Friday’s Headlines: Victory on Morris Park Avenue Edition

SB Donation NYC header 2We’re just so excited that Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation will defy a Bronx community board and redesign dangerous Morris Park Avenue (and, on the record, happy that we played a small role in making it happen).

So it reminds us anew that the little yellow logo to the left is our plea for donations to keep the non-profit team at Streetsblog fighting the livable streets battle for another year. We do it for all of us, but can’t do it without you, so we hope you’ll find some change in the couch cushions and click the icon above.

And now, the news:

  • A drunken cop ran over a cyclist on the East Side. The cyclist will be fine. The cop’s career? Let’s hope it’s in critical condition. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • The Daily News also followed yesterday’s stories about a cop who parked in the Jay Street bike lane, which led to an injury to a cyclist. The same cop later pushed another cyclist, though City Hall isn’t talking about that. (NYDN)
  • Some people are calling the city’s relationship with Citi Bike/Lyft an “insider deal.” (Clean Technica)
  • This great MTA video shows just how easy it is to jump the turnstile — and how everyone does it! Under. Over. Frontwards. Backwards. This is must-see TV. (Gothamist)
  • Thank goodness we have Gridlock Sam to remind us about Santa Con this Saturday. (NYDN)
  • Curbed’s Karrie Jacobs walked to LaGuardia Airport.
  • Politico’s Dana Rubinstein examines whether Andrew StatusCuomo opposes the fare hike — and what his appointees on the MTA board will do about it. (Politico)
  • Supporters of congestion pricing added another argument to the mix: Charging drivers to enter the central business district will save lives. (amNY)
  • Yes! We got Pete Tomlin to fix our subway signals! (NY Post) No, seriously, this guy is supposed to be the best. (amNY)
  • If you have four hours, feel free to watch Thursday night’s anti-Amazon CB2 Queens meeting — and watch at the end how anti-safety, pro-car activists try to co-opt the Amazon debate into yet another attempt to blame every bad thing on the Sunnyside bike lanes. (YouTube)
  • Weeds for Rails? Really? So we’re doing this, huh? OK, let the debate begin. (NY Post, amNY)
  • The city is tweaking its car-share parking on the Upper West Side as part of its ongoing pilot program. (Upper West Side Rag)

Have a great weekend…and give from the heart.

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  • Larry Littlefield

    Hiring a signal expert with experience elsewhere is actually a good thing, and should be supported.

    My idea would have been to see if Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter, who said once he wanted to be a Mayor someday and was fascinated by railroad signals as a teen, would take the job.

    It seems as if greed and entitlement build up in an organization over time. In government, it probably makes sense to contract out everything done in house, and bring in house everything that has been contracted out.

    If this guy is really that good, perhaps a new organization should be created for singals MTA-wide, including the commuter railroads. And if 5G means the telecoms will be getting rid of fiber optics workers and engineers, the MTA should seek to hire.

    As of a decade ago there was only one monopoly railroad signal installation company left in the U.S., and it was filled with (guess what) ex-MTA employees. Perhaps if the MTA built an organization, it could “go public” by having its employees form an actual company and start competing for other work, after they finish up here.

    It is absurd they are talking about having robo-trucks rolling down the interstates while railroads are stuck in the 19th century. They ought to be the electrified equivalent of a national conveyer belt system, with trucks just picking up and delivering containers to transfer points every 150 to 200 miles or so.

  • Baked Beans

    Queens Streets for All at 3 hour mark. They will never give up. Amazing.

  • Larry Littlefield

    What a name. “Queens Streets For Just Us Not Them” would be more honest.

  • Joe R.

    I like Tomlin and I like Byford. If the subway doesn’t get fixed between the both of them it will be due to NYC’s parochial politics, not lack of effort or incompetence on their part. We need someone who is passionate about signaling systems to fix the problems. I look forward to a time, in hopefully less than a decade, when timers are just a footnote in the dustbin of history.

    While on the subject of freight railroads, all the heavily used freight mainlines are sorely in need of electrification. The CEOs of these railroads won’t do it on their own because the returns won’t occur during their tenure. This is an area where government might offer incentives, perhaps waive real estate taxes on railroad rights-of-way for 5 or 10 years to cover the cost of electrification and the purchase of new locomotives.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It would happen back in the infrastructure era.

    Every flatcar would be self driving, with its own electric motors, each carrying its own container, and would be switched by automatic signals to its final destination. They’d platoon if more were available.

    Instead of single track, double state, 30 mph it would be single stack, double track, 50+ mph with a third track for the bulk freight that moves slower and is most of what the RRs do now.

    Instead of 24 hours at the terminal it would be one hour or less. Every truck driver would sleep in their own bed every night.

