Today’s Headlines

  • Paul Krugman: Americans ‘Stranded in Suburbia’ (NYT)
  • High-Speed Rail Needed to Ease Congestion, Says House Republican (AP)
  • Weiner Stands Against Earmarks, Except When They’re His (NYT)
  • NYPD Detective Suspended for Using Fake Placard; Union Protests (News)
  • Pregnant Driver Enters Labor, Jumps Curb at Rockefeller Center (News, Post)
  • Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Homeless Man in Midtown (Post)
  • Maintenance Woes for Subway Elevators and Escalators (NYT)
  • Ridership on S.I. Railway Growing Faster Than Any Other NYC Line (AMNY)
  • DOT’s Josh Benson Answers Cyclists’ Questions, Part 3 (City Room)
  • Bike-to-Work Day Welcomed in Indianapolis (Indy Star via Bike Commute Tips)
  • momos

    Re: High-Speed Rail Needed to Ease Congestion, Says House Republican

    I can hardly believe what I’m reading. A Republican congressman from Florida has introduced a bill that would invest $14.4 billion in high speed rail over the next 5 years and reduce the NYC-Washington trip to 2 hrs. And he defines “high speed” rail to mean more than 110 mph.

    Where are the Democrats? Busy killing congestion pricing and cutting gas taxes.

  • Momos, the bill was co-sponsored by Committee Chair Jim Oberstar:

    While there’s certainly plenty of posturing and pandering to criticize the Democrats for, they are behind this particular bill.

  • Mark Walker

    Nice to see Krugman daring to advocate mass transit to Americans, even if he hasn’t heard yet about transit oriented development. The headline, Stranded in Suburbia, is apt. As is the comparison between Berlin, “a city of trains, buses and bikes,” and Atlanta, “a city of cars, cars and cars.” This is what we need to see in the mainstream media.

  • drose

    Remember, there is a big difference between DC Democrats – who are generally in favor of spending more $ on infrastructure, and are not afraid of change – and Albany Democrats – who are afraid of doing anything that would upset the status quo and not get them reelected to their lifetime spots.

  • Spud Spudly

    Krugman’s column seems so perfectly obvious that it’s maddening to think that a lot of the country is probably only now realizing it may be true.

  • Alex B.

    On the HSR article, one thing that drives me nuts is the apparent equation of the Acela’s average speed and this proposal’s top speed. The Acela averages about 80 mph, when you include the stops and the speed restrictions due to track conditions. The trainsets are capable of 150 mph.

    If you build “HSR” with a max speed of 110 mph, you’re guaranteed to have an average speed that’s much lower, again, due to stops (assuming the funding actually improves the track conditions).

  • momos

    Re: Cap’n Transit & Spud

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Democrat to the core. But it’s alarming that all the big transportation talk is coming from Republicans (even if it’s not all positive). Despite Democrats controlling Congress, the NY Assembly and the NY Governorship, they are showing absoloutely no leadership on this critical issue.

    Where’s Schumer on transforming rail in the northeast as a way to increase mobility and reduce congestion at airports? Where’s Pelosi on reconfiguring the highway bill to boost transit? Where’s Silver on congestion pricing?

  • Spud Spudly

    momos, Obama seems to get it, and it’s his party now:

    I would also think that republican districts [generally] are hurt more seriously by high gas prices than democratic, which tend to be more urban with better transit options. That might be a motivating factor.

  • Chris H

    The issue that some democrats (including Senator “Mr. Amtrak” Lautenberg) are taking is the provision in the bill that requires the Northeast Corridor to be opened up to private competition, a move seen as an attempt to kill Amtrak.

  • Dave H.

    I wonder when journalists will be able to write about Amtrak and not mention its failure to turn a profit. Either that or always mention the interstate highway system’s failure to turn a profit. (And commercial aviation isn’t much better).

  • Josh

    Re. the Krugman article, I spent some time in Berlin a couple of years ago and their transit is fantastic. On top of some things that we’re yet to achieve here in NY (real-time arrival status boards, integration of in-city transit and regional rail), many lines run 24/7, which is rare outside of NYC (and is something I think we take for granted).

    Their English-language website is pretty good too, for what it’s worth.

  • Dan

    The idea that proper competition will help Amtrak should be reconciled to the trash heap. The private sector doesn’t have some kind of magic money wand that makes operating large scale venture instantly profitable. It’s absurd on its face to think that Amtrak is losing money because it’s subsidized by the government(a sort of welfare queen argument) It’s a money loser because it operates a passenger rail system in a country that systematically destroyed its passenger rail system and then forced Amtrak to continue to operate with substandard infrastructure and funding.

    Also, having private companies compete with Amtrak on its most profitable routes and then making Amtrak provide unprofitable service with aging infrastructure throughout the rest of the country is absurd as a means of capturing market advantages for consumers.

  • Mark Walker

    Break out the champagne!

    AP reports: “For the first time, the survey found average prices for regular gas surged above $4 a gallon in two metropolitan areas: Chicago and on Long Island in New York. The highest average price was in Chicago, at $4.07.”

    Many happy returns, American drivers! Fill ‘er up, Mr. Brodsky?

  • Spud Spudly

    You make it sound like the only people affected by expensive oil are people needlessly tooling around in SUVs. Break out that champagne but it’s going to be more expensive since whatever plane/ship/train/truck it was shipped in runs on diesel. The coming transition is going to hurt a lot of people and waving a big middle finger is probably not a constructive way to communicate to “American drivers” who are struggling to pay for eggs and next winter’s heating bill.

  • Mark Walker

    The constructive ways have all been tried.

  • Chris H

    Well hopefully this will mean that it will be traveling by train rather than truck or plane. Rail is significantly more efficient…

  • Jason A

    “You make it sound like the only people affected by expensive oil are people needlessly tooling around in SUVs. Break out that champagne but it’s going to be more expensive since whatever plane/ship/train/truck it was shipped in runs on diesel.”

    You don’t say?

    Mark’s comments on energy issues are always informed. I’m sure he’s well aware of the economic implications of expensive diesel.

    Judging from the swipe he just took at Brodsky, I’ll go out on a limb and suspect he supported CP.

    Even though it was a local issue, I think it’s obvious the implementation of CP here in the city would’ve been a tremendous symbolic victory for leading our country’s transition away from fossil fuels.

    Unfortunately that missed opportunity will do nothing now to help offset the cost of eggs and heat.

    Seeing that Mark hasn’t spent the last year on Streetsblog beating down CP at every turn on “principled grounds” (or trivializing cyclists for that matter…), I think he’s well within his rights to find a little grim humor in peak oil.

    I also think he’s in a better position to speak on behalf of those struggling to buy food and pay their heating bills.