Today’s Headlines

  • Free Bikes on Campus — It’s a National Trend (NYT)
  • Park Slopers Ask DOT for Two-Way Avenues Near Prospect Park (Bklyn Paper)
  • NYT Asks Drivers What They Think of Greenwich Village Performance Parking Pilot
  • Gas Prices Dip Below $3/Gal Nationwide (NY1)
  • SUV Hits Man and Drags Him for a Block (News)
  • Block by Block, Allen Street Mall Is Improving (Villager via Curbed)
  • Sitting Steps at New TKTS Booth: Better Than ‘Cats’ (NYT)
  • MTA Sells $550 Million in Bonds, Finds Borrowing More Expensive (City Room)
  • Renovated GWB Bus Station Will Have 50 Percent More Capacity (MTR)
  • Markowitz Wants MTA to Finish Rehab of Jay St./Boro Hall Station (News)
  • Larry Littlefield

    There are multiple press reports that falling foreign oil prices are once again making alternative energy companies go poof. Which will discourage investment in them.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122446199550848849.html?mod=todays_us_nonsub_marketplace

    And once Americans buy a whole bunch more SUVs, and stop investing in both domestic drilling and alternatives, prices will soar again and crush our economy.

    But the Democrats promise Americans cheap oil, and so do the Republicans, because that’s what makes life easy in the short run. As long as you aren’t a solider in Iraq.

  • Whoa, they started that (basically unnecessary) work on the Jay Street subway station without a plan in place to FINISH it? That’s so stupid.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here’s another article on the short run effect of a lower oil price on the trends most here are in favor of.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27271928/

    Long run, we are left with much higher prices with no alternatives, again.

  • Maybe Marty Markowitz could enlist some of his many patrons to help fund the Jay Street renovations. Of course, the MTA would have more money if they hadn’t agreed to sell the Vanderbilt Yard to Bruce Ratner for less than half its appraised value.

  • Larry: Obama wants the EPA to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions using its current authority under the Clean Air Act. He also supports cap-and-trade, with all permits auctioned. That should have an effect on gasoline prices and on gas-guzzling SUVs.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Obama wants the EPA to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions using its current authority under the Clean Air Act. He also supports cap-and-trade, with all permits auctioned.”

    Obama has pandered around the edges, but I’m hopeful of what he might propose. Less so about what Congress might pass. Indifference to the future and those who will live in it becomes bi-partisan when sacrifices are required in the present. Democrats like to pretend “big corporations” will pay for everything.

  • Jason A

    Larry,

    We could use the break in gas prices as a lucky opportunity to reorient or priorites towards sustainability. We now actually have a little more wiggle room with making the radical changes we need to accommodate the serious energy challenges we face down the road.

    Putting a stiff tax floor on the price of oil would be a great place to start…

    Or… we could always keep on partying like it’s 1999 and living the fantasy that we don’t live in a world with geological limits.

    I fear it’s is all too depressingly predtictable what Americans will chose…

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I fear it’s is all too depressingly predtictable what Americans will chose…”

    I think there is an outside chance the majority of Americans have learned their lesson, as the ineffectiveness of McCain’s gas tax gambit shows. Meanwhile, most pols are plagued by the ghost of the negative reaction to Jimmy Carter’s call for sacrifice.

    Maybe if we had some legislators who had been in office less than 20 years, we wouldn’t have policies based on what happened 30 years ago.

    In the meantime, on another blog someone posted a great suggestion. Rather than business suits, legislators should be required to wear NASCAR uniforms complete with decals, so we could identify their sponsors.

  • Jason A: “Putting a stiff tax floor on the price of oil would be a great place to start…”

    It’s likely that OPEC will establish $100 as the base for oil prices. Not a tax floor, but still a floor.

    Of course, letting OPEC do it doesn’t fund infrastructure in the U.S. But the silly optimist in me is looking forward to the next inauguration day.

  • JP

    NYT Village parking story:
    It seems that the parking meter rates still aren’t high enough.

    Jay Street:
    Does anyone know the deal with the Lawrence street station? No tiles on the walls at all. Is this the only underground station that looks like that?

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Jay Street: Does anyone know the deal with the Lawrence street station? No tiles on the walls at all. Is this the only underground station that looks like that?)

    Yes, this is one of two major station rehabs (the other is Bleeker/Broadway/Lafayette) approved as part of the 2000-04 MTA Capital Plan.

    The goal was to provide free transfers, Jay/Lawrence (so fewer people would have to use all those stairs at 9th and 4th) and uptown 6 to Broadway Lafayette.

    Doing that much work, however, requires handicapped access, which massively increases the cost. As over-runs proliferated, the Bleeker/Bwy/Lafayette project was cut but Jay/Lawrence was kept, because of the poor condition of Jay/Lawrence. Then Bleeker/Bwy/Lafayette was cut. Then it might have been put back. Then it was cut.

    In any event, everything was delayed to the point where there is no money left and the cost of borrowing has soared. But both projects are designed.

  • What the hell is going on???

    How many more times do we have to read “Police sources said driver Charles Joseph will not face criminal charges” ????

  • Just this month we have:

    “Police sources said driver Charles Joseph will not face criminal charges.”

    “No charges expected in accident that left Staten Island woman gravely injured.”

    “Police said it is unlikely that the SUV’s driver will face any criminal charges.”

    “the victim, a woman, was hit and killed by an SUV. We could find no media reports of the incident.”

    “Dees and Sullivan died at Beth Israel Medical Center. Neither taxi driver faces criminal charges, police said.”

    “Bailey wasn’t charged with anything and was allowed to drive his truck from the scene an hour later.”

    These are all different incidents….

  • rlb

    One of the many jokes of all this energy talk is that when the candidates put out their hands and start counting their fingers listing off “wind, solar, nuclear…” they aren’t addressing remedying fuel prices/shortages at all. Most oil is used for cars; hardly any of these other energy methods will be used for cars. So the idea of not funding alternative energy because gasoline is cheap again is a misconstrusion.
    Then why do we need alternative energy? A matter of reducing pollution? That hasn’t changed, but I guess that doesn’t come across as an important enough case to make.
    The lessons of expensive gas are not that we need alternative energy, but that the abuse of plentiful gas is a grave mistake. Funding our opponents (the article in the times today concerning Iran, Venezuela and Russia), destroying the environment with sprawl, and bringing our country to it’s knees when the price goes up – if I were a religious man I’d say the devil created oil.
    The critical reactions that must be supported amidst the drop in oil prices are the remarkable national support for public transit and the major progress in rail freight which have grown out of the oil fiasco. Both of these are indicators for the greater cause of conservation.

  • One of the many jokes of all this energy talk is that when the candidates put out their hands and start counting their fingers listing off “wind, solar, nuclear…” they aren’t addressing remedying fuel prices/shortages at all. Most oil is used for cars; hardly any of these other energy methods will be used for cars. So the idea of not funding alternative energy because gasoline is cheap again is a misconstrusion.

    The way I’ve heard it presented is that the wind, solar and nuclear power will be used to charge the hydrogen fuel cells. Even if that technology were ready, it doesn’t address the carnage issue.