Today’s Headlines

  • MTA Shifts $1.2 Billion Away From New Subway Cars, Toward Cuomo Expansion Projects (News)
  • Hudson Tunnel Construction Cost Estimates Rise to $13 Billion (Politico, NYT, WNYCCrain’s)
  • Gateway Overseer John Porcari Says It Won’t Get Built Without Funds From Trump and the Feds (News)
  • Meanwhile, Christie’s Been Spending Millions in ARC Funds to Subsidize a Low-Ridership Ferry (NYT)
  • Derailment at Penn Expected to Tie Up NJ Transit Commutes Today (NYTPost)
  • Schumer: Spend Sandy Repair Funds to Fix Up NYC Transit (SoP)
  • How Well Will the Subway Handle the Surge of LIRR Riders Displaced By Amtrak Repairs? (AMNY)
  • More Coverage of Advocates’ New Transportation Policy Platform for NYC Candidates (Gothamist)
  • Prelim Research Suggests Parking-Protected Bike Lanes Also Protect You From Inhaling Soot (NYT)
  • Gianaris Makes His Case for a Millionaire’s Tax to Fund Transit (News)
  • Wonder Why People Get So Cranky About Bike Lanes at Community Board Meetings? Read This (Deadspin)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Fool

    Ref – Hudson Tunnel Construction:

    Or you just do not use sandhogs, hell pay the operators sandhog rates just do not use their works rules.

  • Larry Littlefield

    As for the parking article:

    “After our son was born we found ourselves increasingly pissing away money on Zipcar and rentals to visit out-of-state relatives on weekends. In February we decided to go back to being car people.”

    The fact that the rental cars companies, after merging to a three-firm oligopoly, jacked up prices in Brooklyn to the moon has a impact on decisions like this. We chose to be car free but ended up having a car again after soaring costs altered the buy vs. rent calculation.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2015/07/23/brooklyn-home-of-the-rental-car-ripoff/

    The price of rental/shared cars is a factor in car ownership. And once you own the car, at least some trips within the city that would have been on transit become car trips, in part because its cheaper.

    “I live on a block in which parking is prohibited on Tuesdays between 8:30 and 10 a.m. on one side, and on Wednesdays between 8:30 and 10 a.m. on the other.”

    As a weekend car user, the people who are screwed are those with alternative side on Monday and Tuesday on most surrounding streets. Take it from me. You have to get a spot legal for Monday when returning on Sunday in order to be able to go to work.

    They shifted us from Thursay/Friday to Monday/Tuesday some years back, probably to provide more favorable parking to some place with more entitlement and clout.

  • JudenChino

    I simply cannot afford to “rent” a car in Brooklyn. My wife and I each make 6 figures too. We can do Zipcar or Car2go (though less now that we have a child). But daily rates for a regular Avis/National type rental car, are easily over $100/day. I’d have to go to JFK to rent a non-zipcar without breaking the bank. But who wants to go all the way to the airport to rent a car. I live near a couple car rental places too!

  • Jeff

    If your destination is generally to the south, or even west, EWR is a good bet. Plus you get to skip a lot of the city traffic.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Traveling to EWR from brooklyn means paying MTA fare and NJ Transit fare for 2 people in this case, plus adding considerable time to get to manhattan and then to NJ, probably with heavy bags. May not be worth it vs just driving a more expensive rental.

  • Imagine if someone got a free studio apartment from the city and then had the nerve to complain that they had to vacate it for two hours every week — but not on Christmas, New Year’s, Columbus Day, the Jewish holidays, other festivals, and weather emergencies — so someone could come in to vacuum and mop the floors. That person would be an ungrateful jerk.

    I won’t argue with any individual’s reasons for needing a car, especially at a time when our subways and trains are growing increasingly unreliable, but complaining about the burden of complying with ASP is really selfish. Even if you factor in a few tickets a year, you’re still getting the best deal in New York.

  • One addendum: if you vacated your apartment each week only to come back to find that someone else had moved in, that might drive you a little crazy.

  • qrt145

    I won’t say that car rentals are cheap, but even if you spend $500 a month on rentals you are sill below the average cost of owning a car. I say that because rentals work for me, but maybe I find myself needed a car less often than you do. 🙂

  • Jonathan R

    Besides the fares and the travel time, for families with children under 4 years of age there is the burden of having to schlep a car seat with you (or renting one with the car).

