Today’s Headlines

  • New York Can’t Afford to Wait 50 Years for Modern Subway Signals (NYT)
  • Kimmelman: Cuomo’s Not Thinking Big Enough on Penn Station (NYT)
  • Surprise — There Are Still Too Many Cars on the New Kosciuszko Bridge, Which Is Still Free (NYT)
  • Garbage Truck Driver Hits Car on Bruckner Boulevard, Killing 3-Year-Old Girl (PostNBC4)
  • Lawsuit: NYPD Bosses and Bronx DA Harassed Officer Who Cited Vanessa Gibson for Distracted Driving (Post)
  • The 13th Precinct Ramps Up Its Bogus Bike Ticket Operation (Gothamist)
  • De Blasio’s Ferry Service Began Today, Transporting Dozens of People From the Rockaways (DNA, AMNY)
  • Dejected Eric Ulrich: “If You’re a Bus Rider,” Woodhaven SBS Is “Going to Be Great for You” (QChron)
  • Don’t You Know Manhattan Traffic Was Pure Poetry Before the Bike Lanes Came? (West Side Spirit)
  • People You Share the Road With (DNA)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Elizabeth F

    Left turns like the driver did are legal; except, of course, when they interfere with on-coming traffic. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/nyregion/answers-to-questions-about-new-york.html

  • bolwerk

    BQX isn’t Cuomo’s idea. It’s de Blasio’s.

    You say taxpayers wouldn’t be on the hook, but then say the city pays the financing costs?

  • Fool

    You forget, the fare was controlled by the city at the time and BMT basically did not have the ability to control revenue, only costs. In fact leaving the fare at a nickel was intentionally designed to bankrupt the companies (which it did).

    The city wanted the revenue from the subways. Just as the state wanted the revenue from the Tappan Zee (Hence the stupid location). So once again the ability of the BMT to provide such a value for so long is staggering when compared to what we have now.

  • Vooch

    no

    I say that gov’t projects also have financing costs. Gov’t projects typically use debt financing

  • Vooch

    so why should I pay for your stuff ?

  • Vooch

    Boris,

    you do realize the atrocity known as the BQE should be removed and the prexisting street grid restored ?

    City would generate 50-100 billion selling the land

  • Vooch

    The evil totalitarians delivery bankrupted the BMT and IRT.

    you knew that

  • Vooch

    this time the capital markets are developed enough that gov’t backstop not needed

  • Vooch

    Ken

    I find Park uptown positively pleasant.

    different perceptions for sure

  • Joe R.

    In general I agree but certain things like public transportation or health care can survive as monopolies with heavy regulation and a serious effort to contain costs. Public transit hasn’t devolved into a jobs program for unions elsewhere as it has in NYC. There is a lot of entrenched entitlement here, both public and private, which needs to be dealt with.

    Competition in general works well for nonessential goods or services, or for luxury versions of essential goods or services. It doesn’t work all that great for basic essential services. There is absolutely no incentive to serve those unable to pay much under a profit-oriented system. If we look at medical care, for example, under the present system there’s absolutely no incentive to use or research low cost treatments for ailments. The end user doesn’t directly pay, so they don’t care. The medical service providers benefit from expensive treatments. The insurance companies in theory might help contain costs but in practice they can only suggest less expensive alternative treatments which exist. There’s absolutely no incentive then for medical providers to bother researching low cost treatments. You need to have a public entity which also provides medical care do such research.

    If we apply this to public transit again under the present system there are no real incentives to control costs. The TWU obviously benefits from more members and higher union dues. The MTA just passes on its higher costs in the form of fare increases, so no incentive on their part to tackle the problem. The solution might be to regulate fares so they remain at $1.25 to $1.50 in constant dollars. This gives the MTA serious incentive to cut costs. It also forces the TWU to bargain realistically if they know there’s fixed amount of money to go around.

    The real problem as I see it isn’t that certain public services are monopolies but rather that here in NYC and NYS we haven’t even questioned their ever increasing demand for funding at well past the rate of inflation. That includes the UFT and NYPD as well. At some point you have to ask questions like why do you need twice as much in adjusted dollars per pupil to provide a worse education than you did 50 years ago? Or why don’t we have money to maintain the subway system despite record ridership and inflation-adjusted fares which are way higher than 50 years?

    There may be some improvement in a couple of decades as Generation Greed dies off, but by that time they would have left all our organizations — public and private — so deep in the hole that there is little left of value.

    Robotic labor may be the thing which saves us. When labor is essentially free, all kinds of possibilities appear.

  • AnoNYC

    It’s legal but drivers should be required to stop.

  • kevd

    I pay for some of yours, too.
    or do you bike it all in yourself from warehouses in Jersey?

  • kevd

    but then how much will the city lose when literally hundreds, if not thousands of businesses close because they can no longer receive deliveries?
    How about we just fairly price the BQE, and driving in general?

  • Vooch

    because businesses didn’t exist until the BQE was built 🙂

  • People like that send otherwise neutral observers running into the anti-bike camp. They are the worst.

    But let’s also be aware that even the safety-minded lawbreaking of the type defended by Joe R. grates mightily on people and causes tremendous resentment: “Who are they to pick and choose the laws they follow?”

