals that the Bush administration was working hand in glove with the auto industry against state efforts to fight global warming,” Waxman said. He added that federal resources should not be used against a state initiative.

Paul Light, a New York University professor who has written extensively on the executive branch and government ethics, said the Transportation Department’s lobbying effort was “unusual and unnecessary, given that most members and governors know these issues already.”

“I think it’s a gross misuse of taxpayer money,” Light said. “It may not be a violation of anti-lobbying provisions in the law, but it’s a violation of anti-stupidity provisions.”

I expect that we will hear more about this.

Written by Stephen Rees

July 4, 2007 at 4:51 pm

Posted in Transportation

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