Road to Nowhere: The still-under-construction Second Avenue Subway tunnel. Source: Flickr/Metropolitan Transportation Authority

THE COMMUTE: In the first two parts, I discussed the role of the public in transit decision-making and how well the MTA responds to the public, and who is to blame for the state transit is in today. Today we look at why more money alone is not the answer, the need for change and how to get those changes to take place.

Lessons From History

You can institute congestion pricing but that does not mean the monies will go towards transit or that they will in the amounts that you expect. The city could apply the revenue toward street maintenance or reconstruction, which would have been funded through the general fund with most of the remainder going toward program administration. The MTA could get only a pittance and the city could immediately seek to raise a $16 congestion fee to $25 or $30. They would then continue to raise it every few years, as the MTA currently does with fares and tolls, while we see little improvement to our mass transit system.

Remember how the lottery was supposed to benefit education by providing additional funds for education? Did that happen? No. The State merely replaced the general fund money it had used to fund education with lottery money.

Turning over the bridges and tunnels to MTA control was supposed to have provided the MTA with a new steady stream of revenue, forever ending their financial problems. Did that happen? No. And who warned us that tolls would rise from 25 cents to $6.50 in a little over 40 years when they had not risen at all in the previous 40 years? We thought that doubling the tolls to 50 cents was all that would be required with perhaps some minor increases in the following decades, but certainly not an increase in tolls of more than tenfold without improving the MTA’s financial picture.

Passing two transportation bond issues was supposed to get us a full length, four-track Second Avenue subway and a Utica Avenue and Nostrand Avenue line among others. Did that happen? No. Time and time again we were lied to by the politicians and the MTA; now we should just trust them on congestion pricing, that this measure would improve mass transit to a significant degree? Luckily, the proposal is dead until the next time it is revived.

Is Transit Money Wisely Spent?

You can flood the MTA with money, but does that mean it will be spent wisely? The East Side Access Project was initially intended just to bring the LIRR into Grand Central Station, shortening commutes by about 30 minutes. Since its inception, the project’s scope and cost has continually increased with the opening date postponed several times. Now we are building an underground city featuring 23,000 square feet of new retail space, 46 escalators and 13 elevators costing $7.3 billion, and the project has taken decades to complete and will not be ready until 2016, if that date is not changed again.

Do we really need a Moynihan Station to replace Penn Station and a number 7 line extension? Also, why are all the major projects in Manhattan when jobs are growing faster outside Manhattan, as shown by Behind the Curb? Aren’t there four other boroughs that need major mass transit expansion?

Couldn’t monies be more efficiently spent by reactivating underutilized or abandoned rail lines, such as the Bay Ridge Line, Staten Island’s North Shore Line and the unused Rockaway Line, where the right-of-ways already exist? Couldn’t we use a new cross-Brooklyn mass transit line that could also serve JFK by hooking up with Airtrain at Jamaica?

What is preventing the MTA from using new operating funding for managerial increases instead of restoring or improving service? Absolutely nothing. The MTA can spend monies it receives as it sees fit, except co-intermingling capital and operating funds. That is not to say that managers do not deserve a raise. They have not had any in four years. But why does it have to always be a percentage increase rather than a flat amount?

Do MTA employees earning $150,000 a year deserve three times the salary increase as someone earning $50,000? Do they work three times as hard? It was my experience in the 25 years I worked for the MTA that as my salary and pay grade rose, less was expected of me, not more. A percentage increase only assures that the rich get richer and that is in the best interests of upper management who make that decision. A little like Congress voting themselves pay raises. The governor is trying to end the practice of employees working exorbitant hours of overtime during their last three years of service to greatly inflate their pension. Every little bit helps.

The Need For Change

Clearly something needs to change. At one end of the spectrum, there are those who believe that if only the MTA had new sources of funding, such as congestion pricing, we could fund all sorts of transit improvements, and that the obstacles are the politicians, the unions and the NIMBYs, while the MTA is just mainly an innocent victim.

At the other end, we have people such as Dr. John Rozankowski, who believes the answer is to abolish the MTA altogether and return control to the city. He has written a series of eloquent articles on that subject. Whatever changes we see, if any, will result from the will of the people.

We can accept the status-quo and just continue to complain that the MTA sucks, or we can make sure our elected officials hear our voice: that mass transit needs adequate funding to continue current operations, as well as funding for the future to enable major system expansion. We cannot merely continue to borrow at the rate we have been in the past to make capital improvements shifting the financial burden to future generations. We need new sources of revenue directly allocated to specific projects and more federal aid.

The needs of the public must not be the missing entity in union / management negotiations. Their voice needs to be heard. There must be more than one person on the MTA Board to represent the public’s interest, and they need voting power. Marty Markowitz has long proposed that each of the borough presidents be given a seat on the board. While not perfect, it makes more sense than the seats being filled by real estate interests and bankers.

The MTA must fulfill the job for which it was created: to provide an adequate and integrated regional transportation system that meets the people’s needs. That means more than producing system maps. It means better integrating the LIRR and Metro-North into the bus and subway network. One way to do this is through the fare structure, and that has not been done. MetroCards still cannot be used on the LIRR and it is very costly for Queens residents to use the LIRR for intra-city trips. The fare charged for intra-city LIRR trips should not exceed the cost of an express bus trip and that change could allow a reduction in costly express bus service, which is second only to paratransit in terms of operating cost subsidy.

Instead of working toward the goal of better coordinating regional transit, the MTA is moving in the opposite direction by splitting off Long Island Bus for Nassau County to operate, although they had little choice in that matter because Nassau County would not provide its fair share of funding. Now transit-dependent Nassau County residents will suffer, as service is sure to decline. The MTA must also become more responsive and not continue to ignore the will of the people due to their arrogance.

Just as each branch of government is supposed to work together and check one another, the same must occur with mass transit. Management, the unions, elected officials and the public must all work together to improve mass transit. Each must be equally powerful. Right now, the MTA is at the mercy of the politicians for funding and the public is at the mercy of the MTA, which disregards their opinions to a very large extent. Management and the unions are at odds. There are no common goals and no one is working together to enable meaningful change.

What Must Be Done

Elected officials must recognize the worth to our city of a well-functioning efficient mass transit system that is extensive and affordable enough to get everyone to their destinations in a reasonable time. The highway system or the private sector must fill in where densities are too low to make mass transit economical for government to operate and both mass transit and highways must be adequately funded and maintained.

The MTA and the unions must be willing to work together. The MTA must make necessary changes and the public needs to play a larger role in decision-making, but NIMBY’s must not be allowed rule by preventing a larger public good. Whatever organizational or legislative changes needed to make that happen must take place. The playing field needs to be leveled. No single player should be holding all the cards in any situation.

The only way we can ensure that our mass transit system will be able to adequately serve current and future needs is if people become more involved. They must exert a greater influence over our elected officials who must become more interested in mass transit and properly fund mass transit.

The MTA must see that its money is well spent for current services and future needs, as well as showing a greater interest in serving the public by being willing to invest more in the services it provides and listen more. Instead we have an MTA that insists any service improvements be accompanied by service decreases so that service levels will always remain stagnant, regardless of the need to increase service either because of increasing ridership, or because of new land uses that demand improved transit service.

We must set our sights high and not be satisfied with second best. Select Bus Service is no replacement for new transit routes. Meaningful change will only occur if it is the will of the people.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    So are new advocacy groups needed, or can the present ones accommodate new blood, and possibly a different perspective on what needs doing, and how that result might be obtained?

    • Allan Rosen

      What we really need is a national coalition of groups supporting mass transit in all forms, something akin to http://www.streetsblog.org/about/ , but solely for mass transit. Streetsblog and Transportation Alternatives have been very effective in organizing bike riders with the former active in four cities. These organizations, however primarily support bike riders and are against roads, forgetting we need an effective road system for buses.  While they do ask for increased transit funding, their most of their efforts go toward increased cycling.

      We could join existing groups like Transportation Alternatives which does have a mass transit subgroup or Straphangers which has traditionally focused on subways not buses.  Locally we could reactivate the Committee for Better Transit or start a new organization, but that it would take someone who knows how to organize people and run an organization.  We need to stick together like the cyclist advocates do.  That’s why as soon as someone here makes an anticyclist comment, people come from all over the city to defend it.  We need to do the same for transit.

      • Andrew

        Do you read the same Streetsblog I do? I’ve found it exceedingly valuable in its transit and pedestrian coverage. It has also been quite supportive of street improvements that benefit buses.

        My impression of Transportation Alternatives is that it’s primarily bike-focused, but I’ve never been much of a TA follower, so I could be wrong.

        • Allan Rosen

          I stopped reading Streetsblog because it is impossible to have an intelligent discussion with anyone there. They won’t address questions; they just insult you and change the subject. It is basically pro bicycle and pedestrian plazas. Occasionally they ask transit be better funded or produce a pro SBS or bus lane article but most everything they preach is anti-car.

          TA has a small transit group called Riders Rebellion. There is info about it on their site.

          • Andrew

            I stopped reading Streetsblog because it is impossible to have an intelligent discussion with anyone there. They won’t address questions; they just insult you and change the subject.

            I’m not sure you mean by “they” – the comments are (mostly) submitted by readers, not by the Streetsblog editorial staff.

            It is basically pro bicycle and pedestrian plazas. Occasionally they ask transit be better funded or produce a pro SBS or bus lane article but most everything they preach is anti-car.

            Could you give some examples of some recent anti-car articles? Because I don’t encounter many of them. Currently, on their front page I see articles about a safety improvement on Classon Avenue, the House transportation bill, the Jackson Heights plaza (of which three of the five commenters disapprove), the House transportation bill again, job postings, headlines, the House transportation bill again, the Manhattan Bridge bike path detour, Christine Quinn’s misguided priorities, and safety improvements on Delancey Street. Which of those articles do you consider anti-car?

          • Allan Rosen

            When I say “they” I am talking about 99% of the people who comment on Streetsblog.

            You don’t see the Classon Avenue Article as anti-car? First of all, I would bet that half the users of Classon Avenue do not live in the affected Community Boards since the route is currently an arterial route. All of Brooklyn should have a say in any proposal that affects a significant number of users from outside the Boards. What DOT is doing is cutting the street capacity in half and either causing more congestion on that street or on neighboring streets.  This is expecially harmful with the loss of a northbound lane on Bedford next year from SBS.  They should at least have waited for SBS to start before doing this.

            What they are doing is cutting road capacity in half and adding a double parking lane on each side of the street.  Note that this is something no one asked for, but was what they settled for by the community boards because DOT told them this is all they would do.  What they wanted was speed bumps and signage to make the street safer, but our beloved DOT wants any excuse to reduce road capacity and make it more diffcult to get around. It will also significantly slow down the B48 further discouraging its use and will result in decreased bus service.  Why couldn’t DOT just do what was asked and have the police beef up enforcement?

            You are so blind that you can’t even see this as an anti-car article.  What surprises me is why they didn’t install a bike lane. Now if I would dare post this on Streetsblog, 25 people would immediately start calling me a murderer and an idiot asking didn’t I read about how dangerous the street was and how could I support cars killing people?  That’s why I don’t post there. 

            The entire point of having two lanes by creating one-way avenues was to decrease travel time.  Now we have an administration that is only interested in making it harder to get around by taking any street with two lanes and getting rid of one. It would make more sense to slow traffic by bringing back two way avenues than by eliminating a lane and cutting capacity in half.  And no this move and moves like it will not encourage people to give up their cars and use mass transit.  It will continue to and has caused the middle class to move out of New York so that all we have left are the ultra rich, who will drive no matter the cost, and the poor.

          • guest

            Agree with you 100%. You sir should run for mayor. Seriously. We could use a smart person like you. Many of your articles and comments here are right on point.

          • Andrew

            No, elimination of a lane that isn’t needed to accommodate traffic volumes is not “anti-car.”

            Classon Avenue has a serious safety problem, and one of the causes is speeding due to excessive capacity.

            We’re talking about Classon Avenue, not Classon Expressway. It’s a local street, with residents, with businesses, with pedestrians. The four local community boards are the correct bodies to make the request and evaluate the proposal.

            Traffic volumes on most of Classon are low enough that one lane is perfectly adequate. Where two lanes are needed, there will be two lanes. And if adjustments need to be made later, the striping can be changed.

            You don’t like Kingsborough students who speed and drive dangerously past your house on their way to school. Classon Avenue residents don’t like Manhattan Beach residents who speed and drive dangerously past their houses on their way to Queens.

            (Note: Planning has progressed beyond 1950′s-style traffic engineering by now.)

            Now if I would dare post this on Streetsblog, 25 people would immediately start calling me a murderer and an idiot asking didn’t I read about how dangerous the street was and how could I support cars killing people?

            Why not put it to the test? Post your thoughts on Streetsblog, and let’s see how many people call you a murderer.

          • Allan Rosen

            To Andrew:

            Let’s say there is excess capacity now on Classon Avenue some of the time? Would you say, now is the time to reduce it just months before a neighboring street will also have its capacity reduced due to SBS?  I’m sure part of the rationale for taking away a lane from Bedford was that neighboring streets could handle any traffic shifted to them. Then you take away that excess capacity and what do you have?  Voila! Congestion and more air pollution. Then you curse those dirty old cars for causing it. So your answer is to spend more money undoing the restriping that was made a year before.  It’s cause of people who think the way you do, that the City has no money.

          • Andrew

            Allan:

            Let’s say there is excess capacity now on Classon Avenue some of the time? Would you say, now is the time to reduce it just months before a neighboring street will also have its capacity reduced due to SBS?

            There is plenty of excess capacity on Classon and on Bedford, virtually all of the time. Even with only one lane, Classon will have plenty of capacity to spare with a slight overflow from Bedford. I see that I’m not the only one who thinks that, even with lane reductions on both Classon and Bedford, even with some diverted traffic from Bedford, Classon will still have spare capacity.

            Do you even recognize the problem with Classon? If a street has very low volumes compared to its capacity, drivers will tend to speed. The faster a car is going, the more likely it is to strike a pedestrian, and, if it does strike a pedestrian, the more likely it is that the pedestrian will not survive. I don’t consider our current traffic fatality rate acceptable, especially when it comes to pedestrians. Do you?

            So your answer is to spend more money undoing the restriping that was made a year before.  It’s cause of people who think the way you do, that the City has no money.

            There will be no need to restripe Classon, at least not in its entirety.  At most, small adjustments might be warranted here and there.

            The cost of restriping Classon is a rounding error compared to what the city spends, out of its general fund, to support car infrastructure.

            Have you posted your thoughts to Streetsblog yet? Have 25 people called you a murderer yet? Just curious.

  • winson

    the 7 extension to west side, second avenue subway, and LIRR to grand central are needed. it is hard to reach jacob javits center and the intrepid without riding slow buses, the lexington avenue line is extremely overcrowded, and many Long Island residents work on the East Side. I bet the MTA now deeply regrets destroying all those elevated lines that used to dominate the city. The LIRR Rockaway Beach branch should be reactivated. So sad that the NYC Subway system is the world’s largest, but barely covers 65% of the city and has actually gotten smaller since 1940.

    • Allan Rosen

      Second Avenue, access to the West Side, and LIRR access to the East Side are needed byt the question is why are these goals being fulfilled in a manner that precludes improvements in the outer boroughs?

      Couldn’t the High Line have been connected to the 14th Street Line at a much cheaper cost? Couldn’t the Second Avenue Line have been completed for much cheaper if it hadn’t been stopped so many times with everyone fighting over the route on the Lower East Side? And it looks like the lower half will never be completed.

      Years ago, DC 37 proposed providing East Side Access merely by providing a new stop and transfer at 33rd Street of the Lexington Avenue Line without the need for a lower level of the 63rd Street tunnel.  If the goal was merely better access, was a $7 billion project really necessary?

      Also, why would you think the MTA regrets losing the els? They are glad they are gone, less to maintain and less service to provide.  Why would you think they would have wanted to provide more service than they have to?

      • Andrew

        Second Avenue, access to the West Side, and LIRR access to the East Side are needed byt the question is why are these goals being fulfilled in a manner that precludes improvements in the outer boroughs?

        They’re not. (Why do you say they are?)

        Couldn’t the High Line have been connected to the 14th Street Line at a much cheaper cost?

        The High Line runs through and adjacent to buildings. The legal battles to reactivating rail service would be intense. The cost (and disruption) to ramp up from the current 8th Avenue terminal to the High Line would have been considerable. And a connection across 42nd Street is more useful than a connection across 14th Street.

        Years ago, DC 37 proposed providing East Side Access merely by providing a new stop and transfer at 33rd Street of the Lexington Avenue Line without the need for a lower level of the 63rd Street tunnel.  If the goal was merely better access, was a $7 billion project really necessary?

        That’s one of the goals. The other goal is to increase capacity into Manhattan. Adding a new stop on the existing line would probably have decreased capacity.

        • Allan Rosen

          Compare the money being spent in Manhattan vs the monies being spent in all the other boroughs combined for capital improvements and you have your answer why the other boroughs are precluded. They even spent millions and three studies for GPS in Manhattan and finally gave up because they couldn’t get it to work properly before beginning bus time in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

          As far as East Side Access, you are correct, but I don’t recall initial plans including all that real estate space which increased the costs astronomically and the project is always five years from completion.

          • Andrew

            Compare the money being spent in Manhattan vs the monies being spent in all the other boroughs combined for capital improvements and you have your answer why the other boroughs are precluded.

            See for yourself:
            http://mta.info/capitaldashboard/10_14/CapitalDashBoard7.html

            Under New York City Transit, the most expensive item listed, by far, is “Purchase 290 B-Division Railcars” – these are the cars to replace the old cars on the C (Manhattan and Brooklyn) and J (mostly Queens and Brooklyn and a bit of Manhattan). The next three are “Modernize Signal Interlockings at 71st Avenue and Union Turnpike on the Queens Boulevard Line,” “Station Renewal Work at 25 Stations” (systemwide), and “Station Component Work” (again, systemwide). Then come “Purchase 425 Standard Buses” (boroughs not specified), “Purchase 103 A-Division Railcars” (for the Flushing line, mostly in Queens), “Modernize Signals and Interlockings on the Dyre Avenue Line” (the Bronx), “Purchase 328 Articulated Buses” (boroughs not specified), “Modernize Signal Interlocking at West 4th Street on the 6th Avenue Line” (in Manhattan, but of great importance to all Brooklyn A, B, C, D, F, and M riders who commute to Midtown), and “Replacement of Bus Radio System and Command Facility” (systemwide, with the new BCC in Brooklyn).

            So of the ten largest NYCT projects in the 2010-2014 Capital Plan, only one is specifically in Manhattan, and even that one is more important for Brooklyn residents than for Manhattan residents. Those ten projects comprise 26% of the NYCT capital budget. Your allegations that Manhattan spending is starving the other boroughs is simply not borne out by the facts.

            They even spent millions and three studies for GPS in Manhattan and finally gave up because they couldn’t get it to work properly before beginning bus time in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

            Those weren’t “studies” – they were contracts that failed. It looks like the current in-house, open source approach is working better – it works on the Staten Island express buses in Manhattan, and it’s slated to be expanded to the other four boroughs by the end of next year.

            As far as East Side Access, you are correct, but I don’t recall initial plans including all that real estate space which increased the costs astronomically and the project is always five years from completion.

            Fortunately, there’s no need to rely on recollection – the project documents are right here.  The web is a wonderful thing!

            I’m not sure what real estate space you’re referring to. Station exits?

          • Allan Rosen

            Last point first. I’m talking about the 22,000 new square feet of retail space, a little more than needed for station exits.

            Regarding GPS, at least the first one was a study and perhaps the second one also. Only the third one was definitely a failed contract. And whose fault was it for failing for trying to first implement it in the most difficult place, Manhattan?  They should have immediately started it in the outer boroughs where most of the bus service  is instead of wasting 20 years trying to do it in Manhattan.  Think the other four boroughs could have been completed by now if the project weren’t so mismanaged.

            You only looked at the ten most expensive NYCT projects which account for 25% of the budget. What about the other 75%?  How can you draw conclusions without looking at everything? First of all you can’t count subway cars as borough specific even if they are primarily used by residents of those boroughs because cars are moved around during their lifetime.  They are not going to spend their entire life where they are first assigned. You also ignored East Side Access and Second Avenue when looking at most expensive projects because they are separately listed under their own categories.  So looking at the entire list, not counting projects spread across the system or equipment purchases which are used throughout the system for NYCT, this is what I found.

