Today’s Headlines

  • Cuomo: Congestion Pricing an Idea “Whose Time Has Come” (NYT)
  • NYPD Hands Truck Driver Who Killed Neftaly Ramirez a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card (Gothamist, News)
  • MTA Bus Service Gets an F on Its Report Card; DOT’s Efforts Don’t Score Much Higher (News)
  • Did Cuomo’s Subway Track Tour Delay Riders? (NBC)
  • Meet Cuomo’s Pick to Lead Port Authority, Rick Cotton, Who Starts Work Today (NYT)
  • Gov Spends More on Low-Impact Economic Development Schemes Than the NYC Transit System (Post)
  • More Coverage of Spin’s Scuffle With DOT (Crain’s, DNA)
  • De Blasio Wants E-Bike Laws to Target Businesses, Not Workers, But Why Are They Illegal? (Post)
  • EDC Planning to Add Ferry Docks in South Bronx, Upper East Side, Lower East Side (DNA)
  • Amtrak’s Penn Station Track Work “a Little Ahead of Schedule” (AMNY)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Vooch

    How many New Yorkers have e-bikes killed ?

    does anyone have data ?

  • Larry Littlefield

    There is no doubt that Upstate NY is in economic trouble and needs reinvestment. But the attitudes and actions of Upstate leaders are eventually going to overturn the generous attitudes of NYC residents, who will tire of being treated with contempt. There are, after all, plenty of selfish people downstate too, and many of them read the NY Post.

  • Elizabeth F

    Don’t forget… class 1 e-bikes are not illegal. Go ahead, buy one at the likes of Propel E-bikes in Brooklyn. Enjoy. (Propel has proven in court that their calss-1 e-bikes actually are NOT illegal in NYC).

    If you have an (illegal) throttle e-bike that also works as pedal-assist, consider removing or otherwise disabling your throttle. This would convert it to a class-1 e-bike, which is not illegal in NYC. I disabled my throttle with duct tape. Note that this “best effort” to comply with the law has not yet been tested in court.

  • Elizabeth F


  • Fool

    So Cuomo has elected to sacrifice his driving constituency to funnel more money to his public servants constituency.

  • JarekFA

    congestion pricing helps drivers.

  • Because American tradition has embraced a fetishisation of borders, there is no history of states being broken up. So Upstate politicians can freely continue to exploit the only prosperous area in the state, without fear that we’ll cut them loose.

    The City should be dictating policy to the State, not the other way around. For cosmopolitan sophisticates to be held hostage by backward hicks is an absurd state of affairs. But, unless the idea of New York City’s secession from New York State becomes a serious mainstream topic rather than a wild fantasy, there is no solution to the abusive relationship that the City finds itself in with the State.

  • Fool

    I am arguing from a political voting block point of view, not from a reality point of view.

  • For those of you who do not think history is bunk, go back 60+ years and look at surface transportation in Brooklyn. No gentrification here.

  • Joe R.

    I personally fully support NYC’s secession not only from NYS, but also from the US. As an independent city-state, I think we would probably be more prosperous than many countries. We would also be able to lower overall tax rates without affecting services once we were no longer sending a lot of money upstate and to Washington.

    If they keep pushing upstate, I think secession will go from a fantasy to a mainstream topic. NYC just needs to keep all the money it generates here and we’ll be fine.

  • Joe R.

    Maybe even less than zero if you consider that e-bikes have replaced cars for deliveries, with the resultant elimination of car-induced carnage.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Everyone who thinks they are prospering always wants to secede from those who are not.

    Thus Staten Island voting to secede from NYC in 1990s, while absorbing less than its pro-rate share of the city’s debts, having its residents retain the right to hold public jobs in the rest of NYC, but gaining the right to exclude those living in the rest of NYC from taking jobs on Staten Island. In other words, getting the deal the other suburbs got while seceding from the crack epidemic.

    But the federal government would not allow New York to become two states, so that type of parochialism is in fact a wild fantasy. The question is why, if things are unfair, our “representatives” in Albany won’t say so.

  • Joe R.

    Nationally it’s a shame we dismantled the network of streetcars and interurbans. They would serve contemporary transportation needs much better than automobiles and buses. The network was a national treasure. What replaced it was a farcical joke.

  • Joe R.

    Yet another great use of duct tape to add to a very long list!

  • HamTech87

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around how Cuomo came around to toll reform. Could it be De Blasio’s advocacy of a wealth tax gave him the political space to offer an alternative that was more centrist?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Maybe he’s hoping to bond against it and spend 30 years of revenue in the two years as he runs for President. Something lots of folks who never concern themselves with five years from now would be thrilled with.

    Meanwhile, were is all that payroll tax money were all paying going?

  • Larry Littlefield

    The cost of building new light rail is another farcical joke.
    Those Brooklyn lines were built affordably, and incrementally, by private companies. Omnibuses were replaced by horsecars on tracks, followed years later be electrification. There were no signals.
    If batteries have advanced to the point where you can have electric buses, that whole process could be repeated.
    First, create a Bus Rapid Transit line, with electric buses.
    Then, if demand warrants, quickly and cheaply lay tracks using those pavement milling machines and track panels, and run electric streetcars on them. If we are to have self-driving cars, we could certainly have self-driving streetcars in lieu of light rail signals.
    And then, if demand warrants, put up overhead wires at “stations”, so the pantographs could be raised and batteries recharged while the vehicle is stopped. Saves the up front cost of installing wires along the whole line.
    Finally, put up wires over the rest of the line, if it makes sense. Thus repeating the 50-year process that got us to the service pictured.
    But not at today’s prices.

