Today’s Headlines

  • Bill de Blasio Is a Coward (Gothamist)
  • Who You Gonna Believe, Straphangers — Cuomo or Your Own Lyin’ Eyes? (VoiceNYT, DNA)
  • Post: The MTA Needs Transparency to Protect Public From Governors Like Cuomo
  • Will the Climate Change Visionary’s Massive New Highway Bridge Have Space for Buses? (MTR)
  • NTSB: Engineers Who Caused NJ Transit, LIRR Crashes Had Sleep Apnea; Trump: Whatever (AP)
  • Attorney Banks on Jury to Empathize With Driver Who Killed Victoria Nicodemus (DNA)
  • “Ride Out” Cyclist Talks to Gothamist About NYPD Arrests
  • NYPD Detective Charged for Assaulting, Pulling Gun on Cyclist (NYTNews, Post, DNA)
  • DOT Construction Delays Endanger Life and Limb Outside Forest Hills School (DNA)
  • Take a Walk Under the Soul-Crushing Highway NYC Plans to Spend Billions to Sustain (NYT)
  • New York Isn’t London (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • reasonableexplanation

    “Bill de Blasio Is a Coward”
    He won like 70-something percent in the primary. What are you gonna do, vote for a Republican?

  • His easy cruise to reelection makes this all the more cowardly.

  • Guest

    How do you threaten somebody with a gun and then get released with a desk appearance ticket?

    Oh, right… never mind.

  • newshuman

    It’s scary because without a real election he isn’t forced to make any promises other than the ones that take place behind closed doors.

  • Vooch

    The BQE should be removed and pre-existing street grid resotoref

  • reasonableexplanation

    That’s a bingo!

  • Larry Littlefield

    At least in the city we have real elections every eight years. With regard to the state legislature there are none at all. And the policies of Generation Greed era politicians reflects that.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2017/09/10/term-limits-new-york-citys-double-blind-test-of-democracy/

  • bolwerk

    The closest thing to a “real election” in NYC is the primary for the party that holds the gerrymandered seat.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The fact that the Republican Party has become what it has become is a big problem for New York. It was once an alternative to further pillage by the political/union class, government contractors and Wall Street as epitomized by Tammany Hall.

    I’ll join the Democratic Party when there is an option to join the Democratic Party of some other state. Why did Bernie Sanders wait so long to join the Democrats? Because he’s from Brooklyn!

  • Larry Littlefield

    You mean the unpublicized special election after the legislator “does the right thing” and leaves office mid-term. After which their replacement can keep challengers off the ballot with special interest money.

  • bolwerk

    What the hell is nobody commenting on the possibility of using the old TZB as a rail ROW? Without having to worry about traffic on it, there shouldn’t be many safety issues to hide behind.

    There may be a good reason it’s not possible, of course, but I haven’t heard any that aren’t pure conjecture, and some (like shipworms) are clearly nonsense.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I guess when the engineers say the cheap and easy 60-year-old foundations in the river are deteriorating I believe them and you don’t.

  • bolwerk

    Yes, you are. Bill de Blasio is basically a Rockefeller Republican.

  • bolwerk

    IIRC, they aren’t saying that. It’s the bridge structure itself that has been deteriorating, but even that wasn’t happening at a fast enough rate to justify the new span.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I read the fundamental problem was the concrete pillows that were placed in the mud as a cheaper alternative to digging down to bedrock.

  • bolwerk

    I could believe that, but they were prepared to operate the bridge for decades before the new one was fast-tracked, so it’s clearly not an imminent danger.

    Also, I said there could be a good reason. Maybe that’s it, but could it be explained to the public maybe?

  • Larry Littlefield

    You can believe Nicole Gelenas.

    https://www.city-journal.org/html/tappan-zee-falling-down-13373.html

    Or John Oliver.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/local/tappan-zee-bridge/2015/03/04/john-oliver-revives-tappan-zee-myth-hbo-show/24399279/

    This could be either a case of ideologues who believe what they want to believe — such as the replacement was not needed. Or professionals (in this case engineers) who sell their credentials by slanting things in favor of those paying the bills.

