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Chinatown

Patriots Park on Sidewalks

10:45 PM EDT on April 11, 2006

Oil Drum points to a recent spike in motorist insanity on Staten Island this week: A retired Port Authority cop out with his wife, pulls in to a strip mall to pick up some Chinese food. An ex-NYPD detective jumps out of his car and guns the guy down in a barrage of 17 bullets. Why? He had been driving too slowly. Add to that, a crash on the Brooklyn-bound side of the Verrazano backing up traffic for miles and a car plowing into the front of a house, and it's just another day in Shaolin.

Mobilizing the Region notes that Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki's support for a new Metro-North train station at Yankee Stadium might not be all that it is cracked up to be. "Neither the Yankees, the state nor the city have pledged a dime for the train station" and "if the MTA is forced to undertake the project with its own resources, it is likely that its funding will come from other essential Metro-North or NYC Transit projects." And while the elimination of new parking garage structures from the Yankees plan could save the state $70 million, "few politicians or media outlets appear to understand a basic fact—the more parking available at a site, the more likely people are to choose driving over transit. With the construction of thousands more parking spaces near the Yankees stadium, the Metro-North station, even if constructed, will not do as much as it could to reduce game-day traffic in the South Bronx." Sigh.

The Village Voice reports two volunteers from Transportation Alternatives were detained and harassed by police officers at the Fifth Precinct in Chinatown for conducting a survey of illegally parked cars. Chinatown, as you may have heard, has become a de facto parking lot for the private vehicles of government employees. Apparently, the cops were displeased when they saw TA's volunteers taking photos of the illegally parked vehicles. Why? Those illegally parked vehicles belong to the cops. "They said the Patriot Act is somehow involved. The commanding officer, an Asian man, chimed in and said to me, 'Are you familiar with the Patriot Act?" Considering events in Staten Island, I suppose the TA volunteers should just be happy they weren't shot.

Oil prices break $70/barrel, inching closer to record highs. If nothing else, that should help sell a few more tickets to the big, upcoming NYC Energy Solutions Conference also known as "The Woodstock of Peak Oil" (Watch out for the brown acid, folks, it's making people freak out"). I'll be there.

And in answer to a question that was discussed on this web site a few weeks ago: Yes, speed cameras can work as a deterrent, even when they're fake! A homemade speed camera erected by an irate citizen along one of the most dangerous roads in Britain is effectively slowing down traffic. It does everything but mail the speeders a ticket. Now if only someone on Staten Island could slap together a makeshift road rage deterrent.

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