January 18, 2013


Boston Introduces "City Hall to Go"

Photo courtesy of Atlantic Cities



Mass-Transit Tax Break in Obama-Signed 'Fiscal Cliff' Bill Mass Transit Mag

Alfanso Castillo-- A long-awaited tax break for transit users that will take some of the sting out of the MTA's upcoming fare hikes was included in the congressional "fiscal cliff" resolution, which was approved this week and signed by President Barack Obama Wednesday.

The Commuter Mass Transit benefit allows public transportation users to pay for the cost of their commutes with as much as $240 of pretax dollars each month through programs like TransitChek or WageWorks.

The current commuter tax break is limited to $125 per month -- the amount that's been in place since the original benefit expired in January 2011 -- while drivers have been able to write off $240 a month for parking fees.

Green incentive for going green Harvard Gazette

Commuting to work at Harvard just got a little easier thanks to two new initiatives being rolled out by the CommuterChoice Program this winter. The expanded benefits will offer bicyclists tax-free reimbursements for bike-related expenses, including purchase and repair, and will provide Emergency Ride Home services to faculty and staff commuters who do not travel by car.

“I think that the [Bicycle] Commuter Act benefits, in tandem — pun intended — with the Emergency Ride program, will allow people who have thought about going with a more green commute to really try it,” said Thomas Lingner, a Harvard College Library employee and regular bike commuter.

Overdue Convenience of the Day: City Hall as Food Truck Atlantic Cities

How did it take so long for this to happen?

Boston's Brutalist City Hall building, designed by Paul Rudolph, may be the least popular City Hall in the country. It has only two stars on Yelp. And, like all government buildings, it is the site of bleak bureaucratic pilgrimages in search of forms and documents.

So Boston is putting the city back in City Hall. Last month they started "City Hall to Go," a truck that visits different locations around the Boston, giving residents a mobile lab through which they can pay parking tickets, register to vote, report neighborhood problems, request a birth certificate, and so on.

MassDOT Releases 21st Century Transportation Plan MA Transport Blog

The MassDOT Board and Transportation Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey today announced a plan for the next generation of transportation investment in the Commonwealth: The Way Forward: A 21st Century Transportation Plan.
The long-term financing plan shows that the state needs $684 million to operate the same system we have today. The plan calls for an additional investment in our transportation assets of $5.2 billion over ten years in road and highway repair in order to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges and ease congestion on major arteries throughout the state; $3.8 billion to invest in existing transit services; and $275 million for Registry and airport maintenance.  These investments responsibly maintain the current transportation assets we have today.

Don’t Let The EU Parliament Ignore 100 Million Cyclists ECF

The European Parliament’s Tourism and Transport Committee has voted on crucial guidelines for EU transport infrastructure. For the first time, MEPs have decided to include cycling within the Trans-European Transport Network (‘TEN-T’) guidelines, opening the door for billions of Euro in cycling investments.

The decision comes after almost a year of intense campaigning by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), its member groups and industry allies and tens of thousands of emails sent to MEPs in the lead-up to the vote. 

America Is a Walking Disaster Atlantic Cities

Ken Benfield-- In much of America, walking – that most basic and human method of movement, and the one most important to our health – is all but impossible. Maybe not literally impossible, but inconvenient at best, and tragically dangerous way too often.

Chances are that, no matter where we are from, the stretches of road shown in the photos accompanying this article look somewhat familiar. They might as well be labeled Anywhere, USA. The one above is from Denver. The Google Earth image below shows the US Route 1 corridor in Woodbridge, Virginia, about 25 miles south of downtown Washington, DC. I'm going to spend some time on Woodbridge today because of some incidents that have occurred there.




  • Bike Score Website Ranks Bikeability of Boston BostInno
  • Futuristic warning light that could save cyclists’ lives The Times
  • Nicole Freedman Returns as Director of Boston Bikes Boston Bikes
  • Hubway cyclists make the North-South station link Boston Globe
  • Nicole Freedman Returns as Director BostInno
  • Chinatown to Charles: the Bermuda Triangle for bikes in Boston Amateur Planner
  • Green Lights for Bike Traffic Signals Planetizen
  • Green incentive for going green Harvard Gazette
  • Ad Nauseum: Let's Just Keep Bashing the Bicycle! Streetfilms


  • New commuter rail coaches tested Metro
  • What Really Matters for Increasing Transit Ridership Atlantic Cities
  • Weekend End of Line E Branch T Service To Stay JP Patch
  • An Amenity That’s Going Places -- Developers Offer Shuttle Service NY Times
  • A commuter-rail map based on travel time Universal Hub
  • Public meeting to address Green Line service Wicked Local
  • MBTA Driver Keeps Riders Happy With Catchphrases During Commute BostInno
  • The MBTA Should Ditch Escalators Boston Magazine
  • Commuter rail unveils 'Conductor Companion' mobile app program Metro
  • MBTA releases 2012 crime stats: serious crime fell by 11 percent Metro
  • MBTA mTicket Passes $1M in Sales Brookline Patch
  • Aggravated assaults on the MBTA up by 22 percent despite a decrease in other crimes Metro
  • Praise for the Commuter Rail's Mobile Ticketing Boston Magazine
  • A Prescription for a Better Transportation System for Massachusetts ­ and Why it Should Matter to Climate Hawks CLF


