Today’s Headlines

  • Tom Friedman: Hoping for a Free Iran? Raise the Gas Tax (NYT)
  • Safety Officials Try to Pinpoint Causes of Fatal Washington Metro Crash (NYT, AP)
  • Investigators Must Address the Lack of Investment in DC Transit (WaPo via 2nd Ave Sagas)
  • U.S. Transit Agencies Still Desperate to Plug Budget Gaps and Maintain Service (Salon)
  • PA Cops Chase Van 7 Miles for Making an Unauthorized Livery Pickup at JFK (Post, News)
  • North Flatbush BID Wants to Expand Sidewalks and Calm Traffic on Side Streets (Bklyn Paper)
  • NYers Will Have to Wait Longer for Weekend Trains This Summer (News)
  • Corporate Naming Rights for Subway Stations — Wave of the Future? (NYT)
  • DOT Signs Scold Peds at Jam-Packed Intersection of 14th and First (On Transport)
  • Bike Trips Now More Common Than Car Trips in Amsterdam (Hard Drive via Streetsblog.net)
  • Glenn

    Exactly – free Iran (and ourselves) with higher gas taxes. It’s really killing many birds with one stone. I wonder if the CBO could do a cost benefit analysis of increasing the gas tax on health care costs, military budgets, etc.

  • Jon

    While I’m in favor of a gas tax in general, Friedman is wrong and too simplistic on this one (as usual). Iran has relatively low petroleum earnings per capita, so the effect on Iran would be pretty small. Chavez would suffer much more.

  • Plus China and India will easily absorb any demand America decides to arbitrarily restrict on itself.

  • From the Salon article:

    The MTA would not comment on whether funds, if they become available for operating costs, would be used to eliminate or reduce fare increases.

    How about just reducing the damn deficit or even restoring the station agents, instead of resorting to yet another fare gimmick. “Look, we cut the fare! Yes, we’re going to have to raise it next year, but we cut the fare!!!11!!1”

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Exactly – free Iran (and ourselves) with higher gas taxes.”

    How stupid, selfish and shortsighted can people be. We had a two decade experience of the effect of lower and higher gas prices.

    In the 1970s the U.S. faced economic blackmail and stagnation due to soaring oil prices and embargoes. The result was a huge increase in conservation, extensive increase in local fossil fuel supplies, and extensive investment in alternative energy.

    So OPEC crashed the price of gas, and within a decade the U.S. oil and gas industry was devastated, conservation disappeared, alternative energy went bust, and we ended up more vulnerable that before. And then prices soared.

    People can’t understand history over two decades? We just has the same cycle repeated over just two years! And still they won’t put in place a tax system that keeps fossil fuel prices, particularly oil prices, high enough to make alternatives, conservation and domestic gas production profitable.

  • DoT Scolds Peds: What’s so bad about DoT telling pedestrians not to cross against the light? This certainly promotes safety, and it hardly comes at the expense of other traffic enforcement measures geared to the true traffic malefactors–motorists–as the On Transport post suggests. And it is a welcome counterweight to the untrue assetion that pedeswtrians “always have the right of way”, which DoT trumpets on its new Greenway signage.

    As I work harder each day to follw the TA “Biking Rules,” my sympathy wanes for pedestrians who show no concern for their own safety by simply walking out into the roadway without looking, forcing the responsibility for avoiding a crash onto others. Without question, bicyclists must always yield to pedestrians (with or without the right of way) in order to avoid a crash, but that is very different from saying that pedestrians “always have the right of way.”

  • I’m with Bicyclesonly on the DOT scolding peds. Crossing against the light into oncoming traffic (car or bike) just causes chaos and reduces safety for all players. Darting out from between parked cars in the middle of a block is also not a hot idea. It’s a New York problem and it afflicts all road users. We just can’t get over our casual contempt for others. To get a sense of how badly we behave, you have to visit another country where people actually obey the law. When peds, drivers, and bikers behave in a predictable manner, the experience of using the road is actually much less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone. After spending time in foreign cities, it’s always a drag to come back to the grim, backward conditions we have here.

  • Pete

    On the 14th/1st ave debate:

    Ignoring the bad-pedestrian behavior, this intersection sucks, and is extremely dangerous, given the sheer volumes of pedestrian traffic that cross this intersection at all times of the day & night.

    It’s not like most NYC intersections – the north side of First Avenue remains “don’t-walk” for a significantly longer period than the south side, giving eastbound cars a left-turn signal to head north on First Ave. Meanwhile, pedestrians on the south side of the street are lit & free to cross during this period. Everyone in NYC is accustomed to start walking as soon as cars stop, this left-turn light is idiosyncratic & catches everyone by surprise. Sit at this intersection, and you’ll see people habitually start crossing at every interval, and many are caught by surprise.

    I’d argue that it’s an extremely bad (and dangerous) design, and a complete holdover from the old DOT=Department-Of-Traffic days. Given what DOT has done at Atlantic/Flatbush, this intersection is a prime candidate for a redesign.

    Furthermore, everyone drives like a lunatic through this intersection – especially those last few cars running the light to make that left turn on First Ave. I’d bet the CrashStat data on this intersection isn’t pretty.

  • We could use a gas tax much higher than Friedman proposes, but I don’t think it would bring oil prices down as Friedman expects. Friedman should add two more words to his theory: peak oil.

  • Bicyclesonly, the pedestrians that bug me are the ones who walk out into the roadway *WITH* looking. They’re doing some pretty heavy math in their heads to calculate when and how fast they need to start their walk in order to maximise the possibility of a collision. But of course a collision would be MY fault, because I’m a hooligan out-of-control kamikaze self-righteous habitual law-breaker cyclist.

    Mark Walker, I find that the between-car-darters usually appear not in the middle of blocks, but a few measly yards before a crosswalk. They amaze me as much as the people who will drop litter on the floor within sight of a trashcan.