Home Public Transit Policy From Lhota, park-and-ride and transit WiFi trumps congestion pricing

From Lhota, park-and-ride and transit WiFi trumps congestion pricing

by Benjamin Kabak

Despite the zaniness of the mayoral candidates’ transit policies and proposals, I had long assumed Joe Lhota would emerge as the sensible voice on transportation. After all, he’s running for mayor largely because of his brief tenure atop the MTA, and even though he didn’t spend much time running the agency, he seemed to grasp the larger problems facing transit improvements. His campaign has left me wanting more.

So far, we haven’t gotten much in the way of policies from any of the GOP candidates. Lhota, the presumptive frontrunner, has a website but no policy statements. He’s spent a lot of time clamoring for city control over the bridges and tunnels at the expense of the funding scheme established through the Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority and the MTA. I explored some of those issues yesterday. Now, in the form of a radio appearance, we have a little bit more from Lhota. It’s not quite what I had expected.

As part of an interview on WOR, Lhota spoke about the possible mechanisms for funding transit, and the conversation turned to congestion pricing. Once upon a time, congestion pricing had a powerful champion in City Hall and the support of a majority of the city’s residents (so long as the money were guaranteed to go transit improvements). It is the only way to ensure that fewer cars are entering congested areas of the Manhattan and part of a larger package to improve travel times and environmental, economic and safety conditions along heavily-trafficked corridors. Somehow, it’s turned into a political hot potato as no one will even discuss it any longer.

So Lhota got around to talking about it yesterday, but in a very roundabout way. Dana Rubinstein turned in and offered up select quotes:

“We’ve got to do everything we can to mitigate the number of cars in the city by doing smart things, common sense things, before we start saying ‘Well, let’s start charging people for coming into midtown, or congestion pricing,'” said Lhota this morning on the John Gambling radio show. “That’s the last step.”

…Today, when WOR radio host John Gambling asked Lhota his thoughts on congestion pricing, he started talking about parking lots instead. “Long before we have a real formal debate on congestion pricing, we’ve got to do everything we can to reduce the number of cars in the city and there are ways to do it,” said Lhota. “One of the things that I proposed when I was at the M.T.A., and I will definitely do while I’m mayor is, if you look at the end of every one of the subway lines, whether in the north along the Westchester County border, or along the border with Queens and Nassau County, at the ends of each of those lines, I want to be able to build parking garages and basically tell the people who are coming in from Nassau County, ‘You know what, don’t drive in. Why don’t you park in one of these nice, pretty garages that we’ll prepare for you and then take the subway in.'”

And to help lure the millenial set: WiFi. “We’ve got to make sure that our subway system is WiFi-ed,” said Lhota. “We’ve got to make sure that our buses have WiFi. The number of people who would would get on buses if they had access to WiFi and be able to use their computers or their smartphones would be extraordinary.”

Talk about overstating your case. If these are the prerequisites to congestion pricing, we’ll never see it happen under Lhota. Let’s work backwards.

WiFi in the subway is a great idea and one I’ve supported for years. But it’s not about to turn subway cars into roving offices. From a practical perspective, try whipping out your laptop on a Manhattan-Q train at 8:30 in the morning, and then let me know how much work you can get done. It’s tough enough to read the newspaper on an iPad, let alone hammer away at a keyboard with a computer on your lap. I question too how many people would eschew cars for subways simply because of the Internet. That’s a luxury of marginal overall utility, not an upgrade in any meaningful way.

Then, we arrive at the park-and-ride idea. As Rubinstein notes in her piece, this is a drum Lhota has banged before, and it’s a terrible one. First, most — if not all — subway terminals are in built-up densely settled urban areas that have no room or need for a deadening parking garage. Second, parking garages serve to encourage driving when we want to eliminate it by making it easier to park, and thus, more convenient to drive. Third, we have an entire network of suburban park-and-rides with easy access to trains. It’s called Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road, and it funnels suburban travelers to their job centers more quickly and more directly the subways from, say, Jamaica or Wakefield would.

So this leaves us with a recognition that we need to do more to mitigate the number of cars entering and traveling through core areas of Manhattan each day, the knowledge that the MTA’s finances could use an infusion of cash, and the belief, left over from the 1950s apparently, that park-and-ride will do the trick. And therein lies your 2013 mayoral campaign in a nutshell.

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200 comments

Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 12:33 am

Metro-North and the LIRR would be awesome with wi-fi, since people sit for extended periods of time.

However, the mayor of New York should spend zero time on it. Maybe the mayors of New Haven and Stamford should care.

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Benjamin Kabak August 13, 2013 - 12:42 am

I don’t disagree with you there. I should have added a line in the post to that effect. WiFi on commuter rail is a near-necessity, and it’s a shame that efforts to add it have stalled. Related, the Hudson Line could use a basic cell network upgrade. For long stretches along the river, cell service is non-existent and certainly not strong enough to surf the web via the available data network.

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BrooklynBus August 13, 2013 - 1:06 am

Have you seen Lhota’s campaign materials his people are distributing? No mention of being MTA Chairman and no mention of transportation as a priority. Not what I expected. He only mentions being Deputy Mayor.

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Larry Littlefield August 13, 2013 - 9:06 am

Someone should talk about that pension deal that went down when Lhota was Deputy Mayor.

In exchange for the city cutting its contribution to the pension funds for a few years, so Giuliani would have more money to spread around, the unionized public employees go their own 3.0% contributions to the pension funds eliminated after 10 years. For teachers, that was a 75 percent cut in career contributions.

The state drastically enriched benefits at the same time. These deals, along with the cutoff of general revenue for the MTA capital plan, huge cuts in fares relative to inflation, and soaring payments to contractors, is what has wrecked the MTA financially.

Lhota’s generation got a sweet deal. Future generations are screwed. For example, future city employees will have to pay 5.85% of their paychecks into the pension funds and will get to retire later than Generation Greed had been promised to begin with.

This was a freaking crime, but since they were all in on it, nobody will talk about it.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 9:26 am

well one thing i will say is that at least he realizes the deals were not good and future employees have to be handled different. Can’t say the same about any of the democratic candidates who need the unions to get elected.

sharon August 13, 2013 - 3:01 pm

bill de blasio is promising all the unions retro pay raises that will bankrupt the city finances . The raises amount to a nearly 20% jump for some unions who have been out of contracts for 2-3 years now. He thinks he can jack of taxes again on the so called rich .

How many people know that De Blasio changed his name to get more votes when he went into politics. His name is really Warren Wilhelm. A name like Warren would get you less votes.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 3:16 pm

yeah – I don’t care about his real name – but he’s definitely a populist… he’s either lying to them or he’s too incompetent if he believes what he says.

John-2 August 13, 2013 - 4:31 pm

De Blasio’s kind of setting himself up, if elected, to be the 21st Century version of John Lindsay. You just don’t want to be around, if you’re the mayor, to be the 21st Century version of Abe Beame when all the bills come due.

Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 5:19 pm

If I can’t get a second Dinkins, I’d rather have a second Lindsay than a second Giuliani or a second Bloomberg.

SEAN August 13, 2013 - 7:00 pm

What about a second Cotch. How my dooooo in!

Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 9:06 pm

I don’t hate New York enough to wish to inflict a second Koch on it.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:22 pm

you must hate NY if you want another Lindsay

Justin Samuels August 14, 2013 - 1:47 am

Well, I’m voting for de Blasio. Thank god the Giuliani/Bloomberg era is over. A democrat will win this election. Notice none of the Republicans even got media coverage.

Alon Levy August 14, 2013 - 2:04 am

Avoiding a race riot in the Lindsay era was a real bummer, wasn’t it?

AG August 14, 2013 - 6:05 pm

you’re kidding right??? you really think their was no racial tension during John Lindsay? Harlem did have riots – even though Lindsay tried to stem it.
And funny enough – when Bloomberg was accused of not paying attention during the blizzard a couple years ago… He was compared to none other than John Lindsay – because he was accused of only caring about Manhattan during a blizzard.
The racial tension in the school system then was even worse than now… remember Ocean Hill/Brownsville??

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 9:52 am

Nobody can like ANYONE and want to inflict a Republikan on them. It’s just not something empathetic human beings do to each other.

Lindsay is another example of someone who basically didn’t and couldn’t do anything about forces much beyond his control. Except that Giuliani was more brutal, there isn’t much of a practical difference between these two figures.

Karm August 14, 2013 - 6:15 pm

Alon – race riots? that same “squeaky clean” Lindsay also saw no problem with mafiosi like the Gallo brothers being used by the city to quell racial tensions in Brooklyn neighborhoods. He was on the record… I’m sure you can look it up.

llqbtt August 14, 2013 - 9:35 am

At least his family supports him. Look at poor, embattled Huma. She bailed on the man who loves her (and lots of other women I might add). If he legally changed his name to Carlos Danger, that would become another lightning rod (ouch!!) for attention.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 10:49 am

Why don’t you put up a blog on this pension stuff? I’ll help with the technical aspects if you want. Hell, I could probably help with the financials/economics too, though I don’t know a lot about pensions.

It’s very topical right now, given the city election this year and another state election next year. I can be reached at my posting nick at gmail.

Larry Littlefield August 13, 2013 - 10:57 am

Man, I’ve written so much about it — going back to when it was happening — that I’m tired of writing it and people who read my blog are tired of hearing about it.