  • Zipcar
    • The Zipcar Revolution -- sale opens up new possibilities in car sharing, one of the keys to livable cities Boston Globe
    • Will Avis Destroy Zipcar? Atlantic Cities
  • Callahan Tunnel: Now a Dangerous Ride Eastie Times
  • Mass. gas taxes lower than region, nation; parity would go a long way Amateur Planner
  • Should Hybrid and Electric Cars Have to Sound Like Regular Cars? Atlantic Cities
  • At Gillette Stadium, Park At Your Own Risk Boston Magazine
  • Somerville officials decry I-93 debris Wicked Local

Transportation financing/Government

  • Transportation Finance Plan
    • Business executives call on Beacon Hill to act boldly to fix state’s tattered transportation network Boston.com
    • Patrick administration slows transportation finance plan Boston.com
    • MassDOT Releases 21st Century Transportation Plan MA Transport Blog
    • New report discusses array of possible tax increases to raise revenue for Mass. transportation system Boston.com
    • What do you do with $13 billion Amateur Planner
    • Is $10 billion enough? Universal Hub
    • Without stating preferences, Patrick rolls out transportation options Wicked Local
    • Transit Needs $13B Investment Over Next Decade Back Bay Patch
    • Patrick set to propose income tax increase Boston.com
    • How Should the State Pay for Transportation Fixes? Roslindale Patch
    • Governor Patrick delivers State of the Commonwealth speech Boston Globe
    • Patrick homes in on T funding woes DOT News
  • Fore River Bridge Public Meeting Set MA Transport Blog
  • MassDOT Will Maintain Casey Road at Minimum JP Patch
  • GreenDOT Success: Porous Pavement Reduces Runoff MA Transport Blog
  • Bathrooms on the MBTA: Who has to clean the buses and trains? BostInno
  • HOT Lanes Are Working, But Not in Massachusetts Boston Magazine
  • MBTA threatens to cancel $190m deal for rail cars Boston.com
  • Has MassDOT Reached the End of the Road for Internal Reform? Transit Matters


Development projects

  • In Boston last year, 22 developments worth $1.6 billion broke ground Boston.com
  • City in talks over subsidies for Lovejoy Wharf Boston Globe
  • Letter: Mayor should get us a new, better overpass JP Gazette
  • Letter: JPNC is a laughingstock JP Gazette
  • Developers -- Dial ‘M’ for Melcher Boston Herald
  • Let HYM do it, cries East Cambridge community group Boston Herald
  • Press is on for more hotels in South Boston Boston Globe
  • Magoun and Gilman Squares Could Look Like This Somerville Patch
  • LETTERS: Pleasant Street Residents Oppose 14-Unit Condo Building Watertown Patch
  • Developers eye Davis Square hotel project Somerville Scout
  • TD Garden owners dust off plans for towers with retail, apartments Boston Globe

Land Use/Planning

  • Cambridge's Central Square is 'primed for redevelopment’ Boston Herald
  • Ariad Pharmaceuticals to consolidate in new Kendall Square complex Boston Globe
  • What Belmont Wants For the Macy's Site Is ... Belmont Patch
  • After years of plans, Quincy Center remodeling begins Boston Globe
  • Boston Properties may add retail at 100 Federal Street Boston Globe
  • MEPA Casey decision to come Jan. 18 JP Gazette
  • Mega-developments should follow Kendall Square’s locals-first model Boston Globe
  • Historical Comm. Not OK With Shea Circle Revamp JP Patch
  • National Development draws notice as Ink Block project presses on Boston Herald


  • New York
  • DC
    • Capital Bikeshare: How Paul DeMaio, Gabe Klein, Adrian Fenty and other DC leaders launched the best bike-sharking program in the United States Slate
  • CA
    • Business Leaders Help Win Protected Bike Lanes in Portland Streetsblog
    • Fewer Cars Clogging Up Your Commercial Street SF Streetsblog
    • To Walk and Die in L.A. KCET
    • It's Less Easy Being 'Green' as Los Angeles Yanks Plug on Free Parking for Electric Cars WSJ
    • Not-So-Freeway Arch Paper
  • A Carolina Governor Who Breaks All Molds Citi Wire
  • Bike-friendly' is main selling point at Milano apartments Bike Portland

National trends

  • Study: Shorter Blocks May Be the Key to Cutting Traffic in Small Cities DC Streetsblog
  • DOT Secretary's update--NHTSA proposes sound standards to make quiet cars safer Fast Lane
  • Highway Trust Fund: Pilot Program Could Help GAO
  • A Case for Abolishing Parking Tickets Atlantic Cities

International news

  • The 20mph revolution: Millions of drivers face lower speed limits as new laws sweep the country The Independant
  • Olympic Cyclist Dies After Being Hit By Taxi In South Africa NPR
  • Hong Kong real estate investors pursue parking spaces LA Times
  • Intermission: Those Crafty Dutch To Unveil Ultra Green Route 66 of the Future Good
  • Following New York's Lead, London Plans Protected Bike Lanes Streetsblog
  • Don’t Let The EU Parliament Ignore 100 Million Cyclists ECF
  • China Is Building A Nearly Car-Free City Business Insider
  • Gridlocked world -- where are the world's worst traffic jams? BBC