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We don’t need new roads – Energy – Salon.com

6 Apr

As the New York Times just reported, “Many young consumers today just do not care that much about cars,” as evidenced by an 18 percent drop in teen driver’s licenses between 1998 and 2008. A generation ago, Ferris Bueller said that getting a computer instead of a car proved that he was “born under a bad sign” — but the Times cites a new poll showing 46 percent of today’s 18- to 24-year-olds say they would actually “choose Internet access over owning a car.”

Taken together, these attitudinal shifts present a welcome opportunity to change everything from environmentally destructive infrastructure policies to outdated corporate investment strategies. Seizing such a rare opportunity requires only that more of us spend a bit less time in the car when possible. That, or at least an end to a political theology that always presents new roads as a panacea.

via We don’t need new roads – Energy – Salon.com.

It’s time to love the bus – Dream City – Salon.com

3 Mar

Just as Google uses its bus system to compete with other companies, cities might do the same with theirs. But while budget constraints are one obstacle, just as often it’s a problem of perception: The bus is seen as cut-rate transit, ever inferior to rail and not worthy of attention. Even last week, when I traveled to Athens, Ga., to meet with a community group that’s promoting better urban planning, everyone I spoke to was shocked that I had taken the bus from Atlanta instead of a private shuttle.

via It’s time to love the bus – Dream City – Salon.com.

Thinking Outside the Bus – NYTimes.com

23 Nov

This week Fixes looks at this and two other small but intriguing transit initiatives. They operate on wildly different models: The Brunswick Explorer is public; it is paid for by riders, who pay a nominal fare, and a combination of federal and local sources, including the town of Brunswick. Another involves private entrepreneurs providing van service; and the third is a non-profit that has radically re-thought the terms of mobility. Together these three programs suggest that we could get a lot more out of our transit dollars — and more important, get a lot more people from place to place — if we approached potential transit riders as customers, and gave them exactly what they need.

via Thinking Outside the Bus – NYTimes.com.

A Push to Return Transit Manufacturing to New York – NYTimes.com

16 Oct

At the conference, John Samuelsen, the president of Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, who eight days later would deliver a rousing speech at the Occupy Wall Street protest on behalf of working families, made the simple but meaningful case that people using the transit system should be the people making the transit system. “We have the talent to do to this; we have full-blown engineers now doing signal work because they can’t find jobs,” he said.

via A Push to Return Transit Manufacturing to New York – NYTimes.com.

Vital Bus Lines are Closing, Leaving People Stranded

13 Oct

From Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, to Town Square, USA, thousands upon thousands of people rely on public transportation to take them to jobs, shopping, to the doctor, and so forth. But bus lines are closing in cities across the nation and leaving people stranded in their homes, especially poor people and old people. It’s happening in Detroit, Longmont (Colorado), Washington D.C., and in my neighborhood in Jersey City, NJ.

Three neighborhood associations met at the Monumental Baptist Church last night to make plans on how to meet the crisis. While there is some reasonable hope that the abandoned routes will be taken-up by other providers, it is clear that this is a recurring problem that must be met by sustained action.

What’s happening in your neighborhood? Have any bus lines been closed in the last two or three years? Are bus lines being closed in the near future? What will happen to people stranded by these closures?

How is it that the so-called richest nation on the planet cannot figure out how to provide transportation for ALL of its citizens?

If you’ve got a story, put it in the comments.

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