Here is the latest comparative data from the U.S. Census Bureau specifically on pensions, in a spreadsheet, discussed on the blog my daughter put up for me.

http://larrylittlefield.wordpr.....-for-2011/

Here is the latest overall compartive public finance data, for FY 2011, with a line for Mass Transit vs. other things.

Revenues

http://larrylittlefield.wordpr.....n-fy-2011/

Expenditures

http://larrylittlefield.wordpr.....n-fy-2011/

Finally, here is my latest polemic about the executive/financial class, the political/union class, and the serfs (including younger generations and most transit riders).

http://larrylittlefield.wordpr.....elsewhere/

Read away. You won’t see much specifically on transit on my site, since if issues are already being discussed elsewhere, that’s where I comment on them.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 11:39 am

Hmm, in that case, what about some kind of wiki project? You could actually seamlessly link between all these parallel strains of data, and the people who impacted to them.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 11:46 am

s/impacted to/effected

sharon August 13, 2013 - 3:09 pm

The sad part is if pension padding was reduced by not giving out overtime based on seniority and giving out bonus checks to retires in years that the pension managers do better than expected, the pension liabilities would not be so far in deficit . My union leaders tell us that don’t worry about bankrupting the state, your pensions can not be reduced in bankruptcy court. The are walking all of us off the edge

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 10:38 am

Lhota’s natural (Republikan) base are the dumb, lazy people who live off entitlements and drive. These people do not care about transit, and might even be turned off about it.

It’s no surprise charging people to enter Midtown is the last thing he thinks should be tried. Anyone with a better-than-common-sense background in economics, urban planning, or any kind of transportation planning, ought to agree it’s the best option.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 12:36 pm

Republicans in NYC are very different than Republicans in South Carolina… That said – the Democrats have been so poor that in 20 years a city witha 6 to 1 advantage couldn’t elect on. That says A LOT!!

Funny enough – it was a Democrat Sheldon Silver that killed congestion pricing. Stop looking at political parties and stick to the issues.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 1:03 pm

Eh, parties matter. The Republikans are more incompetent at actually running the city, but they’re less incompetent at campaigning and acquisitively lying. It was Pataki, Bruno, Giuliani, Skelkos, Bloomberg, and Silver (4/5 Republikan) who got us into the hole we’re in today, and the Democrats like Paterson, Cuomo and the current mayoral crop are too dumb to get us out. (Spitzer maybe was smart enough to offer some reform, but not smart enough to stick to redtube while in office.)

The realpolik of CP was Long Island-Upstate Republikans were willing to take Bloomberg’s money to support CP in a part of the state they don’t care about anyway, but the local Republikans (e.g., Lhota) actually have to pander to the city’s Republikan primary voters – easily the most troglodyte people in the city.

sharon August 13, 2013 - 3:13 pm

The reality is both parties are bought and sold in NYS. The problem is that if you look at some of the democratic state and city office holders, many have little education and real world experiences and believe in this progressive populist radical agenda. They are far more dangerous thus many registered democrats in city wide elections vote republican which is usually a less radical democrat. Let’s face it, there is no real republican party in the city. It is a couple of bosses that take money.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 3:23 pm

that was point I was making – a NY republican is not the same as in other regions…. which is why Rudy would NEVER get elected President… he wasn’t “conservative” enough.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 3:41 pm

Just what radicals? With the exception of some milquetoast opposition to things like stop ‘n frisk, most Democrats are literally more conservative than the Republikans. Maybe they aren’t more authoritarian, maybe they aren’t dumber or more vicious, but they are more conservative in that they basically just coddle the status quo. Hell, even the ones opposing stop ‘n frisk just happen to be hewing closer to the rule of law than the ones who stopped caring about rule of law, as Giuliani, Bloomberg, and Quinn basically did.

Shit, please, bring us some radicals. Anything to break us out of this Quinn-Weiner-Lhota political malaise. Your narrative is just backward.

Justin Samuels August 14, 2013 - 1:49 am

I agree with you Bolwerk. With the judge ruling NYPD’s version of Stop and Frisk Unconstitutional, much of the Bloomberg legacy is UNDONE. The only reason they were able to market ghettos and hip and trendy is because of police occupation/stop and frisk. And now the federal courts have ended that, so close to the time Bloomberg won’t be mayor anymore. And a Democrat will win this election.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 9:59 am

It was a pretty narrow ruling that may not change much. I think they are still going to use stop ‘n frisk as an enforcement tool, which is broadly what people mean when they say “stop ‘n frisk” (the narrow, traditional use of stopping and frisking a suspect was simply to protect the police officer, who was presumably acting on lawful reasonable suspicion).

The good news is things like police wearing cameras may actually have the side-effect of decreasing police brutality.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 3:22 pm

Bolwerk – the problems we have today started WAY before any of the officials you listed. I’m not even sure what you mean.
In case you didn’t know – Bloomberg wasn’t a Republican. He was always a Democrat – until the party bosses didn’t want to let him run (no doubt at the behest of the unions)… so he switched parties. Not dissimilar to Adolfo Carrion (except he doesn’t have his own personal wealth to campaign with).

And again – it was Silver who killed congestion pricing… he’s a Democrat. He just did it for a different reason than a Republican would.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 3:49 pm

It was the officials I mentioned that ran up the obscene debts we have today, as Larry likes to document, on top of whatever debts already existed. During a period of overall economic recovery too. Republikans campaign as finance/economics experts, stressing fiscal responsibility, but they are literally less competent with that heady quant stuff than Democrats. That’s not even to say the Dems are good at it, but however more moderate the NY GOP is than the South Carolina GOP on a few social issues, it is still overwhelmingly troglodyte and utterly incompetent at governance. And it has to be, or its candidates won’t win a primary. The party is a race to the bottom.

Yes, Silver killed congestion pricing. Yes, Bloomberg was a Democrat. As if I didn’t know that. Is there anything else you would like to tell me that I already know? Democrats are corrupt, selfish, and petty. But thankfully, they are not Republikans.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:24 pm

so why vote?

AG August 13, 2013 - 11:04 pm

most of that debt you are talking about that was run up was because infrastructure in the city was neglected for decades and has to be brought up to something resembling modern. I said “has to” because much more needs to be done. There are billions more that need to spent on the sewer infrastructure and the water system. Most of that debt was NOT for wasteful things.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 10:13 am

The acts at question are things like retroactive pension enhancements and pot sweetening in the future in exchange for minor fiscal concessions in the now (the now being circa 1996). The borrowing to pay for new infrastructure began in earnest in the 1980s, in the Cuomo/Koch era, and at least managed to control growth in labor costs, something the later Republikan administrations pissed away (retroactively, of all things).

I don’t object to sensible borrowing. We should absolutely borrow to build subways, light rail, and SBS. However, barring an emergency, we should not borrow to pay for operations; that means either riders need to cover their rides with fares, or politicians need to accept responsibility for paying for the shortfall out of general revenues.

AG August 14, 2013 - 6:39 pm

you’re last paragraph is correct… which is why I don’t see why you seem to favor NYC Democrats.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 7:28 pm

I favor NYC Democrats? I favor beating them with the sppendages of NYC Republikans, if anything.

Both my paragraphs are broadly correct; Republikans have been as bad for NYC’s and NYS’ fiscal health as they have been for the United States’ fiscal heatlh, maybe worse. If you give a sweet fuck about fiscal responsibility, you simply don’t vote for these clowns, milquetoast “independence” be damned.

Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 5:21 pm

The party bosses didn’t let Bloomberg run? Um, no. Anyone can run in a primary. Bloomberg voluntarily changed parties to avoid the crowded primary.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:24 pm

if you think just anyone can run – then you don’t understand NYC machine politics. Again – it’s the same reason Carrion – a lifelong Democrat is running as an independent.

Alon Levy August 14, 2013 - 2:04 am

Bloomberg has money; he doesn’t need the machine and never has.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 10:23 am

I think he’s actually from another country, and he seems to understand them better than you. Your preconceptions seem to be out of the 1960s. Carrion wants to be on the general election ballot, and is calculating he has a much better chance by skipping the crowded, volatile Democratic primary field.

Anyone can run, but it doesn’t mean anyone has a chance. To win takes a pretty big confluence of existing political influence, name recognition, a bully pulpit from an existing office, support from the press, union/special interest backing, ground-level foot soldiers just to get on the ballot, and financial resources including or not including your own.

Bloomberg is an anomaly. The mayor is supposed to be in the pocket of the richest man in town. He’s not supposed to be the richest man in town!

Karm August 14, 2013 - 5:59 pm

Alon – you don’t understand the Dem machine in NYC. Anyone can run – but you have NO CHANCE unless the wheels of the machine is greased. Carrion doesn’t have money – but he doesn’t fit in with that crowd – so the lifelong Dem is not running as one.

Bolwerk August 15, 2013 - 2:30 pm

The Republikans are no different than the Democrats in that regard. Whoever has the most money or the strongest grip on the party (typically both, ESPECIALLY with the Republikans) usually wins.

The Democrats, if anything, allow for a little more independence.

llqbtt August 14, 2013 - 9:38 am

No no no. There are no Republicans on entitlements. That’s why they want to eliminate them because it’s all the lazy, urban Democrats milking this country dry.

