Transportation resources

Photo of sleek MARC locomotivePhoto of bicyclist on Falls Road, Montague, MAPhoto of PVTA transit bus in Springfield, Mass.Photo of bikes at Pie in the Sky Bakery in Woods HolePhoto of Smithsonian hybrid busPhoto in DC Metro subway stationPhoto of bike trail along canal in Turners FallsPhoto of Amtrak trainPhoto of natural gas powered city bus

Photos: (1) Streamlined electric commuter rail engine in the MARC system, at Washington, DC terminal (2) Bicyclist by the Connecticut River on Falls Road, Montague, MA (3) PVTA public transit buses in Springfield, MA (4) Bikes parked in front of Pie in the Sky Bakery, Woods Hole, MA. Note the free-use tire pump chained to the bike rack (5) Smithsonian hybrid electric bus (6) Washington DC Metro subway stop (7) Bike path along canal, Turners Fall, MA (8) Amtrak intercity rail passenger train (9) Natural gas-powered city bus, Washington, DC.
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Organizational resources

Biking

Rails to Trails Conservancy www.railstotrails.org The Conservancy is a long-established advocate for the conversion of abandoned rail beds into bike and hiking paths. Their website has a guide to rail trails around the country.

Rail, regional resources

Pioneer Valley Advocates for Commuter Rail (PVACR) -- PVACR's website / blog Working on the Railroad is a good source for the latest developments concerning proposals for expanded regional commuter rail service in the Pioneer Valley corridor, including possible New Haven, CT to Springfield, MA service.

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) -- PVPC is heading the "Knowledge Corridor Passenger Rail Study", looking at the possibility of expanded rail service from New Haven, CT to St. Albans, VT. They do a web-newsletter about the latest developments connected with the Study, Knowledge Corridor Passenger Rail Study Newsletter. One of the controversial topics being discussed is whether to re-align the main passenger rail corridor from Springfield, MA to Bratleboro, VT, so that it passes through Holyoke and Northampton, MA, rather than through Amherst, MA.

Rail, national resources

National Association of Rail Passengers www.narprail.org This national advocacy organization has a simple, but important goal: better, faster and more frequent passenger rail service throughout the country. Their website offers breaking news on lobbying efforts to expand rail and governmental policies affecting rail passenger service.

Books, articles, reports

"Riding Bikes in the Netherlands," Kathleen Schalch, PRI's The World (July 23, 2009), (transcript and audio podcast) available at www.theworld.org/special-reports/feed/. Audio file 0723098.mp3 Schalch's interviewees report that about half the trips in Amsterdam are now made by bike, with 60% of the Dutch riding their bikes at least three times a week. Amsterdam residents voted to slowly reduce the number of parking spaces in the City, and are building a bicycle-friendly City with separated and protected bike lanes, and now a three-story parking garage, just for bicycles, at the central train station.

Living Planet's 6/18/09 podcast report on Germany's widespread bike-sharing programs and how they work. (Living Planet is available through www.dw-world.de as well as through iTunes.) Living Planet takes a ride, through the German "Call-a-Bike" program run by the German national railroad system in six German cities. Through Call-a-Bike, bikes are rented at 8 cents a minute using a cellphone, then re-locked on the street wherever you want to leave it. The next caller needing that bike gets an over-the-phone code to unlock the bike. Bikes can be located using an internet site that maps each bike's last location. Living Planet reports that twenty-eight German cities are now running such bike-sharing programs and the German government has decided to invest ten million euros in bike-sharing efforts.

Good magazine -- "the transportation issue" (Spring 2009). There are two types of articles that always get my attention. Those that tell me something important that I don't know, and those that tell me something important that I already know, but do it in a succinct, articulate or beautiful way. The Transportation Issue of the relatively new Good magazine, now on newstands, is full of both types of articles, and heavy on the first type. Good shows how transportation could get a whole lot better. Too many great articles to review with any justice, but you should definitely check out at least these five:

-- RP

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Page last modified: 12/3/09

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