Today’s Headlines

  • As MTA Budget Shortfall Looms, So Does Another Fare Hike (News)
  • Climate Bill Sputtering in Senate (Dot Earth)
  • CT Residents Call for Traffic Safety Amidst Rash of Crashes (NH Indy, Courant)
  • Full Cost of Big Pickups Reaches Six Figures (NYT)
  • Neocon Krauthammer ‘Pumped’ About Rising Gas Prices (News)
  • Ratner Staging Atlantic Yards Rally Out of Desperation, Some Say (Sun, News, Post)
  • City Council Members Avella and Gioia Spar Over Congestion Pricing (Runnin Scared)
  • Bronx School’s Traffic Plagues Neighborhood Streets (Riverdale Press)
  • Oregon Gov Bikes (Partially) to Work (The Oregonian)
  • Coming This Sunday: The First Tour de Queens (News)
  • Larry Littlefield

    “Without new state money, officials may soon raise the spectre of increases, service cuts – or both, sources and experts said.”

    Wait until you experience those service cuts. And they are still lowballing the enormity of what it coming.

    We’ve been so lucky economically all things considered — the best possible scenario nationally, and NYC doing better than virtually anywhere else in the country.

    As I write up my quarterly reports around the country, I see real estate transactions dropping to near zero. The MTA is counting on $1.2 billion in real estate transfer taxes per year, up from $400 million per normal year.

    And thus far, exports have offset an ongoing decline in consumer spending people can no longer spend more than they earn and borrow the difference, and now they have to pay more for energy to boot.

    Take it from someone who knows someone who knows, it’s going to be a very bad two or three years for profits and bonuses in finance. Worse than most believe.

    So they need more state operating money, but what about the capital plan? What about normal replacement. I said here I wanted Brodsky and Weiner and Fidler to come up with $3 billion per year. Thus far they’ve cut $60 million. Where is it you SOBs?

    The good news — this is the first week I’ll be biking the 18 mile round trip to work all five days. And to think, when I decided to try bike commuting last summer, I figured I’d have to bike part of the way and take the subway the rest.

    I guess that’s what an athlete would call training, but not being an athlete I’ve never experienced it. But it works.

    The question is, can I figure out a way to homeschool my kids through high school after the equivalent impact his education?

  • Larry Littlefield

    And from the comments on the Daily News article.

    “Who the h e l l is doing the books at the MTA…How could anyone make a $200 million dollar mistake like that?”

    Easy. Earlier in the decade, they assumed real estate transactions and the taxes they generated would continue at normal levels. When the real estate bubble caused them to explode, all kinds of politcal types — and the Straphangers — had a field day accusing the MTA of all kids of things.

    Well, in the last budget the MTA assumed the level of real estate transactions would continue at bubble levels. And now it won’t. It STILL is coming in higher than the MTA has the right to expect.

    So all the so-called transit advocates have given everyone an excuse to refuse to fund the MTA. I’m talking to you Russianoff. And now they will do so, because city and state tax revenues are going to plunge as well.

    Just remember all those “progressive” members of the Assembly saying they were against CP because the MTA has two sets of books and would just waste the money. By the way, the MTA is now being run by a DEMOCRATIC APPOINTEE reporting to a Governor who is a FORMER STATE LEGISLATOR.

  • Fritz

    I don’t get why the Tour de Queens is limited to 500 riders and then some people who come on the morning of. Oh well.

  • The PM can help break the cycle of energy dependency – with bicycles
    ALBERT KOEHL – Albert Koehl is an environmental lawyer and founding member of the community group, Bells on Bloor, which hosts an annual bike parade on Bloor Street (www.bellsonbloor.ca).

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080606.wcomment0606/BNStory/specialComment/home

  • Dave H.

    Another CT traffic-calming article. We’re committed to making this a huge issue here until something serious gets done: http://www.newhavenindependent.org/archives/2008/06/saving_jordin_m.php

    For any CT readers, we’d invite you to sign the petition:
    http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/new-haven-petition-for-safe-streets.html

  • Dave H.

    In any case anyone skipped over it, I encourage everyone to watch the video of the hit-and-run linked to at the Hartford Courant (click on the word ‘crashes’ in the CT headline). You will feel outraged.