            Subtotals:

            Brooklyn: $1.4 Billion

            Queens: $1.59 Billion

            Bronx: $.34 Billion

            Staten Island: $.16 Billion

            Manhattan excluding 2nd Avenue and East Side Access: $1.5 Billion

            2nd Avenue: $1.5 Billion
            East Side Access $3.8 Billion

            Totals:

            Manhattan including 2nd Avenue and East Side Access: $6.8 Billion

            All Other Boroughs: $3.5 Billion

            LIRR, MNR and TBTA: $6.5 Billion

            Manhattan gets nearly twice as much as all the other boroughs combined.

            So not counting NYCT systemwide projects, Brooklyn gets about 8% of the MTA’s Capital Budget which is 4 times what the Bronx gets and slightly less than what Queens gets.

            Still think the allocations are fair?

            Why are we spending $54 million to purchase Paratransit vehicles when we contract the service out?  The contractor has to make a profit and we can’t run it for cheaper as long as we are paying for the vehicles?  Do we at least charge the vendor for using them?  Maybe we pay for their gas too.  It wouldn’t surprise me if we did. 

            Also, we’re spending money to replace the tiles at Borough Hall Station when the station was already rehabbed not that long ago. Why hasn’t the tile lasted?  The first ones lasted 90 years. These 10 or 15? 

            Also, $8 million to redo the platform edging of 34th Street when the station was rehabbed in the late 80s before the yellow edging became the standard.  It was agreed the the yellow edge requirement would not apply to stations already rehabbed, so why are we doing it again? 

             

          • Andrew

            Last point first. I’m talking about the 22,000 new square feet of retail space, a little more than needed for station exits.

            Sorry, I’m not familiar with the issue, so I can’t comment on it specifically. If we’re talking leftover space in buildings needed for other purposes, renting it out for retail brings in revenue.

            Regarding GPS, at least the first one was a study and perhaps the second one also. Only the third one was definitely a failed contract. And whose fault was it for failing for trying to first implement it in the most difficult place, Manhattan?  They should have immediately started it in the outer boroughs where most of the bus service  is instead of wasting 20 years trying to do it in Manhattan.  Think the other four boroughs could have been completed by now if the project weren’t so mismanaged.

            The goal is and has always been to implement a bus tracking system in all five boroughs. If it doesn’t work in one, it’s a flop.

            The current system is being developed in-house. If the Staten Island express buses are any indication, it already works in Manhattan.

            You only looked at the ten most expensive NYCT projects which account for 25% of the budget. What about the other 75%?  How can you draw conclusions without looking at everything? First of all you can’t count subway cars as borough specific even if they are primarily used by residents of those boroughs because cars are moved around during their lifetime.  They are not going to spend their entire life where they are first assigned.

            That depends on what you consider to be the benefit.

            If the benefit is getting rid of the old, unreliable cars, what matters is where those old, unreliable cars run now. They run on the J and the C.

            If the benefit is in the new cars themselves, the ones slated for the J will have to run on the J, or perhaps the M, since they’re in 4-car sets. (The C, I believe, will be switching to 10-car trains, so those cars could go anywhere.)

            You also ignored East Side Access and Second Avenue when looking at most expensive projects because they are separately listed under their own categories.  

            As I said, I was looking at NYCT projects. ESA and SAS are MTACC projects.

            By the way, I’ve had serious reservations with MTACC from the start in 2003. It is a product of Peter Kalikow’s edifice complex. FSTC and South Ferry, in particular, could and should have been much smaller-scale products. And I never understood why the individual agencies couldn’t have handled these projects, as they do for all their other capital projects.

            So looking at the entire list, not counting projects spread across the system or equipment purchases which are used throughout the system for NYCT, this is what I found.

            Why would you not count them? Shouldn’t you count them as benefitting all boroughs equally, or perhaps proportional to the track mileage in each borough?

            Are you assigning projects by where they are physically located or by who they benefit most? If a new transfer in Manhattan, for instance, primarily serves Brooklyn residents, should it be counted with Manhattan or with Brooklyn?

            Why do you count ESA under Manhattan rather than under LIRR?

            Still think the allocations are fair?

            If they’re allocated by need, then yes, I do. You’re assuming there’s some sort of borough warfare at play. I don’t share your assumption.

            Why are we spending $54 million to purchase Paratransit vehicles when we contract the service out?  

            I have no clue. Why are you asking me? I know virtually nothing about how the paratransit system works.

            Also, we’re spending money to replace the tiles at Borough Hall Station when the station was already rehabbed not that long ago. Why hasn’t the tile lasted?  The first ones lasted 90 years. These 10 or 15?  

            I don’t recall a station rehab. There were some minor improvements in parts of the complex, but as a whole it wasn’t rehabbed. Were the wall tiles even touched? I don’t think so – they’ve been in bad shape as far back as I can remember.

            Also, $8 million to redo the platform edging of 34th Street when the station was rehabbed in the late 80s before the yellow edging became the standard.  It was agreed the the yellow edge requirement would not apply to stations already rehabbed, so why are we doing it again?

            Agreed by whom? Isn’t the yellow platform edge required by ADA?

    • LLQBTT

      i’m not so sure why the 7 extension is needed.  there is a missing stop. yes, it’s good to have far west side access, but ok then, make the stop at 10 av & 41 st as well. isn’t that on the far west side?  the logic behind this extension is that it will bring development to an underdeveloped area. well, with that in mind, aren’t there so many other areas of the city that meet this criterion? and worse so, aren’t there countless more areas that are quite developed and ‘undertransited’?

      and to allan’s point, why must we spend gazillions of $ on a 1 stop extension (when m34 +sbs+ now serves the 1 stop the 7 does, and is a ‘surface subway’ per the city [sadik-kahn, bloomberg]), lirr esa (which will be grand once completed, but no main line third track, a critical part of the project killed by li’ers [i think]) and a little subway extension known as sas when all this $ could be better distributed on many more smaller projects citywide that could benefit so many more people? 

      • Allan Rosen

        You didn’t mention that the MTA last year discontinued the M42 branch to the Javits Center due to excessively light ridership at the exact same time it is working to complete the 7 extension to accomplish the exact same thing. Only the MTA coud get away with such conflicting logic and no one challenges them. That is what is so frustrating. Who builds a subway line when you cannot justify a bus line?

        • Allan Rosen

          2010 not last year.

        • Andrew

          The Javits M42 branch was eliminated for the same reason the M34 was rerouted off of the Javits roadway a year or two earlier: the Javits roadway was often closed to NYCT buses during major events. (It’s not like Javits is no longer transit-accessible – the M42 is a few blocks away, and the M34, across the street, was improved three months ago.

          But, as I’ve already said, the 7 isn’t being extended to serve the Javits Center. It’s being extended as an integral part of the massive Hudson Yards Rezoning and Development Program, approved seven years ago, of which Javits is only a very small (and relatively unimportant) piece.

          • Allan Rosen

            The branch of the M42 wasn’t rerouted. It was eliminated. It no longer comes down to the Javits Center.

          • Andrew

            I didn’t say the M42 was rerouted. I said the M34 was rerouted. Read my comment again.

          • Allan Rosen

            Okay, you didn’t say it was rerouted.  But the reason for its discontinuance was lack of ridership, not because of denial to use the roadway.  If that were the case it could have been rerouted to 11th Avenue when the roadway was closed with access to Javits maintained.

          • Andrew

            t turns out that we’re both correct.  According to http://www.mta.info/nyct/service/ServiceReduction/part5.htm: “Discontinue the underused segment of the M42 south of 42nd Street to the Javits Center. This service is often disrupted during major events at the Javits Center, negating its primary purpose.”

            That’s not surprising, because convention centers get very light traffic most of the time. They may be busy during busy conventions, but average loads are low.

  • Spanky

    We need a Moynihn Station becasue he is the author of Benign Neglect, and the Negro Family and they want to rub it in your faces and honor that racist drunk…contact Charles Barron to kill that racist Benign Neglect station

  • LLQBTT

    you mention groups not working together.  this is very true within the mta management itself. the agencies, mtahq, mnr, lirr, nyct, and b&t cannot get it together for even the most fundamental of decisions.  1 of the problems is the turf, fiefdom mentality that rules as well as the ‘my agency is better than yours because it…funds you guys/carries 90% of passengers/better on-time/and so mentality.’

    and you make an excellent point about prior ‘saving’ taxes such as the lottery became just an excuse to move taxpayer $ elsewhere.

    and lastly, i am a firm believer that if something hasn’t worked for 40+ years, it is more than time to try something different.  return control of the city’s subways and buses to where they belong, the city.  remove this upstate/downstate mentality that influences nys funding. moreover, the state is far more corrupt and inept than the city is (which was not necessarily the case when the state assumed control all those years ago).  who do want to run your subways & buses? prince ‘i ran off walder’ cuomo, skelos from the ‘burbs and slippery shelly?  i’d rather have the accountability right here, in nyc.  or…try something completely new that hasn’t benn tried before.

  • Simmy

    You are correct in most of what you say, and yet you still miss a basic idea. There are two parts to charging extra during congested times. One, as you point out, is that there will be extra money made available (“extra” only in the sense that it will be transferred from peoples’ wallets to the government, always a poor idea). With this, one can be hopeful that the money will be used in line with the reason it was charged–to increase resources for that activity. As you point out, fat chance of that happening.

    But there is a second point. And that is that because of the increased cost of utilizing the stressed resource during the congestion period, those who use it at those times will, at the margin, more thoughtfully consider whether they really need to use it right then and there. Some will not, and that will ease the usage a bit, helping those who continue to use.

    It’s a pity both points won’t happen. But at least the second one would.

    • Allan Rosen

      No one has suggested congestion pricing only during congested times. It was for all times perhaps except midnight to 6 AM. But since money was the prime purpose not reducing congestion, once it starts they would charge a small amount for that time period also.

      • Andrew

        Whose congestion pricing system did you have in mind? Because the mayor’s original 2007 proposal and the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission’s early 2008 recommendation were both in effect from 6 am to 6 pm only.

        Congestion pricing systems elsewhere have been successful in both reducing congestion and raising funds, and I don’t see why this one wouldn’t have been successful here.

        As for your allegations that the city would have used the revenues elsewhere, the city would have never even seen the revenues. Bloomberg’s proposal would have created a new Sustainable Mobility and Regional Transportation (SMART) Financing Authority; the Commission’s revised proposal would have sent the money directly to the MTA.

        (But even if the revenues had been flushed down the toilet, virtually everyone in the city would have seen benefits – everyone who is ever frustrated by traffic congestion while driving a car or riding a bus, everyone who walks and bikes in heavily trafficked areas, every consumer of goods shipped by truck.)

        Frankly, I think the mayor’s big mistake was in not allowing other parts of the city to opt in. Manhattan isn’t the only place with traffic congestion, and giving other communities the option to participate would have garnered additional support.

        • Allan Rosen

          Congestion pricing was to raise revenue not to significantly reduce congestion. Only a 10% reduction was predicted. I can guarantee you tat once implemented it would be extended past 6 PM to 9 PM and then to midnight when revenues fall short of what was anticipated. And where did you get the idea that it has been successful elsewhere. I heard London is a disaster. A friend of mine recently told me it took her two hours to get from the airport to the central city.

          The benefits you cite are exaggerated. Most of the traffic problems are caused by double parking and street construction causing you to merge. Congestion pricing didn’t even address these.

          • Andrew

            Congestion pricing was to raise revenue not to significantly reduce congestion. Only a 10% reduction was predicted.

            A 10% reduction in what, exactly?

            The Traffic Commission Mitigation Commission’s revised plan would have reduced VMT in Manhattan south of 86th Street by 6.8%, but it doesn’t take much of a reduction in traffic volumes to relieve congested conditions. Look at Table 21 of the link that I included in my previous comment: the reduction in most severe (stop-and-go) traffic conditions would have been as high as 38.6% in Western Queens.

            I can guarantee you tat once implemented it would be extended past 6 PM to 9 PM and then to midnight when revenues fall short of what was anticipated.

            Any increase in hours wouldn’t have been covered by the original legislation and would have had to go back to the state legislature. (Strange “guarantee.”)

            And where did you get the idea that it has been successful elsewhere. I heard London is a disaster.

            This article implies otherwise.

            A friend of mine recently told me it took her two hours to get from the airport to the central city.

            No congestion pricing system will guarantee eradication of all congestion at all times. Your friend’s anecdote is an anecdote.

            The benefits you cite are exaggerated.

            According to what traffic study?

            Most of the traffic problems are caused by double parking and street construction causing you to merge. Congestion pricing didn’t even address these.

            No, the severe traffic congestion in and approaching the Manhattan CBD is caused by high traffic volumes.

            I have no objection to increased enforcement of double parking laws. But don’t forget that trucks are allowed to double park if there is no parking space at the curb, which is usually the case. The only way to alleviate that is to designate a bit of curb space on each block for truck loading.

          • Allan Rosen

            No. High traffic volumes merely mean that traffic moves slowly.  Congestion is when people must stop completely and cannot move.  That happens mostly when a lane is blocked for whatever reason and you have to wait to merge into the next lane.  Once the merge is complete, you move again. 

            I believe that when I looked at the traffic regulations a few weeks ago, it stated that midtown between 14th Street and 59th Street was exempt from trucks be being allowed to double park since there are loading zones there on virtually every side block, but they do it anyway along the avenues.

            In answer to your question, a 10% reduction in vehicular traffic. 

            Regarding London, the first question I always ask is who commissioned the study? Yes it does imply success, but read a little further.  Administration costs equal 50% of the revenue generated and speeds increased from 8 mph to a whopping 11 mph. Wow that’s just amazing a 37% increase.

            Are you putting all your money now in Capital One Bank because they pay 5 times the national average?  What’s the national average you ask?  I guess it’s about .1%, so they pay a whopping .5%? Five times zero is still zero.

            You can do whatever you want with statistics, but I see no success in London with an 11 mph average speed, the trains still being unreliable as the article further stated, and it taking 2 hours to get from the airport to Central London.  Notice how the report didn’t talk about reductions in travel time, a measure that counts.  Bus travel seems to have been improved but that could have been accomplished with more bus lanes instead of congestion pricing.

          • Andrew

            No. High traffic volumes merely mean that traffic moves slowly.  Congestion is when people must stop completely and cannot move.  

            Nonsense. 

            That happens mostly when a lane is blocked for whatever reason and you have to wait to merge into the next lane.  Once the merge is complete, you move again.

            Congestion is caused by traffic volumes in excess of capacity. The capacity constraint is sometimes caused by a temporary blockage (e.g., a double parked car) and is sometimes caused by the nature of the road network. The heavy congestion that builds up every morning on Flatbush Avenue approaching the Manhattan Bridge is not caused by a double parked car.

            I believe that when I looked at the traffic regulations a few weeks ago, it stated that midtown between 14th Street and 59th Street was exempt from trucks be being allowed to double park since there are loading zones there on virtually every side block, but they do it anyway along the avenues.

            So ticket them.

            In answer to your question, a 10% reduction in vehicular traffic.

            That was never the plan, but if it were, it would have been phenomenal.

            Regarding London, the first question I always ask is who commissioned the study?

            Is that really the first question you always ask, or is it only the first question you always ask when the conclusion doesn’t agree with your preconceived notions?

            Yes it does imply success, but read a little further.  Administration costs equal 50% of the revenue generated and speeds increased from 8 mph to a whopping 11 mph. Wow that’s just amazing a 37% increase.

            Nobody said it was perfect. (Right up front, on page 4, the author gives five bullet points of why he considers the system suboptimal.) See, in particular, his fourth bullet.

            Average traffic speeds include time stopped at intersections. They also include streets within the zone that didn’t suffer from congestion problems even before congestion pricing was implemented, where the improvement was presumably negligible. 

            The more interesting question is to what extent congestion was reduced: “Peak period congestion delays declined about 30%, and bus congestion delays declined 50%.” 

            There was also significant diversion to other modes: “Peak period congestion delays declined about 30%, and bus congestion delays declined 50% … Vehicles can cover more miles per hour, so taxi and bus service productivity (riders per day) and efficiency (cost per passenger-mile) increased substantially. There has been some increase in motorcycle, moped and bicycle travel, and vendors have promoted these modes (figures 6 and 7).”

            Are you putting all your money now in Capital One Bank because they pay 5 times the national average?  What’s the national average you ask?  I guess it’s about .1%, so they pay a whopping .5%? Five times zero is still zero.

            No, but I still find myself riding buses in congested conditions on occasion.  A 37% improvement in travel time would be incredible.

            You can do whatever you want with statistics, but I see no success in London with an 11 mph average speed, the trains still being unreliable as the article further stated, and it taking 2 hours to get from the airport to Central London.  

            London’s underground is older than our subway, and (like most systems) it doesn’t have niceties like express tracks and diversion opportunities that give trains a way to often get past blockages. It’s not particularly reliable. It is much more frequent than ours, especially off-peak, since the trains are smaller.

            It doesn’t take 2 hours to get from the airport to Central London. It took your friend, on one occasion, 2 hours to get from the airport to Central London. That’s no indication of how long it typically takes. By the way, this has nothing to do with congestion pricing, but Heathrow Express takes 15 minutes to Paddington, and I’m told it’s quite reliable.

            Notice how the report didn’t talk about reductions in travel time, a measure that counts.  

            A brief summary report isn’t going to include every possible data point. You want more? There’s much more here, which I haven’t looked through.

            Bus travel seems to have been improved but that could have been accomplished with more bus lanes instead of congestion pricing.

            Where do you put bus lanes if the lanes are full of cars?

  • http://twitter.com/aemoreira81 Adam Moreira

    To me, the real problem is spending money wisely. Why I say this is because some services are run that are so wasteful, and take money away from what actually services the public better.

    Spending money for the sake of spending money is always bad; the MTA can provide proper service and be fiscally accountable.

  • nolastname

    Is this the site that the sandhogs left a huge drill underground that can only be taken out through Long Island…the point it was brought in?
    The same site that was dropped by another construction/burrowing company.
    I have no faith in this.

    • Allan Rosen

      East Side Access is where the drill was left since there are no plans to extend Metro North south of Grand Central and it was cheaper to leave it there than remove it.

      • nolastname

        Ah, got my tracks crossed. TY for ‘splainin. 
        Was East Side all rejected by another firm. Who has the European co. doing the work, East Side also?

        • Allan Rosen

          I have no idea but the info has to be on the net somewhere.

  • Andrew

    What is preventing the MTA from using new operating funding for managerial increases instead of restoring or improving service? Absolutely nothing. The MTA can spend monies it receives as it sees fit, except co-intermingling capital and operating funds. That is not to say that managers do not deserve a raise. They have not had any in four years. But why does it have to always be a percentage increase rather than a flat amount?

    Um, because that’s how raises work? Because that’s how inflation works?

    Do MTA employees earning $150,000 a year deserve three times the salary increase as someone earning $50,000?

    Of course, since the usual function of a simple raise is to keep salaries roughly in line with inflation. A $50,000 salary in 2007 is equivalent to a $54,243 salary in 2011; a $150,000 salary in 2007 is equivalent to a $162,730 salary in 2011. (source)

    Do they work three times as hard? It was my experience in the 25 years I worked for the MTA that as my salary and pay grade rose, less was expected of me, not more.

    In professional settings, promotions imply an increase in responsibility, not necessarily an increase in workload.

    A percentage increase only assures that the rich get richer and that is in the best interests of upper management who make that decision. A little like Congress voting themselves pay raises.

    This may come as a shocker, but a salary of $150,000 does not make one “rich” in New York City. And if management were able and willing to vote themselves pay raises, then why is it that management has gone without a pay raise in four years?

    The governor is trying to end the practice of employees working exorbitant hours of overtime during their last three years of service to greatly inflate their pension. Every little bit helps.

    Is this supposed to have something to do with managers? Managers don’t earn overtime.

    At the other end, we have people such as Dr. John Rozankowski, who believes the answer is to abolish the MTA altogether and return control to the city. He has written a series of eloquent articles on that subject. Whatever changes we see, if any, will result from the will of the people.

