October 3, 2011

Trains idling at Lechmere
Lechmere Station, still the end of the line
(Photo courtesy of Joseph Barillari/Wikipedia)


  • Green Line Expansion Delays Sparks Frustration; Phased Construction Possible (WBUR, Somerville Journal/STEP editorial, Boston Globe)
    By Delores Handy -- Pressure from Gov. Deval Patrick and the community has forced the MBTA to reconsider its timing on the expansion of the Green Line beyond Lechmere. Last month the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced it wouldn’t finish the project until as late as 2020. It was originally supposed to be completed this month. But meetings this week on Beacon Hill have resulted in a more expedited timeline.
    Related: Somerville Mayor 'will exhaust every legal option' (Somerville News)
    Related: Green Line Extension gets $476m promise (Boston Globe, Somerville Journal)

  • Tab for transit fixes soaring; fare increase likely (Boston Globe)
    By Eric Moskowitz -- More than $15 billion in repairs and replacements are needed to keep the state's aging highway, bridge, and transit network in sound condition, an independent advisory committee warned yesterday. In the Boston area alone, the day-to-day costs of operating the city’s decrepit subway, rail, and bus lines are so overwhelming that riders should expect a substantial fare increase, the first in five years, the top transportation official in Massachusetts said.
    Related: Passengers' reactions to possible MBTA fare increases (Boston Globe)

  • One Downside to Bicycle Commuting: Biker's Lung (The Atlantic: Cities)
    By Nate Berg -- If you bike to work, you’ve probably got pretty nice thighs. Your lungs, though, may not be in such great shape. New research has found that bicycle commuters may inhale more than twice the amount of black carbon particles as pedestrians making a comparable trip. That healthy bike ride to and from work might be getting you out of a car, but it’s not getting you out of the way of the automobile emissions.
    Related: A Different Spin on the Dangers of Urban Cycling (Wall Street Journal)

  • Eco-Libertarian Alliance Pushes Replacement of Rural Air Service With Buses (StreetsBlog Capitol Hill)
    By Tanya Snyder -- Buried in the FAA extension passed last week was a line item for air service to connect rural communities to major airports. These are usually tiny flights, leaving from remote airports. All together, they use annual subsidies of over $163 million. The Reason Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Bus Association, and Taxpayers for Common Sense – groups with wildly divergent missions – have come together to figure out if those communities could be connected more sustainably by using buses instead of planes.






  • Car-Free Travel Week: September 18-24 (MassDOT, VIDEO: NECN)
    • Gov. Deval Patrick admits 'You got me' driving on car-free week (AP)
  • Somerville to ticket cars with expired registrations, inspection stickers (Somerville Journal)
  • Survey says: Parking enforcement in Somerville is 'just right' (Somerville Journal)
  • Fewer speeding tickets being issued in Massachusetts (Boston Globe)
  • Uprooting the Old, Familiar Parking Meter (New York Times)
  • This just in: 15mph over the speed limit is "slightly over" (Universal Hub)
  • Somerville state officials speak out on re-routing HAZMAT trucks (Somerville Journal)

Transportation financing/Government


Development projects

  • First phase of construction complete at Somerville's MaxPak site (Somerville Journal)
  • Transformation taking root in Maverick Square in East Boston (Boston Globe)
  • MassArt unveils a $120 million expansion plan along Huntington Avenue (Boston Globe)
  • Harvard unveils details of Allston expansion (Boston Globe)
  • Spring start expected on South Boston Waterfront apartments (Boston Globe)
  • "Conceptual" plan would site new shopping center next to South Bay (Dorchester Reporter)
  • Construction to begin on Back Bay apartment tower (Boston Globe)
  • Editorial: The Filene's Site (Boston Globe)
  • Affordable housing investment in Allston clicks for Google (Boston Globe)

Land Use/Planning


National trends

  • High Speed Rail --
    • High-Speed Rail "Life Support" Wins Approval by Senate Panel (Bloomberg)
    • Northeast shares top billing in high-speed rail study (Boston Globe)
  • Romney: Amtrak a 'classic example' of unnecessary government spending (The Hill)
  • 1 in 9 US bridges called deficient (MSNBC Video)
  • Debunking the Cul-de-Sac (The Atlantic: Cities)
  • Study: 1,000 Peds Injured Annually By Cyclists Statewide; Number Is Dropping (Streetsblog NYC)
  • The Top Five Transit Technologies for the Low-Carbon Economy (Fast Company)
  • One Path to Better Jobs: More Density in Cities (New York Times editorial)
  • Bike Infrastructure Hits Congressional Speed Bumps (NPR)
  • 10 Cities Where Workers Most Use Public Transit: Census (Huffington Post)
    • Carpooling: What the Census Doesn't Show (Planetizen)
  • 2010 Bike Commuting Data released (Bikeleague.org Blog)
  • The Rise of Urban Biking (The Nation)

International news