Today’s Headlines

  • The MTA’s Biggest Problem in One Politico Headline
  • Lhota Carries On the MTA Tradition of Blaming Riders for Poor Service (NYT, Politico)
  • News: State Lawmakers and MTA Board Members Should Try Using Trains and Buses
  • Chris Christie’s NJ Transit Can’t Manage to Put Crew Members on Trains (Post, News)
  • LIRR Riders Stranded for Up to 45 Minutes Last Evening (News)
  • State Will Borrow $500 Million for Farley Renovation; MTA Could End Up on the Hook (Politico)
  • Upstate Lawmaker Says E-ZPass Revenues Should Fund Upstate Road Projects (AP)
  • Don’t Count Out Violent Felon Hiram Monserrate in Corona Council Race (PoliticoPost, News)
  • A Collision Like This One Should Never Happen on the Streets of New York City (Post, DNA)
  • Class Action Suit Accuses Uber of Discriminating Against the Disabled (NYT)
  • Denying Drivers Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants Isn’t Helping Anyone (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    I guess there is no downstate revenue stream that those living Upstate don’t think is being stolen from them. I guess in this state/country/era anyone who thinks about everyone’s needs and fairness is a sucker/loser/fool.

    I don’t care if Trumpcare goes down. Everyone in NYC should be aware of this.

  • Joe R.

    Speaking of Trumpcare, the repeated failure of the GOP to get anything passed shows how incompetent they are. Every proposal just seems to be a tax break for the wealthy in disguise which also happens to gut insurance for every else. All the GOP needs to do is put out legislation which repeals the individual mandate but keeps the rest of Obamacare intact. That will get support for both sides of the aisle. The individual mandate is by far the most unpopular part of Obamacare.

    After doing that, both sides should work together to control health care costs. That’s really what’s wrong with the system. Costs have been increasing way faster than inflation.

  • HamTech87

    New greenfield developments in Oneida County (Utica and surrounding areas) are just adding to future government burden. If any money goes upstate, it should be limited to central core areas (with its shockingly large number of abandoned buildings) and to support the Centro bus system. No more greenfield development, or support of the ridiculously over-expanded road network. Here’s a Google Maps screenshot of a not atypical block in Utica just 1 mile from the Amtrak station; notice the vacant lots and boarded up buildings.

  • Joe R.

    The only thing which makes sense for NYC to support upstate is a farming industry. This directly benefits NYC by giving us a source of locally-grown produce and meat. If a retired cop wants a country home let them pay the true cost of it. No reason NYC should be subsidizing exurban housing tracts upstate or anywhere else. If you want to try to revive the few upstate urban areas, maybe that makes sense but anyone who wants to live in a suburb has plenty of other states to go to.

    I’d personally like to see a ban on greenfield developments—everywhere.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “All the GOP needs to do is put out legislation which repeals the individual mandate but keeps the rest of Obamacare intact. will get support from both sides of the aisle. ”

    I see what you mean. For years and years and years, the cost of the health insurance paid for by my wife’s employer and my employer were a big part of our compensation, and not being public employees we had to kick in a lot for it. And yet we used virtually no health care.

    But then in the past year, my wife had a gall bladder issue that required removal and our daughter required hip operations, perhaps costing the insurance company $150,000 all told.
    Now imagine how great it would be if we could have had all that insurance money in cash to spend on other things all those years, so we wouldn’t have to pay for all those sick people, and then suddenly showed up and go insurance when we needed it! That is exactly the sort of thing that would get the support of Republicans and Democrats.

    “After doing that, both sides should work together to control health care costs.”
    After doing that, forget cost control.

  • Joe R.

    A more likely scenario would be the gall bladder operation would cost $25K instead of $150K, and you would be paying for it out of pocket with all the money you saved from not having insurance. Insurance has driven up the cost of health care because the health care consumer never sees the actual bill. There was a time when most people paid out of pocket for health care. That was one thing which helped control costs.

    A second problem is our for-profit health care system creates a disincentive to find or use low-cost solutions. Take cancer. We’re only interested in treatments using patented drugs for which the drug companies can charge many thousands of dollars. Even if someone found a very low-cost cancer cure or vaccine it would never see the light of day. And there’s certainly no incentive to develop such a thing as nobody would make money on it.

