Today’s Headlines

  • Mayor’s Report Card: Fewer Fatalities, and Fewer Bike Lanes, Plazas, Bus Lanes, Citi Bike Users (Politico)
  • De Blasio Says He Won’t Hand Over MTA Capital Funding Without Guarantees From Cuomo (News 1, 2)
  • MTA Bus Driver Strikes, Kills Sick Person Exiting Cab (Post, DNA, WCBS, WPIX, WNBC)
  • 24th Precinct Claims Its Spike in Cyclist Tickets Have Reduced UWS Injuries (DNA)
  • Resident at CB 9 Meeting Fears Woodhaven SBS Will Crash Into Buildings (Queens Tribune)
  • Bronx Residents Have Second-Longest Average Commutes in U.S.; Rest of NYC Close Behind (Politico)
  • Yes, Bus Lanes Are Coming to the Rest of 125th Street This Fall (Uptowner)
  • 2nd Avenue Sagas Says Doctoroff Should’ve Built Second 7 Extension Station When He Had Chance
  • Cap’n Transit Notes the New Hudson Yards Station Is Very Convenient to Hudson River Greenway

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    “De Blasio said he’s not certain that if the city does give that money, Cuomo will use it for the MTA.”

    A reasonable position. That’s the problem with intermingling of the city and state, with politicians advancing their own interests and seeking to rob younger generations of city residents. You can wreck the transit system and point fingers in a circle, or to Washington.

    I have the solution.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/the-city-of-new-york-should-take-over-its-bus-and-paratransit-system/

    Which would mean a net additional contribution by NYC to the subway system of $800 million per year, at least when I did the calculations.

    As for the state, if it were up to me the state would not be allowed to provide revenues to benefit New Yorkers. That’s a flim flam. Instead, I’d make state general revenues pay off the MTA’s debts and unfunded pension obligations, which the state created. The MTA would use its own dedicated taxes and tolls (including the Move NY plan) to pay for transportation, including an ongoing pay as you go capital plan.

  • BBnet3000

    RIP bike program. Hidden within the drop in new bike route mileage is an even further drop in the mileage of anything that could be called real bike infra (ie not sharrows).

    In San Francisco they’re building out real intermediate-grade cycletracks like they have in The Netherlands and Denmark, while at best we build out 2-way bike paths on the sidewalk (Columbia St, Flushing Ave, South St) like the clueless Brits/Bulgarians/North Koreans do.

  • Larry Littlefield

    We need an alternate bike map that shows the bike lanes that are disappearing through neglect.

    Why doesn’t the city force that Prospect Park West bike lane lawsuit to a conclusion?

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/our-efficiently-inefficient-system-of-injustice/

  • WalkingNPR

    From the Post story: “He tried to cross West 231st Street when the westbound bus plowed into him, cops said. It wasn’t immediately clear if he was in the crosswalk.”

    You know what, let’s just go ahead and give the papers permission to say “It wasn’t immediately clear if he deserved it.” It would at least be more honest, since that’s what they’re implying here.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It could have been unavoidable for the driver. If that is the case, Samuelson can’t fully claim victory yet. Only if the driver was negligent and nothing happens.

  • “Resident at CB 9 Meeting Fears Woodhaven SBS Will Crash Into Buildings”

    What the actually f***? It’s a center-running bus lane.

  • Zero Vision

    Sorry. Polly Trottenberg and Bill de Blasio would rather avoid controversy. If a few people have to die in the meantime, no biggie.

  • BBnet3000

    It’s elaborated in the article that Mr. Caposcasale thinks that the area is full of poor drivers (he’s right on that at least) who will cut off buses to turn. This is totally false, everybody knows that in NYC people driving only dangerously cut off people walking and on bikes to turn.

  • bolwerk

    “Larry Littlefield to New York: Drop Dead”

  • sbauman

    Here’s a link to the reason people are concerned.

    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150824/rego-park/private-tour-bus-slams-into-2-story-home-officials-say

    This took place less than a day after the bus lane was painted. The problem with any restricted lane is that it sets up a potential conflict with turning vehicles. Cyclists should know this problem. The bus was the victim of the right hook.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Hardly. Bolwerk to NY ten years from now — drop dead.

    Things went your way ten years ago and five and fifteen. That’s what we are grappling with now. Is there a problem or not?

    We can pay up, default, or just keep punting and taking even more from the future hoping to move out or die off in time.

  • bolwerk

    I think he sucks and always have, but the public histrionics and mass media double standards about de Blasio have really gotten unfair. The Economist, publisher of neoliberal glossy toilet paper and sycophant for the party that nearly brought the UK into a depression, even thinks he’s not doing that bad a job. Bloomberg, as well as the city, had his performance ups and downs, but overall he was cooed like a newborn primate for having much the same citywide results.

