Today’s Headlines

  • Astoria Is Ready for Citi Bike (Gothamist)
  • Cuomo’s Max Power Philosophy on Cashless Tolls Could End Up Costing Bus and Subway Riders (Voice)
  • 23rd Street Select Bus Service Will Start in November (DNA)
  • Jim Dwyer Endorses Campaign to Turn Around NYC Bus Service (NYT)
  • Bronx Residents Pay More Per Mile on Metro-North Than Richer Westchester Commuters (RPA)
  • 3 and 4 Train Will Be Disrupted for a Month Thanks to 1 Moron in a Box Truck (Post)
  • NY1 on Fall and Winter Traffic Safety Campaign: OK But What About Reckless Pedestrians
  • Brooklyn Spoke Has One Simple Test for Your City’s Safety Education Campaign
  • To Staten Island Advance, Drivers Terrorizing Pedestrians Just the Normal State of Things
  • Bullying People Who Want Safer Streets Becoming De Rigueur at Community Board Meetings (Q Trib)
  • Parks Employee Seriously Injures Boy Near SI School (Advance); Post: Child’s Fault

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • ohnonononono

    What’s the process when a trucker runs into an elevated? It seems to happen with the 1 train in the Bronx all the time. The clearance signage seems like it should be improved. There’s little “12’10” CLEARANCE” sign posted on the mezzanines here that are so small that you might not be able to see them until you’re about to hit them. Certainly not far enough away to turn onto another route. I assume the trucking company has to pay for the repairs. Do they pay additional penalties? I assume the trucking company typical fires the driver for doing this. Do they then go work for another company? Is it now a black mark on their resume?

    Does NYC DOT or anyone else keep track of where all the low clearance areas are on streets in the city and make it available to truckers? It doesn’t seem like much is done to try to prevent these incidents.

  • stairbob

    RE: High-speed tolling. I’m not sure what Cuomo means by “efficiencies” that will “pay for” the implementation of high-speed tolling. But, it’s possible that he just means that by eliminating toll collectors and avoiding the cost of having to handle cash they expect to end up with more money than the current situation, so it “pays for itself”. If that’s it, well, then that should mean more money for transit too, right?

    (Then the only ones who come out behind are the toll collectors themselves. Which is unfortunate in its own right.)

  • sbauman

    It’s difficult to see how $500M for cashless tolls on 8 MTA bridges/tunnels will pay for itself. Suppose there are 10 toll booths operating at each facility and the burdened rate to maintain each is $150K per 8 hour shift per year. That comes to $36M per year. Assuming 0% interest and $0 operating cost for the cashless toll system, it will take 13.9 years to recover the investment.

  • stairbob

    I have no idea if your assumptions are correct, but I’d love to find out.

    I thought of another group who loses out — rental car drivers who don’t have their own E-Z Pass. I wonder what percentage of car rentals within NYC are by NYC residents. Higher than most places, I’m sure. (That doesn’t stop us from taxing the crap out of rental cars though.)

  • kevd

    You don’t understand.
    It is simply impossible to place a dollar value on drivers’ time.
    Not cost is too high.

    Bus riders’ time? That’s worth $0. Which is why we spend so little money saving them time!

  • sbauman

    The article regarding the M23 SBS bus is misleading. The SBS route will have the same number of stops as the old route.

    The only time savings will come from fare prepayment. That amounts to approximately 5 seconds per passenger. This amounts to approximately 4 minutes end-to-end, based on 50 passengers per run. The proposed schedules predict approximately half the time savings or about 2 minutes per run.

  • AMH

    I’ve been wondering if protective beams couldn’t be installed at key locations to protect the actual structure. Make ’em hit a sacrificial beam and destroy the truck before they can do this much damage.

  • AMH

    And all-door boarding!

  • AMH

    Bingo–I was a 10 cents short one time after a toll hike on the GWB, and the clerk wouldn’t accept it so I had to eat a $35 bill from the rental company. I would like to just get an ezpass to use whenever I rent a car, but I don’t do it that often so I’m not sure whether any convenience would outweigh the maintenance fees, and I have no idea how to meet the requirement of registering the tag to a vehicle since I don’t own a car so at the very least I would lose the deposit on it.

  • AMH

    Re: Citibike: “It’s actually adding parking! Now I get to have parking!”


  • sbauman

    All door boarding is included in the 5 second time savings per passenger.

  • stairbob

    I’ve had an E-ZPass, but no car, for years. There’s no maintenance fee. You just have to be willing to prepay some minimum amount (which you may not use for months). I find it useful for the few times a year I rent a car.

    You don’t have to register it to a specific plate #. I got mine through I can’t remember when I registered, you might have to call and say you don’t own your own vehicle.

  • SSkate

    Also happened with the 1 train somewhere around 132nd a couple years ago. Weekend travel on the 1 was messed up for a couple months after that while MTA worked on repairs.

  • AMH

    There’s a $1/month maintenance fee according to

    Hilarious about the fake plate number. Reminds me of when my HR dept told me to submit a fake check with my account info written in just to set up direct deposit (I had a paperless checking account and they refused to accept my bank’s official direct deposit form).

  • stairbob

    Uh, yeah. But I don’t have a Port Authority E-ZPass. I think mine is an MTA. I think the only reason to get the PA one is if you want to use their Staten Island or other volume discounts. IANATPP (I am not a toll pass professional.)

  • Maggie

    I know just enough to be dangerous but typically in project finance, you would have pro forma estimates for all of this. We spend $x per year on operating our 35 tollbooths, plus $y on annual maintenance; the net present value of these expenses discounted in perpetuity is $z. We’re spending (or borrowing) $x-prime to replace them, including the net present value of maintenance for the new system, and replacement at the end of its expected life. If $x-prime is cheaper than $x, the project pencils out. Plus usually you have an array of possible projects and a finite amount of capital or manpower to take them on, so you pro forma them all out and then rank which ones have the biggest payback, or sometimes the fastest payback, and they’re the ones that get a greenlight.

    If Cuomo’s MTA isn’t running these figures then something is VERY wrong. You raise a good point, seems to me a public agency should make them publicly available.

    Creative destruction of jobs is usually overall-positive for the economy – for example, after the ATM was introduced, bank tellers were freed up from some routine work and ended up doing more – but not always, and yeah, it’s important to make sure you don’t abandon a trail of unemployed people with no prospects.

  • AMH

    Complicated–I’ll definitely consult someone before getting one!

  • bolwerk

    That it can save money doesn’t seem too fishy to me. Just to go with round numbers: 10 crossings with three shifts of 10 collectors on average with an average $75k/year costs to employ and, well, you’re up to $22.5M/year. No idea what actual labor is like or what discount rate to use, but I take that to be lowballing. Yet even crudely dividing $500M by that $22.5M is like 22 years to recover the investment – so not too shabby if you expect your project life to be 30 years, or more.

    It’s of course much more complicated than that in reality: inflation, discount rates, the fact that labor costs are expected to grow in perpetuity, and likely there will be considerable implementation time (including probably running both systems in parallel).

    I will say, IIRC, the Bloomberg congestion pricing cordon was cheaper, no? I would think it’s more complicated too. So maybe *that* is fishy.

  • Maggie

    Sure, I don’t disagree. I’m just saying it seems very off that Prendergast showed up to a board committee vote on the proposal without having numbers for the board’s voting members.