Do you prefer visiting US cities with good rapid transportation so you don’t have to rent a car or walk miles to get from place to place? If so, these cities offer some of the best options for trains and tram transportation for sightseeing and commuting.
New York City
The Big Apple has one of the most extensive rapid transportation networks operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. You can ride the light rail subway with 24 different routes that let you cut across the city in about an hour if you ride a line from end to end. Riding the subway is usually the quickest way to get around New York City. Plus, all bus transfers are free within two hours of entering the subway station!
From New Jersey, you can ride a PATH subway to visit New York City from Newark, Harrison, Hoboken, and Jersey City.
Or, there are three commuter railroads that serve the outlying boroughs: the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and Staten Island Railway. You can use these commuter options to visit Montauk or Belmont for a weekend getaway.
When you need to catch an outbound flight from JFK Airport, you can also take AirTrain-JFK which conveniently operates 24/7. AirTrain stops at all nine connecting terminals for easy access.
Tip: Because any subway system has a small learning curve for first-time riders, be sure to use this free New York subway app to easily map your route.
San Francisco is known for their iconic cable cars, but the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) offers a speedy light rail system that also connects you to the San Francisco or Oakland airports and the cities of Oakland and Berkeley. Approximately 99% of San Francisco’s population lives within a half-mile of a public transportation access point, so hopping on a train is super easy.
If a BART train doesn’t serve your destination, you can also look for a Muni train operated by the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency (SFMTA). Muni trains are the traditional rapid transit subway option. The SFMTA also operates the cable cars and bus routes within the city limits.
You can ride the Boston subway or local commuter rail routes to navigate the city and local communities. Buying a CharlieCard gives you access to the subway and free local bus routes within two hours of the original ride. Adults pay a flat rate for all subway rides. Children 11 and younger ride for free when accompanied by an adult.
For commuter trains, your fare is based on the distance traveled. Like the subway, children under the age of 11 rides for free.
Boston public transit is also disability-friendly. With their RIDE program, local and visiting passengers can get door-to-door service that other public transit systems don’t offer.
The city of Seattle has emphasized their rapid transit network in recent years. The dividends are beginning to show. Your best bet is one of these four King County Metro rail transit options: the Link (light rail), Seattle Streetcar, Seattle Center Monorail, and the Sounder train (commuter rail).
When you ride the Link light rail system, you can also transfer to a Metro or a Sound Transit bus to complete your trip. This rapid transit system is also an option to get you from downtown Seattle to the not-to-distant University of Washington with minimal effort.
Seattle commuting isn’t an enjoyable experience due to the rapid city growth. If it’s been a few years since you’ve visited this Pacific city, the new rapid transit offerings are a welcome addition.
Chicago is another city where taking the Chicago “L” subway (Chicago Transit Authority) or the commuter Metro trains are your best option. You can use these two options to get downtown, transfer between O’Hare and Midway airports, or visit a surrounding community. If you want to catch a Cubs or White Sox baseball game, hop on the red line.
To save a few bucks, Chicago is also a walker-friendly city. You can easily walk a short distance instead of waiting for the next “L” train to arrive. It’s a handy tip to remember if you need to travel during rush hour.
Washington D.C. is another locale where it’s best to take the metro whenever possible. If you don’t know, the nation’s capital has one of the worst 10 driving commutes in the country. You can ride within the District or across the river to Virginia and Maryland on the Metro subway too.
If you want to hop onto the train when you fly into D.C., make sure you fly into Reagan National Airport (DCA). Work is currently underway to extend rail service to Dulles International Airport (IAD), but that’s still a few years away.
Metro does have a few major capital projects that have impacted service during 2017 and 2018, so it’s a good idea to check the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority website for the latest planned outage information.
In addition to riding the Metro subway, D.C. is also home to Amtrak’s Union Station (which also doubles as a Metro stop) for domestic train travel. Once you find your way to Union Station, you can enjoy Amtrak routes, such as the Acela Express (D.C. to Boston) and the Vermonter (D.C. to Vermont).
For commuter rail options, northern Virginia is served by the VRE. On the Maryland side, you can ride the MARC train. MARC even operates from Baltimore, Maryland, and Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Philly is another city where you might enjoy riding rapid transit instead of having to find a place to park. Parking can sometimes get creative in this city. The local mass transit authority is SEPTA which serves the following counties:
Inside the city of Philadelphia, there are three primary rail lines: the Broad Street Line, Market-Frankford Line, and the Norristown High-Speed Connector.
