Friday’s Headlines: Support Local Theater Edition

It’s a bit off topic, but the New York International Fringe Festival opens today with serious and funny shows all over Manhattan, so why not peruse the offerings and take in a show? (Full disclosure: I’m a supporter of the festival and have produced two hit Fringe shows: the prescient “SUV: The Musical” in 2005 and “Murder at the Food Coop” in 2017.)

Now, to paraphrase Lin-Manuel Miranda, can we get back to street stuff, yo:

  • State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says that the MTA can’t just fare-raise itself out of its cash crunch. He also said that the $1-billion in Subway Action Plan hasn’t done much to improve service. Boy, what a downer he turned out to be! (amNY)
  • The Port Authority is trying to justify Gov. Cuomo’s backwards AirTrain from LaGuardia to Willets Point by saying it will reduce millions of car trips, but reporter Dana Rubinstein’s coverage offers some skepticism about the project. (Politico)
  • Not sure why, but solid transportation reporter Dave Colon offered a primer for cycling in New York City for Bicycling magazine. Most controversial line (h/t Aaron Gordon): “Run reds to your heart’s content.” Now, Colon did later add that it’s only cool to run a red light after “checking for cars and people crossing the street.” “Seriously,” he added, “don’t antagonize pedestrians.”
  • The mayor and the Economic Development Corporation issued a press release that said they’re still building the East River Greenway, but not much has changed since we wrote about the project last year. (Curbed) Gale Brewer tweeted her support, but was immediately reminded by cyclists of the flaws.
  • Sometimes I hate-read Gridlock Sam on Fridays in the Daily News because I love knowing where all the drivers are going to be tied up this weekend.
  • To me, anything that puts Council Member Mathieu Eugene in the spotlight is good. So thanks, Bklyner.
  • I was the first to get the story up, but News4NY’s Adam Kuperstein had a much fuller account (with video!) of the city Sanitation driver who ran over and killed a Crown Heights pedestrian on Thursday morning. (News4NY)
  • State Senator and street safety pariah Marty Golden got some support on Twitter for that time he ran over a pedestrian who later died.
  • And finally, I’ll admit I’ve become obsessed with Los Angeles since my trip to the NACTO convention last week, but here’s a great story about the challenge of cycling in that city that’s a must-read for any urban cyclist. (Bicycling)
  • Larry Littlefield

    “State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says that the MTA can’t just fare-raise itself out of its cash crunch. He also said that the $1-billion in Subway Action Plan hasn’t done much to improve service.”

    Looks like former State Senator Tom DiNapoli, his generation of politicians, and their special interest political supporters won big time! In your face!

    When are you retiring to Florida, Tom?

    So, another massive revenue source is needed, but there will still never be another MTA capital plan — not even for ongoing normal replacement. And the system will collapse. How’s the timing? Will off of Generation Greed be gone by then, or at least retired? I guess it depends on the next recession.

    Don’t give me that falling revenue due to falling ridership BS. Ridership is still higher than it was just a few years ago — and far higher than a decade or two decades ago. And how much of that lost ridership was free rides under unlimited ride cards?

    Note how the unions and contractors and Wall Street made damn sure former state legislators occupy the city and state comptroller’s chairs.

  • Elizabeth F

    > run a red light after “checking for cars and people crossing the street.”

    …and checking for unmarked police cars, cops standing around on the other corner ready to ticket; and of course, marked police cars, even those behind you. Or just dismount and walk through the red light, nobody ever gets a ticket for jaywalking in NYC. (I once did that “trick” in Central Park with a cop right behind me. He believed I was going to run the red light, so he started turning on his siren; but just then I dismounted, ran the bike through the intersection, and the cop turned it off.)

  • The only time I ever got a ticket was when I walked my bike through a red light. I didn’t get off the bike; I was straddling it. But I was walking it, not pedalling it.

    This was about a week after the killing of Mathieu Lefevre in 2011, and at the same intersection of Morgan Avenue and Meserole Street. The infuriating thing is that the cops were sitting there at the site of a horrible act of vehicular violence, but they were targeting not the potential perpetrators, but the potential victims.

  • Elizabeth F

    Did you fight it? Maybe dismounting to the side saved me there.

  • qrt145

    “…and checking for unmarked police cars, cops standing around on the other corner ready to ticket; and of course, marked police cars, even those behind you”

    And then worry that if you ever crash into a pedestrian, it will be while distracted looking in all directions for police cars!

