Today’s Headlines

  • Albany Has No Plans to Help NYC Transit Riders, Which Suits Carl Heastie Just Fine (Politico)
  • Related: De Blasio Pressures Cuomo to Step Up (News)
  • Amy Cohen: Politics Mustn’t Block Life-Saving Speed Cameras (News); News Previews Today’s Rally
  • LIRR Service Is the Worst It’s Been in 10 Years (WSJ [Paywall])
  • Former City Official: NYC’s Transit System Is Screwed; Here’s Why (Fusion)
  • NYT Paints de Blasio as a Transit Dilettante, Suggests Alternate Gym Locations
  • Charles Komanoff Explains Why de Blasio’s Gym Trips Are a Problem (CTC)
  • Unlicensed Driver Who Hit Mom and 2 Kids Was “Speeding Around 50 and 60” (News)
  • Man Who Injured Columbia Student Is Exhibit A for Tougher Unlicensed Driving Penalties (DNA)
  • Daughter: My Dad Was Killed by a Speeding Motorcyclist and Cy Vance Did Nothing (Our Town)
  • Jay Street-MetroTech Subway Station Entrances Will Be Renovated (Bklyn Paper)
  • City to Repave 3-Mile Queens Greenway Connecting Cunningham and Alley Pond Parks (DNA)
  • Will Park With Bike Track “Get Riders Off the Streets”? Advance: Fingers Crossed!

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    As a former New York City Transit capital budget official, I can tell you that spending $8 – $10 billion (so far) on expansion projects over 20 years, as much of a ripoff as that was, didn’t cause $37 billion in debt, on the way to $50 billion, and destroy the subway.

    Borrowing for ongoing normal replacement (essentially maintenance) and shifting “reimbursable” operating costs onto the capital plan, so they could be borrowed for, did. Remember, $1 billion in extra operating costs suddenly showed up in NYCT reporting to the National Transit database after I did a compilation of the 2012 data.

    Blaming one thing that benefits future NY State residents for another that hurts future NY State residents is just more misdirection, and it doesn’t add.

    Moreover, the other thing than happened in the go-go-1990s, not mentioned in the article, was the 2000 retroactive pension increase, which increased pension benefit payments to already retired public employees by one-third while slashing the contributions by current employees by 75 percent. The TWU benefitted from that one. Additional pension deals and scams benefitted other public workers, and 5-8 years of pension underfunding benefitted past taxpayers.

    Look to these factors. If subway riders paid the same fare per unlinked trip from 1995 to 2014 (adjusted for inflation) as they did in 2015, $6.7 less could have been borrowed. If the city and state contributed as much actual cash to the MTA capital plan as they did in the early 1990s from 1993 to 2015, $12 billion less would have been borrowed. If operating aid had not fallen slightly relative to inflation in many of those years, another $1.5 billion less could have been borrowed. That’s $20 billion.

    And if Generation Greed had been paying for the maintenance of the system with its own money, rather than future generations’ money, perhaps they wouldn’t have allowed the cost of capital projects to explode, wiping out another $10 billion in debt.

  • Larry Littlefield

    As for DeBlasio and his SUV ride to a stationary bike, the security detail tends to take over the lives of chief executives like himself. But if they didn’t, imagine how much time he would save by riding an actual bike down to City Hall, rather than a stationary bike!

    That’s the whole key for me. Once I had kids, and job and other responsibilities intensified, I didn’t have time to bike. Coming home and then going jogging was out, let alone going to a gym. If I had started commuting by bike from the start, rather than relying on time-sucking forms of exercise, I’d be much better off today, but I’m glad I started biking when I did.

    DeBlasio could take 10 different routes from Gracie Mansion to City Hall on a bicycle. On a stationary bike, the view never changes.

  • Vooch

    true it’s 6 miles from Gracie Mansion to City Hall a easy 40 minute Citibike ride.

    Nearly all of ride could be on 2nd Ave PBL to his office. Home it’s 1st Ave. PBL

  • There’s an assumption that NYPD would let him ride a bicycle alone downtown without a security detail. I fully believe the NYPD security solution for this would have just as much “carbon emissions” as the mayor being ferried in an SUV.

    And the mayor has a lot of appointments that are not at City Hall. He has to travel all around the city. He’s in that SUV a whole lot, in circumstances where a bike wouldn’t always make sense. (And where the NYPD would probably have the same security detail)

    I would also guess that the SUV is outfitted for business & that he receives briefings & has meetings through the passenger area. If so, then he loses work time if he takes a different transportation mode. A lot of executives work this way, and they should at least pay carbon offsets for it.

    I do think he should use a local gym and take the subway to City Hall anyway. As much as possible. But we didn’t even get that with Bloomberg, who talked a bigger game about that. I don’t know what people really expect there. Gonna be the same problem with the next mayor, I bet.

  • Wilfried84

    I have a vision of the mayor, surrounded by a platoon of cops on bicycles, taking a whole lane of an avenue going downtown. Wouldn’t that be a pretty picture? And wouldn’t it be fun to ride in their wake?

