Today’s Headlines

  • Trump Summons NY and NJ Electeds to Talk About Gateway (NYT)
  • Which Should Come First, Congestion Pricing or Bus Network Upgrades? (GG)
  • NYC Needs to Prepare for More Bike Traffic When L Service Is Suspended (Vice)
  • Voice Feature Delves Into Subway Signal Problems
  • People Are Noticing Sloppy Placement of Subway Countdown Clocks (AMNY)
  • Where Is Cuomo’s Emergency MTA Plan? (News, AMNY)
  • How New York Legislators Get Away With Gerrymandering (WNYC)
  • Motorist Hits Child Outside School in Bed-Stuy (Post)
  • NYPD Collision Ends With Cruiser Crashed Into Bushwick Building; 2 Officers Injured (Post, News)
  • Allison Liao’s Family Is Trying to Save Your Life (WNYC)
  • Bike Snob: Auto Industry Thinks “Petextrians” Can Be the “Jaywalkers” of the 21st Century (TransAlt)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    The press should do everyone a favor, and stop hassling Cuomo about his “emergency plan.” The whole thing was stupid in the first place. The first step it is to figure out what the hell is going on, what happened over the past 10 years.

    As I said, I know from experience exactly what is going on at NYCT.

    Emergency! Emergency! Emergency!


    The system improved because of a long series of small increases in management quality, maintenance practice, labor effort. If that was reversed, the first step is to find out how and why. Labor? Management brain drain? Maintenance cuts in the last recession, to be made worse in the next one now that real estate deals are plunging?

    And it would take a decade to turn around a decade. And at some point during that decade, you are going to have a massive delay, overcrowding, a panic, a substantial number of people tumbling to the track and getting killed. That decision has already been made.

  • Fool

    The Voice Piece is an embarrassment to the MTA and evidence that an austerity crisis would be healthy to the organization.

  • Vooch

    in all the official discussions of the L train shutdown, I have seen no
    suggestion that cycling can provide a useful alternative for ‘many’ L train trips.

    At a minimum, bike racks should be added to the subway stations which wil be used by erstwhile L riders. The M, G, and J subway stations should all get bike corrals. This will solve the ‘last mile challenge’ for many.

    Of course, it would be super if Citibikt stations could be added adjacent to all subway stations in the effected area of Brooklyn; but that would be far too sensible and simple a solution.

    Our city leadership always wants big clumsy solutions.

  • crazytrainmatt

    The UN general assembly is coming next week. Does anyone know whether the 1st ave bike lane is usually closed whenever 1st ave is closed to cars? Does anyone know the typical hours (the past notices say while they are in session, but I’m not sure when that usually is). I’ve been prevented from biking through the tunnel in the past by the cops, but I’m not sure if that’s the regular policy or he was just grumpy.

    Coming downtown, 2nd is usually wall-to-wall trucks when the NYPD cordons off a lane for themselves. Is Broadway reasonable if you are not in a hurry? I haven’t gone through there since they finished digging up Times Square. Is there a route through the plaza now or do people switch to 7th? Are the NYPD barriers still in the bike lane at 34-36th?

  • Joe R.

    I’m starting to agree more and more, and not just as far as the MTA is concerned. Maybe we should cut the fare in half, reduce any subsidies. Do the same with the schools and the NYPD. Make their 2018 budget half their 2017 budget. Tell them the city won’t interfere internally with whatever they must do to live within the new budget. Ditto for the MTA. If they have to fire a bunch of executives, trim pensions, whatever, they should have complete freedom.

    I knew of a couple of instances in the business world where patronage was rampant. Managers kept asking for (and getting) ever larger budgets each year until finally those on top had enough. There was never any accounting where all this money was going and they were sick of it. The next time a request for a larger budget was met with a new budget which was a fraction of the previous years. After the initial reaction that it was all somehow an April Fool’s joke reality set in. They would have to make due not only with no increase, but with major cuts. Needless to say the dead wood was the first to go. That included lots of people in do-nothing jobs who were there only because they were “someone’s kid out of college”. After that they cut needless expenses, often business travel which didn’t pay for itself in terms of new business. I think such a think would do wonders for the MTA, the DOE, and the NYPD. These are all highly bloated organizations which could make due on a fraction of what they get. NYC can and did provide top notch education, policing, and mass transit for half or less per capita in real dollars compared to today.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I think you are wrong, but the fact that you are wrong is also the fault of the powers that be.

    What I want is for taxes, fares, tolls, other fees, etc. to be cut to the level that exclusively reflects services provided and investments made right now. Not costs shifted to the present from the past.

