Public transit – PCCMPH Sat, 25 Sep 2021 10:13:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Public transit – PCCMPH 32 32 WRTA bus lines returning to Warren and Lordstown, Ohio Sat, 25 Sep 2021 10:13:00 +0000 WRTA established temporary fixed routes in Warren with a state transit grant, but those routes ended on September 10 when funding ran out. The authority has taken another bite to restore service to the Warren area, but it is making some changes.

YOUNGSTOWN – The Western Reserve Transit Authority is restoring fixed-route temporary service to Warren with a new state subsidy – but this will be slightly different from the state-funded temporary routes that ended two weeks ago.

The Ohio Department of Transportation has awarded the authority $ 560,000 to establish four routes that are scheduled to begin the first week of December and end in November 2022, said Dean Harris, executive director of WRTA.

The authority had previously received $ 1.2 million under the same ODOT grant program to establish six routes serving Warren, but that service ended on September 10 due to lack of continued funding. At the time, transit officials proposed to Trumbull County commissioners to join WRTA – which could have meant a voting problem to impose a quarter-percent sales tax to fund the WRTA’s $ 6 million expansion in the county – but two of the three commissioners rejected the idea.

Of the previously proposed temporary routes, routes along Elm Road, Mahoning Avenue and Parkman Avenue are expected to return, Harris said.

The grant will also fund a new fixed route from Youngstown to Lordstown, specifically intended to serve the village’s Ultium Cells LLC battery manufacturing plant and TJX HomeGoods distribution center – a service requested by Ultium Cells executives, who seek to hire more workers from Youngstown and Warren, Harris said.

Warren City Councilor Cheryl Saffold also asked for a route to Lordstown, he said.

“We know it’s a growing area so now would be a good time to try it out and see if it works,” Harris said.

The hope is that the Lordstown Express will connect to an alternate route from Warren, he added.

WRTA officials expect the routes to run up to five times a day, but details are still being worked out. Harris expects WRTA to announce more information in the coming weeks.

The six Warren area routes proposed under the previous grant were then reduced to four, Harris said. These four routes averaged about 3,000 trips per month.

Speaking of the demand for fixed routes in Warren, Harris said he heard criticism from residents who often see WRTA buses carrying little or no passengers. Harris said he believes residents should view public transit in the same way as the roads they travel on.

“Sometimes they are very busy. Sometimes they are not. But you need it all the time because people are traveling at different times. People tend to get to work at the same time and travel on the same schedule, ”he said.

“I see it really differently. When you know who our passengers are and what their needs are; most of our traffic – they don’t have a car or have a low paying job, ”Harris continued. “It’s their lifeline for jobs or food.

“A lot of people are so used to driving that they don’t realize how addicted other people are. [public] transport.”

WRTA’s on-demand county-wide service in Trumbull County is expected to continue through the end of the year. The authority’s Warren Express, which runs from Youngstown to Warren, is already part of its permanent routes.


The WRTA board is expected to decide next month to make rides free permanently, starting January 1. The authority conducted two brief virtual hearings on its zero tariff proposal earlier this week.

According to the proposals, WRTA’s fares – $ 1.25 for adults, 60 cents for discounted passengers, and 75 cents for students – would be waived, along with day passes and day passes. system month. County-wide paratransit and on-demand transportation – the latter costing $ 3.50 and $ 2.50 for seniors – would also be free.

WRTA pays to print bus tickets and ask contractors to collect, count and deposit its money, so the authority actually only sees about half of its fare revenue, Harris said. In a year leading up to the pandemic, WRTA could expect to generate around $ 1 million from tariffs, but collection costs could reach $ 500,000, he told attendees on Tuesday.

WRTA temporarily instituted free fares last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has since extended them until the end of this year.

“Our budget can handle the non-collection of tariffs. This is a small percentage of our income and we have a fairly solid income base in the [Mahoning County] sales tax that sustains us more than the tariff box, ”Harris said Tuesday.