  • kevd

    Regarding weed for rails, those numbers are very low.
    CO’s weed excise tax is 15% (plus state and local sales taxes).
    WA’s is 37%.
    Why are would we be talking about rates between 7 and 15 percent?
    WA should be our model. With a population of 7.4 million their weed excise tax generated roughly $750 million last year.
    With NYC’s 8.6 million population, plus all our tourism we could probably expect close to $1 billion/year at such a rate.

  • Joe R.

    I agree BUT they might be thinking of the fine line between taxing and overtaxing which might cause people to continue to buy from illicit sources, thus not paying any tax at all. You already have similar parallel with cigarettes.

    Also, weed can easily be grown, even in an apartment. In fact, being in the LED business I see a lot of grow lights specifically designed for cannabis. If I had any interest in doing pot, I would probably grow it myself once it’s legalized just for the challenge. However, if the tax is low, growing it yourself would probably be more trouble than it’s worth for most people.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Because everyone would got to NJ for 12 percent.

    Casinos were a great deal for a while, before everyone did it. Then the social problems remained, but the revenues dried up, because of competition.

    As for weed, what bothers me is legalizing something potentially harmful and likely to become far more common once legal without a debate on that relative harm, but just to grab more money at the expense of dumb and vulnerable people. That’s that its about — an easy way out of Generation Greed’s debts, just like advertising on the MTA — which was supposed to pay for everything.

    So minimize those revenues and make that debate about health. They are going to be competed down anyway. Would we be talking about legalization if there were no revenues? If people just grew their own from seeds?

  • kevd

    “As for weed, what bothers me is legalizing something potentially harmful”
    Grandpa, the science is in. Your fears are misguided and outdated.
    Bacon is harmful, but that’s legal. And weed (who has time to time out marijuana?) is far less harmful than tobacco and alcohol.
    As for you ignore your slippery slope absurdities (no one is advocating for legal hit men, silly)

  • kevd

    I haven’t read about it being a problem in WA, where people generally have far more space to grow their own weed. If its like every other commodity, the tax is probably lower in Oregon.

  • Simon Phearson

    When you have nothing else to do with your time…

  • Larry Littlefield

    We’ll see what happens. Weed is perfectly safe at any dose and in any quantity?

    Business will do for weed what they did for tobacco, and are doing for sports betting.

    That’s why I say the revenue thing should not be maximized, and not be used to solve other problems.

  • kevd

    “Weed is perfectly safe at any dose and in any quantity?”
    Good God, Larry. Are you stuck in 1985? Get out a bit, talk to people under 60 every once in a while.
    It is physically impossible for a human being to injest a lethal dose of marijuana. It has literally never happened.

  • Weed is not harmful. Nor would be legalised sex work.

    Legalised heroin would bring with it some health concerns — though far fewer than those that currently exist under prohibition. From the standpoint of public health, heroin should definitely be legalised. (From the standpoint of morality, all drugs should be legal, as people ought to have the right to control their own bodies.)

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Bacon is harmful, but that’s legal. ”

    And can be sold to and consumed by children.

    If revenue is the goal, there is no harm to the brain or lungs or risk of addition to marijuana, and to maximize it you need more people consuming in larger quantities and making it a practice, why not make it legal for children to smoke weed?

    In New Jersey, you have to be over 21. So there is that potential market left to New York, at the matching 12 percent tax rate.

  • Joe R.

    Exactly so:

    http://www.drugpolicy.org/issues/making-economic-sense

    Putting aside any morality issues, it makes economic sense to legalize drugs and prostitution. Prohibition of alcohol didn’t work, and neither does prohibition of drugs. Legalizing weed is a good first step. When people see the sky isn’t falling, hopefully serious consideration will be given to legalizing other drugs.

    Legal drugs, including alcohol, are actually a bigger problem from a public health standpoint:

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/wicked-deeds/201404/prescription-drugs-are-more-deadly-street-drugs

    https://www.addictioncenter.com/community/why-alcohol-is-the-deadliest-drug/

  • Joe R.

    My main concern here is that the big chains will be all over weed instead of letting mom and pop stores and individuals sell it. It could end up being a good source of income for ordinary people if we keep it out of the hands of Walgreen’s, CVS, RiteAid, etc. Although I don’t smoke week myself, if the money were good enough I’d seriously consider growing it to sell.

  • kevd

    The whataboutery (or is it whynotery?) from you is starting to get a bit nuts, Larry.

    Revenue is one goal, so not selling to minors seems to be a fair prohibition. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but many high school aged kids already smoke marijuana under the current system – and have been doing so for a very long time.

    Other goals are fairness, freedom of personal choice and dismantling a a portion of the our costly and destructive prison industrial complex.

  • Ollie Oliver

    In fact, if you talk to high school kids, I bet you will find out that they can access weed easier than alcohol. Businesses don’t want to lose a liquor license by providing to minors. One of the side effects of the black market is giving kids direct access to people selling it.

  • Ollie Oliver

    Did she invoke Ocasio-Cortez before complaining that bikes are going to burn us to death and poison our babies?