    Anyway, I fully realize removing the individual mandate but requiring insurance companies to continue to cover preexisting conditions will eventually cause all of them to go under. That’s actually the point. Once insurance is no longer an option we have no choice but to go to single payer. Once we do that government pays for health care. Politicians have an incentive to keep taxes low. That means in turn there will be a strong incentive to control costs. We would probably see government medical research labs which try to find low-cost solutions for common health problems. There’s no incentive for such a thing under a for-profit health care system.

  • HamTech87

    Sadly, our home-rule towns’ restrictive zoning in places like Westchester make upstate sprawl inevitable. And up in Oneida County, the stupidity just gets doubled-down. Just look at the SUNY Polytech campus of Utica. It is located on a greenfield in nearby Marcy, population a booming 9,400. The campus looks like a suburban office park, and is very difficult to walk or bike from there to downtown. The bus takes almost half an hour. If the campus had been put on these existing grid brownfield sites in the picture above, it could have been a short walk, bike ride, or bus trip (on the existing bus line) to get to and from downtown. Ugh.

  • Larry Littlefield

    That was $150 K for the gall bladder and hips, but point taken.

    I’d like to see single-payer for preventive care and the care of infectious disease, stuff we aren’t doing enough about and perhaps not spending enough on.

  • Joe R.

    Yes, that’s exactly my point. Single payer for preventive care, infectious diseases, and other common health issues is what we need. Let’s keep more people from getting sick in the first place rather than throw tons of money at them later. And as you’ve said many times, encouraging things like cycling will go a long way towards that. This might be the reason European countries spend less on healthcare than us for better outcomes. Their population is generally healthier to start with.

    One another note, my biggest problem with the individual mandate isn’t the principal but rather the cost. If health insurance cost $100 a month of less I could get behind forcing people to buy it (and subsidizing those who really can’t afford even that small amount). However, when health insurance costs as much as rent or a mortgage payment, you’re taking money from somewhere else by forcing them to buy it. Often that somewhere else means they can’t save for retirement given that savings are the first area many people cut back on when they have other expenses. So we need less costly catastrophic insurance but that really just brings us right back to cost control.

    On another note, my sister will be getting a knee replacement in the fall. She also had a carpal tunnel release a few years ago. Other than that, no major health issues me or my siblings. The common theme though is we all stay relatively active. A lot of brother’s friends are already on a few pills.

  • Tooscrapps

    The MTA should just remove trashcans from platforms again.

    Garbage problem solved.

  • Fool

    Lot of money to build a mall!

  • Larry Littlefield

    If you really want to feel sick, read the book Power Failure about Buffalo. The downtown business elite didn’t want SUNY Buffalo, and all those long haired hippies, near downtown, so the city actually pushed it to the suburbs.

    A decade or two later there was no downtown business elite, no downtown business, and no practically no downtown. So I guess we aren’t the first group of NYers to have the future poisoned by backward looking political players motivated by tribal and social issues.

  • Danny

    Potentially even better: Half-price Unlimited MetroCards for life for all NYC residents. If you make a mess and don’t clean it up, you have to pay full-price for one year. If there’s video evidence of someone being a repeat litterbug, they get cut off from half-price fares for life.

    That being said, does the bulk of garbage on the tracks actually come from us subway riders, or does streetside litter infiltrate the system through sidewalk ventilation grates and fall down onto the tracks?

  • Vooch

    eliminate subsidies for mass motoring and problem solved

  • reasonableexplanation

    Lhota Carries On the MTA Tradition of Blaming Riders for Poor Service

    The articles were about potentially banning food on the subway, as a way to help prevent litter, and eventually, track fires.

    I like eating on the train, but I also never litter, but I know many, many people do. So ultimately I don’t know how to feel about this.

  • Joe R.

    I’ve ridden the subway both at times when eating was banned and when it wasn’t. I personally think we should ban food from the subway. People can either eat at home or eat when they get where they’re going. If people weren’t slobs I would feel differently but sadly they are. Liquids are the biggest problem. If I’m ever standing near someone who decides to start drinking coffee or soda I push my way to get away from them. Almost invariably, sooner or later whatever they’re drinking will spill. I’d rather it not be on me.

    The other problem is what goes in must come out. If you drink on the subway invariably you’ll eventually have to pee. If the train gets delayed, well, you get the idea. I’ve seen a lot more puddles of urine on trains since we started allowing food.

  • Danny

    People who litter will still throw non-food garbage on the tracks, and there will still be track fires. The MTA should crack down on littering, not on people who are hungry and/or pressed for time and eating a sandwich en route to school or work.