  • Reader

    Even though he’s a lock for re-election, you still have to hold his feet to the fire. We don’t give people a pass just because they don’t have a chance of losing.

  • bolwerk

    I’m not inclined to believe either without some verification, nor am I particularly inclined to believe Cuomo administration acolytes.

    I don’t think professional engineers are at fault here, though in my experience anyone can find a professional to say what they want them to say. The choice to use this stuff isn’t about engineering. It’s political.

  • Joe R.

    Those are both good articles but what makes this suspect is people championing for a new TZB on the grounds the old one is failing at the same time when much of our vital rail infrastructure is in far worse condition. The Amtrak Hudson River Tubes are in critical shape. A replacement should have been built a decade ago to allow them to be shut down for repair. And the NEC should have been 4-tracked from Newark to eliminate a major source of bottlenecks. An then you have the subway signal system, and probably the power distribution system as well. All of these are far more critical to the region than the TZB.

  • Larry Littlefield

    And the debts are high and the pensions are underfunded and retroactively increased etc. Generational priorities; national problem which is worse here.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Wait what? If you think DeBlasio is moderate/center right, you might need to get your political compass re calibrated.

    Here’s a DeBlasio quote from last week:

    Look, if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed.

    I think what we have, in this city at least, are people who’d love to have a very, very powerful government, including a federal government, involved in directly addressing their day-to-day reality.

  • sbauman

    The subway on time performance figures are dismal. They resort to cheating to make them look that good.

    The on time performance is the percent of trains that start and arrive at their terminals within 5 minutes of their scheduled arrival. Nothing is mentioned regarding the scheduled trip duration vs. the same trip from previous years.

    The schedules are now padded, in the hope that trains that previously would have been late would now be on time. However, the MTA isn’t very good at fudging their schedules.

    One of the MTA’s ploys is to schedule a long “hold” at the next to last station. Here’s a list of the number of trips that are scheduled to be held 4 or more minutes at the next to last station.

    route,sched,held,pct
    1,464,13,2.8
    2,318,64,20.1
    3,306,42,13.7
    5,329,40,12.2
    6,447,20,4.5
    7,534,46,8.6
    A,369,5,1.4
    B,206,36,17.5
    D,266,43,16.2
    E,404,101,25.0
    F,382,62,16.2
    N,267,52,19.5
    R,284,24,8.5

    There were no such holds, when the MTA started publishing their schedules back in November 2013.

  • Joe R.

    Their criteria of <5 minutes late = on-time effectively adds another 5 minutes of padding. And despite all this padding, a lot of trains are still late. We sorely need to put the Japanese or Swiss in charge of running the system. To them if a train is 1 second behind schedule it's "late". And they generally don't pad their schedules.

  • Larry Littlefield

    May I remind you that thinking people are entitled to public services in exchange for a nation-leading state and local government tax burden isn’t “progressive.”

  • bolwerk

    …and how does it get more right-wing than that? It’s open authoritarianism. It’s also the status quo.

    “Moderate” is a brand, not an ideology. The self-acclaimed moderates are to the right of the conservatives. Misguided they may be, conservatives at least still care about freedom.

  • bolwerk

    (That first question was intended to be rhetorical. This is how it gets more right-wing than that. Note Bill de Blasio doesn’t seem to have a problem with that either.)

  • bolwerk

    I don’t think there’s really any doubt the old one was “failing” in the sense that it had a limited maintainable life, though that was clearly anticipated to be decades as of circa 2010.

    Amusingly, the replacement cost exceeds the cost of just maintaining the old one. What this says is one of the more important things you mention could have been addressed first, though I suppose the downside to that is it required cooperation with the even more corrupt state of New Jersey.

  • bolwerk

    Also, after Christie canceled ARC, the TZB had the potential to fill a role as a vital rail link from west of the Hudson without disruption from rent-seeking New Jersey political interests.

    Cuomo mutilated that, and a bus lane clearly isn’t going to replace that.

  • reasonableexplanation

    I’m still sort of confused…
    authoritarianism is on on both the extreme right and the extreme left; it has little to with one or the other.

