Today’s Headlines

  • Reclaiming the Sheridan for People, Housing and Parks — It’s Within Reach (NYT)
  • Fare Hike 2011: MTA Eyes 90-Ride Cap on Monthly Metrocards (News)
  • State Authorities Loaded Down With $133B in Debt; MTA Share: $28B (City Room)
  • Shocker: Forget About the Coup, Espada Says Dems Discriminating Against Him (Post, NY1)
  • Pavement to Parks: Pearl St. Cafe Gets DOT to Convert Parking Spots to Outdoor Seating (DNAInfo)
  • Parking Agents Spend Shifts Guarding Their Own Parked Cars in Westchester Square (Post)
  • Would State DOT Widen This BQE Exit Ramp If Driving Had a Pricetag? (Bklyn Paper)
  • 2nd Ave Sagas Questions the Need for More Public Hearings on Station Agent Layoffs
  • Check Out Long Island’s "Better Burb" Finalists (MTR)
  • Uber-Rich NYC Porschephiles Get in Line for Fantastically Anti-Urban Machine (Post)
  • Larry Littlefield

    Young people catch a break — from the aftermath of the housing bubble.

    http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aepYqUJ0cHcE&pos=10

    “The 7,000 unsold condos in Miami’s core — a symbol of a building boom that collapsed and dragged the city into recession — are filling up and giving life to neighborhoods that previously closed after dark. New, year-round residents are cramming into restaurants, nightclubs and bars that didn’t exist a few years ago, and enjoying a lifestyle made possible in part by developers and banks seeking to recoup losses by renting luxury dwellings until the market recovers.”

    “The unsold condos represent almost a third of the 22,079 units in 75 buildings, mostly opened after 2004, tracked in a study released in March by the Miami Downtown Development Authority. The report focused on central neighborhoods including Downtown, Brickell and Wynnwood/Edgewater.”

    “Occupancy rates in the new buildings, including owner- occupants and tenants, increased to 74 percent in February from 62 percent in May 2009, the study shows.”

    “The development authority estimates that the population of Miami’s urban core jumped to about 70,000 from 40,000 since the 2000 census, said authority spokesman Robert Geitner.”

    More and more money is being sucked out of younger generation’s futures with every political decision that is made. There is one shot to get some of that back — don’t transfer even more of your future income to prior generations by buying housing at any price other than a price that is a disaster for the seller.

  • Larry Littlefield

    BTW, contra Kotkin, I expect the trend described in Miami — the creation of a virbrant urban core occupied by middle income and young people rather than the “luxury” occupants expected by developer’s pro formas, to be repeated in many locations, including downtown Los Angeles in San Diego.

    And once the cost of construction and development sites adjusts downward, additional middle income housing can be built in those locations.

  • Why the sanctimoniousness about the Porsche 918? If I had the money, I’d love to own one myself. And while driving it in the five boroughs would be particularly frustrating, that would be my frustration to bear.

  • LOLcat

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, if the MTA is in such dire financial straights, why not get rid of unlimited metrocards and purchase bonuses? Make the fare a flat 2 dollars with 1 transfer (as it was for my entire childhood)

    It might suck but I think the lower fare would be a nice consolation prize. When the funding is there, they can bring the unlimited back.

  • It is very exciting that the Sheridan might be torn down. If the tear-down is approved, I hope someone in NY takes a series of before pictures and then follows up with a series of after pictures when reconstruction is done.

    One obvious error in the Times article:
    Near the beginning, it says: “Although the plan has no real precedent in New York, advocates recite the benefits.”
    And near the end, it says: “The last major removal of a New York City highway was of elevated portions of the West Side Highway, most of which were removed in stages from 1976 to 1989.”

    Of course, the West Side Highway removal is the precedent in NY for the Sheridan removal – two freeways built by Robert Moses.

  • Please take down the FDR next. Link it to the street grid just like on the West Side. It would give waterfront access to literally hundreds of thousands of people that live within a few blocks of the water, but can only see it from the other side of a highway.

  • Capping unlimited cards is an extremely stupid idea.

    Currently, the subway has excess capacity off peak. Ride a train at 9am, you have a bunch of seats to chose from. You WANT to encourage people to ride at these hours because theres no additional cost for someone to board the train, and you have the capacity.

    Putting a cap on unlimited use means hurting offpeak ridership, and for no reason at all.

  • Bolwerk

    The cited reasons for the unlimited caps ought to set off bullshit alarms. Seems like they could solve the scamming problem with a combination of limits on uses within a single station, the amount of time allowed before you can swipe again with the card at all, a longer time for swiping again within the same station, and a program to make it so you can’t swipe in nearby stations during that time either.

    Even today, selling unlimited rides is a low-return, high-risk endeavor for a small return. Regular panhandling probably makes more sense.

  • Ian Turner

    Seems fine to me. They’d just need to change the name, since it’s no longer unlimited. Call it the “30 day / 90 ride” card and the “7 day / 21 ride” card and you’re done.

    Even if the stated purpose of avoiding fraud is a fig leaf, the reality is that the MTA needs to raise more money somehow. Since the state is unwilling to look at new revenue streams, that means raising fares. Is there a reason to think that adding caps to the unlimited cards should be worse than other ways to style the fare increase?

  • LOLcat, there are two major reasons to maintain unlimited cards. First, as Jass said, they act as an off-peak discount: pay upfront for your commute, ride free off-peak. Some agencies even go the extra mile and put up lower-fare transit passes good every day after 9 or 10 am, further encouraging off-peak ridership.

    And second, the cost of fare collection is proportional to the number of times you put money on your card. If everyone replaced a single $89 transaction with 44.5 $2 transactions, then the MTA would need to process 44.5 times as many transactions, and add 44.5 times as many TVMs to the busiest stations. And if some of those TVMs break down, people would have to wait several minutes just to buy a ticket; it happened to me in Shanghai multiple times at stations with high tourist traffic.

  • By the way, there’s a very good reason not to cap unlimited cards, which is that it interacts poorly with POP. In a good POP system, people with valid transfers or unlimited-ride cards shouldn’t need to swipe at all. Either the paper tickets clearly indicate the date of expiry, or the inspectors have machines that can read magnetic stripes or RFID chips. Thus, people with unlimited cards can board regular buses from any door, without $50,000 TVMs at every bus station. This is incompatible with limits on how many times you can use one card.

    However, the $1 surcharge is somewhat helpful there, in that it provides an incentive not to buy rides one at a time. Unfortunately, it applies only to single-ride MetroCards, and not to paying cash on buses, which is the most time-consuming form of payment, or to pay-per-ride MetroCards.

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