Today’s Headlines

  • More on City Council Congestion Pricing Hearings (News, SI Advance, Newsday)
  • New Q-Poll Shows Pricing Approval as High as 67 Percent (Crain’s)
  • MTA to Delay Planned Service Improvements (NYT)
  • Study Calls for Jersey to East Side Transit Tunnel Link (Post
  • Prepaid Bus Service to Debut on Bronx Route (News)
  • Subway Performance Goals Lowered to "Realistic" Level (News)
  • DOT Officials Plead Guilty in Bribery Case (Sun)
  • Bike Traffic School Debuts in Santa Cruz (TreeHugger)
  • US Transit Ridership Highest in 50 Years (APTA via BikeAthens Blog)
  • NYT: "The Era of Cheap Oil Is Truly Over"
  • Daily News Reporter Takes Up Driving
  • JF

    Paul Krugman referenced this nutty column by one of John McCain’s top economic advisers, claiming that the housing bubble is all the result of anti-sprawl regulations.

  • The “free-market” McCain advisers ignore the trillion-dollar carbon-auto subsidy. That is disingenuous. But many “environmentalists” also ignore it. That is worse.

  • Jim N

    Daily News piece chronicles the driving school experience of its author, who is already honking though hasn’t yet learned to start the car or park.

  • Larry Littlefield

    As I mentioned, the MTA had a massive, once in a generation windfall of excess real estate transfer tax revenues. It’s gone, and lots and lots of money was borrowed on top of it.

    It’s a generational war. Our generation, and those after, have lost without fighting back.

  • Jason

    “Study Calls for Jersey to East Side Transit Tunnel Link (Post)” the report is available here:

    http://www.rpa.org/

    I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but it seems both like a great idea and very short-sighted.

    It seems to me that an extension of the ARC tunnel to near GCT is a good idea, but the long term goal of connecting it to Metro North is much better.

    The New York region should be working towards a regional rail system like Paris’ RER or Munich’s S-Bahn:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RER
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_S-Bahn

  • Mark

    The NYT piece blames rising energy prices on increased demand abroad, oil-futures investors, and exporting countries without mentioning the 10-ton gorilla in the room: peak oil. The root cause of rising energy prices is geological in nature. Worldwide crude oil production is at the top of a bell curve indicating that our supply is half gone (the U.S. reached its domestic peak in 1970). The other half will be far more expensive to get at, hence rising prices, and eventually shortages. See theoildrum.com.

  • Dave

    Jason:

    Great idea to copy the Paris system where the train lines interconnect; for those who don’t know Paris it would be like taking the same train from Hicksville through the city to Stamford, or a train from White Plans to Morristown.

    How do we raise the funds for this though? Like Paris I raised the issue of installing zones on the subway so that not all fares are the same across the region.

    Of course Europe spends a lot more on public transit than the US. How does NYC get its fair share of transportation dollars from both Albany and Washington? That would go a long way here and benefit a lot of people rather than a $200 million bridge to an island of 50 people.

  • ddartley

    Daily News piece:

    Jim N and all- I e-mailed the writer and urged her always to drive cautiously. She replied to me, and said she does.

  • Jason

    Dave:

    While connecting Grand Central and Penn Station is an expensive proposition, other aspects of integrating NY’s commuter rail systems would not be nearly so difficult.

    -Trains on the New Haven branch of Metro North could access Penn Station and continue into NJ (just as Amtrak trains already do).

    -Trains on the Metro North Hudson Line could access Penn Station from the Empire Connector and continue onto Long Island.

    -Most Long Island RR and NJ Transit trains could be paired together and through run at Penn Station.

    There are currently 9 LIRR branches on the east, and 4 NJ Transit Branches that access Penn Station on the west. Potentially, there is a MN branch on either side.

    It seems like a no-brainer to me to keep the trains running instead of having them turn around every time they get to Penn Station. It would take some resources o execute, but the problem is more of an organizational one than a technical one. NJ Transit is one turf and LIRR is another.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I always cringe just a little bit at the phrase “no brainer”, not only does it tend to cutoff subsequent debate and input but it can be turned around on the writer very easily.

    That said, there are indeed many complex interoperability issues between the railroads. All of these systems are the spawn of private railroad, Jersey Central, New York Central, Pennsylvanie, New York and New Haven. Each of those private operators ran their own action with regards to engineering and real estate investments, all had active freight operations. Each of these systems operates different electric power stations that operate on different cycles and deliver power in many different modes. For example, the shoe runs atop the third rail on LIRR and below the third rail on Metro North. New Haven trains run off of pantagraph power and over AMTRAK rail. Siemens and Bombardier are capable of making equipment that could run through the different systems howeverm, it is a real heavy lift. As important are the institutional obstructions. LIRR can’t even add a third track to the main line and MN trains running through NJT territory have a long schlep through Seacaucus.

    Yeah, the technical issues can be overcome, all it takes is money, after all we put a man on the moon. The institutional arrangements can be made but a lot of political leaders will have to drop their own NIMBY, BANANA and CAVE weapons. Interoperability takes a lot of trust between institutions and constituencies. Besides money, the main shortage to do this sort of stuff, especially in Commuter Rail territory where almost all the voters already own cars, besides money, is trust.

  • Jason

    IMHO, it is a no brainer in terms of being a goal. That doesn’t mean it is an easy goal to accomplish.

    I’m aware of the technical issues you mention. But they have little to do with setting a goal. Retrofitting railcars to operate with more than one type of 3rd rail is not difficult.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Any systems you know running with those bi-sexual shoes Jason? Beyond that the power systems are very expensive and clearly equipment able to swing both ways between AC, DC and different cycle power grids require redundant onboard systems complicated and expensive to maintain and operate.

    Look at the LIRR dual mode diesel-electric fleet performance. MN did much better with their dual modes but still, very expensive and relatively poor performance. Still, it is safe to assume that the technology, like all technology will improve.

    My belief though is that what drives European interoperability of commuter rails is the prevalence of parliamentary governments with dominant city political power in all of Europe. What balkanizes our systems is Federalism and having every city surrounded like Custer by competing, jealous and self-interested suburbs. What could bring Port Authority, NJT and MTA together? Two governors, two senates, two assemblys, countless county, village and town governments, each with their own agenda and constituency. They each have independent funding mechanisms and entirely distinct governance approaches.

    Put them together in a single institution and the technical and service issues will follow. Until that is done the technical and service issues remain an insurmountable obstacle.

  • Jason

    Niccolo,

    We are not disagreeing, I’m just a tiny bit more optimistic, and have a bit longer-term of view.

  • Dave

    Wow this really has turned into name-calling. And the anti-CP types keep repeating the same lame excuses and not listening to the valid responses. Anti-progress NIMBY types; I bet they are all active on the CB’s.

    For all of you bleeding heart liberals calling this a regressive tax tell me this: how many of your poor, sick and other needy types are actually driving into the city? And if they are driving in either they can afford to pay for a garage, or are double-parking or parking illegally. We don’t need them here.

    Are there no hospitals outside Manhattan? Hasn’t every study shown that people who drive to Manhattan are in fact wealthier that the general population?

    And this whole fairness issue of the NJ’ers is repeating the same thing even though Janette Sadik-Khan and Rohit Aggarwala responded to this. If you really want to do something work for the re-installation of the commuter tax.

    Lockboxes and such are the best we can do to assure that the funds go to transit. With the crooks (oops I mean politicians) in Albany you never know: and Susan I will take a $354 million Trojan Horse any day of the week.

    I hope Christine Quinn and any other politicina reading this looks beyond the small-minded and repetitive CP-opponents.