Friday’s Headlines: 30 Days for Killing a Man Edition

I was pleased to see that the bus driver who killed Citi Bike rider Dan Hanegby got the maximum prison sentence on Thursday, though I still remain horrified that killing a cyclist can carry as little as 30 days in jail. Streetsblog’s coverage included the basic news from Judge Heidi Cesare’s courtroom, plus the full text of Hanegby’s widow’s tearful victim’s impact statement. Both are worth reading. The New York Post and the Daily News were also on hand for the sentencing.

Here’s the rest of the day’s news:

  • Curbed offered a primer on the coming community board term limit referendum, which may be the single most important citywide item on the ballot on Nov. 6.
  • Politico’s Dana Rubinstein gets a nifty scoop: It’s going to cost $60 billion to fix the subway. Meanwhile, fares are going to go. up. (Gothamist)
  • Every day, reporters discover new details about the MTA/DOT plans to mitigate congestion and transit woes during the L-train shutdown next year. On Thursday, the Villager found another: drivers will not be able to use Clinton Street to get onto the eastbound Williamsburg Bridge during the HOV-3 hours. That’s good news for the rest of us.
  • The thing about most political coverage is that it is substance-free, typically reading like a list of an official’s votes contrasted with a list of an opponent’s supposed positions. What gets lost is actual truth, as we see in NY1‘s breakdown of the race between State Senator Marty Golden and challenger Andrew Gounardes, which reported that Golden supported speed cameras. The opposite, of course, is true. In fact, Golden supports more traffic lights near schools, despite studies showing that traffic lights increase speeding.
  • Meanwhile, the Daily News endorsed Gounardes, saying Golden “has worn out his welcome in Albany.”
  • The 19th Precinct in Manhattan tweeted out that it just hired a “bicycle safety officer.” I immediately requested a “ride along.” (No, seriously. I’ll keep you posted.)
  • Finally, an NYPD officer writes a ticket on an illegally parked cop car. Can this be replicated? (NY Post)
  • The Post also covered the video of two people being run over in Crown Heights, but didn’t have Streetsblog’s or Gothamist’s angle. (NY Post)
  • I don’t love the way “Gridlock” Sam Schwartz sometimes enables the feeling drivers get when they’re inconvenienced. This week, he (or, to be fair, his headline writer) made it sound like the annual Tour de Bronx bike ride is bad for the city when, in fact, it’s great for the city. (NYDN)
  • Cheddar did an entire segment on “connected cars,” which is a big DOT initiative that will likely be obviated by driverless car technology. But still…DOT Chief Technology Officer Cordell Schacter did hit plenty of home runs off rookie pitching.
  • On the national front, bike lanes can save cities! (Bicycling) But electric cars may not. (Curbed)
  • And, finally, isn’t it cute the way drivers get upset when they’re stuck in traffic caused by other drivers. Awww, so cute. (Brooklyn Paper)
  • Larry Littlefield

    Golden hasn’t worn out his welcome in Albany. He fits in perfectly there.

    He has worn out his welcome in Brooklyn.

  • Fool

    Lol. 120 billion then.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Who do they think they are, the UFT and PBA?

    They need to tell us how much is required to fund ongoing normal replacement on an ongoing basis — and how far they have fallen behind.

    And how much of this is upgrades and expansions.

    What ever happened to East Side Access?

  • Komanoff

    Unless I missed it, the Curbed story on CB term limits had nada about entrenched incumbents’ windshield perspective. Just ethnicity and age.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Age, or rather generation, correlates with the windshield perspective.

    Most politically active/connected people who came of age from the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s and chose to remain in NYC coped with collapsing services (including transit) and rising crime by living an essentially suburban life. Driving everywhere, sending their kids to a limited number of special deal schools, etc.

    It is only with the influx of immigrants and young adults afterward that the viewpoint of the bicycle/transit minority within that generation has become by far the overall majority within the population at large. The political class doesn’t reflect that unless there is turnover.

    From our point of view, the kids are allright. Screwed, but allright.

