Today’s Headlines

  • MTA Board Member: Without Pricing, Fare Hike May Come Soon (Daily Politics)
  • Assembly Dems Wrap Up Closed-Door Session on Pricing (Post)
  • $1 Billion From Port Authority Is One Source of Contention (Sun)
  • COMMUTE: A Vote for Pricing Is a Vote For Equity (MTR)
  • Avella Wants to Know About Favors Traded Prior to Council Vote (AMNY)
  • Public Foots the Bill for Yankee Stadium Metro-North Station (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • More Retail in Store for Fourth Avenue (Brooklyn Paper)
  • Brooklyn Homeowners Association Goes Gated (Hawthorne St)
  • DC Street Sweepers Enlisted in Illegal Parking Crackdown (Wash Times)
  • Move to New Atlanta Development Cuts Family’s Carbon Footprint (NPR)
  • Artist’s Pedal-Powered Buick Declared Street Safe (National Post)
  • fdr

    How come no link to this article?
    “Transport Commish busted for speeding while driving to lobby for congest plan”
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/04/04/2008-04-04_transport_commish_busted_for_speeding_wh.html

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Without Pricing, Fare Hike Coming Soon.”

    Hey, that money is for the capital plan. CP shouldn’t be oversold. It is necessary, but not sufficient.

  • Ben Fried

    Larry, I reworded slightly to capture Liz’s post more accurately.

  • smitten

    fdr, I don’t care; JSK still rocks my world. Yeah, I know she’s married….

  • Geck

    “Brooklyn Homeowners Association Goes Gated”
    must have been from been posted Tuesday (4/1)

  • I like the S-K ticket story fine:
    “Opponents, who have cast the plan as an elitist measure that would hurt poor drivers, could seize on the embarrassing incident as a sign that privileged city officials don’t sympathize with average motorists.”

    If the average person would be subject to the congestion charge, or if the average person that would be subject were not well above average income, this casting might make some sense. Pricing proponents could point out that if nothing else, this (instantly relayed to the press) speeding ticket proves that S-K doesn’t have any special privilege, and that the Bloomberg administration does not travel exclusively by private jet, helicopter, yacht, and diamond encrusted hovercraft as frequently alleged.

    Furthermore, Albany people might not want to draw much attention to the forcing of the NYC DOT chief to use a form of transportation she recognizes as an unreliable and unscalable failure to participate in decision-making about our city’s future that should be happening here, in our city. (I assume the Amtrak “schedule” was not conducive to this trip.)

  • fdr

    Tearing up the Thruway with siren blasting and lights flashing is not a special privilege? If this had been Iris Weinshall, there would have been dozens of outraged comments here by now.

  • NA

    Sadik-Khan bikes to work, has a green senior staff and takes political risks to install new bike and pedestrian and BRT projects. She has spent a year trying to win the most important driving reduction project in city history. If it happens again, then outrage. But for now, it’s one bad day on the way to Albany

  • fdr

    I know I can’t win this argument with this crowd, but the double standard is interesting.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (I know I can’t win this argument with this crowd, but the double standard is interesting.)

    Is there a double standard?

    She was speeding and was ticketed? Good. The lesson might save her life. It’s affordable driver’s ed.

  • I regard our DOT Commissioner as extraordinarily able and possibly the best person in the universe for this position. She is also extremely gracious as a person. If there is a better public servant than Janette Sadik-Khan anywhere, I’d love to hear about it.

    Nevertheless, the incident as reported is very troubling. The parallels to NJ Gov. Corzine’s year-ago near-fatal crash on the Garden State Parkway are eerie and disturbing. Corzine’s vehicle, recall, caused that crash when its sirens and flashing lights led another driver to veer onto the shoulder, only to overcorrect and careen back, forcing Corzine’s car into a guardrail.

    The danger introduced by the use of sirens and flashers should make their use unacceptable except for medical emergencies, firefighting and other life-saving purposes. I thought a year ago that Corzine owed the public an apology for gratuitously endangering other highway users. I would like to see Commissioner Sadik-Khan make such an apology. That would certainly be in keeping with the sense of responsibility and stewardship she has brought to the office of NYC DOT Commissioner.

  • If Lew parking on the sidewalk is worth a post, then the Sadik-Khan ticket story is worth a post. Just last night I was praising Sadik-Khan for her leadership in helping us cut down on speeding in our neighborhood. Now this story comes out, and could make me look like a fool in front of my neighbors.