    However, I just found a car rental from a national chain on Atlantic Avenue for $57 daily, plus $11 in taxes and fees, for a week-long reservation a week from today. So perhaps renting is not as expensive as other commenters are making it out to be.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Weekly rentals are usually cheaper. If you’re doing a typical weekend getaway (lets say fri-mon) you can’t even get a car for this weekend (all sold out outside of the airports), and for next weekend the cheapest option in brooklyn is $85 daily.

    So not only is it expensive, you have to plan ahead if you even want to have a car available.

  • Jonathan R

    For further reference, US government rate for an economy car at LGA pickup next Friday, return next Sunday, is $108, or $35 daily plus taxes and fees. (I can’t get the rates for the neighborhood outlets without pinging a live travel agent.) If $54 daily is the floor, what is the ceiling?

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    I bite the time bullet and go to JFK if we need to load at the apartment in Brooklyn, or EWR if we can bring stuff with us and go straight north. Fair to say the latter might be impossible if we had any children.

    Recently I rented from EWR AND had to load/unload in Brooklyn but I’m never doing that again unless the cost savings is huge. The time/traffic/tolls (though I think they messed up and never charged the EZpass to my credit card) was just insane.

    When I lived elsewhere I could just rent a car within walking distance from where I lived. Within NYC only the pricing of U-Haul makes any sense, but those rentals don’t work for leisure/travel.

  • rao

    His mistake, encouraged by unsound public policy, was that he did not include parking in the cost of car ownership when weighing owning vs. renting.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Maybe rates have fallen. I found I was spending up to $500 for a long weekend all in, and well more than $140 per day.

    And that’s with no insurance, because we still had insurance under our car that was upstate at college.

    “I won’t say that car rentals are cheap, but even if you spend $500 a month on rentals you are still below the average cost of owning a car.”

    The other thing that shifted the buy vs. rent calculation was our children passing age 21, and the cost of car insurance plunging. We got a car for $1,800 plus around $600 in maintenance repairs, which has lasted 2 1/2 years so far, with insurance down to $1,200 per year from around $3,000.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I guess it’s kind of like deciding to buy a home and not including the cost of having to mow the lawn every weekend in the cost of housing.

  • The problem with non-airport car rentals is that the places tend to close so early. I live near an Enterprise rental office — an office that closes at 6pm on weekdays and 1pm on Saturdays, and that is closed on Sundays! What kind of nonsense is that? I have found this to be common. Whereas, the airport locations are open 24 hours.

    The need to rent a car hasn’t come up yet; I was just scouting out the options. If/when this need does arise, I think that I will be taking the AirTrain to JFK in order to do it.

  • reasonableexplanation

    True, the average cost of owning a small sedan according to AAA ( https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/total-cost-owning-car/ ) is $561/month, but that includes a lot of assumptions (like a brand new car, and 15k miles per year) that may not be true for NYC, so let’s break it down for a more typical NYC case, say 10k miles per year and a nice used corolla (~$8k).

    Fuel: about 30mpg combined, at 10k miles and $2.50/gallon is $833
    Tires: $98
    Repairs/maint: $511
    Taxes/fees: $665
    Insurance: $2000
    Depreciation: You’re going to drive this car into the ground, and at 10k miles per year, a corolla will easily last you another 8 years, so $1000

    total: $5107, or $426/month.

    As mentioned below, a ‘normal’ price for a daily rental here is $85, and a weekend trip necessitates a 3 day rental minimum (you’ll likely be getting back after the rental place is closed on sunday night), so $255/weekend.

    At two weekends of travel per month you’re already coming out ahead, not to mention the added convenience, time savings, and lack of need to plan more than a week in advance vs renting a car.

    So it comes down to: are you a traveler or a homebody?

  • qrt145

    Homebody, I guess, since I rent maybe every other month. 🙂 That said in terms of convenience you also need to factor in the hassle of moving the car for street sweeping, which is what started this discussion, but that is subjective. As for myself, I’d rather take the fairly predictable hassle of renting a car than playing the street parking lottery several times a week.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Yo do you 🙂

    The alternate side thing is really neighborhood dependent, I’m in a once a week cleaning neighborhood right now, and I’ve had to move my car specifically for street cleaning maybe once this year?

    I’ve also lived in brooklyn heights, and there it’s definitely a hassle. So like anything else: location location location!

  • rao

    Uh, I guess so … if the lawn is so big that it costs 3/4 of the monthly mortgage payment to keep it mowed.

  • Danny

    Happy to report that you can safely ditch car seats these days.

    https://saferide4kids.com/product/ridesafer-travel-vest/

  • Larry Littlefield

    It’s like the lawn in that if you park on the street, it’s “free” but sucking away your time.

