Coming to a City Near You in 2012 — New Transit Projects Underway

2012 in transit expansion, as mapped out by Yonah Freemark at ##http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2012/01/02/opening-and-construction-starts-planned-for-2012/##The Transport Politic##

2011 was a tough year for transit. Local agencies, still hurting from the recession, continued to slash bus routes and raise fares.

There were a few bright spots in an otherwise gloomy landscape, however, not the least of which was U.S. DOT’s TIGER program. Thanks to federal investments like that, and strong local support in many regions, a healthy number of local transit agencies will break ground or finish construction on major projects in 2012.

Yonah Freemark at the Transport Politic has reviewed them all. He says 2012 is shaping up to be a pretty good year for transit, at least as far as construction goes:

The uncertainty in Congress over the future of funding for the nation’s transportation programs has not yet hit local transit authorities, which will collectively spend billions of dollars this year on enhancements to their local public transportation networks. At least 33 metropolitan areas in the U.S. — and five in Canada — are planning to invest in new BRT, streetcar, light rail, metro rail, or commuter rail projects in 2012. Virtually every American project listed here is being at least partially funded through federal capital grants.

The Obama Administration’s zeal for the distribution of small grants for bus rapid transit and streetcar projects through the TIGER and Urban Circulator programs will play out this year more than ever. Seven cities will begin construction on new streetcar lines (most were supposed to begin last year), and Portland and New Orleans plan to open extensions of their existing networks to the public. At least a dozen cities will either have a new bus rapid transit line under construction or completed by the end of 2012.

Meanwhile, the nation’s largest metropolitan areas have not forgotten their interest in more expensive light and heavy rail lines: Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake, and Seattle continue to expand their light and commuter rail networks at a breathtaking pace thanks to strong local funding support. New York, perennially the country’s transit leader, will join D.C., Miami, the San Francisco Bay Area, Toronto, and Vancouver in expanding its metro rail system.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space considers the opposition to historic preservation in San Francisco that was the subject of a recent New York Times article. Carfree with Kids, sorting through holiday presents, discusses the implications of auto-oriented children’s toys. And Cyclelicious reports that the great state of Indiana is considering a three-foot passing law.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

The Red Line bus rapid transit project in Indianapolis, which voters approved as part of a package in November, is one of dozens of projects threatened by Donald Trump's budget proposal. Image: IndyGo

Think of Trump’s Budget as an Attack on Cities

|
Yesterday Donald Trump released a budget outline that calls for severe cuts to transit, and the reaction was swift and scathing. The National Association of City Transportation Officials called it "a disaster" for cities. Transportation for America said it was a "slap in the face" for local communities that have raised funds to expand transit.

Why Transit Agencies Expand Even When They Struggle to Provide Service

|
New Orleans transit is in bad shape, as we reported recently. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority has never recovered from Hurricane Katrina and service is at about 36 percent of pre-storm levels despite the region’s population rebound. New Orleans’ frequent service lines have been slashed dramatically. Even newly built streetcar lines are running infrequently. […]

Boosting Transit Ridership With New Stations, Not New Track

|
Yonah Freemark at the Transport Politic calls them infill stations: new transit stops built in gaps along existing rail lines. Current examples include Assembly Station just outside Boston in Somerville, DC’s NoMa Station, and the West Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. Infill stations are a pretty brilliant method to get the most out of older rail systems without spending very much, […]