    I suggest you keep away from Rozankowski. He articles are far from eloquent. He is nothing more than a rabble-rouser.

    The needs of the public must not be the missing entity in union / management negotiations. Their voice needs to be heard.

    Who do you think management represents? You may or may not agree with how they do their job, but what do you think their jobs entail?

    There must be more than one person on the MTA Board to represent the public’s interest, and they need voting power. Marty Markowitz has long proposed that each of the borough presidents be given a seat on the board. While not perfect, it makes more sense than the seats being filled by real estate interests and bankers.

    Please, please, no! Politicians already do tremendous damage to the transportation system, by promoting their pet projects over ones which would be of more use to the city’s transit ridership as a whole and by promoting wasteful spending. Markowitz has no understanding of transportation and has never done a thing to improve the MTA’s funding situation. The only borough president who has any sort of understanding of transportation is Scott Stringer, and I’d rather even he keep his hands off. 

    Do you know what the riders need most of all? It’s something you haven’t even touched on, and it’s something most advocates ignore. It’s bringing the system into, and keeping it in, a state of good repair. Why aren’t new lines being built across Brooklyn? Because keeping the existing system in operating condition is more important, and keeping the existing system in operating condition is not cheap. We’ve already fallen into the trap of deferred maintenance once, and I don’t want to see it happen again. Take a look at where the MTA’s capital dollars are going. Many transit advocates forget that the system operates under constraints – fiscal, operational, political – and that not every good idea can be implemented (right away, if at all). There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, but a good planner has to whittle those dreams down into realistic plans.

    It means better integrating the LIRR and Metro-North into the bus and subway network. One way to do this is through the fare structure, and that has not been done. MetroCards still cannot be used on the LIRR and it is very costly for Queens residents to use the LIRR for intra-city trips. The fare charged for intra-city LIRR trips should not exceed the cost of an express bus trip and that change could allow a reduction in costly express bus service, which is second only to paratransit in terms of operating cost subsidy.

    The MetroCard system, unfortunately, was never designed with the commuter railroads in mind. Fortunately, the MetroCard system will be gone in a few years. I think we’ll see improvements in fare integration, probably not immediately, but hopefully within a few years of the new smartcard system.

    The ideal fare structure, which is common in Europe, is zone-based but mode-independent. What matters is where you go, not how you get there. Unfortunately, a zone system is unlikely to work on the subway – the stations are not set up for it and politicians will scream (even if many of their constituents would benefit).

    Instead of working toward the goal of better coordinating regional transit, the MTA is moving in the opposite direction by splitting off Long Island Bus for Nassau County to operate, although they had little choice in that matter because Nassau County would not provide its fair share of funding.

    You got it backwards. Nassau County contracted with the MTA to provide bus service, much as Westchester County contracts with Liberty Lines Transit to operate the Bee-Line system. Nassau was no longer willing to pay what the MTA was asking, so Nassau switched carriers.

    Now transit-dependent Nassau County residents will suffer, as service is sure to decline.

    You’re probably right – I’m willing to give Veolia a chance, but the county is underpaying. Whatever happens is entirely on Nassau County’s watch.

    The MTA must also become more responsive and not continue to ignore the will of the people due to their arrogance.

    The MTA has a tough balancing act, made particularly challenging by its shaky financial condition. The MTA is not “arrogant” for not giving you what you want or what you think is best. It is possible that you are wrong and they are right. If you’re looking for arrogance, look in the mirror.

    Just as each branch of government is supposed to work together and check one another, the same must occur with mass transit. Management, the unions, elected officials and the public must all work together to improve mass transit. Each must be equally powerful. Right now, the MTA is at the mercy of the politicians for funding and the public is at the mercy of the MTA, which disregards their opinions to a very large extent. Management and the unions are at odds. There are no common goals and no one is working together to enable meaningful change.

    No, Allan, the MTA doesn’t disregard the public’s opinions. There have been numerous changes in bus service in the past year and a half, virtually all in response to community requests. You’re upset that the MTA disregards Allan Rosen’s opinions.

    Of course management and the union are at odds. The union’s primary goal is to maximize the MTA’s labor expenses.

    • Allan Rosen

      Let me ask you this.  If my articles are so off the mark which you seem to believe they are because you extensively criticized every one of them since you found out about this site, why is it that I have received dozens of compliments how I am consistently hitting the nail on the head from friends, strangers and former co-workers at the MTA.  I think someone who has worked or is currently working at the MTA has a better handle how the agency operates than someone like you with no MTA experience whatsoever.

      “Because that’s how raises work.” 

      They work the way you want them to work.  You seem to have no problem with overpaid managers receive even more, but I bet you support the MTA’s position that union workers should get a zero percent increase.  You say managers have more responsible positions.  A bus driver is responsible for over 70 lives on some trips.  Motormen and conductors are responsible for thousands of lives every day.  When one of them is sick and there are no replacements available, the run is cancelled and the public suffers.  If most managers don’t show up for a day, hardly anyone would notice the difference.  Think again whose job has more responsibility.

      “This may come as a shocker, but a salary of $150,000 does not make one “rich” in New York City. And if management were able and willing to vote themselves pay raises, then why is it that management has gone without a pay raise in four years?”

      Most people in NYC would be elated to earn $150,000. That is a superior salary.  The only reason management has not voted themselves raises is that politically it would look very bad since the MTA is always crying poverty.  As soon as the fare rises to $2.50, the first thing the MTA will do grant managers raises even if the unions agree to a zero increase.

      I never said managers earn overtime. 

      You dismiss all of Rozankowsi’s articles by calling him a rabble rouser without responding to a single one of his points.  This is the same tactic used by Streetsbloggers when they disagree with someone.  Why don’t you go back there where your viewpoints are readily accepted?

      “Why aren’t new lines being built across Brooklyn? Because keeping the existing system in operating condition is more important ”

      Yet the MTA has 7.4 billion for East Side Access, and that amount could increase to 10 billion by the time it is completed. The MTA is primarily in the transit business, not the real estate business which it somehow cannot recognize. There are more scandals yet to be uncovered.  There is a reason why the MTA has so much concern to increase real estate values near Hudson Yards.  The Board is composed of real estate interests and bankers whose friends will make a killing. If they improve transit service, their friends get nothing.

      It’s all a matter of priorities, not that there is no money available for improvements in the outer boroughs.  SBS is good enough for Staten Island, while Manhattan deserves the best of everything. 43 escalators for East Side Access, yet the MTA could not afford one new escalator for Atlantic Avenue despite the Barclay’s Center opening there.

      The  MTA provided bus service in Nassau County because that is what they were chartered to do, provide regional transportation.  They also were once supposed to take over Suffolk’s system too.

      If you think management represents the public, that only shows how little you know.  The MTA has nothing but contempt for the public.  They consider them along with politicians just a pain in the ass. I’ve heard privately what MTA management thinks of the public.  You haven’t heard it because you never worked there.  You can continue to live in your dreamworld.
       
      “Of course management and the union are at odds. The union’s primary goal is to maximize the MTA’s labor expenses.”

      Nonsense.  The unions primary goal is to look out for the interests of its members.  They need to be treated with respect, not with hostility as the MTA often treats them.  If the MTA showed some respect, the unions might be more amenable to giving up some of its archaic work rules.  But the way the MTA treats them, they just say F*** Y**.

      “No, Allan, the MTA doesn’t disregard the public’s opinions. There have been numerous changes in bus service in the past year and a half, virtually all in response to community requests. You’re upset that the MTA disregards Allan Rosen’s opinions. ”

      Again if you weren’t so eager to criticize, perhaps you would actually read what I wrote instead of what you would like to see me write so you can attack.  I stated specifically that last year’s service cuts were the exception, not the rule.

      As far as them disregarding my opinions, that is incorrect also.  I got them to maintain partial weekday service on the eastern portion of the B1. I got extras placed on the B1. When I worked there, I had the B49 schedule rewritten to make it more efficient. I changed bus route destination signs, and made numerous complaints that were responded to.  But all that is a small minority of what I have proposed over the years.  When someone from the public makes a suggestion, they at least deserve a response, especially after they were promised one by the MTA.

       

      • nolastname

        I should shut up now but what the heck. A troll had me chasing my tail over some BS. Some are very deep into trolling to the extent that they help prove your point.
        Maybe that is the intention. It’s a shame because some seem very smart. 
        Now, about your last sentence…Several years ago I approached 2 transit officials that were doing a study on Avenue U.  I suggested cameras on busses to keep the bus stops clear and their response was there is no money in the system for that. Well low and behold it took 2 years before I heard it was in the testing stages in Manhattan. Are they being used for summonses? 

        • Allan Rosen

          That idea has been around for quite a while. Everytime the bus has to pull into a bus stop and a car is there preventing it from doing so, the camera woud go off and the car woud get a ticket. You know if additional revenue is involved, they will somehow figure out a way to make it happen. The only problem I have is tat I thought it was legal to stop momentarily in a bus stop to let someone off. It’s better than stopping in the middle of the street. With cameras, No Standing effectively becomes No Stopping. I think the law or signage woud have to be changed.

          There also once was talk of putting cameras on street sweepers for the same purpose.

          • nolastname

            I certainly like the idea. If camera times could be linked there would be proof that it was more than a stop to let off a passenger. Just for the inconvenience to riders it should be invested in. 
            I drive but the # of vehicles and the abuse of parking space is way over the line.
            This comment extends to residential illegal driveway cuts and street storage of commercial/unused/on vacation vehicles.

          • Andrew

            NYC Traffic Rules, Section 4-08(c)(3):

            No Standing – Bus Stop. No person shall stand or park a vehicle other thanan authorized bus in its assigned bus stop when any such stop has been officially designated and appropriately posted except that the operator of a vehicle may temporarily stand therein for the purpose of expeditiously receiving and discharging passengers provided such standing does not interfere with any bus about to enter or leave such zone.

            If a bus camera takes a picture of a car in a bus stop, the car is obviously “interfer[ing] with any bus about to enter or leave such zone,” and the ticket is valid.

          • Allan Rosen

            I stand corrected.  No law or signage would have to be changed.  I wasn’t sure of the actual wording.  But I am right that this idea was around long before SBS was conceived.  What I don’t agree with is why the City should need Albany’s approval to do this on any bus route.

          • Andrew

            One law would have to be changed: the state law that authorizes the collection of fines based on bus cameras only on existing and planned (as of 2010) SBS routes.

            So unless Albany expands the use of bus cameras, Brooklyn will have camera enforcement on the B44 (and the S79 in Bay Ridge) only.

        • Andrew

          If you’re calling me a troll, I’m honored – I’ve never been called a troll before.

          Until 2010, the state had not authorized the use of cameras to collect fines for bus stop or bus lane violators. In 2010, the state finally authorized the cameras, but only on the then-existing and planned SBS routes.

          I believe that cameras are now in use on the Bx12, M15, and M34 for bus lane enforcement. There is nowhere else that they can be used yet. When SBS comes to the B44, they’ll be in use there too.

      • Allan Rosen

        That should have been ” eastern portion of the B4″ not B1.

      • Andrew

        Let me ask you this.  If my articles are so off the mark which you seem to believe they are because you extensively criticized every one of them since you found out about this site, why is it that I have received dozens of compliments how I am consistently hitting the nail on the head from friends, strangers and former co-workers at the MTA.  I think someone who has worked or is currently working at the MTA has a better handle how the agency operates than someone like you with no MTA experience whatsoever.

        Truth is not a popularity contest.

        They work the way you want them to work.  

        Allan, I’ve worked for several employers, in both the public and private sectors. When a raise is granted to all employees (or to a large class of employees – as opposed to a promotion granted to an individual), it is always stated as a percentage. Again, that’s because raises are used to counteract inflation, which also works by percentages.

        You seem to have no problem with overpaid managers receive even more, but I bet you support the MTA’s position that union workers should get a zero percent increase.  

        If you think the MTA’s managers are overpaid, I suggest you look at similar positions in the private sector. Many people are willing to put up with lower salaries in exchange for the job security of a public sector job, but if year after year after year goes by without a raise, some of the better (i.e., more marketable) employees start to look for opportunities elsewhere. The unmarketable employees stick around. It’s called brain drain, and it’s not something an employer wants to see.

        TWU members got an excellent compensation package with their last contract, far in excess of inflation. I have no objection to a net-zero contract this time. (By the way, that doesn’t mean a “zero percent increase.” It means that any increases in salary are offset by savings in other forms.)

        You say managers have more responsible positions.  A bus driver is responsible for over 70 lives on some trips.  Motormen and conductors are responsible for thousands of lives every day.  

        And managers are responsible for those motormen and conductors. The motormen and conductors have the direct responsibility, but they’re not the ones who have to ensure that the signal system is safe (look up the 1995 Williamsburg Bridge crash, which showed that it wasn’t), that stations aren’t dangerously overcrowded, etc.

        When one of them is sick and there are no replacements available, the run is cancelled and the public suffers.  

        That’s not true. Walder instituted a controversial policy (I don’t know if it’s still in effect – I hope not) that bus operators shouldn’t be brought in on overtime to cover for sick bus operators. The policy never applied on the subway, nor did it apply to “extra board” operators.

        If most managers don’t show up for a day, hardly anyone would notice the difference.  Think again whose job has more responsibility.

        That’s a question of time sensitivity, not of responsibility.

        Most people in NYC would be elated to earn $150,000. That is a superior salary.  

        It’s obviously above average, but it barely qualifies as upper middle class in New York City. The wealthy make a lot more than $150,000.

        The only reason management has not voted themselves raises is that politically it would look very bad since the MTA is always crying poverty.  As soon as the fare rises to $2.50, the first thing the MTA will do grant managers raises even if the unions agree to a zero increase.

        How does it look any different politically now than it did before?

        By the way, the MTA Board, which approves raises, is uncompensated.

        You dismiss all of Rozankowsi’s articles by calling him a rabble rouser without responding to a single one of his points.  

        Which ones would you like me to respond to?

        The one in which he suggests reactivating the Rockaway Beach Branch and connecting it to the Queens local? Aside from there being no capital dollars available (even the existing Capital Plan isn’t fully funded yet), a connection to the local wouldn’t save riders any time over the existing A. The MTA is simply being realistic here.

        The one in which he suggests that, by terminating Phase 2 of SAS at a major subway and Metro-North transfer point (while still including turnouts for a branch to the Bronx), the MTA “Wants to Deny the Bronx a New Subway”?

        The one in which he suggests that Queens Boulevard local riders were better off with the G than they are with the M (formerly V)? (If you think that’s true, ask a dozen Queens local riders what they think and get back to me.)

        The one in which he refers to OPTO, which is now in place at nearly every transit system across the globe, as “dehumanization”?

        Rozankowski argues by rhetoric, not by logic.

        It’s all a matter of priorities, not that there is no money available for improvements in the outer boroughs.  

        Quite a bit of money is being spent in the outer boroughs. For the third time:
        http://mta.info/capitaldashboard/10_14/CapitalDashBoard7.html

        SBS is good enough for Staten Island, while Manhattan deserves the best of everything.

        I hate to break it to you, but the MTA doesn’t have borough-by-borough quotas.

        43 escalators for East Side Access, yet the MTA could not afford one new escalator for Atlantic Avenue despite the Barclay’s Center opening there.

        The ESA mezzanine will be 140 feet below street level. How do you expect people to get up and down without lots of escalators? (I don’t know where you found the number 43.)

        (I can’t believe I’m defending East Side Access.)

        Atlantic Avenue already has an escalator from the Brighton line to the LIRR platforms, and I think there’s another escalator or two from the LIRR level to street level (but I could be wrong about that). Where else do you think escalators are needed?

        The Atlantic Avenue rehab was completed long before the Barclays plan was announced. The old south end IRT mezzanine will reopen to serve Barclays Center (I’m not sure if the old Brighton mezzanine is also slated to be reopened).

        The  MTA provided bus service in Nassau County because that is what they were chartered to do, provide regional transportation.  They also were once supposed to take over Suffolk’s system too.

        The MTA does not provide bus service to any of the suburban counties. Nassau was the exception, not the rule. The MTA provides transportation to the suburban counties through the commuter railroads.

        If you think management represents the public, that only shows how little you know.  The MTA has nothing but contempt for the public.  They consider them along with politicians just a pain in the ass. I’ve heard privately what MTA management thinks of the public.  You haven’t heard it because you never worked there.  You can continue to live in your dreamworld.

        Politicians are a pain in the ass. Most of them have no interest in the long-term welfare of the transportation system as a whole. A politician’s demand for some sort of service improvement, right here, right now, is often detrimental to the system as a whole, sometimes short-term and sometimes long-term.

        Nonsense.  The unions primary goal is to look out for the interests of its members.  They need to be treated with respect, not with hostility as the MTA often treats them.  If the MTA showed some respect, the unions might be more amenable to giving up some of its archaic work rules.  But the way the MTA treats them, they just say F*** Y**.

        The only sort of “respect” the union cares about is money.

        Again if you weren’t so eager to criticize, perhaps you would actually read what I wrote instead of what you would like to see me write so you can attack.  I stated specifically that last year’s service cuts were the exception, not the rule.

        What did I say about service cuts?

        Service in the northeast Bronx (Co-op City and Country Club) has been changed several times in the past two years at community request, the weekend M50 was restored in exchange for the eastern end of the line at community request, and the X22 has been modified twice to serve the Outerbridge Park & Ride. Going back further, skip-stop on the 1/9 was studied and then eliminated in 2005 in response to community requests, and the 2004 Manhattan Bridge service changes were based on market research.

        As far as them disregarding my opinions, that is incorrect also.  I got them to maintain partial weekday service on the eastern portion of the B1. I got extras placed on the B1. When I worked there, I had the B49 schedule rewritten to make it more efficient. I changed bus route destination signs, and made numerous complaints that were responded to.  

        OK, so they do take your suggestions when they think it makes sense. So what are you complaining about?

        But all that is a small minority of what I have proposed over the years.  

        I guess they didn’t think your other suggestions made sense.

        When someone from the public makes a suggestion, they at least deserve a response, especially after they were promised one by the MTA.

        I’ve written a number of letters to the MTA, and I’ve gotten responses.

        • Allan Rosen

          “Truth is not a popularity contest”

          So you are telling the truth and I am not when most everyone here is agreeing with me not you, and you call me arrogant?

          Forget about the private sector, just look at the public sector. Compare MTA salaries with similar positions at other NYC agencies like DOT. MTA pays about 20% higher and a lot of them don’t actually kill themselves working very hard.

          I believe Walder instituted that controversial policy about not filling bus runs with overtime only for a few days to antagonize the unions. Yeah, and make the passengers the pawns. What a great way to gain cooperation from the unions. If it were a permanent policy, I think we would have heard more about it because it would be insane.  Some overtime is just necessary,

          $150,000 per year certainly is upper middle class. We are not talking wealthy. Of course they earn much more.

          After a fare raise, the public isn’t watching so closely how the MTA is spending its money, so its easier to sneak in those pay raises for managers especially after a union contract negotiation.

          The MTA Board makes its money in other ways, although officially uncompensated.

          I addressed the Capital Budget in my other response.

          Escalators at Atlantic Avenue are needed at the connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Stations. There also could have been one from the lower mezzanine to the 7th Avenue Uptown. In both cases, the MTA opted for double staircases instead of a stairway and an escalator.

          Your point about politicians is just wrong. Did you see Assemblyman Lander’s study of the B61? He is fighting for his constituents. Without people like him, the MTA could just do whatever it pleases like eliminating the Franklin Shuttle which I’m sure would have been fine with you.

          Your comment about respect shows you know nothing about human behavior.

          Service Cuts:

          So other than the 2010 service cuts, you can come up with three times where the MTA listened to the community versus the thousands of times they didn’t and you call that responsive?

          No, its not that they didn’t think my other proposals made sense. None of them were fairly evaluated. They would constantly contradict themselves. If you proposed to lengthen any route, the stock answer for rejection was that lengthening the route would reduce reliability, therefore your proposal is rejected. However, that reason would not hold true when the MTA proposed to nearly double route lengths like when they created the B47 to replace the B40 and B78? Why does lengthening a route not reduce route reliability when the change is MTA initiated, but it does when someone else proposes it? 