    Anyone who thinks that “safe” lawbreaking has no consequences in terms of exacerbating anti-bike sentiment within an already hostile general public is fooling himself/herself.

  • kevd

    and distribution systems, consumer tastes & price indices are basically unchanged in the 60 years since it was built!

  • Joe R.

    I think a good compromise is keeping the city highways open for commercial vehicles of all types (except for hire passenger vehicles), buses, and of course emergency vehicles. That would reduce traffic on them enough to repurpose one lane in each direction for bikes. The city highways would be closed to private cars and taxis/Uber/Lyft. That would hopefully keep people from driving to work from Long Island, NJ, CT, and so forth. They would have to slog along already crowded local streets for probably two hours to get from city limits into Manhattan.

    I think the highways are needed for commerce, but f*ck the suburban car commuters. Let them take LIRR, MN, or NJT. For most of them it’s probably faster anyway but they would rather sit in traffic day in and day out just to avoid breathing the same air as train commuters.

  • kevd

    just charge more for vehicles everywhere.
    stop over thinking it.
    gas taxes, congestion charges. parking fees. yes, even the occasional toll.
    its very very simple.
    I can imagine riding on a highway next to thousands of vehicles stuck in traffic is going to be good on the ole lungs…..
    I’ll take Vooch’s PBLs instead. Though without his libertarian fever dream tolls.

  • Vooch

    Joe,

    your compromise solution is a good approach if one can’t achieve perfection

  • Joe R.

    That would work too but I would want more than just a congestion charge to enter Manhattan. There should be a $10 charge for that but also maybe a $5 charge to enter city limits, at least during the day. Way too many people, especially cops, drive from LI to their jobs in the outer boroughs. At least take some cursory steps to make this less attractive.

  • kevd

    I think a VMT charge, and a reduction in the NYPD parking favors (aka you can park wherever you want and never get a ticket if you have a PBA union card on the dash) would do that fine.

  • Joe R.

    I’d say at best safe lawbreaking bothers 5% to 10% of the people I’ve talked to. Also, if all they saw was safe lawbreaking, it probably wouldn’t be enough to send that many people into the anti-bike camp who weren’t already there. It’s really the type of riding Ken saw which makes people anti-bike in the first place. Once they are, that belief is simply reinforced by every cyclist breaking the law.

    The thing is if you want to change cyclist behavior to get more people on our side my philosophy is a lot more realistic. The majority of cyclists I see already ride like that. It’s just the outliers we have to educate. Catch up to them and tell them something like “You should never go through red lights when people or cars are crossing.” Explain why, including that these idiots are putting themselves in danger. Then maybe ride along with them for a while, showing them a more proper approach where you wait the full cycle if there’s heavy cross traffic but go through elsewhere once traffic clears. Maybe also talk about the importance of riding in a straight line, yielding to pedestrians when turning, and not riding against traffic. If you’re lucky you’ll have a convert.

    To me this seems a lot easier then getting people to sit for 60 seconds at an empty intersection in January at 3AM waiting for a light to change. Also, my type of riding is still in keeping with the spirit of the law, which grants those with a green light the right of way. I’ve always felt the spirit of the law is more important than the letter.

  • Joe R.

    A VMT charge (which is based on some fixed rate per mile to account for space plus mileage times vehicle weight to the fourth power to account for actual road wear) is a great idea. A 3 ton SUV would be paying much more per mile than a compact. You might have something along the lines of $0.10 per mile plus $0.01 per mile times weight in tons to the fourth power. So a one ton compact would pay $0.11 per mile. A three ton SUV would be paying $0.91 per mile. In theory a 40-ton truck would pay $25,600.10 per mile, which is ridiculous, so maybe cap the maximum rate at something like $5 per mile (or have a different system for heavy trucks which takes account of axle loads which are real determiner of road wear).

    Definitely we need to get rid of parking placards and special parking privileges. Reserve some curbside spots near police stations for official vehicles. Let the police park their personal vehicles elsewhere like everyone else who drives.

  • Joe R.

    Those highway bike lanes though would be great for recreational riding late nights. The pavement is in generally better shape, plus there would glorious freedom from traffic controls.

  • There are bike paths adjacent to the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn and part of Queens, to the Cross Island Parkway from Bayside up to the Throgs Neck Bridge, and to the Wantagh State Parkway from Wantagh down to Jones Beach. Riding on those bike highways makes one think that such an arrangement should be universal.

  • bolwerk

    Of course government projects have financing costs. But governments can borrow at lower rates than private companies.

  • Vooch

    difference is trivial

    not material

  • bolwerk

    When borrowing a billion dollars, I think every percentage point on the bond rate means paying another hundred million or so a year. Might be somewhat hard for a private company to handle.

  • Vooch

    1% is never a deal killer

    if 1% increase in costs kills a project, then maybe it’s a bad project

  • bolwerk

    Increase in what? A 1% increase in project costs isn’t much, but a one percentage point increase in APR is a probably pretty realistic difference between public and private borrowing costs. Could vary some, down or up, but even half that isn’t trivial.

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