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    Still hobbled by power failures and waterlogged transit, the New York region struggled to return to the rhythms of daily life on Wednesday, while facing the reality of a prolonged and daunting period of recovery....People who normally took the subway or regional rail lines were forced into taxis or their own cars, clogging the streets. Drivers reported delays of hours, with vehicles lined up at the major crossings and at parking garages.

    New York Times
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    The waters have begun to recede after Hurricane Sandy made landfall off the northeast coast of the U.S. last night, but the toll on the region’s transportation system is beginning to come into focus and it stands to be one of the worst mass transit disasters in U.S. history. In a statement released this morning, Lhota says that seven subway tunnels under the East River have flooded, while the Long Island Rail Road had to be evacuated, and the East River tunnel is completely submerged. The MTA told the Weather Channel that “We have to examine the entire 600 miles of subway track before we consider even turning it back on” and that this is worse than the worst-case scenario the transit authority ever anticipated.

    Wired
  • When more than 1 million people pour into The City — something that’s likely to happen for the Giants’ World Series parade Wednesday—public transportation will likely suffer from overcrowding, delays and disruptions.

    SF Examiner
  • Raising the train tracks to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross under them near Coddingtown is probably not feasible. Instead, city staff is recommending that Santa Rosa study either building a bridge over the tracks or ground level crossing gates to help get people across the tracks.

    Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
  • Q: El Camino Real through Santa Clara is presently three lanes in either direction. The city of Santa Clara wants to eliminate one lane each way to accommodate buses and bikes. This will create bumper-to-bumper traffic, as two lanes are not enough to handle traffic. This is a state highway, so shouldn't the state have something to say about this?

    Mercury News
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    ...Years ago, the industry had a rule of thumb about cars caught in floods—if the water rose to the level of the ashtray, the car was totaled, unfixable. But these days it doesn't always take waist-deep water to turn cars into junk, mainly because today's vehicles are jammed with sensitive electronics that are expensive to replace.... Dealerships tend to be located on high ground, away from flood zones, but their inventories of cars can be exposed to downed power lines, or wind or hail damage. Even if cars suffer minor damage, they sometimes can no longer be sold as new, lowering their value to dealers.

    Wall Street Journal
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    Floodwaters swamped all seven subway tunnels connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn, adding to the massive recovery challenge for the public transportation system at the center of New York City's economy and culture. Officials feared the brackish storm water that poured into subway tunnels and onto tracks could corrode vulnerable signal and switching systems, adding to the time workers will need to reopen the citywide bus and rail system, which ferries 8.5 million passengers on a typical workday.

    Wall Street Journal
  • Wheelz is launching its service to the general public Tuesday in its hometown, using technology that lets drivers unlock someone else's car with an app on their smartphone....Wheelz isn't the first company that allows private car owners to rent their vehicles to strangers - it will compete with San Francisco startups Getaround and RelayRides. But Miller said the difference is Wheelz tries to make the process more seamless because the company installs custom-designed technology that lets renters find and drive away cars without having to meet the owner to get the keys.

    SF Chronicle
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    Maryland needs more than $100 million a year to fix bridges. Virginia needs $125 million a year to repave crumbling roads in suburban Washington. The District needs $806 million to replace a rusting bridge across the Anacostia River. The bill for all that, and more, eventually will land on taxpayers’ doorsteps. But the postmark won’t read “Washington.” Instead, the tax bill will come from state or local governments struggling to fill the growing void in federal funding....Infrastructure has been the elephant in the room in Washington for years. Only a few of the people running for office this year have mentioned it, and none of them have embraced it. The reason was captured by a single sentence in the Standard & Poor’s report: The “country has a $2.2 trillion backlog of infrastructure projects.” 

    Washington Post
  • Hybrid vehicles, and those powered by electricity in one form or another, have good predicted reliability in the Consumer Reports 2012 Annual Auto Reliability Survey. The survey predicts the reliability of 2013 models based on tracking of the reliability of vehicles up to 10 years old.

    New York Times