Today’s Headlines

  • Michael Gomez, 13, Injured by Maspeth Curb-Jumper, Dies Days Later (Post, DNA, Times Ledger)
  • Maspeth Parents Meet With CM Crowley and DOT on Traffic Safety; NYPD Not Mentioned (Ledger)
  • Q Poll: De Blasio Leads Lhota, 66-25 (WSJ, News)
  • De Blasio, Who Got $250K From Taxi Industry, Says He Would Fire TLC’s Yassky (NYT, News, CapNY)
  • In Close Vote, CB 9 Tables Morningside Avenue Traffic Calming Plan Until Next Month (Uptowner)
  • Howard Slatkin, DCP’s Sustainability Lead, Gets Promotion as Burden Prepares to Leave (Crain’s)
  • Who Doesn’t Want to Be Council Speaker? (NYTCapNYCrain’sDNACity Council Watch)
  • TWU and MTA Set to Resume Contract Negotiations After One-Year Delay (News)
  • NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco Gets “Interim” Removed From Title (2nd Avenue Sagas, Post)
  • Port Authority Says Long-Delayed Washington Heights Bus Terminal Renovation on Track (News)
  • Are Pneumatic Tubes the Way to Cut Down on NYC’s Dangerous Trash Trucks? (CapNY)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anonymous

    “Michael Gomez, 13, Injured by Maspeth Curb-Jumper, Dies in Hospital”. If the Post’s version of the story is right, his death had nothing to do with the crash, which would make the Streetsblog headline severely misleading, even if technically true. Given the context, the first thing I thought was that he died from his injuries after spending days in the hospital, not that he died of an asthma attack after having been treated for minor injuries one week ago and released the same day. Tragic coincidence, or post-crash-induced asthma attack?

  • Anonymous

    @qrt145:disqus I’ve adjusted the headline from “Dies in Hospital” to “Dies Days Later.” As you note, it’s still unclear if the death is related to the crash.

  • vnm

    David Yassky has done an excellent job in his brief tenure at TLC, shepherding through the five-borough taxis and taxi of tomorrow and beefing up enforcement. The idea that he should be fired after a big improvement in service to the public is nuts, and a clear sign de Blasio is bought by medallion fleet owners.

  • vnm

    David Yassky has done an excellent job in his brief tenure at TLC, shepherding through the five-borough taxis and taxi of tomorrow and beefing up enforcement. The idea that he should be fired after a big improvement in service to the public is nuts, and a clear sign de Blasio is bought by medallion fleet owners.

  • vnm

    David Yassky has done an excellent job in his brief tenure at TLC, shepherding through the five-borough taxis and taxi of tomorrow and beefing up enforcement. The idea that he should be fired after a big improvement in service to the public is nuts, and a clear sign de Blasio is bought by medallion fleet owners.

  • vnm

    David Yassky has done an excellent job in his brief tenure at TLC, shepherding through the five-borough taxis and taxi of tomorrow and beefing up enforcement. The idea that he should be fired after a big improvement in service to the public is nuts, and a clear sign de Blasio is bought by medallion fleet owners.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, I appreciate the response, and the difficulty of encapsulating all the nuances in a headline.

  • David

    You make it sound like ToT is a sure benefit – I’m not so sure – for one the gas mileage is terrible

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    I agree the headline was misleading. But worth pointing out that asthma, like the Maspath injuries, is another cost that drivers disproportionately inflict on the rest of of us.

  • car free nation

    I’m voting for DeBlasio, but this taxi thing makes me squeamish. The thing that Yassky was trying to do is to make the taxis work for the riders, over the objections of the medallion owners and the drivers.

    Although many see them as a rich man’s luxury, Taxis are a key part to a car free lifestyle, allowing one to carry stuff and get places in the rain. Making taxis more available in the outer boroughs, while maybe hurting the long term value of Medallions is certainly a benefit to the riders. The ToT will also be a lot more comfortable and spacious for those in the back, compared to a traditional cab, and will allow for more porting of stuff.

    DeBlasio seems to have forgotten that the typical voter is more likely to take a car service or a taxi than to own a medallion.

  • Daphna

    The Taxi of Tomorrow will have sliding doors which is extremely beneficial in terms of reducing dooring to cyclists.

  • chuck

    Bet de Blasio is only two weeks away from saying he’ll fire Janette Sadik-khan, too…

  • Bolwerk

    Pneumatic tubes? Someone at an agency that won’t spend a cent on light rail wants to blow billions of dollars on pneumatic tubes? Evidently garbage is more worthy of punctual transport than humans.

  • Joe R.

    Regardless of the merits of this idea, I’m glad to see someone thinking outside the box for a change. For a city that supposedly prides itself on being ahead of the curve, all too often NYC chooses boringly conventional ways of doing things.

