Today’s Headlines

  • Cowardly Senate Dems Stick to Script, Bash MTA for "Scaring People" About Service Cuts (AMNY)
  • Carl Kruger on Transit Funding Debacle: MTA’s Fault (SAS, Politicker)
  • Michael Daly on Bedford Bike Lane Removal: Shameful Political Deal Puts Lives at Risk (News)
  • City Hall Doesn’t Deny That Bike Lane Erasure Was All About Votes (WNYC)
  • Brooklyn Climate Activists to Confront Bloomberg in Copenhagen About Bike Lane Hypocrisy (Post)
  • There’s Nothing Kosher About Making Bedford Avenue More Dangerous (Slow Bike Miami)
  • Brian Lehrer Talks Stimulus, Infrastructure and Jobs (WNYC)
  • NJ Transit Approves First Contract for ARC Tunnel (City Room)
  • Mud on the Tracks: Leaf Residue Slows Trains; Riders Don’t Appreciate the Info (NYT)
  • NYC Transit Working Out Some Kinks With One of Its Hybrid Bus Suppliers (AMNY)
  • Live Near a Highway? You Could Be at Higher Risk of Developing Cancer (IV Daily Bulletin)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Streetsblog is going to be on a light publishing schedule the next two days, doing our best to juggle meetings and blogging. We’ll have some posts for you, but they’ll probably be the short kind.

  • So who’s running against Kruger?

  • Larry Littlefield

    FYI, Orion is an upstate manufacturer. Seems like every time the MTA buys something from one of those, it gets a dog, perhaps because the company does not believe it is getting the business due to the cost and quality of its product.

    Does anyone else pay $500,000 a bus? Although federal law prohibits buying more innovative buses from abroad, I don’t think the MTA can afford to pay innovation costs for U.S. manufacturers anymore.

  • David_K

    Excellent article by Michael Daly. The money quote: “The Hasidim who pressured an election-time City Hall into sandblasting this supposed “safety and religious hazard” had better hope no bicyclists get killed along that stretch. A city department that has done so much good work will have blood on its hands.”

    I know it doesn’t matter much now, but since the mayoral election was so close, I wonder if the bikelane deal that Bloomberg made with the Hasids actually swayed the contest. Analysis shows that fewer Hasids voted Bloomberg anyway:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/nyregion/16orthodox.html?_r=3

    I also can’t help but wondering (again, since it was so close) that if the bike lane deal were known before the election, would enough of the hundreds of thousands of cyclists voted otherwise, and have swayed the election. I know I would not have voted Bloomberg.

    Also, WNYC ran a news item this morning, “City Hall Not Denying Deal in Brooklyn Bike Lane Controversy”
    http://www.wnyc.org/news/articles/145923

  • TKO

    The BEdford bike lane did put folks at risk. As shown in the New York Time’s photo. A young lady disregarding the law and riding the wrong way on the street. It is about time we not only take cars to task but fellow cyclists. How many riders use that street without breaks or at night without lights too?

  • thanks David. I added to the stack.

  • Tom Middleton

    Their reps sold their votes for the removal of part of a bike lane? Wow, that’s cheap.
    Maybe the deal for votes included other goodies for the community, but removal of a bike lane is like a bank giving you a free toaster.

  • The chickens are coming home to roost with Bloomberg’s re-election. It’s not really worth short-circuiting democracy if bike-lane removal is what we get, is it? “Progress, not politics?” ROTFLMAO.

    And speaking of democracy, I’m afraid that the people who keep sending Carl Kruger back to Albany are getting what they deserve.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “And speaking of democracy, I’m afraid that the people who keep sending Carl Kruger back to Albany are getting what they deserve.”

    I’d check the New York State Board of Elections website before making a claim like that.

    The results for 2008.

    27th SENATE DISTRICT

    Carl Kruger, Democrat, 42,000 votes, presumably including those in on some deal and those voting the Democratic Party line/

    Vyacheslav Patrin, Conservative, 3,040 votes.

    Blank — voted for President but not this office. 39,496 votes.

    That’s it.

    And if someone else did manage to get on the ballot (they generally do not allow this), good luck getting the media to pay attention to what they have to day, and good luck raising the funds to advertize with no votes to sell.

    I for one take no responsibility for anything the State of New York has done, and I have (pointlessly) voted (against the incumbent where there was any alternative) every year.

  • I can never open the Post links on my crappy iPhone. I loved that the proposed alt route to Bedford was blocked the night the lane was “resprayed”. I found 150 to 200 cars angle parked on Kent, in the lane. Trucks couldn’t get through, (on the section south of the no truck zone) and south bound cyclists (me) were then forced into on coming traffic and peds walking in every direction. Wasn’t safe wasn’t smart.

  • @Larry, agreed, that’s one of the most frustrating aspects of “representative democracy” in this town–Soviet-style general elections with only candidate to vote for.

  • Moocow, it’s not your Iphone, it’s the crappy Post website that sends every mobile user to the mobile-optimized front page instead of to the mobile-optimized version of the page they were trying to visit.

  • Larry Littlefield, unfortunately all transit systems pay that much for buses. Theres very little choice, so you get high prices and not much to chose from. Besides Orion there is New Flyer and NABI. I think Neoplan closed up a few years ago, but they might still be around.

  • David_K: “I also can’t help but wondering (again, since it was so close) that if the bike lane deal were known before the election, would enough of the hundreds of thousands of cyclists voted otherwise, and have swayed the election. I know I would not have voted Bloomberg.”