It’s also possible to ride trolley lines that serve various parts of the city that aren’t served by the three subway lines.
The population of Atlanta has exploded in the past 20 years. While most southeastern cities don’t have much of a public transportation infrastructure, riding the Marta subway is your best option if you’re downtown or live in a suburb. You can ride the subway from Atlanta International Airport to the downtown (Midtown area) for convenience.
The most recent transportation option is the Atlanta Streetcar with 12 stops at major locations in the city. The prices are also very reasonable to ride the Streetcar. Each adult only costs $1 each way. Children 46 inches and under are free.
Rapid transit isn’t as prevalent in the United States as in other parts of the world, but there are many benefits of high-speed rail transit. If you don’t want to have to rely on taxis, ridesharing, buses, or walking, you can visit these U.S. cities.
Cars significantly more dangerous than guns in New York, new data shows
New York is the safest big city in the country — unless you’re near a car..
Motor vehicles are significantly deadlier than guns in New York, new NYPD data shows.
Crashes involving cars, vans, trucks and buses killed 111 people on city streets during the first six months of 2019, public data shows.
During the same period, 61 people died in shootings, the NYPD says. Those shootings account for 45% of the city’s 135 homicides during 2019′s first half. Police say the city is on a path to have the lowest number of murders since 1950, and that gun deaths over the full year will be 25% down from 2018.
Motor vehicles are also deadlier than guns in car-loving major metros like Los Angeles, Houston and San Diego, data shows.
But in New York, where only one in four residents commute via motor vehicle, data shows that the city has done a much better job of curbing gun violence in recent years than traffic deaths.
For decades, bullets killed more New Yorkers than traffic crashes. Just a decadea go — in 2009 — bullets killed 367 New Yorkers, and motor vehicle crashes killed 324.
But that dynamic flipped in 2012 when the city saw a 22% drop in gun-related homicides. That year, 241 people were killed by bullets, and 278 in traffic crashes.
Since then, 2015 was the only year in which more New Yorkers killed each other with guns than motor vehicles — but it was close: 236 people were killed by guns, and 234 by traffic crashes.
Mayor de Blasio’s administration has presided over historic lows for both homicides and traffic deaths.
Still, as fatal crashes have risen this year — including 15 cyclist deaths to date — street safety advocates have pressured de Blasio to treat car-related deaths as a public health crisis.
Some argue that the mayor’s Vision Zero program, which aims to curb traffic fatalities, is falling flat.
“The safety improvements we’ve seen during the first five years of Vision Zero, while impressive, were achieved without disrupting the car-dominant status quo on our streets,” said Joe Cutrufo, spokesman for street safety group Transportation Alternatives.
“Decades of bad decisions have left us with a stubborn and unfortunate car culture that yields four traffic deaths every single week,” Cutrufo said. “Enough is enough. We can have safer streets if we want them, but it’s going to require bold leadership and the resolve to put the automobile in its proper place.”
De Blasio has repeatedly defended his record on improving traffic safety and curbing crime, but many critics have chided him for kowtowing to community groups who do not want to give up parking spots for street redesigns.
“One death – no matter the cause – is always one too many,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein. “As the mayor has said repeatedly, we won’t stop until we have reached Vision Zero on our streets.”
ConEd Faces Heat After Times Square Goes Dark
It lasted all of five hours — and hit just the spot on New York’s power system to take out the lights in Times Square, force the evacuation of Madison Square Garden in the middle of a Jennifer Lopez concert and bring parts of the city’s subway system to a screeching halt.
The Saturday evening blackout on Consolidated Edison Inc.’s grid — extending from about Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River and from the 40s to 72nd Street — was so widespread that it took out much of Midtown, Hell’s Kitchen, Rockefeller Center and the lower reaches of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Now ConEd, already under fire because of other mechanical breakdowns in recent years, is facing renewed calls to overhaul its network.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio cut short a presidential campaign trip to Iowa and Governor Andrew Cuomo went on television to demand answers from “Mr. ConEd” himself.
Cuomo, expressing frustration over what he described as repeated failures on ConEd’s system, said in an interview with ABC News that he was sending his “top power team” to investigate the incident. He noted that Saturday’s outage took hours to resolve when the utility had said it would take one to two. It struck at 6.47 p.m. Saturday, lasted until about midnight and affected almost 73,000 customers.
“If they don’t give me an answer quickly, I’m going to go to ConEd headquarters,” he said. “If I don’t get a firm answer forthwith, I’ll go speak to Mr. ConEd myself.”
