Today’s Headlines

Streetsblog is running our weekend news wrap-up in two sections this morning. Links to coverage of Saturday’s inaugural Summer Streets event will be posted separately.

  • Friedman: How Energy Taxes Helped Denmark Kick Its Oil Habit
  • Contested Streets Now a National Trend (NYT)
  • NYT Assesses Red Hook Ikea
  • Bloomberg Weighs in on Bridge Tolls (News)
  • Gas Prices Dip Below $4/Gallon at Some New York Pumps (News)
  • State Senate Approves Gansevoort Waste Transfer Station (News)
  • NYT Reviews Tom Vanderbilt’s ‘Traffic’
  • NYC Joins 20 Other Cities in Measuring Carbon Footprints (Post)
  • Yglesias: No One Is Arguing That the U.S. Should Be Car-Free; Driving Should Just Be Rarer
  • I can’t believe that Times article about Ikea. It says “Ikea has won grudging acceptance from some of its detractors . . . .somewhat sheepishly.” It makes it sound like he interviewed activists who opposed it, but really he just interviews a couple of random people on the streets. Clearly the reporter came up with the story he wanted to write ahead of time, then went out and manufactured the quotes he needed. No effort to present opposing views. Just a piece of propaganda, really.

  • upstate manhattan

    We should adapt a slogan: It is driving which should be safe, legal and rare!

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I can’t believe that Times article about Ikea.”

    I can. Just compare some of the asserted traffic impacts prior to its opening to what has actually occured after the fact. You heard the same unreasonable statements about the Costco on Third Avenue. Richard Lipsky asserted that if it opened, the majority of storefronts on 5th Avenue in Sunset Park would be vacated, and drug dealers would move, sending the crime rate higher.

    He lied. He always does.

    Opponents of livable streets initiatives also seek to exploint the background opposition to change, any change. Those pushing for such initiatives understand that’s why they are so hard to move forward.

    But things that are hysterically opposed, once they become part of the status quo, later become the subject of hysterical opposition to getting rid of them. I’ve said that if LIPA ever got approval to put windmills off the Long Island coast, and twenty years later sought to replace them with more advanced models, they’d face opposition from those wanted to see the beloved, familiar, existing windmills landmarked.

    And once the Gavensvoort waste transfer station has been up and operating for a couple of years, now that it slipped by the state legislature, can you imagine anyone daring to suggest that it be closed in favor of going back to shipping everything by truck through Brooklyn neighborhoods?

    In today’s NY Times, Krugman identifies the ability of those with financial interests to exploit the fear of change as one of three key impediments to universal health care.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/11/opinion/11krugman.html?hp

  • Larry, my problem with the article was not that the premise is wrong, per se, it is with the dismal quality of the reporting, which is surprising for the Times. If the reporter had “compared some of the asserted traffic impacts prior to its opening to what has actually occurred after the fact” I would not have had the same objection.

    Instead, the reporting seems to have started with the reporter’s biases and then was built entirely on anecdotes from randomly interviewed people on the street.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (If the reporter had “compared some of the asserted traffic impacts prior to its opening to what has actually occurred after the fact” I would not have had the same objection.)

    That would be an interesting study. I adovcated doing it when I was at DCP. Where discretionary approval is required, as it was here, environmental impact statements generally require the “reasonable worst case.” Opponents then accuse the city of or applicant of underestimating those.

    Looking at what impacts actually are, it is always a fraction of those described or asserted. Because even the largest facilities, by themselves, are a fraction of what is already built in NYC, and their traffic is a small fraction of the through traffic already on the street.

    What is going on in all the existing space overwhelms the importance of any individual development or change in land use. Even the impact of Atlantic Yards would be imperceptable, except perhaps for the traffic if a large share of the people were to drive to the arena (which would depend on parking), and even then only on weekday evenings going to the arena.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Top forecaster: economy dead meat due to credit crunch, excess consumption and oil dependence.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/morici-wins-contest-third-time/story.aspx?guid=%7bF025180C-D7DC-4D3C-93CD-AC7A3A021E3B%7d&print=true&dist=printMidSection

    “‘Things will happen in the next two years that will shock people,’ Morici said. It’s not just the broken banking system; it’s also that the U.S. economy is being held hostage by oil and by China’s undervalued currency.”

    “It won’t be easy to break the nation’s addiction to imported oil, and linkages between the oil deficit and the need to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars each year from abroad. ‘We need to do everything the environmentalists say we should do and everything they say we shouldn’t do,’ he said. All sources of energy and conservation should be put on the table.”