Today’s Headlines

  • Lt. Gov Ravitch: Fees on Driving Will Happen, Eventually (News)
  • Bloomberg "Failed to Steer" Development on His Watch (NYT)
  • Matt Schuerman Profiles the Safe Yet Contentious Grand Street Bike Lane (WNYC)
  • The GMAC Bailout Is "Cash for Clunkers" By Another Name (WSJ, Naked Capitalism)
  • 5,000-Lb Hunk of Metal Snaps Off Bay Bridge, Closing It Indefinitely (NYT)
  • Gearheads for Livable Streets? Hot Rod Lover Gives Up "Soul Sucking, Dirty" City Driving (Slate)
  • City Council Raises Fine for Leaving a Car Idling and Unattended (AP)
  • Rash of Child Passenger Deaths Has News Calling for Action in Albany
  • Queens Dems to Back Jose Peralta in Primary Against Disgraced Monserrate (NY1)
  • News Goes After Arbitrator Who Decided MTA-TWU Contract
  • Word of the Day: "Doodyhead" (News, AMNY)

More headlines over at Streetsblog Capitol Hill. Also, some consolation for Yankee fans: At least Phillies Game 1 ace Cliff Lee is a straphanger.

  • Shemp

    Too bad WNYC didn’t probe the contention that parking was lost to uncover the fact that the only real complaint about Grand Street is the loss of illegal double parking.

  • Car Free Nation

    The real problem on Grand Street is the free on-street parking. If you want shoppers in a commercial district, you need to free up spots, but since the parking is free on Grand Street, no one moves. If they charged for parking, spots would free up, and drivers could pick up fresh fish on their way home (like I do now on my bike).

    Was the parking free before the redesign? I can’t remember.

  • Larry Littlefield

    That News article doesn’t cover the most important things Ravitch said:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN2832720820091029

    “I believe that these States of the United States will face deficits the year after the stimulus ends of $300 to $500 billion a year,” said Richard Ravitch, the financial guru who helped craft New York City’s fiscal bailout in the mid-1970s…and you may begin to see cracks in the municipal bond market well before that — it’s an inexorable casualty of unfundable state deficits.”

    “New York state gets one-fifth of its tax dollars from Wall Street and its meltdown has spawned budget gaps that Ravitch put at $3 billion to $4 billion this year, and $7 billion to $8 billion next year. Congress enacted a two-year nearly $800 billion federal stimulus package, and when it ends, Ravitch said New York’s state’s deficit could shoot to $15 billion to $18 billion.”

    Where did he say that NY may not be able to keep borrowing to pay for everything? At New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management.

  • Josh

    That Bay Bridge situation is a mess. I was out there over Labor Day weekend when they had the thing shut down for a solid four or five days and they thought they were going to get it fixed, and it just seems to have gotten worse and worse since then.

  • Ian Turner

    CFN,

    Merchants are opposed to paid parking because they are the ones parking in those spaces all day without moving for free.

    Cheers,

    –Ian

  • Ian Turner

    Larry,

    I was present at this talk yesterday morning. It was plain to me that the organizers wanted to talk about transportation, but that Ravitch was more interested in talking about more macro level questions. He expressed a huge amount of pessimism regarding state and federal debt and deficits, concluding that the most likely outcome will have us choose inflation as a way out, forever ending the dollar’s status as a reserve currency and our attendant benefits as such.

    You would have been proud of me — I entered a question about why the Ravitch Comission’s plan included a debt component — but the questions were selected for presentation, and mine evidently didn’t make it pass the filter.

    –Ian

  • Larry Littlefield

    “He expressed a huge amount of pessimism regarding state and federal debt and deficits, concluding that the most likely outcome will have us choose inflation as a way out, forever ending the dollar’s status as a reserve currency and our attendant benefits as such.”

    I think he may be right. In fact, the way our savngs are set up is to try to cover for that likelihood, to the extent possible. I only hope my younger child gets through high school (or at least junior year) before the schools collapse, and through college before inflation wipes out the money we have saved for it over 18 years.

    Historically, one of the reason that (after a delay of about 12 years or so) New York City and State were able to begin to sort of provide public services after the 1970s is that inflation reduced the value of debt and pension obligations.

    “You would have been proud of me — I entered a question about why the Ravitch Comission’s plan included a debt component — but the questions were selected for presentation, and mine evidently didn’t make it pass the filter.”

    Excellent. Too bad more questions like that didn’t pass the filter in years past. My similar questions didn’t get past the filter either.

    So what does this mean for life in the future, and for transportation? Unfortunately young people will have it worse in many ways, because of those who came before, but thanks to the bicycle and the internet, transportation may merely be different rather than worse. People who aren’t ready for the future, however, are going to be in a world of nasty for the next decade.

  • Larry Littlefield

    If any of you are concerned that our road infrastructure may not be destroyed due to debts like our transit infrastructure, don’t worry.

    http://www.observer.com/2009/politics/dinapoli-money-could-have-saved-champlain-bridge-was-diverted

    “Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said a diversion of funding from the State’s Dedicated Highway and Bridge Trust Fund may have contributed to the decay that has caused the closure of the Champlain Bridge.”

    “DiNapoli unveiled a report which said that since the fund’s creation in 1991, the billions it contains have slowly been diverted from ‘pay-as-you-go critical transportation needs’ to providing operating support for the Departments of Transportation and Motor Vehicles, as well as ‘back-door borrowing.'”

    Gee, that’s the same year they started loading debt on the MTA, to make sure only some people shared in the shared sacrifice two recessions ago.

    “A meeting last night in Moriah drew over 300 angry people.”

    I’ll bet they were happy when the saints, heroes and geniuses in Albany were giving them free nickels when more important people were getting Benjamins per minute.