It’s a tax of 25 cents on every $ 100 spent in the county, the proceeds of which goes directly to WRTA.

No fare could also mean more passengers, which in turn could increase the federal funding the transit system receives by up to 50% – although that probably wouldn’t fully explain the loss in fare revenue, a Harris noted.

The move could help make public transportation more accessible and tackle social inequalities, Harris said. The average WRTA runner earns between $ 12,000 and $ 20,000 a year.

“If you think of that as paying $ 1.25 for a one-way ticket or $ 3 for an all-day pass, they’re paying a big chunk of their finances for transportation,” he said Tuesday. “I hope this will encourage those who are not currently taking the bus to take the bus.”

None of the participants in Tuesday’s hearing expressed opposition to the proposal. Harris said he expects administrators to pass the measure next month.

To Harris’ knowledge, WRTA would become the first transportation authority in the state to offer free rides on a permanent basis, and one of the few nationwide. Mahoning questions last month. Improving bus destinations makes travel better anyway.

“We believe the cost to us… does not outweigh the benefits of providing better service to our Mahoning County residents,” Harris said Tuesday.

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Pittsburgh officials unveil ambitious long-term transportation vision plan | News | Pittsburgh Fri, 24 Sep 2021 19:21:56 +0000

Click to enlarge

Image: Courtesy City of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Karina Ricks, director of the city’s mobility and infrastructure department, announced a 50-year mobility vision plan on Thursday, September 23, sharing the ambitious goals of the city ​​of Pittsburgh for public transportation.

The long-term transportation plan includes ideas for a central terminal location, a hyperloop system, an overhead tram system connecting neighborhoods, and new bridges that allow vehicles to cross the Monongahela River from Hazelwood to the Hill neighborhoods. Top. Pittsburgh executives acknowledged the plans were hugely ambitious and may look fantastic, but said a lot can change in 50 years, and they wanted to provide a vision for transit in the area.

One feature of the plan involves a multimodal terminal near the city center, which could house stations for a potential hyperloop (a high-speed train enclosed in a tube), vertical vehicles, and overhead tram systems over the next 50 years. . Hyperloop is a system that could send passengers or cargo through low pressure tubes at high speed, but the technology has not been tested and has drawn criticism.

“It may be tempting to dismiss the 2070 mobility vision plan as fantastic or bold,” Ricks said on Sept. 23 at a press conference in the Strip District, “but that would be a mistake. it’s a long time, and a lot is going to change Look how much that has changed over the past 50 years.

Another note on the details of the plan using gondolas, aka aerial streetcars, to connect Mount Washington to the North Rim, connecting the Strip District to Carrick and connecting the Hill District, Oakland, Hazelwood and the South Side along the way . This part of the plan aligns a bit with the Allegheny County Ports Authority’s long-term plan, which also calls for the use of overhead trams as a means of connecting the Strip District to Hazelwood, via the Hill District. .

For three years, elected municipal officials worked on building this vision of mobility. They designed it to work with a downtown mobility plan released in May; another long-term regional plan revealed last year by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, the agency that manages transit projects in the region. Overall, the goal of the 50-year project is to reduce congestion and pollution by inspiring people to use public transport, shared rides or bicycles rather than driving alone in a car.

Other long-term intentions include improving the short-distance journeys that can be made without a car, ensuring that households do not spend more than 40% of their income on housing and mobility, and that everything everyone inside the city can get their hands on fresh fruit and vegetables within 15 minutes without a car.

“What this plan is is not a concrete plan,” Peduto said. “It’s a plan that adapts to technological developments and to changes in mobility and to changing neighborhood priorities.

The plan’s announcement also came the day before Ricks’ last day as head of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. Ricks, under Peduto, focused on making city streets safer and more pedestrian, cyclist, transit riders, and drivers friendly by redesigning streets to slow traffic. She also helped launch a multimodal mobility pilot program that brought electric scooters to the city.