Sheesh, don’t you watch Fox News!

lawhawk August 13, 2013 - 9:30 am

NJ Transit is exploring wifi installation along its rail routes, and that would be somewhat beneficial. They’re going with Cablevision, which makes its network free to those who have their service at home/work, but would charge fee to others (like those who use TWC or Verizon).

NJ Transit gets access to the fiber along the ROW to improve service/communications and will be fully in place by 2016.

As you say, wifi sounds good in practice for commuter rail, but has less practicality for the subway where people aren’t as likely to have seats or spend enough time on the cars to make use of the system. It’s a perk, and one that shouldn’t cost the MTA anything.

But as Ben notes, this doesn’t get at the fundamental problems with financing/funding MTA operations for maintenance or expansion of the system.

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SEAN August 13, 2013 - 10:39 am

This is the best transit proposal from the former head of the MTA? Has he ever been to either 241st & White Plains Road or the two end stations in Jamaica? Better to extend the E & F to the Nassau County border if it is nessessary to build park & Ride lots, but PR lots are moving backwards as far as transit policy is concerned.

Amazingly NJT’s deal with Cablevision is foward thinking considering the agencies recent history. Although I do like the bilevel rail cars & the new busses they got from NOBI along with the Clever Devices AVS.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 12:37 pm

all those cars in the area around 241st and White Plains Rd. do not belong to residents.

SEAN August 13, 2013 - 6:57 pm

I realize those cars come from elsewhere. afew blocks north of the viaduct is Mount Vernon & a quarter mile or so west is Yonkers. Not only does the BX39 serve that area along White Plains Road, BeeLine routes 25, 26 & 42 do as well. The 25 & 26 stop at 238th street.

alen August 13, 2013 - 12:42 pm

how much is that going to cost and how long will it take? 10 years? 20 years?

cheaper and faster to build a new LIRR station at belmont or open the parking lot there to park and rides to get some more ridership.

at this point the biggest competition to mass transit is telecommuting. every year its gets cheaper and cheaper to have more and more people work from home instead of paying for office space

Patrick August 13, 2013 - 12:50 pm

I’ve been saying for a long time that a Park & Ride at Belmont would be a good idea. Park & Rides for subway stations would be a waste of time as nobody would use them.

AG August 13, 2013 - 12:54 pm

how different is that? belmont borders the city line… and he proposes doing it with subways that do….

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 1:06 pm

Well, at the very least, the waste isn’t our problem then.

Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:21 am

Belmont is a parking wasteland that nobody has to walk next to on a regular basis due to its location. Taking property for park and ride lots in neighborhoods is going to end up destroying current and future property values like no tomorrow.

AG August 15, 2013 - 4:38 pm

who said anything about taking property?? I missed that part. Depending on how it’s done there doesn’t need to be any depreciation in property value. what do you even base that on??

Henry August 15, 2013 - 4:52 pm

In most of the neighborhoods mentioned, most of the muni lots are gone or about to be demolished (Flushing is a great example – the multilevel muni lot is about to be demolished for a brand new shopping mall.) Building a park and ride would require either taking existing private lots or garages, or taking a building and demolishing it to have a multilevel parking garage.

In general, areas around multilevel parking garages tend to have crappy pedestrian environments, leading to lower pedestrian activity and lower retail activity (and thus you have to charge less in rent, and the property is valued less.) It’s observable in many areas – Flushing in particular has a dead zone around the multilevel lot less than half a block away from the most vibrant sections of the neighborhood.

Underground garages are very expensive and can cost several thousand dollars per space to erect, so if we’re doing that just to benefit suburban park and riders we’re pissing away money that could be used to actually maintain the physical plant of the system, which is barely handling rush hour commuters as it stands.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 1:05 pm

WTF are you talking about? Transit use has been going up. If telecommuting is siphoning people from a mode, it’s from cars.

Boris August 13, 2013 - 8:23 pm

The biggest competition to mass transit is the automobile. Commuting for work is only 20-30% of all trips. You still can’t telecommute very well to a museum, to visit grandma, or to go for a swim.

alen August 13, 2013 - 9:41 am

why? i take the LIRR a few days a week and i can get a cell phone signal the entire way. my verizon Galaxy S3 even works halfway into the tunnel. not so for my at&t iphone 5, but no big deal

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Mike K August 13, 2013 - 5:22 pm

Clearly you havent tried to stream netflix on the train.

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Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:22 am

Have you seen the data rates in this country?

Onboard Wi-Fi is also generally less spotty and more reliable than cell service is.

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Spendmore Wastemore August 13, 2013 - 10:57 pm

Yep. Worse than useless within subway cars; i) you can’t do anything useful ii) it encourages crews to roam the subway looking for whack’n grabs. Then if they don’t find enough easily picked electronics, they’ll try “Knockout King” or go through your pockets.

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John-2 August 13, 2013 - 1:50 am

The end-station park/ride option is pretty much how WMATA handles its outer stations — large (and getting larger) lots and garages to give people the option of commuting part of the way in and then changing to the subway. The advantage in the D.C. area, though was a lot of those outer locations were — if not as undeveloped as, say, the Flushing line’s route in the post-World War I period, at least sparse enough so that huge park/ride locations could be set up with limited cost or disrpution, as well as having many of the outer stops at or close by limited access highways.

That’s not the case in New York. There are only a handful of outer stations which have both available nearby land for park/rides and are also near limited access highways, where people could simply exit from the roads, park and get on the train. It’s not a bad idea to do where you can do it, but it would only be of much value in a few select locations.

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Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 1:54 am

The problem with the way WMATA did things is that it encourages the kind of ridership that’s peak-direction and peak-hour. People who have cars will use them unless congestion is terrible or parking is unaffordable; at least as far as congestion goes, a road system that’s designed for 8:30 am will have little traffic at 11 am. In contrast, if every suburban station in the WMATA system looked like the suburban Vancouver Expo Line stations, or for that matter like the Arlington stations, people would be riding not just to the DC core and not just at rush hour, and ridership would be higher without raising operating costs.

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John-2 August 13, 2013 - 9:04 am

Outside of, say, a Rockville, where people doing business with Montgomery County government have to go during the day, most of the outer stations do suffer that problem. But it’s just an inherent bug of the system in that if you’re going to have a vibrant downtown with the hub/spoke highway system the U.S. adopted in the 1950s, in most cases you’re going to have people from outer suburban areas that have developed around those highways looking to get to the core downtown area.

So they’re on the highways. The goal is to get as many of them off the highways 10 miles or so from the core as possible and onto mass transit. That’s where Lhota’s idea comes in. But for it to work, the city and MTA would have to focus on major park/ride locations at outer stations near major highways, and there just aren’t that many candidates (post completion of the Second Avenue Subway — when some capacity on the Lex locals is freed up — the 6 at or near Pelham Bay Park would be one of the best candidates for such a plan. It has access to some nearby land for parking, and proximity to the New England Thruway and Hutchison River Parkway. But the city and state would have to heavily subsidize the cost of the parking to make it worthwhile for drivers to opt for the Lex local there, and the NIMBY opposition to a major parking facility in the area and the rush hour traffic it would bring would be fierce).

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 9:19 am

Your idea about the #6 is good…. There is probably some land right near Waters Place (near the huge Hutch Metro Center and the State Mental Health complex). Some of the Co-Op City riders will undoubtedly use the proposed Metro North station – but ppl from other parts of the Bronx east of the 6 I’m sure would make use of the parking. As to subsidizing parking – if the development rights are sold over the garages – it could mitigate that. That area has seen a lot of development – especially from medical facilities. Even a Marriott is under construction right off Waters Place. I’m sure Jamaica could be quite similar.

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John-2 August 13, 2013 - 10:18 am

In terms of the subway stop/highway nexus in Queens, you already have something like that at Willet’s Point on the 7 and the parking around Citi Field. To the south, the Van Wyck, Grand Central and Jackie Robinson all come together at Kew Gardens, which would make that logistically a good place to get people onto the E/F, though I suspect putting a major park/ride in that area would create The Mother of All NIMBY Battles, and it’s not as if the E and F are short riders as it is.

The other option is Conduit Blvd./Aqueduct on the A — a major highway, tons of space for new parking garages adjacent to the subway, and you could even make the case putting a huge park/ride at that location would increase the justification to reactivate the Rockaway Branch to provide direct access to Broadway or Sixth Avenue via extending the R or the M to Howard Beach.

But Brooklyn’s more problematic. Lots of terminals, but not much space, and there’s really nothing past it but fish, who normally don’t do the Monday-Friday commute into Manhattan. And it does nothing for the New Jersey traffic, since even if you built a mega-garage between I-280 and the PATH station in Harrison, the system’s at its ridership limits as it is (and you’d probably have to start sending 33rd Street trains to Newark, because most people taking their cars that far in on a commute are only going to transfer to the subway if they’re assured of a one-seat ride to the area near their office).

Karm August 13, 2013 - 11:02 am

there is an underground robotic parking lot being built in dowtown brooklyn… not sure of the economics of it… but it’s happening.