  • Maggie

    1 question, 1 gripe:

    1) Is there a schedule somewhere for how many more weekends the 7 train will be shut down between Queens & Manhattan?

    2) why oh why is this basic info so difficult to find? It’s so classically kafkaesque to try googling for how many more weekends this will last and get a June 2018 article about the MTA is beefing up the 7 train weekend service with additional trains.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Anyone see this?

    https://nypost.com/2018/10/25/firm-owes-city-100m-for-flopped-yankee-stadium-parking-lots/

    Evidently there was some city and state money in those Yankee Stadium parking garages, and NYC isn’t being paid back.

    “Garages were constructed with $237 million in tax-exempt bonds issued in 2007 by the EDC’s Industrial Development Agency, along with $70 ?million in state funds and $32? million from the city. Under the terms of the deal taxpayers won’t see a penny until Bronx Parking makes enough money to pay bondholders. The company has defaulted on those payments in each of the past five years. Bronx Parking has been in negotiations with bondholders to restructure the deal since at least February, according to City Council documents.”

    So we have a loss of $102 million. We’ll never see that money. Let’s not take that $237 million loss too. And let’s bring this up the next time publicly financed or mandated parking is brought up.

  • vnm

    I can’t believe the City’s housing agencies aren’t pointing out that Bronx Parking has a financial duty to repay the bondholders and taxpayers by selling the garages’ and parking lots’ land for affordable housing development, which would have the double benefit of providing housing and of restoring a neighborhood that is having all the energy drawn away from it by behemoth parking structures that sit unused most of the time.

  • Joe R.

    #1 No real answer, but I found this: https://pix11.com/2018/10/05/sections-of-7-train-and-l-train-closed-for-repairs-this-weekend/

    MTA NYC Transit is wrapping up the final stages of technology upgrades to the tracks in the next few months. It will allow more trains to run.

    It sounds to me like they’re wrapping up the installation of CBTC (which was originally supposed to be finished in 2016. Here it says the completion is now scheduled for November:

    https://licpost.com/completion-date-of-7-line-signal-upgrades-pushed-back-again-report

    I’m sure the MTA will miss that deadline as well but at least you know the #7 will be partially shut down until November at the earliest.

    #2 The MTA has always been deliberately vague about everything. That makes it easier to hide their inefficiencies and negligence. We’re dealing with a bureaucratic monster here. Don’t expect transparency anytime soon.

  • Larry Littlefield

    They aren’t getting $337 million for that site with a restriction that it be used for affordable housing, or even no restriction at all.

    On the other hand, building housing on the sites of the all the other parking garages in the area, affordable, mixed-income or market-rate, would presumably induce more drivers to use this facility.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (CBTC (which was originally supposed to be finished in 2016.)

    The Flushing CBTC project was kicking off in 2004, when I was still there.

    This explains how the subway signal system fell apart. To replace the signal systems once every 60 years, the historic rate when work was actually being done, the MTA essentially has to kick off a new project every year.

    It was behind a decade as a result of work not done in the 1970s, and now it is apparently behind yet another decade.

  • Joe R.

    Signal systems which are based entirely on electronics, with no mechanical components like relays, should probably require replacement cycles much less frequently than every 60 years. The problem is that we haven’t replaced the mechanical systems before they reached end of life.

    In my opinion we should start planning and designing every major project on the assumption routine maintenance will never be performed. Design trains, signal systems, track, and so forth to last 50 to 100 years without maintenance. Ideally, maintenance will still be performed but if it isn’t, at least things won’t break down en masse before the next replacement cycle.

  • sbauman

    Signal systems which are based entirely on electronics, with no mechanical components like relays, should probably require replacement cycles much less frequently than every 60 years.

    The individual electronic components will become obsolete within 10 years. It will become impossible to find exact replacements within 20 years. Voltage spikes, floods, fires, etc. occur. Therefore, replacement will be required for some devices before an extended 50, 60 or 100 year life cycle. The projected life cycle must be adjusted to conform to the availability of replacement parts.

  • Joe R.

    That’s why you buy enough spare components or boards to last for the projected life cycle when you do the initial install. This only adds a small amount to the cost. Most of the cost of new signal systems is the physical installation.

