Today’s Headlines

  • Cuomo Appoints MTA Chair, Denies Responsibility for MTA (NYTPost)
  • Get Your Wall to Wall Lhota Coverage: WNYCAMNY; NY1; News; Post 12
  • Cuomo’s MTA: Riders Willing to Risk Death Just to Get to Work (Post)
  • Voice: Peralta Sabotaged His Speed Camera Bill by Caucusing With GOP; Advance: Whew!
  • Cuomo Plan to Get More New Yorkers Driving This Summer Already Paying Off (DNA)
  • NYPD Turns Down Invite to Discuss Preventing Midtown Cyclist Deaths (DNA, Gothamist)
  • Voice Covers Ydanis Rodriguez Bid to Expand Citi Bike Citywide
  • Caroline Samponaro Talks to Bklyn Paper About 88th Precinct Bike Buffer Removal
  • Families for Safe Streets Now Has a New Jersey Chapter (MTR)
  • Motorist Maims Queens Food Vendor, Leaves Scene — No Charges Filed (NewsAMNY)
  • What State Senators Were Doing While Not Protecting New Yorkers From Reckless Drivers (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    If you read to the end of this post, you’ll see that I have predicted a scenario in which a substantial number of people will be killed on the New York City subway.

    As New York’s Ghost of Christmas Future, I can see it with perfect clarity. Signal or train car troubles that delay service on a very crowded line. A platform filling with impatient subway riders. Trains finally coming that are too full to board. More crowding on the platform, with people now packed to the edge and unable to leave the station unless they are directly adjacent to an exit (yes I have seen something like this happen recently). Some tomfoolery by a group of teens, a little pushing, a panic – and a few dozen people tumble to the tracks and are killed and maimed by an onrushing train.

    May these shadows yet be altered? Probably not.

    But there is, perhaps, one final outrage that be prevented. One I can see in my mind clear as day, and that makes my blood boil in advance.

    The sight and sound of state legislators, former state legislators now in other offices such as city and state comptroller, and former legislators now in jail, current and, to a greater extent, former Governors and Mayors, the union leaders, and retired and soon-to-retire members, along with the contractors and their unions, all rising up to express their own outrage and sadness when this tragedy eventually occurs. Instead of laughing and saying “so long and goodbye serf suckers, we won!” Can someone take up a collection to send them champagne and cakes so they can do something a little more honest, like celebrate?

  • Vooch

    someone already gets killed on the subway every week, so
    your scenario isn’t that extreme

  • Larry Littlefield

    Not exactly. It’s 40 to 50 per year, half of them suicides.
    Some of them get killed in traffic every week.
    And consider the reaction to the Williamsburg Bridge crash 20 years ago, which killed the train operator and no one else.

  • Joe R.

    Probably only one way out for the MTA:

    1) Cancel existing labor contracts and have new ones which no longer keep people in obsolete positions.

    2) Pay out existing pensions at 50 cents on the dollar, with the caveat that those few receiving what might be a subsistence pension (i.e. < $20K annually) don't get a cut. I'm more interested here in cutting the lavish pensions boosted by overtime and the pension increase, not having people starve to death.

    3) Default on the bonds. Yeah, tough luck for the bondholders, but any investment entails risk. We should probably consider defaulting at the federal level as well. Probably the majority of bondholders are from your generation greed, so in effect we're just taking back money which was unfairly stolen from us. Or put another way, generation greed would be finally paying for stuff they got but didn't want to pay for.

    4) Remove any restrictions so that major projects can be bid on the world stage. If a Chinese company can finish the SAS for $2 billion instead of $10+ billion, they get the job. The only thing we should stipulate is final build quality. If it doesn't meet standards, the company doesn't get paid. No cost overruns, either. And whatever pay or working conditions these companies have is between them and their workers.

  • JudenChino

    haven’t had a mass casualty event in years though. That’s what dangerous overcrowding invites.

  • Larry Littlefield

    None of which will happen, except sneakily.

    In reality, the city survived the 1970s because it did only pay debts and pensions at 50 cents on the dollar. How? Due to high inflation, the value of the dollar — and thus the interest on the bonds and pension payments — fell by half from 1970 to 1980.

    That helped Generation Greed at the time, and hurt previous poorer seniors. I doubt they’d tolerate that much inflation now that they are the ones holding those tax exempt bonds and tax exempt pensions.

  • Vooch

    true – and I agree with Larry’s scenario. The probability is low but increasing.

  • Larry Littlefield

    You see that video of the guy climbing over he stair railing to escape a packed platform, because he can’t push his way to the stairs?

    I’ve urged my family members to be aware, and don’t go onto such a platform and stay by the stairs so you can get off of such a platform if the crowding gets critical. Get away from the edge. Forfeit your swipe, get out of the system, and walk to another line or go somewhere to eat until things turn around.

  • Joe R.

    Honestly, it wouldn’t take much. Just a dangerously overcrowded platform combined with some idiot yelling “fire”, and you could easily have mass casualties.

    I tend to stand behind pillars, especially when the platforms get crowded, for exactly this reason. If mass panic ever ensures, at least I have a steel pillar between me and the tracks.

  • Joe R.

    #4 might have a shot at happening. The general public is slowly asking why do things in NYC cost 5 to 10 times as much to build as projects in other large cities.

    In your “Subway Christmas Carol” scenario we should have Cuomo in the part of Scrooge.

  • Ken Dodd

    You see situations like this every rush hour at stations like 53rd and Lex on the E platform. I’ve never understood the people who stand right next to the edge with huge crowds behind them. It’s like they are completely missing their basic survival instinct. If I was stood in that position I would literally feel the risk of being nudged onto the track as a physical “Nggggg” on my back (sorry don’t know how else to describe it) which would leave me desperate to escape the edge. Yet there they are, obliviously looking at their phones or even leaning over the edge to see down the tunnel. Whenever I see this I’m always amazed that a mass casualty pushing incident hasn’t happened yet. Like the Grenfall tower fire, though, it’s only a matter of time.

  • AMH

    Speaking of New Jersey, I found this great video about road diets and was pleasantly surprised at how well they’re explained and adopted as standard practice.

  • Vooch

    this is incredibly powerful – love the cops testimony supporting road diets

  • AMH

    I know! NYPD could really learn a thing or two from OCPD.