The strong intercity network that Pennsylvania needs

This is a proposal for a full intercity surface transit network for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, implementable within 5 years of commencement. The primary component is a core network of bus services, provided on a fully accessible intercity motorcoach fleet, but the plan also encompasses PennDOT-funded rail service. The core network bus routes are distinguished from their counterparts today by being far more frequent

Amazon is one of the most urbanist employers in America

Who says Jeff Bezos doesn’t do corporate synergy? Amazon’s announcement that they’re looking for a second headquarters in North America has exploded the market for hot takes about cities, which is probably giving at least some benefit to the Bezos-owned Washington Post. While I do think that Philadelphia would be a very good fit for […]

This, too, is America: Burlington Route edition

I’m on the California Zephyr, on my way home from Denver, and the big stories back home are about the continuing lack of Silverliner Vs, and the announcement by Vice President Joe Biden that the Federal Government will be providing $2.45 billion in loans to Amtrak for the next generation of high speed trains on […]

Still more questions than answers in the wreck of Amtrak 188

The NTSB released its preliminary findings into the Amtrak 188 derailment on February 1st, and to be perfectly blunt, we still know about as much as we did the day after the crash.  We know the “how” of the derailment — that the train went into the curve at Frankford Junction at 106 mph instead […]

A brief summary of my remarks to the NEC FUTURE hearing

I wasn’t expecting to speak at Monday night’s hearing on the NEC FUTURE Draft EIS, mostly because I failed to do my homework and realize that they would be accepting spoken testimony.  So I winged it, with some hastily jotted notes.  Here are the highlights of that extemporaneous speech, heavily revised and extended, as best as […]

The argument for Philadelphia from cost control

A lot of local political bigshots came out to the Navy Yard last Monday to announce full funding for another study of the case for extending subway service to the South Philadelphia office park.  It may not be the most pressing transit need in the region, but it does have good potential.  Perhaps more important: if […]

Dear New Yorkers

If Governor Andrew Cuomo’s continued blithering idiocy manages to stall Amtrak’s Gateway tunnels until after one or both of the Hudson River Tunnels fails, and if Mayor Bill De Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton succeed in wiping out the Times Square pedestrian plazas, one of America’s most successful urban street interventions, over a handful […]

How do we stop Civil Engineers from killing people?

A young girl is in the hospital, not expected to survive. Her cousin has leg and head injuries, and her mother is also injured. And mild-mannered Minnesotan Chuck Marohn is in a white-hot rage about it. I don’t fundamentally disagree with his point that we’ve shielded civil engineers from our liability- and litigation-happy traditions, and […]

City Branch Transit: the Transit Equity Express

Ryan Briggs wrote a story last week in Next City about the status of the City Branch, the ex-Reading legacy trench/tunnel stretching along Callowhill Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. His article was an excellent summary of the state of play, between those who would see the City Branch as part of a linear park that would […]

Places where SEPTA Regional Rail shares track with freight

Commenter Tsuyoshi asked, “Are there any [SEPTA Regional Rail tracks] shared with freight? That’s a bit of an involved question, but the short answer is: “yes, quite a few”.  As asked, the real answer is that all of the Regional Rail network could be used for any potential freight customer on-line, and virtually every line […]