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Along the Lines Podcast

  Along the Lines is a podcast that explores the issues, advances, history, and opportunities of Connecticut's public transportation system. Host, Rich Andreski, the Bureau Chief of CTDOT's Bureau of Transportation, engages the community and fellow transportation advocates to discuss the ways in which public transportation impacts and improves your daily life in Connecticut. 

 

ABOUT THE HOST

 Rich Andreski 

Rich Andreski is Bureau Chief for the CTDOT Bureau of Public Transportation. He is a 20-year veteran of public transportation, having served in a variety of roles with the NJ Transit Corporation and Connecticut Department of Transportation.

In his role as bureau chief, Mr. Andreski is responsible for the statewide public transportation system including CTfastrak bus rapid transit and Connecticut’s newest rail line – Hartford Line. This statewide public transportation system carries more than 84 million people annually.

Mr. Andreski is motivated by a mission of public service, working to ensure public transit remains relevant in a rapidly evolving transportation sector. He keeps the customer experience at the heart of every decision.

 

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For a written transcript of any episode of Along the Lines, please send a request to:  DOTAdmin.CTRides@ct.gov. Be sure to include which episode(s) you wish to have transcribed. 

 

PODCAST EPISODES

 

Episode 31: Reconnecting the City of Hartford - May 10, 2022

Urban renewal left a legacy of broken neighborhoods in Hartford and other cities. The development of Interstates 91 and 84 allowed for faster transportation into the city but also destroyed neighborhoods and cut the city off from the Connecticut River. Today, programs like iQuilt and the Hartford 400 plan are actively working to reverse this trend and reconnect Hartford’s neighborhoods.

Tune in to Episode 31 with Rich Andreski and his guests to hear how a coalition of organizations work together to reclaim land for new neighborhoods, homes, and businesses in Hartford.

Guests:

Jackie Mandyck, Executive Director, iQuilt Partnership

Randal Davis, Deputy Director of Development Services, City of Hartford

 

For More Information: 

Greater Hartford Mobility Study - hartfordmobility.com

iQuilt Partnership - theiquiltplan.org

Hartford 400 - hartford400.org

 

Episode 30: Waterbury Line Improvements - April 26, 2022

Waterbury is a significant hub for Connecticut’s rail network. The Waterbury Line connects people in Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley to New Haven, New York and all points in-between. The recently upgraded Waterbury Line boasts many features that improve operations and our customers’ experience. 

Join Rich Andreski and guests from the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments and the CTDOT Office of Rails to hear about the exciting improvements made to the Waterbury Line.

Guests:

Rich Dunne: Executive Director of the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments

Angelo Lluberes: Transportation Supervising Rail Officer, CTDOT Office of Rail

 

For More Information: 

Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments: vcogct.gov

 

Episode 29: Transit & Jobs: Getting to Work in Connecticut - April 12, 2022

Public transportation connects our communities in many ways, especially for job seekers and those entering the workforce. As Connecticut’s economy continues to develop and companies are looking to fill open positions, it is critical that our transportation systems are up-to-date and are aligned to meet our rider’s needs.

Tune in to this episode to hear Rich Andreski and his guests discuss the importance of frequent and reliable public transportation in order to support the workforce of Connecticut.

 

Guests: 

Kathy Awaad: President & CEO, Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board

Genny Fonseca: Director of Strategic Planning, Northwest Region Workforce Investment Board

Shakira Wade: Career Navigator, Career Resources

 

For More Information: 

Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board: www.nrwib.org

Connecticut Department of Labor, American Job Center: https://portal.ct.gov/ajc 

 

Episode 28: The Future of Bus Transportation - March 29, 2022

For many Connecticut residents, the bus plays a vital role in their day-to-day lives. As technology continues to advance and commute patterns shift, our bus systems must embrace new technology to meet the rider's needs. Electric buses, expanded service hours, real-time signage, and new express bus routes are just a few of the improvements riders have seen. 

On this episode, join host Rich Andreski and his guests from the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and CTtransit to hear about the future of CT’s bus systems. Transcript and Spanish translation of Episode 28 (pdf)

Guests: 

Dennis Solensky, Public Transit Administrator, Connecticut Department of Transportation

Josh Rickman, Assistant General Manager of Planning and Marketing, CTtransit

Barry Diggs, Director of Rapid Transit and Zero Emission Program, CTtransit

 

For More Information:  www.cttransit.com

 

Episode 27: Mobility on Demand - March 15, 2022

E-scooters and e-bikes are small, “micromobility” vehicles, powered by electricity or manual power. They save money on gas, and help the environment. Microtransit is an innovative on-demand transit service that can bridge the gap between public transportation trips.

