Today’s Headlines

  • Global Car Sales May ‘Collapse’ Next Year (Reuters)
  • Shares of Auto Makers Take Huge Hit (NYT)
  • Financial Crisis Piles on to MTA Debt Woes (News)
  • Cyclists: Safety at Risk From Patrol Cars Blocking Queensborough Bridge Bike Path (News)
  • Ratner, Atlantic Yards Backers Funneled $680K to Markowitz Non-Profits (Post)
  • Silver Insists on Flying from New York to Albany (News)
  • Preservation Group Wants to Landmark Stretch of West End Ave (City Room)
  • NJ Turnpike Authority to Vote on Toll Hike Today (AP)
  • Bike Commute Benefit Wasn’t Enough to Win Blumenauer’s Support for Bailout (NYT)
  • Kids Pedal to Tompkins Square Park in Art Bike Parade (Villager)
  • When people criticize government, I don’t usually go in for it when they use simple-minded demagogic (word?) rhetoric such as “if this were a business, they’d be fired for being so wasteful!” because usually when I hear it, it’s, well, oversimplifying something.

    But in a case so clear as Silver’s wasteful flying to Albany, I’ll say it: If the organization paying for his travels was one that was actually concerned with fiscal responsibility, such as, you know, a business, he’d be in big trouble.

    Fiscally and environmentally, flying between Albany and NYC is very irresponsible and wasteful.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Of most concern are authority-issued bonds with variable rates that fluctuate with the supply and demand of money and credit. Rates have spiked in recent weeks.”

    Just so you know, the MTA borrowed at variable rates in a period when fixed interest rates were at all-time lows. At the cost of creating a disaster in future no one in state government cared about, the had a few extra bucks to hand out to interest groups for a few years.

    Every decision has been like that, for 15-plus years. After trying everything else, I made an issue of this when I ran for state legislature in 2004. By then it might have been too late anyway.

    It certainly is now.

  • Weiller told the AP that a review of Silver’s travel records found the average trip cost was $456. Of 110 flights over the past 3-1/2 years, 57 went through Washington.

    To amplify Dave’s comments, that’s 31 flights a year, for a total of $14,156. If he’d taken the per diem of $175, that’s $5,425. Amtrak at the governmental rate of $110 round-trip comes to $3,410. AAbus at $30 is $930. $8,000-13,000 per year isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s symbolic of Silver’s willingness to use taxpayer money to elevate his comfort and reinforce his status and separation from the plebes (who take the bus), the wonks (who take the train) and even the elite (who drive or are driven). $8,000 a year to place him above the elite.

  • John

    I’m glad that the car companies are getting hit hard. After what these companies did to US and the world. Such the GM streetcar scandal by GM, Firestone, oil companies and others.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “It’s symbolic of Silver’s willingness to use taxpayer money to elevate his comfort and reinforce his status and separation from the plebes (who take the bus), the wonks (who take the train) and even the elite (who drive or are driven).”

    Well put. The ego of so many people relies on things like this. We are ruled by these pathetic people with their destructive values.

  • “the GM streetcar scandal”

    My half-serious advice to GM is to forget about the battery powered car they are putting all their hopes into and pull out old streetcar designs from those companies they bought and buried. The company has consistently failed to show any foresight (most absurdly, in making oversize SUVs as their first hybrids). I don’t see that changing with a vehicle that expects battery technology to quickly become reliable, durable, and inexpensive (anyone have a laptop?). (Not to mention not hugely toxic.) Nor do we have the power grid to support mainstream, personal electric cars—if necessary, the electricity market will price them off the road.

    The everyone vs. the bicycles on bridges story is one to follow, if you like losing battles and winning wars. Contractors on the bridges don’t like bicycles, because some people riding them are a-holes, so they give attitude to everyone on two wheels. I feel it every time I glide by them on Manhattan Br, and recently got a preemptive finger wag (ssss) by one descending into a trap door. What everyone should appreciate is that bicycles are safe enough that people can actually work in the same lane with them, much unlike the multiton automobiles that wear down those bridges for free. If it weren’t for the bicycle and pedestrian lanes, the contractors would be out on some rickety catwalk or being killed by cars at a regular rate like all highway workers. Are they glad of that?

    No. They have to call their buddies in the police force to harass, impede, and even treat cyclists like misbehaving children (“an officer on a scooter at midspan ordered riders to walk their bikes back to the foot of the bridge and start over”). And AMAZINGLY, the Daily News (!) writes sympathetically of these people that are just trying to pedal to work across a bridge. I hope crusty bike culture warriors enjoy the next few months of manufactured skirmishes: This petty fight is about to be permanently left behind by mainstream cycling and old fashioned necessity.

  • Omri Schwarz

    Heh. Those streetcar designs were based on internationally adopted standards that are still in use. Czech streetcar makers would eat GM’s lunch if GM tried to compete with them.

  • In response to the recent deaths of two women at E. 14th St. and 1st Ave. in Manhattan, Peter Cooper/Stuyvesant Town community leaders have re-formed the Dr. Esther Levine Make Traffic Safe Now! Committe and are holding an open meeting this Monday morning, Columbus Day, 10/13, at 10a.m. at the restaurant Petite Abeille, on the corner of E. 20th St. and 1st Ave.

    I don’t know if I’m going to make it but I wanted to let Streetsblog and its readers know about it. One of the organizers keeps in pretty close touch with the neighborhood’s Council Member, Daniel Garodnick; I don’t know if anyone from his office is planning on attending but I’m sure it’s an opportunity to get his ear more than contacting his office individually, and maybe to reach out to DOT et al. as well.

  • Phil

    Maybe GM can go into Orville and Wilbur’s original field. That should make a lot of new jobs for all 335,000 employees.

  • Hi,

    Its so nice post guys, I liked it.

  • Hi,

    Its so nice post guys, I liked it.