Thursday’s Headlines: De Blasio’s Big Dig Edition

The big news yesterday was broken by Dana Rubinstein at Politico: Mayor de Blasio had thrown out his own Department of Transportation’s plan for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in favor of creating a panel of experts to come up with something better. We likened it to what Gov. Cuomo did with his own experts’ plan for the L train fix. For a split second, we worried if we’d gone too far. And then the Twittersphere confirmed that maybe we didn’t go far enough!

Other coverage was provided by Gothamist (which led with the Cuomo reference), Curbed (which put the Cuomo reference in the fourth graph), the Daily News (which really led with the Cuomo thing), Patch (which only evoked Cuomo in a tweet!), and the Wall Street Journal (no Cuomo!).

The issue was discussed at length at a Town Hall meeting in Brooklyn Heights last night. Brian Howald has a must-read Twitter stream.

In other news:

  • Congrats to the non-profit The City, which launched yesterday with three good stories, a great newsroom, lots of gumption and a heckuva pigeon logo. And great news for the Brooklyn Eagle, which has a new editor, Ned Berke.
  • Comptroller Scott Stringer, who has been tweaking Mayor de Blasio a lot lately, now says the Department of Transportation, not the Economic Development Corporation, should be running the city’s highly subsidized ferry system. (Stringer)
  • Gov. Cuomo is bolstering support for congestion pricing in the best possible way: offering LIRR discounts to people in “transit deserts” not served by the subway. Two Queens Assembly Members said the move cemented their “yes” vote. (NY Post)
  • The War on Cars podcast has a new episode up — and it features Streetsblog’s Vision Zero Hero of 2018 Corey Johnson.
  • The Times did a nice look at the coming carveout crisis, which Streetsblog examined earlier in the week.
  • You know things are going in the right direction when people on Staten Island are arguing for more bike share. (Advance)
  • The Daily News’s Clayton Guse channeled Streetsblog’s David Meyer in his story about New York City Transit President Andy Byford complaining about community boards.
  • Former Streetsblog reporter Brad Aaron took a deep dive on the city’s Dyckman Street debacle (as Streetsblog did here in September), but also found himself stonewalled by City Hall — which simply refuses to say what will happen to the protected bike lanes that were hastily removed last year. (Gothamist)
  • And, finally, you have to hand it to The Villager. It’s one thing to oppose bike lanes, but it’s another to publish an article that called bike lanes “a bad case of herpes picked up in the back room of a Patpong dive bar.” Carl Rosenstein’s pro-car article also likened Transportation Alternatives to “a Thai prostitute” and suggested that Council Speaker Corey Johnson could never be effective as a leader because he “never cheered for Reggie, Jeter, Doc, Clyde or L.T.” (Fact check: Mets, Jets and Nets fans never cheered for those bums, either!).
  • Reader

    You don’t have to hand it to the Villager. They should be ashamed of that racist post and take it down. And Carl Rosenstein should never be allowed to write for them or anyone again.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Offering LIRR discounts to people in “transit deserts” not served by the subway.”

    Again choosing not to pay for things rather than actually getting them.

    Where is East Side Access? Where is that third track, allowing reverse commutes for less well off city residents zoned out of the suburbs and two way revenues for the LIRR?

    The latter was promised 23 years ago. The former was promised in 1968. How much money have consultants made in that time? How much have people agreed to pay based on those promises?

  • I’m pretty sure that Met fans cheered for Doc.

    (Unless that fool was referring to Dr. J, in which case Net fans cheered for him.)

  • crazytrainmatt

    Dropping MNR and LIRR fares in the city to match subway fare would redirect the Queens and Bronx politicians looking for carveouts into doing something positive for transit. This could shift the discussion from freebies for the suburbs to how to expand service and increase productivity on the commuter railroads.

  • Elizabeth F

    What nobody has yet bother pointing out… there is an inherent conflict of interest between adding stops and convenience for people within NYC, and shortening the commute for those in the suburbs. So far, MNR and LIRR have been operated exclusively for the benefit of those in the suburbs. If services is to be improved for those in the boroughs, suburban riders will have to sacrifice speed, frequency or both.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Is it a joke? Yeah it’s datelined April 2nd, but still. That can’t be serious. They might be having a good laugh at Streetsblog’s expense.

    If it isn’t, to me this shows the undercurrent of early boomer nostalgia for 1970s and 1980s NY. Sure among the bridge and tunnel crowd life expectancy was falling, the infrastructure was collapsing, lives were being blighted, etc. So what?

    But the hip and cool people could live in Manhattan affordably and drive everywhere and were so sexy!

    Well, life expectancy is now falling for later-born generations in the U.S. as a whole, though not in NYC. Please go there!

  • Larry Littlefield

    If we are talking LIRR, the Port Washington line is almost all in the city, and the mainline has four tracks until you hit Nassau –where the third track will (maybe, eventually?) be added to allow reverse commuting.

    And as for the Babylon and Bayshore lines, they will have a two track connection to the main line they didn’t before, and they have two separate lines available in Southeast Queens with four tracks.

    The four track New Haven line and third track on the MetroNorth Harlem Line have allowed reverse commuting for city residents. Westchester didn’t fight it like Long Island did. And the purpose of those additional New Haven Line stops is to accommodate reverse commuting of city residents.

    The problem is what all this costs and how long it takes.

  • Sassojr

    But Connecticut sure got their way with discharge only stations in the Bronx for some trains.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’ve been there, waiting to take a train home from Fordham Road.

    The problem is “screw the suburbs for screwing us for decades” attitude is that by the time it could be implemented, most of the actual people with a “screw the city” attitude will be dead or in Florida. Perhaps replaced by people from the city.

    Not that it shouldn’t be pointed out to them, continually, however, or it will just keep getting worse.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    Alon Levy has some posts on how LIRR schedules and running time can be significantly improved via adoption of best practices from European railroads. There doesn’t need to be any trade off in theory but considering the corruption and incompetence at LIRR, they would have to be dragged kicking and screaming to make any changes that actually improves service.

    https://pedestrianobservations.com/2018/10/20/rapid-transit-on-the-lirr/

    https://pedestrianobservations.com/2015/09/30/lirr-scheduling/

  • crazytrainmatt

    Amazingly enough, starting in two weeks New Haven line trains will be open for travel between GCT and Fordham

    http://www.mta.info/news/2019/02/25/metro-north-opens-new-haven-line-travel-between-fordham-and-manhattan

  • Joe R.

    Yeah, with all the stereotypes they put in they might as well have added more racist crap like “I go boom boom long time.” for good measure. Truly disgusting that any news outlet would public that drivel.

  • Joe R.

    Reading those links, I really don’t understand the MTA’s penchant for intentionally crippling their equipment. They did so since 1995 with the subway, and they did it with the M7s on the LIRR. Why bother specing and paying for higher performance if you don’t intend to use it?

  • Larry Littlefield

    How about that!

  • kevd

    Sounds like Carl Rosenstein has probably been spending a lot of time as a “sex-tourist”