    Another “radical” idea I’ve had is using the subways during off-peak hours for freight deliveries. You may not replace trucks completely, but we have a wonderful underground network which has stops within a few blocks of most places in Manhattan. Certainly this could be useful for any cargo which can be physically lifted up the stairs (or even heavier cargo from those stations with elevators).

    I would love to see a citiwide system of pneumatic tubes which can be used for both waste collection and cargo/mail delivery. Maybe have one “station” on every block where people dispose of their non-bulk trash and pick up their mail. Certainly it would greatly cut down on truck traffic. Whether or not such a system is feasible from either a cost or technical perspective is unknown but nowadays technology exists to have the tubes routed via microcontrollers instead of mechanically, as in pneumatic tube systems of the past.

  • moocow

    He’s ahead in the polls, let’s hope he doesn’t pander like that. Esp considering the lives her work has saved.
    But I agree with your cynicism.

  • Bolwerk

    Outside the box needs to be balanced against NIH. I’m all for experimentation, but the boringly conventional [elsewhere] often works. What do other cities do with their waste? Well, one, they produce a lot less of it and have policies in place that encourage producing less of it (e.g., fees on packaging).

    I think freight on subways is a good idea, but sadly it’s probably illegal under most circumstances thanks to our dear FRA. The same problem probably exists with tram freight. Basically the auto industry has a legal monopoly on last-mile freight transport, keeping other modes like rail, which already exists in abundance, from competing.

    Still, pneumatic tubes sound expensive, difficult, real estate-intensive, and useless for passengers, so I’m pretty skeptical of them. It’s not like subway/tram freight doesn’t have a lot of potential, and it’s a whole lot cheaper in theory.

  • Anonymous

    Having a mayor who didn’t hire and fire appointed city officials based on campaign donations sure was nice while it lasted.

  • Guest

    Sure, hiring socialites was such a great method…

  • Guest

    We can barely perform basic subway repairs, at great expense, while maintaining service. How in the world do you think you’re going to get freight movements scheduled?

    And how do you actually move the freight in and out of the system? Sounds like might not have ever tried taking the subway with something as light as a stroller!

  • Joe R.

    The freight would move at night. Remember there’s plenty of extra capacity then to run more trains. And because freight is a service you can charge for, it may even make the subway system money, perhaps offsetting some of the lack of funding elsewhere.

    As for getting freight on or off the system, anything up to a few hundred pounds can be lifted on the stairs via handtrucks. You can even lay down temporary ramps to assist that. Heavier freight could go on elevators, where they exist anyway.

    On another note, I’m really sick of the “can’t do” attitudes I see coming from people like you. All I hear every time someone thinks outside the box a little is “can’t be done, too hard, not feasible, costs too much”. And this is the country which once sent people to the moon? There’s a saying that people get the government they deserve, and maybe today’s “can’t do” politicians are all the people deserve. If we’re going to avoid becoming a third world country, I might suggest thinking big and thinking outside the box. Worst case a new idea might fail. Why are people so afraid of failure nowadays? It’s not like things are so great with the status quo. Frankly, they suck compared to what could be.

  • Guest

    There are lots of things we CAN do, but sometimes there are simply bad ideas.

    This is a really bad idea.

    The overnight period is necessary for maintenance on the subway system. O&M costs for New York City Transit already come at a premium because the system operates 24/7.

    Not to mention this doesn’t meet any real need or have any financial viability. Streets and highways have plenty of free capacity overnight too. Goods movement planners have been trying to get more night deliveries, and NYCDOT has done some good work with a pilot project, but it simply does not work for many businesses.

    Then add the additional handling, and there is no merit here at all. Let’s say shippers drive their truck to a subway yard, because they might be able to pull up alongside the train car that will run in the subway. Let’s employ that “can do” attitude, and suppose they have specially-designed containers that can be lifted off the truck and placed on a rail chassis. Ok… but that has to be scheduled and will require time to get through security, make the transfer, etc. In reality, the truck could be done with its deliveries by the time it’s entered, made its transfer, a train has been assembled, and finally departed the freight yard. Then, when you actually want to make a delivery, you have to pay for the extra labor – with a shift differential for late-night work – to lift everything out of the subway stations? Seriously, you need to think this stuff through!

    Sorry, but this idea just does not work on the most basic level. Financially infeasible for freight deliveries and logistically impossible for a busy, aging system that already has difficulties scheduling repairs while it is in continual operation.

  • Guest

    Don’t forget the additional liabilities that come along with the additional handling, either.

  • Guest

    I’m confused; why would Sanitation ever spend a cent on light-rail?

    Pneumatic tubes already work well on Roosevelt Island. I don’t see any reason to write this off. The piles of stinking bags that tear open on the sidewalks are one of the worst aspects on NYC. The big, dangerous trucks that pick them up are another. And so are the obscene costs of performing all that work with manual labor.

