Archive for the tag ‘opinions’

"Why Not Use the El?" (1930) Reginald Marsh / Source: Ephemeral New York

Riding the rails could be so very exhausting. “Why Not Use the El?” (1930) Reginald Marsh / Source: Ephemeral New York

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.

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sb_bus_trek

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.

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Renaming the Redskins: Four New, Nonracist Names and Logos for D.C.’s NFL Team

Source: Washington Redskins

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.

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The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round... Source: Lempkin / Flickr

The wheels on the bus go ’round and ’round… Source: Lempkin / Flickr

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.

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City Council candidate David Storobin

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.

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Source: bebo2good1 / YouTube

Source: bebo2good1 / YouTube

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.

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emmons1

THE COMMUTE: Every time we look around, a new street is co-named. Often, we have no idea who the individual was. Okay, if it is for Police Officer X, or Firefighter Y, we can conclude they died in the line of duty. How about the others? Their names will only be known to family and friends, unless the person was famous or a local community activist. So what does honoring the vast majority of these people accomplish? Absolutely nothing. It wastes scarce city funds and causes confusion to motorists, possibly even resulting in accidents.

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A Very Different Commute



All photos by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: In this column, we’ve discussed many different forms of commuting: subway, bus, car, taxi, ferries, biking, and even commercial airline travel. But one we have never mentioned is the private airplane. In rural parts of the country especially in Alaska, that’s how many commute. I’ve been in small four or six passenger planes twice before, once in Alaska, and once on an air ambulance when we were thrown off a cruise ship in the Caribbean because the crew was afraid that my mother’s chest pains were indicative of a heart attack. I also had flown in 17 and 33 passenger planes to visit car overhaul sites in Upstate New York while working for the MTA.

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Photo by Allan Rosen

Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: Last week, in Part 1, we started to discuss the Brooklyn Army Terminal as a major transportation hub and I got sidetracked into a discussion about involving the private sector, through the use of vans, to providing legal transit services between major transportation hubs.

I asked why we can’t have legal van operations here, where riders with similar origins and destinations can share rides, since there is not enough demand for regular bus service. Years ago, I was amazed to see all sorts of shared van services at LaGuardia Airport to cities across Connecticut at very reasonable fares. None, however, were available to destinations within the city limit. I attributed this to the influence of the city’s tax industry, which does not want competition.

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The Eltingville Transit Center in Staten Island. Photo by Allan Rosen

The Eltingville Transit Center in Staten Island. Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTELast week, we discussed the Rockaway Ferry to lower Manhattan, which now also stops at the Brooklyn Army Terminal due to the closure of the Montague Street Tunnel. This week, we discuss the possibility of the Brooklyn Army Terminal becoming a major transit hub. It could be the terminus for the Triboro RX rapid transit line proposed by the Regional Plan Association more than 40 years ago, which has recently been resuscitated and hailed by Channel 2 News as a “new” proposal. We have mentioned this plan several times before and how it needs to be included in the MTA’s long range plans.

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