Today’s Headlines

  • Halfway Through 2015, Pedestrian Deaths in NYC Haven’t Declined Much (WNYC)
  • Say It’s an “Accident” and NYPD Will Let You Get Away With Killing Someone With Your Car (News, Post)
  • NYC’s Transit System Isn’t Keeping Up With Its Population Growth (News)
  • Uber Deploys Its Pressure Tactics Against City Hall (Crain’s, Post)
  • De Blasio Taps Maria Torres-Springer, Former Aide to Seth Pinsky, to Run NYC EDC (NYT, Crain’s)
  • NJ Transit Riders Will Absorb Another Round of Fare Hikes + Service Cuts on Christie’s Watch (MTR)
  • Reactivated South Brooklyn Marine Terminal Promises to Cut Truck Traffic (CapNY)
  • DNAinfo Names the Officers Living the Dream of Issuing Bike Tickets By the Hundreds
  • More Coverage of Central Park Car-Free Expansion From Gothamist and WNYC
  • 13 Metro-North Train Crew Members Indicted for Cheating on Job Exams (NYT, News)
  • Sharrows on a Few Blocks of Fulton Street Are Too Much for Brooklyn CB 3 (DNA)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’ve just completed a three part analysis of the extent to which each state’s future has been sold out by state and local government debt, past capital construction (or the lack thereof), and public employee pension underfunding. And thus which states will far the worst in a future of ongoing tax cuts, public service cuts, and infrastructure deterioration. It is based on data from the Governments Division of the U.S. Census Bureau.

    The first post, with the overall “sold out future ranking” and a spreadsheet with data for all states and NYC and the rest of NY State separately, is here.

    A more detailed post on state and local government debts and past capital construction expenditures is here.

    And a final post on public employee pensions is here.

    You can read the posts and look at the charts, but what I’d really like is for people to download the spreadsheet and look at the tables to see the data for all 50 states.

    And, in fact, the “download” tab includes far more data than is in the tables. For example I summarized capital construction expenditures from 1972 to 2012 for each state for “infrastructure” as a whole, but the database includes data for state highway and street construction, local highway and street construction, transit construction, airports and seaports separately. The data for any one of those topics could be downloaded for any of the 50 states and
    compared. I would think this is something any part of the Streetsblog network could use.

    In any event, if NYC were a separate state it would have the most sold out future of all states by my measure. In addition to pension underfunding and high debts, as bad as before the onset of the 1970s fiscal crisis, NYC has spent about $40 billion too little on infrastructure capital construction (in today’s money) over the years from FY 1980 to FY 2012.

  • R

    So weird. Bike summonses have spiked under Mayor de Blasio, yet we’re a year and a half into Vision Zero and pedestrian deaths haven’t gone down. Someone ought to figure out what the heck is going on.

  • joe shabadoo

    Since Uber basically had 0 users before they came to NYC in 2011 (let’s call it 1 user for math purposes) and now have ~24,000 that’s a CAGR of 1,100% increase per year for 4 years. they can survive 1 year of 1% growth while the City figures out how to deal with them.

  • AnoNYC

    It infuriates me how something so important (transportation) can be so easily brushed under the rug by our politicians.

    Imagine if NYC rolled out a legitamate citywide BRT network by claiming moving lanes and banning automobiles along those stretches. I wonder what kind of impact that would have?

    Imagine BRT along 3rd Ave from the Financial District to Fordham University? 125th St crosstown into Queens? Fordham Road into Inwood?

    Buses only, no cars, signal prioritization at intersections with camera enforcement, raised/sheltered platforms, off board payments, the works.

    Rail rapid transit is ideal, but in the short term we need to use our road space much more efficiently.

  • J_12

    Not totally surprising –
    considering that both pension and debt obligations are legal obligations that are almost impossible to modify short of bankruptcy, it seems capital spending is the only place for government to look to reduce (or continue to underfund) if cashflows are constrained.

    What we really need, in order to avoid an austerity “death spiral” is an increase in revenue. This can only be accomplished with increased capital spending, which presents somewhat of a dilemma.

    I think tax rebate and asset-lease programs, such as 421a or public-private partnerships, are a stealth way for the government to borrow without increasing the actual debt. We are selling future tax revenue in order to fund current development, or more accurately to get private sector to fund it. This works if the current development produces returns in the future, in terms of increasing the tax base. It’s a risky play, given the track record and the inevitable frictions created by corruption and politics, but it may be the best of a constrained set of options.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The thing is, the past infrastructure funding shortage for NY and NJ is not terrible, but it was all funded by debt.

    So now we are broke and infrastructure deferred maintenance is going to set in. It is the debt you can’t see. The NJ transportation fund, the NY transportation fund, the MTA Capital Plan. All empty, with the pols slinking away rather than proposing the painful solutions.

