Today’s Headlines

  • Obama Touts Vision for American High-Speed Rail (WSJ, NYT, Infrastructurist, Yglesias)
  • Squadron Calls for New Red Light Cams at Hazardous Intersections (NY1)
  • Parking Meter Prices Shift Higher, to Weiner’s Chagrin (Post)
  • EDF’s Isabelle Silverman on NYC’s Idling Crackdown (WNYC)
  • Minnesota Highway Expansion Gets $84M in Stimulus Cash (MNDaily)
  • Study Quantifies Huge Energy Savings of City Living (Worldchanging)
  • With Push from Auto Companies, Interest in ‘Eco-Driving’ Is Ramping Up (WSJ)
  • Car Ownership on the Wane in Washington DC (Beyond DC)
  • More Evidence That Transit Is Good for Your Health (Transit Miami via Streetsblog.net)
  • MTA Launches Credit Card-Linked Metrocard (News, Post)
  • Rebelfish

    The credit-card linked metrocard isn’t exactly new. I’ve had one since last August. I wonder why there’s a press release about it now.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Massive subsidies for new auto purchases likely.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=arRGEXPmOojA&refer=home

    Remember the deal that those who consume more resources demand.

    Not only to pay less in and get more out of social institutions. But also to feel good about themselves because they are told (by those paid to tell them) that they are subsidizing the lowlife freeloaders elsewhere.

    Hey Republicans, if your strategy during your period of ascendency was to make government so unfair and destructive that even those with an egalitarian frame of mind would turn against it, it did have an effect! Too bad the Republican party is no alternative at all for those dissatisfied, because its interest groups have demolished its principles, just like the Dems. SEPARATE MY MONEY FROM ALL THOSE SELFISH ENTITLED PEOPLE!

  • Glenn

    “It’s sort of a carrot and stick argument,” said Daniel J. O’Donnell, an assemblyman from the Upper West Side who is leading the effort in that house to shore up support for Mr. Paterson’s bill. “If you move ahead with the bill, you could use the stick and say, ‘You’re not our friend if you vote against us, and we’re going to find someone to replace you.’

    There’s my one issue Assemblymember describing his support for the only issue that he seems to care about to go out on a limb and “fight for”.

    Who is that person for mass transit riders?

  • Ian Turner

    When I look into this issue last year, you could only buy an unlimited-ride credit-card-linked metrocard (at the time called EasyPayXpress) if you were a senior or had disabilities. It was a slick card that would automatically convert to an unlimited-ride metrocard after you used it a certain number of times.

    The new EasyPayXpress card lets you select unlimited-ride or pay-per-ride ahead of time (no automatic conversion), and is available to all and sundry.

  • I can’t believe I missed the idling segment on Brian Lehrer yesterday. Great news; I just hope the crackdown is strong enough.

  • vnm

    Rebelfish, now the credit-card automatic refill is available for unlimited ride cards. It used to be for pay-per-ride only.

  • “The credit-card linked metrocard isn’t exactly new. I’ve had one since last August. I wonder why there’s a press release about it now.”

    I think until now it was not available to customers who use the unlimited card.

    I wonder if this will work with TransitChek? It probably should since they give us credit cards now.

  • The card Ian describes (automatically converting from pay-per-ride to unlimited-ride when appropriate) is what the Oyster card does for London transit. It is pretty slick; I guess a NY equivalent would have to track your activity for at least the last 30 days in order to determine what kind of unlimited-ride card you should have optimally.

  • Also, re. parking meters:

    “Drivers are upset that the overhaul is being done with little notice, leaving them with expired-meter violations.”

    You mean notice like the fact that the meter SAYS RIGHT ON IT HOW MUCH TIME YOU HAVE?

    On the other hand, credit to Ian Dutton of Manhattan Community Board 2:

    “The whole point of having meters near businesses is to move cars along and get turnover. Even with rates the way they are, a parking spot is still the cheapest real estate you can get in Manhattan.”

  • rlb

    The fact that our country’s ‘energy crisis’ would be nonexistent if everybody lived in cities deserves more press.

