Archive for the 'Opinion' Category
A B1 Service Update, Plus: Tomorrow Marks The 35th Anniversary Of The Southwest Brooklyn Bus Changes: Part 1 Of 2
THE COMMUTE: More about the anniversary tomorrow, but first an update regarding B1 bus service. Last Monday, I noticed a steady stream of college students, about 30 of them, walking a mile and a half from the Brighton Beach train station to Kingsborough Community College (KCC) a little past 9:00 a.m. I haven’t monitored B1 service in awhile, so I figured it was about time for an update. This past Wednesday, I decided to watch the buses arriving and leaving the station. I intended to get there for the morning peak. I know it gets very crowded just before 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. classes. However, I didn’t arrive until 9:15 a.m. Approximately eight buses left the station, just around 9:00 a.m. All of them were full or at least had a seated load. It seemed like service was running pretty well. I didn’t expect to find too many problems since it was already after 9:00 a.m. What I saw surprised me.
THE COMMUTE: I thank Dr. John Rozankowski for filling in for me last week as I enjoyed a week away from New York City and the internet in the Adirondacks. I was limited to the television for accessing the news, most of which was the usual local variety featuring the latest fires and murders. However, there was one story which interested me — Albany’s version of our Select Bus Service or Bus Rapid Transit, which they call Bus Plus. There is currently one Bus Plus route in service with plans for three more. I will explain later why we should care about this and how it affects you.
BETWEEN THE LINES: In conjunction with occasional Sheepshead Bites postings of Crime Prevention Tips from the NYPD’s 61st Precinct, here’s my tale of identity theft.
You’ve probably heard the expression, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Whoever said it was wisely precautious and I nearly found out how accurate that phrase is.
Someone with my fundamental awareness of ID theft tricks, telemarketing and sweepstakes scams and other forms of electronic exploitation, as well as a prior victimization, should never fall for a second scam. But, to paraphrase that insufferable pop song — oops, I almost did it again.
Nonetheless, anxiety, and an opportunity for supplemental income, almost led me into a fraudulent business relationship. Before I made any commitment or revealed too much personal information, I realized it was a rip off-in-progress, parallel to the notorious Nigerian money transfer scam. Ultimately, common sense, a little savvy, and advice from a friend triggered internal red flags and taught me an indispensable lesson without any loss.
THE COMMUTE: Allan Rosen is on vacation and asked me to fill in this week. My name is John Rozankowski, Ph.D. and I am a long-time community activist with a keen interest in mass transit issues. I am grateful to Allan for this opportunity to reach out to the readers of Sheepshead Bites. Allan does a terrific job of describing the problems of the neighborhood bus lines and offering some worthwhile solutions. I will attempt to follow in his footsteps by presenting some solutions to improve the subways of Southern Brooklyn.
THE COMMUTE: The MTA has always denied that bus bunching is a major problem. The party line has been that it is caused by traffic, is unavoidable, and little can be done to prevent it. The truth is that bus bunching occurs even on routes with light traffic that are scheduled to operate every 20 minutes, such as the B4, increasing the wait to 40 minutes. When I designed the B4 loop around Sheepshead Bay station in 1978, it was my hope that when two buses would arrive at once, the bus that was late would transfer passengers bound for the loop to the following bus and go straight along Emmons Avenue, thereby saving 10 minutes. However, I have seen two B4 buses follow each other around the station, with no action taken to help maintain the schedule.
Riding buses in New York City is a crapshoot. When the system works, it works well. When it doesn’t, bus trips take forever. There is no in-between. It has been my experience that between one-third to one-half of the time, a bus trip will involve a major delay. Subway riders, on the other hand, experience major subway delays no more often than once a week (excluding reroutes due to track work). Much more needs to be done to increase bus reliability.
BETWEEN THE LINES: It’s time for the National Football League to tackle inappropriate team names, with the Washington Redskins being the most provocative.
Though most public opinion polls confirm only a small minority of Americans consider the name objectionable, the lingering matter warrants earnest deliberation from the NFL. The topic recently hurdled back into the spotlight after one high-profile opinion that recently made headlines.
President Barack Obama, apparently with more on his mind than Mideast turmoil, the debt ceiling and the government shutdown, added his two cents to the lingering issue in an interview with the Associated Press, when he said he would “think about changing” the name if he owned the Washington team.
THE COMMUTE: Last week, we discussed the MTA’s recent attempts to fix problems with the local bus system such as newly-designed routes that suffer from the same problems plaguing the rest of the system. An example is the B67 extension to the Navy Yard, which is circuitous and not conducive to transferring to other bus routes since it terminates short of Williamsburg Bridge Plaza. It misses vital bus connections and operates with extremely poor headways of 30 minutes. Yet, the MTA visualizes routes such as this as a partial solution to fixing gaps in the routing structure.
The following is an editorial by Ned Berke, editor and publisher of Sheepshead Bites.
To hear Republican City Council candidate David Storobin tell it, the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is little more than a guarded country club, complete with international television programming, an expansive library, educational opportunities, and beachfront soccer tournaments, and the only thing worth complaining about is small basketball courts and the variety of dried fruit that comes in your cereal.
The candidate shared his experiences during a guided tour of the facility during a recent visit in an op-ed in The Yeshiva World News, concluding that it “isn’t the hell the media claims” and that liberals have failed to take into account that prisoners are gaining weight at the facility.
“Is this satire?” one Sheepshead Bites reader asked after reading the article.
Nope. Just a shameful ploy to recruit conservative votes by setting up liberal straw-men, and knocking them down with anecdotal accounts extrapolated to universal truths in a grand display of oversimplification.
We can’t blame our reader for thinking it a joke, though. It makes The Onion read like The Economist.
Let’s dive in.
THE COMMUTE: Last August, I critiqued the 23-page MTA planning outline, entitled “Looking Ahead.” Last week, the MTA released the full report — a 142-page “MTA Twenty-Year Capital Needs Assessment 2015-2034.” Most of my previous comments still apply. I will try not to repeat myself. Rather than summarize this document or critique it as others have already done, here and here, I will just mention where this ‘Needs Assessment’ is deficient.