    Under de Blasio, even complaints about the police have been dropping, but instead we’re supposed to be scared of crime and decay in the face of record low crime rates, an urban construction boom, and continued gentrification and population growth – instead of the real problems with de Blasio, which is that he is totally uninspired and unimaginative and wants to let his Hummer-owning buddies from the suburbs run us over in ped plazas.

  • bolwerk

    What is my “way”?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The public histrionics and mass media double standards about de Blasio have really gotten unfair.”

    I agree. DeBlasio is the victim of a massive propaganda campaign.

    However, he played the same game as public advocate and Council Member. Which is where many of his enemies come from.

    What I tell people is he isn’t really doing a bad job, but his enemies are unfairly DeBlasioing DeBlasio.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Make things better for people right now, by spending more but not charging or collecting more. Don’t worry about the details.

    A popular position in the short run — everybody wins. But it led to $32 billion in debt and some of the most unfunded city pension plans in the country.

    In any plan I would propose, everybody loses. And everybody who loses would know exactly why they lost.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Citibike Trips per Day and Miles per Day flatline during the worst WINTER in 100 years. A testament to New Yorker’s firm desire for a active transportation.

    Citibike Is currently Breaking record After record. Citibikes are ridden 60-70,000 Miles each day !

  • Reader

    He gladly joins in when it’s convenient. Times Square? As manufactured a crisis as any other “problem.” He’s willing to play along with his “enemies” when he thinks it will help.

  • bolwerk

    By all means don’t let the facts distract you, but I usually argue for cutting spending. Even though I basically agree with you about pensions, your narrative is overall backwards. Extraneous operating costs are how the future is stolen, squandered on an annual basis in unnecessary operating expenses. Debt more typically goes to benefit the future in the form of creating plant that will be useful in 10, 25, 50, 100 years. That overnight token booth agent at a backwater subway station who was drawing a full time wage last year? Whatever value s/he created, not very much, was perished last year.

    Control costs. Don’t waste, including on capital construction. Hell, match bond payouts to capital depreciation. Making things better for people right now while having a sustainable future simply aren’t opposing choices.

  • bolwerk

    I make fun of him, but I actually feel kind of bad for him. He means well, but he’s too muddled to realize that Bratton is evil. Bloomberg at least thought the evil things Ray Kelly did were good.

    Bill de Blasio is a people pleaser who will throw his allies under the bus to make his enemies like him. Of course, they never will, even as he gives them what they want. Democrats do that all the time. Even Obama and Clinton did it. I guess it’s a side-effect of not really having an ideology. Republikans are insane, but they know the #1 way to lose an election is to make your base stay home.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I think our interest on debts for ongoing normal replacement, and the higher pension costs caused by retroactive increases and past unwillingness to pay for them, far exceed the level of operating waste at NYCT.

    Now the LIRR and capital costs are another matter.

    I’m not in favor of unmanned stations, although having the station agent to other stuff to now that they aren’t selling as many tokens is another matter too.

    I’m even reconsidering my past preference for conductorless trains, given the current level of crowding.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Evil is a bit much. But the police and pro-police people is where lots of DeBlasio’s opposition is coming from.

    DeBlasio was right to raise the stop and frisk issue. Once the data came out, it was clear that things had gotten completely out of hand, with young minority males being relentlessly hassled because of what prior generations of minority males had done (a theme for all groups across out society).

    As is often the case when the facts come out, there was an adjustment. DeBlasio could have said he was happy with the way things were going, and would seek to restore community-police relations as Mayor. But he continued to politick the issue because it was good politics, drawing enemies.

    Nothing wrong with drawing enemies. It is sometimes necessary. My pointing out generational inequities doesn’t make many people happy, but until the issue is raised the trend of younger generations getting worse off will continue.

    But the people DeBlasio stepped over on his way to the top see him as a panderer. So he’s mostly turned statesman once in office, but they won’t play along. They are determined to create the impression things are worse to make him look bad and waste time on nonsense. And they don’t even criticize the right things, because they did those too!

  • bolwerk

    So, basically, you’re against getting rid of the things that would free up resources to largely, if not entirely, solve the issue you place at the forefront of our problems?! If labor reforms could pay down 25% of the annual interest charge ($2.5B now?), I’d call that a pretty good deal. Definitely better than finding 100% of the funds with new taxes, fees, and fare increases.