On this episode of Along the Lines, join host Rich Andreski and his guests to learn how both micromobility and microtransit are expanding our travel options and the future of transportation right here in Connecticut.

Guests: 

Joe Comerford, Executive Director, 9Town Transit and Middletown Transit District

Dave Harvey, Founder and COO, Lynx City

 

For More Information:  

Lynx City (on-demand electric scooters) - www.lynx.city

9Town Transit - estuarytransit.org

Middletown Transit District - middletownareatransit.org

 
 
 
Episode 26: Aira - Making Transit More Accessible for Those Who are Blind or Have Low Vision - March 1, 2022

For those who are blind or have low vision, navigating life is not easy. Even something as simple as taking a bus or train comes with challenges. With the new pilot program Aira, riders can now live stream through their phone’s camera and connect to personal agents who can help them navigate by describing their surroundings.

Tune in to hear more about the CTDOT and the Department of Aging and Disability Services’ (ADS) ongoing effort to create the best public transportation experience for everyone in CT.    Transcript of Episode 26 (.pdf) 

Guests:

Jenine Stanley, Director of Customer Communication, Aira

Nyema Pinkney Cranford, Global Continuous Improvement Manager, Collins Aerospace and an Aira user since 2016

 

For More Information: 

CTDOT and Department of Aging and Disability Services Pilot Program:  ctrides.com/aira-en

 

Episode 25: Real People - Real Stories - February 14, 2022

We all know green commuting is great for the earth and our state, but most residents don’t think about it as part of their day-to-day life. On this episode, we speak with three guests who use green commuting options on a daily basis, and they have some wonderful and positive stories to tell about how it has impacted their lives.

Sit back, listen, and hear some exciting and inspiring stories about real people using public transportation in Connecticut. We promise you, this episode will be “engaging”!

 Guests: Kelly Belanger, Kate Rosen, and Alex Rodriguez

 

Episode 24: UPass-CT Giving College Students Access to Transit - February 1, 2022

Tens of thousands of Connecticut’s community college and state university students have traveled with the U-Pass CT program. Students at participating schools received the U-Pass CT card, which provides unlimited use of any public transportation. This program has also eliminated another barrier to higher education - transportation. 

Join host Rich Andreski as he speaks with guests from the Department of Transportation and Capital Community College on the impacts and future growth of the U-Pass CT program. 

Guests: 

Lisa Rivers, Transit Manager, Connecticut Department of Transportation

Randall Ward, Director of Student Activities, Capital Community College 

Cinthia Zuniga, Student at Capital Community College and UPass-CT user

 

For More Information: 

UPass-CT: CTrides.com/u-pass-ct

CTpass: https://portal.ct.gov/DOT/Publictrans/Bureau-of-Public-Transportation/CTpass

 

Episode 23: Climate Change and Resiliency - January 18, 2021

 

In Connecticut, 38% of all greenhouse gases come from transportation! Our everyday choices of how we travel around the state have a lasting impact on the climate where we live, work and play.

In this episode of Along the Lines, join host Rich Andreski and his guests from the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) as they discuss the importance of green commuting options, and how they are dedicated to making our vital public transportation systems more resilient to climate change.

Guests: 

Kim Lesay, Bureau Chief, CTDOT Bureau of Policy and Planning

Emily Pysh, Transportation Supervising Planner, CTDOT Bureau of Policy and Planning - Sustainability and Resiliency Unit

John Truscinski, Director of Resilience Planning, Connecticut Institute of Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) 

 

For More Information:

Connecticut Institute of Resilience and Climate Adaptation - https://circa.uconn.edu/#

 

Episode 22: Auld Lang Syne - 2021 Year-in-Review - December 22, 2021

 

2021 was yet another year of uncertainty and change! But more importantly, it was a year of continued adaptation and ultimate growth. Essential workers such as our bus drivers and train conductors, continued to persevere, vaccines became readily available, and public transportation ridership numbers grew.  

In this episode of Along the Lines host Rich Andreski reflects on the accomplishments from the past year and welcomes the new year with exciting goals and plans. Here’s to a banner year in 2022!

 

Episode 21: Mobility in Southeastern Connecticut - December 9, 2021

 

From Mystic Seaport and Aquarium, to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos and resorts, and the picturesque beaches of the Long Island Sound, there’s no denying that Southeastern Connecticut is filled with historic and world-class tourist attractions that draw millions of visitors from near and far each year.

Tune in to this episode of Along the Lines as host Rich Andreski speaks with guests from the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments and the City of New London about the importance of public transportation in the area and how it supports the region’s tourism industry and the growing population.