  • Vooch

    interesting twist

    exactly – so next time someone complains about e-bikes…

  • Larry Littlefield

    BTW, you could never run that route 35 with a streetcar today. It would never make it down 39th Street. Just take that ride on the B35 bus on a weekday evening, and marvel at how all the buses have to ride in the oncoming lane to get around the double parkers making drop-offs and deliveries at the businesses along the street.

    And on the 68 route, notice the cars passing in what is now parking lanes.

  • Joe R.

    The older generation knew quite well how to repurpose things and build incrementally. Nowadays instead every new infrastructure project ends up being grandiose, gold-plated, and overpriced. It costs more in constant dollars to build a mile of light rail these days than it did to build a mile of subway in the early 1900s. I think it’s time to see what worked in the past and repeat. Not just for infrastructure, but in other areas like education.

  • Joe R.

    Put something resembling a cow catcher on the streetcars and they could just push the double-parked cars out of the way. That will also end the practice of double-parking in a big hurry.

  • Presumably because the lack of fairness doesn’t really bother them. Squadron’s frustration tells us all we need to know about the real priorities of the State legislature.

    Also, if both New York City and the rest of New York State were to agree to separation, and if New York’s U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives were behind it, then the question of whether Congress could be enticed to approve it is anyone’s guess. Though I do see that, even under those most favourable circumstances, the other federal legislators might be unwilling to set that precedent and then be faced with who knows how many other state-splitting proposals.

    At any rate, New York City should be empowered to set the secession process in motion unilaterally. In the U.K., London has special powers that other counties do not have; likewise, Paris, Marseilles, and Lyon have special powers that other French departments do not have. New York should have a similarly exalted status. But, just as American adherance to superstition in the form of religion is very odd in the Western world, so too is the worship of a particularly rigid sort of federalism, a weird and infantile fascination which makes all sorts of desirable reforms impossible.

    Regarding Staten Island, those people’s vote in favour of secession was the moment to start negotiating over the terms. Forget this business of their not accepting a reasonable share of the municipal debt, or of some unequal relationship regarding residency and eligibility for public-service jobs. The City held all the power in the matter; so it would be us who’d be setting the conditions. That will always go down as an opportunity missed.

  • Larry Littlefield

    On the other hand, the better off seceding from the worse off so as not to share resources is not “progressive” except based on the modern, snobby, self interest group definition. If I wanted that I would have moved to Westchester and not Brooklyn back in the 1980s.

    Even so, however, those Upstate have to know the nasty contempt of they representatives, as show in the examples in my post, will eventually cause even the most fair minded people in NYC to get ticked off. Probably a short time after the first mass casualty incident on the subway.

  • Mike

    I have never seen so many uninformed Times comments as are currently posted about the congestion pricing story. They are overwhelmingly against, of course. Don’t Streetsblogers read and comment? We need some rationality there.

  • AMH

    I was pleased to see that most of the top comments are in favor.

  • AMH

    I’m also pretty shocked, although DeBlasio’s opposition could be a factor.

  • The important issue is that cities are getting robbed. There was a discussion shown on C-SPAN last week that highlighted the problem of international decisions being made by national governments alone. The speakers made the point that it would be more appropriate for city governments to be at that table.

    The discussion also touched on the need for cities to control their local regions; one speaker even expressed his desire that London be an independent city-state like Singapore (even though he quickly added that he knew that this would never happen).

    The problem of the political impotence of cities is particularly acute in the United States, on account of this country’s dysfunctional federalism, an arrangement that is entirely ill-suited to the contemporary situation. The combined population New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago is the same as the aggregate total of people who live in the 14 least populous states. Yet, thanks to our outmoded federalism, those states wield tremendous power in Congress, while the great cities — the places that are key to driving our national economy and creating our national culture, not to mention being cosmopolitan oases that serve as havens of liberty for refugees fleeing intolerable conditions in the rest of America — wield absolutely none.

    The U.K. and France can at least grant to London and Paris powers that other cities do not possess; each of these countries can decree that its most important city be one of the country’s primary units, not subject to any other level of government but the national government.  By contrast, the most important American cities not only lack representation at the national level, but they are also buried within states which exploit them and which deprive them of meaningful home rule.  

    The federal system, like so many other things in the U.S., is broken, hopelessly and beyond repair. This is infuriating because cities are the norm, cities are the way that human beings organise themselves. The interests of cities should therefore be paramount in determining the national interest.

    The largest cities represent the pinnacle of civilisation. For these places to be held hostage in the U.S. by backward hinterlands is a travesty. Municipal governments ought to be setting the agenda for their own cities; and, they ought to be the ones dictating policy to all other levels of government, and, ultimately, the ones negotiating with one another to establish global standards.