Today’s Headlines

  • This quote from the Villager article upset me:

    It was just incomprehensible to me that anyone would have a press conference and address anything other than the human element… . I thought the event called for a more somber, more circumspect, more contemplative response.

    Here I’m worried about my son getting killed like these two poor kids, and you want something contemplative? I suspect that Victor Papa doesn’t have small children. If he did, he’d probably want less contemplation and more action, which is where Stringer’s press conference was directed.

  • Another quote from The Villager article:

    “People gotta be careful,” said Emilio Rodriguez, 38, who does maintenance work down the block from the accident. “Especially East Broadway, people drive crazy… . I know they say it’s an accident, but you gotta look.”

  • Re: Real-Time Bus Info

    Are they kidding? It’s just not that complicated. Couldn’t Google figure this out in six months?

    The government would have us believe that we’re going to have a hydrogen economy in 10-15 years, yet we can’t even send a GPS signal from a bus to a kiosk or cell phone? Good luck.

  • Marty Markowitz attending a funeral for the M & R trains? Is this the same Marty Markowitz who staunchly opposes East River bridge tolls and congestion pricing, and whose big idea for funding the MTA is a lottery? The same Marty Markowitz who championed Bruce Ratner’s low-ball bid for the MTA’s Vanderbilt Yard?

    Marty can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but he can’t fool all of us all of the time.

  • Rhywun

    RE: Back to the Drawing Board on Real-Time Bus Info, MTA Concedes

    Doesn’t SF already have this?

    RE: Brooklyn Electeds and Transit Advocates Mourn M and R Lines

    They’re cutting the N, not the R. The R is already hacked down to a stub after 10PM or so.

  • The story about streetcars being locally produced in Oregon gave me more optimism that anything I’ve read in weeks. Maybe years.

  • fdr

    Marty Markowitz is a clown, but clearly he can fool enough of the people to keep getting re-elected. Unless enough people figure a clown is the appropriate person to be borough president.

  • “It’s not just the urban canyons, but the schedules, the tight schedules, the headways, the traffic. The operating environment I think is the most challenging of any city’s,” said Sassan Davoodi, Co-Project Manager, NYC Transit.

    Why do transit agencies in NYC fall back on this BS exceptionalism nonsense. When I was growing up you heard this kind of thing all the time about why nothing in the city worked or looked nice. At the time that excuse made sense because the city was chaotic, dangerous and poorly managed. However, that hardly seems the case today. Cabs and frickin Garbage trucks have GPS now. The city has some nice new street furniture and bus stations. The idea that New York bus drivers and MTA managers are operating their fleet of buses in a dramatically different way from other big cities is absurd. San Francisco has real time arrival info and they have skyscrapres downtown and run lots of busses and light rail vehicles.

  • rex

    The failure of the MTA to get the tracking thing working is pathetic. If GPS doesn’t work RFID or camera or whatever will. Sounds like they got in with a company that sold the a bill of goods and no goods.


    Nice to hear Mike Dukakis truth telling about rail. HSR should not be our focus. Use existing or relic right-of-ways to make the rail system robust again. Add the bling later. Of course who listens to Mike?

    The elephant in this room is converting existing highway right-of-ways to rail. Start doing that and price of rail will drop dramatically. Of course, we will have all buy ear plugs to suffer the wailing that would come from the auto-centric special interest groups.

  • Of course it’s inconceivable that NYCT would be able to provide bus arrival info!

    I mean, just because everywhere else in the world – from small cities in former Soviet-bloc nations to the biggest metropolises on the planet – has offered their customers such technology doesn’t mean that it is possible in New York City. I mean, some of those places have been able to accurately predict bus arrival times to the minute for more than a decade – and one day, that level of information processing might even make its way to New York. Just not anytime soon. It’s sorta like waiting for a volcano to erupt, see?

    Go MTA/NYCT! Thanks for all that support, Albany!

  • James

    Re: Riverdale Ave revitalization – I’m trying to figure out the mentality in Riverdale. It’s a NYC neighborhood, not a Westchester suburb. It has local and express bus lines, the 1 train, and Metro North. Why do the ‘neighborhood elite’, as it were, act as though it is in the suburbs, as if parking should be easy to come by in a Bronx neighborhood? Riverdale Ave, the neighborhood’s core, certainly is lacking in decent establishment and the closing of the supermarket certainly brings the potential for blight. It’s a shame but adding parking spaces is definitely not the answer. I don’t get it.

  • bikerider

    I do not share Mark Walker’s enthusiasm for the Portland’s locally-built streetcar. The design is quite inferior to currently available “off-the-shelf” vehicles widely used in Europe. Without “Buy America” protectionism, it is unlikely Oregon streetcar would be a viable company.

    Which isn’t to say there are benefits to locally produced models, but as transit riders, we should have the expectation that American streetcars implement industry-best practices.

  • jmc

    The Portland streetcar is European — it shares a design with the Skoda cars that are currently in use in Portland and other American cities. The only difference is that it’s locally built.

    Import replacement is always a good thing.

  • bikerider

    This Skoda design is more than 10 years out-of-date. Unless Oregon Ironworks were to start out-competing the likes of Siemens or Alstom in the global market, they can’t be regarded as building the best the market has to offer.

    Now granted, the main reason for using this outdated design is because US
    “safety” regulations generally prevent us from using modern equipment. Still, the European plants benefit considerably from economies-of-scale — so “import replacement” is not a good thing if it means switching to a niche manufacturer. Transit should be about solving transportation problems, and not just be some jobs program.

  • tal

    If the iron works is successful, there will be more demand for streetcars and they will build more modern designs. Remember the disaster of the “hyper modern” Boeing streetcars or the new Breda streetcars for the Green Line in Boston. It’s better to use something reliable that’s easy to maintain. It’s also important that streetcars don’t get a bad reputation with municipal governments as they’re being reintroduced.

    Also, the Eastern European streetcars are better suited to countries with degraded streets… we don’t exactly have German-quality pavement in American cities.

    How is the Skoda design any less functional as a streetcar than some futuristic-looking thing built in France/Germany? 10 years is nothing for a streetcar, the technology really hasn’t changed. The only two important “innovations” in streetcar design are air conditioning and wheelchair access.

  • bikerider

    Actually, the Boeing purchase shows the consequences of our counterproductive “buy America” policies. Boeing had no background in manufacture of transit vehicles, so the end result of that contract was quite predictable (i.e. unreliable transit vehicles). Other than the part about cloning somebody else’s design, Oregon Ironworks seems like a similar situation.

    As for tram technology not improving, well, I must strongly disagree. In Europe at least (Germany in particular), the past 10 years has seen a revolution in what they’ve been able to accomplish with the “ordinary” streetcar.