John-2 August 13, 2013 - 11:27 am

Prospect Avenue on the R in Brooklyn would be another option. If the MTA the city and the DOT did whay Mayrland did with the Red Line at Shady Grove, you’d have a possible parking area near the convergence of the Gowanus and Prospect Expressways directly into the park/ride lots, to lure people away from trying to navigate the Battery tunnel or the BQE to the Brooklyn Bridge or the Manny B.

But as with any park/ride in Kew Gardens, we’re talking about a station on the southwest side of the Park Slope area, and the potential for tons of NIMBY court battles.

Epson45 August 13, 2013 - 12:44 pm

you been around Prospect Av?…. HIGH RISE BUILDINGS, little or no land space left in 2 block radius.

John-2 August 13, 2013 - 2:58 pm

Yes, I get that — I was just pointing out the areas that have A.) Subway stations and B.) Nearby access to one or more major highways. There just aren’t that many subway stations in NYC that have the option for park/ride, because unless there’s a major limited access highway nearby, building a major parking facility would be a total boondoggle. Prospect qualifies on the two counts, but would be a legal lawsuit nightmare to actually develop.

(From an available space in the area/available space in the train standpoint, the ideal easiest Brooklyn park/ride location to set up would be Neptune Avenue on the F — Easy access to the Belt Parkway, you could deck over MTA-owned land for the parking facility, and the McDonald Ave. F trains have the most spare capacity south of Church Avenue. The problem there is nobody’s driving north to get to that park/ride unless they’re making a submarine-to-subway transfer, so you’d have to get a lot of other South Brooklyn riders to basically drive away from Manhattan towards Coney Island to make their transfer. No way you could ever get enough people to do that to justify the cost.)

Mike K August 13, 2013 - 5:24 pm

There already is a mega-garage at Harrison.

Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:24 am

The issue with a Willets Point park and ride is that access to Corona Park by any mode of transportation generally sucks – whenever there’s an event at Corona Park, no matter how small it is traffic backs up on the Van Wyck, GCP, and LIE.

Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 5:34 pm

You’re ignoring the fact that SkyTrain, and the successful parts of Metro, didn’t do that. They didn’t get people to drive and park 10 miles from the core; they expanded the core out instead of the suburbs in. Arlington was not a core downtown area in the 1970s. Likewise, until the 1980s, what is now called Metrotown and has was a suburban section of Burnaby.

You should think of it in terms of a three-way comparison between the Bay Area, Washington, and Vancouver. Vancouver TODified the entire Expo Line, and is slowly doing the same to the Millennium and Canada Lines. Washington TODified Arlington, parts of Alexandria, and some Maryland suburbs, but built parking lots elsewhere. The Bay Area did everything with parking lots. And if you measure both ridership relative to metro area size and system size and recent growth in transit use, Vancouver is doing much better than Washington and Washington is doing much better than the Bay Area.

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Nyland8 August 13, 2013 - 6:21 pm

Thanks for those insights.

Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 9:08 pm

Likewise, until the 1980s, what is now called Metrotown and has office and residential towers, the second largest shopping mall in Canada, tens of thousands of jobs, and 20,000 weekday SkyTrain boardings, was a suburban section of Burnaby.

Corrected.

John-2 August 13, 2013 - 9:51 pm

Expanding the core out is common to cities with highway-driven growth as well — Dallas has its downtown, but also a huge business district along the northern LBJ Freeway, because builders go where the best access was, car or mass transit, in the non-mature urban areas over the past 60 years.

Washington’s really the only city in the Northeast or Midwest whose outlying areas grew up around the patterns of the post 1950s highway development, as opposed to the pre-World War II growth of the more mature urban areas, which followed the mass transit lines of the early 20th Century (though I suppose you can also make an argument for Columbus, Ohio developing the way most non-coastal cities in the South, West and Mountain States have). As a result, WMATA’s lines weren’t built first, with the highway plan to follow, but was built either after the main limited-access roads were in place or in conjunction with those roads, as was the case with the Orange Line and I-66. When that line opened, there wasn’t much out in Vienna, and Dulles Airport was still considered to be back in the boondocks of Virginia. Now it’s adjacent to the per capita richest county in America.

D.C. grew in the time when highways and commuting by car were already both a given and an annoyance, so the outer arms of the system were planned to be friendlier to take in traffic without forcing that traffic to access local streets. That’s not the situation in New York, where if a subway line and a highway run near each other is the exception, not the rule.

(But at the same time in contrast to New York, the areas along those lines heading into D.C. have a bigger incentive to develop their own station stops commercially because there is no single jurisdictional zone. Roslyn doesn’t want you going into D.C. to work — they want you to work in Roslyn. So there’s more incentive to commercially develop outer sections of the WMATA lines than there is in the city.)

Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:30 pm

having gone to college in that area – I concur with everything you said… the diff jurisdictions don’t like each other.

and yes it is absolutely true that it is unique (DC Metro) because it’s rail lines developed much later.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:27 pm

DC does not hold sway with the counties in MD and VA… They all compete with each other and don’t like each other. Plus comparing NY to any of them doesn’t make much sense since transit ridership is higher here.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 10:42 am

Park ‘n ride is another backdoor way to get transit users to subsidize drivers. The best planning option is sending the trains to where people are.

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alen August 13, 2013 - 10:49 am

how will this fix the existing gridlock and traffic problems?

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Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 10:52 am

It doesn’t. The way to do that is to discourage extraneous driving. However, park ‘n ride creates gridlock and traffic problems.

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alen August 13, 2013 - 10:55 am

how do you discourage extraneous driving? people are driving into manhattan today because there is no viable mass transit option for them.

building some parking lots in eastern queens and other parts of the edge of NYC isn’t going to create gridlock in manhattan

SEAN August 13, 2013 - 11:19 am

As I said above, building Park & Rides is regressive policy. If you want to look at the WMATA example, look at Bathesda, Rockville & stations in Arlington along RB & Crystal City. Now compare those to the rest of the stations beyond I-495 or along I-66. Those in the first group have a dence & walkable core designed for constant active street life while the latter have nothing around them but lots & garages.

alen August 13, 2013 - 11:23 am

i’ve been to towns in the NYC burbs with a dense walkable core. i found somewhere to park and walked around.

the problem is still people driving into NYC from outside the city or parts of NYC with poor transit and causing gridlock. a lot of these people live far from the train station.

how do you solve this problem today?

SEAN August 13, 2013 - 11:36 am

In some cases feeder bus routes can be established or existing lines could be rerouted to speed up bus services. It depends what is called for in a given neighborhood.

What town did you visit.

alen August 13, 2013 - 11:45 am

one of the hamptons towns on LI
Norwalk has some nice things in downtown where you can park and go walk around and hang out
also did it in some town in NJ where the downtown was close to the NJ transit

some years back my wife and i were looking for a house in the burbs but all the new construction is too far from the train station

John-2 August 13, 2013 - 12:35 pm

It’s a bit different animal with WMATA, in that you’re dealing with a system containing a variety of both county and local jurisdictions where the lines go. So it’s in Arlington or Fairfax County’s interest to spur major business/retail development around the WMATA stations, to keep property, sales and other tax and spending revenues in their areas, and not allow them to go to Washington or other nearby cities.

New York’s subway is self-contained within the four boroughs (other than PATH), so while you nominally can say you’re trying to divert business from Manhattan to the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens, the main goal of any park/ride would be to get more people out of their cars in the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens so those vehicles don’t contribute to the congestion problems south of 96th Street.

Congestion pricing is the stick, if you’re trying to get vehicles out of midtown and lower Manhattan. The carrot would have to be park/rides with subsidized lot fees, to give those drivers a reason to break off their commutes in mid-route and take the subway the rest of the way into Manhattan.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 12:39 pm

your last paragraph is absolutely correct… i’m not sure why persons don’t realize it. you left out the political fight that prevents congestion pricing from happening.

Daniel August 14, 2013 - 11:32 am

Exactly correct. Congestion pricing must be treated with a degree of understanding that the reason people are taking their cars into midtown is that there simply aren’t good transit options available where they live – it’s either too far away or too unpalatable. Take my original home of Southeast Queens, for example – sure, there’s the E/J/Z, F, and A trains…if you take a bus or a car.

I thought it then and I still think it now – if congestion pricing is to happen, it must come with changes to the transit system that make it easier for outer borough and suburban residents to take mass transit into downtown areas. That includes utilizing old ROW (the Rockaway Beach line, the Triboro RX), changing the city-area regional rail ROW to an extension of the subway (e.g. the Far Rockaway line from Jamaica to Valley Stream), better bus service, and – if it actually works and the space is available – yes, park-and-ride lots/garages.

Bolwerk August 15, 2013 - 1:36 am

Why? Congestion pricing saves the people who really need to go to Manhattan by car money. They don’t need to be helped because CP is a favor for them.

Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:29 am

Congestion pricing was supposed to fund the capital program and improved bus and subway service. That was the only reason people supported it.

The issue with park and rides is that they are 100% guaranteed to destroy the pedestrian environment wherever they are located and will induce driving and congestion in neighborhoods that are already congested.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 11:36 am

Congestion pricing is a pretty obvious choice. It actually sends a price signal to road users, and dispenses with the illusion that the ride is “free.” Equal tolls on all bridges would at least be better.

