Today’s Headlines

  • Instead of Cutting $65 Million From the MTA, Cuomo Could Fix Lousy Service (AMNYNews)
  • Wanted: Better Communication on Subway Platforms About Service Disruptions (Post)
  • State Senate Passes Bill to Stiffen Penalties for Repeatedly Speeding Near Schools (QChron)
  • Car Thief Caused Havoc in Lower Manhattan Saturday Morning, Injuring One (Post)
  • NYPD Detective Fired for Assaulting Two People With His Van (News)
  • Speeder on Atlantic Avenue Flees Crash, Leaves Brother Badly Hurt in Passenger Seat (News)
  • More Coverage of the Drop in Traffic Deaths Since November (DNA)
  • 8 Inches of Snow Is the Threshold for Seriously Reducing Subway Service (AMNY)
  • Catch the Last Episode of “In Transit” on NY1

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    Third time a charm? Can we get this one right?

    Shut down the buses, commuter rail lines and exterior subway lines at 1 am tonite. Ban private motor vehicle traffic in NYC at the same time.

    If the storm swerves and only produces 5-8 inches, as weather.com predicts, try to re-open things by 10 am tomorrow.

    If not, and we get the 20 inch average the national weather service predicts at this moment, try to get the city up and running, with streets cleared in business areas and the schools open, by rush hour Wednesday.

    Get the bike lanes cleared by Thursday AM. Except in David Greenfield’s district, where the Ocean Parkway malls should be left impassable until April.

  • Urbanely

    That plan makes sense, but I think part of the reason for keeping things open is so that government workers are required to go in/use personal time to stay home. If there’s an official closure, it’s a free day.

  • bolwerk

    Probably no need to shut down any rail that isn’t in a trench or at-grade. Any rail that can still be run probably should still be run to help keep the ROWs clear. Subsurface lines and anything elevated should be fairly immune to any amount of snow. That’s what makes the prior blizzard shutdown(s?) so unforgivably daft.

    And even buses should be quite safely operable in, what, up to 10 inches of snow? More?

  • Larry Littlefield

    We don’t need a repeat of the stranded buses blocking the plows, or the stranded A train.
    And it makes no sense to get people places if you can’t get them home.

  • bolwerk

    And luckily we can at least keep the subway mostly running without risks like that. The vast majority of the problem with the A Train was bureaucratic incompetence anyway.

  • Guest

    Headline should read: “It took NYPD More Than Four Years to Fire Detective Who Assaulted People With His Van”

  • Larry Littlefield

    This is a Northeaster. Which means it has the potential to flood the tunnels, among other things.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1992/12/12/nyregion/storm-s-havoc-overview-storm-lashes-new-york-region-with-rain-gales-flooding.html?pagewanted=all

  • bolwerk

    Flooding can be dealt with accordingly, though I don’t recall any recent blizzard nor’easters that resulted in flooding of that sort. As things stand now, there is no reason to do anything other than prepare to shutdown if necessary, and probably only in specifically vulnerable sections of the system.

    I guess a surprise temperature increase could change the prognosis to a big rain storm, but this seems a bit too imminent for that to be likely.

  • Larry Littlefield

    You are arguing to continue the principal of oscillating stupidity.

    Because you are on the “Blame Cuomo” bandwagon, you are reacting to Cuomo’s over-reaction to that storm that veered away at the last minute. Lots of Monday Morning quarterbacking here.

    Cuomo himself was over-reacting to a storm that suddenly led to a blizzard warning on Christmas and caught the Bloomberg Administration and MTA unprepared.

    And going back a few storms, I can recall Metro North taking a “we can get through this macho approach to a snowstorm with winds. The winds blew the snow into the junction boxes, which then shorted, leaving most of the fleet out of action for weeks.

    Metro Boston then repeated that same mistake for its Red Line trains a couple of years ago, causing a multi-week transit disaster.

  • bolwerk

    Isn’t that a tad ad hominem-ish? I’m not as prone to reaction formation as most people. I might not like Cuomo very much, but I’m not prone to having the strong feelings about politicians that “liberals” develop about Trump and RWAs develop about Hillary. The only recent past event that unambiguously warranted a preemptive shutdown – and by that I mean, before the event hit based on the probability and potential for widespread catastrophic damage – was Sandy.* In every other case shutdowns almost certainly caused more problems than they solved, including stranding people. I have yet to see any evidence that this storm, even at its full brunt potential, is anything more than another case like that.

    Full disclosure: I was against the Irene shutdown, but it’s the only case I can think of where I was arguably wrong before the event hit. Irene ended up not being as damaging as Cuomo imagined (fantasized?) it could be, so my prediction was technically right, but it also cut way closer to being seriously damaging than I thought it would be before it happened. And by way closer, I mean if the storm surge were just a little higher, it would have caused Sandy-like damage

    * Note also that I was in the minority saying that before it hit, putting me in the jarring position of agreeing with Demigod-Emperor Cuomo.