    Regardless, I don’t see how you can dismiss the place operating waste has in creating the debt problem – which is really a problem, of course, but not one to become hysterical about. Every year, resources that could go to normal replacement and system expansion are instead spent on things we really don’t need. Each and every time revenue grows operating costs seem to roughly grow to match it, even ignoring pension padding. It doesn’t go the other way when revenue drops, at least not usually. This is a big piece of the story of how debt accumulates, and has been the pattern as long as I can remember.

    BTW, I’m not doctrinaire about conductors and token booths. I get them at rush hour. At 3am they make much less sense.

    …now that they aren’t selling as many tokens is another matter too.

    Technically, they’re selling zero tokens. :-p

    I don’t really see what they could do.

  • bolwerk

    Bratton is a full on sociopath. Both Kelly and Bratton pursued policies that pointlessly ruined people’s lives, arresting people on trumped up charges and filling the jails with people who didn’t do anything violent. That’s pretty fucking evil, or the word doesn’t mean much.

    Reality is Bill de Blasio is almost the same as Bloomberg on police, maybe even more generous to them. He should have sought the termination of the people who beat Kang Wong, but instead he praised them. Whether he sincerely believes police shart gold, or is pandering to a powerful union and loud authoritarian tabloid constituency, I couldn’t say. But it hasn’t won him any friends, and it won’t.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The MTA asked the to circulate in the station, thus improving security, and do “light cleaning” of anything around that needed to be cleaned, rather than having it sit there until a full cleaning by a cleaning crew.

    The TWU said no.

  • bolwerk

    That’s the kind of shit that should get the TWU laughed away from the negotiating table.

    However, I’m not sure it’s a solution. Not every station needs a 24/7light cleaning staff either. The role just doesn’t make that much sense anymore.

  • sbauman

    “I think our interest on debts for ongoing normal replacement, and the higher pension costs caused by retroactive increases and past unwillingness to pay for them, far exceed the level of operating waste at NYCT.”

    I’m not so sure. According to the NTD it takes 1.5 people to operate each bus and an additional 0.5 people to maintain each bus; it takes 9.7 people to operate each train and an additional 4.1 people to maintain each train.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m not comfortable with unmanned stations.

    The customers deserve some service.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Each train that runs, or each that exists? There is 24 hour service seven days per week. And are you including the retired?

    In any event, NYC had 2.8 times the U.S. average number of police officers per 100,000 residents, and more than that in retirement, yet had to hire 1,000 officers to “put the cop back on the beat.”

    And NYC had 109,000 “instructional” employees in the schools but only 41,000 classes with students at any given time. And only 1.5 workers per retiree, and going down.

    So whatever the NYCT thing is, I find bigger issues elsewhere.

  • Sean Kelliher

    Just FYI Streetsblog readers – the past couple of times I’ve read Streetsblog articles, I’ve been hit with an alert message to update my Adobe Flash player. This one comes from some sleazy third party and directs me to their website. When I try to get out of it by choosing to update later, it automatically downloads a dmg file to my downloads folder.

    This looks like a total scam; probably an attempt to download malware to people’s computer. Real Flash updates come from Adobe and are not delivered through your downloads folder.

    My guess is that someone is delivering these via the ad portals that now appear in the right column. If you get hit with something similar, my suggestion is to never open the file and delete it immediately.

  • ahwr

    http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/datbase/2013_database/NTDdatabase.htm

    ‘Revenue vehicle inventory’ gives fleet information, ‘transit agency employee’ gives employee counts and hours, ‘service’ gives vehicle hours.

    Some NTD definitions here

    http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/Glossaries/pdf/Glossary2013.pdf

    Here’s what it lists for vehicle operations:

    All activities associated with vehicle operations, including:

    • Transportation administration and support ;

    • Revenue vehicle movement control ;

    • Scheduling of transportation operations ;

    • Revenue vehicle operation ;

    • Ticketing and fare collection ;

    • System security

    Total operating labor is the sum of vehicle operations, vehicle maintenance, non-vehicle maintenance, and general administration.

    CB: commuter bus, presumably NYCT express buses

    HR: heavy rail, so subway cars

    MB: regular buses

    RB: rapid transit bus, so SBS

    Here are actual vehicle hours, vehicle revenue hours, sum of full time and part time vehicle operations work hours, full time + part time total operating labor hours for the above modes. NYCT only, NTDID 2008.

    CB 922,686; 544,307; 1,650,015; 2,473,009

    HR 20,033,930; 19,018,610; 20,279,467; 50,445,452

    MB 13,966,733; 12,282,348; 18,512,959; 27,746,847

    RB 262,694; 256,568; 334,102; 500,746

  • sbauman

    Each train that runs, or each that exists? There is 24 hour service seven days per week. And are you including the retired?

