Bryce Stephens left the Jefferson County Courthouse a bit disappointed this morning, learning that he’ll have to wait before his vision of improving pedestrian and bicycle traffic along 21st Avenue South can come to reality.
“It’s complicated,” said Stephens, president of the Red Mountain Cut Foundation. “Birmingham would like to handle it a different way. I think they support the improvements on the street. I think that is no question.”
Stephens had hoped that the County Commission would make the appropriate approval for the county to apply for a federal TAP grant. Read more.
A new micromobility service has been approved to operate in Birmingham despite open doubt from city councilors that such businesses are worth the trouble. Councilors approved allowing the Lime bike- and scooter-sharing business to operate in the Magic City, although some councilors suggested tightening city ordinances to make sure e-bikes and e-scooters don’t become a public nuisance, particularly if customers leave them randomly on sidewalks and streets rather than returning them. Read more.
The program is designed to unify neighborhoods that previously have been displaced by discriminatory infrastructure decisions. The $1 billion initiative will fund projects that give people more access to their communities like paving more sidewalks, creating new greenways and adding public transportation. Read more.
The Birmingham City Council will hold a public hearing on June 21 to discuss raising maximum taxicab fares in response to rising fuel costs.
District 5 Councilor Darrell O’Quinn, chair of the council’s transportation committee, said the council had been approached several times by local taxicab companies — mostly zTrip — expressing concerns over rising gas prices.
“Those are costs that are borne by the drivers, so they have requested that we revisit the ordinance that sets the taxicab fare and have specifically requested consideration of a temporary surcharge to address the increased fuel costs,” he said. Read more.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to “modernize” the city’s taxicab ordinance, loosening restrictions on the appearance of taxis and allowing them to use third-party GPS technology to calculate fares.
The change comes as traditional taxi companies compete against ride-sharing operations that aren’t under the same rules as cabs.
“The goal of this is updating, modernizing some of the (ordinance) to the way the industry operates now,” Assistant City Attorney Julie Barnard told the council. “There’s a lot of changes. The primary thing is, this opens the city up to more modern operations and taxis, and that’s the goal here.” Read more.
The Birmingham City Council is set to allocate $18 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan funding toward the construction of the city’s Bus Rapid Transit system. The project, which will create a 10-mile, higher-speed public transit corridor through 25 neighborhoods, broke ground in December. But rising construction costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic had placed significant strain on the project. Read more.
The Alabama Department of Transportation recently moved $7 million from a road fund to help cover administrative costs for the last three months of the fiscal year.
The department said the move is allowable and typical late in a budget year. The money is coming from ALDOT’s Public Road and Bridge Fund, which consists largely of gas tax receipts and federal funding receipts, but not the 2019 gas tax increase. That account, known as the Rebuild Alabama Fund, is specifically prohibited from being diverted from road and bridge projects for other purposes.
State agencies often transfer Legislature-allocated money between funds throughout a budget year, as allowed by law. The actions have to go through the Department of Finance.
Still, the decrease in road funding and increase in administrative funding first reported by Alabama Daily News Monday gives some lawmakers pause. Read more.
A new, faster bus line is on its way to the city of Birmingham. The Birmingham Xpress will run roughly 10 miles from Five Points West, through downtown Birmingham, to Woodlawn, connecting 25 city neighborhoods. Read more.
Bus riders in Birmingham and Jefferson County will see an increase in their fares and reduced service times beginning this November.
After weeks of debate, the Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority approved its $34 million budget Wednesday. This includes setting one-way fares at $1.50 — an increase of 25 cents. And some MAX bus routes that run late into the evening will now end at 7 p.m. Read more.
Travelers flying out of Birmingham can now identify themselves with the touch of a finger or an eye scan. At a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday, officials at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport unveiled new fingerprint and identity verification technology from the biometrics company Clear. Read more.