Today’s Headlines

  • Trump Won’t Commit to Funding Gateway (NYT, Politico)
  • Cuomo Wrings Another Day of Coverage From His Subway Trash Stunt (NYT)
  • Mark-Viverito Backs Congestion Pricing as de Blasio Resorts to Anecdata (Crain’sNews, Gothamist)
  • Joe Lentol and Eric Gonzalez Announce Bill to Strengthen Hit-and-Run Penalties … (News)
  • … But Gonzalez Still Hasn’t Charged Driver Who Killed Neftaly Ramirez (Bklyn Paper)
  • Upper West Siders Protest Pending Cuts to M72 and M66 Service (DNA)
  • MTA Bus Driver Severely Injures Teenage Cyclist in Flushing (EQG); Cops, Post Blame Victim
  • Years Later, Victim of NYPD Crash Struggles to Piece Life Together (DNANews)
  • Brooklyn Bike Shop Puts Kids With Disabilities on Wheels (NYT)
  • Meanwhile, Toward the Other End of the Human Spectrum (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • HamTech87

    Ugh. With a guy like Andrew Albert as your transit advocate, we’re really screwed. No consideration of removing parking along the M66 route to reclaim some street width. And in addition to chairing the CB transpo committee, this guy is the MTA riders’ representative?!?
    “[Albert] also noted that when the MTA introduced Select Bus Service to the M79 and M86 routes, ridership continually increased as wait times decreased. But SBS would be hard to introduce to the M66 route, he added, as it traverses narrow streets.”

  • HamTech87

    “[Albert] also noted that when the MTA introduced Select Bus Service to the M79 and M86 routes, ridership continually increased as wait times decreased. But SBS would be hard to introduce to the M66 route, he added, as it traverses narrow streets.”

    Plenty of room on those streets, if you just remove the parking. But Albert cares more about preserving parking than improving bus service. Unbelievable that he is not just the chair of the CB’s Transpo Committee, but also chair of the entire Permanent Advisory Committee to the entire MTA! No wonder our bus service sucks.

  • From the Daily News, here’s our mayor with a fake history lesson:

    “My point is simply this: you’ve got two boroughs that have not had tolls on those bridges since those bridges existed.”

    He’s wrong. All four East River bridges had tolls until 1911. Pedestrians had to pay to cross the Brooklyn Bridge!

    What de Blasio is really saying is that people won’t like paying for something they’ve gotten for free for so long. It’s very revealing. This is about political fear and nothing more. It’s about worrying more about donors who drive than New Yorkers who rely on transit or even low-income people in places like the Rockaways who’d stand to benefit from lower tolls under MoveNY. You can back-engineer his anti-congestion-pricing logic from there.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Good bus service can work fine on narrow streets. Bulbouts for the stops, offboard fare payment, signal priority, and if you want to get really special, retractable bollards that keep private through-traffic off the street.

  • Fool

    It is likely placecarded public servants and other public servants with dedicated parking lots (think of all the parking lots under overpasses, etc) who are most against the tolls. In their eyes they have a “free” commute into the city from their outer borough/Nassau/Suffolk County homes and this charge of 3 dollars a day would add up to a major costs.

    I am pretty sure wealthy donors would not mind less traffic since they are already paying for parking.

  • vnm

    I’m so disappointed in de Blasio here.

  • Vooch

    until 1955, it was illegal to park overnight on Manhattan streets

  • Larry Littlefield

    “What de Blasio is really saying is that people won’t like paying for something they’ve gotten for free for so long.”

    That’s true. But because so much water was being wasted, the city did install meters and start charging for usage after using usage-blind taxes to fund the water department for 100 years. And guess what? Water usage per person fell.

    If you can charge the poorest for the second most basic life necessity behind air, why can’t you charge those who own private automobiles to in effect privatize some of the most scarce and valuable space in the country?

  • I honestly think it’s because free driving is seen as a more basic right than water and clean air. It’s a perverse logic. Roads and bridges? They’re just part of nature. The pipes and systems for delivering water? That’s infrastructure that costs money to maintain!

  • Joe R.

    If de Blasio wants to make these kinds of analogies then let’s carry them over to a form of transportation he seems at best indifferent to, at worst hostile to, namely bikes. Prior to the early 1990s there was no law against cycling on sidewalks, ergo there should therefore never be such a law. Prior to roughly the same time there was just about zero enforcement of any traffic laws against cyclists. Ergo, we can never enforce traffic laws against cyclists because we never did before. I might actually be in the Mayor’s camp if he was at least a bit more consistent. If anything, you can make a better case for continuing past non-enforcement policies regarding cyclists than you can for keeping some bridges free given the low overall level of danger presents by bicycles.