 

Guests:  

Kate Rattan, Transportation Program Manager, Southeast Connecticut Council of Governments

Felix Reyes, Director of Economic Development and Planning, City of New London  

 

For More Information:

Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments - seccog.org

Develop New London - developnewlondon.com 

 

Episode 20: Accessible Transportation - ADA and Paratransit - November 17, 2021

Finding transportation options can seem overwhelming for our fellow citizens who are restricted by age, mobility issues, or cognitive and physical disabilities. However, with the services of Mobility Management as identified in The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, these individuals are provided assistance in navigating their way to accessible transportation.

In this episode, join Rich Andreski as he speaks with his three guests who work at the Kennedy Center in disability services and are passionate about helping the people of Connecticut live their best lives.

 

Guests: 

John Wardzala, Director of Mobility Services, The Kennedy Center

April Chaplin, Northwest Connecticut Regional Mobility Manager and Ombudswoman, The Kennedy Center

Mary Rosenbauer, ADA Transit Assessment and Training Coordinator, The Kennedy Center. 

 

For more information: 

Connecticut ADA Paratransit Resource Center - www.ctada.com

The Kennedy Center - https://www.thekennedycenterinc.org/

 

Episode 19:  Downtown Crossing - November 3, 2021

 

In 1959, the lively neighborhoods of New Haven, CT were disrupted and separated by the development of the Route 34 expressway. After nearly half a century, they will be reconnected through the Downtown Crossing project. This project will make the city safer, more accessible for pedestrians, and restore the urban street environment bringing economic opportunities to New Haven residents.

In this episode, join Rich Andreski with two guests who oversee the Downtown Crossing project to learn more about it’s positive impact on the city.

 

Guests: 

Donna Hall, Senior Project Planner, City of New Haven - City Plan Department

Robert Ellis, Capital Projects Coordinator/Project Manager, City of New Haven - City Engineering Department 

 

For More Information:  

Downtown Crossing New Haven – Route 34 East New Haven

City of New Haven Planning Department - New Haven, CT - City Planning (newhavenct.gov)

City of New Haven Engineering Department - New Haven, CT - Engineering Department (newhavenct.gov)

 

Episode 18:  CT Ferry System - October 19, 2021

Connecticut has the nation's oldest continuously operating ferry service. Since the 1700's, the Connecticut State Ferry system has moved goods, passengers, bikes, and now cars across the Connecticut River. Today, people use the ferries as part of their commute, but they also play an important role in tourism and economic development in the region.  
 

Guest:

Master Captain John Marshall, Connecticut Department of Transportation (retired since the taping of this episode)

 

For more information:

CTDOT Ferries Page - Ct.Gov: Ferries

 

Episode 17: Return to Work Survey - September 28, 2021

Returning to the office - many employers and employees are wondering what that looks like and how it will evolve. On this episode of Along the Lines, we'll review a recent survey commissioned by the CTDOT to gauge the attitudes and intentions of commuters and employers as workplaces begin to reopen.  
 

Guests: 

Michael Vigeant, CEO, GreatBlue Research

David Griggs, President and CEO, MetroHartford Alliance

 

For more information:

MetroHartford Alliance - www.metrohartford.com

 

Episode 16: The Future of Cities - Part 2 - September 8, 2021

In this second episode of The Future of Cities series, Rich is joined by two special guests who discuss how travel patterns have changed in Connecticut during the pandemic, including the increase in the use of bike and scooter-share programs, and changes happening across other countries. 
 

Guests: 

Brent Toderian, International Consultant and Founder of Toderian UrbanWorks

Lynn Haig, Director of Planning at the City of Bridgeport

 

For More Information: 

City of Bridgeport Planning Department - www.bridgeportct.gov/planning

Toderian UrbanWorks - www.toderianurbanworks.com/

 

Episode 15: The Future of Cities - Part 1 - August 10, 2021

The pandemic has changed everything: from where we work to how we travel.This, in turn, has changed transportation patterns in our cities. In the first of a two-part discussion, Rich is joined by two guests and they discuss how travel patterns have changed in Connecticut during the pandemic, including the increase in the use of bike and scooter-share programs.