    With costs from the past funded through a separate “Generation Greed surcharge” that everyone can see. In their face, all the time, to a greater extent than some newspaper article, blog post, internet comment, etc. So they will understand, and not always blame current workers/managers/etc.

    Pay $50 for a Metrocard? You have a $38 Metrocard, and you have paid a $12 “Generation Greed surcharge.” Same for property taxes, state income taxes, federal income taxes, etc. etc.

    I’ve been saying this for years.

    In fact, at one point the MTA has a symposium on a weekend in order to improve its “community outreach” relative to those stupid public hearings. I showed up and said this direction to an MTA Board member. They’ve done nothing like it since.

  • Vooch

    closed arbitrarily and capriciously without rhyme nor reason

  • Vooch

    the only way that will happen is full privatization

  • Andrew

    The Voice piece is chock full of factual errors. For example:

    Instead of going all in on CBTC, the MTA decided in the 1990s to choose a half-measure by installing two partially redundant systems that each do a portion of what CBTC does but combined fall far short of CBTC’s benefits.

    Wrong. The MTA decided in the 1990s to install CBTC on the Canarsie line. Period.

    One, called the Auxiliary Wayside System (AWS), is a redundant signaling system that allows non-CBTC-equipped vehicles to run on a CBTC-equipped track.

    So far so good. It’s not something that’s implemented instead of CBTC; it’s there in addition to CBTC. So this sentence (which is correct) directly contradicts the immediately previous sentence (which is incorrect).

    The MTA bills this as a necessary fail-safe, even though many systems around the world run solely on CBTC without issue thanks to CBTC’s built-in redundancies.

    Of course, it isn’t a necessary fail-safe, and I’m highly skeptical of the claim that the MTA has ever said that is, seeing that most of the Canarsie line doesn’t even have an AWS.

    What AWS does do is allow the MTA to take trains from other lines that aren’t equipped with CBTC and run them on the L line — which is necessary because the MTA didn’t order enough CBTC-equipped cars.

    Very wrong.

    The 212 R143’s – initially intended to be the full L fleet – turned out not to be enough for the L, since the MTA underprojected ridership growth. As a temporary measure, some of the original signals (not a new AWS) had to be retained for several years, so that non-CBTC-equipped trains could still run on the line. By 2011, enough additional cars (R160’s) were equipped with CBTC components that those last remaining original signals could be removed. This is all explained here:

    Today, on most of the line, there are no wayside signals at all, except at interlockings.

    The exception is between Broadway Junction and Canarsie, because the car washing facility at Canarsie also services J trains. Without an AWS on that segment of the line, nearly the entire segment would need to be clear of L trains before an empty J train could enter it. The AWS was included so that a simple J equipment move wouldn’t force a major disruption to L service.

    (Another alternative might have been to add CBTC equipment to all J trains. But that would have been quite costly, especially as the CBTC design on the L was never intended to be the main NYCT CBTC design, so L-style CBTC equipment on J trains won’t even be of any use when the J gets CBTC well in the future. And at this point the J mostly runs R32’s…)

    However, not only does this defeat the purpose of installing CBTC in the first place, but, according to a Federal Transit Administration study, installing AWS increases the cost of CBTC implementation by 30 percent.

    Including an AWS on a portion of the line in no way defeats the purpose of installing CBTC in the first place. Most of the line still only has CBTC, and even the segment with the AWS still gets the capacity and safety benefits of CBTC. The AWS simply allows non-CBTC trains to traverse the line under signal protection as well.

    Yes, it comes at a cost, a cost which needs to be compared to the costs of its alternatives. But an AWS on a short segment of the line doesn’t increase the cost of the overall CBTC project by 30%.

    The other system, Automatic Train Supervision (ATS), is a passive monitoring system that, like CBTC, provides more precise train location to a centralized control room. But unlike CBTC, it cannot control the trains.

    ATS is an overlay on top of a signal system that identifies individual trains and routes them across switches. It can be implemented on top of CBTC (as was done on the L) or on top of a wayside signal system (as was done on most of the A Division). It is not in and of itself a signal system.

    The main benefits of ATS are twofold: rerouting trains in case of issues, and providing information to run countdown clocks

    False. ATS primarily allows individual trains to be identified to dispatchers and automatically routes trains during regular operations. “In case of issues,” ATS isn’t going to automatically send a train anywhere it isn’t normally scheduled to go without human (dispatcher) intervention. And countdown clocks are a side benefit of ATS, certainly not a “main benefit” (the countdown clocks that have been rolling out in recent months on the B Division are not based on an ATS).

    both of which could be covered by CBTC, at significantly lower maintenance and upkeep costs.

