Planes Trains & Automobiles
Update 11/3 3:30:The MTA just provided an explanation for not even the partial restoration of G service. It essentially amounts to low ridership.
Update 11/1 8:09: We finally sort of found out how it is the G train flooded even though it does not go under the East River. Currently, the section of the train running under Newtown Creek is full of water (between the oil, the Superfund sites, and now this, that creek is just the worst).
It was not clear how the water got there, whether it came in due to flooding along the creek in Greenpoint and Long Island City or elsewhere in the system. Water flows downhill, after all, and this is the lowest point in the system, so it could have been flooding anywhere, through the air vents or entrances or other entry points, and this is simply where the water wound up.
It has yet to be decided when the tunnel will be pumped out–after all, this is one of the lowest-density lines, and thus less of a priority, especially since it does not travel into the central business districts in Manhattan. It was also not clear whether the line would begin to run in sections or see a partial restoration of service, as has happened with other subway lines thus far.
At a press conference late in the night, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New Yorkers in the metropolitan area will have their public transit fares waved for the rest of the week. Of course, traveling into Lower Manhattan won’t be easy for Thursday, at least, where no subways are currently scheduled to travel.
“As a further encouragement to have people take mass transit, which is coming online piece by piece,” Mr. Cuomo began, citing the intensive traffic congestion problems plaguing Manhattan earlier today. “I am declaring a transportation emergency and authorizing the MTA to waive fares…through the end of the week, Thursday and Friday. So commuter rails, subways and buses.”
The state is suggesting that it may nearly triple the cost of crossing the Hudson River from Rockland County to Westchester County when it replaces the outdated Tappan Zee Bridge in several years. The new bridge is going to cost some $5 billion, and Governor Cuomo needs to figure out how to pay for it.
The plan to hit up drivers for 14 bucks when they enter Westchester County (the bridge has a one-way toll system) is very likely a trial balloon, similar to the Port Authority’s plan last year to impose huge new hikes on its bridges and tunnels that connect New York and New Jersey. Governors Cuomo and Christie expressed horror and outrage, and the PA, as if on cue, immediately reduced its request, but tolls went up all the same.
That’s the likely scenario for the new Tappan Zee Bridge—the toll will be significantly higher than it is now, but it won’t be as high as the request. That’s how politics works. But here’s the problem: Government is making it increasingly expensive for commuters and commercial traffic, and that’s simply not good news for the city and regional economy.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
City Councilman David Greenfield is introducing a bill today to require every New York City cyclist to wear a bike helmet.
It is an intriguing proposal on a number of levels.
Currently, only children 13 and younger are required to wear a bike helmet. Think of the last time you saw a cyclist cruising by—were they wearing a helmet? Through highly unscientific personal observation, this reporter would say odds are evenly split for and against helmets. Maybe it’s a little higher, hopefully, so this is simply a safety measure, and a warranted one, like seat belt laws.
This is to be the attitude of the councilman, who told The Observer, “This is the simplest thing a cyclist can do to protect themselves. To do anything else is frankly irresponsible.” He pointed to federal statistics showing that 96 percent of bicycle fatalities involve people not wearing helmets (which may have as much to do with the cyclists attitude and actions as the presence of a helmet, but the numbers still speak volumes.)
Still, the best way not to get killed on your bike in the city is to keep from getting hit by a car. Which begs the question if this is not simply more anti-bike legislation masquerading as pro-bike legislation. Going back to the back-of-the-envelope assumption that half of city cyclists don’t wear helmets, dumb if legal as that may be, how many of them might stop riding if it meant the choice between mussed hair and a $25 fine? With thousands of bike share bikes on the way, could this kill the program before it even gets off the ground?
THE BIKESHARE COMETH!
New York City’s much-anticipated bike-share program—the largest planned bikeshare program in the country—is headed to the city this summer. The official website for the program is now live, as Tweeted out by the city, along with a picture of what New York’s new bikes will look like. Behold, the big new blue bikes above!
And the prices?
This time last year, The Observer looked at the bicycle mania seizing the city, which seemed to be the last great culture war of a transformed, civilized, infantilized New York. Even Woody Allen hates them.
Perhaps we gave the cyclists too much credit, as none other than Bicycling magazine is pointing the finger squarely at the two-wheeled set for many of the on-street whoas engulfing the city.
Livery cab services, better known as “those black cabs you hail down on a Saturday night in Brooklyn when you can’t find anything else, and who end up charging you $25 to go from Williamsburg to the Lower East Side but what are you going to do?” (or alternately: “Those cars that take you to the airport,”) are getting their rides pimped out by the city.
Yes, your favorite part of regular taxis–those looping segments of Talk Stoop, weather reports, and Jimmy Fallon segments will be coming to a shady backseat near you. Honk! But here’s the good news: those little television screens won’t be a requirement for black cabs as they are for the yellow, making them already 100 times better.
The redesign of 34th Street has come in for its fair—or unfair, depending on perspective—share of criticism in the lead up to today’s launch of Select Bus Service on the thoroughfare. One person who would gladly board that bus, so to speak? None other than Robert Caro.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
As of today, Joe Lhota is driving the M.T.A.
The former Giuliani budget director said in a brief statement sent out to the press that his first order of business is getting a handle on the organization, no doubt so he can get to work streamlining it, as many hope he will.
Before long, the Manhattan terminus of the No. 7 train will move west, from Times Square to the Hudson Yards on the far West Side. That’s good, but renewed talk of extending the subway line under the Hudson River to Secaucus in New Jersey is even better.