    It is ironic that some of us may have voted against Thompson, at least in part, because of his threat to tear out the Grand Street Bike Lane, while Bloomberg was quietly cutting deals to do away with the Bedford Avenue Bike Lane.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Larry Littlefield, unfortunately all transit systems pay that much for buses.”

    Wel, I just checked LA, and they are paying $688K each for 260 45-foot CNG buses, so I guess NY and Orion look good by that measure.

    But how about this measure? A passenger car that seats 5 costs, what, $30,000 of a real high-grade one? Let’s assume the Orions will carry 60, or 12-times as many. The auto purchase equivalent is $360K. And remember, in this comparison the 12 passenger cars would have 12 motors and controls, vs. one for the bus. And while electric rail vehicles can go for 40 years, I’m not sure a bus can last longer than a passenger car.

  • Well, assuming that Bloomberg didn’t give away the Grand Street lane, I’d rather lose an unprotected lane in the door zone. Now if they’d just put in 24/7 loading zones on Grand, then Sweeney and his friends would have nothing to complain about.

  • “So who’s running against Kruger?”

    Do quote last Monday’s Daily News article:

    “Gay advocates tried to get Councilman Lew Fidler to challenge Brooklyn Democrat Sen. Carl Kruger, who voted “no,” but Fidler declined. Kruger would be tough to beat because he heads the powerful Senate Finance Committee and has $2 million in his campaign account.”

    With lots of motivated enemies though, what we all need to do is unveil him as the incompetent fraud that he is.

  • Ian Turner

    Larry, what’s the sales volume of 5-seat passenger vehicles as compared to 60-set public buses? Consider that most of the design aspects of a bus are not applicable to other sorts of vehicles; a bus has a totally different platform from a truck, for example. So economies of scale make a big difference.

    Finally, at the other end of the scale, consider the cost of a Boeing 747: Roughly $600,000 *per seat*.

  • Larry,

    Alls I’m sayin’ is somebody has to vote for the guy in order for him to keep winning, and there must have been one or two decent primary candidates along the way. One look at the rosters in Albany or the City Council and it’s pretty clear that good number of the officeholders were not the best candidates for the jobs.

    Gotham Gazette on Kruger:

    Many point to Sen. Carl Kruger as a major beneficiary of the current system. Despite having no opponent in his last campaign, Kruger kept his campaign coffers flush with cash. In the beginning of this year he had $1.7 million on hand.

    Kruger, a conservative Democrat, had a cozy relationship with Senate Republicans when they were in charge of the Senate. When the Senate flipped, Kruger became the head of the powerful finance committee over a number of other Democrats who had expected to be in line for the job,

    Since the beginning of the year Kruger has raised over half a million dollars, which a spokesman says is “the most in the senate.” During the recent deficit reduction negotiations, Kruger launched an all-out assault on Gov. David Paterson’s proposed budget cuts. He instead pitched a number of one-shot ways to close the budget gap, including collecting cigarette taxes from Indian reservations — something seen as all but impossible.

    Some speculated that Kruger was doing his best to ensure that special interests that support him so well were left unscathed. “He raises tons of money, and I blanch to think about the way he goes about doing it,” said one senator troubled by Kruger’s behavior. “I think we can use people like Carl as an example to push for reform,” the senator said wishing to remain anonymous due to his working relationship with the Kruger.

    A spokesman for Kruger said that it is no secret Kruger is an adept fundraiser. Responding to accusations that the money received influenced Kruger’s actions during this year’s deficit reduction negotiations the aide responded, “He was a big fundraiser before this session even before he was in the majority and before he was finance chair.”

    When asked what makes Kruger a standout fundraiser, the spokesperson responded, “He’s a hard worker, and he’s a hard worker.”

  • Larry Littlefield, I suggest you not look at what a LRV costs. Slightly bigger than a bus but much, much costlier. I dont know why, but thats what these companies charge.

    As for life of a bus, if I recall correctly, a fleet cannot have an average age of more than 12 years by law. Transit systems arent replacing buses every 10 years because they want to, or because they need to, but because they HAVE to. As far as I know, there’s no law that limits the age of a rail vehicle, and yeah, 40 years is considered a standard life for a rail car.

  • Carl Kruger, Democrat, 42,000 votes, presumably including those in on some deal and those voting the Democratic Party line/

    Vyacheslav Patrin, Conservative, 3,040 votes.

    That’s depressing, that the only alternative is a Conservative. If you think upstate Dems don’t believe in spending tax dollars on public services, the Conservatives believe that roads and schools just happen on their own. We really could use a Civil Service party.

  • Speaking of 5-seaters, there’s a really interesting system of vehicles that I saw in Istanbul this September, they are 6-seater vans, called dolmu? (pronounced dole-mush, means “stuffed!”) and they have a set route, usually one end-point to another. Mass transit in Istanbul isn’t new, but it’s clearly only recently become any kind of priority, as the streets and systems are really automobile centric, it’s a chaotic mess.

    Anyway, in such a place, the dolmu? were usually pretty fast and there’s an odd and funny sense of camaraderie inspired in the strangers who end up riding together. The really bizarre thing was that it didn’t really get stuck in traffic, despite the fact that Istanbul is The Place to get stuck in traffic.

    That’s totally anecdotal, maybe it’s a very poorly performing system statistically, but it would be an interesting thing to try here in NYC. I prefer spending money on improving the subways, but this seems like a cheap and efficient way to provide a kind of light-mass transit.

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