The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority may appeal acourt order requiring two subway-access elevators near City Hall. U.S. District Judge Gene E.K. Pratter last Friday ruled in favor of disabled passengers who sued to compel SEPTA to build the elevators. The judge gave SEPTA until Oct. 30 to prepare a schedule for complying with the order.
"We are reviewing whether to appeal," SEPTA General Counsel Nicholas Staffieri said, adding that SEPTA was trying to determine if Pratter's ruling constituted a final order.
Staffieri said SEPTA could not build an elevator in the courtyard of City Hall without permission from the city, which owns the courtyard. "The city has to be brought in. It is the landlord," he said.
Countered Rina Cutler, the city's deputy mayor fortransportation and one of two city representatives on the SEPTA board, "I can't imagine we would withhold permission for something like that." She added, "I would agree that it's long overdue to have accessibility down there.”
But Cutler did note she would prefer to add the elevators as part of an already planned rehabilitation of the deteriorated City Hall subway station, scheduled to begin in 2011, and expected to cost $100 million.
RailComm’s Domain Operations Controller (DOC®) train control system has been selected to replace the existing Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) office system for Denver Regional Transportation District’s Central Corridor light rail transit line.
RailComm’s DOC®:CTC is a next-generation computer-aided dispatching system used to centrally control the CTC signal system and the OCS (Overhead Catenary System) electrification sub-stations.
East Rutherford, N.J.-based PTSI Transportation is conducting a one-day seminar Oct. 23, entitled "Railroad and Rail Transit Physical Characteristics Training and Testing: Are we where we need to be?" The event will take place in the Amtrak Northeast Division Conference Room (sixth floor), 400 W. 31st Street, New York, from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; a working lunch session is included.
PTSI Transportation says the conference is designed to "share best practice, not just with railroad employees, but also with first responders of various types, such as EMS, hazmat, homeland security, fire, and law enforcement personnel, who may be called onto railroad property in emergencies."
Speakers include Dennis Yachachak, USDOT FRA operating rules program manager, who will offer a federal viewpoint on the matter.
More information is available by contacting PTSI Transportation at (201) 933-5530, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. PTSI Transportation plans similar conferences in Chicago and Los Angeles, with exact dates and locations to be announced.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit bolstered its reputation for aggressive light rail transit growth by opening Monday for revenue service the first three miles of its Green Line through South Dallas to Fair Park. DART held opening-day ceremonies on Saturday along the new route, adding station stops at Deep Ellum, Baylor University Medical Center, Fair Park, and MLK, Jr. stations.
DART also added “full-time service” to the line at Victory Station at American Airlines Center, which had been limited to sporting and special events service only.
Spokesman Morgan Lyons says the new DART extension gives residents a choice. “They can replace their cars with the train," he said. “The train runs on electricity, it's cleaner, it's more reliable, it's more efficient, saves you money; what more do you need?"
DART continues to proceed with further extensions of the Green Line southeast to Buckner, and northwest to North Carrollton/Frankford; both extensions are scheduled to open in December 2010. Total estimated cost of the full 20-station, 28-mile Green Line is $1.8 billion, with federal funding providing $700 million.
Portland, Ore.'s TriMet MAX light rail system, considered by many the model of North American LRT operations, opened its new 8.3-mile GreenLine extension southeast to nearby Clackamas Saturday. The $575.7 million line also serves Portland State University. Regular revenue service began today.
Based on samples from electronic passenger counters, TriMet estimates about 25,000 riders sampled the free ride on the Green Line’s opening day during official festivities running between 11:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. As many as 40,000 trips were expected through the end of the service day, about 11:00 p.m.
Peter M. Rogoff, head of the Federal Transit Administration, attended the opening ceremonies, and said, “This project embodies the core elements of the president's agenda for the nation.” He added, “It's going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It's going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And it will make an already livable city even more enjoyable."
Amtrak once again is willing to move to the current James A.Farley Post Office Building, across the street from its existing Penn Station facility in Manhattan, as part of a deal with the state of New York and regional transit authorities. Amtrak’s agreement revives efforts to convert much of the postal facility into a “new” Penn Station, to be named after the late Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan (D-N.Y.), an ardent Amtrak champion.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he and state Gov. David A. Paterson had been negotiating with Amtrak for six months and found Amtrak’s current President Joseph Boardman “far more helpful” than previous Amtrak executives.
Specifics still are yet to be divulged, but under the current agreement Amtrak would share cost of the relocation, not carry the cost by itself. One change is that the parties have agreed to Amtrak’s request to share revenue from retail outlets in the expanded station and to make some design changes, according to a spokesman for Sen. Schumer.
Estimates of the project’s cost range between $1.1 billion and $1.5 billion; federal earmarks of $200 million are already identified for the project, and Schumer’s spokesman said the pending agreement would make it more likely for Amtrak to access federal stimulus funds.
The proposal has its opponents, including those who believe Amtrak should not distance its existing station operations from much of thecity’s subway system. Any move by Amtrak west across Eighth Avenue would maintain direct links to New York City Transit’s A, C, and E subway service, but would make connections to trains on Seventh and Sixth avenues more difficult.
The current Penn Station, located beneath Madison Square Garden, also serves as the primary terminus for Long Island Rail Road and New Jersey Transit train services.
Resuming a push for streetcar expansion interrupted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans’ Regional Transit Authority is advocating additions (or extensions) to its existing operations, at a projected cost of $212 million. Three streetcar lines being proposed all would link to the existing Canal Street line.
RTA says its hopes federal funding of $121 million, or 57% of the cost, will be available to advance the proposal. The agency is seeking much of that share though the federal TIGER program.
Of the roughly $91 million remaining to be funded, about $73.5 million would come from the sale of bonds backed by sales-tax collections allocated to the RTA. RTA also would use $13 million from a reserve account. RTA recently restored its borrowing power, damaged in part by the post-hurricane falloff in ridership, which some credit to Veolia Transportation, the company which assumed daily operations.
Under Veolia, the system has run at lower cost and has seenridership rebound, though slowly, according to Justin Augustine, the RTA'schief executive officer and a vice president at Veolia Transportation. "It shows that [financial markets] believe we've begun to put our fiscal house in order," Augustine said.
The St. Claude route, called the “French Quarter loop,” would run about four miles along North Rampart Street from Canal Street to Press Street and would feature a 1.2-mile spur on Elysian Fields Avenue that would connect with the Riverfront streetcar line at Esplanade Avenue.
The 1.8-mile Convention Center Boulevard line would run uptown from Canal Street via Tchoupitoulas and Poydras streets to Convention Center Boulevard, turning toward the Mississippi River at Henderson Street and connecting with the Riverfront streetcar line behind the Convention Center.
At 1.5 miles in length, the Union Passenger Terminal route would travel along Loyola Avenue between Canal Street and both the Greyhound and Amtrak terminals. Under the RTA's plan, the $45.6 million line is the only one that would be fully financed by the federal government.