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Weekend links: What rails?

Photo by televiseus on Flickr.
Slowing China's trains: While China excels at splashy high-speed trains, its low-speed train system and back-end management is what needs the investment. (Economist)

Florida's almost-rail: Florida Governor Rick Scott nearly took federal high-speed rail funding but rejected it because the feds were unwilling to also pay for dredging Florida's ports. The money ultimately was distributed elsewhere. (The Hill)

How not to build BRT: Albany and Schenectady's Bus Rapid Transit has been downgraded to regular limited-stop service because there wasn't space for dedicated lanes. Queue jumpers were installed but are used by cars instead. (Albany Times-Union)

MLK Memorial quote to change: The controversial paraphrase on the side of the MLK Memorial will be changed. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave the Park Service 30 days to consult with the family and others about alternatives. (DCist)

Escalating escalator replacement: Metro wants to replace more escalators than rely on rehab. They aim to replace 94 and overhaul 98 across the system. (On Foot)

Uber crackdown begins: The Taxi Commission cracked down on Uber by ticketing a driver for at least $1,075 with Chairman Linton personally present. Uber believes its operation is legal, but Linton declared this week that it wasn't. (DCist, aaa)

An expensive transition: Mayor Gray has released an audit of his transition expenses. While most went to his inaugural ball, $78,500 went to Howard Brooks, the man at the center of a federal investigation into Gray's campaign. (Post)

Walk like me: A rundown on the science of pedestrian behavior reveals that large roadways are indeed barriers to pedestrian traffic, but that pedestrians are most likely to cross those roads only at the beginning and end of trips. (Atlantic Cities)

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David Edmondson is a transportation and urban affairs enthusiast working on his master's in city and regional planning at Cornell University. He blogs about Marin County, California, at The Greater Marin


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That is an interesting article on walking behavior. Thanks for sharing it.

by Geof Gee on Jan 14, 2012 11:48 am • linkreport

Ron Linton seems like a jerk with the move he pulled on a random driver. I think the city council needs to get involved to figure out how to make sure uber/taxis don't get involved in some sort of turf war. That's better than letting someone unelected/not a police officer declare something illegal and hand out tickets. That seems to be an abuse of his regulatory power.

by Canaan on Jan 14, 2012 1:30 pm • linkreport

"Ron Linton seems like a jerk with the move he pulled on a random driver."

Indeed, the Ron Linton who promoted a tunnel extension of I-395 tat fails basic FHWA standards for curved tunnel line of sight distances, and pretends that none of that matters:

So that is the Ron Linton whose name I've heard but seen no evidence of any valid work. And now he pops up like this.

by Douglas Willinger on Jan 14, 2012 4:07 pm • linkreport

Given what's occurring with California's high-speed rail project I'm pretty sure Rick Scott has been comfortable with his decision to say "no thanks."

by Fitz on Jan 16, 2012 7:54 am • linkreport

The problem with BRT is that while its performance can in theory rival rail transit at lower initial cost, that performance is based upon all of the best-case scenarios lining up and continuing to be true.

In the real world, BRT lends itself to compromises that rail cannot. It's a segment that doesn't get a dedicated right of way. Or a portion shared with other road users. Or steps to curb its higher operating costs that affect service. And since the roadway is just as suited to any road users, the decision someday just to end the use as a separate transportation facility has a price tag close to zero.

Rail may have its drawbacks, but once it's built, it generally works the way it's planned and it's a fixed investment that becomes difficult to take away.

by Crickey7 on Jan 16, 2012 1:24 pm • linkreport

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