The Société de transport de Montréal (STM), along with the City of Montreal and the Montreal police (SPVM), launches campaign calling on witnesses to help prevent harassment in public spaces. Also, south Florida’s Tri-Rail commuter railroad’s estimated downtown Miami service start date gets pushed back; Massachusetts lawmakers urge Gov. Maura Healey to start preparations for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) next Commuter Rail operations contract; the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) completes renovation at Kings Highway F Station; and a partnership between TriMet and Multnomah County breathes new life into an underused park & ride in Gresham, Oreg.
The City of Montreal, the STM and SPVM have come together to “try and stamp our all types of harassment on Montreal streets and within the public transit system,” according to a CTV report.
According to the report, the three groups are launching a new public awareness campaign, including a new web page that appeals to witnessed to safely intervene if they can.
Called “Witnesses take action,” the goal of the campaign, according to the CTV report, is to “educate the general population about what constitutes street harassment, how to denounce it and help victims if they see someone being harassed nearby.”
According to the report, the new anti-harassment campaign will have several components to get across its message, including:
- “A new web page that details all that witnesses can do to help de-escalate the ongoing incident or to get help from those around them or STM security personnel or police.
- “Posters will be placed in public places and on digital platforms for five weeks to make people aware of the campaign; there will be signage in all 19 boroughs.
- “Awareness-raising videos will be available and ‘workshops will be held in public spaces to promote awareness and education on how to be an active witness (spring and summer 2024)’
- “STM employees will receive a resource card they can distribute to facilitate referrals to support groups like Tel-Jeunes, Interligne and the Sexual Violence Helpline.”
STM CEO Marie-Claude Léonard said, “street harassment can be a barrier to using public transit” and they want to ensure that everyone feels safe, according to the CTV report.
Anouk St-Onge of the SPVM urban security and prevention investigations unit said in the release that “the impact of street harassment should not be underestimated,” and encourages anyone who witnesses street harassment or experiences it to report it to the police if they feel unsafe,” according to the report.
Miami Today on June 14 reported that the $70 million tax-funded project to bring Tri-Rail service to private-sector passenger railroad Brightline‘s MiamiCentral Station is now slated for completion at the end of 2023 or early 2024, according to South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) Executive Director David Dech.
“It’s taken a little longer to get the access that we would have liked,” Dech told Miami Today last week. “When I was at the CITT (Citizens’ Independent Transit Trust) meeting, I explained that there was a little bit of turnover at” the (FEC) Florida East Coast Railway, “so people who were stepping into those roles” have to get up to speed.
“We had a really productive call yesterday (June 6) with the Florida Dispatch Company, the company that dispatches Brightline and will dispatch Tri-Rail trains going into Miami Central.
“We’ve really being going through some of the logistics of the day-to-day testing and how it all has to work,” said Dech, who announced back in February that the project would be completed this fall.
According to the Miami Today report, the project was to be completed in 2017 but several factors delayed completion of a link to the Brightline station. The project is to add more Tri-Rail commuter service to the 72-mile South Florida Rail Corridor.
Miami-Dade County funded almost $14 million, and the City of Miami contributed $7.2 million for the downtown link, according to the report. The SFRTA hired Dech last July to lead completion of this and other Miami-Dade projects.
When asked about a June 1 mobility scorecard published by Transit Alliance Miami, Dech said that “the only plan it really deals with that touches Tri-Rail is at the Metro transfer station for some of the walkability there. And we’re more than happy to work with anybody on any project.”
Currently, Tri Rail “runs 50 trains a day, mostly along the I-95 corridor. We currently serve three international airports, so we have great connectivity to the airports,” Dech added.
“We’re a great way to get yourself to and from work. We have parking at almost all of our stations. That’s 50 train-fulls of people a day” not clogging I-95.
Dech, according to the report, also told Miami Today that SFRTA already has signed agreements withs FEC and Brightline to allow it to run 26 additional trains from Tri-Rail’s existing corridor over their rails into Miami Central.