          That is just one example. I could give you hundreds more.

          They respond to letters some of the time, but not always. And sometimes the response does not even address the issue or they say they will look into it and you hear nothing further.

          • Andrew

            So you are telling the truth and I am not when most everyone here is agreeing with me not you, and you call me arrogant?

            Truth is not arrogant. If you want to call me arrogant for speaking the truth, be my guest.

            Forget about the private sector, just look at the public sector. Compare MTA salaries with similar positions at other NYC agencies like DOT. MTA pays about 20% higher and a lot of them don’t actually kill themselves working very hard.

            Why would I forget about the private sector? The MTA is competing with the private sector.

            And I’m not so certain that you’re correct about DOT. Do you have a source?

            I believe Walder instituted that controversial policy about not filling bus runs with overtime only for a few days to antagonize the unions. Yeah, and make the passengers the pawns. What a great way to gain cooperation from the unions. If it were a permanent policy, I think we would have heard more about it because it would be insane.  Some overtime is just necessary,

            No, I think he implemented it permanently, and he implemented it to reduce operating costs. I don’t know if Lhota rescinded it (I hope he did).

            I have no problem with overtime, in principle.

            $150,000 per year certainly is upper middle class. We are not talking wealthy. Of course they earn much more.

            So your remark that “A percentage increase only assures that the rich get richer” is not relevant, not to mention untrue. (As I’ve said, a percentage increase is the only way to keep pace with inflation, which is the purpose of blanket raises.)

            After a fare raise, the public isn’t watching so closely how the MTA is spending its money, so its easier to sneak in those pay raises for managers especially after a union contract negotiation.

            WHAT? After a fare raise is when the public is angry and is watching things more closely than ever.

            The MTA Board makes its money in other ways, although officially uncompensated.

            Have you informed the IG? I think he’d be very interested in your findings.

            Escalators at Atlantic Avenue are needed at the connection between the Atlantic and Pacific Stations. There also could have been one from the lower mezzanine to the 7th Avenue Uptown. In both cases, the MTA opted for double staircases instead of a stairway and an escalator.

            Borderline – most escalators are for longer rises than that. Stairs have the advantage of being better able to handle surges in either direction. Anybody who has difficulty climbing stairs has a nearby elevator.

            Your point about politicians is just wrong. Did you see Assemblyman Lander’s study of the B61? He is fighting for his constituents.

            Lander is one of the rare exceptions – there are a few good politicians amidst the bad. Other districts would be blessed to have more Landers. Unlike many of his colleagues, he’s no hypocrite – he recognizes the MTA’s funding crisis and doesn’t make costly demands while undermining the MTA’s revenue sources. He’s a proponent of congestion pricing, for instance.

            It’s a good study, and I hope NYCT considers his suggestions seriously. That said, bunching is hardly unique to the B61, and BusTime will be coming to the B61 whenever it comes to the rest of Brooklyn. But I think most of his recommendations are worthy of serious consideration.

            Without people like him, the MTA could just do whatever it pleases like eliminating the Franklin Shuttle which I’m sure would have been fine with you.

            This is a true head-scratcher. The Franklin shuttle wasn’t eliminated, so it looks like the MTA ultimately did as the politicians wanted. So what’s the problem here?

            Your comment about respect shows you know nothing about human behavior.

            Oh? So the union would be happy if the MTA told them that they were all very nice people but that they weren’t getting a raise?

            So other than the 2010 service cuts, you can come up with three times where the MTA listened to the community versus the thousands of times they didn’t and you call that responsive?

            I gave five examples that I happen to know of off the top of my head. Although I follow transportation issues, I’m sure there are plenty of examples that I’m unaware of.

            By the way, listening to the community doesn’t always mean doing what the community wants. For example: Sometimes the community wants something that isn’t consistent with systemwide standards, such as additional service on a line that is within loading guidelines. Sometimes the community wants something that would hurt a different community, such as a new express service that offers faster service to communities at express stops but reduces frequencies at communities at local stops, and the conflicting desires need to be balanced. If I ask for more service on my bus line, and the MTA responds that no more service is warranted, the MTA listened to me even if I didn’t get the answer I was hoping for.

            No, its not that they didn’t think my other proposals made sense. None of them were fairly evaluated. They would constantly contradict themselves.

            Or perhaps you misunderstood them or read their responses with your prejudices in mind.

            Why don’t you post a few of your proposals and their responses, verbatim?

            Also, from your earlier posts, it sounds like you basically flooded the system with proposals. Somebody has to spend time reviewing each proposal. Once you’ve earned a reputation for proposing worthless changes (in their opinion), they’re unlikely to spend as much time reviewing subsequent proposals.

            If you proposed to lengthen any route, the stock answer for rejection was that lengthening the route would reduce reliability, therefore your proposal is rejected. However, that reason would not hold true when the MTA proposed to nearly double route lengths like when they created the B47 to replace the B40 and B78? Why does lengthening a route not reduce route reliability when the change is MTA initiated, but it does when someone else proposes it?

            Lengthening a route does reduce reliability. There are sometimes compelling justifications to lengthen a route despite the reliability hit. If they didn’t think that your proposal had particularly compelling justifications, then the route shouldn’t be lengthened.

            They respond to letters some of the time, but not always. And sometimes the response does not even address the issue or they say they will look into it and you hear nothing further.

            I can only speak to my own experiences.

          • Allan Rosen

            Everything you say is not the truth.  To believe that it is is arrogant.

            “Why forget about the private sector?”

            So it doesn’t matter that the MTA pays higher than City agencies. When I checked my MTA salary with people who worked with me at the Department of City Planning 30 years earlier and were still there, I was surpised to find out how much less than myself they were earning and I wasn’t the receiving many of the raises that most of my co-workers were getting. Until the past five years, MTA managers were receiving raises almost every year while the City was giving their non-unionized employees much smaller increases.

            You are trying to take my words and twist them.  There are the rich and the ultra rich. Someone making $150,000 a year is rich when most make less. I am not talking about the ultra rich earning several million each year because they don’t work for the MTA unless they are on the Board.

            You say a percentage increase is needed to keep with pace with inflation.
            The inflation rate is low. We are emerging from a recession. I don’t see why someone earning $150,000 a year needs a $15,000 raise to keep up with inflation while someone earning $50,000 only needs a $5,000 raise.  Their needs for survival (food and clothing) are the same. Just because the rich drive fancier cars, eat at more expensive restaurants or wear fancier clothing shouldn’t come at the taxpayers expense.

            If after a fare raise, the public is angrier, why is it then when the MTA chooses to give out its increases? It’s because their budget is not in the public spotlight as much as it is when they are asking for a fare increase.

            Just wait.  The scandals will come out.  They always do. It may take 30 years or so. And what makes you believe the IG is interested in finding out about them?

            He is looking to find the little guy stealing, not the big guys.  Remember what happened when he broke the 2 Broadway renovation corruption scandal? He was terminated because it was feared by the governor how much more would be uncovered.  The MTA and governor immediately tried to discredit him and it ended up in a lawsuit brought by the IG for defamation of character.

            Regarding escalators, while there are some very long ones, they are the exceptions. Many are only two stories in length. Atlantic Avenue would qualify.

            You make a point that “Politicians are a pain in the ass.” When I show you one that is doing good, then you claim he is the exception.  Do I need to find more so you can find more exceptions?

            Franklin Shuttle:  It took a 3 to 5 year grassroots battle to save the Franklin Shuttle and that came about not only because of politicians but a relentless fight primarily by one individual who helped organize the community.  Yes they finally won a battle that should not have occurred in the first place and you call the MTA “responsive”?

            The South was also responsive in the Union’s request to end slavery, if you want to look at it that way.

            “Oh? So the union would be happy if the MTA told them that they were all very nice people but that they weren’t getting a raise?”

            That comment is so dumb, it isn’t worth addressing.  That has nothing to do with “respect.”

            I never said listening to the community means doing what they want.  It also means giving them intelligent well-thought out responses based on facts why they can’t do what they want.  The MTA rarely does that.

            “Why don’t you post a few of your proposals and their responses, verbatim?”

            That would not be possible because the stack is two inches high, no exaggeration. I will just take the top one on the pile if that is good enough for you.

            It was for a suggestion to split the B4 with an overlapping middle section and extend one end. Here is one sentence of the reply verbtum. 

            “A high volume of current B4 customers travel from Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst, west of the Sheepshead Bay Station, to areas east of the station.  This suggestion would require those customers to transfer.”

            As like all their responses words like high, low, insufficient, increase costs, etc. are never quantified. But they ask you to prove any assertion you make like increased patronage would result, which of course cannot be proven since the change has not taken place.

            When they split the M10 and M20, they did not address the numbers of riders who would now have to transfer which certainly would be higher than the number of B4 passengers who would require a transfer under my proposal.

            They spilt the M10 to increase route reliablity, but do not acknowledge that splitting the B4 would have increase reliablilty. But any proposal I made to lengthen a route even if only by a quarter-mile, they would mention the decreased reliability problem.  What they do is find any excuse why not to implement most suggestions and ignore any benefit you mention or say it is unproven.

            Most glaring is their statement how a “high” volume of passengers travel from Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst to east of Sheepshead Bay Station when just a few years later they discontinue the entire route east of Sheepshead Bay Station due to “low” ridership!  That is a much greater inconvenience than one caused by transferring as I was proposing and because of overlapping segments, few would have had to transfer in the first place. B4 ridership did not change so dramatically in a few years where it went from “high” volumes to so “lightly’ used tht the route should be discontinued.

            The MTA manufactures “facts” as it sees fit. They have proven this time and time again.

            Here is another suggestion I made not bus related. I suggested that at subway construction zones, they should not use the abbreviation “RCA” because no one knows what it means. They should spell out “Restricted Clearance Area.” They used RCA during the Dekalb Avenue reconstruction and the contractor left only six inches of platform space to the only station exit. I also pointed out how this was dangerous and people blocked those 6 inches sometimes because they didn’t know the meaning of “RCA.” 

            Do I have to look for the exact wording of the rejection to please you? They rejected the suggestion stating it wasn’t a dangerous condition and they saw no need to change the signs. But guess what?  Now all the signs say “Restricted Clearance Area”.  RCA is no longer used. But they just couldn’t admit that I was correct.  They were just lucky that there was no fire or other emergency requiring a quick evacuation because hundreds could have died because there was no place to flee.

            How much proof do you need regarding the MTA’s arrogance and manufacturing of facts?

            You can only speak from your experiences and I can speak from mine and I’m afraid that U have much more than you do.

             

          • Andrew

            Everything you say is not the truth.  To believe that it is is arrogant.

            I don’t hesitate to admit when I’m wrong.

            Much of what you post here is pure speculation, fueled by a vendetta. I post what I know to be the case, often backed up with citations.

            So it doesn’t matter that the MTA pays higher than City agencies. When I checked my MTA salary with people who worked with me at the Department of City Planning 30 years earlier and were still there, I was surpised to find out how much less than myself they were earning and I wasn’t the receiving many of the raises that most of my co-workers were getting. Until the past five years, MTA managers were receiving raises almost every year while the City was giving their non-unionized employees much smaller increases.

            If City Planning underpays its employees, I hope they get raises. I’m not sure what this has to do with the risk of the MTA losing its best employees to the private sector.

            You are trying to take my words and twist them.  There are the rich and the ultra rich. Someone making $150,000 a year is rich when most make less. I am not talking about the ultra rich earning several million each year because they don’t work for the MTA unless they are on the Board.

            I’m not twisting anything. Someone making $150,000 in New York City is considered upper middle class, not rich. If you’re trying to make a 1% argument, you’re looking at the wrong folks.

            (And MTA Board members don’t work for the MTA.)

            You say a percentage increase is needed to keep with pace with inflation. The inflation rate is low. We are emerging from a recession.

            It’s low, but it’s not zero. You’ve said that MTA managers haven’t had a raise in 4 years. So their salaries have been dropping with respect to inflation.

            I don’t see why someone earning $150,000 a year needs a $15,000 raise to keep up with inflation while someone earning $50,000 only needs a $5,000 raise.  

            If someone is valued by her employer at $150,000 annually, and 10% inflation steps in, then her salary needs to be increased by $15,000. Increasing it by less than $15,000 is stating that it shouldn’t have been $150,000 in the first place.

            Of course, inflation isn’t 10%. Total inflation from 2008 to 2012 was 5.28%. $150,000 in 2008 dollars is equivalent to $157,916 in 2012 dollars, and $50,000 in 2008 dollars is equivalent to $52,639 in 2012 dollars.

            Their needs for survival (food and clothing) are the same. Just because the rich drive fancier cars, eat at more expensive restaurants or wear fancier clothing shouldn’t come at the taxpayers expense.

            So you are suggesting that all public sector employees should earn a living wage and not a penny more?

            If after a fare raise, the public is angrier, why is it then when the MTA chooses to give out its increases? It’s because their budget is not in the public spotlight as much as it is when they are asking for a fare increase.

            You don’t think the press would immediately pick up on a raise that immediately follows a fare increase?

            Just wait.  The scandals will come out.  They always do. It may take 30 years or so.

            Oh, so you don’t actually know of an issue. Well, I will mark my calendar for February 20, 2042 and look forward to the news article that the members of the 2012 MTA Board have been implicated in a scandal.

            And what makes you believe the IG is interested in finding out about them?

            It’s his job, so there’s a chance he might be interested. If you don’t tell him, I guess he’ll never know.

            He is looking to find the little guy stealing, not the big guys.  Remember what happened when he broke the 2 Broadway renovation corruption scandal? He was terminated because it was feared by the governor how much more would be uncovered.  The MTA and governor immediately tried to discredit him and it ended up in a lawsuit brought by the IG for defamation of character.

            Actually, I don’t remember. Do you have a link to an article?

            Regarding escalators, while there are some very long ones, they are the exceptions. Many are only two stories in length. Atlantic Avenue would qualify.

            The lower mezzanine to IRT platform level is not two stories. Most escalators in the system are longer than that. 

            You make a point that “Politicians are a pain in the ass.” When I show you one that is doing good, then you claim he is the exception.  Do I need to find more so you can find more exceptions?

            How about we go with the generic politician, who whines that he wants the MTA to spend more money on his district (even though he probably voted to reduce transit funding)? That’s what most politicians’ complaints boil down to.

            “Oh? So the union would be happy if the MTA told them that they were all very nice people but that they weren’t getting a raise?”

            That comment is so dumb, it isn’t worth addressing.  That has nothing to do with “respect.”

            I guess I’m so dumb that I don’t know what you mean by respect. Care to clarify?

            “Why don’t you post a few of your proposals and their responses, verbatim?”

            That would not be possible because the stack is two inches high, no exaggeration.

            Do you really expect anybody to take you seriously with a two-inch stack of proposals? The MTA’s planners have better things to do with their time than to review and respond in detail to proposal after proposal after proposal from someone who thinks he can do their job better than them.

            If you had sent in one or two good suggestions, the results might have been different. Instead, you sent in a flood.

            When they split the M10 and M20, they did not address the numbers of riders who would now have to transfer which certainly would be higher than the number of B4 passengers who would require a transfer under my proposal.

            How do you figure? When the M10 and M20 were split, they overlapped for more than a mile. Manhattan bus trips tend to be fairly short – longer-distance riders prefer the subway for north-south trips, because it’s faster.

            They spilt the M10 to increase route reliablity, but do not acknowledge that splitting the B4 would have increase reliablilty.

            Reliability on the old M10 suffered seriously because of the Holland Tunnel. Since it was a long route, Harlem riders were impacted by Holland Tunnel delays. By splitting off that part of the route, riders north of 34th (now 59th) don’t have to worry about the Holland Tunnel.

            The B4 doesn’t have a traffic hotspot even remotely comparable to the Holland Tunnel. The reliability improvement would have been much smaller. Would it have been substantial enough to compensate for the need for some riders to transfer? I have no idea.

            Here is another suggestion I made not bus related. I suggested that at subway construction zones, they should not use the abbreviation “RCA” because no one knows what it means. They should spell out “Restricted Clearance Area.” They used RCA during the Dekalb Avenue reconstruction and the contractor left only six inches of platform space to the only station exit. I also pointed out how this was dangerous and people blocked those 6 inches sometimes because they didn’t know the meaning of “RCA.”  

            Do I have to look for the exact wording of the rejection to please you? They rejected the suggestion stating it wasn’t a dangerous condition and they saw no need to change the signs. But guess what?  Now all the signs say “Restricted Clearance Area”.  RCA is no longer used. But they just couldn’t admit that I was correct.  They were just lucky that there was no fire or other emergency requiring a quick evacuation because hundreds could have died because there was no place to flee.

            Wow, you really have little faith in the rider’s intelligence. You appear to believe that the rider can’t tell that an area of the platform is narrow unless there’s a sign stating that it’s narrow.

        • Allan Rosen

          Regarding Rozankowski, I’m only going to address one of your points regarding Second Avenue because this is not the place for it. His point was that it was not necessary to spend a ton of extra money for that transfer at 125th Street if the route continued to the Bronx.  The new terminal means that Bronx service is now contingent on the lower half of Second Avenue being completed which looks very unlikely.  The fact that a turnout is in place doesn’t matter if it is never used. You know there is a turnout from Eastern Parkway for the Utica Avenue Subway.  A lot of good that has done anyone since 1922.  So his point of constructing that transfer to so as to not extend service to the Bronx is a valid one.

          • Andrew

            Any extension beyond Phase 2 seems quite unlikely to me right now. A terminal with a transfer to three Bronx subway lines plus Metro-North, at a major Harlem hub, makes much more sense to me than a terminal with no rail connections at all. And an extension west across 125th would also be quite useful for travel across Harlem (and would connect with the 2 and B and D and 1 from the Bronx).

            If the line continued north into the Bronx without also having a westward branch, the line would provide good service to part of the Bronx but would be inaccessible to most of the borough. A transfer at 125th and Lex gives riders on most of the existing Bronx subway lines access to SAS, which they otherwise wouldn’t have.

            If Phase 3 gets built (as far as Houston St. would be enough), then a Bronx extension again becomes a possibility.

            But this is all beside the point. My objection to Rozankowski isn’t that he disagrees with the MTA’s plans; I, too, have disagreed with many MTA plans. If he wants to make the case that Phase 2 shouldn’t curve west, that’s fine. My objection is that he portrays this as a dastardly conspiracy to starve the Bronx of subway service. Even if he disagrees with the planning decision, there is no conspiracy here, and he knows it. That’s why I called him a rabble rouser.

          • Allan Rosen

            I am not going to enter a debe if it was a conspiracy or not. And you are correct that a connection at 125th Street makes SAS available to more people than if it dead ended at 125th Street. But how many more people and at what cost?  I don’t have the numbers readily, but I understand that connection came at great cost and what do you get for it?

            How useful is it to Metro-North customers when the line when SAS does not go to the east side south of 63rd Street?  Yes its useful for midtown on the west side, but how much time is really saved when they otherwise would just stay on to Grand Central (without making additional stops as they would would SAS) and take the shuttle over to 7th Avenue instead?

            As far as the connection to the Lex, it does provide access to three Bronx lines as opposed to one line if SAS were extended in the Bronx along existing right of ways.  But that single line would provide numerous connections to crosstown bus lines, so while the access would not be direct to the entire Bronx, much of the Bronx would have access to it. 

            So I guess the question becomes for the cost of the 125th Street transfer, how far north could you extend SAS into the Bronx using existing rail trackage?

          • Allan Rosen

            “debe” should have been debate.

          • Andrew

            I am not going to enter a debe [debate] if it was a conspiracy or not.

            But that’s Rozankowski’s main point, and that’s why I called him a rabble rouser.

            And you are correct that a connection at 125th Street makes SAS available to more people than if it dead ended at 125th Street. But how many more people and at what cost?  I don’t have the numbers readily, but I understand that connection came at great cost and what do you get for it?

            Um, the 4, 5, 6, and Metro-North carry a lot of people. You get a lot for it.

            How useful is it to Metro-North customers when the line when SAS does not go to the east side south of 63rd Street?  Yes its useful for midtown on the west side, but how much time is really saved when they otherwise would just stay on to Grand Central (without making additional stops as they would would SAS) and take the shuttle over to 7th Avenue instead?