Park ‘n ride will contribute to gridlock in Manhattan and to Manhattan, and probably not even move significant numbers of people compared to a halfway decent transit line. It makes no sense that some people conceive of it as cheaper to drive than to take LIRR.

alen August 13, 2013 - 11:40 am

if you build parking lots 20 – 30 miles outside of manhattan at train stations for people to park and take the train into manhattan, how will it contribute to gridlock in manhattan?

the people with NJ plates i see stuck in traffic on thursday and fridays on their way to the lincoln tunnel aren’t parking and riding a train. same with the ones i see waiting to enter lots in midtown at 8:45am

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 11:49 am

At the very least, those people will take the train at rush hour and drive at other times, which contributes to congestion at other times while not reducing it at peak times.

We have decades of experience showing what a bad idea expansive parking policy is, especially on already congested arteries. Let’s not repeat the mistakes made in the 1970s and 1980s.

AG August 13, 2013 - 12:09 pm

some reduction in driving is better than none. I think the point Lhota is making is that congestion pricing is the most difficult thing to do…. We can’t even get a commuter tax re-instated or tolls on the free east river bridges.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 12:14 pm

That’s a fair point, but, even though he is a professional political appointee, he must know enough about transportation to know pretty basic stuff that your average poster here knows. Park ‘n rides just don’t reduce traffic and, if anything, increase it, especially over the long run.

He either knows that and is pandering to some of the most noxious people in the city or doesn’t know that and is a twit. There isn’t a benign alternative.

Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:30 am

The problem is that if you take some cars off the road, people go “Oh, it’s easier to drive now, so I can drive now!”, and the roads end up filling up again. It’s the reason why Interstate bypasses never work – induced demand is extremely powerful, and the only way to beat it is through tolls of some sort.

alen August 13, 2013 - 12:24 pm

is there any evidence that PnR’s will increase congestion into manhattan and the areas around it?

if there is traffic around the PnR’s that is the point. to get people living in the burbs to go to use transit into the city and not drive in

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 12:32 pm

The general idea is that adding parking spots along a route induces more traffic without increasing traffic capacity. Pretty hard to argue with. A little more controversial maybe is the notion that the supply-demand equilibrium on a route is determined by how many cars can fit in the space provided on the route, and if you divert some of that to transit somebody else just moves in to take the slot. That’s why adding a lane usually just results in more gridlock.

So, really, how has park ‘n ride worked out in the past? I’d be fascinated to see a case of it working, because I never did. I have seen planners assume the people who use the park ‘n rides would all drive if they didn’t have park ‘n ride (e.g., with WMATA), but more likely many just wouldn’t make the trip.

Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:32 am

So the neighborhoods on the outer fringes of the subway are just supposed to put up with increased traffic and pollution so that suburban residents don’t have to drive?

This is perhaps the most self-entitled argument for park and rides I have seen.

lawhawk August 13, 2013 - 3:01 pm

I was one of those people who’d take the car into the city if we were going to Broadway or sightseeing in the City because NJ Transit’s schedule on the Bergen/Main line is horrible outside of rush hour. We now use the Secaucus Transfer to park and ride rather than going and trying to find parking in the city. Cheaper too.

But I’d completely forgo the car altogether to get into Manhattan for those kinds of trips if we had better off-peak transit options. Adding trains to the schedule gets blocked by localities that don’t want more noise/trains coming through, and the grade-level crossing backups.

So, we do the next best thing by going to Secaucus.

alen August 13, 2013 - 3:21 pm

LIRR and MNR are the opposite. they run extra trains to the Yankees, Mets and barclays for games and special events.

parking by times square is too expensive. when my wife and i used to hang out in manhattan we would park out towards the edges and then walk. only like 20 minutes from Lex or 3rd ave if you park there

question, is there a NJ transit station by the meadowlands. like get off the train and walk with no bus in between?

Karm August 13, 2013 - 3:27 pm

yes – I’ve used the meadowlands station to go to futbol (soccer) matches at the stadium there. Left NY Penn and then transferred. NJ Transit is going to start running regular trains if/when that entertainment complex opens.

SEAN August 13, 2013 - 4:40 pm

That is if Tripple Five ever gets it’s act together. It has been six years since that mall started getting built & it’s still under construction.If it oppens, it will be a good place to leave the car & take transit into the city.

lawhawk August 13, 2013 - 8:08 pm

There’s a train station, but it’s a dead end route that runs only when events occur at the Meadowlands (concerts, fairs, and football).

The routing means that if you want to go to the Meadowlands, you’ve got to transfer at Secaucus, even if you’re coming from the Pascack Valley line.

The Meadowlands isn’t a thru-stop, which made no sense. Instead of routing the Pascack Valley line through the Meadowlands, they went with this system that doesn’t optimize service and ends up costing more over the long run.

The only positive is that the new station is right by MetLife, with a very short walk. American Dream is accessible via pedestrian bridge.

Oh, and the same problems exist for trying to get home on the Main/Bergen/Pascack after the shows because of the lack of trains in the off-peak periods.

Nuts.

Boris August 13, 2013 - 8:32 pm

Those people with NJ plates you see are avoiding the Verrazano Bridge toll. It’s not that they don’t already have options; it’s just that they make the rational economic choice. Making driving cheaper (by taking some cars off the road via park-and-rides) would simply encourage others to take their place.

Driving is an economic good like any other. I don’t understand why so many people, like Lhota, fail to see or pretend not to see this.

Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:26 am

It’ll move congestion to already congested outer ring neighborhoods, which don’t have the street capacity to handle more cars than they already do during the peak. Flushing and Jamaica in particular are slow going as it is.

Nyland8 August 13, 2013 - 11:57 am

+1

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Billy G August 13, 2013 - 1:09 pm

Yonkers Raceway

Does it really really need all of that parking at all hours of day and night? It’d be really great if it could be used for park and ride. If only the 4 train went up Jerome Ave to over the Deegan/Thruway up to that parking lot.

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SEAN August 13, 2013 - 3:08 pm

If that be the case, Westchester would want some more influence over the MTA. I meen what beyond what MNR brings to the table.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 3:28 pm

historically the subway was to run into Yonkers… but Yonkers and Mt. Vernon declined to become part of the Bronx during the 1898 consolidation. So nowadays that’s the next best thing.

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Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 3:50 pm

It was? I thought only a branch of the Putnam sort of served Yonkers in a rapid transit-ish fashion.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:33 pm

meaning it was never built because of the jurisdictional vote.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 10:32 am

The Putnam was an interurban that operated until the 1940s, I think 1943. It ran to Getty Square, and may have resembled an IRT or BMT service.

Nyland8 August 15, 2013 - 6:45 am

Apropos of which – In early Spring, I walked the Putnam’s ROW, from beyond the Westchester County border, all the way down to Kingsbridge Road. It is still a viable right-of-way.

It’s a shame we can’t avail ourselves of at least some of it for mass-transit purposes. The stretch along the Deegan is wide enough, and all the bridges over it are in fine shape. It should be something other than a rail-trail. South of Van Cortlandt Park, it isn’t even that.

Maybe it’s a candidate for the northernmost annex to the Triboro RX.

Bolwerk August 15, 2013 - 2:36 pm

Hmm, interesting idea. But we mustn’t take too much from covetous parks-for-thee-roads-for-me types at once.

Nyland8 August 17, 2013 - 8:20 am

Actually, we needn’t take any – other than temporarily while the T-Rx is being built. After which all the park land reverts back to park.

Just as an example:

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zl321Fz-Ruq8.kVvUP4LpNvIQ

This configuration utilizes the Putnam RR ROW along the Deegan, the Old Croton Aqueduct ROW, and the St. Marys Tunnel ROW for most of the miles.

I threw in a station on Randalls/Wards Island, just for good measure. And I suspect we’d probably want a couple between Yankee Stadium and the 1 Line at Van Cortlandt Park … but other than that, most of the Bronx segment of the Triboro Rx would be done using existing right-of-ways.

Needless to say – then I suddenly woke up and realized it was all a dream.

Nyland8 August 13, 2013 - 6:43 am

How many people crush into a single average subway car during rush hours? About 150? Times 10 cars, that’s roughly 1,500 commuters per train set. So just to seduce or encourage ten trains full of passengers throughout the system, he’d have to find room to build 15,000 parking spaces somewhere.

That seems like a lot of parking spaces.

Do we charge the same to park as they do in midtown Manhattan, and hope it’ll work because people would prefer the comfort of web-surfing their way into the city ?? !! ?? Or isn’t Lhota really suggesting that, instead of congestion pricing, we should subsidize driving?

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 9:10 am

well no – if private developers are allowed to use the air over the parking garages the fee could be very minimal. that added benefit would be that it would keep cars from travelling into crowded areas. If they fail to fill up – well the city could still earn revenue from the private development.

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Ian Turner August 13, 2013 - 10:04 am

Structured parking costs at least $50,000 per space, not including land costs.

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Nyland8 August 13, 2013 - 11:45 am

I’m not interested in minimizing the fee. I’m looking to maximize revenues to the MTA for much-needed subway expansion. The MTA should be owning/operating the parking garages.

As far as I know, nobody has been keeping private enterprise from acquiring land and building parking structures at the ends of subway lines. Do you know any different?