  • Kevin Love

    Subway system operators from Toronto to Moscow to Scandinavia are now laughing at New York City. They somehow consider 8 inches of snow to fall into the category of “business as usual.”

  • AMH

    “Detective Carlos Sierra…was convicted Thursday of official misconduct, misdemeanor assault and leaving the scene of an accident…”

    So which was it? Assault or an accident?

  • bolwerk

    What surprised me after the 2010(?) blizzard was the sudden angst about snow that I never really observed here before. It was an impressive though hardly startling accumulation, and the only thing kind of unusual about it was that it accumulated very quickly.

    At the time I blamed social media kvetching, which nowadays is a surprisingly powerful driver of reporting. It seems the TV news ran with it and channeled it to create anxiety. The only other factor I can see is newcomers just aren’t that used to urban snowfall, or brought their (justifiable?) suburban alarm about snow here. Cuomo certainly seems to do that.

    Reality? We always expect a few nasty snowstorms, and for about a century our transit ran through basically all of them.

  • That was when two large snowfalls came back-to-back, a few days apart, wasn’t it? The cleanup for the first storm hadn’t been completed when the second one came.

    But I think that you have something about the social media factor. The sad fact is that social media is turning out to be an amplifier less of the reasonable aspects of society than of the unsavoury ones — in this case, the outer-borough douchebags who demanded that the City remove all the snow immediately (by magic, I guess?).

  • Vooch

    City should implement parking ban on all Avenues & Arterials during snow emergencies.

    Reduces snow plowing costs by more than half plus dramatically speeds up post blizzard recovery.

    Every other city on earth does this during big snowstorms.

    Chicago is a extreme example and bans street parking from certain corridors from Oct to March. Even Balmy DC had snow emergency corridors.

  • Joe R.

    I was thinking about that yesterday when watching the Railroad Alaska reality show. They deal with tens of feet of the stuff and NYC chokes on 18 inches. I could excuse it if NYC was a place where it almost never snows but big storms occur nearly every winter.

  • bolwerk

    I honestly don’t recall if that was it, but I do remember that happening around that time too. A seemingly sudden change in mass behavior is very stark for me.

    All the bad snows we’ve had mostly blend together.

  • Maggie

    Things you can do as a cop and stay on the public payroll for an entire presidential term.

  • bolwerk

    It doesn’t get fixed either. Not until mayoral electoral fortunes rise and fall on how mayors react to police thuggery.

  • bolwerk

    What’s your take on my comment? Am I remembering wrong? Did I not notice before that people find snow terrifying? Or do you agree that there was a shift in attitude recently?

    I figure you and Ferdinand are some of the few SB posters with actual decades of street-facing experience, going back to the storied Bad Ol’ Days™, which is why I’m asking.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Look at how recent most of the top ten snowfalls were. Seven out of the top ten from 1996 to 2006. Plus those Northeasters that caused flooding but less snow.

    Biggest Snowstorms (One Foot or More) at Central Park (1869 to Present)

    Last Updated: 3/3/17 Amount (Inches)

    Date(s)

    1

    27.5

    January 22-24, 2016

    2

    26.9

    February 11-12, 2006

    3

    25.8

    December 26-27, 1947

    4

    21.0

    March 12-14, 1888

    5

    20.9

    February 25-26, 2010

    6

    20.2

    January 7-8, 1996

    7

    20.0

    December 26-27, 2010

    8

    19.8

    February 16-17, 2003

    9

    19.0

    January 26-27, 2011

    10

    18.1

    January 22-24, 1935

  • bolwerk

    Yep. But nobody worries about that! :-

  • Kevin Love

    My take is that you are absolutely right. Yes, there has been a shift in attitude over the last generation or so. Once upon a time, 8 inches of snow falling on New York City fell into the category of “No big deal, what do you expect, it’s winter.” But now, the USA has become a “can’t do” country. See, for example, from the year 2008:

    http://www.thepaincomics.com/weekly080730.htm

  • Kevin Love

    Yes, it is my take that social media provides an echo chamber for the pearl-clutching “Oh no, there’s snow!”

    Every minor inconvenience gets amplified by this social media until it becomes THE APOCALYPTIC END OF THE WORLD!

  • Joe R.

    I agree 100%. In fact, I recall commuting all the way to Princeton in the early 1980s on some pretty bad snow days. Both the subway and NJT usually still ran on or close to schedule. The main problem was the bus to the subway. If they didn’t clear the roads, it would get stuck on the hills. Usually however the plows were out before rush hour started.

