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transportation

When you ride on buses or trains in many parts of the United States, what you say could be recorded. Get on a New Jersey Transit light rail train in Hoboken or Jersey City, for example, and you might notice an inconspicuous sign that says "video and audio systems in use."

A lot of riders are not happy about it.

"Yeah I don't like that," says Michael Dolan of Bayonne, N.J. "I don't want conversations being picked up because it's too Orwellian for me. It reeks of Big Brother."

Gilbert Ruiz of the Depot Cafe and Smokehouse. He could throw a brisket and hit the future light rail station in downtown Everett.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Sound Transit is halfway through the public comment period on its big expansion plan, called Sound Transit 3. The current plan puts downtown Everett last in line for light rail. KUOW went to Everett to see how people feel about that.

Around the world, subway projects are booming. New metros have sprung up or are in the works in Brazil, Saudi Arabia and India, and China announced several years ago that it would build 25 new subway systems. But in the United States, investment in new subways has lagged.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks to Fred Salvucci, senior lecturer in civil and environmental engineering at MIT and former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation, about what state and local governments should be doing about transportation for the future.

Vancouver Port Hears From Public On Oil Terminal Lease

Apr 12, 2016

Commissioners at the Port of Vancouver are weighing whether or not to breathe new life into what could be the nation’s largest oil-by-rail terminal.

The project’s backers, oil company Tesoro Corp. and logistics firm Savage Industries, have asked the port to extend the terms of their lease by two years.

In its first-ever transparency report, Uber has revealed that it has given federal and local U.S. agencies information on more than 12 million riders and drivers between July and December 2015.

This kind of report is not uncommon in the tech industry, but this particular one does something extra: It uses the report to take regulators to task for what Uber sees as excessive data sharing, making a case that it frequently tries to narrow the scope of requested information.

View of the construction site in Kenmore at the north end of Lake Washington, April 29, 2012.
Flickr Photo/WSDOT (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/bEiMv9

People are able to drive part of the brand new 520 floating bridge Monday morning. The westbound lane is open after weeks of hype and an official ribbon cutting. But now there's an old bridge, and getting rid of that will be much less glamorous.

Paige Browning explains, there's a dispute over where to destroy it.

BMW's all-electric i3 is one of the vehicles being offered by the company's new ReachNow car-sharing service.
COURTESY BMW

The carmaker BMW has made Seattle the launching pad for a new car-sharing service called ReachNow. It’s similar to Car2Go, and the city could allow still more companies to enter the market.

As KUOW’s Amy Radil reports, ReachNow says it plans other services as well. 

During her second State of the State address Friday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown renewed her call for the legislature to approve a massive transportation funding package.

Backers of a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver have asked for an amendment to their lease with the port. Port commissioners plan to discuss the request in a series of public meetings next week.

Officials with the Vancouver Energy Project said Tuesday they need more time to complete Washington’s permitting process.

Jennafuh Singer of The New York Xchange says business is up since light rail moved to Capitol Hill. Her store is moving a few doors down into a space shared with Panache, in part to be even closer to light rail.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Some businesses on Capitol Hill are reporting 15 to 20 percent more customers since the light rail station opened there.

File photo of the Sodo area of Seattle.
Flickr Photo/camknows (CC-BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/cyojwG

A proposed sports arena in Seattle was once again the topic of debate in city hall. This time, the focus was traffic impacts.

The City Council's transportation committee is preparing to vote on whether to shut down part of Occidental Avenue in SODO to allow for a proposed NBA arena.

Alaska Airlines management is expressing confidence about integrating its rival Virgin America, whose pending acquisition was announced Monday. Any airline merger poses challenges and this one is no exception.

Alaska Air outbid rival JetBlue Airways to acquire Virgin America in what Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden described as "a hard fought competition." Alaska Air won the bidding war with a $2.6 billion all-cash offer that was announced Monday.

Alaska Airlines
Flickr Photo/BriYYZ (CC BY SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/cBWGoo

Bill Radke talks to Henry Harteveldt, airline analyst with the Atmosphere Research Group, about Alaska Airlines' purchase of Virgin America.

The parent company of Alaska Airlines has struck a deal to buy Virgin America, creating a West Coast-focused airline. If approved by regulators and Virgin America's shareholders, the combined airline will be the fifth-largest U.S. carrier, according to Alaska Air Group.

"By bringing them together, we're creating the premier airline for people who live anywhere on the West Coast," Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement.

SR 520 Launch Party Was A Jam (And Lots Of Fun)

Apr 3, 2016
A couple poses during a staged ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new SR 520 bridge. The bridge was open to foot traffic over the weekend.
Courtesy of Chris Moore

"It's so nice and smooth."

That's how one man described the new State Route 520 bridge, which opened to foot traffic over the weekend.

You may have heard that some people were stuck on the bridge, in a foot traffic jam, waiting an hour for a shuttle to scuttle them home. But most seemed OK with the situation. They bought food from food trucks and marveled that the bike lane will extend from the Arboretum to the Eastside. 

