Today’s Headlines

  • Russianoff and John Raskin Say MTA Should Invest Unexpected $40 Million in Restoring Service (News)
  • Roxana Gomez, Struck by Alleged Drunk Driver in Prospect Heights, Dies From Injuries (Post, Madre)
  • King Fong, 79, Killed by Motorist in Bensonhurst; NYPD Blames Victim (Post, DNA)
  • Comrie Drops Out of Race for Queens Borough President (Times Ledger)
  • Weiner Goes Full Bore on Ferries; Thompson Says Weiner Doesn’t Get How Liveries Work (CapNY)
  • De Blasio: City Should Get More From Private Entities That Want Public Parkland (CapNY)
  • Queens Bike Rack News, Via an Exemplary Piece of Livable Streets Reportage From the Times Ledger
  • Lentol and Squadron Want Developers to Allow Temporary Parks on Vacant Lots (CapNY)
  • MTA Putting More Cameras on Buses to Protect Drivers From Assault (News)
  • Unlicensed Cab Driver Drives on Greenway in Soho (Post)
  • The Times Measures the Reach of Bloomberg’s International Road Safety Campaign

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anonymous

    The Times piece on Bloomberg’s international work lacked any historical context. Both in New York and worldwide, Robert Moses, the New York czar of planning from the mid-20th century, imposed his auto-centric view of the world on the landscape. Maybe Bloomberg is just fighting Robert Moses’ legacy here AND abroad?

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02665433.2010.505068#preview

  • Bolwerk

    Russianoff bugs me almost as much as open transit opponents. He spouts off in the media, but has little to offer toward making the MTA financially sustainable over the long run so that service can be restored or, perhaps more importantly, new service can be created that better reflects riders’ needs.

    It’s 2013 and New York hasn’t seen significant transit expansion in two generations. Fix that.

  • Anonymous

    Huh? How does this well-considered and entirely reasonable News op-ed by Russianoff and Raskin qualify as “spouting off”?

    It isn’t Russianoff’s job to fund the MTA. It *is* (part of) his job to advocate for funding mechanisms that have a shot at enactment by our dysfunctional legislature, and he does that diligently and brilliantly. Most of that work is necessarily behind the scenes, so you may not see it, but it’s there, in spades.

    Russianoff has to walk a fine line of prodding the MTA to do better while backing the authority when it does so. He mastered this art a long time ago, and, somehow, keeps doing it, even in the face of ill-considered criticism like yours.

    There might never have been a livable streets movement if not for Russianoff and the Straphangers Campaign. Next time, please show some respect.

  • kevd

    And get off Charles Komanoff’s lawn!

  • Bolwerk

    Yes, it didn’t show up in his Daily News op-ed or most of his other PR, so I didn’t see it. It hardly seems to be a prominent feature of Straphangers Dot Org either. This is a consistent, on-going problem with Straphangers. You are free to disagree with that, but it is the type of criticism that is well within the bounds of respectful commentary. (This would be disrespect: Russianoff is a douchey, attention-seeking media whore. I don’t actually think that, but see the difference?)

    We all want more service. But saying a $40M surprise should go to service restoration is tabloid posturing, not helpful policy advocacy. NYDN probably is the wrong audience, but let’s hear ideas to get $40M/year in going revenue to support such increases. Or, how about $400M?

  • Joe R.

    If we could get the congestion tax passed, that would go a long way towards reliable transit funding. Perhaps we might even have enough to seriously consider expanding service with subways instead of SBS. The major advocacy organizations need to call out City Council members who consistently frame the congestion tax as something which will hurt the working slob in the outer boroughs. Last I checked, not too many working stiffs drive into Manhattan for work.

  • Daphna

    Alta installed three more docking stations over the weekend. Now there are only 4 left to be installed (Little West St & 1 Pl, E 27th & 1st Ave, E 55th & 5th Ave, E 59th & Sutton Pl) from the 22 stations that were left as “planned” at launch. The NYCbikeshare blog has not been updated since July 8th. Likely bikeshare has reached over 1M rides, over 2M miles, and around 60K annual members already.