  • Flakker

    NYPD “would let him” is exactly the problem. He’s not the president, no security is warranted. And the whole point is that he’s on a bike either way. Either he’s not actually doing much exercise and is weakly pedaling while distracted, or he’s got time to do a real ride. This is absolutely ridiculous either way, since he shouldn’t be going to a Brooklyn gym if he’s not living there.

  • Vooch

    security detail can cycle also

    it might do them good

  • You guys think this is easy.

    This site has multiple articles every day about how the NYPD is only accountable to itself. They’re the ones picking his security detail. The mayor can take any form of transportation he wants but the NYPD is not going to decline to take 20 SUVs along with it as if they were transporting the Pope

    I know that’s absurd that they would do that.

    I also know that’s EXACTLY WHAT THEY DO even for the police commissioner and a few other high ranking officials. I’m not making it up. It’s what they do every time. It’s what they did every time Bloomberg took the train. (The motorcade ran ahead of the train above-ground)

    I also know none of our Disqus comments mean crap to the NYPD and they extend no consideration toward liberal activists. The last time I said anything to a cop, he almost came at me with a baton. (I have been beaten by cops before, while credentialed, while doing nothing irritating or illegal)

    There’s no chance of de Blasio taking an unaccompanied bike ride to work every day. It’s fair to say the mayor could use another way of getting around (and certainly another choice of gym), but he’s likely being pressured to use a motorcade & the SUVs are there whether he takes them or not. Whether you want to make a big deal about how those SUVs are used or not, fine, but I think it’s a fantasy that the city would just get rid of the motorcade if our mayor was more “urban-minded” in his commuting habits.

  • Reader

    Right. Whether or not the mayor can ride a bike is a silly question that’s not worth anyone’s time. Who cares? But whether or not he needs to start every day by being driven 12 miles to a gym in a multi-vehicle caravan — and what message that sends — is another question altogether.

  • Flakker

    He directs the NYPD. However things de facto exist, we should not let the mayor, whoever he is, escape accountability for their sociopathic behavior. He chose to hire 1300 more of these people; he did not have to do that. I’m not talking about lobbying the police, I’m talking about disciplining them.

  • Anyone with experience in NYC city government knows that the NYPD doesn’t listen to elected officials & rarely takes feedback or orders from outside the department. They hardly listen to their own commissioner.

    It’s a long standing problem going back decades

    It’s terribly unfortunate

    It should be fixed

    It also must be part of any conversation regarding what activists think the NYPD should do. Acting like the mayor is going to “order them” to not provide a motorcade or a security team and that they’re going to abide by that… or that they’re going to fix placard abuse or institute “green” initiatives because the commissioner said so… at this moment in time that is unrealistic and you are free to agree-to-disagree with me on that, but this assessment is backed by a lot of recent history. I wouldn’t say this speculatively.

  • qrt145

    Can’t they set up a gym in Gracie Mansion (if there isn’t one there already)? 🙂

  • Ken Dodd

    I’m guessing he’s one of these dudes who just does a little light work on the elliptical whilst watching Ellen. So it’s not as if they’d have to earmark an entire room for it.

  • bolwerk

    I generally agree with you, but fixing it is more difficult from the standpoint of political courage (de Blasio has absolutely none) than from the standpoint of policy. As I understand it, the mayor pretty much has authority to summarily dismiss any officer who disobeys an order. He should be able to clean up the organizational culture of the NYPD pretty quickly with some precision firings, and there are plenty to be made; note that Eric Garner’s murderer still has a desk job.

    Of course, there’s the separate question of whether de Blasio disagrees with the status quo at all. He ran on vague promises of police (and other) reform, but that reform pretty much consisted of changing nothing except to get rid of a really dumb policy, stop ‘n frisk, that wasn’t accomplishing anything even for the police. It’s done now and he doesn’t seem to think further action is needed.

  • Well, don’t ask him to have this “courage” in an election year where local and national unions have the power to bury him and install a Republican mayor. Get the party elected and then push him for courage in 2018.

    The police union is very strong; it spent 12 years being a critical part of the coalition that kept Bloomberg in office, and it nearly buried BDB early in this term because Bill said something about his son needing to be careful around cops, and it was absolutely true and yet every police union boss had a free column in every newspaper for the next 6 months after that.

  • bolwerk

    I think the police unions* are powerful, but they aren’t unstoppable. Other unions are stronger, including teachers. OTOH, I bet the police figured out quickly that a good public tantrum gets them what they want from Bill (and most other “centrist” Democrats). And I’m too sure they aren’t just kind of icy with every mayor. Their behavior is much like the TWU’s relationship to the head of the MTA. They want everything, and the executive they’re dealing with has little to give.

    Bill de Blasio apparently managed to taper further police hiring in exchange for a big raise for present officers.

    * there are a few but Patrolman’s Benevolent is by far the biggest. Its leader is maybe just shy of being a literal fascist.