Today’s Headlines

  • Obama References Energy, Climate, Roads, Bridges, and Cars in Inaugural Address (Grist)
  • CBO: Highway Projects Not So ‘Shovel-Ready’ After All (Bloomberg via Ryan Avent)
  • NRDC: Transit-Poor Stimulus Bill ‘Indefensible’ (HuffPo)
  • Inauguration Crowds Strain DC Metro System (WSJ)
  • Ray LaHood’s Confirmation Hearing Is Today (Transport Politic via Streetsblog.net)
  • A Conversation with Janette Sadik-Khan, en Español (Streetfilms)
  • Miami Rolling Out New Bike Initiatives at Rapid Clip (Miami Herald via Planetizen)
  • TA: DOT, Sanitation Must Clear Snow and Ice from Bridge Bike Paths (Post)
  • Cyclist Killed by Truck in Quebec Town; Officials Crack Down on Cycling (Montreal Gazette)
  • Queens Residents Take Turn to Sound Off on MTA Cuts (Post)
  • Larry Littlefield

    To be fair, while not clear, the bridges were passible on Monday because it was snow, not ice (as in the December storm), and were clear on Tuesday.

    Then again, it was a very small snow event, and thus easier to deal with than the December storm.

    Bottom line — they have to get it before if freezes.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    To the Queens residents angry about MTA cuts:

    Congestion pricing might have helped prevent or, at least, forestall this. It also could have gotten you lower priced or, at least, variable priced tolls on some of your outer outer borough bridges. Unfortunately, your Lancmans and Weprins and Weiners left you in this situation. Throw a shoe at them next time you see one of them.

  • To summarize: the stimulus bill contains money for new roads and road widening, which are bad ideas. It contains more money for roads than for transit, each dollar of which will deepen our dependence on foreign oil and unsustainable land use patterns. And now we find out that it contains billions of dollars for non-“shovel ready” road projects, even though non-shovel-readiness was given by the states as reasons for rejecting rail and transit projects?

    Looking forward to that change, Mr. President.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I was at the hearings Marty, four hours. Yeah, there were protests about the cuts, mostly from the fairly well-organized, though surprisingly inarticulate, college students. But mostly it was Broad Channel residents protesting that they are scheduled to start paying a toll on their bridge again.

    The bridge thing was the most interesting. They praised Pataki and Giulian for giving them their “free” bridge and traced the history right back to ground zero on the MTA deficit. Almost the same exact period when the Republicans were draining the MTA of resources. Their elected official most present, Audrey Pfeffer (German for pepper I believe) loudly protested the toll proposal, and didn’t issue a squeak regarding the fare and service cuts for the riders. She is an Assemblyperson and has done nothing in her career to protect MTA funding in Albany. Yelling at the MTA keeps the heat about tolls keeps the heat off of her.

    Also, if the MTA can’t toll that bridge how can it justify tolling the Harlem River Bridges as Ravitch proposes? The Rockaways is a barrier island difficult to serve by any standard, rail, bus, ferry, or car. But what service the MTA provides out there is very expensive in terms of fare box recovery.

    And the value of the bridge came up with the usual canard that the construction had been paid off long ago. No shit. The residents had no idea who had originally constructed the bridge or paid for its substantial maintenance. (It was a bridge issue that broke the private rail operation out there, ironically) One guy even suggested the MTA “give” the bridge to the DoT who they apparently think will be more open to their jeremiads. It occurred to me that selling the bridge to the city, or swapping it for one of the other ones might actually be a possibility but then again a bridge you can toll, or have the will to toll, is infinitely more valuable than one you cant’.

    Although the bridge thing dominated the hearings the new CityCouncil woman from Glendale, Liz Crowley brought forth a couple of other important MTA issues that you seldom hear from Queens. One, she protested that the LIRR Main-Line third track project remains on the far-back burner even though it can provide the only real opening for reverse commuting options of Queens to Nassau and Suffolk. Her neighborhood is also losing the G service in the cuts and several bus routes. Also, she brought up all the trash the MTA lets accumulate along the right of way in her district as part of the permanent deficit, even when the MTA had money.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Also, if the MTA can’t toll that bridge how can it justify tolling the Harlem River Bridges as Ravitch proposes?”

    By terminating the A train at Howard Beach, and having Rockaway residents take a bus there, while ending maintenance of the bridges.

    Of couse, Generation Greed has put us beyond the point of not having things unless we pay for them. We will be paying for things we no longer have. Of course of state legislators will be in no way responsible for that, after “fighting for us” all these years — against the future us, with 20% off the top for “expenses.”

  • Rhywun

    If I were running the show, I would let the people vote to keep their bridges “free”–and then stop maintaining them. Everyone wins.

    she protested that the LIRR Main-Line third track project remains on the far-back burner

    And will stay there thanks to NIMBYs in Nassau.

  • Rhywun

    Haha Larry, you beat me to it. Darn work getting in the way again.

  • If “shovel ready” is good, isn’t “shovel free” even better? If a quarter of those highway projects won’t break ground till 2010, it would make more sense to beef up transit operating budgets right now, especially given that ridership is up in systems across the nation.

  • Upsetting about La Tuque, but I’m glad someone in Montreal spoke out against the rule banning biking during winter! I stuck with the bus for the coldest 3 months of the year while living up there, but you still see cyclists everywhere even in the dead of winter.

    It doesn’t get that much coverage, but Montreal is an amazing biking city, and a great model for where New York should go policy wise. While I’m skeptical that New York could ever look like Amsterdam or Copenhagen, it can definitely look like Montreal (if you forget for a moment that it’s home of the largest highway interchange in the world)