In other transit-related news, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg this week announced that the Port Authority will receive $ 216.9 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants from the US Department of Transportation, which helps them avoid layoffs and further cutbacks in services.

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Connect Transit to reduce service due to driver shortage Fri, 24 Sep 2021 01:53:19 +0000

PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) – The Bloomington-Normal transit system is temporarily curtailing service starting next week due to a shortage of qualified bus drivers.

Connect Transit announced Thursday that its Blue, Purple, Aqua, Orange and Silver bus lines will run hourly during rush hour instead of every half hour. The yellow route will run every half hour during rush hour instead of every half hour.

Weekday trips will continue to operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and there will be no change to Saturday and Sunday service.

In a press release, Connect Transit said reducing the frequency of bus service provides greater stability in service schedules rather than missing trips.

“We take any service change seriously and understand that changes to our service impact our passengers, employers and the community,” Connect Transit chief executive David Braun said in a prepared statement.

“We hope that passengers understand the need for these changes and that we will do our best to restore service levels as soon as (we) are able to do so in a safe and reliable manner,” Braun also said.

Further information is available on the Connect Transit website.

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We cannot forget about public transport, walking and cycling in order to decarbonize transport Thu, 23 Sep 2021 14:24:52 +0000

Pooja Shah is a 2021 National Fellow of the Clean Energy Leadership Institute.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida that triggered flash floods in New York and New Jersey earlier this month outmoded The largest mass transit system in the United States, the New York City subway. Scenes from flooded metro stations and trains crossing water bodies flooded social media overnight. The extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change continue to increase the need for massive investments in our infrastructure, especially transport infrastructure which can not only significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also enhance racial equity.

The transportation sector is the main source of pollution in the United States, representing nearly 30% of GHG emissions – and is one of the main contributors to climate change. Communities across the country are already suffering the severe impacts of extreme weather conditions brought on by climate change, but communities of color feel disproportionate impacts. Investments in transportation solutions must be focused on equity to ensure a better future.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is presented as the biggest ever federal investment in public transit that will reduce GHG emissions and create jobs. While the legislation is certainly a step in the right direction, the investments proposed in the bill – especially those aimed at decarbonizing the transport sector – do not put enough emphasis on equitable solutions like public transport and forms of active transportation such as walking and cycling when we are on the move. to face the climate crisis.

The bill proposes investments in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure that will support the transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. But some of its major investments take the form of highway financing, bridges and roads that will continue to increase reliance on private vehicles.

The transition to electric vehicles may and should be the future of driving for all US residents who own private vehicles. However, electric vehicles alone will not solve the climate crisis and, most importantly, they will not help tackle the historical legacy of systemic racism in transportation policies. Any discussion that does not involve significant investments in public transit and active transportation will not lead us to a fair future. Yet public transport has remained one of the biggest sticking points in bipartisan negotiations, the end result being that these investments are only a fraction of what lawmakers have agreed to spend on infrastructure – ultimately favoring the use of private vehicles.

According to EPA given, light vehicles are responsible for 58% of GHG emissions in the transport sector. The impact of these emissions has communities of color disproportionately affected due to decades of inequitable transport and housing policies. These policies have made black and brown communities much more likely to live in areas with higher concentrations of air pollution from vehicle emissions. This disparity makes these communities more vulnerable to respiratory diseases, including asthma, pneumonia and lung cancer. and even COVID-19.

Communities of color are also more impacted through “Heat islands” where darker colored materials are used to build highways and roads for cars. These materials do not allow heat to escape to the same levels as permeable materials like soil and grass, making global temperatures higher and these communities more vulnerable to extreme heat. Thus, these frontline communities face a double whammy of transport-related health effects and the physical repercussions of infrastructure design.

A large number of American commuters are also still heavily dependent on private transportation. An affordable way to reduce pollution, avoid investing in highways for cars, and mainstreaming equity in transport is to move away from private vehicles and shift those infrastructure investments into public transport, walking, cycling and other sustainable mobility options.

