February 2016 People & Places

Feb. 9, 2016

MTA Records Highest Modern One-Day Subway Ridership

Preliminary data shows the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reached a new modern record when 6,217,621 customers entered the MTA New York City Transit subway system on Oct. 29. The subway system carried 50,000 more customers that day than at its previous record peak, just one year earlier.

The new modern ridership record was set on the last Thursday in October, traditionally one of the system’s busiest days. The previous record of 6,167,165 was set Oct. 30, 2014. The new record day was one of five days in October when ridership exceeded the prior year’s record, and was one of 15 weekdays with ridership above 6 million.


CATS Commemorated 20th Anniversary of CTC

The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) on Dec. 11, commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the Charlotte Transportation Center (CTC). The CTC, located on East Trade Street at Brevard Street in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, opened on Dec. 11, 1995, as the central hub and main transfer point for CATS bus service.

The CTC began as a public-private partnership between the city of Charlotte and Bank of America. In July 2014, CATS assumed full operational control of the facility. 

The celebration included remarks by Metropolitan Transit Commission Vice Chairman and Davidson Mayor John Woods, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, and CATS Chief Executive Officer John Lewis.


New Public Art Display Debuts at McLean Station

Customers at Metro’s McLean station may notice a new eye-catching work of art: a colorful series of glass panels that is the creation of artist Martin Donlin.

The work is inspired by the movement of people as they travel the Silver Line and features the work of Poet Laureates of Virginia. The floor-to-ceiling design includes images of people, trains and poetry that can be observed on the ground and mezzanine levels of the station.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) fully funded the artwork and partnered with the Metro Art in Transit Program to have the project installed at McLean.


Purple Line EIS Wins FTA Award

An environmental impact statement (EIS) prepared for the proposed Purple Line light rail transit extension has received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award for Excellence in Environmental Document Preparation in the EIS category recognizes environmental documents that exemplify best practices for a well-managed environmental documentation process, comply with prevailing requirements and expectations, and reduce paperwork.

The award was presented to Maryland Transit Partners, a joint venture of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Aecom and RK&K that serves as program management consultant to the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA).


NAIPTA Named a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business

The League of American Bicyclists recognized the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (NAIPTA) with a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business (BFBSM) award, joining more than 1,090 visionary businesses from across the country.

With the announcement of 43 new and renewing BFBs, NAIPTA joins a cutting-edge group of more than 1,090 local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies in 49 states and Washington, D.C., that are transforming the American workplace.


Rabbittransit Launches First CNG Vehicle

Rabbittransit launched its first compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle early this month on the 83N rabbitExpress service between York and Harrisburg in a public-private partnership with Republic Services Inc.

The partnership with Republic Services allows rabbittransit the opportunity to fuel its new vehicle and begin the immediate benefits of CNG while the authority waits for the completion of its own infrastructure. Located at 3730 Sandhurst Drive, Republic Services’ facility can fuel up to 65 vehicles including the 40-foot rabbittransit MCI coach, which carries up to 49 passengers.


DC Metro's New CNG Buses Debut

Metro on Dec. 21, placed in service the first five new 40-foot compressed natural gas buses under a large order of nearly 300 buses to replace Metro's oldest vehicles and improve customer convenience for the 450,000 riders who take Metrobus each weekday.

The new buses will run on routes that originate out of Metro's Bladensburg Division, which primarily serves Northeast DC and parts of Prince George’s County. The CNG buses being replaced have been in service for 15 years and are at the end of their useful life.


Blue Water Transit Bus Center Opens With Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Blue Water Area Transit held a Grand Opening celebration for its new downtown transfer center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 11. The new transfer hub is designed to improve the process of boarding buses downtown to travel along seven routes throughout Port Huron and neighboring townships.

The Blue Water Transit Bus Center is designed to help maintain the transit agency’s on-time performance and improve comfort, safety, and convenience for the more than 2,000 passengers who transfer buses downtown daily. With two buildings measuring 7,400 square feet, the new center replaces BWAT’s Quay Street outdoor transfer point.

“This is great, to be able to finally give our passengers a place away from traffic where they can transfer buses downtown,” says Anita R. Ashford, Blue Water Area Transportation Commission vice-chair and Port Huron City Council member. “The Quay Street area where buses used to line up for transfers should also benefit from less congestion.”

BWAT’s $9.8 million transfer center project started nearly nine months ago. In addition to support from the transit agency, federal funds support 70 percent and state funds support 17.5 percent of the project.


Cuomo Proposes Major Penn Station Overhaul

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Jan. 6, a proposal to transform Penn Station and the historic James A. Farley Post Office into a world-class transportation hub. The project, known as the Empire Station Complex, will feature significant passenger improvements, including first-class amenities, natural light, increased train capacity and decreased congestion, and improved signage to dramatically enhance the travel experience. The project – which is anticipated to cost $3 billion – will be expedited by a public-private partnership in order to break ground this year and complete substantial construction within the next three years.

In its current form, the station is designed to accommodate 200,000 daily passengers, but serves more than 650,000 passengers every day.


Palm Tran Unveils 2016 Pink Bus

On Jan. 7, Palm Tran, partnering with Susan G. Komen South Florida and Lamar Transit Advertising, rolled out its 2016 breast cancer awareness pink bus at the Lake Pavilion on Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach.

The bus theme this year is “Local faces of breast cancer from diagnosis to wellness.” One side of the vehicle features photos of Palm Beach County breast cancer survivors. On the other side are local breast cancer health care practitioners.

