cars | Connecticut Public Radio


Americans' Driving Habits are Shifting

May 23, 2013

Last Friday’s train crash showed the need for more investment in mass transit in Connecticut. In addition, new data reveals that Americans’ driving habits are changing, especially among younger people. Transportation advocates say it’s time for planners and governments to change their priorities.

As bad as the traffic may be on your way to work, Abe Scarr has some news for you.

“The driving boom is over.”

Americans' driving habits are shifting

May 23, 2013

Read more in the Connecticut Mirror at

Last Friday’s train crash showed the need for more investment in mass transit in Connecticut. In addition, new data reveals that Americans’ driving habits are changing, especially among younger people. Transportation advocates say it’s time for planners and governments to change their priorities.

As bad as the traffic may be on your way to work, Abe Scarr has some news for you.

“The driving boom is over.”

Monday's Commute: Carmageddon Avoided

May 23, 2013

Metro-North railroad has announced it will restore full service to the New Haven line on Wednesday. While many commuters heeded pleas to avoid rush hour travel on Monday, some didn’t have a choice or decided to brave it anyway -- including me. 

Small town leaders from across the state were at the state capitol today. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, they were there to push back against one of Governor Dannel Malloy's budget proposals -- the elimination of some car taxes.

Malloy wants to eliminate the property tax for cars worth less than $28,000. He says it will provide middle class tax relief and that it will curtail the "most hated and regressive tax in the state." John Elsesser doesn't like the tax, either. He's the town manager for Coventry.

Dru Nadler

When the city threatened to tow all the cars on my street after the blizzard, I went into full-on panic mode. I paid a guy with a snow plow thirty bucks to dig out my car. And there was such a huge mound of snow between my roommate’s car and the road, that we actually drove it onto the sidewalk to get it off the street. And then the city never delivered. We live in the East Rock neighborhood of New Haven. We’re not alone.

Digging Out After The Storm

Feb 15, 2013
Neena Satija

After this weekend’s historic blizzard, it’s still slow going in much of New Haven County. Crews continue working day and night in New Haven to clear and widen the streets. Their main concern is figuring out what to do with all the snow.

 Rich Solomon’s been here since 6:45 this morning. He’s in downtown New Haven driving a Volvo dump truck to haul snow off the city streets. Right now his truck is empty, but it’s about to be filled by a payloader with 20 tons of snow. It’s a pretty quick process.

A New Haven legislator plans to introduce a bill that would reinstate tolls in Connecticut. While that could help pay for badly-needed transportation fixes, it’s a complicated proposition.

It’s been almost exactly 30 years since a tractor-trailer plowed into cars waiting at a Stratford toll barrier, killing 7 people. The January 1983 crash prompted Connecticut legislators to begin phasing out tolls in the state – and they’ve been banned ever since. But if some lawmakers have their way, that could change soon.

The Thanksgiving Commute

Nov 27, 2012

42 million people drove to visit family and friends during Thanksgiving weekend. WNPR’s Neena Satija joined them this year, but before leaving, she paid a visit to the state department of transportation to get the insider’s guide to holiday traffic. 

Commuters will have a chance to weigh in on state plans to rebuild a parking garage at the Stamford train station tonight. But since the names of potential developers and their plans will be kept a secret, no one’s sure what they’ll be able to weigh in on. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports.

evgonetwork, creative commons

Yesterday was “National Plug In Day,” a celebration of the environmental and economic benefits of electric cars.

At CCSU, 100 people gathered with only 15 electric vehicles. You might think that by now, there should be hundreds - or thousands - of electric cars in Connecticut.  But there are only 98 registered in the whole state. 

Flickr Creative Commons, Library of Congress

Women do everything now, but not many of them do the auto mechanic thing. When was the last time you saw a woman handling sales in an auto dealership? On the repair side, the job keeps changing to place greater reliance on smarts and diagnosis, with less emphasis on brawn. That doesn't mean you don't have to take a wheel off sometimes, but fixing a car can very easily be women's work.

The chief of staff to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra says he plans to give up his city car. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, this comes a few weeks after news broke that he got a police-issued vehicle and a $20,000 raise.

Earlier this year, Mayor Segarra traded in his fuel-efficient Toyota Prius for an SUV -- one that was bought for police use initially. His chief of staff, Jared Kupiec, got an older SUV.

Courtesy of Flickr CC, by JesusM

The 2008 recession hit the new car industry hard. Multiple dealerships in the state closed but now there are new figures showing sales are rebounding.

WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil spoke with James Fleming, President of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association about why people are buying new cars again.

Border Toll Outrage

Aug 22, 2011
Photo by Rachel Haller (Flickr)

Rhode Island is considering placing tolls on I-95 near the Connecticut border. Joining us by phone to discuss the potential impact to Connecticut is North Stonington State Representative Diana Urban.


Jun 1, 2011
Harriet Jones

Governor Malloy has declared the state of Connecticut open for business. But many small businesses find when they come in contact with state government, their first experience is frustration. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at just how well the state is doing in streamlining its approach to business.

This is Larry’s Auto Power in Groton, and that’s a race car engine on the test block.

“We do street performance engine rebuilding, racecar engine building.”

Electric Cars Power Up

May 5, 2011
JM Rosenfeld, Creative Commons

Earlier this week Connecticut Light & Power Co launched the "Plug My Ride'' campaign to increase awareness of electric and hybrid vehicles in the state.  This also kicked off a research project that aims to understand how an influx of electric vehicles in the near future will affect the region's power grid.   

We spoke with Watson Collins, the electric vehicles project manager for parent company Northeast Utilities, about the company's plans to install up to 30 charging stations by the end of the year.

Human Traffic Signals

Apr 11, 2011
Uma Ramiah photo

For at least 20 minutes on Friday evening, no one ran a red light at the corner of Church and Chapel Streets downtown.

It may have been all those human red lights, on a mission.

“We’re here because we’ve noticed a problem in New Haven, where drivers run red lights pretty frequently,” said Juli Stupakevich (pictured), who organized a “Red Means Stop” protest at that intersection. “Red just doesn’t mean stop anymore.”

Flickr Creative Commons, stevendepolo

We can put a man on the moon. Why can't we make our roads look less like the moon?

Photo by Mira Hartford via Flicker Creative Commons

Looks like if you have overdue -- the wrong kind of "outstanding" --  parking tickets in Hartford, this could be your chance. From the press release it sounds like you’ll be able to pay the ticket but not the related fees. Release is below.


4:00 p.m. — Mayor Segarra and the Hartford Parking Authority will announce a Parking Ticket Amnesty Program for the month of March.

A New City Plan

Oct 29, 2010
Chion Wolf

The underlying theme this month (right after the elections, of course) is transportation. It seems much-anticipated changes are slowly happening, on the national and local level.  This week, Connecticut and Massachusetts announced that they will share nearly 121 million in federal funds to help launch high speed passenger rail service.  One step closer to the long awaited Springfield – New Haven rail line.