  • fdtutf

    I’ve seen a lot more puddles of urine on trains since we started allowing food.

    When was food ever banned on the subway?

  • Joe R.

    It was when I was in high school (late 1970s) and they actually used to kick people out of the system if they were caught eating. In fact, I think there was a ban at least until Bloomberg became mayor.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I thought the free newspapers were the problem.

  • Joe R.

    Better penalty for repeat litterbugs—they have to spend 24 hours in a room full of GIANT subway rats:!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_750/rat-summit.jpg

  • reasonableexplanation

    Room 101!

  • Lincoln

    As there were restaurants within the subway into the 80s, food was clearly not banned in the 70s/80s. I don’t believe food products ever stopped being sold in the subway, so I highly doubt there ever was such a ban.

  • Joe R.

    Some of the comments on the NYT article mention the same thing I do. There definitely was a “no eating or drinking” rule. I recall seeing it in the list of rules. As for the restaurants, the idea was you ate in the restaurant. I didn’t see that many people bring anything to the platforms, or especially trains. In general, eating on the subway back then elicited a lot of crooked stares from your fellow passengers, so it largely wasn’t done.

  • Lincoln

    The restaurants WERE on the platforms. As were vending machines with snacks.

  • Joe R.

    I remember newsstands selling candy. That’s about the only type of food which was acceptable to eat.

    The only restaurants I recall are in the mezzanines. Technically, it’s inside the system but it’s not on the platforms where trains stop. Which stations actually have restaurants on the platforms?

  • Lincoln

    Hamburgers on the platform at Times Square:

    Grand Central and Columbus Circle had platform level food too, without anywhere to eat besides the platform/train.

  • Tooscrapps
  • HamTech87

    I keep thinking about being in Japan as an American, and not just on the trains but on the city streets. It seems like the whole country is a ‘carry in, carry out’ facility like a NY state park. And it is very clean.
    There were no garbage cans in most stations. When I bought something to eat from a food purveyor on the street or in the station, I discreetly ate it there — typically in an uncomfortable space behind the counter — as if I had something to hide. So no walking down the street with a just purchased ice cream cone. Nobody ate on the trains, except for the Shinkansen bullet trains, which seemed to permit dining and had places for garbage. The pro baseball ballparks allowed public eating at your seat, too. Go Hanshin Tigers!

  • Andrew

    That some people recall a food ban is not proof that there was a food ban.

  • Andrew

    Potentially even better: Half-price Unlimited MetroCards for life for all NYC residents.

    Paid for by whom, exactly?

  • Larry Littlefield

    NY has people of many cultures, and has to adapt to that.

    Most of my ancestors came from the Naples, Italy area, where people feel free to toss the garbage in the streets. Behind the two family house where I grew up in Yonkers there was a cliff — steep, unbuildable area owned by the city. When we had barbecues, my older family members just used to toss the trash “over the wall.”

    So in fourth grade, we had a young swinging 1960s teacher, who left after that year to live with the peasants in Guatemala with her husband. She teached environmental responsibility. So my friends I and went “over the wall” and cleaned up all the garbage. It just took a few generations.

    Lots of first generation people here in NYC. We should be thrilled the pooper scooper law was so successful.

    To “civilize” non-Wasp NYers the 1961 zoning severely restricted windows of retail establishments serving people on the street, to cut down on street food culture and middle classisize city residents. Rules that are still on the books. Fifty years later we ended up with a food truck boom.

  • I occasionally worked night arraignments in the Bronx between 1988 and 1994, finishing my shift at 1am. I used to look forward to the rides home because I would transfer from the D to the A at 145th Street, and I always pickrd up a couple of hot dogs from the 24-hour hot dog stand that was on the mezzanine level of that station.

  • LOL

    Joe R will tell you he didn’t remember seeing that restaurant, so it didn’t exist……

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  • urbanresidue

    My experience in Tokyo was that there are front streets that are immaculate, but back alleys are sometimes filthy…

  • djx

    A couple years ago, where I live (Harlem) I watched two NYPD jump on a kid and knock him down on the subway. He was yelling “What’d I do!!??” and they were yelling “Don’t hold the doors!” Literally, that’s all he did – held the doors on the subway (which I don’t like BTW). I saw it. The cops ran onto him and knocked him down.

    Banning food in the subway system makes a lot of sense, but within the context of police using small infractions like that to abuse people (mainly people who are some combo young, brown/ and poor) and drive up their numbers, I have deep concerns.