  • J. Mork

    Too bad the bicycle and transit industries don’t have $8 billion a year to spend on advertising in the US, like the car industry does.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Too bad the bicycle and transit industries don’t have $8 billion a year to spend on advertising in the US, like the car industry does.”

    And $4 billion on campaign contributions and lobbyists.

    Big corporations, big goverment for the few controlled by big unions and contractors, big non-profits organized into big lobbying organizations, all dedicated to extracting excess value from the people outside, all pretending to “fight for the people” (against each other) through the two big political parties, all hiring PR people to dissemenate their views through big media.

    And all paid for by big debts and requiring big bailouts to go on living in the manner to which the have become accustomed. It sure is a lot easier to fleece people using the power of the state, although with a sucker born every minute, it doesn’t seem to be necessary.

  • Let’s acknowledge the good news: “Obama Touts Vision for American High-Speed Rail”
    This could be the beginning of a shift in American transportation planning as dramatic as the shift to freeway building after WW II -if Obama and congress follow up with a good TEA renewal that actually provides lots of funding for clean transportation.

  • Jason A

    I don’t think I saw this posted in the headlines here, but did anyone catch LaHood’s comments in The Oregonian earlier this week?

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/us_transportation_secretary_ca.html

    On Portland: “They really are a model, over the years, of getting people out of their cars and creating the livable community idea.”

    And, the administrations wants to, “get people into light rail, into buses, getting people on bicycles and perhaps people walking.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    “This could be the beginning of a shift in American transportation planning as dramatic as the shift to freeway building after WW II -if Obama and congress follow up with a good TEA renewal that actually provides lots of funding for clean transportation.”

    One could be hopeful, but the fiscal tectonic plates are shifting beneath our feet. I think a shift to no building is more likely.

    Keep your eye on the federal debt and the dollar for very bad news. Good news? If the U.S. personal savings rate were to rise high enough to finance the federal deficit, and trade would get back into balance.

  • Jason A

    “One could be hopeful, but the fiscal tectonic plates are shifting beneath our feet. I think a shift to no building is more likely.

    Keep your eye on the federal debt and the dollar for very bad news.”

    Unfortunately I fear you’re right… No matter how many positive signs on transportation we’ve been hearing from the administration, I fear Obama’s legacy has already been sealed with his zealous embrace of debt economics – the bailouts, the stimulus, the further firing up of the fed printing press…

    Our finances are a precarious mess. Without massive structural changes in our national budget priorities, how many high speed trains we can realistically put on the credit card? I’m not an economist, but the fundamentals look brutal.

    How long will the Chinese let us get away with it all?

    Of course I’m hoping we can somehow wise up and build some skeleton of a sustainable national transportation system… But considering how many bills are coming due, I can’t help but agree with you Larry and fear institutional collapse is in the cards – and when all is said and done, we’ll only be left with cheap, capital-light solutions (i.e. bicycles).

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I can’t help but agree with you Larry and fear institutional collapse is in the cards – and when all is said and done, we’ll only be left with cheap, capital-light solutions (i.e. bicycles).”

    As a big transit supporter (including two tours of employment at NYC Transit, big advocacy for it at NYC Planning, and quitting a job to run against — among other things — the debts loaded on it) I’m disappointed. But not fearful.

    One cannot help but compare all the bad news involving money (public and private) with the good news involving bicycles. Because they are cheap. Prospect Park West two-way bike lane? With the innovation (wonderful) of using parked cars as a wall, all it takes is some paint. And try as they might, transportation by bicycle is something that they would find it hard to take away.

    I haven’t been many places, but I have been to Rome where there are many layers of history. And I’ve been thinking a lot about Buenos Aires, a city in which today’s Argentines benefit from the investments of a century ago but deal with the consequences of 40 years of their own generations greed. They are a poorer, bankrupt country, but the subway and (private) buses still run. I’d actually go there to see how they manage were it not for the time, cost, and carbon.

  • DM_Eddy

    The “old” EasyPayXpress used to be for pay-per-ride MetroCards, now it is also for the monthly card.