Wednesday’s Headlines: Bikey Day in the Committee Room Edition

It’s a big day for news: The Streetsblog team will be double-teaming today’s City Council Transportation Committee hearing on e-bikes and e-scooters and pre-hearing rallies in favor of the devices that Mayor de Blasio, citing no statistical evidence, says are unsafe.

In advance of the hearing, our friends at Intersectional Riding pointed out that the city’s ban on deliver workers’ e-bikes is basically legalized discrimination. And Lime scooter said it will show off its next-generation electric gizmo at a pop-up shop at 342 W. 37th St. in Manhattan on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Want to ride one (indoors!)? RSVP here.

Here’s the rest of the headlines:

  • The MTA board is under pressure from groups like Riders Alliance (and that guy Cuomo, as Emma Fitzsimmons rightly points out) to not rubber-stamp a fare hike on Thursday. (ABC7)
  • NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill — who started as a transit cop 25 years ago — sat down with amNY to discuss safety in the subways. A big takeaway? He rides the trains a lot more often than Mayor de Blasio (but then again, pizza rat rides the subway more than de Blasio).
  • The plan for four new Metro-North stops in The Bronx is looking more and more likely. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • Gothamist had the right tone in its story on how the MTA has finally increased train speeds.
  • Look, service is getting better on the subway … says the MTA. (amNY)
  • The Times did a big health story about the “stress” of being stuck in traffic. We were happy to see it rightly blamed cars — not bike lanes — for congestion and pollution.
  • Gothamist also sent the big cheese — Executive Editor Jen Chung — to cover the Families for Safe Streets protest outside ABC’s “The View” on a frigid Tuesday. Streetsblog sent superintern Ben Verde.
  • Bad times ahead for Metro-North riders. (WSJ)
  • The cyclist who sued the cop won! (NY Post)
  • The upside of the MTA downside: Less crime! (NYDN)
  • Citi Bike did a massive expansion of its service near the East River ferry dock.
  • Corey Johnson’s subway listening tour made it to The Bronx — and the Riverdale Press was there.
  • Queens is getting an Oonee pod. (QNS)
  • Finally, some personal news: Russell Baker is dead. (NYT)
  • Larry Littlefield

    There’s a solution. “Save the fare” combined with “it’s cheap so don’t complain about deferred maintenance and service collapses.” Right out of the late 1950s and 1960s.

    If subway workers keep getting richer relative to subway riders, mostly in retirement benefits, and their productivity doesn’t rise, then the fare has to go up relative to the serf’s income, or there needs to be fewer of them doing less work. Over and above the cost of the MTA debt.

    “But it’s not what we want! We want what we want!”

    Everyone was able to get what they wanted — the 2000 pension increase, the cutoff of general tax revenues for the MTA, huge effective fare cuts relative to inflation, huge toll cuts relative to inflation — back when there was a future to sell. Not it is the future, and the question is who will the victims be?

    The Straphanger’s game of chicken — let’s join the raid, because in the end “they” will have to make it up “somehow,” has ended with the victim determined. Future riders, shoppers, workers subject to payroll tax, transit workers paying more for their pensions, etc. etc. The battle between interest was settled by a pillage of later born generations.

    And we want to do more of it? It’s like that third round of tax cuts for the rich at the federal level, or the 2008 retroactive pension increase for teachers AFTER pension costs were already soaring because of the 2000 retroactive pension increase for everyone.

  • Joe R.

    Most of the reasons for GM shutting down passenger car production are twofold:

    1) They refused to see that the future is electric, and continued to invest heavily in facilities to make ICEs (instead of just letting the existing facilities finish their service life).

    2) Unfortunately, it seems nobody wants to buy passenger cars any more. SUVs (Stupid User Vehicles) are what the masses want, for reasons I can’t even begin to understand. GM is partly to blame in a way for pushing SUVs back in the early 90s because they were more profitable than cars. They cultivated a taste for them in this country which may well have never existed. Now they’re reaping what they sowed.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I don’t understand it either, but the whole FUV thing dates back to fuel efficiency standards. Passenger cars were required to become more fuel efficient, but the auto industry got an exemption for “light trucks,” used as work vehicles by blue collar workers as the time.

    So to sell to increasingly big Americans who wanted increasingly big cars with cheap gasoline from ISIS, they started selling “trucks” for personal use. The whole thing was just a scam from the start.

    Add to that the reaction against mini-vans (I’m not a responsible middle aged parent I’m a sexy hunk on the make like Donald Trump!) and you get this idiocy.

    If I’m going to drive a “truck,” I expect to be paid to haul a load. We used my father-in-law’s SUV for a while — Subaru Forester, swelled up from a pretty good hatchback — and I didn’t like it. Didn’t like the handling, didn’t like the blind spots when changing lanes.

    For travel out of town, I’d like nothing more than to rent the old Buick LaSabre, which had pretty damn good fuel efficiency for its size. But — “I’m not a late middle aged guy, I’m a sexy hunk on the make like Donald Trump!” — they don’t make it anymore.

    Bunch of easily manipulated idiots, a transportation Fyre festival.

  • AnoNYC

    People want SUVs for the space and higher seating position. They also appear more rugged despite most crossovers performing similarly to the sedans they are based on off-road. Some also perceive them as safer. The lower MPG isn’t much of a deterrent with lower fuel costs.

    I find it interesting that for some models, the sedan variant actually has higher ground clearance.