Today’s Headlines

  • States Want to Spend Infrastructure Stimulus Mostly on Road Projects (WaPo)
  • During Economic Boom, NYC Transit Ridership Grew While Driving Stayed Flat (NYT)
  • Obama Taps Bronx Beep Adolfo Carrion, Not Bruce Katz, to Head Office of Urban Policy (Post)
  • Timing Is Great to Raise the Gas Tax and Cut Payroll Tax (Time)
  • Without Funding Fix, MTA Will Cut Staff at 150 Subway Stations (News)
  • Kheel Plan 2 Elicits Interest and Skepticism (Downtown Express)
  • Long Island Communities Getting Over Aversion to Smart Growth (NYT)
  • City Council to Pass Bill Suspending Alternate-Side Parking Rules When It Snows (News, Metro)
  • Cap’n Transit Maps City Council Districts According to Car Ownership Rates
  • NYC’s New Bike Racks Get Design Kudos From NY Mag
  • Beijing Metro Expanding at Breakneck Pace (James Fallows)
  • The excuse for directing most stimulus funding to “shovel ready” highway projects ignores the fact that many existing transit systems have immediate needs for both capital and operating funds — and this is at a time of increasing ridership in systems all over the country.

  • Thanks for the link! I suggest that your item about Carrion should have a link to a previous Streetsblog story about him, like how he went along with the massive park land grab for subsidized parking at Yankee Stadium, protesting only after it was way too late, or maybe even the accusations of kickbacks. Of course, there’s also this Times story about how he removed community board members who voted against the stadium. He’s an urban policy whiz!

  • Good idea, Cap’n

  • Shemp

    Carrion has also waffled for years on the plan to remove the redundant Sheridan Expressway and create more land for housing, parks etc. (and create better access to Hunts Point distribution centers in the process). But can anyone point to a clear Carrion accomplishment?

  • Cap’n, you beat me to it. If our urban policy is going to feature the seizure of parkland for, and huge subsidies to, rich pro sports teams, no thanks.

    Sorry, but Adolfo Carrion is hardly “change we can believe in.”

  • Nice work by Time Magazine to say what many of us were likely thinking.

  • Jeffrey Hymen

    Okay, I’ll pile on. Shouldn’t the head of the Office of Urban Policy be someone with a track record of creative and progressive thinking? Someone like Enrique Penalosa? Mayor Daly seems better, although he might like th job he has now. Like Eric’s observation, picking someone who “campaigned tirelessly” on your behalf is hardly “change we can believe in;” it’s the way the game has been played for decades. I am pleased with the selection of Shaun Donovan, however.

  • Boris

    The New York Times article about Long Island growth doesn’t mention how much free parking is mandated to go with the new developments. If the requirement is the same as for the typical LI development, the benefits of high density construction are almost entirely negated by the many acres of continuous parking lots.

  • Larry Littlefield

    If someone were to say to me right now that I had the option to take the MTA “Doomsday” budget and no further harm would befall the transportation system, I’d take it in a heartbeat. The doom is quite likely to be far greater.

    There are some very bad outcomes possible given the people who have been in charge, and the consequences of their decisions for business, governments, etc. And the more they continue to advance revenues from and defer costs to the future, the bigger the hole gets.

  • J

    Check out these articles for more on Carrion:

    http://www.gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/2008/12/11/carrion-off-to-washington-some-hope-not/

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/archives/2008/12/five_reasons_wh.php

    The first article reports a number of people peppering the Change.gov site with criticisms of Carrion, particularly with regard to the Yankees deal and the Bronx Terminal Market. I just left a message there, myself.

  • ddartley

    Obama and Biden to travel to inaugural by train, in case it wasn’t already discussed here:
    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/12/obamas-bidens-t.html

    But yeah, I ain’t too pleased about Carrion being picked after he stood by and watched my Yankees rape the city, which resulted in the birth of bastard child parking garages.

  • Buster

    Either the Urban Affairs job is a nothing or Carrion is in way over his head. Has Carrion done anything to suggest he has the oomph for a super-cabinet post charged with bringing together giant agencies like Transportation, Housing, Energy and EPA to revitalize US urban policy? Done anything or written anything interesting or insightful about cities? It’s a bad sign for urbanists that Obama has to reach down this far for his city czar. He couldn’t even find a mayor or former mayor? Compared to the caliber of other picks, like Chu at Energy, this is a huge disappointment.

  • On the NY Mag article:

    Oh please! The upedy ups at NY Mag wouldn’t know a good bikerack design if it bit them in the @ss!

    I’ve seen plenty better designs but since its not NY, it doesn’t count, huh?

  • But I do agree with the Newtown Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant. Should have been higher in their rankings since it is truly difficult to make something as often ugly as a waste water treatment plant into something of beauty. It’s easy to make a good looking house of worship or building since they should be beautiful in the fist place.

    I should also add that I’ve seen plenty better bikerack designs that were both AESTHETICALLY and FUNCTIONALLY superior.

  • From the Downtown Express article:

    Squadron released a critique of the Ravitch plan this week, pointing out what was “on track” and where the public should “mind the gap.”

    He said bridge tolls as proposed, “divide the city and do not deal with congestion except in a targeted area…. I’d rather have a conversation about improving congestion pricing.”

    From the critique on Squadron’s website:

    The proposal for East River tolls, which would divide Manhattan from the rest of the city, ignores preferable alternatives for a vehicle-based revenue stream, such as congestion pricing, variable vehicle weight charges, MPG rating charges or market-rate street parking.

    […]

    The report lacks discussion of other alternative transit options, including “people movers,” monorails and the role of bicycling on our overall transit picture.

    The question is whether Squadron really wants to have a serious conversation. People movers and monorails have been fairly thoroughly discredited, and are not really serious answers to New York’s mobility needs. The other vehicle-based revenue ideas are worth considering, but the Ravitch plan is better than nothing.

    When this guy was elected I thought he’d be more of a true transit champion; throwing up a bunch of random objections to the Ravitch report does not impress me. He’s invited comments on his website.

  • Aw shoot, I put three links in a comment, so now it has to wait for the moderators. In the meantime, please see Squadron’s “critique” of the Ravitch plan.

  • Dang, Squadron’s office can’t even format its own releases for web. It was more readable at bhb:
    http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/5203

    I submitted my comment that congestion pricing being better than plain bridge tolls is not a good reason to oppose bridge tolls. (And I somehow restrained myself from ranting about his embarrassingly anglophilic “mind the gap” refrain.) If he wants to come out for Kheel 2, that would be interesting, but this first act of awkward dancing around the real problems our transit system is facing is just, uh, “bloody awful.”