  • The Tour de Queens is limited to 500 pre-registers and I think 200 day of registers b/c the Queens Committee made the decision to have a small but successful first year ride and grow from there, rather than a large ride that ended up being a mess. We pretty much put this thing together from the start, and the TA Queens Committee are all volunteers that also work on a lot of other stuff in Queens, we didn’t want to get swamped by first year of TdQ.

    If you haven’t pre-registered or signed up to volunteer but you want to ride I suggest you come early at 8am to make sure you get one of the day of spots… when they are gone they are gone.

  • The Krauthammer article (NY Daily News) deserves its own post. Krauthammer, who is a completely loon on a host of other issues, most notably Iraq, gets this one absolutely perfectly. (One exception, the tax should be shoveled into mass transit, not payroll-tax relief.)

    If you’re going to distort the market, do it on the demand side.

  • gecko

    It would be a hoot to occasionally see the mayor bike to destinations around town.

    Re: Oregon Gov Bikes (Partially) to Work (The Oregonian)

  • Also what a good looking bunch of folks the Queens Committee are, especially the young man on the left.

    I’ve met Krauthammer once on a project I worked on about Islam. I don’t agree with him on most things, but he is wicked smart. And he looked just like Dr Stranglove when he rolled into the shoot with dark glasses, dark clothes and leather gloves.

  • Jason A

    Larry, last year I asked Russianoff about this very issue and the seeming lack of urgency from Straphangers over the MTA’s debt obligations.

    He kind of brushed me off and suggested my fears were founded on an unlikely, worst-case scenario.

    *shrug*

  • Spud Spudly

    If someone just showed up would they really stop them from riding with them (could they)? I’m not hoping for chaos, just saying.

    When I lived in Queens I used to ride regularly from Forest Hills down Woodhaven over the Belt to Cross Bay Boulevard and all the way to Rockaway, then up and down the boardwalk and back. Great ride, though getting back up the hill at Forest Park on the way home was a killer.

  • Mark Walker

    Notes on the CT crash mentioned in comment #6: Two cars crossed the double yellow line to do an illegal pass. The pedestrian who was struck looked in both directions before crossing, but seemed to assume that each side of the two-way traffic would stay in its own lane. The assumption that drivers would obey the traffic laws cost him his life. Several more drivers went right past his prone body until others finally slowed and stopped. There is no limit to the depravity of people who drive cars.

  • Mark Walker

    Correction, didn’t “cost him his life.” Cost him his mobility, since he is now paralyzed.

  • Dave

    Didn’t we all see fare hikes and service reductions coming with the defeat of Congestion Pricing? This news absolutely needs to be a separate item with the blame placed squarely on Silver, Bruno, Brodsky and all the other opponents to CP.

    I hope Bloomberg has the guts to schedule a press conference about the fare hikes and ask those politicians who defeated CP to come up with the funding to stop fare hikes. CQ can you help there?

  • Larry Littlefield

    (He kind of brushed me off and suggested my fears were founded on an unlikely, worst-case scenario.)

    That the money would be paid back in lieu of the ongoing maintenance and expansion of the system? At this point, bankruptcy may be the best case scenario.

    “Just raise taxes” isn’t going to work when taxes are about to explode at the federal, state and local level for other things too.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “This news absolutely needs to be a separate item with the blame placed squarely on Silver, Bruno, Brodsky and all the other opponents to CP…”

    and makers of other similarly shortsighted decisions for 15 years before CP. Same folks.

    The MTA is still probably not looking at the worst case here. The agency probably believes its fare increases will put pressure on the Placard Holders to come up with other funds to stave off collapse. But since they have jobs until death or indictment, I don’t think it will work.

  • Mark Walker
  • Josh

    Mark Walker wrote: “Several more drivers went right past his prone body until others finally slowed and stopped. There is no limit to the depravity of people who drive cars.”

    Several pedestrians went past before anyone went to help as well. Let’s not make this out to be about “pedestrians are good and drivers are evil.”

  • Mark Walker

    And a few hours later it’s $139. Morgan Stanley is predicting $150 before Independence Day. Or should we call it Foreign Oil Independence Day?

  • KOB

    Mark,
    More like “Foreign Oil Dependence Day”

  • Mark Walker

    Josh, he was in the road, where drivers could see him, not on the sidewalk, where peds would see him. Stop kidding yourself. Drivers are evil. They stake out their moral position every time they turn the key in the ignition.