If it were lucrative, I suspect it would have already been done.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 12:33 pm

parking garages make money in congested areas…. which entrepreneurs certainly used to invest in (now they get bought out for so much by condo developers they take the money and run)….

as to building those structures near the ends of subway lines… i’m pretty sure it has a whole lot to do with zoning. where is there currently zoning for such projects????

point is – who said it needed to be lucrative?? it’s about keeping cars from driving into Manhattan. that was the point about minimizing the fee.

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Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 1:18 pm

We minimize the fee of letting people drive to Manhattan to begin with, and then minimize the fee of the park ‘n ride alternative? The result is both fill up, and the capacity on the transit system is not maximized because a typical highway can’t possibly overwhelm a well-utilized rail line.

This is a bit like the bus “rapid transit” vs. rail debate. It might be cheaper to build a parking lot or nine than a transit service, but build the right thing at the beginning and we reduce our costs over the long run.

alen August 13, 2013 - 1:24 pm

but building the right thing is expensive and time consuming. i’m all for digging new subway tunnels in queens, but its a decades long process at best.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 1:38 pm

It sure as hell doesn’t need to be.

Anyway, sometimes the right thing is light rail or buses. Subways aren’t always appropriate.

alen August 13, 2013 - 1:53 pm

that’s why so many people drive into manhattan
buses are slow and on days like today you have to stand out in the rain waiting for one. same on the freezing cold days.

on the days i take the LIRR i’m at the station a few minutes before the train arrives at the earliest.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 2:22 pm

A bus from LI to Manhattan is slow (especially thanks to the traffic). A 10-minute bus ride to the nearest LIRR station is a reasonable trip, and saves a lot of money over the car. Unfortunately, the BRT fappers are too thick to see that this is a reasonable, cost-effective use for buses and don’t advocate for it.

LI evidently doesn’t want a proper surface transit network either, but that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to stick that problem to us.

Nyland8 August 13, 2013 - 6:48 pm

So your answer is, “No … I don’t know of any instance where someone was denied building a multilevel parking garage at the end of a subway line.” Right? I thought so.

What do you think air rights are worth at the corner of Glenwood Road and Rockaway Parkway? Or Light Street and Dyre Ave. ?? Are these candidates for skyscrapers? Or even highrises?

Oh … I see. In your world, private developers do what they do when it ISN’T lucrative.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:39 pm

No – I wouldn’t pretend to because I don’t know of every real estate negotiation that ever happened. If you read the comment thoroughly instead of being sarcastic I noted that parking garages by themselves can only be lucrative in very dense places.

well only an idiot would put a parking garage on Light Street and Dyre Ave. You also don’t need a skyscraper. There is however HUGE demand for housing in NYC. There is also demand for commercial development in the outer boroughs. All it took was a simple rezoning on Webster Ave. and you see buildings popping up right across from Woodlawn Cemetery…. yes a cemetery. Developers would build anywhere – including over a city owned parking garage.

Nyland8 August 14, 2013 - 5:29 am

“well only an idiot would put a parking garage on Light Street and Dyre Ave.”

HUH?? Isn’t that precisely what both you and Lhota are advocating? For suburban commuters to take their cars to the outskirts of the subway, put it in a park-n-ride, and MetroCard into midtown? People coming down the Hutch, or down I-95, would have a simple connection to the system, and they might even get their favorite seat for the morning ride in. (Remember – they’ll need a seat so they can comfortably surf the web with their WiFi connection) It seems to fit Lhota’s criteria perfectly.

Either you’re for it or against it. Which is it?

Karm August 14, 2013 - 6:30 pm

Light Street would be terrible – but it might work at the corner of Boston Rd… not only because it’s not single and two family homes – but also because it’s closer to the entrance/exits to I95 and the Hutch. Ppl can certainly walk to Dyre or Baychester… why? since commuters already park on the residential streets. By 7:30 AM you can hardly even find a space on any of them…. much to the chagrin of ppl who live there. (As a sidebar it’s increased because ppl have less fear of break ins and robberies since crime has decreased in that area.)
Likewise as someone brought up the #6 – the area around Waters Place (near the Middletown Rd. stop) could be prime.

Again – I’m not actually advocating anything. Fools rush in… but I think it’s worth being looked at.

Nyland8 August 15, 2013 - 6:17 am

” … not actually advocating anything.” ?? I see.

So when John-2 wrote: “Congestion pricing is the stick, if you’re trying to get vehicles out of midtown and lower Manhattan. The carrot would have to be park/rides with subsidized lot fees, to give those drivers a reason to break off their commutes in mid-route and take the subway the rest of the way into Manhattan.”

And you responded, “your last paragraph is absolutely correct… i’m not sure why persons don’t realize it.”, you were “not actually advocating anything.” !??!

I guess it only sounds like you were advocating park/rides. At least in English it did. Thanks for the clarification … if there was one.

Karm August 15, 2013 - 4:30 pm

well actually again – instead of loving sarcasm – if you read my original comments to Ben’s post then you would see that I said I was in favor of congestion pricing but he shouldn’t dismiss Lhota’s proposal so easily. John-2’s comment is absolutely correct in that there has to be a carrot/stick approach… sorry didn’t realize I was being graded. if you want to grade my essays then read the whole thing and connect the dots.

Sigh.

Nyland8 August 17, 2013 - 6:58 am

I wasn’t grading your essays. I was questioning your contradictions.

Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 5:36 pm

If private developers are allowed to build on the same sites without parking, they’d generate extra rides, often off-peak where the marginal cost of providing service is cheap, as well as extra tax revenue for the city.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:40 pm

precisely

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Eric August 13, 2013 - 9:44 am

15000 people is about the capacity of a freeway in the morning rush hour. It’s a lot easier to find those parking spots (and garages can help) than to build a new freeway.

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shawn August 13, 2013 - 10:44 am

Don’t you think that if people really wanted to park and ride some enterprising entrepreneur would have built a parking garage and made his fortune by now? Why do you think that hasn’t occurred? Probably because no one wants to park and ride.

it’s a silly idea.

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alen August 13, 2013 - 10:47 am

there are already park in rides in the NJ Transit and Metro north systems where the parking is either very expensive and/or the lots are full to capacity and no more room.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:59 am

yup… look at the Mt. Vernon East station in Mt. Vernon. That is the poorest town in Westchester and the lot – which you have to pay for – is full every day.

SEAN August 13, 2013 - 11:29 am

And yet neither lot at Mt Vernon East is particularly large. Same for Fleetwood, Mount Vernon West parking is nearly imposible without going over to Bronx River Road in Yonkers.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 12:22 pm

well yeah – parking is tough – which turns ppl away from using it.

SEAN August 13, 2013 - 7:24 pm

Not so sure about that, as Fleetwood atracts several thousand passengers per day & many of them can walk to the train. Same for Mt. Vernon West since between the two stations there are numerous apartment buildings on Bronx River Road & Midland Avenue up towards Bronxville. Plus there are aditional buildings a block or two from West Broad street in Fleetwood that border the station as well.

shawn August 13, 2013 - 7:13 pm

Come on man this is a transit blog. You know the mta subway system is not compareable to the metro north. That is like saying that parking garages are a good idea because lots of people park and ride the JFK Airtran.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 9:08 am

Well Ben as to the internet in cars… Luxury cars have now become roving mobile hotspots… and companies are increasingly try to build driverless cars for partly that reason. That said – typing is not ideal on crowded transity – but you absolutely can read and prepare yourself and even make small notes.

Ben also as to Wakefield and Woodlawn in the Bronx (I’m sure it’s the same for Jamaica) – PLENTY of ppl from Mt. Vernon and Yonkers fight for parking… I have no doubt if there was more some of the ppl from Westchester who do drive in wouldn’t. That said – parking garages are ugly and take up space. There is however an example in the city limits already. The NY Botanical Gardens in the Bronx built a nice size garage right on Webster Ave. next to the Botanical Gardens Metro North station. They specifically market it not to just ppl who go to the Garden – but also to commuters. It’s actually as “green” of a garage as you can get. I believe there are even electric charging stages. That said – if the city itself were to do such a thing they could lease the rooftop to the new urban farm phenomenon or even to private developers to build commercial or residential units – so it wouldn’t cost taxpayers money.

I’m a fan of congestion pricing – but I wouldn’t be so quick to diss Lhota’s ideas.

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John-2 August 13, 2013 - 3:08 pm

The problem from a political standpoint with congestion pricing is the same problem if the MTA was to go to a WMATA-like distance based system for its fare structure. It’s Manhattan-centric, and is biased towards people (mostly higher-income) who can afford to live near the city’s main central business districts.

While it may not be New York City’s concern if Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester County residents and others have to pay more to commute be vehicle into Manhattan, it’s not in the city politicians’ interest to tell voters in the outer areas of Queens or (to a lesser extent) the Bronx and southeast Brooklyn to stick it where the moon don’t shine when it comes to bumping their costs up to get to and from work everyday. If the city’s going to put in congestion pricing, putting in park/ride sites at outer stations to give drivers a better option not to come into Manhattan is the only fair thing to do.

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Benjamin Kabak August 13, 2013 - 3:10 pm

I’m not asking this facetiously: Who are the people who live in these relatively less well off areas who drive into and park in Manhattan on a daily basis? I hear this argument all the time, but there’s no actual evidence that these people exist. Anyone who can afford driving into Manhattan like that can find an alternate route or they can afford to pay a toll.

