Today’s Headlines

  • Cuomo’s Budget Is Coming Out Today — Brace Yourselves, Transit Riders (News)
  • What’s the Best Way to Make Streets Safer Near PS 49 in Middle Village? (News)
  • Woman Who Fatally Doored Jasmine Herron Indicted for Leaving the Scene (Post)
  • Eric Ulrich Wants to See Queens’ Worksman Cycles Build NYC Bike-Share Bikes (Crain’s)
  • Open Source Project May Be the Ticket for Cost Effective Real-Time MTA Bus Tracking (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • MTA Figuring Out If It Can Afford Life-Saving Sliding Doors for Subway Platforms (News)
  • How Many People Will Drive to the Refurbished Loew’s Movie Palace in Flatbush? (Gothamist)
  • City Shoos Illegal Livery Cars Away From Meatpacking District (NY1)
  • Streets and Public Spaces, Not Social Media, Are Underpinning Egypt’s Uprising (Grist)
  • Brooklyn Spoke Welcomes New York Cycle Chic

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    I hope those who agreed with the Straphangers that capital money should be used for the operating budget are satisfied. The problem has been “solved.” No amount of diversion of transit money needs to lead to any service cuts or fare increases. The balance could be borrowed, and maintenance could be cut.

    I don’t hear the Straphangers celebrating the de-funding of the transit system as a result of their convincing New Yorkers that the MTA had hidden billions and two sets of books. And I don’t expect they will be celebrating when the transit system collapses in a decade, either. It would not match their self-image.

  • ************************
    David Owens New Yorker article “The Efficiency Dilemma,” asks “If our machines use less energy, will we just use them more?”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/20/101220fa_fact_owen

    The quick simple answer is:

    When throughput accounting and design scaling is correct, chances are that we will make optimum use of our machines in the most practical, convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible manner; and if we use them more it will not matter since the impact on the environment will be minimal.

    An SUV obviously is not scaled correctly to move an individual, as well as a 35-ton subway car to move two hundred 175-pound people since both move more than one-half ton of wasteful dead weight per person wherein a simple bicycle might add between 15 to 35 pounds to the weight of each person it moves. The 430 million cyclists and 120 million electric bike users in China have minimal impact on the environment since cycling is about 3 to 4 times more efficient than even walking.

    And, it should be obvious that cycling provides a very primitive but effective solution as net-zero mobility.

    ************************

  • Erich Ulrich clearly wins the “talking out of both sides of his mouth” award. If Worksman Cycles builds all of those bikes for the bike share program, will he want the bikes and riders to be licensed?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Gov. Cuomo soon will propose a reduction in MTA funding – but he doesn’t want to trigger an increase in what riders pay to ride the subway, buses and commuter trains, a source close to the administration said. The figure will be limited to an amount the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will be expected to absorb while maintaining both the current MetroCard prices and level of service, the source said.”

    He didn’t say he wanted to maintain maintenance. And he didn’t say he didn’t expect the MTA to cover the cut with more borrowing. It’s always the unsaid.

  • #2 gecko is discussed regarding Jevons Paradox by Amory Lovins, Charles Komanoff, and others at

    http://www.rmi.org/rmi/jevonsparadox

  • Streetsman

    I think the MTA sliding doors idea, while perhaps a little “pie in the sky” right now given the state of funding, has NUMEROUS merits besides just the obvious life-saving application. They would also prevent trash from going into the tracks and creating track fires and polluting the sewers. They would prevent dirt, debris and odors in the tracks and tunnels from entering platform, making for cleaner and more pleasant stations. They would create a contained atmosphere that could be more easily temperature-controlled on hot/cold days, and smoke-controlled in the event of fire. They would cut down significantly on the deafening noise created by express trains passing local stations, or even stopping trains entering stations. In essence, they could separate the noise, heat, filth and danger of the track and tunnel environment from the user experience of the subway riders. This could make a HUGE difference in the attractiveness of transit as a commuting option for many New Yorkers, and could make New York in general a much more appealing place to live, work and visit to the rest of the world. Definitely a direction the MTA should be planning to go, one day when they can afford to…

  • Larry Littlefield

    It isn’t just a matter of affording. Every car class seems to have the doors in a different place, perhaps due to union influence (so platform doors can’t replace conductors), perhaps due to incompetence.

  • Brooklyn

    An agency that can’t maintain escalators and elevators will suddenly install sliding glass doors that operate reliably at all hours of the day? I laugh.

    You can’t design away risk, and you can’t legislate common sense.

  • Greg

    This is worth noting

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12334486

    Helmet cameras capture bad driving

    An idea worth importing, I think.

  • kevd

    Loews Kings in Ditmas Park?

    Wow. Streetsblog, you just lost alot of my respect.
    That is Flatbush.
    Ditmas Park is one section within Flatbush.
    And that part of Flatbush is not Ditmas Park.