    Of course people are going to like paying for something they’ve gotten for free for ages. It’s human nature. However, it’s time to look at the big picture. Free bridges (and parking placards) are responsible for a lot of traffic which would likely disappear if these perks were eliminated. Now if there were some public benefit to allowing placard holders to cross bridges and park for free I would be in favor of continuing these perks. There are none that I can see (other than those which accrue solely to the placard holders) but lots of downsides to the general public. In fact, I personally think placards are more harmful than free bridges. If I had to pick one to eliminate, it would be placards by a huge margin.

  • Joe R.

    I remember back when there was a flat charge some of our neighbors would have their sprinkler systems on all night nearly every day. That ended once the meters went in.

  • Vooch

    time to roll out the diagram of East River Bridges showing how through put is now 1/3 versus peak years.

    Why has through out decreased so much on East River Bridges ?

    Answer: Private Cars are inefficient

    the diagram is worth studying closely to really understand the problem

  • AMH

    I laugh when I hear people talking about “narrow streets” that are 40 feet wide.

  • sbauman

    You can back-engineer his anti-congestion-pricing logic from there.

    How much do vehicles originating from outside the cordon contribute to the CBD’s congestion? Shouldn’t that be a basic question before implementing “congestion pricing” based on a cordon toll?

    The biggest problem is that until recently, there weren’t any accurate measurements for congestion within the CBD. We had to rely on expert opinions. That’s changed, thanks to implementing GPS meters on yellow taxis. We know the average speed of vehicles within the CBD, as sampled by these yellow taxis, since 2010. We’ve had accurate measurements for vehicle travel across the cordon, thanks to the annual cordon count.

    So what’s the relation since 2010? The 2010-2015 results are shown in the Mobility Report in 2017
    Here are the results in convenient form to cut and paste into a spreadsheet

    “inboard count”,776,764,751,747,731,731
    “average CBD speed”,9.35,8.99,9.28,8.90,8.51,8.21

    The correlation between the inboard cordon count and average CBD speed is 0.85. Unfortunately, it’s in the wrong direction: increased CBD speed correlates positively with increased cordon crossings.

    Back to the drawing board, as we we used say in the engineering business.

  • Very disingenuous of you to keep dropping these comments when the only specific road pricing plan anyone is talking about includes a new fee structure for for-hire car trips in the CBD.

  • Jesse

    To add to Ben’s comment, correlation ? causation. It is hardly surprising that more taxis are driving into the CBD or that more people are hailing taxis when congestion is lower.

  • sbauman

    correlation ? causation.

    I wasn’t suggesting that the way to ease congestion within was to increase the number of incoming vehicles crossing the cordon. That’s what assuming correlation implies causation would suggest.

    If there is causation then there is correlation. That is true.

    The contrapositive is also true. If there isn’t correlation then there isn’t causation. That’s what I’m suggesting the data proves.

    There isn’t correlation between increasing incoming vehicles across the cordon and increased congestion within the CBD, therefore increased incoming vehicles across the cordon is not causing the increased congestion within the CBD.

  • AMH

    Just in case you haven’t seen Cuomo vacuuming up obviously fake trash:

    Just when you think you've reached Peak Cuomo, he does something like vacuum litter off the subway tracks— Kate Hinds (@katehinds) September 7, 2017

  • Joe R.

    Now let’s see him eat a rat!

  • sbauman

    the only specific road pricing plan anyone is talking about includes a new fee structure for for-hire car trips in the CBD.

    I was referring to the relation between congestion within the CBD and any plan that sought to relieve it by reducing the number of vehicles that entered the cordon around it. I wasn’t referring to any specific plan.

    However, you brought up Move NY. Based on its February incarnation, $255 million are to be raised by taxi surcharges. These surcharges are supposed to be based on mileage traveled within the CBD. That comes to 17% of the $1500 million net to be raised. Move On also raises $1680 million from the cordon toll, which is 112% of the net to be raised. That’s 6.6 times greater than the money raised from the mileage toll within the CBD. Based on this imbalance and the inability to show a relation between the cordon count and congestion within the CBD, I suggest that portraying Move NY as anything but a cordon toll is a stretch.

  • kevd

    Look at the way so many NYC renters heat their apts – with windows open all winter. My building even sends out notices if your apt is too cold “Step 1, close your windows.”

  • Komanoff

    “Back to the drawing board”? What you really mean is, “I’m going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good with my unending stream of nitpicks about the Move NY plan.”

