Today’s Headlines

  • Bloomberg: Success of Car-Free Broadway Not Just About Effects on Traffic (City Room, Post)
  • Drum Major Institute: Congestion Pricing the Only Way to Stave Off Transit Catastrophe (HuffPo)
  • Pentagon Ranks Global Warming a Destabilizing Force (Guardian)
  • NYCT Rolls Out New Three-Door Bus for SBS Corridors (SAS)
  • Report: MTA Letting Contractors Off the Hook for Shoddy Work (NYT, News, Post, AMNY)
  • New South Ferry Terminal Already Springing Leaks (AMNY)
  • Daily News Makes Light of Traffic Deaths in Weird, Half-Hearted Enforcement Cam Endorsement
  • Vowing to Reduce Traffic Collisions, SFPD Chief Initiates Review of Bike-Ped Policies (Streetsblog SF)
  • NYC Night Scenes, Seen From the Saddle (City Room)
  • Sure, Slime Molds Can Design Transit Networks, But Can They Fund Them? (Freakonomics)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Drum Major Institute: Congestion Pricing the Only Way to Stave Off Transit Catastrophe”

    Hey, I agree with congestion pricing, if for no other reason than to ensure the bridges are maintained so bicycles can ride over them.

    But overselling it would leave advocates in the same position as Lew Fidler with his tax on workers that exempts the captial gains of the rich and retirement income: at this point, it isn’t enough to stave off transit catastrophe.

    The debts, and unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations from the past are too big. And enough of them are inflation indexed that they could explode at any time.

  • J. Mork

    Is the mayor getting his talking points from?

    “It’s not just traffic. One of the things that has happened is pedestrian deaths have come down dramatically in this area,” Bloomberg said.

    “And I don’t know how you equate a few lives with a few more seconds of inconvenience,” he added.

  • J. Mork

    should be “from StreetsBlog?”

  • From the DMI editorial:

    It is equitable because only five percent of New Yorkers drive into the central business district for work, and the median income of those that do choose to drive exceeds that of other commuters by 30 percent.

    It’s also equitable because right now we’re paying for a lot of that driving infrastructure with our general tax dollars. If you don’t put that in, it just sounds like “Oh, these people have money, let’s ding them!” I’m constantly amazed at how many congestion pricing advocates leave that out.

  • Is the Mayor getting his talking points from Streetsblog?

    No, but the great thing about the apparently ambiguous traffic speed data is that the question of prioritizing safety, economic vitality, streetlife vs. moving cars is now front and center.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I guess everyone has their favorite thing about Congestion Pricing that everyone else belittles. Mine is the MTA Bus Driver and Business Delivery Driver Productivity Factor. Congestion Pricing is passed off as anti-business by outer borough politicos unwilling to look under the hood when it is really a productivity tool and labor saving tool for those who employ building service workers and delivery workers on the streets of Manhattan. Likewise, Congestion Pricing has huge potential savings in MTA bus driver productivity, savings that can be used for increased service, lower fares or capital plan. That is my favorite.

  • NattyB

    The link to the AMNY article on the South Ferry link is actually a link to the AMNY article on how the MTA is laying off punishing their bad contractors.

  • Thanks for some of the comments here on my congestion pricing piece. It is a constant challenge to find the angle that will resonate with the highest number of people. This is an issue where you look at the data and the data tell you that congestion pricing would have all these benefits. But when you present the idea to people, even those that don’t drive, there is tremendous resistance. But the most persistent and, frankly, annoying opposition to congestion pricing is that it supposedly will disproportionately hurt middle class New Yorkers. This is clearly not true.

    In any case, I welcome any feedback on the best way to present this solution to the region’s transportation needs. Thanks.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I welcome any feedback on the best way to present this solution to the region’s transportation needs.”

    Point out that (forgetting the transit system for a moment) after tolls were removed from the East River Bridges, they were allowed to fall apart. Big money has been borrowed to restore them, with city residents paying even if they do not drive. As money is diverted to the bonds, without a revenue steam, the bridges will fall apart again.

  • From The Times’s piece on the MTA and contractor evaluations:

    In several instances, evaluators reported feeling pressured by upper management to raise their ratings, apparently to avoid hampering the authority’s ability to deal with vendors in the future.

    “Managers sometimes allowed what they perceived to be agency ‘business decisions’ to override their true assessments of contractor performance,” the report found, noting that there is “an institutional reluctance, for a variety of reasons, to rate contractors’ work as ‘unsatisfactory,’ even when such ratings are the most appropriate.”

    Well, that makes sense, because one would want to be unhampered in one’s ability to rehire those unsatisfactory contractors in the future.

    Uh, wait a minute…

  • Larry Littlefield

    There is only one signal contractor. They all merged together into one organization, which as of the time I worked there was operating in bankruptcy.

    Monopoly and oligopoly is a big problem at the MTA capital program. So the reason they might want to avoid disqualifying contractors is there are so few.

    Also, the assumption is that courts will always rule in favor the struggling business against the big bad MTA, particularly when a slick lawyer represents the former and an immigrant engineer the latter. So in every dispute, the MTA rolls over.