    Pure CBTC is simply a signal system. It maintains safe separation of trains, it enforces speed restrictions, and it allows for automated operation. CBTC is typically packaged with ATS, which provides the train identification and routing capabilities. Contrary to the claim here, the non-vital ATS component is far less expensive than the vital CBTC signal system.

    I have no idea where Gordon and Barone get the idea that the MTA implemented AWS and ATS instead of CBTC, but it’s plain and utter nonsense.

  • Andrew

    Cuomo didn’t announce an “emergency plan.” He announced a state of emergency, which allows some of the usual procurement rules to be short-circuited. (He didn’t shout “Emergency!” three times.)

  • Andrew

    Here’s the Executive Order itself:

    Read the “Now, therefore” section.

  • (Although no one can stop you from lowering the quality of the discourse around here, it is worthwhile occasionally to offer a rebuttal to your chronic abusive trolling.)

    Too many people have forgotten that the entire point of an economy is to provide people with a high standard of living, and also that a robust public sector is a necessary feature of any society that even approaches this standard of economic justice.

    Furthermore, each generation paying for the retirement of the previous generation is exactly how it is supposed to work; this is a model that was intended to go on indefinitely.

    The generation which you incessantly attack with your disgusting hate speech actually did everything the right way, and set an admirable example. We subsequent generations have failed to follow that example; and for this the fault is entirely ours.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Furthermore, each generation paying for the retirement of the previous generation is exactly how it is supposed to work.”

    So if some people are entitled to half pay pensions (including overtime) of final pay, with one or more years in retirement for each year worked, and that should be paid entirely at the time and not by people who are working, what should the MTA’s pension expense as a share of payroll be?

    Just based on math, I’d say about 65 percent. So what is it now, and who should make up the difference? Because it isn’t that high. So there is social injustice! The serfs have it too good!

    And yet when beneficiaries of that deal go shopping, I doubt they choose establishments where the prices and quality reflect a similar deal for the workers they buy from. Because no one can force them to.

    There is a complete difference in power. One group of workers only gets what people are willing to pay voluntarily, the other extracts money up front and provides something in return with whatever is left.

    And pointing that out is hate speech?

    If you look at what I said it is actually pro-transit worker — today’s transit worker. They are being set up to take the blame for costs from the past, as if the money were going to them.

  • sbauman

    From the Voice article:

    Most important, CBTC alleviates the train-bunching issue by automatically adjusting train speeds to maximize line capacity (getting more trains on the tracks) and car capacity (spacing trains properly to keep them from getting overloaded and thus delayed). Under ideal conditions, Barone’s report concluded, CBTC can run 40 trains per hour per line, or a train every 90 seconds. Due to physical limitations in the system, the best the subway can hope to see with a CBTC system is probably around a train every 120 seconds, or 30 trains per hour; still, that’s an improvement over today’s subway, which typically runs only 20 to 25 trains per hour.

    From the MTA’s Second Avenue Subway DEIS:

    Lexington Avenue Line. The current NYCT signal system on the Lexington Avenue line is designed to allow 90-second headways, including a 30-second allowance for station dwell times, with operating headways of 120 seconds.

    CBTC permits more trains per hour?

    Barone/CBTC ideal: 90 second headways vs. Lexington Ave current: 90 second headways
    Barone/CBTC probable: 120 second headways vs. Lexington Ave current: 120 second headways

    There are several more mistakes that Mr. Andrew did not catch.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I didn’t say Cuomo shouted “emergency” three times.

    I said that I have a good idea what is going on at NYCT 20 levels down from Cuomo, as the press keeps demanding an “emergency plan.”

    And it isn’t useful.

  • Wilfried84

    Citi Bike would help, but only for the first so many people to arrive, until the docks are full.

  • Joe R.

    I have no idea where Gordon and Barone get the idea that the MTA implemented AWS and ATS instead of CBTC, but it’s plain and utter nonsense.

    Probably someone heard a remark in the background to that effect from a person who sounded like they knew what they were talking about, and ever since it’s been accepted as gospel. Sort of like the “open gangway cars increase capacity by 10%” mantra which has been floating around now for a few years. I’m still looking for a credible source on that because the math just doesn’t add up.

    BTW, good critique. We need to keep these reporters honest. When the subject is trains, it seems most of them don’t have a clue what they’re talking about.

  • Vooch

    most correct -demand is likely to be huge. Figure 15 subway stations with 500 Citibikes at each station to start plus racks for 2,000 added bikes