Today’s Headlines

  • Amtrak Running Triage on the Nation’s Busiest Intercity Rail Corridor (NYT)
  • MTA Board Members Bash Amtrak’s Management of Penn Station (NY1)
  • Cuomo Pulls Out All the Stops to Celebrate Expensive New Highway Bridge (NY1)
  • Passenger Injured By Drunk Off-Duty Cop Has Died From Her Injuries (ABC7, News)
  • Motorcyclist Inflicts Severe Head Trauma on Woman on Bruckner Blvd, Speeds Away (News, Post)
  • MTA Wants 300 Open Gangway Subway Cars By End of 2018, 1,000 By 2023 (AMNYNews, NY1)
  • John Samuelsen Gets on de Blasio’s Case About Funding Discount MetroCards (News)
  • Electric Buses for the L Train Shutdown Sound Great, as Long as They Run on Transit-Only Lanes (AMNY)
  • Queens Intersection Tweak Requires the Unthinkable — Moving NYPD Parking to Another Block (DNA)
  • TransitCenter Talks Advocacy Strategy With the Riders Alliance’s Nick Sifuentes
  • Wipe the Cars Away With Gothamist‘s Before-and-After Shots of Car-Free Day

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Komanoff

    “He was an enlightened soul.” Wrenching portrait in DNAinfo of Srymanean Manickam, the UES deli owner killed on Saturday by left-hooking cabbie: https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20170424/yorkville/deli-worker-struck-killed-taxi-yellow-cab-york-avenue-78th-street

  • Larry Littlefield

    This blog chronicles the collapse of transit service as a result of the deferred maintenance, debts and unfunded pensions of the past — even as younger generations have flocked to mass transit. It’s happening all over the country. For those who have followed these issues for decades, such a collapse despite higher fares and sky high ridership is unbelievable.

    And this blog the opposition of older drivers to sharing the road with people on bicycles, even as younger generations flock to bicycle transportation, a matter of life and death.

    But this is all part of a big picture. Imagine a “debt blog,” and “income by generation” blog, a “tax burden shifting” blog, a housing price blog, a retirement benefits blog, a life expectancy blog, an evil politics blog. They all point the same way. Income lower, generation by generation. Debts soaring. Federal policy to push up housing prices for younger buyers. Falling life expectancy. A global crisis of demand. Donald Trump.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/generation-greeds-last-economic-orgy-federal-reserve-z1-debt-data-for-2016-rising-housing-prices-census-bureau-data-on-worse-off-young-adults-falling-life-expectancy-etc/

    What happened at Penn Station is a result of decades of deals and decisions. Not something that happened yesterday and could change tomorrow. The same with everything else.

  • gregwtmtno

    “On Monday, the MTA took its first steps toward fully electric buses. The
    agency’s Transit Committee approved a $4 million, three-year lease on
    five electric buses and charging stations.”

    Anyone know more about this?

  • Fool

    ref: MTA Board Members Bash Amtrak’s Management of Penn Station

    Says the morons who can’t make Metro North and LIRR operate on the same over capacity station and instead waste billions on a new management fiefdom.

  • ohnonononono

    I’m also interested. Fully-electric buses also have the potential to be much quieter and provide a smoother ride, among the benefits beyond the obvious plus of emitting zero emissions. Requiring their use during the L outage is great, but they should also be used to replace polluting buses in the neighborhoods with the highest asthma rates in East Harlem and the South Bronx.

    I understand that fully-electric buses are still much more expensive, but it’s a crime that we’re starting to adopt electric cars in this country while so few public bus systems use significant numbers of EVs. City bus systems should logically be a space where EVs’ issues of range are minimized considering that they run on consistent routes. The same lack of innovation in large public sector bureaucracies is to blame for the enthusiasm with which the public imagines we’ll have autonomous private vehicles within a decade while our trains that run on a track still can’t even have One Person Train Operation.

  • Larry Littlefield

    That’s good news. If it works it will be a big step forward.

    Or at least will force various interests to donate a lot of money to the state legislature to keep NYCT running diesel.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Pointing fingers in a circle.

    You didn’t think that Amtrak could be kept on the brink of bankruptcy for two decades without deferred maintenance showing up somewhere, did you?