    You also try to design with as many relatively generic parts as possible, like I do. For example, you can still get MOSFETs, diodes, resistors, capacitors, and so forth in the same footprints as 20 or 30 years ago. That means if I’m fixing something made 25 years ago, often it’s just a drop-in replacement. Even for active components like MOSFETs you can usually find something which works. In fact, newer active components usually have better specs than the stuff they’re replacing.

    You only get in trouble when you start using a lot of proprietary components. The only reason to do that, unless nothing off the shelf exists for what you’re doing, is to milk the customer for expensive replacement parts down the road. Or to tell them 20 years later, sorry, we don’t make those any more, you need to replace your entire system. Signal systems are basically low-level logic with power components to control lights and other things. CBTC is somewhat more complex, but it can still use mostly off-the-shelf components.

    I’ve been in the electronics business for over 30 years. The only time I can’t fix something is when it uses custom ICs. In a lot of cases however, you can just design a replacement board which has the same functionality. You can do that for signal systems if need be. It’s more costly than repairing a board, but a lot less costly than redoing the entire signal system just because someone doesn’t make a part any more.

    While on this subject, making things modular also helps. When the time comes that you can’t get original parts, you can just plug in a module with the same functionality. Things only become obsolete or unrepairable if the original manufacturer designs them that way. The MTA can insist than its subcontractors not do this.

  • ortcutt

    It is irritating that the MTA seems to make these decisions week-to-week. Looking at the Weekender is like an unhappy surprise party every week.

  • fdtutf

    You also try to design with as many relatively generic parts as possible, like I do.

    The MTA doesn’t design its own signal systems. It buys from outside vendors, which of course have no incentive to make the systems last longer than is absolutely necessary. It is therefore likely that the systems being installed contain as few relatively generic parts as possible.

  • Maggie

    It’s frustrating for sure. Next Sunday for the NYC marathon, I don’t comprehend why the MTA doesn’t run all underground service as a matter of policy.

  • sbauman

    That’s why you buy enough spare components or boards to last for the projected life cycle when you do the initial install

    You buy spare boards. Only desperation leads one to replace individual components on boards.

    Most bean counters will consider only the construction phase of the life cycle and cut yearly maintenance from project costs. It’s extremely rare for non-military procurement to consider an adequate number of spares.

    Spare boards have a very finite shelf life, since lead was removed from solder. The resulting whisker growth means the spare boards will not last 50 or 60 years. Ten to twenty years may be a more realistic limit. Most electronic equipment is replaced within this time frame, so it’s not a major problem.

    You only get in trouble when you start using a lot of proprietary components. The only reason to do that, unless nothing off the shelf exists for what you’re doing, is to milk the customer for expensive replacement parts down the road.

    One reason electronics prices are in free fall is the increased use of large scale integration, programmable logic arrays, application specific IC’s, etc. It’s the number of components and not their individual complexity that dictates cost. Therefore, one may expect many non-standard parts on the circuit boards.

    Signal systems are basically low-level logic with power components to control lights and other things.

    Programmable Logic Controllers replaced hard wired logic for industrial control purposes in the 1980’s.

    CBTC is somewhat more complex, but it can still use mostly off-the-shelf components

    They don’t.

    I’ve been in the electronics business for over 30 years.

    It should be obvious that I’ve had some experience in this industry. I was the last generation of EE’s at my university to learn how to bias vacuum tubes. That’s just within your 60 year time frame. I gave up trying to maintain my vacuum tube based home equipment about 30 years ago because it was cost prohibitive. A commercial company would have made the replace decision several years earlier.

    I’d expect the electronics industry to expand at an even faster pace in the future.

    While on this subject, making things modular also helps.

    With an decreasing number of suppliers and effective barriers for new entrants, there is very little incentive for modular designs like the OSI communications model.

    Things only become obsolete or unrepairable if the original manufacturer designs them that way. The MTA can insist than its subcontractors not do this.

    They have and the MTA has retreated from compatibility between different manufacturers.