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John-2 August 13, 2013 - 4:48 pm

I’d guess at least through credit card payments or lease agreements, midtown/downtown parking garages have some rudimentary way of telling where their customers are coming from. And it’s possible that the majority of spaces in those garages are people who actually live in Manhattan, but still have enough disposable income to pay garage fees as well as their rent/mortgage/home maintenance fees.

But there’s no question somebody’s — or a whole lot of somebodies — are driving into Manhattan every rush hour morning. They could all be from the outlying counties, in which case the city is only obligated to build park/rides to the point they simply keep those vehicles out of the area south of 96th Street (i.e. no parking subsidies on the new lots). But if there are a significant number of people from eastern Queens, southeastern Broolkyn or the northern Bronx who are personal vehicling it into the midtown/downtown area, if you’re the mayor of the entire city you’ve got to take them into consideration as you’re trying to make Manhattan less jammed.

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Boris August 13, 2013 - 8:40 pm

I spent a year living in Manhattan, and once I had to call a plumber to fix a gas stove problem. He charged me $150 for a half hour of work. Do you think a $6, or $12, or even $25 a DAY charge would dissuade him from his business, considering that this charge would dramatically reduce how much time he wastes on standing in traffic jams and circling for parking?

Even if he fit in just one more appointment a day, this Joe the Plumber that every politician loves would easily cover the extra cost of a congestion charge.

Nyland8 August 13, 2013 - 9:44 pm

Joe the Plumber’s choice is to be in business, or not to be in business. He has to drive his plumbing tools around in a van. Mass transit is not an option.

Whatever the cost of congestion pricing, he just passes it along to the customer – just like he passes along every other cost of doing business … including parking summonses.

Alon Levy August 14, 2013 - 1:59 am

Same as the cost of congestion. He passes it along to the customer in delays, gas, and unavailability.

Nyland8 August 14, 2013 - 5:01 am

Unavailability indeed. I know tradesmen who hire a full-time “helper” whose only job is to sit in their truck, illegally parked, move it at the first sign of police presence, and then bring it back to double park, or park illegally where it’s close to where the work is being done.

When those tradesmen are working inside an apartment, it isn’t worth waiting for parking to open up, parking three or more blocks away, having to shuttle their tools, going back and forth whenever they need something, risking having their van towed, paying a summons or more every day, etc. etc.

The extra cost of the “helper” – who sits doing mostly nothing in their truck – is just overhead, and is charged to the customer.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 10:34 am

Which is enough to make one suspect CP would not be passed onto the customer.

It’s the savings CP confers that would be passed onto the customer.

Nyland8 August 14, 2013 - 7:11 pm

Point taken. There might actually BE a parking spot available nearby when a tradesman needs one.

OR … with less of an influx of out-of-town cars taking up space in Manhattan, perhaps more New York, New Yorkers will opt to own their own. Parking spaces – like nature – abhor a vacuum.

Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:39 am

This is very debatable – in Eastern Queens, where transit coverage is the lowest, feeder bus ridership is high (most lines in Eastern Queens are limited routes) and LIRR ridership is similarly high. The majority of Queens residents don’t drive into Manhattan on a regular basis. Same goes for the Northern Bronx and Southeast Brooklyn – regional rail and bus routes, where available, are heavily utilized.

The majority of people driving in are coming in from other counties, not New York itself. There’s also the cabs, which congest streets like nothing else out there.

Ian Turner August 14, 2013 - 10:27 pm

Only a very small minority of outer borough residents commute to the CBD during business hours.

http://www.tstc.org/reports/cpfactsheets.php

And the money from congestion pricing could be used to fund new transit services.

Also, it is just wrong to suggest that congestion pricing is regressive, since it is the rich who are most likely to drive alone to the CBD.
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/bl.....sivit.html

Under Bloomberg’s pricing proposal, Manhattan residents would still have to pay to drive into the CBD. Not sure why you think that’s Manhattan-centric.

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g August 13, 2013 - 9:13 am

Obviously all that can be expected out of the candidates is softball stuff like this that can’t be opposed. Issues like congestion pricing, additional phases of the SAS, the third main line track for LIRR, etc…are just not going to appear no matter how much a given candidate may know they are needed.

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lawhawk August 13, 2013 - 9:32 am

Except we should be expecting more from a candidate who’s running based on his transit experience at the MTA in getting the system restored after Sandy. He should have a clear understanding of the problems with the system and have ideas on how to address them. He’s not showing his hand on that at all, which is unfortunate to say the least.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:53 am

Yes he ran the MTA… and MSG. He also was Guiliani’s budget director and I believe deputy mayor… so he’s not naive to make big promises because he knows how difficult they are to make happen.

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Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 1:26 pm

This is why parties and the people in them matter. He may not be naive at all, but he has to make promises that appeal to really stupid, selfish people to win the GOP primary.

Once he is in the general election, he will still have to pander, but at that point he won’t have a choice but to pander to the part of the New York electorate with triple digit IQs. Then if, God forbid, he’s elected, he can start pandering to the power brokers who ultimately matter, and be broadly indistinguishable from the previous two mayors.

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 3:37 pm

i was no fan of Rudy… but if he didn’t get tough like he did…. there wouldn’t even be a Second Ave. Subway blog because the city would still be teetering on destruction. The same can be said with the diversification of the economy under Bloomberg. Both of those mayors were different than the other.
It’s like saying Abe Beame – Ed Koch – and Dave Dinkins were the same….!! Ed Koch was more effective than Beame or Dinkins (and I think Dinkins was the nicest mayor we ever had).
Again – you are too hung up on parties
You’re talking about Lhota like he’s a clone of John Lindsay.

Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 4:04 pm

You have your history wrong (unsurprisingly). The “getting tough” was done in the Dinkens-Bratton era, ironically. Neither deserve credit either, of course, but Giuliani getting credit is even more frivolous.

The reality is Bloomberg and Giuliani both rode demographic waves that were beyond the control of them or anyone else, and took credit for them while selling the future. Politically, it was a master stroke, but they spent their tenures damaging a healing city, not improving a damaged one. More competent mayors might have done a better job exploiting the economic growth in the Giuliani and Bloomberg eras to improve the city much more than mere demographic shifts have accomplished anyway.

The key point is, while Lhota is perhaps smarter than Lindsay (probably not, but who cares?), he has to sound dumber to appeal to the GOP primary voters.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:43 pm

Dinkins never hired Bratton… and you say someone else has history wrong? you should actually look and see how Dinkins hired as commissioner… it will surprise you.

Alon Levy August 14, 2013 - 1:58 am

The Ray Kelly who opposed stop-and-frisk and continued Lee Brown’s community policing, yeah.

But sure, a crime drop under Dinkins is clearly due to exogenous factors while a crime drop under Giuliani is clearly proof that murdering altar boys is a good anti-crime strategy.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 10:47 am

For fuck’s sake, I didn’t say he hired him and I know Ray Kelly was Dinkens’ police commissioner. Bratton was head of transit police at the time he implemented “broken windows” concept (to New York; he tried it in Boston earlier) all the law ‘n order types masturbate to. That was contemporary to Dinkens’ mayoralty.

As Alon notes, crime was already well on its way south by the time Bratton was heading the NYPD. Not saying Dinkens deserves credit, but the only reason Giuliani gets credit and Dinkens doesn’t is Dinkens is a Democrat.

Karm August 14, 2013 - 6:34 pm

well on it’s way??? it was a trickle of a drop. and there was no guarantee it would have been sustained. but we won’t know since Dinkins didn’t stay.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 8:13 pm

If that’s your argument, you must also concede there is no way to know whether it would not have been further accelerated had Dinkins been in power instead of Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani, afterall, actually pushed out the commissioner credited with the shift (Bratton).

Still, you call a 12% drop in violent crime and 13% in murders in four years (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993) a trickle? Something was already well underway by the time Giuliani was in power, and I have yet to see any serious commenter claim, much less make a cogent argument, that policing either adequately.

The only reason you assume Giuliani handled crime better than Dinkins is some mix of hamfisted partisanship and some circumstantial data.

Karm August 15, 2013 - 4:34 pm

that is true – there is no way to know if it would have accelerated further had Dinkins stayed… It did accelerate though when he was gone.

It is also true that Rudy’s ridiculously immense ego pushed out Bratton (who actually said recently he wouldn’t mind having his old job back).

We eventually ended up with Kerik – who did help make Riker’s Island safe. Unfortunately – like Eliot Spitzer he was a reformer – but a thief.

Bolwerk August 15, 2013 - 5:45 pm

Sure, it picked up after Giuliani entered office, but it sounds like a pretty absurd stretch to credit Giuliani just for being there. Cuomo and Clinton were on power then, so why not just credit them? Crime began dipping nationally around 1992 or 1993, too. New York was somehow ahead of the curve.

Other obvious factors: crack epidemic subsided in 1990 and mostly ended by 1994, many of the crack epidemic-era criminals were dead or in prison by 1994, many of the rest aged out, the economy picked up, the gentrification of New York was probably already well under way by 1994.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:45 pm

btw – who are these “smarter mayors”??? and why aren’t you running for office?

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 10:54 am

I don’t know. Bloomberg might be the smartest mayor in two generations. Why the quotes? It’s your phrase, not mine. I only evaluated competence, and compared Lhota to Lindsay. Lindsay was naive and rather inept, but I wouldn’t call him stupid as Caro famously implies.

