Golden Valley approves fourth light-rail route
Early plans for what could be the Twin Cities’ fourth light-rail transit spoke are moving ahead, with the blessing of the city of Golden Valley. The city council in the first-ring suburb on Tuesday evening gave its initial approval to the proposed Bottineau route. Until now, Golden Valley had been the sole dissenter out of the five communities along the path connecting Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park. The opposition has been fueled in part by neighbors who say the trains would spoil the very essence of their community.
Minneapolis likes Southwest light rail concept but not the current plan
The City of Minneapolis moved a step closer to endorsing the Southwest Light Rail Line but will not accept a plan that includes freight trains, light rail and the recreational trails running through the relatively narrow strip of land known as the Kenilworth Corridor. The plan to move the freight trains, which currently travel through the Kenilworth Corridor, to a line through St. Louis Park is being strongly opposed by citizens in that community. “The freight trains will have to be relocated to St. Louis Park,” said Donald Pflaum, a transportation planner from the Minneapolis Public Works Department, as he explained the city’s position on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project to members of the City Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee. Any plan that places freight trains, light rail and recreational trails in the Kenilworth corridor “will not be accepted by the City of Minneapolis as part of the municipal consent process,” according to the official comments that will be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration.
Worst of Central Corridor light-rail work to end soon
The dirty, noisy and disruptive construction work on the Central Corridor light-rail line between St. Paul and Minneapolis will end completely by the end of the month, spelling relief for many businesses and commuters. With new streets and sidewalks laid, store owners are grappling with how to rebound from months of snarled traffic that sapped their business. Putting the finishing touches on the $957 million project next year should be far less disruptive to businesses and commuters, said Mark Fuhrmann, program director of New Starts rail projects for Metro Transit. Crews will string miles of overhead electrical wires and underground cable, install station art, build the operations and maintenance facility in St. Paul’s Lowertown, work on the signaling and communications system and test the light-rail vehicles. The rail line along the 10-mile corridor is expected to be open for business in 2014.
Metro planning stations to bring light rail to LAX
It may soon be easier to take light rail to Los Angeles International Airport. There are plans to open up a station near the LAX terminals. Currently you can take the Metro Green Line to the LAX station, but then you have to take a shuttle to the airport.There are four plans that LAX officials and Metro are looking at to bring light rail all the way to the airport. All four would require a new station to be built with a people-mover to shuttle travelers and employees to the terminal area.
Arvada, Westminster boost budgets for proposed light-rail stations
Two cities that will be home to FasTracks stations will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to change the budget-conscious design of the commuter- rail stops. Westminster will pay nearly $500,000 to redesign the future RTD Westminster Station to feature an arched opening, rather than a simple box structure. Arvada is drafting four proposals to add art and historic markers, to align a road and to switch to brick pavers instead of flat concrete at the Olde Town station plaza. The cost of the brick pavers is estimated at about $860,000, while the three other requests would total about $485,000. City Council will vote on the proposals in January.
Plans for South Bay light rail expansion coming under fire
A proposed extension of the Valley Transportation Authority light rail line in the South Bay is getting mixed reviews. Some criticize the high cost for the relatively short length, while others see it as an accommodation of growth that’s expected in the not-too-distant future.Right now the light rail line ends in Campbell but there are plans for two more VTA stations extending the tracks by 1.6 miles into Los Gatos. People attending the environmental impact report meeting at the Campbell Library discussed if the increase in riders is worth the $175 million price tag.
Infrastructure in Oil Country Getting More Funding
In Governor Jack Dalrymple’s speech this morning he talked about his plan for the state`s infrastructure needs. Dalrymple has set aside $2.5 billion for transportation upgrades, with one billion dollars of that for one time funding infrastructure investments. A large majority of that money is coming to oil country, and that`s something people in Williston are excited about. Northwest North Dakota has taken a step forward, when it comes to infrastructure. “The oil impact grants. $214 million comes up from $130 million in the last biennium. That`s a huge issue to those of us up there who need water, sewer, roads, streets, emergency services, those types of things,” said Williston Mayor Ward Koeser. This money will be a one time investment in infrastructure and not a continuous flow of money. A portion of the impact grant will focus on making roads safer.
High-Speed Passenger Rail
Washington received nearly $800 million in federal High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail funds to deliver critical rail infrastructure improvements that will expand travel choices, preserve the ability to move freight, and foster economic growth across our state. These improvements are being made along the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor, a 466-mile rail corridor running between Eugene, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Northeast Grid Transmission project – engineering Project of the Year
The Strategic Infrastructure Projects of the Year awards are given across five categories recognizing ongoing and upcoming projects that demonstrate imagination and technical skills while offering a creative roadmap of new ideas for the inception of project infrastructure throughout North America.AECOM is the program manager and owner’s representative for the winning project, which consists of a major upgrade of PSE&G’s grid transmission system in northeastern New Jersey, United States. Encompassing approximately 200 circuit miles (321 kilometers), the project will upgrade electrical service from 138 kilovolts to 230/245 kilovolts. The conversions include 12 substations, 40 circuit miles (64 kilometers) of overhead transmission lines and 29 miles (46 kilometers) of underground transmission lines. Work on the upgrade is scheduled for completion in mid-2015 and the project is considered a model for future electricity grid upgrades planned throughout the United States.
Parking authority studies pay-by-phone technology
With the installation of nearly 560 multispace metering devices completed, Pittsburgh Parking Authority is pursuing other modernization initiatives. The authority board voted Thursday to consider adding a pay-by-phone feature to the multispace machines, which are used for on-street parking spaces and metered lots Downtown and in parts of 11 other neighborhoods. It also voted to develop an on-line reservation system for spaces in six of the authority’s Downtown garages. The authority bought the multispace metering devices and seven years of maintenance for about $7.3 million. Many of the machines, which accept coins and credit cards, replaced single-space meters, which took only quarters. Motorists enter their license plate numbers at the pay stations, and parking enforcement officers use that information to identify vehicles in violation.
Death by a Million Cuts: What Cities Stand to Lose If We Go Over the Fiscal Cliff
The on again, off again threat of the fiscal cliff has put municipal governments in a decidedly awkward position. How should they prepare for legislation designed not to minimize pain, but rather to be too hurtful to ever enact? “It’s hard to know what the impact of a law that gets described as shooting yourself in the head will be,” says Kim Rueben, a senior policy analyst at the Urban Institute. Even so, cities are doing their best to quantify the very tangible effects of proposed cuts in dollars and cents. Last week, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a press conference with acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce RebeccaBlank, imploring Congress to do something. “It will hurt consumer confidence and hit discretionary spending in the retail and tourism sectors, two pillars of growth here in Baltimore,” Rawlings-Blake said. “And that means it will hurt jobs in our economy.”