U.S. residents who are low-income, black or Hispanic, or immigrant are already more likely to use public transit on a regular basis, largely due to lack of vehicle ownership, and yet they are also the most likely to bear the brunt of the country’s over-reliance on cars. A lack of investment in public transport infrastructure over the years has resulted in unreliable systems plagued by delays and interruptions of service. This lack of investment has also contributed to long-standing structural racism and socio-economic barriers for frontline communities, separating marginalized communities from access to education, economic opportunities and health facilities.

Investment in public transit and high-speed rail in the context of budget reconciliation could make these resources more reliable, while reducing travel times and increasing access to various opportunities. It is imperative to reinvent and rebuild our current transit system through budget reconciliation to have a fair and sustainable transportation system.

Discussions on fiscal reconciliation should also focus on the creation and rationalization of public infrastructure to facilitate active transportation. Inadequate and substandard infrastructure is a common barrier to the use of active transportation. Average nearly 20 pedestrians or cyclists have become fatal accidents every day in recent years in the United States Walking and cycling are becoming increasingly dangerous along too many of our roads and highways, especially in low income and minority communities.

There are no quick fixes to tackling climate change and racial inequalities. Policy changes and investments in the transport sector provide one of the most important opportunities to reduce GHG emissions, tackle climate change, prioritize environmental justice and create jobs, while mitigating negative impacts. systemic inequalities.

We cannot rely solely on the decarbonization of private transport and the transition to electric vehicles to meet the twin challenges of climate change and societal inequalities. As Congress and policymakers work towards fiscal reconciliation, they must ensure that significant and bold investments are also made in public transit and active transportation infrastructure to build a sustainable and equitable future for all. communities.

The articles provided do not reflect an editorial position of Smart Cities Dive.

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The Boston mayoral candidate has gradual support, but is it enough to win? – NBC Boston Wed, 22 Sep 2021 22:29:30 +0000

Mayoral candidate Michelle Wu often talks about the transformative change she would bring to Boston if she were elected mayor, including free public transportation, rent control and action on climate change.

“We are aiming for this bold vision of what’s possible,” Wu said.

In a progressive city like Boston, it’s no surprise that Wu is the frontrunner.

“I think it will be very difficult to pull progressive voters away from Michelle Wu,” said John Connolly, Boston mayoral candidate in 2013.

But Connolly also says candidates need to be aware of what just happened during the New York City mayoral preliminaries.

“Eric Adams came in on a very moderate coalition-driven bid and outperformed the progressive candidates,” Connolly said.

Does this give Wu a break?

“Our heritage as a city, our history, has been to intensify the significant fighting,” she said. “Boston voters know me. The beauty of city government is that you can’t stay on the labels. It’s about getting things done.”

Getting things done is also a focal point of Wu’s opponent Annissa Essaibi George’s campaign.

“Boldness is not just about expressing your aspirations. Boldness is about doing it,” Essaibi George said after passing the preliminary elections.

Essaibi George will try to convince voters that Wu’s program is too expensive and too impractical to support.

“The mayor of Boston cannot release the T,” she argued.

“This is where she needs to be on her guard, if Annissa finds a problem or two where Michelle seems out of step with the Boston majority,” Connolly said. “However, the majority of Boston voters are progressive.”

Like it or not, the progressive vs moderate narrative already defines this race. Now it’s up to the candidates to define for Bostonians why their leadership would be the best.

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Lots of Money, Lots of Need: Council Gets Update on Federal Rescue Funds Wed, 22 Sep 2021 10:05:00 +0000


Western Hawaii Today

Hawaii County’s $ 39 million US federal stimulus package has risen to nearly $ 60 million, all of which must be spent by the end of 2024, members of the council’s finance committee learned Tuesday. county.