    The city and Long Island have 86 assemblymembers and 35 senators. If they all drive up to Albany every day instead of staying there overnight, that’s 121 cars on the Thruway. Assuming that at least one staffer from each district drives up in a separate car, and that 80 staffers from various city agencies and groups, lobbyists and so on take the same trip, that’s over 300 cars. Imagine if they all took the train; Amtrak would probably be able to afford to reinstate the snack cars.

    Doc, I don’t know what you mean by the Amtrak schedule. Amtrak is quick, clean and frequent enough. For those times when the train isn’t feasible, the buses are certainly not a big deal.

    So I clearly don’t buy that the Commissioner had to drive to Albany. But she did drive, and even if she was late for a meeting, there was no reason for her to use the sirens. I’m glad the state trooper pulled her over, and I hope this doesn’t happen again.

  • ddartley

    I agree with Komanoff, the Commissioner should issue a grave public apology.

    I too was very happy JSK got the job, but when you speed, you are asking to kill someone, end of story.

    You can’t wish on someone that they lose a loved one to speedking so that they’ll finally understand that speeding=murder, but it seems to be a shameful reality that that’s what it take for people to get it.

    If this incident turns into some “elitism” or “hypocracy” story that kills congestion pricing, JSK can blame her own decision to speed (or allow her driver to speed).

    The only opportunity for good news I see here is maybe the Commissioner will feel obligated to serioulsy address the issue of speeding in such a way that drivers will finally listen.

  • Spud Spudly

    No Doc, she doesn’t have any special privilege. She just acts like she does, and that’s worse.

    Two questions: Will Bloomberg now take away her lights and sirens, or does her status as DOT commissioner require it while the deputy mayor’s did not?

    And, did the person driving the car have any kind of training in how to drive with lights and sirens? I bet not. Corzine’s driver was a state trooper and even then look what happened.

  • jmc

    Amtrak is not very good going to Albany, last time I checked. It’s ~2.5-3 hours most of the time, and the frequency kind of sucks. So I understand why she drove. She shouldn’t have used lights-and-sirens though.

    If there was Metro-North service to Albany, they could have much better frequencies. The line should also be electrified.

  • Khalil Spencer

    As a fellow cyclist, Janette Sadik-Khan should be more aware of the dangers of misusing a motor vehicle. The Corzine example is appropriate. One can always make excuses for being late, but one cannot bring someone’s life or health back should a severe crash have resulted from her actions. She owes the city an apology; I hope this incident can be handled in a way that does not negate the public policy she was proposing and good work she was doing.

    Lesson needs to be learned, though. Been there and done that myself, so I know how she feels wearing the egg facial. One moves on and does better.

  • Spud Spudly

    BTW, do you know how fast you have to be going on the Thruway to get pulled over for speeding? The speed limit’s 65 but if you obey that you’re a speed bump with two miles of traffic behind you trying to pass.

  • Ace

    speeding is the new golf?

    Amtrak to Albany along the banks of the Hudson is one of the most beautiful and relaxing experiences around. Make sure you take a train that terminates / originates in Albany and you will be on schedule.

  • I don’t know, either the D.N. story has changed or it’s just that the headline is so misleading, but it turns out she had a driver. Their speed is not reported. The phrase “lights and sirens” is used repeatedly, but I doubt they were barreling down the interstate with the siren on constantly. (Except in movies I’ve only ever seen vehicles using lights on interstates.) Not that that excuses it, but it certainly changes how the story is perceived. I’d like to know the details.

    As for Amtrak, now that it’s clear she wasn’t driving alone I’m less inclined to wonder why she wasn’t on the train. And I wouldn’t worry too much about it ever happening again up there. If you might be pulled over because of the lights, of course you don’t use them. It would be far better to just speed without announcing it like nearly every civilian on the road. If traffic police would ever enforce “lights and sirens” law against government vehicles of their own jurisdiction (and not just an NYC DOT Prius zooming upstate—oops) the abuse would evaporate entirely. But usually the only way we hear about it is when they crash, and of course no drivers ever expect that to happen to them.

    It’s a great opportunity for a DOT initiative. As for where the apologies and Streetsblog posts on the topic are, I would guess they are being written. It’s funny how this story got out so quickly, while everyone is busy with congestion pricing.

  • “No Doc, she doesn’t have any special privilege. She just acts like she does, and that’s worse.”

    We’re talking about a privilege that no one officially has. Not even Corzine. I don’t see how it can be “worse” to have less power to corrupt enforcement, except in terms of getting away with stuff.

  • Spud Spudly

    We’d all like to know details, but the DOT tellingly isn’t giving them up. Someone will get their hands on the paperwork though.

  • Someone already has gotten hands on the paperwork, or there would be no story. I don’t mind being wrong so I’ll make a prediction: the missing details will make the story less juicy.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Amtrak is not very good going to Albany, last time I checked. It’s ~2.5-3 hours most of the time, and the frequency kind of sucks.

