Today’s Headlines

  • Now You Can See the Next 34th Street Bus on Your Computer or Smartphone (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Cuomo: State Control of MTA Unfair to Upstaters (CBS 2)
  • ARC Would Cut New Jerseyans’ Commute Times, Say Lautenberg and RPA (Star LedgerMTR)
  • Poll: New Jersey’s Business Community Opposed to Killing ARC Tunnel (MTR)
  • Paterson: We Need ARC, But NY State Can’t Help (News)
  • Everyone’s Eyeing That ARC Money — Where Will It Go? (Transpo Nation)
  • Liberty Avenue Gets That Ped-Friendly Streets Are Business-Friendly Streets (Queens Chronicle)
  • Greenway Collision in Tribeca: Cyclist’s Handlebar Punctures Jogger’s Arm (Post)
  • Turkish Firm Declares It Has The Taxi Of Tomorrow (Post)
  • London Bike-Sharing Program On Track to Turn Profit (Guardian)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, the transit buffs I correspond with, many with engineering backgrounds, believe NJ can get by with an additional two track tunnel direct to Penn.

    But their ideas may be a little politically impractical. To work, trains would have to run through like the RER in Paris. But in Paris you have the national government running the trains, not two states seeking to milk one city.

    Merging the LIRR and NJ would be kind of like merging two zombie banks into one zombie bank. Then again, with the LIRR the worst of them all, perhaps it could just be eliminated and NJT could take over its routes.

  • ryan

    cyclist wasn’t charged. where is the outrage?

  • Josef

    A very interesting comparison between New Jersey and Switzerland that has just finished digging the longest tunnel in the world: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/swiss-smash-through-mountain-to-create-worlds-longest-tunnel/article1758502/

    Here is the key quote:

    “Swiss voters, who are paying over $1,300 each to fund the project, approved its construction in a series of referendums almost 20 years ago.”

    “It’s a day of joy for Switzerland,” said Peter Fueglistaler, director of Switzerland’s Federal Office of Transport. “We are not a very emotional people but if we have the longest tunnel in the world, this also for us is very, very emotional.”

    “It will allow millions of tons of goods that are currently transported through the Alps on heavy trucks to be shifted onto the rails, particularly the economically important link between the Dutch port of Rotterdam and Italy’s Mediterranean port of Genoa.”

  • JK

    Making the MTA a state agency is a dumb idea. If not an authority, it should be a city agency. But Cuomo’s press guy has got it wrong when he says making the MTA a state agency would burden upstate tax payers. New York City sends roughly $12-$18 billion a year in tax subsidies to Upstate New York. As such, it would make no difference to Upstate tax payers if the MTA was made a state agency.

    Unfortunately, politics being what it is, Andrew Cuomo is not going to puncture the abiding delusion of Upstaters that they are somehow keeping the state afloat while the city benefits from their hard work.

    Cuomo spokesman John Vlasto said: “It is a bizarre proposal. Paladino would make the MTA a state agency, thus making upstate New Yorkers pay for a New York City-based transportation system. It is an awful and unfair idea.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    The cyclist was going too fast in the vicinity of a pedestrian, and should have been given a ticket. When it’s crowded, you need to slow down.

    It is a bizarre proposal. Paladino would make the MTA a state agency, thus making upstate New Yorkers pay for a New York City-based transportation system. It is an awful and unfair idea.”

    Lots of people Upstate insist on believing they are paying for the subway right now.

  • BicyclesOnly

    Ryan,

    I’m not outraged by the Greenway incident b/c there’s nothhing in the report that indicates the cyclist did something wrong. As distinct from the situations where police prematurely announce that they “suspect no criminality” but refuse to disclose crash details that should be public for months, here there were “no charges” and apparently there is no ongoing investigation. Case closed. But if you’re curious whether NYPD’s failure to charge the cyclist reflects an anti-pedestrian bias, you can try making a FOIL request on NYPD for the paperwork on the incident.

  • BrooklynNative

    The governor pulled the $2 – $5 billion over budget figure out of thin air. His office never actually conducted a legitimate study of the potential cost overruns when he ordered a thirty day halt to ARC. The Feds presented New Jersey with a very wide range of potential cost overruns and Governor Christie’s people basically looked at the mid range and said that’s what they were going with. I know for a fact that they never ordered people at NJT and the PA to study the potential cost overruns that the feds presented to him. The reality is the potential is more likely below $1 billion and cost savings could have been found to decrease it further.

