Today’s Headlines

  • India on Pace to Make Too Many Cars, Creating Pressure for More Highways and Parking (WSJ)
  • DOT Commish Sadik-Khan and TA’s Samponaro Talk NYC Cycling on CNBC
  • How Elle Vandenberghe‘s Mom Fought the Absurdity of New York Traffic Laws (NYT)
  • NY Botanical Garden Gets Into Parking Business With 825-Space Subsidized Garage (News)
  • PPW Design Tweak: City to Keep Drivers Out of Ped Spaces Using Granite Blocks (Bklyn Paper)
  • Challenger Calls Out Skelos for Ignoring Basics of LIRR Upkeep (Albany Project)
  • For AG, Pete Seeger Endorses Brodsky, #1 Foe of NYC’s Biggest Sustainability Initiative (DP)
  • New Subway Cars to Come Equipped With Surveillance Cams — No Albany Vote Necessary (Post)
  • Are School Bus Cuts in Jersey a Blessing in Disguise? (MTR)
  • Summer Streets Fashion Revue With Bill Cunningham (NYT)
  • Ben Kabak Tells a Staten Island Subway Saga

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • jsd

    I take issue with the opening of Ben Kabak’s piece on Staten Island’s transit history.

    ” With only some express bus routes and the Staten Island Railway as its transit routes, the borough plays host to a high car ownership rate and is relatively disconnected from New York City Transit’s extensive four-borough subway network”

    The beginning of that statement is entirely untrue. We have an extensive, island wide local bus network that many, many, many people take. To the mall, to the ferry, to the grocery store, to school, to Grandma’s. It’s active at night. It’s active during the day. There are multiple transit hubs throughout the island. In Eltingville. At the mall. At the ferry.

    I agree with the rest of the article. But we have to stop pretending that local transit doesn’t matter. Just because it doesn’t go to the city doesn’t mean it is worthless. Thousands of people rely on and use Staten Island’s local buses every single day. Excluding them to make a point is a disservice to all of those people, and highlights a very serious oversight in the article.

    I’m not saying the buses are great. West Shore Light Rail would be awesome. A subway to Manhattan or Brooklyn would be wonderful. The buses are often late, stuck in our overwhelming single occupancy traffic, broken down, or packed full. They are something of a nightmare on pothole filled mid winter streets. But they exist.

  • money for nothing

    The (Botanic) garden said it financed the $50 million cost of the garage through public and private sources. The city pitched in $30 million, and the state gave $11 million. ($60,600/spot)

    The garden plans to price the parking memberships at “market rate,” depending on how much other garages in the area are charging.

    It has not yet begun to sell the special memberships but plans to well in advance of the new garage’s actual opening. The garden said it hasn’t yet decided if the parking membership will include access to the garden itself.

    Nearby Fordham University charges $11 per day – good from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. – for a spot in its garage.

    Annual garden membership packages range from $75 for an individual to $120 for a family.

    Those packages come with four to eight parking passes. Members redeem the passes with each visit and must pay to park at the garden once they are used up.

  • The Botanic Garden is a not-for-profit. Therefore, the garage they’re building is exempt from property taxes. So in some small way, we are all sacrificing a little more for the garden to have the ability to sell more parking spaces.

    Plus, owning the structure obliges the garden to maintain it, taking operating money away from its plant-related mission.

    Can’t we get Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to have them sell the property and the development off to a private developer, avoiding all those issues?

  • Mike Epstein

    You know what’s even worse about this parking lot boondoggle: it was marketed for funding as an “Intermodal Transportation” facility. Seriously. From the federal earmark request:

    New York Botanical Garden Intermodal Transportation Gateway; $3,000,000
    New York Botanical Garden, 200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458

    These funds would further advance the development of the Intermodal Transportation Facility located just across the street from the Garden and connected to the MTA/Metro North Railroad’s Botanical Garden train station. The Garden’s transportation facility incorporates the Metro North train platform into a new parking garage with a direct connection pedestrian walkway, creating a safer environment for the Garden’s visitors and improving traffic in the surrounding community.

    http://crowley.house.gov/list/hearing/ny07_crowley/FY11requests.shtml

    More: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/bronx/2009/03/03/2009-03-03_outrage_blooms_over_garden_site_neighbor.html

  • “The Biking Boom Breeds Discontent” in the NY Times’ Green blog actually references Streetsblog reporting by Ben Fried:
    http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/30/a-bike-boom-backlash/

    Given the placement of the story (a blog devoted to the environment), I was suprised by the number of anti-cycling comments by readers

  • Anon

    Yeah, call a garage an “intermodal facility” and you can get a Federal earmark for it from your local politician. The Bronx Zoo is playing the same game, as are SUNY Downstate/Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

  • Reminds me of a certain “grade-crossing elimination structure” that I’ve had lunch at on the Hudson River!

  • Bolwerk

    Brodsky is an excellent choice for AG. Short of an asteroid disintegrating a really grody motel orgy featuring Silver, Espada, Kruger, Diaz, and all the state Republikans, few things could be better than getting Brodsky out of the legislature.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Brodsky will be out of the legislature win or lose, as he is not running for re-election.

    As for the “bright side” of school bus cuts, I had argued on Room Eight that one response to the cutoff of free student rides on MTA transit and buses would be for the City of New York to shift the money it is now paying the MTA for that purpose to provide bikes, locks and parking to all middle and high schoolers who want them and don’t have them, and encourage walking and biking.

    The political risk is that sooner or later one of the kids would be run over, but perhaps that’s a risk that will have to be taken given our diminished circumstances.

  • Peter from Stuy Town

    I’m disappointed by Pete Seeger’s NIMBY-style thinking in supporting Brodsky. Then again, I think after that the default “No Nukes” stance is kneejerk reactionary thinking from the left and 20 years out of date.

    Brodsky knows he’s a goner from elected office after the primary, but not from the power levers. He’s undoubtedly lined up law or lobbying firm work.

  • jsd: I wasn’t clear enough that I was referring to connections to the other borough. I’m not denying that Staten Island has a vibrant local bus system, but that local bus system doesn’t do what dedicated express bus lanes over the V-N Bridge or a subway do in terms of interborough connectivity. Apologies for slighting Staten Island’s local buses.

  • Bolwerk

    Brodsky is clearly a reactionary about transport policy, but somebody with stupid politics about transport might not necessary be bad in another area. I really don’t know enough about him to say his stances on civil liberties and regulation and other AG office matters are reactionary. Of course, his stance on congestion pricing is enough to make me prefer not to have him around, but oh well.

    Goodness, Ray LaHood is a Republikan. I realize he’s far from perfect, but I can’t really imagine doing much better with a federal transportation office right now. However, I think putting him in a federal AG position would be very troubling, given Republikan records on things like, uh, free elections or civil rights.

  • vnm

    There is no way I would ever vote the man who led the fight against congestion pricing into any office whatsoever.

  • jsd

    Benjamin Kabak,

    True, and after a reread, I can see that the gist of the piece was more about connectivity with other boroughs. Thanks for the response and the good work.

  • It’s rather disappointing to see the Botanical Garden administration fall prey to the autocentric mindset. You would *think* they might grasp that encouraging people to drive their cars to the garden encourages pollution, sprawl, and climate change, which endangers the very plants and habitats they are charged to protect.