Today’s Headlines

  • Paterson Digs in to Finish Term, Handle State Budget Business (NY1, News, NYT)
  • The MTA Hearing Circus Comes to Town Tonight (News)
  • Post Picks Up on the Big Savings for State and City From Student MetroCards
  • Judge Rules ESDC Can Seize Properties in Atlantic Yards Footprint (Bklyn Paper, AYR, News, Post)
  • Why Has the Carlton Ave Bridge Closure Lasted So Long? (AYR)
  • Too Many Curb Cuts, Too Many Cars in Woodhaven (News)
  • Clive Thompson: We Don’t Have a Txting Problem; We Have a Driving Problem (Wired via HWD)
  • British Govt: More Car Ownership, Less Walking and Biking Big Factors Behind Rising Obesity (BBC)
  • Obama Ditches Motorcade for a Cardio-Healthy Walk (AP)
  • Subway Phobe Not Running for Senate (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • The MTA hearings are a trap! Write a letter to your state senator instead!

  • Do what the Cap’n says! my letter I sent yesterday:

    I wish people like Richard Brodsky knew what a great deal the city and state are getting on the free student MetroCard program vs the yellow buses. The City Department of Education spends $1 Billion on yellow school bus transportation for 140,000 NYC students, many in some of the more affluent areas of the city. That’s $7,000 per public just for their transportation to and from school. Meanwhile the city and state have slashed their funding for the half million Metrocard students.

    This is unfair to users of mass transit who currently subsidize MetroCard students at the farebox while yellow bus families here in the city and upstate pay nothing. The fecklessness has to stop. Someone has to stand up for urban mass transit riders and end the favoritism for the suburbs. Mass transit is the low cost and environmentally friendly way to transport students around the city, especially in your districts.

    Please join together with the rest of NYC’s elected officials to REALLY fight for full state funding of NYC’s MetroCard students or consider making yellow bus families pay their fair share of transportation costs.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “We should change our focus to the other side of the equation and curtail not the texting but the driving. This may sound a bit facetious, but I’m serious.”

    Exactly my suggestion for drinking and driving. Let the 18 to 20 year olds drink, as long as they do not get driver’s licenses and do not drive. The longer they go before starting to drive, the more used to getting around without driving they will be.

    “The fecklessness has to stop.”

    I don’t know: 30 years of fecklessness at the federal level (with occasional exceptions) and near 20 at the state level (with virtually no exceptions) is a long time. The values of the generation in charge are entrenched. Perhaps it only stops with bankruptcy and institutional collapse.

  • Albany Quote of the Day

    “I ache for the return of dysfunction. Dysfunction had its problems, but at least dysfunction has function in its title. We are not functioning at all”
    said Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2010/03/news-of-the-day-693.html#more#ixzz0h21YwFDJ

  • Yes, excellent piece by Clive Thompson:

    “Texting while driving is, in essence, a wake-up call to America. It illustrates our real, and bigger, predicament: The country is currently better suited to cars than to communication. This is completely bonkers.”

    And Larry, good point (maybe) about drinking. I say maybe, because in the UK where the drinking age is 18 (16 if accompanied by an adult), they are experiencing a lot of youthful drinking problems.

  • Kaja

    David: The argument used to be “Look at Europe with its 16yos drinking, and the lack of problems.” Correltion/causation. Malcolm Gladwell covered cultural anthropologists on drinking in a recent New Yorker, recomended.

  • Kaja, Thanks, I’ll check it out. I’m totally convinced by my own argument, which is why I qualified it w/a “maybe”

    I know this is veering off-topic of streets and transportation, but I remember reading this article on British binge drinking a long while back and being kinda blown away:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/world/europe/24crete.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=greece%20british%20binge%20drinking&st=cse

  • MtotheI

    I at least think people should attend the MTA public meetings to let them know that giving a great deal to a developer should not result in service cuts for the riding public. The appraised value of the Vanderbilt Yards were about $215 million and yet the MTA sold the property rights to Bruce Ratner for $100 million (less when you consider the updated payment timeline) when there were higher bids. That is $115 million in bus routes that should not get cut or have fewer service hours.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The appraised value of the Vanderbilt Yards were about $215 million and yet the MTA sold the property rights to Bruce Ratner for $100 million.”

    It’s current value is probably close to zero.

    Red herring. Everyone is looking for someone to blame for our massive problems, generally citing a small amount of money that is exaggerated. Kind of like the canard that soaring budget deficits in the 1980s and 1990s were a result of the Black people on welfare.

    It distracts attention from far bigger sums, and who benefitted.

  • Bolwerk

    Just curious, but why is Ford called a Subway phobe?

  • Speaking from a conference room at New York University, where he is a teacher, Mr. Ford, 39, expressed enthusiasm about his new hometown, though he described a life quite different than most New Yorkers. On many days, he is driven to an NBC television studio in a chauffeured car. He and his wife, Emily, a 29-year-old fashion executive, live a few blocks from the Lexington Avenue subway line in the Flatiron district. But Mr. Ford said he takes the subway only occasionally in the winter, to avoid the cold when he cannot hail a cab.

    from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/nyregion/13ford.html?pagewanted=all

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here’s a good example of unsustainable planning. I-69 was sold as a freight highway with few interchanges, linking Mexico to the Midwest. But in one county in Mississippi there will be 10 interchanges, and they are planning for sprawl.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2010/03/01/story3.html?b=1267419600^2944431&s=industry&i=commercial_real_estate

  • I used to be all for lowering the drinking age to 18. And then I visited my friend at a university in england. I’d never seen so many binge drinkers in my life, and more than that, everyone had a bottle of alcohol on their nightstand. Now, Im not so sure.

  • Britain isn’t the only country in the world where the drinking age is 18. Try pretty much any country in the developed world that’s not the US or Canada. I’m not aware of a large binge drinking problem in Singapore.