'Week in Review' panel Mike McGinn, Erica C. Barnett, Bill Radke and Keith Schipper.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Caucusers went for Sanders, so why are super-delegates backing Clinton? Can Sound Transit sell you mass transit for $27 billion? And if you don't think police will keep you safe, is it wrong to hire private security guards?

Bill Radke walks the news beat with former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, blogger Erica C. Barnett and GOP consultant Keith Schipper.

The oil industry said it's backing down from an effort to overturn Oregon's clean fuels law at the ballot. Instead, the Oregon Fuels Association will try to get lawmakers to modify the law when they renew debate on a highway funding plan in 2017.

A Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicle and a passenger car block part of the intersection of  Mercer Street and 5th Avenue North after a collision on Thursday afternoon, March 31, 2016
Courtesy Seattle Fire Department

There’s been another Ride the Ducks crash in Seattle – but this time it appears to be minor.

Light rail runs on the surface in Seattle's Rainier Valley.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke talks with King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci about the draft plan for Sound Transit 3, which would expand light rail in the Puget Sound region.

Radke also talks with Jonathan Hopkins, political director for Seattle Subway, a nonprofit that advocates expanding mass transit in Seattle.

Emergency crews are scrambling to reach people trapped when an under-construction elevated roadway collapsed onto a busy street in Kolkata, India, on Thursday. More than a dozen people have died, local media say, and dozens more are trapped.

News of the number of dead or injured is still emerging, and those reports are currently fluctuating. Citing police, Asian News International reports that at least 14 people are dead, with more than 70 wounded.

Bella Barger and Erik Nelson take light rail to get to their methadone treatment.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Barger and Nelson live in a tent city in the University District. They used to use a lot of drugs. But that changed when they found out Barger was pregnant.

“We made steps to change really fast,” Nelson said. “We’ve come a long way in the last three months.”

Every day, the couple makes their way to a methadone clinic on Capitol Hill. They used to take the bus. Now that the light rail station is open, they take the train. Their trips are paid for with a special monthly transit pass called Hopelink.

A view to the back end of Bertha, the SR 99 tunneling machine. The steel hooks on both sides of the wall of the tunnel will become part of the foundation that will support the decks and walls of the future roadway, according to the state.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation

Bertha has stopped again, but this time, it’s on purpose.

The tunnel boring machine rests in an underground concrete vault. Workers are putting the tunnel boring machine through complex tests before it pushes under the Alaskan Way Viaduct. 

Metro's Chris O'Claire says the transit agency will hand out free Orca cards loaded up with free trips to those who haven't tried them yet. Flag down someone dressed like this, especially Monday and Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

King County Metro bus routes change this weekend. Some of the biggest changes happen in northeast Seattle.

Sound Transit's Capitol Hill Station, prior to opening, 25 January 2016.
Flickr Photo/Don Wilson (CC BY-SA 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/Efv737

Light rail ridership has hit all-time highs since two new stations opened in Seattle on Saturday. On the heels of that success, Sound Transit revealed its newest proposal Thursday.

It would expand the light-rail system to 108 miles total — but take decades to get there.

Engineers told state legislatures in 1995 that the Alaskan Way Viaduct would crumble in a major quake. The project to replace the Viaduct is underway but still incomplete.
Flickr Photo/Washington State Department of Transportation CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When a major quake hit San Francisco in 1989, the Cypress Street Viaduct collapsed, killing 42 people.

The next day, Washington state officials saw images of the viaduct. To their horror, it looked almost identical to the Alaskan Way Viaduct on Seattle’s waterfront.

On Saturday, March 19 light rail stations opened serving Capitol Hill and the University of Washington (pictured).
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke talks with Bruce Gray at Sound Transit about the agency's plan to run longer trains during rush hour to meet demand at the new Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium stops.

Pronto bikes on the Seattle waterfront. The City of Seattle voted to buy the nonprofit, even though it wasn't doing well financially.
Flickr Photo/Tony Webster (CC by 2.0)

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about an ethics investigation into Department of Transportation Director Scott Kubly's involvement in the Pronto bike-share system. 

An SDOT Crew puts the finishing touches on a bus-only lane on Battery Street in Seattle's Belltown Neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke talks with Janette Sadik-Khan about her new book "Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution." Sadik-Khan was New York City's Transportation Commissioner from 2007 to 2013.

Faces of commuters who passed through University of Washington and Capitol Hill stations Monday morning.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Bill Radke talks with KUOW's Joshua McNichols about the opening of new light rail stations on Capitol Hill and near the University of Washington. Radke also talks with Zach Shaner, staff reporter for the Seattle Transit Blog.

'Week in Review' panel Jane Hague, Bill Radke, Ijeoma Oluo and C.R. Douglas.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Should you be ticketed for not passing in the left lane? Is the time for NBA fun over? And, are we seeing a campaign blip or a slide into violence?

Bill Radke peacefully discusses the news with former King County Councilmember Jane Hague, writer Ijeoma Oluo and Q-13’s C.R. Douglas.

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