De Blasio, meanwhile, called on city agencies to “get to the bottom” of the incident.
“We’re going to look at this very carefully, not only depend on Con Edison, but we’re going to make sure there’s a very careful review of what happened,” the mayor said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday from Chicago. “We don’t ever want to see it happen again.”
The power failure struck on the anniversary of the historic 1977 blackout that led to widespread looting and other crimes across New York City. And it peeled back disparities between old technology and new: halted subways meant a $2.75 fare ballooned to a $57 Uber primed to surge pricing.
Judge approves new Weinstein legal team led by #MeToo critic
A judge gave Harvey Weinstein the green light Thursday to shake up his defense team yet again — this time a mere two months before the disgraced movie mogul whose case inspired the #MeToo movement is due to stand trial in New York on sexual assault charges.
One lawyer had already bolted amid public backlash. Now Jose Baez, known for representing high-profile clients such as Casey Anthony, is out after saying he and Weinstein just can’t get along. Donna Rotunno, a #MeToo critic specializing in defending men accused of sexual misconduct, and Damon Cheronis are in.
The judge, James Burke, approved the swap after questioning Weinstein to ensure it was what he wanted and getting the new lawyers to promise they won’t seek to delay the trial from its scheduled Sept. 9 start.
Baez signaled last month that he wanted to leave the case, telling Burke in a letter that Weinstein had tarnished their relationship by communicating only through other lawyers and by failing to abide by a fee agreement.
Weinstein engaged in behavior that made representing him “unreasonably difficult to carry out effectively” and insisted on taking actions “with which I have fundamental disagreements,” Baez wrote.
Bounding out of the courtroom Thursday after getting sprung from the case, Baez said: “I feel like I won the lottery. Just kidding.”
Weinstein responded through his spokesman, saying: “With a lawyer like Donna Rotunno, I feel like I’m the one who won the lottery.”
Rotunno has espoused a philosophy that the #MeToo movement, spurred by revelations about Weinstein’s alleged behavior, is overblown and that women are “responsible for the choices they make.”
“I chose to represent Harvey Weinstein because I think these are the types of cases that lawyers that do what I do live for,” Rotunno said outside the courthouse after the hearing.
“It gives us an opportunity to have a forum to speak what we believe, and I believe that the facts and evidence in this case are actually very favorable to Mr. Weinstein.”
Gloria Allred, who represents one of the accusers in the criminal case, offered a different perspective, saying: “I agree that women are responsible for their own choices, but when will Mr. Weinstein be held responsible for his?”
Rotunno and Cheronis practice in Chicago.
They join three New York City lawyers: Arthur Aidala, whose clients have included rapper 50 Cent and former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz; Diana Fabi Samson; and Barry Kamins, who as a judge oversaw New York City’s criminal courts.
The lawyers and prosecutors said they’ll work out a schedule for exchanging witness lists and for prosecutors to turn over evidence, such as emails from Weinstein’s movie studio that pertain to potential witnesses.
Baez is the latest defection from what was once seen as a modern version of O.J. Simpson’s “dream team” of attorneys. Harvard law professor Ronald Sullivan left in May amid backlash about his involvement.
Sullivan’s involvement in the case drew protests from some students and faculty members on the Cambridge, Massachusetts, campus. Buildings were defaced with graffiti that included the slogans “Down w Sullivan!”, “Your Silence is Violence” and “Whose Side Are You On?”
Thursday’s hearing on the lawyer switch played out in open court, but two conversations among the judge and lawyers happened in secrecy.
After approving Baez’s request to withdraw from the case, Burke called him to the bench for a one-on-one chat that lasted about five minutes with no court reporter to transcribe the conversation.
Later, he called all the lawyers to the bench for a 10-minute discussion of how they’ll proceed when it comes time for jury selection. Again, there was no court reporter to make a record of the conversation.
Aidala appeared perturbed by what he called the judge’s “extended private conversation” with Baez. He asked whether he could also approach the bench, but Burke waved him off.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with raping a woman in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. He denies the allegations, has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail.
Baez and Sullivan started representing Weinstein in January, when the former movie producer overhauled his legal team for the first time. That happened after his original lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, lost a hard-fought bid to get the case thrown out.
Pamela Robillard Mackey, who represented Kobe Bryant in his 2003 Colorado sexual assault case, and ex-Manhattan prosecutor Duncan Levin were also hired in January and have since left.
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