  • ortcutt

    Just be aware that Marty Golden will now be offering courtesy running-overs to constituents on Thursdays from 11:00-2:00. Come on down to Third and 84th and Golden will personally run you over so you can enjoy the benefits of a lengthy hospital stay where doctors may find something else wrong with you, if you’re lucky. Come on down on the first Thursday of every month for a special treat, when Rep. Golden will be doing his constituent-service running-overs while impersonating a police officer.

  • macartney


  • Joe R.

    I’m surprised he didn’t give you a ticket for impersonating a pedestrian.

  • Elizabeth F

    “State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says that the MTA can’t just fare-raise itself out of its cash crunch.”

    Actually they can… because in the transit business, “we lose money on every sale, but make it up in volume.” As the MTA raises fares, this will cause increasing numbers of people to flee the subway in favor of private car / Uber / bike / walk / not go. As fewer people ride the subway, MTAs costs will go down, even as its revenues are going up due to fare increases. Eventually it will get to a point where things balance out, the system is no longer overcrowded, and there’s enough money to maintain it.

    What’s not to like? 😉

    Or try another bright idea… close the whole thing down, save billions of dollars, and don’t worry too hard about the consequences. That will put MTA’s finance out of the red for sure.

  • Elizabeth F

    “He also said that the $1-billion in Subway Action Plan hasn’t done much to improve service.”

    That’s because it needs $40b and 20 years to fix, not $1b and 6 months.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It isn’t a matter of “fixing.” Components of the system wear out on an ongoing basis.

    The IND signal system is collapsing because much of it hasn’t been replaced since it was installed in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It is so old because NYCT stopped ongoing normal replacement twice — once in the 1970s, and again recently.

    The second IRT signal system was installed starting in the mid-1950s. It is becoming overdue for replacement now.


  • Joe R.

    My idea for a SHTF scenario is to shut it down, install flat panels over the tracks (which can be easily removed should we ever want to restart rail service), and then use the system for bikes. It would be great for that. All weather protection, freedom from temperature extremes, relatively low grades, and freedom from cars/pedestrians/traffic signals/stop signs/potholes, etc.

  • David M

    What I for the life me don’t understand, is why they couldn’t just build the LGA airtrain down the Grand Central Parkway median to the Astoria BLVD (N) train station, which is directly above the parkway? No NIMBYs have any valid complaints about something being in a highway median, and it’s much faster to Manhattan. N train to LGA is clearly the best, but the Air Train to Astoria Blvd is still the 2nd best.

  • Joe R.

    It’s far better to just extend the N train to LGA. That would make it a one-fare, one-seat ride. It would also serve non-airport travelers going to points in between.

    If we’re going to build a dedicated AirTrain for either LGA or Idlewild (sorry, I prefer to call it that over JFK), we shouldn’t have something half-assed requiring a subway transfer. Look at airport rail service the world over. It almost invariably goes from the airport to the city center without transfers.

  • David M

    I agree. But they’re building an AirTrain *anyway*. So if they’re going to do that, they should at least do it as directly as possible.

  • Joe R.

    Considering how much of a stickler you are about stopping and waiting for red lights you getting a red light ticket has to be about the biggest injustice there is. If I was a judge I would have dismissed that ticket in a second. I agree with Elizabeth that you should have fought it.

  • I guess in hindsight I have to agree that I should have.

  • Emmily_Litella

    Its not going to be that bad. LIRR service can be improved to a 20 or 15 minute headway very easily, especially since it will be operating to two Manhattan terminals. The possibility of Airtrain extending to Jamaica is no small matter either. I use airport trains all over the world and the extra minutes of Willets Point vs Astoria are trivial. Airtrain as planned is better than the Q70, which is better than the old Q33. And by the way, the 7 express ran all day from 1968 to 1973, changing direction around 12:30 PM. The running time of a 7 train to Willets Point is about the same as a local to 74th St. People can cry about it until Cuomo is out of office, it won’t change a thing.

  • Larry Littlefield

    This thing is garbage unless it goes to Jamaica from the get go. For one thing, they’ll have to have two different maintenance facilities, and spent huge money to move vehicles from one to the other on an oversized truck if necessary.

  • An NYC cycling primer with no mention of how to deal with mixing zones? As I see it, this is a critical, central issue for anyone who would attempt to ride here. The article does briefly mention something about “getting hooked”. Oh well, not like I really care about people riding the right way or the wrong way, and the whole mixing zone situation is hopelessly fucked anyways.