And why would I want to go through the indignity of running for office?

Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 9:10 pm

Under Koch, the city just resigned itself to its problems, and crime went up.

Under Dinkins, Lee Brown started implementing community policing, Ray Kelly started reforming the police back when he was against stop-and-frisk, and crime went down.

People remember Crown Heights where they should be remembering a decline in the murder rate.

Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:46 pm

murder went down because the crack wars reached their peak… in the same way organized crime realized their street wars were bad for business.

John-2 August 14, 2013 - 9:02 am

The current murder/gun violence rates per capital in Chicago vs. New York are an indicator that, demographics aside, policing policies to have an effect on the rates on a city-to-city basis.

If declines were based purely on the Boomer generation aging out of the years when they fell into the demo of young males who commit most of the crimes (plus the end of the crack epidemic), it would be logical to assume the nation’s third-largest city would record numbers similar to the largest. Instead, sections of Chicago are experiencing ‘Juarez lite’ crime numbers, in that with just 40 percent of NYC’s population, the Windy City had 20 percent more murders in 2012.

So mayoral and police department actions do have consequences, and the new mayor will be dealing with a different mindset than what was in place 20-30 years ago, when conventional wisdom was you could never gets rates back to where they were in the 1940s or 50s, you could only contain the problem as much as possible. It was Bill Bratton’s arrival from Boston and implementation of the ‘broken windows’ theory of policing that really caused the major plunge (and also led to Bratton being ousted by Giuliani because he thought the NYPD boss was getting too much of the credit for the decline).

Everything since then has been trend maintenance, with ‘Stop & Frisk’ usefulness over the past decade on a constitutional liberty-vs.-security basis questionable at best, based on the numbers. But we will find out in real-world actions both what S&F did did and how much of a factor the new mayor’s overall policing policies will have on crime, because too many people have too much money tied up in gentrifying neighborhoods in 2013 for it not to become a major issue if the crime rates start rising again.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 11:09 am

Policing has an impact, but, in social science, if you say a treatment has a 30% effect on something, you’re saying the impact is ginormous. Policing may generously account for something like 10-30% of New York’s crime drop since the 1980s, maybe much less.

It’s not just a generational thing, obviously. But it’s not just lead, the economy, drugs, race, religion, guns, or any other one thing either.

Alon Levy August 14, 2013 - 11:52 am

But New York’s crime drop happened in many other cities, such as Boston and San Diego. It didn’t happen in Chicago, but it did happen in a variety of cities with different policing approaches.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 12:29 pm

Is there anything exactly analogous to New York anywhere? I thought pretty much every major city in the USA had a drop overall since 1990-1994, but experienced the shift New York did.

I sometimes wonder how much more mundane things in New York must have reduced crime, including the transit system. Every frontier neighborhood since the early 1990s has had decent or better rail transit. This is something almost completely ignored by social scientists who study crime, of course.

AG August 14, 2013 - 6:50 pm

San Diego’s crime was never so high. Boston and NYC shared Bratton… and I don’t think it’s coincidence in LA that their crime dropped even more after they hired him.

That said Chicago is much lower than it’s historical high in total homicides by half. Same with DC.
There are many cities where crime is still very stubborn. Oakland – Detroit – New Orleans – Houston – Baltimore – Philly – St. Louis – Newark – Atlanta.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 8:21 pm

Bratton wasn’t even around NYC or Boston that long. Y’all be crediting something spooky and supernatural for crime reduction. Why don’t you just credit the alignment of Venus and Mars? It’s probably less sinister than the police.

Whatever lowered crime is much more complicated than anyone one person or group of people did. If you’re going to credit a particular force, why not credit the Clinton-era economic surge?

Karm August 14, 2013 - 6:35 pm

I agree.

John-2 August 13, 2013 - 9:59 pm

You cannot be a nice guy and be mayor of New York, or you will get rolled by every public or private special interest group out there (and moreso by the ones who supposedly are on your side, because they’re the ones who are going to be expecting something in return). Over the past 60 years, John Lindsay and David Dinkins were probably the nicest people to hold office at City Hall, but they were also the ones who were put through the meatgrinder the worst, because they lacked the toughness (or, if you prefer a-hole factor) that the city’s mayor needs to come out of the other end of his term alive.

Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 11:12 am

Bah, I don’t buy that. Koch and Dinkens at least thought long-term and their policies are paying off, today. Giuliani conferred arguably no lasting benefits to the city, and Bloomberg isn’t looking so great either – we’ll see how his street design policies stand up though.

alen August 13, 2013 - 10:05 am

park and ride would probably be good for the people living in queens and brooklyn far from the subway. buses are too slow. if you build some park and rides at some of the eastern stations with cheap monthly rates it would stop people from driving into manhattan. and drop the ticket price for the LIRR for NYC only trips so people don’t crowd onto the subways

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Patrick August 13, 2013 - 10:09 am

There are certain neighborhoods that subways ride through where people shouldn’t be “encouraged” to have their iPhone, iPads, and laptops out and in use. Just watch, in the first couple months of wide-scale WiFi on subways we’ll see the amount of smartphone and laptop snatching go up substantially.

~ Patrick @ The LIRR Today

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 10:55 am

c’mon – this is not like chain snatching in the 70’s to 90’s. ppl are already using those devices… they are just not online.

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Mike K August 13, 2013 - 5:33 pm

So lets arrest the theives?

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Alon Levy August 13, 2013 - 5:39 pm

The worst neighborhoods of the city have trains that run above ground. Somehow, people with phones manage.

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Bolwerk August 14, 2013 - 12:35 pm

Yes, Patrick displays another delusional preconception about crime.

If you’re clever and going to steal phones, go to Williamsburg or Lower Manhattan. The people are newcomers to the city, have money, aren’t very street smart, and aren’t likely to put up a fight.

Hell, those are the places where people try to mug me usually.

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llqbtt August 13, 2013 - 10:32 am

My trains are so crowded, I use the iPad mini. The iPad is too big! Not only that, but I don’t care much for adjacent 5 people staring at my (big) iPad.

Encouraging more subway ridership at the end of the lines without building out the subways at this point is ridiculous.

Maybe Lhota should suggest a ferry service or a +SBS+ route from Jericho to East Midtown? Now that would be NICE. 😉

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Karm August 13, 2013 - 11:08 am

If you ride a lot of the commuter rail trains during rush hour – 5 ppl could be staring at your iPad. I’ve even felt uncomfortable on a few times where guys have been working on spreadsheets right next to me and i’m thinking “doesn’t he worry about privacy?”

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SEAN August 13, 2013 - 11:50 am

Three words… living out loud. Security is the last thing on there minds.

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Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:44 am

The amount of times I have overheard conversations on the LIRR about booking it to the Hamptons or partying it up at a Club Med country or the relative ease that people are paying for their childrens’ college educations is too damn high.

These people could probably buy a dozen iPads if they really wanted to. They’re just being nosy about what you’re actually doing.

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shawn August 13, 2013 - 10:38 am

Lamo ferries and parking garages? This would be so funny if it wasn’t so sad.

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SEAN August 13, 2013 - 11:01 am

Yeah I know, perhaps Lhota will propose starting a war with Chris Christie to raise revenue for the MTA? Or even Stop & frisk him when he enters NYC. You know how republicans love starting wars as it’s good for business.

Sarcasm Alert!

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Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 1:09 pm

IIRC, one of the bugs in the CP proposal is it let NJ drivers mostly off the hook.

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Henry August 15, 2013 - 3:45 am

Well, the Port Authority rate was higher than the proposed congestion charge. The congestion charge was only applied to crossings that had lower prices (basically, every non-NJ crossing).

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Bolwerk August 15, 2013 - 2:39 pm

So? Port Authority tolls should be shared with the city anyway. Since they’re not, it makes sense to charge NJ riders at least something so they contribute to street upkeep too.

EgoTripExpress August 13, 2013 - 1:15 pm

I think congestion pricing is only viable after every tollbooth in this city, if not the entire tri-state area, is replaced with high-speed EZ-Pass. This has been the line of argument by all the Marty Markowitzes and Ruben Diazes of the world (Tollbooths is to congestion pricing what two-sets-of-books is to the MTA).

I agree with Lhota, but any new park-and-ride facilities should have an equal amount of bike parking and, wherever possible, Citi Bikes.

I think Lhota is realist. He’s knows about the motorheads that run this state and city (including our governor) who hate policies that might slow down their chauffeured commutes. Park-and-ride could help placate their constituents and help lay the groundwork for a future congestion pricing plan. He’s seen Bloomberg, Sam Schwartz, and Richard Ravitch spinning their wheels and using up their political capital in a Sisyphean struggle to pass congestion pricing in state/city run by obtuse luddites. If park-and-ride and wifi is a possible backdoor way to congestion pricing, so be it. Sounds a lot better than BRT-as-panacea or Aboveways.

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Bolwerk August 13, 2013 - 1:21 pm

He knows what kind of useless entitled troglodyte he has to attract votes from in the GOP primary. I’m still not convinced he’s stupid enough to believe his own shit, which is Weiner-esque in its delusion and incompetence.

This guy headed the MTA, rather competently I might add.

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