  • This is an amazing find. The only part I don’t agree on is this:

    provides mobile shelter for rakes intent on seducing his daughters

    Maybe I should see if it works at the next Community Board meeting, though!

    Actually, at a 1998 hearing I attended on a proposal to expand the bus system in Albuquerque, one City Council member – who probably wasn’t much older than I am now – said that he was concerned that if his teenage daughter could ride a bus home from the mall, then some creep could get off the bus behind her and attack her.

  • Whoops! I meant to post that in the other thread.

  • Clarence

    That’s a nice photo of Enrique…

  • Nice Ped

    Mark W – that’s loony. Did you see the photos/video? How would a pedestrian not have seen a human body laying in the street? Let’s not get melodramatic here.

  • Mark Walker

    Nice, when you walk on a sidewalk, do you look in front of you, or is your head twisted 90 degrees to the side? You look ahead. The video is from a security cam that surveys the scene from overhead. So the perspective of peds and the perspective of the video are entirely different.

  • Spud Spudly

    It doesn’t matter what the pedestrians OR drivers in that particular video did or didn’t do or could or couldn’t see. To say that people who drive cars are evil and depraved is just stupid. It would be like saying that all journalists are prone to making sensationalistic comments on Web sites — they’re not all like that, but some obviously are.

  • Mark Walker

    Cars kill more than a million people per year worldwide (World Health Organization via Wiki). That is the very definition of depraved. Turn the key in the ignition and you’re a member of the club. Not everyone is ethically challenged enough to make excuses for this behavior, but some obviously are.

  • Spud Spudly

    So is Brad Aaron depraved, evil and ethically challenged for taking his 1,800-mile rental car trip?

  • Mark Walker

    Are you changing the subject? Do you like asking rhetorical questions? Do you set up straw men when your back is to the wall? And incidentally, since you’ve brought my profession into this, what do you do for a living?

  • Spud Spudly

    Funny. You’re the one changing the subject and refusing to answer the question because you talked yourself into a corner. All this is BS to draw attention away from the fact that you claim that drivers are depraved and evil. So, is Brad who drove 1,800 miles depraved and evil?

  • Mark Walker

    Spud, this is the third (or fourth) ad hominem attack you’ve launched against me in the past six months. I’m sorry if I’ve offended you with my remarks about your sacred cows, cars and the people who drive them. So declare victory, turn the key in the ignition, and drive away.

  • Spud Spudly

    This is only about what you said.

  • Mark Walker

    I don’t know how you expect me to elaborate.

    To address your question as best I can, am I willing to attack Brad Aaron for driving a car on assignment? No, I think he deserves better.

    Do I stand by my statement that drivers are evil? Yes. Granted, it’s a provocative position, I need to do a better job of defending it, and I’ll try to do that someday. There may be a distinction to be made between drivers and driving but I haven’t thought it out yet.

    How do I explain the disparity between the first and second answers? I guess I’m more willing to attack broad groups of people than single individuals. I think that’s a good policy, because otherwise you end up in shouting matches.

    Am I asking rhetorical questions, as I accused you of doing? Have I probably committed every single rhetorical sin I accuse you of? Guilty. I’m far from perfect.

    Do I make provocative statements? Sure. I do it because I feel I’m among friends, and may be forgiven — if not by you, then by others.

    This is my best shot at responding to your posts. I hope it’s sufficient, and if we ever meet, perhaps we’ll laugh about this. But I can’t go on with this thread.

  • Spud Spudly

    I’m surprised you kept at it this long. I was going to stop after #33 but I didn’t like the ad hominem comment. I figured you’d just say “no” about Brad and cut him some slack for being on assignment for Streetsblog, or just ignore me altogether or maybe just admit that not all drivers are what you say. But this is silly and I don’t want you to think I ever seek you out for an argument.

    Carry on…

  • galvo

    little late to the game but a observation to comment #13, the crossing of double yellow lines.
    one problem that should be addressed in the congested NY area (nothing to do with this hit) the number of streets that have double yellow or white no passing lanes markers that every driver has to ignore.
    When the lane markings make no sense, and have to be ignored, drivers tend to ignore all the really important double yellow lines.
    there are many streets that have double yellow lines that with parking on both sides, it is impossible to drive down the street without crossing them.