BAD LUCK

December 19, 2018
Best Worst Most of 2018

Oh 2018, what can we say? On the plus side, there were fewer trains on fire, both literally and metaphorically. Tech bros still gave us plenty of reasons to cringe, but public opinion seems to have – dare we say? – soured on them a bit now that their schemes have failed to deliver results. And as always, transit advocates gave us reasons to feel hopeful. 

1. Washington D.C. dethrones Boston as most do-nothing city.

The stodgy Boston-area, a very late-comer to quick-build street changes, is suddenly moving faster than anyone on bus lanes.

2. Most shameless double-cross: Phoenix NIMBYs try to undo voter-approved money for light rail.

3. Chuck D fights the power (and is a secret NUMTOT?)

4. New lame-o transportation planning euphemism: “Curb management.”

What is curb management? Parking tickets, more parking meters, taking away parking spaces, loading zones and pick-up/drop off lanes, parking tickets, towing cars, parking tickets, bus and bike lanes. Did we mention parking tickets?

5. Most unusually responsible politician ever on transit: Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo’s defense of the SI bus network redesign tweet.

6. Best of (ten million) subway delays: The Goats

Worst: Q train track fire  

7. Private Mobility Public Interest Award: Despite the usual bumbling and hesitation by de Blasio’s City Hall, the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission and Commissioner Meera Joshi developed very smart policy, then found allies in the NYC City Council that enabled New York City to implement the world’s first cap on Uber/Lyft registrations and a wage floor for TNC drivers.  

8. Private sector smart: Uber/Lyft buy bike companies.

9. How you know they don’t really have a plan: Uber/Lyft buy bike companies.

10. Private sector dumb: Elon Musk digs one-lane “disco sewer” in Los Angeles, agrees to build untested low capacity airport transit “at no cost to the public” in Chicago.

11. Public sector dumb: Colorado DOT was burning public money on a Hyperloop plan (note: there is no Hyperloop) via a contract with a guy named Brogan BamBrogan (formerly K-Bro) whose company just went belly up. 

12. Transit Turnaround Awards: Austin, Columbus, Richmond, and Indianapolis all completed bus network redesigns, and are seeing ridership increases as a result. 

13. Most quotable advocate: John Raskin of the NYC Riders Alliance. “I know Albany never takes action until the sky is falling, but we could do without the literal manifestation of the metaphor.

14. The best way to debunk weak ideas in transit is to ride them.

15. Worst Implosion (it’s been a long year): Mayor Megan Barry and the Nashville transit referendum.

16. Credulous techno optimism – always an incredibly competitive field: Mashable’s dumb pod-on-a-stick coverage.  

17. Best pop-up bus lane: Cincinnati.

18. Best (so far only notional) thing: Fast Forward, Andy Byford’s plan to finally get New Yorkers to stop bitching about the subway. 

19. Whose calendar is it?: US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao vs NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

20. Best activist moments: safe street protests outside San Francisco climate summit and Garcetti speech at NACTO.

21. It looked good on paper: Albuquerque’s electric buses are lemons, new downtown busway left to skaters and tumbleweeds.

22. Best foreshadowing: Joe Lhota’s “I don’t even work here” finally came true.

Downside: Larry Schwartz now more prominent.

23. Best new trend: decriminalizing fare evasion.   

24. Best of the midterms: Ayanna Pressley’s bus ad.

25. If you can’t beat them, hire them: Transit Alliance Miami is heading up Miami-Dade’s bus network redesign.

26. A fair city mayor we can believe in: Philadelphia’s Jim Kenney.

27. Best non-Mayor Mayor: Corey Johnson – pulling off wins on Fair Fares, Uber Cap, and Speed Cams.

28. Most tone deaf true tweet: things will get better in 10 years.

29. Tough night at the office:

30. Never forget: cars of any stripe hog space, Uber is not transit, and dense cities need high capacity transit to succeed.

More Like This Post:

August 8, 2019
Image for: One Year In, Austin’s Revenue-Positive Bus Network Redesign Is Gaining Riders One Year In, Austin’s Revenue-Positive Bus Network Redesign Is Gaining Riders

In June of 2018, Austin launched a redesign of its bus network. Since then, ridership has increased 4.5%, making Capital Metro one of the few transit systems in the U.S. where ridership is on the rise.

Read More
July 25, 2019
Image for: Is the Bronx Bus Network Redesign Ambitious Enough? Is the Bronx Bus Network Redesign Ambitious Enough?

In June, the MTA released a draft plan to redesign the Bronx bus network. There’s no doubt that the proposals will improve trips for bus riders. But given the gap between the current state of Bronx bus service and what Bronx bus service can be, is this plan as ambitious as it should be?

Read More