            What about Metro-North customers who work at the hospitals on the far East Side? What about East Harlem residents who work in Westchester?

            As far as the connection to the Lex, it does provide access to three Bronx lines as opposed to one line if SAS were extended in the Bronx along existing right of ways.  But that single line would provide numerous connections to crosstown bus lines, so while the access would not be direct to the entire Bronx, much of the Bronx would have access to it.  

            …if much of the Bronx doesn’t mind sitting on a slow bus past one or two other subway lines.

            So I guess the question becomes for the cost of the 125th Street transfer, how far north could you extend SAS into the Bronx using existing rail trackage?

            I doubt very far, but I don’t know.

            Does this seem like a conspiracy to you?

  • nolastname

    “Second Avenue Subway Construction Drill Pops Up on East 90th Street.”Found this.

  • nolastname

    I want to go back, waaaaay back when things were all above ground. To Plymouth Rock.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/34224145@N04/6851527075/in/photostream

  • Allan Rosen

    Andrew: Classon Avenue -

    Okay you have been following the discussion on Streetsblog.  How accurate do you think DOT’s counts can be when their seasonal adjustment shows July at peak ridership? They actually adjust their counts down for other times in the year when in fact they are as much as 20% higher and even greater than that in the weeks before Christmas.  They can’t even get the direction of the street right!

    Regarding traffic fatalities, why do I have to go to Streetsblog for someone to accuse me as a murderer when you do it right here by sarcastically asking me if I am satisfied  with the the traffic fatality rate implying that I think it is okay for people to die.  There can always be improvements but the fact is that traffic deaths are down across the country today as compared to 30 years ago.

    • Andrew

      Okay you have been following the discussion on Streetsblog.  

      I’m not aware of a discussion on Streetsblog.

      How accurate do you think DOT’s counts can be when their seasonal adjustment shows July at peak ridership? They actually adjust their counts down for other times in the year when in fact they are as much as 20% higher and even greater than that in the weeks before Christmas.  They can’t even get the direction of the street right!

      I think they’re a lot more accurate than your gut feelings.

      Regarding traffic fatalities, why do I have to go to Streetsblog for someone to accuse me as a murderer when you do it right here by sarcastically asking me if I am satisfied  with the the traffic fatality rate implying that I think it is okay for people to die.  There can always be improvements but the fact is that traffic deaths are down across the country today as compared to 30 years ago.

      I’m not calling you a murderer. I’m asking (not sarcastically) if you think the city’s current traffic fatality rate for pedestrians and cyclists is acceptable. Alhough it’s improved in recent years, I think it is still far from acceptable, and I’d like to see DOT implement more safety improvements. (I’d also like to see better NYPD enforcement of existing laws, like speeding and failure to yield, but that seems like a lost cause.)

      In any case, removing excess capacity to improve pedestrian safety is not anti-car.

      • Allan Rosen

        Removing excess capacity is not anti-car if in fact it is excess capacity.  If it slows traffic from 30 mph to 15 mph, that is not excess capacity that is vbeing removed.

        No answer to the traffic fatality rate that I would give you would satisfy you because you would take the position that even one death was one too many.

        If DOT told me that July was the peak for the Belt Parkway, I would have no trouble believing that because I know that highway has heavy beach traffic.  But there is no way I would believe that for Bedford Avenue. I trust my gut feelings better than anything DOT would tell me.

        Did you know that not all DOT so-called engineers are licensed engineers? It’s just an office title they use. 

        • Andrew

          Removing excess capacity is not anti-car if in fact it is excess capacity.  If it slows traffic from 30 mph to 15 mph, that is not excess capacity that is vbeing removed.

          Fortunately for you, there is lots and lots of excess capacity here. That’s why there’s such a safety problem – it’s easy for drivers to speed and do other stupid things which end up killing people.

          But I object strenuously to your implication that making any change that slows down traffic is necessarily anti-car. Sometimes there’s no way to accomplish a desired goal without slowing down cars. Car speeds don’t always need to be the highest priority of all (and saying that is not anti-car).

          Sadik-Khan has done an impressive job of making improvements that have minimal impacts on car speeds, in part because we’ve so overbuilt the car infrastructure over the past 60+ years, but it isn’t always possible. I hope she doesn’t shy away from safety or pedestrian or bus improvements even when drivers might have to slow down.

          No answer to the traffic fatality rate that I would give you would satisfy you because you would take the position that even one death was one too many.

          I didn’t ask you for a target rate. I asked you if you considered the current rate acceptable.

          If DOT told me that July was the peak for the Belt Parkway, I would have no trouble believing that because I know that highway has heavy beach traffic.  But there is no way I would believe that for Bedford Avenue. I trust my gut feelings better than anything DOT would tell me.

          Good for you.

          Did you know that not all DOT so-called engineers are licensed engineers? It’s just an office title they use.

          I don’t think it takes much formal training to read a counter.

          • Allan Rosen

            “Sometimes there’s no way to accomplish a desired goal without slowing down cars.”

            So if a study says that there are 30 percent fewer fatalities if speed limits  were reduced from 30 mph to 15 mph and another study shows that they would be reduced 50 percent if speed limits were 10 mph, and a third study showed they would further be reduced by 75% if speed limits were reduced to 5 mph, what would you lower the speed limit to?  5 mph, 10 mph or 15 mph?

            “we’ve so overbuilt the car infrastructure over the past 60+ years”

            You’ve got to be kidding.  The NYC street system was designed for horses and buggies, not for cars.  That’s why we have so much congestion.  If we were to design a street system today, it would never be the grid that we chose in 1811.
             
            What did we do between 1920 and 1950, add a few highways and boulevards that in your opinion we would have been better without?  In the past 60 years we have done virtually nothing to expand our highway system.  We’ve completed the LIE and the West Shore Expressway and started a few highways to nowhere: Willowbrook, Sheridan, Nassau Expressways and that’s about it. We have not overbuilt any car infrastructure.

            “I don’t think it takes much formal training to read a counter.”

            Is that all you expect of DOT Engineers?  They have to know what to do with those numbers too.

          • Andrew

            So if a study says that there are 30 percent fewer fatalities if speed limits  were reduced from 30 mph to 15 mph and another study shows that they would be reduced 50 percent if speed limits were 10 mph, and a third study showed they would further be reduced by 75% if speed limits were reduced to 5 mph, what would you lower the speed limit to?  5 mph, 10 mph or 15 mph?

            What location are we discussing here? What’s its pedestrian fatality history?

            “we’ve so overbuilt the car infrastructure over the past 60+ years”

            You’ve got to be kidding.  The NYC street system was designed for horses and buggies, not for cars.  That’s why we have so much congestion.  If we were to design a street system today, it would never be the grid that we chose in 1811.

            And many of those streets have been widened, at the expense of sidewalks, to make room for more and more and more cars – cars in motion and cars stored along the curb.

            Compare these two views of Park Avenue:

            http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=722239F&t=w
            http://binged.it/AdhzGA

            Or play with NYCityMap, where the aerial maps (click on the camera icon) go back to 1924. You can see how much space is set aside for cars now that wasn’t in 1924.

            And there were no detailed traffic analyses. Nobody sat down to evalute each proposed change based on the impact it would have on vehicular or pedestrian traffic. Sometimes these changes caused major reductions in capacity – see page 4 of this FHWA report. It took a while for anybody to realize that trying to redesign the city to accommodate anybody who might possibly want to drive a car was a losing battle – there simply isn’t enough space in the parts of the city that large numbers of people need to go to – and it took even longer to realize that many people have no particular desire to get around by car and are perfectly happy to use other suitable modes.

            What did we do between 1920 and 1950, add a few highways and boulevards that in your opinion we would have been better without?  In the past 60 years we have done virtually nothing to expand our highway system.  We’ve completed the LIE and the West Shore Expressway and started a few highways to nowhere: Willowbrook, Sheridan, Nassau Expressways and that’s about it. We have not overbuilt any car infrastructure.

            I don’t understand. There are plenty of cities that have been designed around cars. If that’s the sort of city you like, then maybe New York isn’t the best place for you. Have you considered moving to Atlanta or Phoenix?

            “I don’t think it takes much formal training to read a counter.”

            Is that all you expect of DOT Engineers?  They have to know what to do with those numbers too.

            You were arguing that the raw numbers were in error!

  • Allan Rosen

    More responses for Andrew:

    If you would have checked the link I provided in the article, you would see that amount of new retail space for East Side Access cited by the MTA on their website.

    “Why would you not count them? Shouldn’t you count them as benefitting all boroughs equally, or perhaps proportional to the track mileage in each borough?”

    It would have taken far more time to count them and if they benefit all boroughs equally counting them would not affect the percentages for the outer boroughs as compared to Manhattan which was the entire point of the exercise.

    Now you want to throw in the wrinkle that just because something is located in Manhattan, it could still primarily help people from Brooklyn. I could ask you to look at the other side.  Why would you say improvements to the Yankee Stadium stations in the Bronx primarily help people in the Bronx as opposed to the many Manhattanites who use that station? It works both ways.

    No method is perfect but it is logical to generally assume that a project in any specific borough helps that borough. Of course there are exceptions.  I counted improvements to TA offices at Livingston Plaza as helping Brooklynites when in fact that is not the case.

    If East Side Access is counted as LIRR instead of Manhattan, that does not change the fact that 4% of the capital budget goes to help Brooklyn specifically and 2% goes to the Bronx.

    Borough Hall tile was replaced to mark the IRT centennial in 2004. I also recall improvements to station entrances and the elevator installation so there was some type of rehab there.

    The yellow edge (which by the way costs $1400 per foot as opposed to that old orange stripe which cost only $300 per foot) was agreed upon with the disabled people who were fighting for safer edging. At least a dozen designs were tested and that was the one they favored. It was approved about a year after the 34th Street rehab was completed which used a different design that was complementary to the rest of the rehab.

    Asthetics aside, the ADA people wanted the MTA to rip out what was just put in and replace it with the new approved design for future rehabs.  Rightly so the MTA refused stating how that would not be a wise use of funds and the ADA people relented agreeing that edge treatments in prior rehabs could stay. That’s why I do not understand, unless it is falling apart already, why it needs to be replaced.

    • Andrew

      If you would have checked the link I provided in the article, you would see that amount of new retail space for East Side Access cited by the MTA on their website.

      Now I see it – on the front page. Have you looked at the project documents for details on where this retail space will be, what purpose it will serve, how much it will cost, how much rent it will bring in?

      (For someone who insists that the MTA should be providing detailed information to the public, you don’t seem to be very interested in the highly detailed information that the MTA has already provided to the public.)

      “Why would you not count them? Shouldn’t you count them as benefitting all boroughs equally, or perhaps proportional to the track mileage in each borough?”

      It would have taken far more time to count them and if they benefit all boroughs equally counting them would not affect the percentages for the outer boroughs as compared to Manhattan which was the entire point of the exercise.

      That’s mathematically incorrect. For example (and I’m using an arbitrary figure here), let’s say that the capital plan included $10 billion worth of projects evenly split between boroughs. Even if we accept your categorization (which I don’t), that brings your “Manhattan including 2nd Avenue and East Side Access” up to $8.8 billion and your “All Other Boroughs” category up to $13.5 billion. Brooklyn jumps from 8% to 12.5% of the capital budget.

      Now you want to throw in the wrinkle that just because something is located in Manhattan, it could still primarily help people from Brooklyn. I could ask you to look at the other side.  Why would you say improvements to the Yankee Stadium stations in the Bronx primarily help people in the Bronx as opposed to the many Manhattanites who use that station? It works both ways.

      Wrinkle? It’s basic honesty.

      The MTA provides transportation, and much of that transportation is between boroughs. By far the majority of subway rides between boroughs are outer borough residents traveling to or from Manhattan. Most turnstile swipes in Brooklyn are made by Brooklyn residents; most turnstile swipes in Manhattan are not made by Manhattan residents. That’s certainly not to say that Manhattan residents never leave Manhattan, but they do so in much, much smaller numbers than non-Manhattan residents enter Manhattan.

      I’ve given the example before of the new Broadway-Lafayette transfer now under construction. Very few Manhattan residents will be using the transfer – it will primarily be used by Brighton, Culver, West End, and Myrtle riders to transfer to the uptown Lex. Yet you denigrate it as a Manhattan improvement!

      And your classification as ESA as a Manhattan improvement rather than an LIRR improvement is absurd. It is a major improvement for LIRR riders bound for Midtown East. The only Manhattan residents who will benefit from it are Manhattan residents who ride the LIRR. Yet you don’t include it in your LIRR category. (Where did you categorize the 2010 signal improvements at Jamaica? Was that LIRR or was that Queens?)

      I don’t see the need to count dollars by borough, but if you think it’s important, then you should be counting by 

      No method is perfect but it is logical to generally assume that a project in any specific borough helps that borough.

      For a transportation system, such an assumption is highly illogical.

      Borough Hall tile was replaced to mark the IRT centennial in 2004.

      No it wasn’t. I used that station almost every day between 2003 and 2005 and I did not see any tiles replaced during that time. The same pockmarked tiles that you see now were there in 2003.

      (Why would a 1908 station be used to mark a centennial in 2004? Somebody had trouble counting to 100?)

      I also recall improvements to station entrances and the elevator installation so there was some type of rehab there.

      The elevators were installed in the late 80′s or very early 90′s. There were some other modest improvements made in the 80′s, such as the tiled platform seen here. I don’t know if the wall tiles were replaced then, but even if they were, they’ve been around since well before 2004.

      The yellow edge (which by the way costs $1400 per foot as opposed to that old orange stripe which cost only $300 per foot) was agreed upon with the disabled people who were fighting for safer edging. At least a dozen designs were tested and that was the one they favored. It was approved about a year after the 34th Street rehab was completed which used a different design that was complementary to the rest of the rehab.

      ADA is federal legislation, not a group of disabled people.

      Asthetics aside, the ADA people wanted the MTA to rip out what was just put in and replace it with the new approved design for future rehabs.  Rightly so the MTA refused stating how that would not be a wise use of funds and the ADA people relented agreeing that edge treatments in prior rehabs could stay. That’s why I do not understand, unless it is falling apart already, why it needs to be replaced.

      Perhaps the ADA people changed their minds and insisted on the new design. Or perhaps the platform edges needed to be replaced anyway. I don’t know.

      • Allan Rosen

        And how many years will it take the MTA to break even on all that space they are investing in real estate for East Side Access whose opening date has been fivce years in the future for the past 15 years and whose budget keeps escalating?

        I can’t swear it was for the IRT centenial, maybe it was for 2008.  But I do remember all the mosaics being cleaned and restored and missing tile replaced for the Borough Hall signs.  I was curious if they would also fix the pockmarked tile and they did.  I was even surprised what a good job they did to match the original tile on the south side of the platform. It woukl make no sense for them to do one side and not the other. There even was a ceremony when the work was completed which Markowitz attended.  I don’t think I dreamt it.  I guess it’s possible that the tile that is now pockmarked may not be the same tile that was replaced.

        • Andrew

          And how many years will it take the MTA to break even on all that space they are investing in real estate for East Side Access whose opening date has been fivce years in the future for the past 15 years and whose budget keeps escalating?

          I have no idea, nor do I care. Have you bothered to look in the project documents? For someone who insists that the MTA publish all of its findings in lengthy detail, you don’t seem to take advantage of the ones that already are.

          I can’t swear it was for the IRT centenial, maybe it was for 2008.  But I do remember all the mosaics being cleaned and restored and missing tile replaced for the Borough Hall signs.  I was curious if they would also fix the pockmarked tile and they did.  I was even surprised what a good job they did to match the original tile on the south side of the platform. It woukl make no sense for them to do one side and not the other. There even was a ceremony when the work was completed which Markowitz attended.  I don’t think I dreamt it.  I guess it’s possible that the tile that is now pockmarked may not be the same tile that was replaced.

          If it was that recent, you should have no trouble finding an online source for your claims. A news article? Press release? Blog post? Subchat post? Anything?

          • nolastname

            I am not following the thread but I go not have faith in ANY underground tunneling. 
            It is an interesting topic.

  • Allan Rosen

    “Congestion is when people must stop completely and cannot move.” 
    You have your definitions a little confused. Congestion means heavy traffic.  Gridlock is congestion at its most extreme when traaffic cannot move.  When someone’s arteries are congested blood flow slows down. It doesn’t stop. Similar thing happens when breathing. You don’t stop breathing when you are congested.
    Yes congestion can be caused simply by high traffic volumes, but double parked cars greatly increases congestion by taking lanes out of service or causing you to constantly shift lanes.

    Who commissioned the study is a very important question and has nothing to do with pre-conceived notions.  Look at all the medical studies sponsored by drug companies to increase sales of the drugs they sell.  You will never see them perform a study that would recommend natural remedies or vitamins.

    So by your pre-conceived notions if London was a success as you no doubtedly believe, therefore it just has to succeed in New York. Who cares if half the revenue goes to administration, you believe a ten percent reduction in vehicular traffic would be phenomenal even if that means the economy suffers because people may take their business elsewhere or just move outfrom the City because they are tired of being overtaxed.

    “No, but I still find myself riding buses in congested conditions on occasion.  A 37% improvement in travel time would be incredible.”

    No it wouldn’t.  You are trying to make the assumption that your travel time on a bus would be reduced by 37%. A significant portion of your trip is the wait time.  That would not change. Also, most bus trips in Manhattan tend to be short because the subway option exists for many for longer trips. So your crosstown bus trip of 3 mph would go up to 4.11 mph. That means your one-mile trip that previously took you 20 minutes plus ten minutes waiting or 30 minutes, will now take you about 14 minutes plus waiting or 24 minutes or a 20% savings or 6 minutes not a 37% savings.  Add the fact that so many buses use streets which already have exclusive bus lanes, and would barely benefit at all.  Congestion pricing comes with a high price and much inconvenience. Its benefits are often exaggerated which you just proved here. 

    • Andrew

      “Congestion is when people must stop completely and cannot move.”  
      You have your definitions a little confused. Congestion means heavy traffic.  Gridlock is congestion at its most extreme when traaffic cannot move.  When someone’s arteries are congested blood flow slows down. It doesn’t stop. Similar thing happens when breathing. You don’t stop breathing when you are congested.

      Make up your mind! On 2/13 you said “Congestion is when people must stop completely and cannot move.” Now you’re saying the opposite. Which is it?

      In fact, congestion is a general term that includes both slowed and stopped traffic.

      And gridlock, as famously defined by Sam Schwartz, is a specific form of congestion that can be avoided through strict enforcement of don’t-block-the-box rules.

      Yes congestion can be caused simply by high traffic volumes, but double parked cars greatly increases congestion by taking lanes out of service or causing you to constantly shift lanes.

      Congestion pricing is of greatest value on the approaches to the bridges to Manhattan. Are you suggesting that Flatbush Avenue backs up every morning because a car is double parked on the Manhattan Bridge?

      Who commissioned the study is a very important question and has nothing to do with pre-conceived notions.  Look at all the medical studies sponsored by drug companies to increase sales of the drugs they sell.  You will never see them perform a study that would recommend natural remedies or vitamins.

      I don’t think it was commissioned by a business with a stake in the matter. Do you?

      So by your pre-conceived notions if London was a success as you no doubtedly believe, therefore it just has to succeed in New York. Who cares if half the revenue goes to administration, you believe a ten percent reduction in vehicular traffic would be phenomenal even if that means the economy suffers because people may take their business elsewhere or just move outfrom the City because they are tired of being overtaxed.

      Congestion hurts the economy tremendously. The cost of the congestion itself far exceeds the proposed charge. 

      Congestion pricing is a basic economic solution to a classic example of a tragedy of the commons. Economics works if it’s given a chance.

      No it wouldn’t.  You are trying to make the assumption that your travel time on a bus would be reduced by 37%. A significant portion of your trip is the wait time.  That would not change. Also, most bus trips in Manhattan tend to be short because the subway option exists for many for longer trips. So your crosstown bus trip of 3 mph would go up to 4.11 mph. That means your one-mile trip that previously took you 20 minutes plus ten minutes waiting or 30 minutes, will now take you about 14 minutes plus waiting or 24 minutes or a 20% savings or 6 minutes not a 37% savings.  Add the fact that so many buses use streets which already have exclusive bus lanes, and would barely benefit at all.  Congestion pricing comes with a high price and much inconvenience. Its benefits are often exaggerated which you just proved here.  