    Here’s a link to the number of employee hours connected with vehicle operations and maintenance from the 2013 NTD data:

    http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/dt/2013/excel/2013%20Table%2018%20Employee%20Work%20Hour%20Count.xls

    Here’s a link to the number of vehicle revenue hours for buses:

    http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/dt/2013/excel/2013%20table%2019%20transit%20operating%20stats.xls

    Here’s a link to a table that gives the number of train revenue hours:

    http://www.ntdprogram.gov/ntdprogram/pubs/dt/2013/excel/2013%20Table%2020%20Op%20Stats%20Train%20Data.xls

    If you take the employee-hours and divide them by vehicle (or train) revenue hours, you get employees per revenue vehicle (or train). The figures for bus operation are not that much different from the rest of the country.

    I find vehicle/train maintenance hours troubling. For bus operations, it’s stating that each bus requires 1 hour of employee maintenance for every 2 hours of revenue operation. I’ve owned cars for over 50 years. Even my lemons did not require 30 minutes of shop time for every hour I drove them. The 1.5 operating employees per bus is reasonable, when lunch time, vacation and holidays are considered. The 9.7 operating employees per train seems excessive. These are not non-vehicle maintenance employees. If we assume 3.0 employees per train, where are the other 6.7 operating employees?

  • bolwerk

    Haha, so my “way” is cheaper than yours? *insert joke about how token booth clerks can’t be heard to provide service anyway*

    Well, provide service remotely. The service customers deserve is transit service. I can see compromises where transfer/intermodal stations are always staffed, or stations at the crotches of branch line divergences are staffed. But every station 24/7? That’s pure insanity.

    FFS, even if it doesn’t pay off debt service, such resources could provide more buses or trains somewhere they’re needed.

  • bolwerk

    I think there are big cost problems in DOE, but number of instructors really might not be it. IIRC, instructional employees include stuff like afterschool program leaders, special ed (sometimes a teacher dedicated to a single high-needs student), extracurricular program activities, probably some disciplinary staff, teacher assistants, and subject-based teachers (art, music, phys. ed.). Probably, as needed, ESL and foreign language instruction at the primary and secondary level. Plus these could be full or part time, I think.

    The cops seem harder to defend. I always like to go by cops per square mile. You’d think one NYC cop could accomplish more because he has less ground to cover. But the unspoken police state narrative goes: New Yorkers supposedly can’t behave because of the high number of immigrants and visible minorities.

  • bolwerk

    I don’t even keep Flash installed anymore. It’s basically obsolete.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here is now I interpret you and Bauman — let’s keep the game in chicken going, because when the bill comes due our crowd will make their crowd pay it!

    1) The union thinks its members will just retire to Florida and leave the system in ruins again.

    2) You think the union will be busted and service will be the same even though employment plunges. Which really doesn’t help those arguing for productivity gains.

    3) Others think drivers will be forced to pay for everything. Which is good because then no one will drive?!

    Meanwhile, as these arguments go on, which I hear is Generation Greed rationalizing by pointing fingers in a circle.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Larry,

    do you have any data on the size of police force in 1950 ? 1930 ?

  • Larry Littlefield

    I believe it was about 25,000 officers. Compared with 34,000 recently, down from 40,000.

    Someone told me that an analysis was done that found that cops worked to get off the beat and into specialized squads even faster than UFT teachers seek to get out of the classroom, but I haven’t seen it. These are all questions that don’t get asked.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There is probably one teacher in a classroom with children for every four we are paying, including the retired. Which is why our costs per child keep soaring even though they scream about being underpaid and are thus demovitated, which is just the way the UFT likes it.

    “But the unspoken police state narrative goes: New Yorkers supposedly can’t behave because of the high number of immigrants and visible minorities.”

    Same argument that the UFT uses for the schools. The one good news for the schools — except for a few categories (school buses, custodians) NYC isn’t blowing a lot on non-instructional. The rest of the state is.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    so NYC pop and area remained essentially same, but NYPD grew by 50% ?

  • bolwerk

    So if reducing everyone who disagrees with the holy gospel of debtpcalypse to a caricature makes it easy to dismiss them, hmm?

    #2 – admitting that some jobs don’t make sense anymore isn’t “union-busting” anymore than deciding not to employ typewriter repairmen is a war on writing. At some point, labor just needs to join the 21st century.

    #3 – not sure who you are even referring to, but the (pretty modest IMHO) argument goes that a congestion charge or toll would drop traffic by a few percent, eliminate a lot of traffic congestion, and raise money for transit. Drivers are already subsidized more than just about anyone, so why not? It’s not about making drivers pay for “everything.”

    #1 may even have some truth, hell. I don’t really think the TWU people are very malicious. Maybe some elements of their leadership are?