    Less smelly, less wear and tear and traffic impact on our streets, potentially more cost-effective… where’s the problem?

  • Joe R.

    OK, but consider that we’re already running freight services on the subway system at night-namely the garbage trains. Assuming delivering cargo might not be feasible for the reasons you say, picking up trash certainly is. I wonder if businesses could be incentivized to bring their trash to subway stations after maybe 10 PM? Charge a fee for a permit to do this since it will cost the MTA extra money but still save the businesses compared to private truck trash collection. Run more garbage trains if necessary. I certainly think the logistics of doing something like this aren’t insurmountable, and you get those dangerous trucks off the road (i.e. statistically, private garbage trucks are among the most dangerous road users in NYC). Unlike cargo which has differing origins and destinations, trash is all going to the same place.

    As for extra capacity on roads a night, yes, we have it, but as you said businesses are reluctant to get night deliveries. We may just have to force the issue via legislation because we shouldn’t be having large delivery trucks moving during the day when streets are crowded. I’ve never understood why businesses should be averse to night delivery. This is NYC. Many places are open until at least 10 PM. Certainly evening deliveries (i.e. after 8 PM) would work. And the trucks can operate more efficiently due to less traffic.

  • Guest

    This seems somewhat more plausible, and I give you credit for the idea.

    But I still feel like it would undermine the basic, critical service provided by the subway. I’m also very skeptical it has any viability. It seems too much like a solution searching for a problem.

    The existing garbage trains are a very small amount of traffic, and I believe they only handle the trash collected in the stations themselves.

    I don’t want to imagine the effects of bringing large amount of foreign garbage through subway entrances and then storing it in the stations awaiting pickup. If you’ve ever stood next to one of the bins where the MTA stores its own limited volumes of garbage waiting for pickup, that can be putrid enough.

    Perhaps the garbage scheme could generate extra money for much more cleaning of the system (which would be welcome!), although that is questionable, depending on what could actually be charged for the service and the cost of operating it. It also seems like it would be impossible to mitigate the experience of having more heavily laden and more frequent garbage trains passing through stations with passengers on the platform.

    Anything that increases the frequency of late-night trains would still have a negative effect on system maintenance, which will always be a costly strain for a 24-hour operation of this type.

    I don’t really see what’s in it for the businesses to choose this service over curbside collection, either. The labor costs to transport the garbage to the stations seems very high. Plus, you’re probably still introducing an additional handling step (I don’t think the subway connects directly to any waste transfer stations, and probably has little potential to do so).

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, if there’s one word I think of when I think of David Yassky, it’s “socialite”.

  • Joe R.

    I’m thinking here of something along the lines of waste chutes above the subway station which drop trash bags into a container on the subway platform. You access the chutes with an ID card (to prevent people who don’t pay for the service from using it), and perhaps you get billed based on the volume or weight of trash. The containers would preferably be closed to prevent odors/vermin. They can easily be loaded onto specially designed trains for quick, fast pickup. In fact, with a closed container system you needn’t restrict the hours businesses can dump off trash to only night time.

    Certainly this might be advantageous to businesses in that they can dispose of their trash as they generate it, rather than having a foul-smelling dumpster in back which attracts vermin. Naturally, I only expect such a system to be useful to businesses located within close proximity of subway stations, perhaps within a few blocks. That still covers a lot of businesses in the densest parts of the city where rotting garbage and vermin generate the most problems.

    Certainly such an idea merits study. It’s good for people to think outside the box and generate new ways of doing things. Maybe out of 100 ideas, 90 will be shot down right away on obvious practical or cost grounds. 10 might merit further study. 1 or 2 might actually be put into practice. I think since we seem to be short of money to build new infrastructure (actually, it’s misplaced priorities rather than a real money shortage, but that’s another topic entirely), we should look into ways to utilize untapped potential in existing infrastructure. The subways are primarily to move people, but I think the excess capacity can be put to use for other functions. As for maintenance, usually they shut down tracks for that, so any garbage trains would just go on active tracks as they do now, along with passenger trains.

    I don’t know offhand if the subway has direct connections to any waste disposal sites. However, if the trash is containerized, transferring it to railroads which do should be trivial.

  • Joe R.

    I would love to have a pneumatic tube system on every block. I don’t mind walking a block or more to dispose of trash, as opposed to keeping it in pails outside for bi-weekly pickup. We’ve already had problems with raccoons knocking the pails down and tearing through bags. Thankfully we don’t have rats or roaches in the trash like many other neighborhoods.

  • SteveF

    Yasky’s hearing officers don’t know squat about bicycle traffic law. I will be happy to see the back of him.