TheCityFix Picks, December 6th: Free Transit For Youth, U.K. Transport Priorities, Nairobi Rail

San Francisco approved free transit for underprivileged youth. Photo by Brandon Doran.

Welcome back to TheCityFix Picks, our series highlighting the newsy and noteworthy of the past week. Every week, we’ll run down the headlines falling under TheCityFix’s five themes: integrated transport, urban development and accessibility, air quality and climate change, health and road safety, and communications and marketing.

 The Lee Schipper Memorial Scholarship has been opened for applicants seeking to radically change the public transport, urban infrastructure or renewable urban energy space. The two strongest projects will be awarded up to US$10,000 each.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority will begin fully subsidizing its public transit services for low-income youth next spring, after its board voted unanimously to approve free access to the cities estimated 40,000 low income residents under the age of 18. The action comes after an earlier failed attempt for the SFMTA to achieve a grant from regional transport  authority MTC.

Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III has stalled federal funding for the Cebu City BRT Project, which was set to receive US$162 million in loans to construct. Financing for the BRT project in one of he Philippines’  most populous cities was to be provided jointly the L’Agence Française de Development and the World Bank, is still on the table according to World Bank representatives and expects only a short stall in the projects’ advancement.

Business leaders in Minneapolis, Minnesota are pushing for light rail expansion to the southwest portion of the city, appealing to what they describe as a lack of transit development for the growing city, in the U.S. context. This call from chambers of commerce and local businesses alike echoes Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s recommendations for an increased statewide gas tax earlier in the week.

Across Canada, growth in public transit ridership is up 3.2-percent compared to last year. This curious uptick across North America’s least densely populated country reflects growth in Canada’s cities and a near 91-percent approval of expanded transit service in communities that currently lack public transit access.

Great Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, the equivalent of the American Secretary of the Treasury, has announced ambivalent support for cycling infrastructure across the United Kingdom yesterday. The Chancellor’s Autumn report granted between £42-50 million (about US$67.6-$80.5 million) in cycle transport spending countrywide, while concurrently upgrading a stretch of the A1 Highway into a “motorway” at a cost of £378 million (about US$608 billion).

Downtown Los Angeles, which removed its last streetcar line nearly six decades ago, is on the way to reviving its surface railroad system. Downtown voters, who currently enjoy heavy rail, light rail, rapid buses and a funicular, voted with a resounding 70-percent plus vote to bring back a Downtown Streetcar line that is estimated to loop LA’s most transit dense neighborhood by 2015.

A Canadian software company has created a moving map of 24-hours of New York City transit, presenting buses and subway trains a like as points of light. The video highlights vehicles moving to and fro along the system, giving insight into not only peak-commute demand to and from Manhattan, but also late evening trends and daytime anomalies.

Dar es Salaam and Nairobi have introduced commuter rail efforts for citizens in the famously congested capitals of Tanzania and Kenya. In Nairobi that cost less than half of current bus fares (with multiple transfers considered) and can reduce commute times by half.

Travel and Leisure Magazine, a publication more associated with vacation planning, delved into transport planning analysis this week with its ranking of the most transit friendly cities in the world. The ‘big gorilla’ of public transit, New York City was beat out by Portland, Oregon, Chicago, Savannah, Georgia and San Francisco, coming in 5th of 18 cities surveyed.


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