    All docking stations on Broadway between 35th-59th Streets were out of bikes Saturday evening, Saturday night and Sunday late afternoon. It seems like re-balancing continues to be an issue. It did not look like re-balancing took place overnight on Saturday. The number of citibikes available is declining with only 3,859 maximum bikes in the system as of Sunday (July 14th). In spite of with theses problems, users are managing to take tons of rides and the system is supporting a large number of rides per bike.

  • Daphna

    I think the City Council was in favor of congestion pricing, as was the mayor, as was the New York State Senate, as were the republicans in the New York State Assembly. It was democrat speaker of the NY State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, and his democrat majority that sunk congestion pricing each time mayor Bloomberg pushed for it by failing to ever put it on the agenda and failing to ever take a vote on it. Instead, Shelly Silver supported the unpopular payroll tax in the counties served by the MTA, which Nassau in Long Island sued not to have to pay. And the payroll tax does not raise the same money as congestion pricing and does not have all the benefits that would have come with congestion pricing.

    It would be great if the City Council would press hard for congestion pricing, but they are dependent on Albany.

    Some have suggested that when a home rule decision is asked for by NYC from Albany, that Albany should have to have a vote on it in a specified time, otherwise by default NYC can do what they are asking. Because by not putting it on the agenda, state politicians are able to sink an idea without having to go on record with a vote. This would be a good change. NYC needs some autonomy back.

  • Anonymous

    If you think that “Russianoff bugs me almost as much as open transit opponents. He spouts off in the media, but has little to offer …” is “well within the bounds of respectful commentary,” then there’s no point in my trying to engage you further. Indeed, the rest of your response to me indicates that you couldn’t, or chose not to, hear my points about the political world, not of his making, in which Gene has to navigate — and which he has done beautifully for over 30 years. Sad.

  • Bolwerk

    I don’t dislike SBS. Sometimes it might be the right tool for the job. I might say that is more likely the case on Woodhaven Blvd than First Ave., but I don’t like trains over SBS anymore than I like hammers over screwdrivers. They are tools, and should complement each other.

    My usual complaint with regard to SBS is that a lot of people ignorantly act like it’s a substitute for a train, when investing in track and rolling stock might actually often be more cost-effective and efficient over the long run. If all we’re getting in the future is SBS, it’s just not good enough. Not in Paris or Berlin or London, and not in New York City.

  • kevd

    We are all very much aware that you don’t like SBS. No need to repeat, yet again. That’s why I started with “the kind you won’t particularly like.”

    My points were these – SBS is probably all we’re going to get for a while (once the current capital projects are completed) and that a bunch of those are better than reducing the efficiency of the subway by re-introducing the V & W, or bringing back slow, infrequent and unreliable regular buses like the one on Cortelyou Rd.
    Other service restorations might be of value, just not those.

  • kevd

    Ok. I agree that it often isn’t a good tool for the job.
    But it is a better tool than restoring inefficient subway routes or unreliable, slow and infrequent bus service – and that realistically, that’s all we’re going to get once the current capital projects are completed.

  • Russianoff & Raskin: “Meanwhile, the MTA still has not restored most of the service that was eliminated in 2010.”

    So folks whose commutes got longer because of cuts in 2010 have just waited, in the same houses, at the same jobs, some FOUR YEARS, for the MTA to put the service back? Who thinks like that? If my bus line got trimmed, I think I would find somewhere else to live, or somewhere else to work.

  • kevd

    After missing the “don’t” in Bolwerk’s first sentence I deleted this response and responded again, above.
    Those “not”s make all the difference, don’t they?

    But now my first response just shows up as attributed to “guest”
    It should be removed.

    Thanks.

  • Joe R.

