Wednesday’s Headlines: Back to Normal Edition

And we’re back! Andrew Cuomo’s third term as governor officially began, so we at Streetsblog decided we’d return to our job, too (though, truth be told, we kinda worked all weekend). Let’s start today’s headlines with a few ICYMIs:

Now, the current (albeit thin) news:

  • There’s a new East Coast-West Coast beef: urban transportation. And the West Coast is owning us right now. (NY Times)
  • The final numbers are in: “Only” 200 people died on New York City roads this year, down from 222 last year — but the 114 pedestrians who died were seven more than last year. Um, are we supposed to be happy with these numbers? (NY Times)
  • Nicole Gelinas opines in favor of Gov. Cuomo’s transit work group, which has presented him with many useful proposals for funding improvements. (NY Post)
  • The Associated Press offered an update on the delayed East Side Access project.
  • Larry Littlefield

    “MTA officials have blamed such factors as the difficulty of carving through the bedrock.”

    Bedrock is easier to tunnel through than less stable rock and dirt.”

    “The need to work around an active transportation system.”

    There is no need to maintain service on the LIRR link to Grand Central, because there is none. Same with the Second Avenue Subway.

    “And the challenge of carting away 75,000 truckloads of rock, mud and other refuse.”

    They could have used trains. They are in that business.

    Shoreham.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here is an interesting article about wearable health monitors. It demonstrates what I have said about who should be paying for bicycle transportation and infrastructure.

    https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2019/01/02/will-wearable-devices-make-us-healthier

    “Customers using the watch, along with incentives such as free coffee and cinema tickets, increased physical activity by 34% over two years. Overweight customers showed vastly larger gains. This represents a long-term shift in behaviour and is a big deal for insurers and governments struggling with the rise in chronic diseases such as diabetes and lung disease that is driven partly by a lack of physical activity. The key to success, it appears, is to give the watch away free, but to make users pay larger premiums if they fail to meet activity goals.”

  • Anonymous

    The Times article is almost certainly wrong, or at least misleading, in claiming that “New York State does not allow voters to directly approve measures like transit funding”. Is it possible there was a recent change in state law (constitution?) and nobody knows about it?

    The leadership just chooses not to support referendums. Why would they, when the three men in the room can decide everything for us? Why increase the “full faith and credit” debt limit of the state when the debt can be hidden in the MTA’s “moral obligation” bonds instead?

    The last referendum was in 2005, and passed. How’s that JFK Rail Link doing? ($100M allotted – http://web.mta.info/mta/bondact.htm).

  • bolwerk

    Maybe vague, perhaps not misleading. By my (admittedly not recent) reading of the NYS constitution, it’s not unconstitutional or “not allowed,” but it’s not provisioned for or required, so it would probably only be able to happen with special legislation? And legislation can usually be disregarded by future legislation, so it’s not necessarily an enduring solution to anything.

    This is in contrast to many western state constitutions, which have provisions for referenda, perhaps in some cases with binding results – this may be what they mean by “directly.” In certainly places I guess budgetary decisions must be put to a plebiscite.