  • Ian Turner

    Worth noting that NY is the only state in the union to have banned peer-to-peer car rentals.
    https://blog.turo.com/news/new-york-rentals-suspended-until-further-notice
    http://www.autorentalnews.com/blog/auto-focus/story/2014/03/the-missed-story-behind-relayrides-suspension-in-new-york.aspx

    Perhaps if this obvious incumbent protection were rolled back, people would offer discounts to those who would rent out their cars during alternate-side parking.

  • Andrew

    You forgot to include the cost (in time and/or money) of parking in your calculation. (Even if for some people that cost is low, it’s disingenuous to simply omit it from the discussion entirely, seeing as for others it’s quite high.)

    So it comes down to: are you a traveler or a homebody?

    There are ways to travel other than by car. There are places to travel to for which a car isn’t very helpful.

  • rao

    I was thinking in terms of just paying for a space to avoid the stress. If it came down to it, I for one would much rather spend Saturday afternoons mowing a suburban lawn than blow Sunday and weekday evenings competing with my neighbors in a hunt for elusive parking spaces.

  • Joe R.

    No alternate side parking in my area. The only time one would need to move a car on my block is when there’s utility work or the street is being repaved. That’s once every few years at most.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It is also worth remembering the “vicarious liability” issue.

    New York has a law on the books that made a car rental company financially liable for anything a renter did while using the car. Use it as a getaway car in a bank robbery, for example. The industry lobbied desperately to get rid of the rule, and blamed it for high rental car costs in Brooklyn, back during the high crime era. Trial lawyer shill Sheldon Silver kept the law in place.

    And then it was wiped out in federal court by a lawsuit, as I remember it, and was gone.

    So what happened? Cheap rental cars in Brooklyn? No one ever raised the issue again. There was no “wait a minute! You claimed…” Unless someone is paying flacks and lobbyists to get something discussed, it doesn’t get discussed. And the fact that flacks and lobbyists are just lying — by those in the game it is simply assumed.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Another factor: are you a metro area native or an in-migrant?

    Most of our out of town trips are to visit friends and relatives. Those with limited ties to the area make all those trips by airplane.

  • Jonathan R

    Not in NY State, where

    Can a child under the age of four be restrained in a vest instead of a car seat?

    No. Vests that meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Standard 213 are
    available, but they cannot be used instead of a car seat. The law
    specifies a seat. [Section 1229-c(1)(2), NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law.]

    However, vests that meet FMVSS 213 may be used as an alternate to booster seats for children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7.
    .

    The product web site you linked to doesn’t refute this statement.

  • Jonathan R

    Don’t forget tolls! On the flip side, you are not factoring in the cost of fuel or tolls into the rental car cost.

  • bolwerk

    “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” – HL Mencken

    Every article I see about Cuomo and Christie now makes me think of that quote. In any case, it’s likely that those two think the crumbling mass transit system is funny. And I do mean “ha ha” funny.

    The press deserves some of the blame though. Both Christie and Cuomo had reelection campaigns where the corporate media asked none of these questions – and many street-level transit advocates saw these problems coming in varying ways, so it wasn’t rocket science – and even got free PR extolling them as sensible, “moderate,” responsible leaders. The past ~7 years show they’re anything but.

  • Andrew

    There are these nifty things called trains and buses that can get me to most of my friends and relatives. Sometimes I need to use a cab or an Uber for the “last mile” from the train station.

  • Larry Littlefield

    So you wanted Zephyr Teachout, and more retroactive pension increases? Or Rob Astorino, and more budget cuts for the city to pay for more spending in the rest of the state.

    It’s the same thing with DeBlasio. Planning on voting for the Republican opponent is the hope of getting better transit and safer streets?

    The way the system is set up, choices are limited from the get go. In fact, you are more likely to get a reasonable choice for Mayor and Governor than for any other office. These guys have to deal with our unelected state legislature.

  • bolwerk

    Whether she would have done more retroactive pension increases or not (I never even saw her speak on the subject), Zephyr Teachout is the only candidate who had a piss shot into a teacup’s chance of delivering a sustainable and maybe even balanced budget. Why? Teachout actually cared about public service. (In his own bumblefuck useless way, de Blasio might too, but the rest of those people don’t, nor has any prior mayor since at least Dinkins.)

    Voting for a Republikan in the hope of getting safer streets or better transit is like voting for Nero because you like fiddling. No modern Republikan has ever delivered either. The best person for transit is, as in 2013, Sal Albanese. Unfortunately his positions on crime and policing are less desirable.