    I fully agree NYC should have some say about what goes on within its borders. We all know the congestion tax would be enormously unpopular with people from NJ, LI, and CT, but there’s no law stating that NYC must make it easier or less costly for people to commute by car. Every other city which has passed a congestion tax has had good results. I think NYC would benefit enormously. We could even have a zoned tax where it might be, say $5 to enter city limits during peak times, another $5 to enter within 5 miles of Manhattan, and finally $10 more to enter Manhattan. People will drive in as far as their wallet permitted and no further. One of my worries about congestion pricing as proposed is that the outer boroughs might end up becoming parking lots for suburban auto commuters. I guess a residential parking permit system could fix that but then that’s another piece of legislation to get passed.

  • Joe R.

    Moving is much harder for those who own something (condo or private home) than for those who rent. But you’re right. I work at home but in theory if my commute rose from 30 minutes to, say, an hour due to service cuts, I would probably start looking for a new job right away.

    On another note, many of the largest employers in NYC are megacorporations with branches all over the city. Would it be all that hard for these companies to move people around so most are closer to where they live? That seems like a very low-cost solution to a lot of our transportation problems. If you can get enough people close enough to work so they can walk or bike, you can actually need less peak capacity on mass transit. Peak capacity is really what costs the system heavily.

  • Anonymous

    Finding a new job closer to home is also not easy for a lot of people.

  • Joe R.

    In this economic climate you’re right but certainly many of the people complaining about the service cuts could have found something else after FOUR years. I think nowadays on average people change jobs more often than that.

  • krstrois

    Not sure this is falls under Streetsblog’s purview, but I found it interesting (and incredibly nauseating/depressing/enraging) that the state of Va used parking minimums to force a women’s healthcare clinic out of business. They passed a law that abortion clinics had to have “hospital grade” facilities. What makes something hospital grade? Among other things: tons of parking. The clinic could not afford to retrofit (of course) and was forced to close.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fairfax-city-abortion-clinic-busiest-in-virginia-closes/2013/07/14/23f3d450-eb17-11e2-8023-b7f07811d98e_story.html

  • Bronxite

    Good to hear that four remain to reach the initial post-Sandy projected launch total. I have a feeling that all future expansions will be individual roll outs as we see now. Rather then a bulk neighborhood wide introduction.

  • Bolwerk

    I forgot all those times Russianoff was an effective power broker. Like how about that time he personally twisted Sheldon Silver’s arm to get CP passed! Certainly he put the fear of God into Governor Cuomo, causing him to stop using MTA funds to cover state shortfalls. Then, there was the way he single-handedly stopped the last few fare increases by complaining in the New York Daily News. He convinced the TWU to make reasonable concessions, and used a combination of reasoned eloquence and impassioned rhetoric to convince all parties that it’s time to bring MTA work rules into the 21st century, while convincing the state to reinvest the savings into new transit ROWs.

    Oh, wait, none of that ever happened. So, no, I’m not going to lick your sacred cow’s feet and spare him the (rather mild) public criticism he deserves.

  • If you can’t engage with other commenters without getting so nasty, your commenting privileges will be revoked.

  • Bolwerk

    Did you miss the part where he pulled the show some respect card and implied I was stupid, dense, and/or ignoring him? Those are all things I certainly didn’t do.

  • Bolwerk

    I think many would stop hating it if it passed. CP opposition invariably comes from the most entitled people or drivers who engage in the most economically useless car trips.

    It’s a win for any driver who values their time at greater than the CP charge. Since it wastes less fuel, it might even save them money. How can that be anti-car?

  • Ian Turner

    Where did he get nasty?

  • Andrew

    I lost all respect for Russianoff when he sued the MTA in 2003 to roll back its first fare hike in eight years (with an intervening effective fare reduction due to MetroCard).

    He could have countered Hevesi’s damaging, and false, two-sets-of-books canard. Instead, he played along with it.

    Ten years later, the public still believes it, and elected officials get a pass on their regular assaults on transit funding.