    Furthermore, the governor’s unilateral decision will wind up costing us many billions of dollars more down the road because eventually, this tunnel and expansion of Penn Station will happen. It must. We’re at capacity right now yet demand for service continues to grow. If the project doesn’t move forward, we risk having a rail system that closely resembles India where people are crammed into trains and hang out of doors of trains as they fly by.

    But there has never been a better time to start a major infrastructure project than now. Read the reports on ARC. Bids for contracts have been coming in at as much as 20% below expectations. Why? Because the economy is so bad and this is the only game in town. Construction companies have no other big projects to work on and they’re dying to take on ARC. They’ll do it for much less than they would have during good economic times and they’re bidding low by cutting down their profit margins.

    We already know that any cost overruns could easily be paid for down the road by a modest increase in the gasoline tax, an increase that every transportation expert agrees New Jersey needs to enact!

    If governor Christie was so concerned about the economic future of our state, he would see the wisdom of moving foward with ARC as a way for the state to grow in many different areas. Instead, he’s choosing to do something that benefits no one but himself and his poltical career. He lacks vision. It’s sad that he was the only alternative to former governor Corzine.

    If the current governor really wanted to eliminate wasteful spending, he’d fix our corrupt governmental system in which elected officials are allowed to hold two seats, a local elected position and one in the state legislature. It’s an inherint conflict of interest that results in wasteful spending in legislator’s home communities.

  • If Cuomo really is against “making upstate New Yorkers pay for a New York City-based transportation system,” then it would also make sense to exclude city taxpayers from funding upstate highways and transit. This could be done by creating a tax zone for upstate transportation that includes all counties except the ones served by the MTA. As a city taxpayer who has spent a lifetime sending subsidies upstate, I look forward to Cuomo’s unveiling of this evenhanded and far-sighted plan.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “There has never been a better time to start a major infrastructure project than now. Read the reports on ARC. Bids for contracts have been coming in at as much as 20% below expectations.”

    Then why will there be over-runs? And why aren’t we getting lower prices on East Side Access, the SAS, and signal replacement projects?

    As I’ve said, if Christie is trying to squeeze the construction industry, we should join him. There should be 40 percent cost reductions from peak prices, or no construction. If they’ll play ball, everything should be built now before the construction workers are needed elsewhere.

  • BrooklynNative

    Larry, because on a complex project that is expected to take at least 8 years to complete, there are bound to be unforseen circumstance that would result in additional expenditures.

  • The project is already $6 billion over budget. It was supposed to cost $2.7 billion; it’s now up to $8.7 billion.

    The 57-km Swiss base tunnel, for comparison, cost $10.2 billion.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The project is already $6 billion over budget. It was supposed to cost $2.7 billion; it’s now up to $8.7 billion.

    And here is the way to look at that. If those working on it receive an average of $50 per hour in wages and benefits, which is probably more than I get and certainly more than most people get, at $8.7 billion you are talking about 174 million man hours to produce the tunnel and the materials used in it.

    Or 83,654 man-years. Or 16,730 people working for five years. Does anyone really believe that many people will be showing up and working? So how much are people working on the tunnel getting paid, and how much profit is going out?

  • This Greenway story seems to become a bit less sensational, and more believable, every time it’s told. The story was initially reported as “impaled” but now we’re down to “punctured.” Someone identified as “PKB” posted on the NYCC bulletin board

    “According to the cyclist, she was crossing the bike path and did not see him or stop for him. The brifter lever, not the handlebar, punctured her upper arm and got stuck in the flesh. The cyclist and passersby, unable to immediately release the bike from her arm, held the cycle in place and waited for the FDNY ambulance personnel to cut the handlebar and detach the bike.”

  • BrooklynNative

    Alon – Where are you getting that $2.7 billion figure from? WHen was it last used?

  • @Larry: materials are a nontrivial cost here. Think of it this way: the Swiss tunnel had 2,600 workers, but the final cost was $10.2 billion.

    @BrooklynNative: the original alternatives analysis… I forget when. 2002, maybe?

  • BicyclesOnly

    The anti-bike lane demonstration in the East Village was noteworthy for the fact that only three anti-bike lane demonstrators (including the organizer, Leslie Sicklick) showed up. Ben Fried covered the “event” (remarkably, along with about ten other media people) and will no doubt have an amusing post for us next week.

  • I’m reminded by the counter-protests in favor of the Iraq War. Those typically had 50 people to the anti-war protests’ hundreds of thousands, and still got decent coverage.