Two Massachusetts lawmakers are urging Gov. Healey to “set in motion now the process for selecting the next operator of the state’s commuter rail system even though the contract with the current operator has another three years to run,” according to a CommonWealth Magazine report.
According to the report, in a letter from Rep. William Straus of Mattapoisett and Sen. Brendan Crighton of Lynn sent to Gov. Healey on Monday, the House and Senate chairs of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee said, “the next contract is likely to be much longer in length, give much more responsibility to the operator, and deal with important transportation, climate change, and housing challenges.” The contracting process, they said, will be lengthy and involved and require years of work.
“We view the next commuter rail contract as an opportunity for your administration to accomplish multiple critical initiatives for the next 10 to 20 years,” said Straus and Crighton in the letter.
Keolis Commuter Services, which is a division of a French company and the current rail operator for MBTA’s Commuter Rail, won an eight-year contract in 2014 that was scheduled to end in 2022. “Even though Baker administration officials were unhappy with Keolis and vowed in 2017 not to extend the company’s contract, a four-year extension was granted in 2020 (through June 2026) when COVID knocked the commuter rail system on its back, with ridership plummeting to all-time lows,” according to the CommonWealth Magazine report.
Now, however, “the system is one of the brighter spots of the state transportation system, with on-time performance strong and ridership back to 80% of pre-pandemic levels despite the emergency of widespread hybrid work schedules,” according to the report.
According to the CommonWealth Magazine report, in their letter, Straus and Crighton “didn’t set out a specific course of action for the next contract, but they embraced the view that the agreement should allow the state and the commuter rail operator to form more of a partnership than a traditional company-vendor relationship with a focus on electrification, energy efficiency, and expansion.”
“In the past, commuter rail contracts entered into by the state have been for relatively short duration with a renewal option as occurred with the current agreement with Keolis,” the lawmakers wrote. “We suggest that something different should be considered in the next contract for commuter rail service. Significant capital equipment changes are going to be required if you agree that climate-related improvements are appropriately part of this process and that will mean a longer contract timeline is likely a part of what is offered for bidding. In that way, the expected investment for any successful bidder will allow a compensation schedule to the operator which is fair to both them and the Commonwealth.”
The New York MTA on June 13 announced that crews have completed restorstive renovations of the Kings Highway (F) subway station in Gravesend, Brooklyn, as part of NYCT’s Re-NEW-vation campaign to bring targeted resources to rebuild components of the station within a 55-hour window.
Over the last weekend while work continued to modernize signals on the Culver Line from Church Av to West 8 St stations, resulting in service disruptions at Kings Highway station, transit workers removed outdated signage, stripped and repainted ceilings, walls, and columns, and replaced emergency lighting fixtures.
Kings Highway Station is the 32nd station to be enhanced. Re-New-vations are coming to Queens next week with Jamaica Center—Parsons/Archer station on the J line. In total, NYCT plans to complete 50 “re-new-vations” by the end of the year.
“Gravesend customers started their week with a cleaner, brighter, and more welcoming station,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “While trains didn’t serve Kings Highway this weekend due to ongoing work installing modern signaling on the F Line, we took the opportunity to enhance the entire station environment, bringing tangible improvements to the customer experience as we seek to deliver faster, cleaner, and safer service.”
TriMet announced June 13 that a partnership with Multnomah County will soon “breathe new life” into an underused park & ride in Gresham, Oreg. On Friday, June 16, 2023, the Gresham City Hall Park & Ride will close as Multnomah County prepares the site for the new 95,000-square-foot East County Library.
With potential to revitalize an underused parcel of land next to TriMet’s Gresham City Hall MAX Station, the agreement with Multnomah County was made possible through TriMet’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) program. The program, the agency says, looks at opportunities that will “sustain regional growth, invigorate communities and increase transit ridership.”
In July 2022, Multnomah County agreed to purchase two-thirds of the TriMet-owned park & ride, with an eye on developing a flagship library in East Multnomah County, where roughly 40% of the county’s population now resides. The new library, scheduled to open in 2025, will rival Multnomah County’s Central Library in size and feature community amenities like an auditorium and public plaza.