    Government ownership of property and involvement in all aspects of day to day life, especially the way the mayor means it, is very much a socialism thing, which tends to be accepted as to the left of the Democrats.

    So I don’t see your point of DeBlasio being a Rockefeller Republican.

  • Larry Littlefield

    If West of Hudson reorganized its bus network to feed the Tarrytown MetroNorth train station — for an express ride to Manhattan and someday Penn — the way Staten Island buses feed the ferry terminal, it might indeed replace it.

    And those buses could go more places than the West of Hudson tracks.

  • bolwerk

    Forcing a needless transfer is by definition not replacing it. It would make significantly more sense, and probably cost significantly less, to organize local buses around a rail trunk line drawn west from Westchester.

    In fact, this has the potential to put buses to their most condign use: granular, local service. The sort of trip that makes it possible for a lot of people to leave a car at home.

  • bolwerk

    Why are you hiding behind these vague phrases? “Left” and “right” some meaning in political science, but that meaning bears absolutely no resemblance to the meanings (or lack thereof) assigned to them in public discourse. In public discourse, they are strawmen and obfuscatory. Agree with their ideology or not, so-called “centrists” for the most part believe in things almost nobody in the general public wants. Quite seriously, more people like the policy prescriptions of “extreme right” Ted Cruz than of “moderate left” Hillary Clinton or “moderate right” Jeb Bush. Even more like those of “extreme left” Bernie Sanders. So why are the “centrists” arbitrarily called the “moderates”?

    Saying de Blasio is a Rockefeller Republican is quite condign, if you look past the label. It was Nelson and David who overthrew Robert Moses, and created the heavily government-supported financial framework our transportation system uses today. Nelson also pioneered much of the modern police state, which de Blasio unquestionably supports with some slight modifications. I’d be curious to know what you think the starkest differences between them are.

  • Joe R.

    True although I’m wondering about the logistics of replacing some car lanes with track should some later administration see the light. Would this require major structural modifications on the bridge, or would it be as simple as ripping up asphalt, then putting down ties and rail? Passenger trains don’t subject bridges to the loads heavy freight trains do. If we electrify the tracks, then even the locomotives are pretty light by railroad standards. Or better yet run EMUs.

  • bolwerk

    I can’t imagine acres of re-enforced concrete is light at all.

    Though ultimately, at this point it might make the most sense to just build a dedicated rail bridge or tunnel when the time comes. There’s not really any reason for Jersey politicians to object to it if New York pays for its own span so I don’t see why the Port Authority couldn’t be asked to acquiesce to a span somewhere more sensible. As long as it doesn’t compete with the PA’s automobile toll business they shouldn’t care.

  • Vooch

    swiss trains are not as on time as they were.

    It used to be the train wheels would start moving when the (analog) second hand of the station clock hit 12.

    These days, train can be as much as 2 seconds late leaving station

    The Swiss are complaining a lot about this horrible decrease in quality

    ( and yes I am dead serious )

  • William Lawson

    CitiBike rider struck and seriously injured by a livery cab driver on 21st and 9th. According to the Daily News, witnesses have said that the driver was speeding and blew a red light. But right at the end of the story, the News reveals that “cops were investigating whether it was the cyclist who crossed against the light.” So there you have it. Witnesses: driver blew the light. NYPD: well let’s direct our investigation toward the theory that the cyclist blew the light.

    THIS MAKES ME SO EFFING MAD I just want to see the whole NYPD to be disbanded, all of these sub-intelligent cyclist hating cop morons to lose their jobs and to be replaced by honest, intelligent people with IQ’s higher than 100 who care about justice and have the basic common sense required to understand the law.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/manhattan/livery-cab-strikes-injures-man-riding-citi-bike-article-1.3518117

  • Larry Littlefield

    ” I just want to see the whole NYPD disbanded.”

    I don’t think the police will worry much about someone who wants them disbanded.

    How about advocating that NYC have merely twice as many police officers, relative to the national average, per 100,000 people, and that the officers receive pensions that provide merely one year in retirement for each year worked?

    That will get their attention.