Today’s Headlines

 

  • Larry Littlefield

    Ahh, but there is good news elsewhere, according to Planning Magazine.

    http://www.planning.org/planning/member/2008jul/news.htm

    “As gas prices continue to soar, newspapers everywhere are reporting significant increases in transit ridership. That’s the good news. The bad news is that fuel costs are rising for transit agencies, too, and the increase in fare revenues from new riders doesn’t even begin to fill the gap.”

    “At least one transit agency is dropping prices. The Rochester Genesee Regional Transit Authority announced in late April that its fares would go from $1.25 to $1.00. CEO Mark Aesch says the agency can lower its price because of a successful four-year effort to increase efficiencies and rein in a $27.5 million deficit.”

    Ahh yes, Rochester. How has their state aid gone over the years? I can tell you this — they have zero debt.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I just read through some of the details of the reduction in the MTA Capital Plan.

    “Reductions in interlocking modernization projects offset the above increases. The scope of the Culver line interlocking project is reduced from four interlockings (4th Ave., Church Ave., Kings Highway, and Ave. X) to one and the budget is reduced by $93 million. The 4th Ave. interlocking remains in the program and will be done in coordination with the Culver
    Viaduct repair and a tunnel lighting project on the line. The Church Ave. interlocking, which is the largest of the four, is reprogrammed to the next capital program while Kings Highway and
    Ave. X are deferred as lower agency priorities.”

    Can we stop talking about F express service, and extending the G to Church now? Because without fixing those interlockings, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

    Expect signal problems on the F line in Brooklyn to continue to grow. There may not be a next capital program.

  • The list of least walkable cities seems arbitrary to me. Nearly all American cities are unwalkable.

    One entry on Treehugger’s list, Indianapolis, has a walkable city center — I should know, I’ve been to Indy maybe a dozen times and have always walked around for relaxation and to hit restaurants. It’s not a fine-grained experience like NYC, but you can admire the state capitol or go to the zoo. Getting from the major hotels to the convention center is no problem. One of my most moving walks took me past the war memorial where antiwar demonstrators had lined up thousands of empty boots.

    In related news, Google Maps will now provide walking directions (not just driving directions). Great idea, I may actually get some use out of it.

  • Car Free Nation

    Let’s increase the price of all on-street parking in the city to market rates, and then in a separate act, increase the city’s contribution to the MTA. Would Albany need to get involved in this scenario? We’re not creating new fees, just installing more munimeters.

  • “Anybody that tells me they’ve got a $10 billion budget and can’t find ways to cut 5 percent, that’s just poor management,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a City Hall news conference.

    Except that they’ve been asked to cut their budget every couple of years since 1973. Maybe they haven’t, but what’s Bloomberg’s plan to get them to? What’s Quinn’s? Paterson’s?

    The blather from these politicians is really offensive. None of them mention the fact that the Three Men in a Room cut the state’s contribution to the MTA last year and raised the road budget. Doesn’t it make sense for the State and City to bring their contribution levels back up to what they were under Cuomo and Koch? If not, what did they do with the money and how can we get it back?

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Let’s increase the price of all on-street parking in the city to market rates, and then in a separate act, increase the city’s contribution to the MTA. Would Albany need to get involved in this scenario?)

    Yes. In exchange for allowing the city to give the MTA money, the state will require a large share of it to be redirected to Upstate New York and the suburbs (see above).

  • Larry Littlefield

    (The blather from these politicians is really offensive.)

    Really, you don’t like to hear them fight for us against the government, and comiserate on our behalf over the next few years as that evil government raises taxes and cuts benefits and services. They’re on our side against the government, our wonderful incumbent pols! So of course it isn’t their fault!

    And in exchange for taking this abuse from the actual overseers of the goverment and keeping their mouths shut about why things are getting worse, bureaucrats like Eliot Sander get raises, perks and pensions.

  • (The blather from these politicians is really offensive.)

    I agree with this too. I mean COME ON, if the MTA had a bunch of money in their budget that was being “wasted” they would have found it a long time ago. Fund transit goddammit. They need to stop with this wishful thinking and use parking fees, congestion pricing, and my tax dollars to fund the subway buses and rails. These are the services that help make the city great.

    So just fund it.

    Why don’t any of these politicians have enough spine to explain things to the people? That’s not leadership.

  • I like the fact that Bloomberg and Paterson have spoken up against a fare increase, even if they haven’t necessarily provided concrete alternatives. As we discussed here yesterday, it’d be nice if they’d use the same “tax on the working class” language as anti-CP politicians did, though.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Remember Susan, the Governor, who just asked for the head of the MTA to wave a magic wand, just gave him a vote of confidence, and the cronies on the Board gave him a raise. If he was so much money lying around, Patterson should have fired him.

    In any event, I was debating the bike or the subway today, but after reading the offensive stuff from the pols, I decided I’d better find a hole in the rain and bike, because I’d better get used to having a non-functioning transit system.

    But what about tomorrow?

    If the forecast is correct, there may be no hole to ride through in the AM.

    But we know what heavy rain does to the subway system, and riding in in the pouring rain may be better than walking nine miles home in the pouring rain .

    And I don’t have a placard to drive in and park for free, as the members of the political class do, or the hedge fund salary to blow money on a private parking garage without paying for it.

    So what should I do?

  • (Remember Susan, the Governor, who just asked for the head of the MTA to wave a magic wand, just gave him a vote of confidence, and the cronies on the Board gave him a raise.)

    Unless that raise was, like, millions and millions of dollars I have no clue how it could have caused the budget shortfall.

    We just need to fund transit. It’s not that complex, fund it, build new lines improve service, pay the workers and enjoy a great train system.

  • During the congestion pricing crisis, we toted up all the disadvantages of New York City’s relationship with New York State. But there’s one thing the state has always delivered for us: excellent drinking water. Guess what? Upstate drilling for natural gas might inject toxic chemicals into our drinking water supply — and the bill that would allow it is sitting on the governor’s desk waiting for a signature or a veto…

    http://local.theoildrum.com/node/4338