      I’d be thrilled to shave 6 minutes off a 20 minute bus ride!

      (Why do you assume 10 minutes waiting? Most of the buses I ride run more frequently than 20 minutes.)

      There is little inconvenience to congestion pricing, and the cost would only fall on those who drive into the CBD during the proposed pricing hours. Anybody who doesn’t drive, or who drives outside the CBD, or who drives into the CBD during off-peak hours wouldn’t pay. Some people who drive into the CBD during peak hours do so for a good reason (e.g., to make a delivery), and would probably benefit from the reduced congestion more than they would pay, because they tend to be time-sensitive. The ones who are really hurt are they ones who drive into the CBD without particularly good reasons. And you’ll have to forgive me for not having much sympathy for those who drive into the CBD during peak hours just because they feel like it.

      • Allan Rosen

        Flatbush Avenue is backed up because of heavy volumes and because of double parking. It is not backed up because there are too many cars trying to get on the bridge as you suggest. The delay occurs getting off the bridge at Canal Street because of backups there. Cars get on the bridge at a faster rate than they can get off. You will often see cars doing the speed limit until they get to the end of the bridge, and then have to wait four four or five cycles to get off.Congestion Pricing would not relieve congestion. Reducing it by 10% is hardly a cure, and a 50% administration cost is just extremely inefficient and dumb. You would never accept that type of overhead anywhere else. And arguing with you is useless because you just keep changing the subject. You stated that if implemented here bus trips would take 37% less. When I proved to you that once you factor in wait time it is only 20%, your response is that you would be thrilled to save 6 minutes. You try to mislead by stating you only would have to pay during peak hours which most think of as rush hours. Congestion Pricing is proposed from 6 AM to 6PM Mon through Friday. If you think they won’t extend those hours once the system is in place, you are very naive. It would be extended to 9PM or midnight or even perhaps for all 24 hours and weekends. They would just make the rates lower than the peak, charging perhaps $3 after 6 PM and $1 after midnight, but no way is it going to remain free to drive into Manhattan.Congestion pricing would mean more crowded trains because the MTA will not or cannot provide more service where needed and just amounts to more taxes for people who cannot afford it. And you don’t even know how much additional dollars will go to transit or if the state won’t just reduce MTA funding further to reflect additional monies coming in from congestion pricing. Everything you say is conjecture which you criticize me for.And don’t try to tell me that only rich people who can afford to pay, drive into the City when you don’t even consider someone making $150,000 a year to be rich.Being young you are far too trusting of government. I still remember the promises made how the money from the TBTA bridges to the MTA would mean the end of the MTA’s financial problems because of a steady stream of revenue coming in. At least my conjecture is based on history.

        • Andrew

          Flatbush Avenue is backed up because of heavy volumes and because of double parking.

          And which do you think is the limiting factor on Flatbush Avenue approaching the Manhattan Bridge in the morning rush?

          It is not backed up because there are too many cars trying to get on the bridge as you suggest.

          Actually, it is.

          The delay occurs getting off the bridge at Canal Street because of backups there. Cars get on the bridge at a faster rate than they can get off. You will often see cars doing the speed limit until they get to the end of the bridge, and then have to wait four four or five cycles to get off.

          I asked about the delay on Flatbush Avenue, not the delay getting off the bridge.

          But if you want to look at the delays getting off the bridge, we can do that too. The bridge touches down in one of the most densely populated urban neighborhoods anywhere, and most of the public land in the area is already devoted to cars and trucks. Working within that context, what changes would you recommend?

          Congestion Pricing would not relieve congestion.

          Contrary to your belief, the laws of economics apply to traffic. Here’s an article from 1994 that’s no less relevant today than it was 18 years ago.

          Reducing it by 10% is hardly a cure, and a 50% administration cost is just extremely inefficient and dumb.

          Reducing traffic volumes by 10% is enough to turn congestion into free flow.

          Nobody is proposing a 50% administration cost.

          And arguing with you is useless because you just keep changing the subject. You stated that if implemented here bus trips would take 37% less. When I proved to you that once you factor in wait time it is only 20%, your response is that you would be thrilled to save 6 minutes.

          I didn’t say anything about 37%. You did.

          You try to mislead by stating you only would have to pay during peak hours which most think of as rush hours.

          Allan, you’re the one who jumped in, almost two weeks ago, with this gem: “No one has suggested congestion pricing only during congested times. It was for all times perhaps except midnight to 6 AM.”

          I responded later that day and, citing both of the official 2007-2008 congestion pricing proposals, set the record straight: “Whose congestion pricing system did you have in mind? Because the mayor’s original 2007 proposal and the Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission’s early 2008 recommendation were both in effect from 6 am to 6 pm only.”

          Who is trying to mislead? I gave the exact times, along with proof. You’re the one who pulled times out of your ass.

          Congestion Pricing is proposed from 6 AM to 6PM Mon through Friday.

          Glad we finally agree. (Except that there’s no active proposal right now.)

          If you think they won’t extend those hours once the system is in place, you are very naive. It would be extended to 9PM or midnight or even perhaps for all 24 hours and weekends. They would just make the rates lower than the peak, charging perhaps $3 after 6 PM and $1 after midnight, but no way is it going to remain free to drive into Manhattan.

          Allan, do you have any notion of how the legislative process works? If the legislation states that congestion pricing will be in effect from 6 am to 6 pm on weekdays, then it won’t be in effect outside of those hours, and only Albany has the power to change that.

          Congestion pricing would mean more crowded trains because the MTA will not or cannot provide more service where needed and just amounts to more taxes for people who cannot afford it.

          And the MTA had specific plans to address the additional ridership, both in the way of short-term service increases and long-term capital investments. People take up a lot less space on trains than in cars, so it doesn’t take all that many trains to absorb thousands of former drivers.

          A direct user fee is not a tax, and the average income of households with cars is substantially higher than the average income of households without. http://www.tstc.org/reports/cpsheets/CP_factsheets_NYCcouncil.php

          And you don’t even know how much additional dollars will go to transit or if the state won’t just reduce MTA funding further to reflect additional monies coming in from congestion pricing.

          Did you read the proposed legislation which I posted on Feb. 9?

          Everything you say is conjecture which you criticize me for.

          The sources that I cite are not conjecture.

          And don’t try to tell me that only rich people who can afford to pay, drive into the City when you don’t even consider someone making $150,000 a year to be rich.

          I didn’t say anything about rich people.

          Being young you are far too trusting of government.

          Young? How young am I? When have I revealed my age?

          I still remember the promises made how the money from the TBTA bridges to the MTA would mean the end of the MTA’s financial problems because of a steady stream of revenue coming in. At least my conjecture is based on history.

          Do you understand the difference between soundbites and legislation?

          • Allan Rosen

            “Reducing traffic volumes by 10% is enough to turn congestion into free flow.”

            Says who?  That would only be true if existing traffic were only ten percent too much.  No one has said that was the case. It is most likely much higher.

            “Nobody is proposing a 50% administration cost.”

            That is what I recall from my reading about congestion pricing.  If you can find different information, please share it.

            “I didn’t say anything about 37%. You did.”

            Not so.  You first cited that number as the travel time buses saved in London.

            Who is trying to mislead? I gave the exact times”

            You mentioned the 6AM Mon-Fri elsewhere in the post after a whole paragraph discussing how only drivers who bring their car during the peak period would be penalized.  When someone sees the phrase “peak period, they think of rush hours only, not 6AM to 6PM which is 50% of the workweek.

            “And the MTA had specific plans to address the additional ridership”

            Yes a few new bus routes.

            “it doesn’t take all that many trains to absorb thousands of former drivers.”

            You mentioned earlier that some lines are at full capacity.  Also, where are those drivers going to park their cars so they can take those trains?  We are not building any new park and ride lots. Or do you assume that they all have convenient access to the train right now?  They don’t.  That’s the reason they are in their car in the first place.

            “it won’t be in effect outside of those hours, and only Albany has the power to change that.”

            And how difficult do you think it would be to get Albany’s approval to change it once they have approved the initial plan?

            The City only needs to make a case that the intended revenue fell short and explain revenue projections if hours or days were extended. That would not be difficult at all to prove that there is also midtown congestion on Saturday and Sunday because there is.  In some cases it is worse than weekday congestion.

            “I didn’t say anything about rich people.”

            What you said was…
            “A direct user fee is not a tax, and the average income of households with cars is substantially higher than the average income of households without.”

            That implies that car drivers can afford to pay a congestion pricing fee andrelying solely on averages can be very misleading. The rate of car ownership is more closely related to the adequacy of mass transit and parking availabilty than it is to income.

          • Andrew

            “Reducing traffic volumes by 10% is enough to turn congestion into free flow.”

            Says who?  That would only be true if existing traffic were only ten percent too much.  No one has said that was the case. It is most likely much higher.

            The relationship between traffic volumes and congestion is not linear.

            See the end of page 3 (obviously focused on congestion on highways rather than congestion on streets, but the idea is transferable): “Tables 5.5.3-2 indicates that reducing traffic volume from 2,000 to 1,800 vehicles per hour (a 10% reduction) shifts a roadway from LOS E to LOS D, which increases traffic speeds about 15 mph (a 30% increase). This indicates that on a congested roadway, small reductions in traffic volumes can provide relatively large reductions in delays.”

            “Nobody is proposing a 50% administration cost.”

            That is what I recall from my reading about congestion pricing.  If you can find different information, please share it.

            That was one of the critiques of the London plan. It never applied in New York.

            From the Commission Recommendation, footnote 5: “The capital cost of the Commission’s plan is estimated at $73 million and the annual operating cost is estimated at $62 million.” With an estimated net revenue of $491 million, that’s 13% annual overhead. Still more than I’d prefer, but far, far less than 50%.

            “I didn’t say anything about 37%. You did.”

            Not so.  You first cited that number as the travel time buses saved in London.

            No, this comment of yours, on 2/13 at 1:09 am, was the first mention of 37%.

            Who is trying to mislead? I gave the exact times”

            You mentioned the 6AM Mon-Fri elsewhere in the post after a whole paragraph discussing how only drivers who bring their car during the peak period would be penalized.  When someone sees the phrase “peak period, they think of rush hours only, not 6AM to 6PM which is 50% of the workweek.

            Speak for yourself. I don’t think that most people who are in the process of reading about something proposed to be in effect 12 hours a day will suddenly jump to rush hours. I think it was pretty clear. If it wasn’t clear to you then, have I clarified sufficiently for you? There was no intent to mislead.

            “And the MTA had specific plans to address the additional ridership”

            Yes a few new bus routes.

            And more trains, including an amended capital plan.

            “it doesn’t take all that many trains to absorb thousands of former drivers.”

            You mentioned earlier that some lines are at full capacity.  

            And most aren’t. Most subway lines have room to absorb more riders. Many also have room for more trains, and each train has capacity for 1100-1450 passengers.

            Also, where are those drivers going to park their cars so they can take those trains?  

            Most of them will probably park at home and take the bus to the train if they aren’t in walking distance, as most of their neighbors do. (Why, some of their neighbors don’t even own cars!)

            We are not building any new park and ride lots.

            I sure hope not. The space near a subway station is very valuable for residences and businesses, as they can be reached easily without cars. The city should certainly not be taking over transit-oriented development near subway stations so that the land can be used for storage of cars owned by people who choose to live far from the subway but aren’t willing to ride the bus!

            If there is a market for parking, then I’m sure a private developer will step in and voluntarily provide that parking. But near a subway station, I doubt that parking is more lucrative than housing or commercial uses, so don’t get your hopes up.

            Or do you assume that they all have convenient access to the train right now?  They don’t.  That’s the reason they are in their car in the first place.

            No it’s not. The reason they are in their car is that they’ve decided that the cost they are charged to drive to work is worth paying. (Some of them are government employees with parking placards, so they don’t pay to store their cars in Manhattan either.) If the cost is raised and the transit system is improved, many of them will decide that transit has become the better deal.

            “it won’t be in effect outside of those hours, and only Albany has the power to change that.”

            And how difficult do you think it would be to get Albany’s approval to change it once they have approved the initial plan?

            Quite difficult. Have you seen how hard it has been for the city to get Albany’s approval for pretty much anything?

            “I didn’t say anything about rich people.”

            What you said was…
            “A direct user fee is not a tax, and the average income of households with cars is substantially higher than the average income of households without.”

            That implies that car drivers can afford to pay a congestion pricing fee andrelying solely on averages can be very misleading.

            No, it simply implies that congestion pricing is not regressive. The people who would pay into congestion pricing would, on average, have greater incomes than the transit riders who would see the most direct benefits.

            The rate of car ownership is more closely related to the adequacy of mass transit and parking availabilty than it is to income.

            It’s related to all of the above. Did you click on the link to the fact sheets that show the average income of vehicle-owning households and non-vehicle-owning households? In every district, the average income of vehicle-owning households is substantially higher.

            If you are concerned with making transportation affordable for New Yorkers of limited means, don’t focus on cars, since that’s not how they tend to get around. Focus on other transportation options, like transit and walking and biking.

          • Allan Rosen

            “See the end of page 3 (obviously focused on congestion on highways rather than congestion on streets”

            No the idea is not transferable.  On highways, you do not have frequent lane blockages due to Con Ed or Verizon trucks making utility repairs, double parkers every block, taxis stopping to pick up and discharge, etc, all of which lead to stopping and mergers which cause most of the delays.

            On the highways, the only time that happens is when there is an accident or a highway turns from a three lane roadway to a two lane roadway.  Most highways have breakdown lanes so disabled cars don’t even require mergers.
            On highways most congestion is due solely to volume.  That is not the case on city streets.

            “that’s 13% annual overhead. Still more than I’d prefer, but far, far less than 50%.”

            I don’t know how you are doing your arithmetic because you don’t explain over what time period the capital costs are being spread out over and the construction costs are five years old.

            “No, this comment of yours, on 2/13 at 1:09 am, was the first mention of 37%.”

            We’re not talking about the same 37%. I was merely pointing out how it is possible to mislead using percentages.  Although traffic speeds increased by 37%, it only represented an increase from 8 mph to 11 mph which is still incredibly slow.  The 37% you were speaking about referred to bus travel times increasing by 37%.  You then commented that you would be delighted for your trip to take 37% less. I then corrected you because you were not factoring in wait times so a bus saving 37% in travel time does not translate into you saving 37% in your trip time.  And you brought up that 37% first.

            “Most subway lines have room to absorb more riders.”

            But are those the lines that the additional people would want to use? Most likely they would want the ones that already operating at near full capacity where may not be possible to add any trains at the times they wish to ride.

            “Most of them will probably park at home and take the bus to the train if they aren’t in walking distance, as most of their neighbors do.”

            And why do you suppose they aren’t taking the train now like their neighbors do?  Perhaps they have a good reason like their job entails the use of equipment they cannot take on the subway or it is an elderly person who cannot walk steps who is visiting a relative at one of the many hospitals in the congestion zone.  Now because of the extra cost he will have to call Access-a-Ride which will increase costs to the MTA. Not everyone who brings his car into Manhattan is a selfish automobile owner.  Some have legitimate reasons.

            (We are not building any new park and ride lots.) “I sure hope not.”

            Yes, why should we make it too easy for someone who drives into Manhattan to leave his car somewhere and easily get on a train.  Make him wait for that unreliable slow local bus in all types of whether and then let him transfer to a train. That will surely get him to use mass transit.

            “The reason they are in their car is that they’ve decided that the cost they are charged to drive to work is worth paying. (Some of them are government employees with parking placards, so they don’t pay to store their cars in Manhattan either.)”

            And how exactly will congestion pricing discourage government employees with parking placards from driving into Manhattan?  Does the report specifically state that government employees such as police officers will not be issued some type of exemption pass so they do not have to pay? The police believe they are entitled to drive to work which is why they are all allowed to illegally park around every single police precinct. If they will now be required to pay to enter Manhattan, I’m sure the Police Officers’ Union will have something to say about that.

            Yes, I did click on that fact sheet for my district. I noticed it was produced by the people for congestion pricing and saw how they are trying to mislead by stating that 97.1% of the people in my district would not be affected. They automatically excluded people who carpool into the Congestion zone which happen to be 50% of the people driving there.  Why should they be excluded?  Aren’t they also affected by congestion pricing?

            They also state that 67% of the people in my district don’t even work in the congestion zone. To determine how people are affected your universe where you draw your percentages from should only be the people who need to travel into the CBD. The only reason to include those who travel elsewhere is to make it appear like practically no one is affected by congestion pricing which is not true and you do that by repeatedly citing small percentage numbers like 2 or 3% without every placing actual numbers to those percentages like this report does.

            If you want me to change my opinions on congestion pricing, show me an objective report, not one where the statistics are  gathered by the same people who are supporting it.

            “If you are concerned with making transportation affordable for New Yorkers of limited means, don’t focus on cars, since that’s not how they tend to get around. Focus on other transportation options, like transit and walking and biking.”

            How is being against congestion pricing the same as supporting cars for people of limited means? I really don’t see the connection.  And how do we focus on walking and biking for people of limited means? Give them vouchers to buy sneakers or bicycles so they can walk or bike ten miles to work?  Maybe we should also buy them ponchos so they don’t get wet on days it rains when they bike to work? Oh I know. Put a bike lane on every street and reduce traffic lanes so we can get rid of those damn evil cars driven by those monsters who have nothing better to do but rundown those pedestrians who dare to cross the street.

             

          • Andrew

            No the idea is not transferable.  On highways, you do not have frequent lane blockages due to Con Ed or Verizon trucks making utility repairs, double parkers every block, taxis stopping to pick up and discharge, etc, all of which lead to stopping and mergers which cause most of the delays.

            On the highways, the only time that happens is when there is an accident or a highway turns from a three lane roadway to a two lane roadway.  Most highways have breakdown lanes so disabled cars don’t even require mergers. 
            On highways most congestion is due solely to volume.  That is not the case on city streets.

            I said that the idea is transferable, not that the details are identical. 

            If you’ve studied basic traffic engineering, you’re familiar with the LOS (Level of Service) concept, in which a letter grade between A and F is assigned depending on how freely the traffic is flowing. The improvement in flow from E to D is substantial, but the reduction in volume necessary to achieve that improvement is small.

            And if you haven’t studied basic traffic engineering, I suggest you pick up a textbook or take a class. You may be surprised at how often your gut feeling is wrong.

            “that’s 13% annual overhead. Still more than I’d prefer, but far, far less than 50%.”

            I don’t know how you are doing your arithmetic because you don’t explain over what time period the capital costs are being spread out over and the construction costs are five years old.

            I divided the operating cost by the estimated net revenue. I didn’t include the capital cost. But including the capital cost still won’t get you close to 50% – even amortizing over a short period like 5 years only brings the overhead up to 16%.

            “No, this comment of yours, on 2/13 at 1:09 am, was the first mention of 37%.”

            We’re not talking about the same 37%. I was merely pointing out how it is possible to mislead using percentages.  Although traffic speeds increased by 37%, it only represented an increase from 8 mph to 11 mph which is still incredibly slow.  The 37% you were speaking about referred to bus travel times increasing by 37%.  You then commented that you would be delighted for your trip to take 37% less. I then corrected you because you were not factoring in wait times so a bus saving 37% in travel time does not translate into you saving 37% in your trip time.  And you brought up that 37% first.

            You brought up 37% and I responded to your 37%.

            “Most subway lines have room to absorb more riders.”

            But are those the lines that the additional people would want to use? Most likely they would want the ones that already operating at near full capacity where may not be possible to add any trains at the times they wish to ride.

            All lines except the E, the Bronx 2/3/4/5/6, and the L have room to spare during the peak hour.

            “Most of them will probably park at home and take the bus to the train if they aren’t in walking distance, as most of their neighbors do.”

            And why do you suppose they aren’t taking the train now like their neighbors do?  

            Because they’ve discovered that the value of driving into Manhattan is greater than the cost. If the cost is increased, then some will no longer find it worthwhile to drive, and others will continue to drive but will pay a price closer to the value they assign.