    Maybe you should just only report on subjects in Park Slope and the Upper West Side instead of embarrassing yourself by demonstrating your complete lack of knowledge of any part of NY outside of the lily white gentrified portions?

  • J:Lai

    But if they add an enclosure with sliding doors, what will happen if riders evacuate a train between stations and try to walk to the next station?
    Or what if you accidentally enter the platform for the train in the wrong direction and need to cross over the tracks to get to the correct side?

    More seriously, given the low incidence of people getting hurt or killed as a result of being on the tracks, I think this is an expensive project to build and maintain which is not justified.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “More seriously, given the low incidence of people getting hurt or killed as a result of being on the tracks, I think this is an expensive project to build and maintain which is not justified.”

    There is no money, and there is the door problem. But I could see it being justified in the most crowded underground CBD stations if as a result:

    1) Conductors were no longer needed, saving money.

    2) AC could be added, improving amenities.

    But a better question is, will the system be in a freefall five to ten years from now?

  • kevd

    re: Ditmas Park/Flatbus
    Okay. simple mistake – and one easy to make now that I see Google maps (incorrectly) calls all of Flatbush “Flatbush-Ditmas Park”

    Its just the kind to mistake to really, really avoid if one wants to garner support for liveable streets in working class and minority neighborhoods, which are often the areas most in need of liveable streets.

    Angry comment retracted!

  • Streetsman

    @ J:Lai – agreed, these are all issues to be worked out. The doors would no doubt have emergency opening buttons on the tracks side.

    Not sure what you mean about crossing over the tracks tho – the doors would only be at the edge of the platform. You shouldn’t be literally crossing the tracks for anything.

    Given it’s likely cost I don’t think it can be justified right now in the current financial climate, but I think future fleet upgrades and station rehabs should be working toward the goal of eventually implementing them system-wide (where feasible).

  • Streetsman

    kev d

    It’s right on the border of Ditmas park, about 2.5 blocks away. It’s a mistake of about 800 feet in a city of 300 square miles. If you held all journalism to that standard every day, you’d have nothing left to read. I think it’s REALLY a stretch to make it a minority issue – I wouldn’t make that accusation lightly.

  • Headline updated. I wanted to be more specific than “Flatbush,” which is huge, but it looks like there’s no better name for that particular spot.

  • kevd

    I disagree strongly Streetsman.
    Flatbush Avenue is the historic heart of the village, town, and now neighborhood of Flatbush (and yes it is huge.)

    The break-off neighborhoods within Flatbush started using different names (or reusing old names) at the same time that central Flatbush become predominantly, and now overwhelmingly black.

    There was real white flight as well as a white flight of nomenclature.
    Even Kensington was typically just called “Flatbush” until the 60s.

    Applying those new names back to the historic, and overwhelmingly black core could come off as an act of cultural colonialism or genrification. Impressions are very important if one hopes to make the liveable streets movement palatable to people who live in central Flatbush. That sort of mistake can make it very easy for residents to dismiss liveable streets as something by and for outsiders. As a white person who bikes and lives in central Flatbush. I have a vested interest here.

    I’m not claiming Ben wanted to rename central Flatbush. Just that using the wrong name could leave a very negative impression. There is a significant racial and economic divide between Ditmas Park and central Flatbush. Even if they are neighbors.

    It was an honest mistake and it has been corrected. And yes, there isn’t an accepted name to distinguish central Flatbush from the other neighborhoods of Flatbush. I use central Flatbush. But no one else does.

    Thanks for correcting Ben. And the ’embarrassing’ line was too vitriolic on my part. Keep up the good work.
    (just try getting the NY Times to correct similar mistake. Do I sound like Greenberg?)

  • Streetsman

    Kev d

    You’re right – evidently Ben Fried does not know the distinct borders of Ditmas Park or the socioeconomic history of the area. But suggesting, by virtue of this mistake, that Streetsblog’s knowledge is limited to white, gentrified neighborhoods, is a leap. Good to make the correction though

  • J:Lai

    Streetsman, you mean you have never accidentally gone through the turnstile to the platform for the train going the opposite direction of what you wanted? Unless it is a transfer station, you either have to pay again, exit and jump the turnstile to the correct platform (increasingly difficult as I get older and the turnstiles get taller), or you could jump down and walk across the tracks to the correct platform, then climb back up.
    Add those sliding doors, and you can no longer cross the tracks.

  • kevd

    @ Streetsman

    Yes. It is a leap.
    And it is exactly the leap that foes of liveable streets will, and often do make in order to discredit our point of view. We should be very careful to avoid helping them employ that rhetoric.
    The privileged minority or drivers loves to portray its position as that of “real” working-class New Yorkers. We need to be very careful to not help them make that argument.

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