And that’s without counting around $ 168 million in public transit, housing, public health programs and direct help to residents and businesses in the form of rent relief and utilities, unemployment, stimulus checks, testing. and the response to coronaviruses and other forms of government assistance.

This is a big change for a county that often struggles to meet its obligations, noted Puna City Councilor Ashley Kierkiewicz.

“I get it – it’s kind of money over a generation,” Kierkiewicz said. “For so long we had to spend pennies and now there are tens of millions.”

CFO Deanna Sako tried to temper the council’s enthusiasm for the spending.

The expenses, Sako said, must fit into very specific categories in order to qualify for federal money. The county is due to submit its first quarterly report to the federal government next month.

Money can be spent on public health and addressing negative economic impacts, especially in underserved areas.

“It’s about making sure that all of these things that we want to do really fit into the categories that we have,” Sako said. “It has been a challenge. “

For example, the county is not allowed to use federal stimulus money to make up for lost public sector revenue because the county general fund has not been affected due to the increase in the value of properties. This is bad news for the Water Supply Department, which is trying to make up $ 2.9 million in lost revenue due to unpaid water bills.

“The county as a whole is fine, but it is not helping the Department of Water Supply,” Sako said.

Much of the money will go to water, sewer and broadband infrastructure in addition to child care services so people can be employed, especially as the tourism sector grows. straightens.

“We want to be deliberative and smart about this piece,” said research and development director Doug Adams, who is looking for the best way to connect critical broadband networks and create daycare centers for five-year-olds. and less. There are 12,000 children in this age group on the island, but only 3,600 child care spaces, he said.

“We are looking for ways to get people back to work,” he said. “If you want to see economic development, we have to make sure our children are taken care of. “

Hilo City Councilor Sue Lee Loy urged the administration to reach out to nonprofits on the island to raise larger funding and grants to help the community.

“Over time we’ve given a lot of people a bit and we haven’t really seen the impact,” said Lee Loy. “The nonprofits in our community do so many things and it would be helpful if we could align them with those goals. “

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$ 1 million grant will be used to resolve transportation issues in North Austin Tue, 21 Sep 2021 19:32:18 +0000

The City of Austin received a $ 1 million grant to address community-identified transportation challenges in the Georgian Acres neighborhood of North Austin.

The Austin Department of Transportation, the University of Texas at Austin and nonprofit Jail to Jobs will work together to build a solar-powered mobility hub for the neighborhood. Mobility hubs are places in a community that bring together transit, bike sharing, carpooling, and other means that allow people to get to where they want to go without a private vehicle.

The Georgian Acres hub will provide access to a neighborhood bike system, self-service bike station, electric scooter stations, etc., while providing free Wi-Fi and other community services such as than a mobile health clinic and a pantry.

Why build it in the Georgian Acres neighborhood?

Georgian Acres is a neighborhood in northern Austin bounded by Rundberg Lane to the north, US 183 to the south, I-35 to the east, and Lamar Boulevard to the west. This is what Jiao, a professor at UT Austin, considers a “transit desert”, referring to the region’s high demand for transport services but low supply. Travel times in Georgian Acres are 67% longer than the city average.

“Georgian Acres is bordered on all sides by highways and high speed roads, making it difficult for community members to move in or out of the neighborhood,” said Gina Fiandaca, Austin deputy director of mobility. “It’s also a traditionally low to moderate income community, which means affordability is a significant barrier to transportation for these residents. We hope that this community hub project will provide a variety of affordable transportation options, allowing community members to choose modes that best meet their needs.

Where did the $ 1 million grant come from?

The grant comes from the National Science Foundation’s Civic Innovation Challenge, an initiative to find community-based solutions to tackle equality and natural disaster challenges and make them sustainable, scalable and transferable to other communities across communities. United States.

Earlier this year, the Austin project team received $ 100,000 from Stage 1 of the competition. Austin was among 52 other teams in 30 states, a tribal region, Puerto Rico and Washington DC.