            Perhaps they have a good reason like their job entails the use of equipment they cannot take on the subway

            In which case they most likely benefit substantially from the reduced congestion. If they can move around the city faster, they can schedule more service visits per day.

            or it is an elderly person who cannot walk steps who is visiting a relative at one of the many hospitals in the congestion zone.  Now because of the extra cost he will have to call Access-a-Ride which will increase costs to the MTA.

            Nonsense. The number of elderly people who cannot walk steps but who can safely drive a car is very, very small, and for an $8 charge, many would continue to drive. Yes, there would be an increase in AAR calls, but the additional costs to answer those calls would still be tiny compared to the revenues brought in by the congestion pricing program.

            Not everyone who brings his car into Manhattan is a selfish automobile owner.  Some have legitimate reasons.

            I’m sure all have legitimate reasons, or else they’d stay home. Contrary to what you assume, I don’t think there is anything evil about driving a car. I just think that driving a car in a congested part of a congested city imposes a significant cost, far greater than $8, on others.

            (We are not building any new park and ride lots.) “I sure hope not.”

            Yes, why should we make it too easy for someone who drives into Manhattan to leave his car somewhere and easily get on a train.  Make him wait for that unreliable slow local bus in all types of whether and then let him transfer to a train. That will surely get him to use mass transit.

            How nice of you to put words in my mouth – after snipping what I actually wrote: “The space near a subway station is very valuable for residences and businesses, as they can be reached easily without cars. The city should certainly not be taking over transit-oriented development near subway stations so that the land can be used for storage of cars owned by people who choose to live far from the subway but aren’t willing to ride the bus!”

            Do you really fail to understand this? Do you really think the city should kick people out of their homes – homes that they picked because they are near a subway station! – in order to provide parking for people who choose to live far away from a subway station and consider it beneath their dignity to ride the bus?

            Do you realize that, if the city were to adopt such a policy, it would serve only to increase car ownership rates, and therefore increase congestion and make it more difficult to find parking everywhere else?

            I’ve referred several times in the past to Donald Shoup’s work on parking. Have you read anything he’s written?

            “The reason they are in their car is that they’ve decided that the cost they are charged to drive to work is worth paying. (Some of them are government employees with parking placards, so they don’t pay to store their cars in Manhattan either.)”

            And how exactly will congestion pricing discourage government employees with parking placards from driving into Manhattan?  

            The same way it would discourage anybody else.

            Does the report specifically state that government employees such as police officers will not be issued some type of exemption pass so they do not have to pay?

            No, nor does the report specifically state that people named Allan won’t be issued some type of exemption pass.

            The police believe they are entitled to drive to work which is why they are all allowed to illegally park around every single police precinct.

            They are only “allowed” to illegally park because their fellow police officers are responsible for enforcement of parking laws, and, as they often say, “we do not ticket our own.” The police would not be responsible for the collection of the congestion pricing charge.

            If they will now be required to pay to enter Manhattan, I’m sure the Police Officers’ Union will have something to say about that.

            The union is well aware that free parking on the sidewalk is not an actual job benefit. And what of the many placards issued to employees of other city agencies? Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan are full of curbs designated for placard holders.

            Yes, I did click on that fact sheet for my district. I noticed it was produced by the people for congestion pricing and saw how they are trying to mislead by stating that 97.1% of the people in my district would not be affected. They automatically excluded people who carpool into the Congestion zone which happen to be 50% of the people driving there.  Why should they be excluded?  Aren’t they also affected by congestion pricing?

            If it makes you happier, include the 1.5% carpooling to the CPZ. That still leaves 95.6% unaffected.

            But in case you’ve forgotten, it’s the average household incomes that I was pointing to – in your district’s case, $27,527 for households without a vehicle and $66,600 for households with a vehicle.

            They also state that 67% of the people in my district don’t even work in the congestion zone. To determine how people are affected your universe where you draw your percentages from should only be the people who need to travel into the CBD. The only reason to include those who travel elsewhere is to make it appear like practically no one is affected by congestion pricing which is not true and you do that by repeatedly citing small percentage numbers like 2 or 3% without every placing actual numbers to those percentages like this report does.

            Nonsense. These fact sheets were developed to inform elected officials (that’s why they’re organized by City Council district or State Assembly district or State Senate district or U.S. Congressional district) of their potential voters’ interests. The 67% who don’t work in the CPZ have as much right to vote as the 33% who do.

            If you want me to change my opinions on congestion pricing, show me an objective report, not one where the statistics are  gathered by the same people who are supporting it.

            This is not a report! (If you’re looking for a report, have you tried Google?)

            “If you are concerned with making transportation affordable for New Yorkers of limited means, don’t focus on cars, since that’s not how they tend to get around. Focus on other transportation options, like transit and walking and biking.”

            How is being against congestion pricing the same as supporting cars for people of limited means? I really don’t see the connection.  

            It isn’t, but you expressed concern that drivers wouldn’t be able to afford the congestion pricing charge. 

            And how do we focus on walking and biking for people of limited means?

            We focus on walking and biking, period. (And transit, which for some reason you omitted.) We take the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists into account. We ensure that our streets are safe and useful for pedestrians and for bicyclists.

            Give them vouchers to buy sneakers or bicycles so they can walk or bike ten miles to work?  Maybe we should also buy them ponchos so they don’t get wet on days it rains when they bike to work? Oh I know. Put a bike lane on every street and reduce traffic lanes so we can get rid of those damn evil cars driven by those monsters who have nothing better to do but rundown those pedestrians who dare to cross the street.

            If you want to put words in my mouth, couldn’t you at least find something more interesting for me to say?

  • Allan Rosen

    To Andrew:

    “I don’t hesitate to admit when I’m wrong.”

    Well start admitting.  The M10 and M20 do not overlap by over a mile.  It is less than a half mile overlap.

    You make a comment that politicians are apain in the ass, and when I point out one who isn’t, you change the subject, to How about we go with the generic politician who probably voted to reduce transit funding.  Then you accuse me of writing speculation.  Guess its okay for you to speculate, however.

    I post some speculation, based on what has occured in the past.  I have no vendetta.

    You are worried about the MTA losing its best employees to the private sector. The economy is so bad, the private sector waving jobs at MTA employees.  You are so concerned about managers not receiving high enough increases, but you are dead set against union employees getting any increases.  Guess they don’t have to keep up with inflation like $150,000 managers do.

    “You don’t think the press would immediately pick up on a raise that immediately follows a fare increase?”

    They haven’t in the past.

    Can’t find an article regarding the IG investigation of 2 Broadway, but I found this which is what he was investigating, and then was terminated shortly thereafter. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE4DA1F30F935A2575AC0A9629C8B63&&scp=2&sq=2%20Broadway+MTA&st=cse

    Respect is being honest and treating people with dignity; it’s not talking down to people and acting superior and arrogant.

    And since that is how the MTA treats many, I can only assume that is how they treat the unions also. In a private discussion I had with a high Operations Planning official last September, I was told to not challenge any responses they give me and just accept a No as a No even if I know their response makes no sense. That is arrogance and not treating someone with respect saying I don’t have a right to question them.

    You asked me to post a few of my proposals and their responses, verbatim because you say I misunderstood them or read their responses with prejudices in my mind.
    I did.  So did I misunderstand their responses or did they just manufacture a reason to reject my proposal by saying a high volume of passengers would have to transfer because when they discontinued the route.  Their statement became that the route was not necessary due to light ridership a few years later? Ridership patterns did not change so drastically in a few years from very heavy to light, yet you will not admit that they did not examine the proposals fairly.

    And if my other proposal to spell out RCA was not necessary, why did they change their signs a few years later? And according to you, no signs were even necessary at all because it is so obvious not to stand on a narrow platform, although passengers were standing there.

    There is just no way you will admit changing those signs was a good idea, or a six inch clearance for a single passenger exit at Dekalb Avenue posed a hazardous situation as I pointed out and that suggestion should have been accepted.  Yet you state that you don’t hesitate to admit when you are wrong.
     

    • Andrew

      Well start admitting.  The M10 and M20 do not overlap by over a mile.  It is less than a half mile overlap.

      I said that “When the M10 and M20 were split, they overlapped for more than a mile.” When they were split, the M10 ran to Penn Station.

      The M10 was a victim of the 2010 service cuts, trimmed to 59th.

      You make a comment that politicians are apain in the ass, and when I point out one who isn’t, you change the subject, to How about we go with the generic politician who probably voted to reduce transit funding.  Then you accuse me of writing speculation.  Guess its okay for you to speculate, however.

      Let me get this straight. My statement that politicians voted to reduce transit funding is speculation? Have you read any newspapers in the past four years?

      I post some speculation, based on what has occured in the past.  I have no vendetta.

      No, sir, no vendetta at all.

      You are worried about the MTA losing its best employees to the private sector. The economy is so bad, the private sector waving jobs at MTA employees.  

      Excuse me?

      You are so concerned about managers not receiving high enough increases, but you are dead set against union employees getting any increases.  Guess they don’t have to keep up with inflation like $150,000 managers do.

      The 2009-2011 contract included raises far in excess of inflation. According to you, managers got nothing during that time.

      By the way, the MTA is willing to give raises to union members as long as they’re offset by savings. How about OPTO?

      Can’t find an article regarding the IG investigation of 2 Broadway, but I found this which is what he was investigating, and then was terminated shortly thereafter.

      Thanks for trying, but I’m well aware of the 2 Broadway issue. I’m looking for backup for your IG claims.

      Respect is being honest and treating people with dignity; it’s not talking down to people and acting superior and arrogant.

      Maybe I’m dense, but I don’t know what you mean. Please be specific. What exactly should the MTA tell the union?

      And since that is how the MTA treats many, I can only assume that is how they treat the unions also. In a private discussion I had with a high Operations Planning official last September, I was told to not challenge any responses they give me and just accept a No as a No even if I know their response makes no sense. That is arrogance and not treating someone with respect saying I don’t have a right to question them.

      Sounds like they’ve figured out how to deal with you. You complain and complain and complain that the MTA doesn’t publicize detailed planning studies, except that when the MTA publicizes detailed planning studies, you don’t look at them and continue to complain.

      I should probably take a lesson from them.  

      You asked me to post a few of my proposals and their responses, verbatim because you say I misunderstood them or read their responses with prejudices in my mind.
      I did.  

      No you didn’t. I still haven’t seen your word-for-word (“verbatim”) proposals – all you posted was a few sentences of one response.

      So did I misunderstand their responses or did they just manufacture a reason

      I don’t know. Post your full proposal and their full response.

      And if my other proposal to spell out RCA was not necessary, why did they change their signs a few years later?

      This may come as a surprise, but you weren’t the only one to notice the RCA issue. Here’s somebody who caught it in 2003. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a running joke for a while. It looked stupid but it wasn’t a safety issue.

      And according to you, no signs were even necessary at all because it is so obvious not to stand on a narrow platform, although passengers were standing there.

      And passengers still stand in restricted clearance areas.

      There is just no way you will admit changing those signs was a good idea,

      I didn’t say it was a bad idea. I just don’t think it was much of a breakthrough.

      I once saw a misspelled sign. I sent an email to the MTA and it was fixed. Yay for me, but I don’t expect any sort of recognition.

      or a six inch clearance for a single passenger exit at Dekalb Avenue posed a hazardous situation as I pointed out

      Your complaint was with the language on the signs or with the actual placement of the construction barricades? There’s a big difference.

      • Allan Rosen

        “Excuse me?”

        Typo.  What I meant to say was: You are worried about the MTA losing its best employees to the private sector. The economy is so bad, the private sector isn’t exactly waving jobs at MTA employees.

        “The 2009-2011 contract included raises far in excess of inflation.”

        I wasn’talking about that contract.  I was referring to the current contract negotiations where you don’t think the union deserves any raises without givebacks while managers need to keep up with inflation.  Why doesn’t keeping up with inflation also apply to union members?

        “What exactly should the MTA tell the union? (Respect Issue)

        It’s not what they should tell the union.  Respect is your general demeanor and how you treat and address people. The union has longed complained that the MTA does not treat them with respect. Jay Walder did much to antagonize them. Hopefully, Lhota will be better in that regard.

        “Sounds like they’ve figured out how to deal with you. You complain and complain and complain that the MTA doesn’t publicize detailed planning studies, except that when the MTA publicizes detailed planning studies, you don’t look at them and continue to complain.”

        You are just unbelievable. I asked them to look into an alternate proposal for the B44 SBS. They promised they would under the condition that if they reject it for any reason even if I know for a fact that their reason is BS, I should not challenge them and just accept their logic.

        You think that is perfectly acceptable for the MTA to speak to me or anyone in that manner?

        And which detailed study are you referring to that I didn’t look at and should have looked at where my complaining was not justified?

        “I still haven’t seen your word-for-word (“verbatim”) proposals – all you posted was a few sentences of one response.”

        What you are asking for is clearly not possible to reproduce here.  Each proposal was from 1 to 4 pages long.  Responses were 1 or 2 pages long. There were at least 40 proposals made over a period of several years.  The stack is two inches thick as I already explained.  And you are asking I post all or some of that here?  Are you for real?

        What I did was post one of their reasons for not splitting the B4, that a “high number” (unquantified) would have to transfer, but a few years later they discontinued that part of the route entirely because total ridership, not only those that would have had to transfer, was too low.

        The purpose of posting that was to show you that the reason they gave me could not possibly be true unless ridership patterns on the route drastically changed in a few years which it didn’t. The purpose of posting it verbatim was to counter your assertion that I was misinterpreting their responses.

        You just can’t admit that I am correct so you ask for an impossibiilty, that I should post several hundred pages here in the comments.

        As far as the RCA proposal, Dekalb Avenue did not include that explanatory sign defining RCA.  All signs only said RCA which I suggested they spell out and which they responded that it was not necessary to spell it out.

        The complaint related to the signs as well as that the construction barriers provided inadequate space for passengers to pass, especially during the rush hours and the contractor needed to correct that. They responded that the space was adequate which was no more than 12 inches from the barrier to the platform edge.

        I wasn’t looking for recognition for simple ideas.  I only started sending in very obvious suggestions such as the RCA one just to see if they would approve any, since they were rejecting all of them.

        They ended up approving only one: using the wrong street name on the subway map which they promised to correct at the next printing but didn’t correct for another five years. (It was incorrect for 35 years).

        I also submitted a suggestion that a white tile needed to be replaced at the Elmhurst Ave Station with one that said “8″ so the direction would say exit to 82 Street, not 2 Street. They put in a temporary replacement that lasted a short time and promised to permanently replace the tile in three months which they never did.

        However, they rejected the suggestion saying it was too minor to qualify as a suggestion. The subway map suggestion was also a minor point, but that one was accepted as a suggestion. Why? Just one of the many contradictions in their logic. 
          

        • Andrew

          Typo.  What I meant to say was: You are worried about the MTA losing its best employees to the private sector. The economy is so bad, the private sector isn’t exactly waving jobs at MTA employees.

          That doesn’t mean that there are no jobs at all.

          “The 2009-2011 contract included raises far in excess of inflation.”

          I wasn’talking about that contract.  

          You don’t think there’s any relation between the two?

          I was referring to the current contract negotiations where you don’t think the union deserves any raises without givebacks while managers need to keep up with inflation.  Why doesn’t keeping up with inflation also apply to union members?

          Union members have had raises far in excess of inflation the past three years. Managers have fallen far behind inflation.

          “What exactly should the MTA tell the union? (Respect Issue)

          It’s not what they should tell the union.  Respect is your general demeanor and how you treat and address people. The union has longed complained that the MTA does not treat them with respect. Jay Walder did much to antagonize them. Hopefully, Lhota will be better in that regard.

          Walder antagonized the union by laying off union members. That was something that needed to be done, and more of it needs to be done. (Can you say OPTO?)

          “Sounds like they’ve figured out how to deal with you. You complain and complain and complain that the MTA doesn’t publicize detailed planning studies, except that when the MTA publicizes detailed planning studies, you don’t look at them and continue to complain.”

          You are just unbelievable. I asked them to look into an alternate proposal for the B44 SBS. They promised they would under the condition that if they reject it for any reason even if I know for a fact that their reason is BS, I should not challenge them and just accept their logic.

          You think that is perfectly acceptable for the MTA to speak to me or anyone in that manner?

          To you, yes. (Not that I believe your characterization of what they said. Your reading comprehension hasn’t been all that good on my comments, so I don’t see why it would be any better on the MTA’s.)

          And which detailed study are you referring to that I didn’t look at and should have looked at where my complaining was not justified?

          You asked repeatedly about ESA retail space. I pointed you to the project documents, which probably answer your question. Have you looked at them yet?

          “I still haven’t seen your word-for-word (“verbatim”) proposals – all you posted was a few sentences of one response.”

          What you are asking for is clearly not possible to reproduce here.  Each proposal was from 1 to 4 pages long.  Responses were 1 or 2 pages long. There were at least 40 proposals made over a period of several years.  The stack is two inches thick as I already explained.  And you are asking I post all or some of that here?  Are you for real?

          I’m asking that you post one or two of them, in full. If you don’t want to retype them, you can scan them and post them on a document sharing site.

          If your tone is anything like what it is here, then they had every justification in rejecting all of your proposals unread. And you only quoted two sentences of the response, which I’m sure said a lot more than you revealed.

          As far as the RCA proposal, Dekalb Avenue did not include that explanatory sign defining RCA.  All signs only said RCA which I suggested they spell out and which they responded that it was not necessary to spell it out.

          The complaint related to the signs as well as that the construction barriers provided inadequate space for passengers to pass, especially during the rush hours and the contractor needed to correct that. They responded that the space was adequate which was no more than 12 inches from the barrier to the platform edge.

          If the construction was going on directly behind the barrier, there really wasn’t much that the contractor could do. I guess the station could have been closed for the duration of the construction – would you have preferred that?

          They ended up approving only one: using the wrong street name on the subway map which they promised to correct at the next printing but didn’t correct for another five years. (It was incorrect for 35 years). 

          I also submitted a suggestion that a white tile needed to be replaced at the Elmhurst Ave Station with one that said “8″ so the direction would say exit to 82 Street, not 2 Street. They put in a temporary replacement that lasted a short time and promised to permanently replace the tile in three months which they never did. 

          However, they rejected the suggestion saying it was too minor to qualify as a suggestion. The subway map suggestion was also a minor point, but that one was accepted as a suggestion. Why? Just one of the many contradictions in their logic.  

          Your suggestions obviously went to two different departments! Both were minor points, but one department generously granted you an approval.

          • Allan Rosen

            So you believe that the unions do not deserve any raises in the current contract to keep up with inflation unless there are givebacks because of the MTA’s budget situtation?
            At the same time you are advocating raises greater than inflation for managers, otherwise the best ones will all jump ship and there will be a brain drain. Sort of a double standard isn’t it?

            Well, I’ve worked for the MTA for 25 years and I can tell you when someone the MTA wants to keep, wants to leave, they find a way to get him the money he wants. If they can’t give him a raise in his current position, they restructure a department or create a position just for him at the salary he wants. They justify it as making the agency work better. I’ve seen departments created to someone a huge raise, and when he decides to retire, that department is no longer needed and is abolished with the parts of it scattered elsewhere.
            It’s very easy to justify someone’s salary by putting people under him who only report to him on paper, but in actuality do something else entirely. For a few years when I was in Car Equipment, the person who signed my timesheet was not the person I reported to and gave me assignments, it was a secretary who was listed as an administrator and on paper she had  direct reports to justify her salary, none of whom she had any dealings with other than to sign their timesheet.

            I don’t even know why I am even telling you this, because you will only call me a liar since without ever having worked for the MTA, you are so sure of how they do business.

            OPTO doesn’t necessarily mean layoffs, it could mean attrition.  Maybe the union doesn’t like management because they see when they are being lied to like when the MTA first took token booth attendants out of the booth to roam the platforms so they could be more useful to passengers and the union said it was only an excuse so they could be laid off.  Well, that is exactly what happened.  How many customer service agents does the MTA now have roaming the stations?  When you lie to someone, you don’t respect them.

            (You think that is perfectly acceptable for the MTA to speak to me or anyone in that manner?)
            To you, yes. (Not that I believe your characterization of what they said. Your reading comprehension hasn’t been all that good on my comments, so I don’t see why it would be any better on the MTA’s.)