    As for increased revenue, it’s one thing to have a sold out future with a low or average tax burden. It is another to have a sold out future when you already have the highest tax burden in the country, and that’s us.

  • If cities, states, and the federal government went about creating that kind of transportation with the same kind of zeal cities, states, and the federal government did building roads and highways in the 1950’s, we’d see some positive and drastic change in a decade’s time.

    But I think it’s always been easier to sell individual vehicle based projects than public transit.

  • Joe R.

    Same here. Transportation is essentially the blood vessels of our economy. It may not be sexy or visible but it’s essential. How can so many leaders just not understand this? Instead, we fund a lot of other programs of dubious value, some of which might not even need to exist if we had better transportation. Think how many poor people on welfare remain on welfare because they can’t get to jobs? Decent mass transit might produce a net savings just in that area. Think also how many kids are bused to school because there are no safe routes to walk or bike, even when the school is close enough?

    It’s really frustrating seeing all other modes except individual motor vehicles neglected.

  • djx


    And crying.

    A friend was handcuff for rolling through a red light on a bike last week. Well, handcuffed and put in a police car since she had no ID. Whatever. Safety first. Keep up the good work NYPD.

  • AnoNYC

    This obsession with automobiles reflects our capitalist/individualistic/materialistic culture.

    And it’s killing us, literally.

  • AnoNYC

    Here’s one:

    Imagine how much “affordable housing” could be created if we provided better mass transportation to currently underutilized/zoned areas.

    (E.g. Third Ave corridor in the Bronx)

  • R

    Really? Can the cops do that?

  • Joe R.

    That’s one person who will probably never ride a bike in the city again. Way to go NYPD! NYPD’s Vision Zero equals zero cyclists. I’ve never seen a police force more out of touch with the people they’re protecting than the NYPD.

    By the way, what happened to her bike? Did the police take it away, never to be seen again?

  • Bolwerk

    How much affordable housing? None, since it’s presumably illegal. :-

  • Bolwerk

    Probably is if they have any reasonable suspicion the person could be lying about her identity.

    But it should be clear by now that they can usually do whatever they want without consequences. At least, no consequences for themselves. Lawsuits tend to be stuck to the city, not to police who screw up.

  • Bolwerk

    Probably is ^legal

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    So I guess he consensus is in from the Streetsblog constituency, futur funding to mass transit is to come from emoyees pensions.

  • Bolwerk

    Did you get into the July 4 schnapps a little early this year?

  • Boris

    Presumably what the mayor refers to when he says there will be less truck traffic with the reopening of the Marine Terminal is that there will be fewer trucks going between New Jersey ports and Long Island. I wonder how much toll revenue will be lost by the MTA and PA due to fewer truck crossings. It will be offset somewhat by an increase in private vehicle use (due to induced demand), but trucks are seen as the cash cows of the bridge and tunnel crossings, since the toll is per axle.

  • Ben_Kintisch

    Re: CB3 –

    Yes they vetoed three blocks of sharrows which would have connected two disconnected bike lanes.

    I miss Brooklyn terribly, including the great neighborhood of Bed-Stuy. But I won’t miss having my safety on foot and bicycle threatened by this community board. CB3 has a record of missing no opportunity to vote against the safety interests of its 150,000 residents – on a bike, on foot, in a car – still not safe.

  • knisa

    I just did a back-of the envelope calculation, and the Port Authority doesn’t stand to lose more than $5.3 million per year in tolls from this facility, which is a pittance in the Port Authority’s multi-billion-dollar budget.

    Here’s my work:
    Revenue losses per year = (Number of truck trips diverted per year)*(Toll per truck trip)

    The Crain’s article says that 275,000 truck trips will be diverted over the next 5 years, so set (Number of truck trips diverted per year) = 55,000.

    According to the PA website, trucks with 2-6 axles pay between $27 and $96 depending on the # of axles and the time of day. Assume all the trucks are 6-axle trucks, and they all pass through at rush hour. So set (Toll per truck trip) = $96.

    55,000*$96~$5.3 million

    You can double that number if the truck trips are round trips, but still not too big a dent in the PA’s coffers.

  • knisa

    Yes, unfortunately.

  • neroden

    I’m pretty sure the PA collects fees from the ships, but I suppose the fee is the same for a ship docking in NJ or docking in Brooklyn.

  • neroden

    Police who break the law should be executed by firing squad or guillotine. It is unfortunate that this does not happen. Very unfortunate.

  • neroden

    Just tax the billionaires, we can fund the whole thing pretty easily. Unfortunately they seem to own too much of the government.