    You evidently have no experience with effectuating change in the world. For all the potential benefits of our plan — including saving drivers and transit riders nearly 200 million hours a year — it gores a great many sacred cows and thus has taken herculean effort merely to advance to its current political viability. This has and will require cutting some corners, simplicity, compromises — stuff you evidently find beneath you.

    Our plan promises well NYC over $2 billion a year in net societal benefit (see chart). I challenge you to come up with an alternative package that can accomplish half as much and also stands a chance at being taken seriously.

    As to your “technical” quibbles: let’s take one, that we don’t charge taxis and other FHV’s commensurately with their contribution to congestion. Except, we do. Until recently, nearly 4/5 of all FHV VMT was in the Manhattan “taxi exclusion zone” in which they will be surcharged for miles and “wait time.” (I don’t yet have an updated figure reflecting Uber, but I doubt the share will be hugely less.) The comparable ratio for private autos is, of course, far smaller.

    I would address your other objections but my experience has been that with each answer you slide off into new issues. Sorry, life’s too short; I’m not going there.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Unfortunately, in many rental buildings open window are the only alternative to roasting alive.

    I’ve glad I control my own heat.

  • AnoNYC

    Is that a train coming up behind him? 😀

  • rao

    This is a flawed analogy. Imagine if the city had decided that, rather than metering the water, it would continue charging the same flat fee to all customers, but would also charge customers an extra fee if their water flowed through certain designated pipes. And the extra money would not go to upgrade the pipes subject to the charge; instead, it would be put into a fund to subsidize public bathhouses and drinking fountains. That would not have flown politically because it would have been seen as imposing an unfair burden on certain customers. And that is the plan that MoveNY is proposing. It’s a political mistake.

  • rao

    sbauman’s comments are not mere nitpicks. They identify fundamental problems with the idea of using cordon tolls to reduce CBD congestion in Manhattan. Any plan–whether MoveNY or something else–that proposes to charge people for crossing a cordon in exchange for reducing congestion elsewhere, quite simply, imposes the lion’s share of the costs on many people who themselves are not likely to perceive much gain–no matter what the overall social benefits are. And what sbauman’s comments suggest is that the fundamental mismatch between burdens and benefits in such plans is one of the principal reasons why it has taken such a herculean effort to make this semi-politically viable.

  • kevd

    Sadly thats also true.
    Wish we could retrofit thermostats and charge each apt for heat (and water)
    Usage would go down dramatically.
    The tragedy of the commons

  • kevd

    London doesn’t use a cordon toll. All drivers within the congestion zone pay during congestion times pay, not those simply crossing into it. (though their resident discount is obscenely generous).

  • Komanoff

    But drivers into and out of the CBD *do* impose large congestion costs on “the commons” (other road users). I’ve demonstrated that time and again in charts such as this stacked bar chart.

    True, a “binary” toll such as ours can’t align perfectly w/ all congestion causation. A scheme that did so would have to track every vehicle w/ GPS — which can only be done for FHV’s (and thus is part of the MNY plan).

    Bottom line: There’s no “fundamental” mismatch between burdens and benefits, just an imperfect one. For all the highmindedness of your comment — and I mean that as a compliment — it misses the central reasons for oppo (which have been stated here many times): “loss aversion,” the persistence of entitlements, windshield perspective, aspirational false consciousness, mistrust of government, etc.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here is a further analogy. There aren’t any gas taxes used for city streets. We all pay for them. We all have an equal right to them.

    If others don’t use them so there is more room for you to use them, you owe rent.

    On the other hand, I see your point. Revenues designated for transportation — gas taxes, MTA taxes, transit fares, tolls, parking revenues, airport revenues, seaport revenues — already exceed transportation expenditures, including capital, in metro New York. And that doesn’t even include parking fines.

    The money is going for debts, and the (majority of) taxpayer pension contributions that go to pay off the hole in the pensions plans — to to set aside money for the retirement of those working now.

    That is money in exchange for nothing. Until that is fessed up too, many people are going to believe that the CURRENT government is giving them a bad deal because there is too much “spending.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, the water thing has worked out anyway. Our tragedy of the commons was not so much water supply, but the capacity of our sewage treatment plants.

    We’ve added a million people and a half million jobs without adding any more plants. That’s like adding a whole city. Just by reducing wasteful water use. With all the crap our governments have done, an untold positive story is how well they handled crap.

  • AMH

    Yep, no longer content to watch train delays spiral out of control, he’s taken to delaying them personally!

  • Menachem Goldstein

    Stiffer penalties will not prevent hit-n-runs. The problem isn’t that the penalty isn’t high enough, but that nobody is investigating most of them! Drivers who flee simply don’t believe they will get caught.