Today’s Headlines

  • Oil Producers Are Buying the World (NYT
  • City Council Expected to Mandate Greenhouse Gas Cut (News
  • New Penn Station Rally to Be Held This Morning (Streetsblog, AMNY)
  • Spitzer Defends Fare Freeze; Sander Says MTA Needs Up to $10B (AMNY, Metro)
  • OnNYTurf Publisher Sues Long Island Railroad (onNYTurf)
  • Flood of Passengers Overwhelms NC Light Rail Line (Charlotte Observer)
  • Housing Slump Slows Sprawl in Thirsty Atlanta (AJC)
  • Decision Expected in Suit Over Washington Square Park Design (Metro)
  • South Bronx Says It’s Time to ‘Swap the Sheridan’ (TSTC)
  • Streets Closed to Parades, But Not NASCAR (Post)
  • Dolly Williams Fined as Successor Is Named (News)
  • Could Singing Streets Bring Safer Streets? (Planetizen)
  • “The city has no legal might to force private companies to go green – but will have to figure out a way to get to the goal.

    Bloomberg recently called for a national carbon tax – but has no plans to explore that option for New York.”

    I applaud the City Council for setting a target, but it’s not clear what they are willing to sacrifice, how they can create a legally binding carbon cap or what the penalties are if they don’t…

    Without real action, it’s just words – and we need to hold them accountable.

  • gecko

    Re link: Oil Producers Are Buying the World (NYT)

    Nothing competes with the mobile low-cost stored energy density of petroleum and the virtual monopoly that internal combustion engines have on freewheeling transportation i.e., cars, truck, buses, etc., even though electric motors are more powerful, efficient, and produce virtually no direct emissions.

  • Ian Turner

    Er, the NASCAR thing is not on 5th avenue, it’s on Madison. Although it crosses 5th, I don’t think the 5th ave parade rules apply.

  • Larry Littlefield

    So how does the MTA have a surplus if it needs $10 billion, and is going deeper and deeper into debt (as Russianoff says in a Daily News editorial).

    Answer — it doesn’t.

  • Brad Aaron

    Ian, the parade/NASCAR thing was just my way of linking — unsuccessfully, it seems — two streets use issues. That is, certain streets are closed to certain parades because they would cause auto traffic to back up, but it’s all right to cordon off blocks of Midtown for, of all things, a live NASCAR commercial.

  • Ian Turner

    Brad,

    The thing is, the parade issue really is just about 5th avenue. If you want to file for a parade down 6th avenue or up Park, it’s not a problem. You have to give the city a lot of advance notice (like a year), but you can indeed get the permit.

    I’m fairly certain that, at least in this context, the NASCAR folks are subject to all the same rules as, say, Critical Mass would be if it went legitimate.

  • flp

    ian, it seems that by suggesting that critical mass could go legitimate (whatever that means) you are implying that, as it stands, it is not legitimate. i must ask, who says critical mass is not legitimate? to the best of my knowledge no judge has said that, and this has been on multiple occasions!

  • momos

    Brad,
    “If they went legitimate.” That’s just the point. In your parsing of minutiae you miss how this NASCAR pageant reveals the city accommodating a corporate-sponsored car commercial in ways it does not for grassroots people-focused events like critical mass.

    BTW, if anyone thinks the NASCAR stunt has less effect on traffic than a 5th ave parade, I can say from first had experience that 42nd St was a gridlocked parking lot this morning that extended all the way east and up the FDR.

    Was the “gridlock alert” the city issued today really because of the tree lighting ceremony tonight at Rockefeller Ctr, or because it knew renting out the streets of Manhattan to a private corporation that drives cars in circles would wreak havoc on the morning commute of working New Yorkers?

  • Following the link from, “South Bronx Says It’s Time to ‘Swap the Sheridan'” I find an August post in http://www.sheridanswap.blogspot.com/ saying:

    “The New York State Department of Transportation announced last month that it will weigh the costs and benefits of its plan to expand the Sheridan Expressway against a Community Vision for the highway’s removal and redevelopment. The Community Vision, which includes decommissioning the Sheridan and replacing it with affordable housing, open space, and new economic development opportunities, will be included in NYSDOT’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed expansion.”

    I don’t remember seeing Streetblog coverage of this EIs, which involves expanding the Sheridan-Bruckner interchange. This seems like a very exciting issue, and I hope to see more coverage of it.

    I like all the streetsblog posts about converting street space into pedestrian space – but it is much more exciting to remove an entire freeway and convert it into a neighborhood and park.

    I think we could all help, if we had news about when comments were needed in this EIS process.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    So how does the MTA have a surplus if it needs $10 billion, and is going deeper and deeper into debt (as Russianoff says in a Daily News editorial).

    Answer — it doesn’t.

    Here’s the editorial you mention:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2007/11/28/2007-11-28_nyc_public_transit_is_on_the_express_tra.html

    Of course there’s a difference between the $220 million anticipated surplus for this year (difference between how much money the MTA took in this year and how much they spent), the $10 billion projected deficit for the next six years (difference between what they expect to take in, which somehow doesn’t include congestion pricing revenues, and what they expect to spend) and the current $23 billion debt (the amount of money they’ve already borrowed in bonds).

    Back in 2005, Kalikow clearly thought that increasing the debt was a good idea, and so did Gene Russianoff. I’m sure that they both expected the MTA revenues to increase to match the debt service, but I have no idea how.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    To clarify, Larry: you probably understand the difference between deficit and debt, surplus and assets, but a lot of people clearly don’t.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The key here is the capital plan. They claim an operating “surplus” despite massive borrowing for “capital” expenses.

    But those expenses aren’t a one-time thing. The transit system needs to recondition its stations, replace its cars and buses, and replace its signal systems on an ongoing basis, or the system falls apart. In order to make it seem like everything is fine, the MTA has even made painting a capital item.

    By going deeper and deeper into debt, less and less money is going for future repairs, and more and more for interest on past repairs. That is the interest that is exploding. Billions will be borrowed in just the next two years. And not for one and done improvments like the Second Avenue. For ongoing normal replacement.