Today’s Headlines

  • Hudson Yards Development Deal Hits a Snag (NYT, Sun, Post, NY1)
  • Health Advocates Target Idlers (Metro)
  • TLC to Crack Down on Illegal Fares for Black Cars (Post)
  • Cab Fleets Want to Hang on to Crown Vics (News, Post)
  • Straphangers Campaign Releases ‘Ten Plagues of the Subway’ (AMNY)
  • Hit-and-Run Dragster Kills 5-Year-Old Passenger (News, Post)
  • MTA Consolidates Bus Operations (2nd Ave Sagas, News, NY1)
  • On the Radio, Bloomberg Reflects on Pricing Debate (Daily Politics)
  • Oil Addiction Is Curbing America’s Superpower Status (Gristmill)
  • Cap’n Transit: Put Express Bus Lanes on Every Major Bridge and Tunnel
  • Larry Littlefield

    Riding home from work in the far left lane of 5th Avenue, I’ve noticed Black Cars pulling in behind me and giving a quick honk.

    At first I thought they were being obnoxious and honking at me. But yesterday I realized what was actually happening, when a few Black Cars pulled in front of me and honked, in a couple of cases speeding up again and in one case pulling to the curb.

    That quick honk is a signal to people standing on the curb. If they “get it,” the driver picks them up for an illegal cab ride. If not, they keep going.

    My guess is that with fewer deals getting done, the Black Car-using crowd has fewer reasons to flit around Manhattan to meetings. I hear taxi business is down too. Sounds like an economic belwether to me — low safety net service providers fighting over the remaining scraps.

  • Angry residents said the stretch of 109th Ave. is popular with racers. […]

    A Department of Transportation spokesman said there had been seven accidents at the intersection since 2003, but it did not meet the federal standards for an additional traffic light or stop sign.

    In that case I nominate 109th Avenue for a road diet, using other safety strategies not blocked by the MUTCD.

  • Jason A

    Larry, I’ve been wondering the same thing. The black cars have been excessively aggressive lately. In the past week or so, I’ve had too many close calls with them darting to the curb and cutting me off…

  • Larry Littlefield

    RE: The West Side. The New York City Partnership put out a report some years ago, saying the SAS should be cancelled, since the Upper East Side was built out and the investment wouldn’t generate growth, but the Flushing Line extension was key because it would open up a new area to development.

    My response at the time was that the promise of the SAS already induced lots of building on the East Side, and the failure to deliver left Upper East Side residents paying massive taxes while cramming onto the Lex like sardines.

    What the Partnership should be in favor of from a cost-benefit perspective, I wrote them them, was promising the Flushing Extension, borrowing money for the Flushing Extension, planning the Flushing Extension, having lots of people invest in new buildings expecting to be served by the Flushing Extension, but then NEVER ACTUALLY BUILD IT.

    “The developer was also negotiating with city officials over other promised West Side projects, including the subway line. If the cost of the subway exceeded $2.1 billion, Tishman Speyer wanted assurances that either the state or the city would provide additional financing. It never got them.”

    LOOKS LIKE MY SUGGESTION DIDN’T WORK!

  • Marty Barfowitz

    This is the future, folks: Angry, unskilled bottom rung workers and freshly licensed teenagers behind the wheels of hand-me-down Towncars and SUV’s, purchased for cheap because they no longer have any value in a $4.50/gallon environment.

    Keith Bradsher predicted this in his book, “High & Mighty.”

    Pretty soon, the biggest SUV’s are going to be the cheapest cars you can buy. Think about the implications of that for a minute.

  • SUVs still have something going for them: utility. Maybe we’ll see some Escalades actually hauling lumber.

    Whoever figures out a cheap way to repurpose used SUVs as microbuses will be a hero.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Whoever figures out a cheap way to repurpose used SUVs as microbuses will be a hero.)

    Except that they’ll be illegal in NYC.

    That’s the problem with SUVs, which do burn less fuel that buses after all. It is the number of passengers. Fill them, and they are more fuel efficient than hybrids.

    (Pretty soon, the biggest SUV’s are going to be the cheapest cars you can buy.)

    I wonder if, simply from an environmental impact point of view, if it would be better to buy an existing SUV which would otherwise be scrapped than a new car that would take energy and materials to make?

  • galvo

    “TLC to Crack Down on Illegal Fares for Black Cars”
    i have seen a huge increase in black cars trolling for fares. They have been very aggressive they dont just honk and see if they people want their service they pullover and offer services to anyone standing at the corner waiting to cross or waitiong for a bus. Out of towners may not know this is illegal and the pitfalls of this.
    As far as dangers to bicyclist it is another car that will cut you off to try and grab a possible fare.
    The black cars are particular hard to id, since the license plate is the only marker as opposed to taxis with large numbers all over including the roof light.
    since the black cars are actively cruising for fares they are adding to congestion and traffic for an illegal purpose.
    if the TLC really wants to stop this activity, they should post a dedicated telephone number to call with the offending plate number and location.

  • Hilary

    Why would you want to retrofit SUVs to do what minibuses already do, safely and more efficiently?

  • ddartley

    dead 5 year old:

    I want drag racers shot dead.

    Okay, I believe in laws and due process and everything, but when I read a story like that I can’t help myself from saying I wish all drag racers would be shot the hell dead.

  • Why would you want to retrofit SUVs to do what minibuses already do, safely and more efficiently?

    Because minibuses cost money, and there’s a glut of cheap SUVs coming on the market. What else should we do with all those SUVs?

  • ddartley

    Idling:

    [head explodes]

    For all their media creativity and good work on similar issues, the Bloomberg Administration has been a little DISGRACEFUL in their own dealing the the issue of idling.

    They could have cut emissions and pollution WELL, well ahead of their long-term greenhouse goals if they had just immediately and publicly cracked down on idling.

    Disgraceful. Good leadership on many issues, crap on this.

  • Hilary

    I meant minivans, not minibuses. But I see your point re SUVs – creative readaptation. But better to think of uses that get them off the road and out of trouble most of the time — how about mobile mini-homes? Or sink them in the ground to make cabana colonies.

  • Hilary

    The most effective way to address idling is to authorize all of the different enforcement agents (traffic/parking/crosswalking/parks/highway/etc etc) to issue tickets for it. Every time I have asked an agent if they can do it, they say they’re not authorized to. (Same for talking on cell phones, by the way.) I have no idea whose job it even is – just that it’s not those who are most often in the vicinity of the crime.