During Stage 1, the project team began to sensitize community partners and community members in the Georgian Acres area to better understand how to address the spatial mismatch between affordable housing and jobs and improve access to services such as food, health care and childcare.

With guidance from the community, the project team proposed to co-create a mobility hub with the community that offers first and last mile mobility options to reduce travel times, lower transportation costs. and understand the social and economic impacts of these disparities. Jiao suggested that the same framework of a community process could be used for other areas of the city that traditionally lacked access to transport and infrastructure.

The project team proposed to customize the mobility hub to meet the needs of the community. “We want to make it very personalized,” he said. “We’re not going to design a one-stop-shop for everyone. This community might have a different travel model than downtown or another area of ​​Austin. We want to co-create the hub to meet the unique needs. neighborhood.”

Jail to Jobs, the project’s non-profit partner, works with young offenders to give them access to jobs when they get out of prison. With the support of the NSF grant, the nonprofit plans to hire three to five of its clients to drive circulating buses through the Georgian Acres neighborhood, designing a defined route that would reach the resorts. apartments along Interstate 35 and would go to grocery stores, transit centers and other major points of interest. Capital Metro has agreed to donate two wheelchair accessible vans for this purpose.

“We are literally saving their lives, taking them off the streets and teaching them a skill that can change the rest of their lives,” said Jeremias Cooper, Travis County manager for Jail to Jobs. “I would like to see this reflected in other neighborhoods and cities where transportation is an issue.”

Jail to Jobs is located in the neighborhood and close to the planned location for the community mobility center.

“We applaud the efforts of all the teams who have worked tirelessly to build partnerships between researchers and community actors,” said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. “We are delighted to see the teams selected for the next phase begin their pilot projects and sow the seeds of innovation across the country. This program demonstrates the value of research-community partnerships in rapidly translating cutting-edge science into community innovation, and we look forward to seeing its positive impact on urban and rural communities. “

The Civic Innovation Challenge is a program run in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. To learn more about this project, watch the video that the project team created for their proposal in Step 2.

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A map of bars in Portland that require a vaccination or negative COIVD test for entry Tue, 21 Sep 2021 06:23:00 +0000

Bars, venues and other indoor spaces around Portland are responding to a persistent pandemic with new policies, requiring either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test at the door.

If you’re wondering exactly which places are looking after their clients this way – or which ones you can’t visit if you’ve left your vaccination record at home – a semi-recent transplant in town has taken care of making a map , easy to find on

“I was hoping I could find one and use it,” said David Huerta. WW. “I only made one because it didn’t exist.”

Huerta even hosts the map on its own server. Since he works in digital security, at this point staying outside of Google and Mapquest becomes second nature. “It’s not the virtual equivalent of living in the woods with a bucket of water and a shotgun,” Huerta explains. “But it should charge pretty quickly. “

The simple map conveys the gist of the bars in question – their names, addresses, websites and locations on a rudimentary map of the city.

“I don’t own a car, so location and ease of getting there by public transport are important to me,” Huerta explains. His map drew locations of WWreports and that of Portland monthly. Any company wishing to add its name can contact Huerta on Twitter.

Although he makes no promises regarding the long-term maintenance of the site, Huerta said he plans to maintain it and try to keep it up to date until vaccination rates “are where they are.” should be “.

“Everyone should get vaccinated. Huerta said. “MRNA vaccines are extremely fascinating and if you don’t know what’s in the vaccine I encourage you to learn more about it because this is literally the Apollo mission of our generation.”

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How car rentals explain the 2021 economy Mon, 20 Sep 2021 19:36:44 +0000

Few markets better crystallize the upside-down nature of the US economy during the pandemic than the rental car industry.

The industry shows how the economic decisions made in 2020 continue to have serious implications in 2021. While most other industries have experienced less severe fluctuations, the same basic dynamics apply. This dynamic explains why inflation and commodity shortages increased earlier in the year – and why they are are starting to decline but are not yet close to pre-pandemic norms.