The colorful bus will be used on major Palm Tran routes through April in support of the fight against breast cancer.



Richard J. Morsches, PE, has been promoted to chief executive officer of TranSystems Corp. He brings to this role more than 30 years of experience and progressive leadership from serving clients locally in the Chicago area, to managing offices throughout the region, to leading the firm’s strategy and sales efforts nationally. He will continue to reside in the Chicago area.

Morsches joined TranSystems in 1989 and has held a variety of leadership positions with the firm, most recently as the chief strategy and marketing officer. He holds a Master of Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from the University of Dayton.


Code Blue 

Code Blue Corp. has promoted Michael Zuidema to marketing operations manager and hired Michelle Wong as communications manager.

Zuidema, who joined Code Blue in April 2013 as communications manager, will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the marketing department. Prior to joining Code Blue, the Hope College graduate spent more than 14 years as a writer and copy editor for The Grand Rapids Press and MLive.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Wong has extensive experience in cross-country project management and partner communications via global email and digital marketing efforts. Prior to joining Code Blue, she led successful promotional campaigns as a partner communications coordinator for Axis Communications.



TransitCenter on Jan. 11, announced that former policy director for the New York City Department of Transportation, Jon Orcutt, has been hired as the organization's new director of communications and advocacy.

From 2007-2014, Orcutt served as part of the agency leadership at NYCDOT that oversaw the launch of major street designs and other innovations under the Bloomberg Administration. During this period, the agency spearheaded critical efforts including NYCDOT's strategic plan, Sustainable Streets, and the introduction of the Citibike system, as well as Mayor Bill deBlasio's Vision Zero action plan. Prior to joining NYCDOT, Orcutt served as executive director of both Transportation Alternatives and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, overseeing growth and rising influence at both organizations. 



The Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) announced the selection of Kelly Yaroch-Dunham as its new executive director. Yaroch-Dunham currently served as BATA’s director of operations and human resources. Mary Marois will continue to serve as BATA’s interim executive director as a special ad hoc committee created by BATA’s Board of Directors negotiates Yaroch-Dunham’s contract and transition plan. Approval of Yaroch-Dunham’s contract and transition will be finalized at BATA’s Jan. 27, board meeting and she will officially assume her new role shortly thereafter.

Yaroch-Dunham has been with BATA for more than six years. Her previous experience includes working in human resources at Charlevoix Public Schools and as a project coordinator for a manufacturing company outside of Chicago. She earned her undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a mini-MBA certificate from Ferris State University. 


Pavlov Agency

Richard Maxwell, former assistant vice president of marketing & communications at the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) and past chairman of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) marketing and communications committee, has joined the staff of Fort Worth-based Pavlov Agency.

In his new role as transit accounts director, Maxwell will provide strategic marketing planning and account service oversight for the agency’s growing stable of mass transit and transportation clients. 

Maxwell holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Marketing from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, and a Master of Science in Management (MSM) from Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma.



San Clemente City Councilmember Lori Donchak was unanimously selected Jan. 11, as the new chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors.

Donchak served as the OCTA board’s vice chairman for the last year. She replaces outgoing Chairman Jeff Lalloway, also an Irvine City councilman, who remains on the board.

Donchak is a mother of two, wife, businesswoman and retired teacher, who has served on the San Clemente City Council since 2006. She has served on the OCTA board since 2013.


Rev Group 

Rev Group Inc. (Rev) announced Jan. 8, that John Walsh has been named president of Rev Bus Division (Rev Bus). 

He recently served as vice president of sales for Rev Bus. Prior to joining Rev, Walsh worked for Mobility Ventures LLC (MV-1) and for Arboc Specialty Vehicles where he held the positions of vice president of sales and marketing. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina.



Cheryl D. Orr is the new vice president of human capital for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART).

She brings more than 30 years of human resource management, training and development, program management, performance management, strategic planning, and facilitation experience from various positions with the city of Dallas, Arlington County and Fairfax County in Virginia, the cities of Norfolk and Alexandria, and Norfolk State University.

Orr recently held the title of ethics and diversity officer for the city of Dallas where she is credited with developing a citywide Diversity Roundtable, establishing an ethics education program and having oversight of employee advisory councils.


WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff 

Joseph G. Pulicare has been named the president of the U.S. transportation and infrastructure sector at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Pulicare served as the chief operating officer of the U.S. transportation and infrastructure sector. As president he will oversee planning, design and construction services for highways, bridges, transit and rail, aviation, as well as ports and marine. He will be based in the firm’s U.S. headquarters in New York City



CH2M announced Jon McDonald has joined the firm’s North American transit and rail practice, leading the systems engineering group in North America.

McDonald brings an extensive background in transit systems engineering with a focus on systems integration and large project management.   Having served in senior leadership roles for more than a decade, he is known for his broad technical knowledge, strong business acumen, and solid team building skills that have helped clients realize bottom line value through improvements in technology strategy and organizational management.



MTA Metro-North Railroad on Dec. 14, announced that it has named Justin R. Vonashek as the agency’s new vice president of system safety. The position will oversee all efforts to ensure the safety of its customers and employees as the Railroad continues to improve work practices and invest in new technology and equipment. 

Before joining Metro-North, Vonashek was the chief safety, security, emergency preparedness and regulatory compliance officer at MBTA Commuter Rail in Boston. Aside from developing and monitoring safety goals for the organization, he was also responsible for ensuring compliance with Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulatory requirements.