 
 

Guests: 

Brent Toderian, International Consultant and Founder of Toderian UrbanWorks

Lynn Haig, Director of Planning at the City of Bridgeport

 

For More Information: 

City of Bridgeport Planning Department - www.bridgeportct.gov/planning

Toderian UrbanWorks - www.toderianurbanworks.com/

 

Episode 14: Essential Workplaces and the Essential Commute - July 20, 2021

How did essential employees travel to work during the height of the pandemic? What impact has COVID-19 had on companies planning for a hybrid work schedule? In this episode of Along the Lines, Rich talks with four special guests from a variety of industries on how their commute to work and the workplace were drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 

Guests: 

Emily Schorer, Chief Human Resource Officer, Jackson Laboratory

Rodney Slaughter, Director or Parking and Transportation, Yale New Haven Hospital

Jim Gildea, Chair, Commuter Rail Council and Director of Manufacturing, Bigelow Tea

Jean Florian, CTtransit Supervisor, Stamford Division

 

Episode 13: The Future of Rail Travel in CT - Part 2 - July 6, 2021

 

There are exciting projects on the horizon! From new rail cars, to faster travel times - the customer experience is sure to get even better. Join the discussion on future rail projects for the second part of this two-part series.

 

Guests:

Rich Jankovich, Rail Administrator, CTDOT Office of Rails

Jim Gildea, Connecticut Commuter Rail Council 

 

For More Information: 

CTDOT Office of Rails - Office of Rails (ct.gov)

The Connecticut Commuter Rail Council - www.ctcommuterrailcouncil.org

 

Episode 12:  The Future of Rail Travel in CT - Part 1 - June 22, 2021

There’s no doubt about it: rail ridership in Connecticut has been affected tremendously by the COVID-19 pandemic. Join the discussion on current and future ridership trends in the first part of this two-part series.  
 

Guests: 

Rich Jankovich, Rail Administrator, CTDOT Office of Rails

Jim Gildea, Connecticut Commuter Rail Council 

 

For More Information: 

CTDOT Office of Rails - Office of Rails (ct.gov)

The Connecticut Commuter Rail Council - www.ctcommuterrailcouncil.org

 

Episode 11: Biking as Essential Transportation - June 8, 2021

Whether it was for recreation or commuting to work, it was clear that the number of people riding bikes increased in 2020. As biking continues to remain popular, the safety of cyclists remains a top concern.  In this podcast Rich discussed with his two guests the current and future state of bike transportation and infrastructure in the state 
 

Guests:

Holly Parker, Owner/Founder, Less Road Traveled, LLC

Will Wright, Safe Streets Advocate and member of People Friendly Stamford

 

 

For More Information: 

CTDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Information -  Bicycle and Pedestrians NEW (ct.gov)

Less Road Traveled, LLC - Less Road Traveled, LLC

People Friendly Stamford - People Friendly Stamford (peoplestamford.org)

 

Episode 10: CTfastrak 6 Years Later - May 13, 2021

Did you know that CTfastrak, the first true Bus Rapid Transit system in New England, accounts for nearly 140,000 weekday trips? Join Rich as he talks with Erin Stewart, Mayor of the City of New Britain and George Howell, CEO of both the West Hartford Housing Authority and Trout Brook Realty Advisors, about CTfastrak’s economic impact on the Greater Hartford Region. 
 

Guests: 

Erin Stewart, Mayor of the City of New Britain 

George Howell, CEO of West Hartford Housing Authority and CEO Trout Brook Realty Advisors

 

For More Information:

CTfastrak - CTfastrak | CTtransit - Connecticut DOT-owned bus service

City of New Britain - City of New Britain - Home (newbritainct.gov)

 

 

Episode 9: Climate Change in Connecticut - April 20, 2021

Climate Change: it affects you, your state, and the Earth. Join Rich in the first of a series of climate conversations, as he talks to Ryan Hanrahan, Meteorologist at NBC Connecticut, and Katie Dykes, Commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, about one of the most critical issues facing our state in this episode of Along the Lines. 
 

Guests:

Ryan Hanrahan, Chief Meteorologist at NBC Connecticut

Katie Dykes, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection 

 

For More Information:  

CTDEEP Climate Change Information - Climate Change (ct.gov)

 

 

Episode 8: Rail Talk - Funding, Advocacy, and the Future - March 23, 2021

In this episode, Rich is joined by journalist and long0time rail commuter advocate, Jim Cameron. Their lively discussion includes the future of rail transportation in Connecticut, behind-the-scenes operator relationships, and how to fund our rail infrastructure moving forward.

 
 

Guest:

Jim Cameron, Journalist and Rail Advocate

 

For More Information:

The Connecticut Commuter Rail Council - www.ctcommuterrailcouncil.org

 

Episode 7: Keeping Track of Time - The History of Rail in Connecticut - February 23, 2021

Railroads were instrumental in building the state's cities and economy. Today, rail travel is Connecticut accounts for over 40 million trips, with New Haven Line (Metro-North) being the busiest commuter rail system in the country. Rich and his guest discuss the long and storied history of rail travel in Connecticut.   