            I told you exactly what they said.  If you are going to call me a liar again, I am not even going to read the rest of your post. Screw you!

          • Andrew

            So you believe that the unions do not deserve any raises in the current contract to keep up with inflation unless there are givebacks because of the MTA’s budget situtation? 
            At the same time you are advocating raises greater than inflation for managers, otherwise the best ones will all jump ship and there will be a brain drain. Sort of a double standard isn’t it?

            I’m advocating that everyone’s salary keep up with inflation.

            Well, I’ve worked for the MTA for 25 years and I can tell you when someone the MTA wants to keep, wants to leave, they find a way to get him the money he wants. If they can’t give him a raise in his current position, they restructure a department or create a position just for him at the salary he wants. They justify it as making the agency work better. I’ve seen departments created to someone a huge raise, and when he decides to retire, that department is no longer needed and is abolished with the parts of it scattered elsewhere.

            Maybe that’s the way things used to happen, but a friend of mine, who she tells me was very much valued by her boss, left the MTA a month or two ago. Her boss did everything he could to try to get her a promotion, but he wasn’t able to get approval. She is now in the private sector, making substantially more, and the MTA has lost one of its better employees.

            Hiring budgets, especially on the administrative side, are under far more scrutiny than they were when you worked for the MTA.

            I don’t even know why I am even telling you this, because you will only call me a liar since without ever having worked for the MTA, you are so sure of how they do business.

            You haven’t worked for the MTA in years. You have no idea how things have changed.

            OPTO doesn’t necessarily mean layoffs, it could mean attrition.  

            That depends on how gradually it’s done. But the union has been strongly opposed in either case.

            Maybe the union doesn’t like management because they see when they are being lied to like when the MTA first took token booth attendants out of the booth to roam the platforms so they could be more useful to passengers and the union said it was only an excuse so they could be laid off.  Well, that is exactly what happened.  How many customer service agents does the MTA now have roaming the stations?  When you lie to someone, you don’t respect them.

            Lie? The plan had always been to close many booths with the advent of MetroCard. The MTA relented slightly in 2004 and implemented the SCA program, to try to get more utility out of the agents who were no longer needed to sell fares, rather than eliminating the positions outright. But the SCA program failed, and the positions were eliminated in 2010.

            (You think that is perfectly acceptable for the MTA to speak to me or anyone in that manner?)
            To you, yes. (Not that I believe your characterization of what they said. Your reading comprehension hasn’t been all that good on my comments, so I don’t see why it would be any better on the MTA’s.)

            I told you exactly what they said.  If you are going to call me a liar again, I am not even going to read the rest of your post. Screw you!

            So I see you’re not willing to go on record with even a single example of a letter you sent the MTA and the complete response you got back from them. I wonder why!

            (And, for the record, I didn’t call you a liar. I said that I think you misinterpreted the response, of which you only quoted a few sentences. I also think your letter, if it in any way resembles your posts here, was probably unnecessarily accusatory and inflammatory.)

          • Allan Rosen

            By what standards did the SCA Program fail?

            I’m not trying to hide anything and nothing in my suggestions was accusatory or inflammatory. It was all professionally written.  Actually my original intention was to post all the responses on line on my website to embarass them. But I abandoned that idea when the MTA showed they were only interested in cutting service, not improving it.  It would have been a lot of unnecessary effort for what?

            Now you ask me to post a single letter and a response?  And I ask you what for?  No matter what it says, you have no intention of disagreeing with the MTA’s response.  The fact is that the two sentences I quoted verbatum were outright lies.  For argument’s sake, let’s say the rest of their response was factual, how does that change the fact that their response included lies?

            They stated that the proposal was not viable because there were too many riders who would have had to transfer and therefore be inconvenienced, and then they discontinue the route inconveniencing not only transferring passengers but all passengers. Yet you refuse to recognize their lies and accuse me of being inflammatory.

            So if I did post the entire response, you still would not address that but would just respond to some other point they are making and tell me it is a valid point. That’s why I am not going through the effort at this time to post any of the replies to just to please you.

          • Andrew

            In your experience, were the SCA’s effective at providing customer service? They weren’t in mine.

            I don’t think you realize that most of your writing is accusatory in tone. You also don’t realize that you inject your own preconceived notions into whatever you read. I’m asking you to post one complete suggestion of yours, and the corresponding complete response, so that we can see what really happened, not only what you claim happened.

            What “outright lies” are you talking about?

          • Allan Rosen

            “In your experience, were the SCA’s effective at providing customer service? They weren’t in mine.”

            I don’t know if they were effective or not but that wasn’t the issue we were discussing. The issue being discussed was whether the MTA was up front with the unions by telling them they were moving them out of the booths to make them more effective, not that their real motive to get them out of the booths was to eventually get rid of them which is what the union was claiming and eventually proved to be true.

            I fully realize when I am accusatory and when I am not. I also realize when I am giving commentary and when I am stating facts. That what blogs are, mixes of commentary and facts. I try to separate the two when I can. Everyone interjects preconceived notions in their blogs. You don’t think Second Avenue Sagas does the same?  Except Ben tends to stick up for the MTA and I don’t.

            I already explained why it is not worth the bother to post a complete suggestion and response, because you will use your pre-conceived notions to prove that I am wrong and the MTA is right, no matter what is written.

            “What “outright lies” are you talking about?”

            For one, that my proposal should be rejected because it would be necessary for “high volumes” of riders to transfer (which does not include everyone riding but only those that need to transfer).  How could it be necessary for high volumes of riders to have to transfer to get from Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst to east of the Sheepshead Bay Station under my proposal to split the B4 route as the MTA claimed, when ridership on the portion east of the Station was so low to begin with that the MTA tried to eliminate it at all times?  Wouldn’t eliminating that portion of the route entirely (as they have done) inconvenience more riders than the “high volume” who they said would need to transfer? How can you not see that as a lie?

            Do you want me to look for others? When measuring the current distance of the B42 in another proposal, they failed to account for non-revenue mileage between the last and first stop when the bus makes its U turn which is about 400 feet.  That underestimation of the current route mileage increased the proposed cost of my proposed addition, turning a zero cost proposal into one that cost $50,000 per year in extra operating costs, their sole reason for rejecting that proposal.  And they wouldn’t consider the increased revenue generated or the fact that only 2 or 3 new riders per trip would be needed to make up for additional operating costs which wasn’t even the case if they did their measuring accurately.

          • Andrew

            “In your experience, were the SCA’s effective at providing customer service? They weren’t in mine.”

            I don’t know if they were effective or not but that wasn’t the issue we were discussing.

            Yes it is. I remarked that the SCA program had failed, and you asked me in response, “By what standards did the SCA Program fail?” I answered your question. Now you object? Why are you changing the subject?

            The issue being discussed was whether the MTA was up front with the unions by telling them they were moving them out of the booths to make them more effective, not that their real motive to get them out of the booths was to eventually get rid of them which is what the union was claiming and eventually proved to be true.

            As I said last week, the plan had always been to close many of the booths and remove many of the agents once the MetroCard system was fully implemented. This has always been the plan, from the initial days of AFC planning in the early 90′s. The union knew about it quite well. It was not a secret.

            When the time came to close the booths in 2003, the union objected and waged a public relations war, which it basically won. In response, the MTA retreated and implemented the SCA program in 2004.

            In 2010, the SCA program came to an end and the booths were finally closed, six years later than they should have been closed.

            I fully realize when I am accusatory and when I am not. I also realize when I am giving commentary and when I am stating facts.

            No you don’t. You still haven’t retracted your claims that a photograph of a single prototype bench is evidence of a devious plan to reduce platform seating.

            That what blogs are, mixes of commentary and facts. I try to separate the two when I can. Everyone interjects preconceived notions in their blogs. You don’t think Second Avenue Sagas does the same?  Except Ben tends to stick up for the MTA and I don’t.

            No, Ben checks his facts and tries to make sure that what he’s posting is factually correct. You don’t. Ben isn’t perfect, and I occasionally point out apparent misunderstandings in the comments, but he at least tries hard to determine the facts before presenting them and editorializing on them.

            I already explained why it is not worth the bother to post a complete suggestion and response, because you will use your pre-conceived notions to prove that I am wrong and the MTA is right, no matter what is written.

            And however I respond, your suggestion and the MTA’s response will be on the web, for all to see. So why are you afraid to post them?

            For one, that my proposal should be rejected because it would be necessary for “high volumes” of riders to transfer (which does not include everyone riding but only those that need to transfer).  How could it be necessary for high volumes of riders to have to transfer to get from Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst to east of the Sheepshead Bay Station under my proposal to split the B4 route as the MTA claimed, when ridership on the portion east of the Station was so low to begin with that the MTA tried to eliminate it at all times?  Wouldn’t eliminating that portion of the route entirely (as they have done) inconvenience more riders than the “high volume” who they said would need to transfer? How can you not see that as a lie?

            Do you really not see the difference in contexts?

            One was a proposal to improve service by splitting it. If more than a very small number of riders pass through the split, the attempt at improving service will actually make it worse for many riders.

            The other was a proposal to reduce operating costs, in part by eliminating lines and line segments that, compared to the rest of the transit system, had relatively low ridership.

            There’s no contradiction and there’s certainly no lie. One was a proposal to improve service; the other was a proposal to cut service. What makes sense in one context doesn’t make sense in the other.

            Do you want me to look for others?

            No thanks, I’m still waiting for you to post this one.

  • Allan Rosen

    “What location are we discussing here? What’s its pedestrian fatality history?”
     
    It was a hypothetical example. The question was if you would save the most lives by reducing speeds to 5 mph, and half as many lives at 10 mph, would you conclude that the City speed limit should be 5 mph?  The point is that there are other considerations that must be taken into consideration when determining speed limits other than fatalities, like would someone even abide by a speed limit of 5 or 10 mph other than in a parking lot and what the effect would be on the ability to get anywhere?  You seem to conclude that the only thing that matters at all is pedestrian fatalities and if the only way to prevent them is to virtually stop traffic completely, that is what has to be done.
     
    Not many streets have been widened. Most of the ones that have been widened were the major avenues in Manhattan. It was determined that by chopping off one foot of sidewalk on both sides would enable an extra lane of traffic when the avenues were converted to one-way operation with traffic light synchronization in the 1960s.  It was done to increase capacity primarily for taxis. buses and trucks, NOT THE PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE.  It greatly reduced traffic congestion, moreso than would be reduced by congestion pricing.  If it had not been done, Manhattan traffic today would be at a virtual standstill. The widening of Fifth Avenue bebefitted more bus passengers than passengers in private automobiles.

    Park Avenue was the exception not the rule, and who uses Park Avenue today the most private cars or public taxis?  Or does that not matter to you?  A taxi is just another car.  You keep talking about everything done for the private automobile and that is just not true.

    “I don’t understand. There are plenty of cities that have been designed around cars. If that’s the sort of city you like, then maybe New York isn’t the best place for you.”

    There you go again changing the subject. I was merely showing how New York City streets were not designed for the private car as you were trying to indicate by this statement “in part because we’ve so overbuilt the car infrastructure over the past 60+ years”

    So when I proved you wrong that we have not designed for cars you now admit it and tell me to live elsewhere where cities were designed for cars.

    And you state you admit when you are wrong?  No you don’t, you just start discussing another point.  That’s why arguing with you is useless.

    “You were arguing that the raw numbers were in error!”

    I never argued that. I stated that their massaging of the raw numbers to account for seasonal fluctuations was wrong, not the raw numbers from the counters. I stated that I did not believe that July was the peak traffic month of the year since Bedord Avenue unlike the Belt Parkway does not serve the beaches. You read what you want to read.

    • Andrew

      It was a hypothetical example. The question was if you would save the most lives by reducing speeds to 5 mph, and half as many lives at 10 mph, would you conclude that the City speed limit should be 5 mph?  The point is that there are other considerations that must be taken into consideration when determining speed limits other than fatalities, like would someone even abide by a speed limit of 5 or 10 mph other than in a parking lot and what the effect would be on the ability to get anywhere?  You seem to conclude that the only thing that matters at all is pedestrian fatalities and if the only way to prevent them is to virtually stop traffic completely, that is what has to be done.

      Except that I never said that.

      Your position appears to be that there should never, ever, ever, be any changes, for any reason, that might possibly have the potential of reducing the speed of car travel.

      My position is that there are many factors that need to be considered – not only car speeds, but also safety for cyclists and pedestrians, bus speeds, sidewalk congestion, etc. Proposing an inexpensive street restriping to improve safety on a street that has been historically unsafe for pedestrians, where the remaining capacity for cars will be more than adequate (even with some diverted traffic due to the parallel SBS), is not anti-car. On the contrary, it is a no-brainer.
       

      Not many streets have been widened. Most of the ones that have been widened were the major avenues in Manhattan.

      Source? There are plenty of widened streets in the other boroughs.

      It was determined that by chopping off one foot of sidewalk on both sides would enable an extra lane of traffic when the avenues were converted to one-way operation with traffic light synchronization in the 1960s.  

      One foot of sidewalk does not translate into a lane for cars.

      By the way, where are the detailed studies determining the impact of reducing space for pedestrians on those sidewalks?

      It was done to increase capacity primarily for taxis. buses and trucks, NOT THE PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE.  

      If that were the true (as opposed to the stated) intent, they should have been restricted to taxis, buses, and trucks. The city’s first bus lanes didn’t come along until 1981.

      It greatly reduced traffic congestion, moreso than would be reduced by congestion pricing.  If it had not been done, Manhattan traffic today would be at a virtual standstill.

      In the long term it didn’t reduce traffic congestion. In the long term it only provided capacity for more cars. If that capacity hadn’t been provided, fewer people would have tried to drive in the area. I have no objection to the one-way avenues, but let’s be realistic about their impact.

      As I pointed out before (if you bothered to look at the link), the Brooklyn Bridge carried over twice as many people per day in 1907 than it did in 1989. That’s because transit, which dominated the bridge in 1907, was replaced by lanes for cars. The Williamsburg Bridge had a similar decline from 1924 to 1989.

      The widening of Fifth Avenue bebefitted more bus passengers than passengers in private automobiles.

      Only because so few Manhattan residents have cars, even on Fifth Avenue. But the bus lane didn’t come along until 1983, and a second bus lane would be tremendously beneficial to bus riders.

      Park Avenue was the exception not the rule, and who uses Park Avenue today the most private cars or public taxis?  Or does that not matter to you?  A taxi is just another car.  You keep talking about everything done for the private automobile and that is just not true.

      A head-scratcher of a paragraph. I have no idea what you’re trying to say.

      “I don’t understand. There are plenty of cities that have been designed around cars. If that’s the sort of city you like, then maybe New York isn’t the best place for you.”

      There you go again changing the subject. I was merely showing how New York City streets were not designed for the private car as you were trying to indicate by this statement “in part because we’ve so overbuilt the car infrastructure over the past 60+ years”

      I didn’t change the subject. I asked why someone like yourself who continually rallies for the primacy of the automobile is living in a city where most people don’t get around by car. We finally have a DOT that recognizes this basic fact. If you don’t like that, I’m simply suggesting that you might be more comfortable in a place that ignores pedestrians and cyclists and transit riders and puts all of its resources into infrastructure for cars.

      • Allan Rosen

        “Proposing an inexpensive street restriping to improve safety on a street that has been historically unsafe for pedestrians, where the remaining capacity for cars will be more than adequate (even with some diverted traffic due to the parallel SBS), is not anti-car. On the contrary, it is a no-brainer.”

        The thing is you don’t know how much traffic will be diverted due to the SBS, so it is premature to make those projections especially when DOT is underestimating demand on Bedford by not considering blocked lanes which hamper the traffic flow and by assuming July is the peak load month which is highly doubtful. That’s why it would make sense to delay any restriping until the SBS starts and you can do accurate counts and not have to project.  It is not a no-brainer. 

        And for the record, I would not oppose street treatments to slow down car speeds if they are in fact excessive, but not when it would reduce traffic flow from 30 mph to 15 or 20 mph.  Look how the traffic barely moves on Vanderbilt Avenue during rush hours.  Before DOT started with their wonders, it was only congested between Park Place and Grand Army Plaza going southbound.

        You are the one who stated that there are plenty of widened streets in other boroughs, not me, so why do I have to come up with a source?  Why don’t you tell me the names of all those widened streets?  The only ones in Brooklyn I am aware of are 4th Avenue and Emmons Avenue unless you also want to include streets like Kings Highway which was once a two-lane roadway in the 1920s. I guess it should have remained that way in your opinion.  In Queens, Woodhaven Boulevard was widened in the 1930s. I guess you also think we would be better off if today it were two-lanes each way instead of three with service roads.  You realize if that were the case, the BQE and the Van Wyck would have even more traffic today than they already have.

        “One foot of sidewalk does not translate into a lane for cars.”

        It certainly does if you have four lanes that are 12 feet wide each) and adding two more feet will permit five lanes that are 10 feet each in width.

        “By the way, where are the detailed studies determining the impact of reducing space for pedestrians on those sidewalks?”

        No one is disputing that the sidewalks on 5th Avenue in Manhattan are crowded and moreso with the sidewalk reduced by a foot, but the trade off was adding a lane of traffic that is primarily used by buses, taxis, and trucks.  Private automobile use on 5th Avenue is minimal.

        In Brooklyn, on 4th Avenue the sidewalks were excessively wide. Even with the narrower sidewalks, the sidewalks still are virtually empty.  On Emmons Avenue where one of the sidewalks is pretty narrow, there are virtually no pedestrians on it, so crowding is not an issue.

        “In the long term it didn’t reduce traffic congestion. In the long term it only provided capacity for more cars.”

        Take any street in midtown and tell me what percentage of traffic is from the private automobile once you exclude taxis and limousines?  I would guess it is less than 20 percent, and as the cogestion study you asked me to look at stated, half of those in private automobiles during the rush hours were carpooling.

        Yes, let’s be realistic about the one-way streets in Brooklyn. It can cut travel across the borough by automobile up to 50% when the lights are synched. 20 minutes between Sheepshead Bay and Grand Army Plaza as opposed to 30 to 45 minutes at other times.

        The same is true in Manhattan when traffic is not heavy, which is rare.

        “As I pointed out before (if you bothered to look at the link), the Brooklyn Bridge carried over twice as many people per day in 1907 than it did in 1989. That’s because transit, which dominated the bridge in 1907, was replaced by lanes for cars. The Williamsburg Bridge had a similar decline from 1924 to 1989.”

        I don’t doubt that, but what does that have to do with anything?  Transit was removed from the Brooklyn Bridge due to structural deficiencies of the bridge, not because of any favoritsm for cars. You are trying to make it seem like I would prefer automobiles to trolleys traveling those bridges which certainly is not the case.

        Park Avenue:  You made it  seem like Park Avenue was widened to benefit the private automobile.  I was merely pointing out that Park Avenue is used primarily by taxis (which is public transit by the way) not private automobiles.

        “I didn’t change the subject. I asked why someone like yourself who continually rallies for the primacy of the automobile is living in a city where most people don’t get around by car.”

        You certainly did change the subject because my personal preferences of where I choose to live was not the issue.  The issue was if we overbuilt the car infrastructure in the past 60 years, which we definitely have not.  The fact that most people get around by mass transit and not the private automobile proves that. If we had built Brooklyn for cars, we would have more than one expressway (BQE) and one parkway (Belt).

        And for the record, I am not one who “continuallyrallies for the primacy of the automobile.”  I firmly believe in better mass transit which is what most of my writings advocate. I even advocated for the pedestrian when I wrote about the Coney Island Boardwalk. You only pick the few times I criticized Select Bus Service for taking out a moving traffic lane especially in Sheepshead Bay where it is not needed, and spoke out against taking away traffic lanes for bicycle lanes that are rarely used. I supported the bike lanes for Canarsie which DOT withdrew.

        “We finally have a DOT that recognizes this basic fact (that most people don’t get around by car).

        As for what DOT recognizes, I would dispute that also. It makes no sense to propose a bike lane on the busiest segment of Avenue J. For someone who is so pro-safety, why have you not spoken out against such a proposal that is only an invitation to more accidents?

        Or are you just for anything DOT proposes and against anything Allan Rosen proposes, because unlike me, you have no pre-conceived notions?

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