  • Guest

    Referring to the Kosciuszko Bridge as a “New Highway Bridge” is a touch questionable. It’s a replacement bridge, largely used by trucks, which will include a new shared use path.

  • Ken Dodd

    Can anyone tell me why this sack of sh*t NYPD cop Neville Smith is being charged with vehicular assault and not involuntary manslaughter? Even now that the girl has died, there’s no indication that they plan to upgrade the charges, or none that I’ve read. From Findlaw.com, the overview of involuntary manslaughter:

    “Involuntary manslaughter usually refers to an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as a DUI).”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t this fit NYPD cop Neville Smith’s actions perfectly, and would it not result in a stiffer jail sentence than vehicular assault?

    I was intentionally hit from behind at high speed by a deranged motorist when I was cycling. They charged him with vehicular assault instead of what it was, attempted murder, despite multiple witnesses confirming that it was deliberate. Is it that the NYPD and the DA sympathizes with these sack of sh*t drivers, or is it that they’re just trying to minimize the workload for themselves by charging them with offenses that require less paperwork/proof to prosecute?

    Look at this story from the UK, a driver making his getaway from a traffic stop smashes into a moped and a car and is thus charged with attempted murder:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4435632/Supercar-smash-leaves-moped-rider-seriously-injured.html

    If they can charge a driver like that with attempted murder in the UK, how bad does it look that the NYPD cannot even use the charge with a crash that was intentional, or that they cannot charge a drunk driving killer with a single charge with references the victim’s death?

  • Elizabeth F

    It’s also coming in on budget; and at $550m is a steal compared to $4b for the 2nd Ave subway, which serves almost as many trips. Not to mention $4b for the WTC PATH station…

  • Elizabeth F

    > I understand that fully-electric buses are still much more expensive

    They cost ~$300K more to purchase and other capital costs, but save $39K/yr in maintenance and fuel. With those economics, it’s just a matter of time. The recommendation has been that the MTA make the switch:

    http://www.columbia.edu/~ja3041/Electric%20Bus%20Analysis%20for%20NYC%20Transit%20by%20J%20Aber%20Columbia%20University%20-%20May%202016.pdf

    Next, let’s fix the box trucks. If similar economics apply there, this should not be too hard of a task.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Got a good deal on the Tappan Zee too.

    Too bad Cuomo seems to think the MTA Capital plan is the place for his construction supporters to really cash in. As long as the money is borrowed so Generation Greed doesn’t have to pay for it.

  • Vooch

    next let’s fix >55′ tractor trailers currently illegal in city except under extremely special circumstances requiring one-time use permit

    then box trucks 🙂

  • Elizabeth F

    Nope. If you breathe, box trucks are a bigger health hazard. Not only are there far more of them, but many also have their exhaust at ground level. One mis-placed breath behind one of them, and I feel it in my lungs for half the day.

  • Elizabeth F

    Note that the articulated buses used by NYC are 60′ long. A couple years ago, one killed an experienced biker on 125 St while pulling out of a bus stop. When in “normal” use, these buses pull into the leftmost lane when leaving a bus stop, quite dangerous.

  • Fool

    Wasn’t Kosciusko and Tappan Zee design build contracts?

  • Joe R.

    They also last at least 50% longer than diesel buses. If you amortize the purchase price over 18 years instead of 12, they’re probably cheaper to purchase as well as to operate.

    Test results of Proterra BE40 electric bus:

    http://altoonabustest.psu.edu/buses/reports/454.pdf?1432817806

    Compare to results for the New Flyer XN40 (latest bus model to be purchased by the MTA):

    http://altoonabustest.psu.edu/buses/reports/443.pdf?1470144506

    Acceleration performance is practically identical up to 25 mph and not much different even up to 50 mph. 0 to 50 mph takes the BE40 40.02 seconds, compared to 36.13 seconds for the XN40. The BE40 actually beats a number of other buses the MTA is using. At least any excuses that electric buses are slugs no longer exist.

    Ditto on electrifying box trucks, really any commercial fleet vehicles in NYC. That also includes sanitation trucks. It’s long past time NYC took the lead here.

  • Joe R.

    It’s really disappointing that the latest bus purchases weren’t electric. NYC should start buying only electric buses at this point, with the goal of having a 100% electric fleet as older buses are phased out. We could probably have the bulk of the fleet electric by 2025.