    Google Maps gives the drive time as “about 2 hours 49 mins; up to 3 hours 30 mins in traffic.” Seems roughly comparable.

    The frequency: trains leaving Penn Station every day at 7:15, 8:20, 10:20, 12:20, 1:20, 2:20, 3:20, 4:40, 5:45, 7:05, 8:20, 10:45. Yeah, it’d be nice if they had hourly departures, but the existing frequency seems pretty reasonable if you’re going up to lobby for the day.

    http://www.amtrak.com/timetable/apr08/W08.pdf

  • The earliest arrival is 9:45 in the morning. That alone could rule out taking the train.

    I’ve looked through this past Wednesday’s Albany arrival logs, out of curiosity. The 10:45 am departure (your linked schedule hasn’t taken effect) arrived an hour and 20 minutes late, at 2:30 pm. Yikes. Next train was 35 min late, the one after that 30 min late. The rest of the trains were within 15 minutes of schedule. That is what I meant by “schedule,” I guess. (I’ve done a similar query before.) It’s better than interstate predictability, but for train service it’s an embarrassment.

    I’m not trying to beat down Amtrak, just saying it’s not hard to understand choosing otherwise for a day trip in the middle of this crazy week, when you have a city-owned car and a driver available. Personally I would expense a hotel room and take the train to it, but I don’t think seeing our alternative transportation enthusiast DOT chief being driven to the most important transportation debate in decades in a hybrid is some kind of betrayal. It just shows how messed up things are, that the seat of government is a 2 or 4 hour train ride away. The lights and speeding part? I’m as disappointed as everyone, but would like to hear the other side of the story and hope there is some positive outcome.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Okay, point taken, Doc. And I suppose it would be too much to ask a city commissioner to take the bus, let alone an assemblymember. Gene Russianoff took the train, though:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2008/04/assembly-dems-start-congestion.html

  • Hilary

    I wonder if the transportation cost of assembling legislators in “central” Albany is really cheaper than if the capital were in New York, a major transportation hub. Why not make Governor’s Island the capital? They can use the old dormitories. It would help focus the state on its engine of growth – the city.
    Albany can continue to be developed as the global center of nanotechnology..

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Upstaters already feel that city people are running the state; there would be even more resentment if the capital were moved. I grew up upstate (even if it was in a “colony” of the city) and went to SUNY-Binghamton, so I can understand this feeling.

    A better solution would be to continue to press for upgrades in the Empire Corridor; the fine folks at the Empire State Passengers Association have been keeping track of these efforts.

    http://www.esparail.org/

    Through-running of trains would allow Amtrak to extend the Empire Corridor along the LIRR; you could have an “Empire Express” from Buffalo to Babylon, allowing people from the Island to get to Albany without changing trains.

  • galvo

    the Prius was probably the reason she was pulled over, the troopers saw the prius with lights and thought WTF? all official people use big suv’s or towncars, even the volunteer firefighters use big trucks and big suv’s. This must be some kind of nut case impostor.
    the cited speed will be interesting. It is hard to do 70 mph on the thruway and not be rammed off the road.
    Amtrack to Albany is a joke, ask anyone that uses it regular, you will get a reaction of immediate expletives from them. Trains commonly run 2 to 2.5 hours late. incredible.
    I agree metronorth should be given the albany run.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Galvo, Amtrak is very reliable as far as Rhinecliff. The main reason for the delays is that the tracks between Rhinecliff and Rensselaer are owned by CSX and not maintained well enough for reliable passenger service. Metro-North would have the same problems as Amtrak.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Subdivision

    There was a plan for Metro-North to extend at least as far as Rhinecliff, possibly Tivoli, but that was scrapped because there was no plan for adequate transit to bring people to and from the stations. The plan was for all the commuters to drive to the planned stations, which is not a workable solution.

    http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6078
    http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=34319

  • jmc

    Why isn’t driving to the stations a workable solution in an area with low population density? Park and ride works to get people from Upper Westchester and Putnam on the trains, and it effectively reduces congestion and VMT.

    The train to Albany is inadequate and overpriced. I can’t blame the commissioner for not taking it. MNRR expansion is necessary, and would help the region expand. Sadly this probably died with Sptizergate.

    This is a good example of why things like placards are a bad thing… people will always use the tools at their disposal to make their lives easier, especially when they are stressed out and have little sleep.

    Hey, maybe Silver or Brodsky got the NYS troopers to wait and try to pull over JSK.. that’s not out of the realm of possibility in the cesspool that is Albany 😉