The nuts and bolts of CTFastrak

Scott Whipple | New Britain Herald

Kevin Bartram | Staff Work continues on the CTFastrak East Main Street Station on Wednesday. CTFastrak is a 9.4-mile bus rapid transit system connecting Hartford and New Britain and is scheduled to begin service next year.

NEW BRITAIN — More than 150 people got the opportunity Wednesday night to learn everything they’ve always wanted to know about CTFastrak but were not afraid to ask.

Connecticut’s bus rapid transit system is scheduled to begin operations in March 2015. Attendees at the Institute of Technology and Business Development grilled Michael Sanders, CTfastrak transit administrator, with more than 40 questions ranging from how many new bus drivers will be hired — more than 100 — to will there be lavatories at the bus stations — No. Few of the trips are long enough to merit rest rooms.

Formerly, CTfastrak was known as the New Britain-Hartford Busway. The project includes 10 stations in New Britain, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford with buses running every three to seven minutes during peak commuting hours. Traveling on a bus-only road, CTfastrak offers faster travel times for riders, providing service from Bristol, Waterbury, Southington, and Cheshire to destinations in the CTfastrak corridor. Most of the public was delighted at what they heard.  There has been talk of a shuttle service between local CTfastrak stations and East Side restaurant on Dwight Street. No surprise. East Side Restaurant owner Nick Augustino is all for the idea. Read more

How parking data drives urban planning

Patrick Marshall | GCN

The relationship between population density, parking spaces and public transit availability is a critical one for planners, developers and, yes, apartment hunters.

Thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration, residents and city planners in King County, Wash., can access that data on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis on the Web by calling up the King County Multi-Family Residential Parking Calculator, or Right Size Parking, for short.

Right Size Parking also contains a great deal of regional data about land prices, average rents and even the amount of annual greenhouse gases emitted by construction and maintenance of parking structures.  Users can scan neighborhoods to see how well they are served by public transit and how many jobs are located within the selected neighborhood. Read more

screenshot of rightsizeparking

A Glimpse Into 2050 And The Invasion Of 2.5 Million More Utahns

Eric S. Peterson | City Weekly

Imagine your life as it exists now. Waking up, walking the pooch in the morning, commuting to work, slugging through the day and coming home after stopping by the store on your way back. Now imagine it’s the year 2050 and your sharing your little world with 2.5 million more Utahns that now call the Beehive State home. What’s the air quality like with millions more wheels on the ground? Where we gonna put them all?– a floating city on Utah Lake? Planners shed light on their vision of the future Thursday and argued the state can accommodate growth and preserve a quality of life to make the future more utopian than dystopian.

Alan Matheson, Executive Director of Envision Utah and Andrew Gruber, Executive Director of the Wasatch Front Regional Council gave attendees of the Utah League of Women Voters a glimpse into the year 2050 at the organization’s “State of the Community” luncheon program Thursday.

The conundrum they explained was sharing Utah’s great quality life with future generations that will more than double the state’s population by 2050. That growth means adding 1 million new jobs and creating a transportation infrastructure that gets everyone whey they need to go and hopefully doesn’t add 2.5 million more cars to Utah streets. The key they argue is in planning that gives breathing room to the free market and that concentrates density around transit-oriented developments which in turn can still provide space for rural and agricultural neighborhoods elsewhere.

“We’re not saying everyone has to live in a walkable mixed-use community and take the train,” Gruber said. “But if we encourage more growth to occur in centers in Salt Lake City or Ogden, or along the Frontrunner transit-oriented development then that creates the opportunities to preserve the character of existing suburban or rural communities.” {….}

The CTA Wants Transit Oriented Developments Near Belmont Station

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AJ LaTrace | Chicago Curbed

The CTA has been a roll lately with major station repair and improvement projects, but nothing had people scratching their heads more than last week’s announcement of its Red & Purple Modernization Program which includes a floating open-air bypass route near the Belmont station. However, in order to complete the Red-Purple Bypass, the CTA would need to purchase and raze upwards of 16 buildings along the path of the proposed transit line bypass. However, now the CTA wants to get into mixed-use TOD projects on the land that will be acquired by the city to build the Red-Purple Bypass, according to DNAinfo. The idea is still in preliminary stages, and even if the plan moves forward, it would be years before these buildings are constructed. {….}

California Shows Residents the Greenhouse Gas Money

Carolyn Whetzel | Bloomberg BNA

Revenue from California’s greenhouse gas emissions trading program would be used as a permanent source of funding for affordable housing, water efficiency projects and a variety of transportatiDollar Sign Christies Images Via Bloombergon projects, including high-speed rail, under a new plan outlined by State Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D).

Unveiled April 14 at a news conference in Sacramento, the plan replaces a proposal Steinberg announced in February to impose a carbon tax on transportation fuels rather than bring them under the scope of the emissions trading program, as is scheduled in 2015.

The new proposal for investing cap-and-trade revenue would allocate $1.75 billion for affordable housing and sustainable communities; $1.31 billion for transit; $878 million for high-speed rail; $439 for street projects; $200 million for natural resources, water and waste projects; $200 million to deploy electric vehicles; and $10 million to fund a green bank.
Also, the plan would allocate $200 million to rebate “climate dividends’’ to consumers.

All the money would be required to be spent in accordance with the Global Warming Solutions Action of 2006 (A.B. 32) and other statutes mandating that revenue proceeds be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to Steinberg. {….}

Mindboggling Tubular Tower Transit Hub Imagined for Queens

Jessica Dailey | NY Curbed

Behold, the most exciting and completely insane thing ever proposed for Queens: the Urban Alloy Towers. This sea creature-like mass of tubular towers comes from the minds of Chad Kellogg and Matt Bowles of AMLGM. The simple, boring explanation of this craziness is that it’s a mixed-use development proposed for the area surrounding the LIRR station in Woodside, but AMLGM’s website has a more high-brow, archi-babble explanation, for those who want all the details and diagrams. The mind-bending structure, which is sheathed in a flexible skin made of metal fins that each have a specific “solar orientation,” will never see the light of day, but make-believe is always fun. Especially when it involves ridiculous renderings. {….}

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