  • c2check
  • Larry Littlefield

    I read the report, and here is one political problem. A great deal of the savings are maintenance. That means less maintainers are required, which means lower union dues.

    Meanwhile, the up front cost is higher. But electric buses ought to be cheaper, except for the battery. So this means less money for the TWU, and more for the battery makers, and less money overall as the cost of batteries falls.

    The TWU has succeeded in having labor saving technology result in higher costs overall (CBTC, master towers instead of local towers, etc). I could see it happening again.

    Then again, if bus service doesn’t improve, there will be lower TWU employment just because there are fewer buses.

  • kevd

    I’m a guy who questions most highway projects, but the new Kosc. Bridge is one that actually seems necessary.

  • Joe R.

    I don’t understand why unions should be dictating labor force size. The MTA should have the right to remove workers as their positions become obsolete.

  • ohnonononono

    NYPD isn’t going to upgrade the charges ’cause they protect their own. The guy will go through the whole process with red carpet treatment and get every advantage that a “common” criminal wouldn’t be afforded. They’re thugs with badges.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Seriously, I wish there wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction here against any sort of highway project, especially one like this that doesn’t add excess capacity to the BQE (like a 4th lane would), but smoothes out a choke point that causes traffic even when the rest of the BQE is uncongested.

    There are lots of places in the tri-state area’s highway network that could be redone this way, with an end result being a net win for everybody.

  • Larry Littlefield

    In the public sector they can’t even fail to replace unneeded workers as they retire, with no one losing a job, or shift workers to other categories (i.e. bus drivers and train operators) to increase service.

  • Vooch

    true, but the >55′ truck is simply a enforcement issue. The law banning them exists. It just is never ever enforced.

  • Joe R.

    Well, it’s a pity we’re not fighting this tooth and nail. I’ve been saying for a long time you could probably cut the staffing levels in half at the DOE and NYPD with no change in educational or public safety outcomes. The MTA also seems ripe for major cuts in staff. Perhaps not half, but maybe 25%.

  • Joe R.

    One highway project I think almost everyone here would be in favor of would be putting a bike lane on all the highways. Given the size of NYC, ways for cyclists to quickly traverse long distances non-stop are sorely needed. Since the highways already exist, there wouldn’t be any issues of building new viaducts which the community might object to. You can do much the same thing hanging bike roads off existing railway viaducts. That would certainly be a net win also.

    It’s not that people here necessarily always object to any highway project. Rather, they object because they see it as something not useful to them personally. Putting in bike lanes, or perhaps center-running rail, could change that perception.

  • crazytrainmatt

    Cuomo got a bad deal on the Tappan Zee even if you assume it needed replacement (it didn’t).

    Look at the Oresund or Great Belt link projects to see what Denmark and Sweden got for a few billion dollars: about 4-5 times in terms of total length and longest span, and including some tunneling and artificial island construction, all in the north sea.

  • Vooch

    reallocating one motor lane to cycling ( two way ) on the FDR would be a great start to reduce congestion

    then apply to all limited access highways in city.

    eventually reallocate 1 lane in each direction

  • ahwr

    We could probably have the bulk of the fleet electric by 2025.

    How realistic would that timeline be? Doesn’t the MTA still have a lot of buses from the late 90s and early 2000s?

  • Joe R.

    Actually, the oldest models are slated to be replaced very soon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTA_Regional_Bus_Operations_bus_fleet#Current_active_fleet

    With the leverage NYC should be able to get from its large volume purchases, I’m not seeing why some of the purchases now in the pipeline can’t be changed to electric. Also, those buses only a few years old should be amenable to being retrofitted to battery-electric operation. The extra lifetime electric operation will give should make that cost-effective. I think 2025 if anything is a pessimistic timetable. If we went all out on a retrofit and purchase program we might be able to have a mostly electric fleet a few years sooner. Regardless, there’s no reason at least new purchases shouldn’t be electric at this point. The buses have proven themselves elsewhere.

  • com63

    Does Cuomo get credit for the open gangway trains? That last I had heard, the MTA was only planning on ordering one ten car train and if it worked, they would consider ordering more decades later. Seems like the schedule has been greatly accelerated.

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