Good Stuff in This Week’s Mobilizing the Region

Finally, we get to see just how much former executive director Jon Orcutt was tamping down the high-powered talent at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. The latest issue of Mobilizing the Region is jam-packed with good articles. Here are some highlights (and, yes, I’m kidding about Orcutt but serious about this week’s MTR being really good):

NYC: Rationing Won’t Do the Trick

Assemblymembers have proposed several spurious "alternatives" to congestion pricing, none of which have proven effective in reducing congestion and none of which would provide revenues for increasing transit capacity.

Assemblymember Richard Brodsky has argued for a car rationing scheme which would restrict car access to parts of Manhattan by license plate. As reported in MTR #558, a similar scheme in Mexico City increased used-car purchases, gasoline consumption, and driving, and decreased transit use.

Further investigation reveals, unsurprisingly, that Mexico City’s policy has done nothing to improve air quality. A University of Michigan study found no evidence that the policy reduced emissions of five different pollutants-in fact, the policy increased emissions on weekdays….

…The only effective way to enforce a rationing scheme would be through
the installation of license-plate cameras, which Brodsky is on the
record as opposing.

Greenhouse Gases: Getting to the Goal in New Jersey

When Governor Jon Corzine announced an executive order in February requiring New Jersey to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, environmentalists applauded. However, while the NJDEP is busy creating a plan to execute the order, the NJ Turnpike Authority is fast pursuing an agenda thatwould undermine the plan’s goals.

Newark: Linking Redevelopment and Pedestrian Safety

Newark’s push to encourage growth goes beyond the addition of new housing: the city and state are also embarking on an aggressive complimentary plan to improve its run-down and unsafe streets. TSTC, along with the Regional Plan Association and others, has long said that improving pedestrian safety and streetscapes can help attract development and assist in revitalization efforts.

  • It’s been a long road and a long way still to go, but Newark is on its way back.

    I spent three years commuting to law school there from 2002-2005, and the infrastructure is pretty tremendous. The riots and white flight of the ’60s have been difficult to overcome, but there has been tremendous investment downtown. The newly expanded light rail and subway system; extensive rail network; considerable white collar, gov, and university employment. Dormitory capacity is finally being increased. Spaces around the university campus are gentrifying.

    Newark’s got a good ways to go, but the current leadership is solid and a heap of investment is starting to pay off.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    From the original article:

    Walking tours (MTR #542) prove much can be done to improve pedestrian safety in the resurgent city.

    And from the mentioned issue 542:

    The pedestrian environment in Newark is similarly hostile. Last week, Tri-State and staff of La Casa de Don Pedro and other Newark activists, walked a portion of Bloomfield Avenue to identify truck route indicators and pedestrian safety hazards. Not one truck route sign was spotted, and many trucks were illegally traveling on residential streets. Generally, Newark streets are designed for through traffic, not for local residents walking around: streets are overly-wide, walking signals and crosswalks are lacking and students lack safe walking routes to school. Street signs pointing drivers to the convention center and other attractions are in perfect condition, while signs about local parking, truck regulations and bus routes are covered in graffiti.

    Newark has twelve of the state’s 25 most dangerous intersections, and 44% of Newark residents do not have access to a car.

    Ferry Street is actually one of the nicest, most pedestrian-friendly parts of Newark, and it’s a great place to go for Portuguese food. The subway is also worth a trip for transit buffs, although it’s not as interesting as it was when they still ran the PCC cars.

    The other parts of Newark I’ve been to have been pretty hostile to pedestrians, particularly around Branch Brook Park, which seems to be treated by the city as an extra-wide parkway.

  • The greatest danger for pedestrians and drivers in Newark is the insane insistence of myriad pedestrians on walking in the street rather than the sidewalk, chatting with drivers on the street side of the car, and generally treating the streets as tho they were sidewalks or parks. Even where there are wide, smooth, well-lited sidewalks, Newarkers by the thousands walk in the streets with total disregard of traffic, at all hours of day and nite. People with dark skin wear dark clothing and walk in the streets with their backs to traffic and headphones over their ears, or mosey across traffic lanes between intersections and against the lite, assuming they are much more easily visible than they really are. People who don’t drive don’t understand how hard it is to see little pedestrians when you’re watching out for big vehicles, at nite, in the rain, with the glare of oncoming headlites, especially on wet pavement. Newark has a hugely disproportionate percentage of the entire state’s deaths to pedestrians precisely because of this. The city has got to crack down on this.

  • lee

    the single occupant vehicle ban that was put into effect after 9/11 and during the transit strike would probably result in a larger reduction in traffic than congestion pricing would.

  • dave

    lee – haven’t we all been thru this discussion already? such a ban wouldn’t raise funds for transit expansion.

  • lee

    i haven’t discussed it on this blog, as far as i remember.
    if congestion pricing is going to fail i would rather the city do something to allevate congestion and reduce emissions instead of nothing.

  • Red

    Angus, I will second you that Ferry Street and the Ironbound are a great street and neighborhood, respectively. Still, it’s amazing that even there such basic amenities as pedestrian crossing signals are missing (at least on my last visit, which was about two months ago).


Brodsky Taxes Milk! Toll Plazas Will be Named After Marc Shaw!

With its report released the day before, there wasn’t a lot of news to be found at yesterday’s meeting of the Congestion Mitigation Commission. There was, however, some good political theater and, with the deadline to produce a recommendation approaching, influential commissioners began staking out their positions. The day’s agenda was to discuss the four […]

Even as Gas Prices Fall, More People Are Turning to Transit

From Streetsblog Network member Mobilizing the Region, the blog of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, come some numbers that members of Congress should look at closely as they consider transit funding in the stimulus package: It seems that even as gasoline prices are starting to come down, the economic recession is suppressing driving.  Vehicle miles traveled […]