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    Draft Fiscal Year 2013 to 2017 Federal Lands Transportation Program Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Now Available

    The National Park Service's (NPS) Federal Lands Transportation Program - Park Roads and Parkways Program has released the Draft Fiscal Year 2013 to 2017 NPS Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) showing a multi-year proposed budget for road, bridge and alternative transportation programs. The TIP is available here as an Excel Workbook.

    The TIP is a multi-year financial program that describes the anticipated schedule for obligating U.S Department of Transportation funds to NPS projects. The NPS will use these funds to plan, design and construct or implement a specific project.  The first year of the TIP is considered the annual element of the program. The out years are provided for planning purposes.

    The TIP is divided into a series of spreadsheets showing summaries of road and bridge improvements (Category 1) planned obligations, and alternative transportation (Category 3) budgets for the seven NPS regions for each of five years (2013 to 2017).

    The TIP Category Summary spreadsheets break out the budget forecasts by Resurfacing (3R) and Reconstruction (4R).  The spreadsheets also summarize budgets for Project Construction or Implementation (CN), Preliminary Engineering (PE), and Construction Engineering/ Construction Management (CE). These breakouts are provided for each of the seven NPS regions as well as for the nationwide program.

    The draft TIP workbook is being distributed as a read-only file; the spreadsheets are locked and cannot be manipulated. Comments on the TIP workbook are always accepted; unless updates to the spreadsheet are critical, they will occur only on an annual basis.

    Questions concerning the TIP Excel Workbook can be sent to Mark Anderson at A_Mark_Anderson@NPS.gov.


    Transit to the Marin Headlands of Golden Gate National Recreation Area Doubled In Late November

    San Francisco, CA - The National Park Service (NPS) and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) have partnered to expand bus service to the Marin Headlands in Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

    Beginning November 17, San Francisco Muni Route 76 weekend service from San Francisco to the Marin Headlands expanded to include Saturdays in addition to Sundays, and will be renamed the 76X Marin Headlands Express. Route 76X will provide bus service for park visitors and employees from the Montgomery BART Station in San Francisco, with limited stops in the city, to the beach, hiking trails, Fort Barry Hostel, and the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands.

    The 76X Marin Headlands Express will operate as a pilot project for 24 months to allow Muni to test the effectiveness of service changes to address travel time and reliability, and test ridership demand for expanded service to Marin on Saturdays. As part of the pilot, SFMTA staff will collect data about the route's reliability, ridership, and customer satisfaction to assess benefits of the change."This is an exciting advancement for our commitment to reducing the carbon impact of these parks on the Bay Area, and our dedication to serving the public," said Superintendent Frank Dean. "We want people to have the opportunity to get to these amazing parklands and enjoy themselves, and this increased schedule allows for people to really take advantage of being so close by while making it even more affordable."

    The pilot includes more limited stop spacing in the city than Route 76 had, and discontinues the portion of the route south of Market Street to Caltrain to address reliability issues.

    "Thanks to NPS, we have a unique opportunity to improve our 76 bus service to the Marin Headlands," said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. "We're glad to have this opportunity to enhance San Franciscans' access to this beautiful part of the Bay Area. This pilot also will provide invaluable data about travel time savings and reliability improvements that will inform future implementation of the Transit Effectiveness Project on other routes around the city."

    Route 76 service first began in 1976, and is designed to offer a way for people to reach the Marin Headlands without the use of private vehicles. In addition to weekend service, Route 76X will continue to offer holiday service on Jan. 1, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The fare for using this bus service is the standard $2 per adult each way; all special fare rules pertain to this route.

    Visitors camping and hiking in the Marin Headlands are encouraged to use the bus to start their trip. All bicycles, hiking gear, and other outdoor gear can be brought onto the buses.

    For more information, visit the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), or the Golden Gate National Recreation Area web site.



    Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Appearing In National Parks

    At least three National Parks-Yellowstone, Zion, and Great Smoky Mountain National Parks-have installed electric vehicle charging stations. And, in an additional nod to green energy and battling climate change, the charging stations in Yellowstone and Zion are served not by power lines, but by onsite solar photovoltaic systems. This means the the electric vehicles used by staff in those two parks are running entirely on a "clean" energy source: the sun.

    While the charging stations in Yellowstone and Zion are intended only for staff-used vehicles, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park-with between 8 and 10 million visitors annually-is now served by a string of electric vehicle charging stations. The charging stations were installed by the Black Bear Solar Institute as a demonstration project called "The Green Gateway.

    The Institute operates a string of 24 electric vehicle charging stations located between major metropolitan areas in Tennessee to the National Park gateway community of Townsend. This makes the region's concentration of charging stations one of the densest in the nation.

    For more about electric vehicle charging stations in national parks, click here.

    Photo one: A vehicle charges at the EV charging station in Townsend, TN, a gateway community for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Shawn Millsaps, The Daily Times, Blount County.

    Photo two: A closeup of an electric vehicle charging plug. Photo by Melissa Hincha-Ownby, Mother Nature Network.