July/August 1998, p.9

Metropolitan

Clean Buses Creep Along
The MTA took another step on the long road to dumping diesel as Governor Pataki announced plans for a new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling depot for the Manhattanville Bus Depot at 133rd and Broadway. The conversion (construction start date unknown) is part of the MTA's clean fuel program. The far cleaner CNG buses do not produce the dangerous particulate pollution heavy-duty diesel engines emit. Natural Resources Defense Council's recent study, "Exhausted by Diesel" found Manhattan diesel pollution levels far higher than other cities', potentially causing thousands more cancer cases over a lifetime. Advocates are calling for a full diesel phase-out plan in the MTA's next capital plan in 1999. For more info, see www.nrdc.org.

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Queens HOV No Go, Part II
100-plus civic, health, environmental, and transportation groups, along with tenacious State Senator Frank Padavan and several other city officials, at last declared victory when Governor Pataki announced, "The HOV lane in Queens is dead." The May decision came on the eve of a major rally against the lane add-on, illustrating again that State DOT's more-highway solution to the region's transportation problems will continue to face opposition. Nevertheless, DOT may well push ahead with the LIE HOV through Nassau County, stopping dead-end style at the NYC border. Experts say the logical stopping point is at the Jericho Turnpike - ending the lane there would also save $172 million. DOT could use some of that money to better promote and expand options like LIE express buses which face an uphill battle against door to door commuting with free parking.

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E-ZTrain
As the new subway pass system gets underway, promising savings to transit users within the city, transit advocates are urging the MTA, NJ Transit and the Port Authority to institute a regional transit fare card. As highways users enjoy E-Zpass's convenience and expansion, regional train and bus riders still deal with a variety of fare media. The letter to agency heads was sent by groups throughout the region, including Tri-State Transportation Campaign members Straphangers Campaign and Regional Plan Association.

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Green I-95
The East Coast Greenway Alliance is pushing forward toward its goal of designating and building connecting bike paths and bike trails from Maine to Florida. For more info, see www.greenway.org.