Guest:

Jack Swanberg, author and retired Lead Trainmaster for the New Haven Line

 

For More Information: 

J. W. Swanberg Collection, University of Connecticut Library - Collection: J. W. Swanberg Papers | UConn Archives & Special Collections ArchivesSpace

 

 

Episode 6: Economic Development and Public Transportation - February 9, 2021

Does public transportation really impact economic development? In this episode, Rich speaks with Chris Edge, the Director of Economic Development from the Town of Berlin and Tony Valenti, Partner at the Newport Realty Group to discuss how reliable public transportation and the infrastructure that comes with it is an essential driver for job growth and economic development.   
 

Guests:

Chris Edge, Director of Economic Development, Town of Berlin

Tony Valenti, Partner, Newport Realty Group 

 

For More Information:

Town of Berlin Economic Development - Economic Development / Berlin, CT (berlinct.gov)

 

Episode 5: Transit: An Economic Driver - January 26, 2021

Access to reliable public transportation keeps our economy moving. In this episode, Rich speaks with Sean Ghio, Policy Director at the Partnership for Strong Communities in Hartford, and Mark Ojakian, President of the Connecticut State University system to discuss how a reliablepublic transportation system allows participation within our region’s economy by all, and not just those who own a car. 

Guests:

Mark Ojakian, President, Connecticut State University system (retired since podcast recording) 

Sean Ghio, Policy Director, Partnership for Strong Communities

 

For More Information: 

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities - www.ct.edu

Partnership for Strong Communities - www.pschousing.org

 

 

Episode 4: Importance of Rail Safety - January 6, 2021

Safety: it’s our number one priority at the CTDOT. From, the safety of our customers, to the safety of our employees, our transit systems, and our roadways. But this year challenged us to bring safety to an entirely new level. In this episode, Rich sits down with Kevin Burns from the CTDOT’s Operation Lifesaver program and Detective Robert Hanson from the Amtrak Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit to discuss what goes into keeping CTrailcustomers like you safe. 

Guests: 

Kevin Burns, Operation Lifesaver Program, Connecticut Department of Transportation

Detective Robert Hanson, Criminal Investigation Unit, Amtrak

 
 

For More Information:  

CTDOT Operation Lifesaver Program - Connecticut Operation Lifesaver (oli.org)

National Operation Lifesaver Program - Home | Operation Lifesaver (oli.org)

Stay Off the Tracks - www.stayoffthetracks.org

 

Episode 3: Social Equity Through Public Transportation - November 5, 2020

Did you know that public transportation plays a role in social equity? Listen in as CTDOT Bureau Chief of Public Transportation Rich Andreski chats with Doug Holcomb from Greater Bridgeport Transit and Tiffany Garcia from the Title VI Office at CTDOT about how Title VI and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 impacts transportation system planning. This episode covers the role transit plays in social justice and what Connecticut is doing to ensure equitable access to the transportation system. 

Guests: 

Tiffany Garcia, Associate Title VI Officer, Connecticut Department of Transportation 

Doug Holcomb, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Bridgeport Transit

 

For More Information:

CTDOT Title VI Program - Title VI Page (ct.gov)

Greater Bridgeport Transit - www.gogbt.com

 

 

Episode 2: Car Not Required: Public Transportation Superusers - October 7, 2020

Did you know that you can take public transportation to go camping? Yes – It’s possible. Listen in as CTDOT Bureau Chief of Public Transportation Rich Andreski chats with two public transportation super users, Nefari Hassan and Kai Addae as they discuss how they navigate across the state without access to a car. The discussion covers how they live their lives using public transportation, and the importance it plays on a daily basis.  

Guests:

Nefari Hassan - frequent public transportation rider

Kai Addae - frequent public transportation rider

 
 Please note: Since the taping of this podcast, fare collection has resumed. 

 

Episode 1: Transportation in the COVID-19 Era - August 10, 2020 

Is Public Transportation Dead? That is the question that CTDOT Bureau Chief of Public Transportation Rich Andreski and his guests Garrett Eucalitto, Deputy Commissioner at CTDOT and Melissa Kaplan-Macey, Vice President, State Programs & Connecticut Director for Regional Plan Association address in this inaugural episode of Along the Lines. Their discussion covers what’s trending for public transportation in the COVID-19 era and what it means to transit riders in the region.
 

Guests:

Garrett Eucalitto, Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Transportation

Melissa Kaplan-Macey, Vice-President, State Programs and Connecticut Director for Regional Plan Association

 

For More Information:

Regional Plan Association - https://rpa.org