    There has definitely been a shift in attitude in the last decade or so. Not sure what to pin it on. Maybe the old adage that we’ve grown soft might have something to do with it. Back in the 1980s you undoubtedly had a lot of WWII veterans running things. After getting through that hell of a war, just about anything they encountered in civilian life probably seemed like child’s play. Ditto for much of the citizenry who actually knew the meaning of hardship and sacrifice. Back when my mom was in a convalescent ward for a few years as a child (due to scarlet fever which temporarily put her in a wheelchair) her parents once walked something like 6 or 7 miles from the Bronx through a heavy snowstorm to see her. If I recall nothing was running. I somehow doubt all that many people might attempt something like that nowadays. Inspired by this, I did walk the 2.5 miles from the subway in near blizzard conditions a few times when the buses weren’t running.

  • bolwerk

    Yeah, but I took it to be the last decade or 15 years, as Joe says. And I’m thinking it can be narrowed down to after 2005 and before 2011. Something changed then.

  • bolwerk

    ..and it’s ALL ABOUT ME!

    :-p

  • I generally don’t mind slagging the kiddies and the newbies. But, if society’s newfound skittish attitude towards snowfall results in some unplanned off days, then I am all for it!

    What these recent snow days have proven conclusively is that, apart from life-saving surgery, there is virtually nothing that cannot wait a day.

  • These are historically very large snowfalls, as Larry points out.

    I believe that school districts are not anxious to risk the lives of
    their teachers by asking them get to school in snowy, unplowed
    conditions, and once the schools are closed everyone else is obliged to close because employees are taking care of their kids.

  • Kevin Love

    That is when social media became popular. Perhaps that is the thing that changed.

  • Joe R.

    Yep, nothing wrong with occasionally having unplanned days off. There’s very little which can’t wait until the next day, or the day after. We work too many days anyway compared to our European counterparts, and yet our worker productivity isn’t any higher. Maybe that’s telling us we need more days off. A well-rested worker is a more productive worker.

  • bolwerk

    That is nice in theory, but in practice many employers are not so lenient and many parents are scrambling to drive or transit their kids to grandparents, daycares, etc.. And even those who can stay home can often expect to lose a day of much-needed pay.

    I’m not categorically shutdowns, but the threshold for shutting down schools is hit long before the threshold for transit.

  • djx

    Noticed this detail in story about NYPD arresting a driver for failure to yield: “windshield tint violation”

    http://gothamist.com/2017/03/13/failure_to_yield_arrest.php

    Police hate window tinting…..

  • bolwerk

    That is my guess. I made the mistake of innocently asking what the big deal was to someone on Facebook and kinda got scolded for even asking. Thought that was weird.

    And later it seemed like everyone was going plain batshit on Twitter.

  • bolwerk

    I wasn’t really slagging them. Was just noting my perception.

    I actually think days off are good, though I think the transit system still needs to be kept up. At least, past the point where most other things do.

    Frankly we should have way more days off whether there is snow or not. 😀

  • Joe R.

    Apropos of nothing, but you last sentence reminded me of this scene for some reason:

  • Larry Littlefield

    Right. Because they closed the schools in a blizzard, younger New Yorkers are wimps who can’t go about their business in 8 inch snow?

    The reality is these things are hard to predict. If the storm turns a little farther westward NYC might get — an 8 inch show. But as of now the most likely amount is 1 to 2 feet.

    You send vehicles out in that, they get stuck, block the plows, and shut down the city for days. I want everything back open on Wednesday.

  • Truth2Power

    They hate it when other people use window tint. Gotta defend their unique status.

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    1 stranded A train 1 time should not dictate policy. NYC functioned quite well until Bloomberg got caught in Bermuda.

  • Vooch

    The question becomes:

    Why are NYC school teachers driving to school ?

  • Urbanely

    Could it also be that telecommuting became more popular around that time, so maybe people just didn’t see the point of braving the elements when they could work from home? My job doesn’t allow telecommuting, although we are required to carry work-issued phones and we have remote network access. I’ve always wondered why we were required to be in the office everyday when we could just as easily do the same things from home most days…the feeling is amplified when it’s snowing/icy.

  • bolwerk

    You know what isn’t hard to predict? A lot of kids, through no fault of their own, get a reliable meal from school. Even schools shouldn’t be shut down lightly ’cause of weather.

  • Driver

    An unplanned day off really screws up a supply chain, which is one of the reasons everyone rushes out to buy milk and bread before a storm.

  • Andrew

    Sounds like a good reason to keep as much of the subway system running as possible, including outdoor segments not prone to snow buildup. Because, contrary to what some believe, “go to work” and “drive your personal car to work” are not at all synonymous in New York (unless you unnecessarily take away all other options).

  • Vooch

    blame suburbanites

    they get hysterical about many things – not driving for 12 hours drives them insane with angst

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