Today’s Headlines

  • “The police said they did not expect to file any charges.”
    Killing a person is not a crime anymore?

  • P

    “the Transportation Department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are piloting the same innovative signal prioritization technology used in Los Angeles”

    Wow, our Mass Transit is catching up with LA- we must be on the cutting edge!

  • The DOT’s “response” is so lame, it reads like an admission of guilt. All that’s missing is an apology, and a promise to think about people more than cars from now on.

  • I still don’t know why the hell people keep on insisting on using corn for energy (actually, I do know why. Think ADM…). Corn is not the answer – it’s part of the problem, in terms of public health, energy consumption, and taxes…

  • so let’s disect weinshall’s letter in addition to P’s comment above about catching up to LA

    New York has always been one of the world’s greatest walking and cycling cities

    This we have inherited from our wise forefathers who planned a great dense, walkable, wide street grid with a wonderful mass transit system. All completed over 60-200 years ago. The trend since the 1940s has been to retrofit as much as possible to make room for the automobile.

    New York continues to be a leader in innovative transportation policy.

    What is she talking about here? “Thru streets”? Munimeters? Opening parks to car traffic for the holidays and “gridlock alert days”?

    In the next three years, the Transportation Department will add 200 miles of bike facilities, and has already replaced vehicular lanes with bike lanes at seven locations.

    Long overdue and still not enough. Just paint on the street. Now grade separated or protected lanes, a true interconnected network of protected bike lanes and large increases in bike parking facilities would be innovative.

    And for transit users, the Transportation Department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are piloting the same innovative signal prioritization technology used in Los Angeles, and implementing Bus Rapid Transit corridors citywide to further improve New York’s mass transit system.

    They’ve been studying this for years and have little to show for it except to copy a proven model that has worked in other cities around the world. NYC is lagging on these measures because of long inaction.

    To bolster the fabric of our communities, the city is creating vibrant, public plazas in every neighborhood — one of the most comprehensive initiatives of any major city in the nation.

    Ok they did Willowby, but what’s next? What’s the process? What is the definition of a public plaza? What about simply closing streets off to automobile traffic for the weekend or all the time?

  • P

    Can someone explain what’s so great about electric cars? I understand it takes about 3 units of energy to make one unit of electricity- a process that I would suspect creates as much pollution as internal combustion engines. What’s the benefit?

    Hybrids and systems that capture the energy from braking seem beneficial but I don’t see the payoff from electric cars.

    Alan, I’m growing equally skeptical of using corn as fuel. Is this really how we want to use our farmland?

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Good points, P. Here’s an email I wrote about electric vehicles. On this page it’s misrepresented as a “letter to the editor.” It was a private email in response to spam I was getting from the editor, who lives somewhere in the Connecticut suburbs:

    In regard to corn as fuel, I can’t remember whether I found this Washington Post article here or somewhere else. Basically, the ethanol boom is making it too expensive for Mexicans to eat tortillas any more:

  • P – Electric cars are only good if you don’t use fossil fuels to power your part of the electric grid. Most of the Canadian grid is Hydroelectric, with some Nuclear and Wind-Generated power. And you’ve only neutralized the problem of carbon emission – not the problem of congested streets.

    Google up corn and ethanol. There should some links floating around (should be one for an article called “When corn is king” from the CS Monitor). I can’t imagine corn having a very high energy density, like sugar cane. It would make much more sense to me to use sugar cane for a source of energy, or to recycle cooking oils and grease for an alternative form of energy…

  • “I would suspect creates as much pollution as internal combustion engines.”

    I’ve heard the opposite, that electric cars produce two or three times less incidental pollution, even if the power plant runs on petroleum.

  • P

    Thanks, Doc.

    It’s certainly possible that big powerplants have a capacity for greater efficiency and pollution than cars. But the fact that energy is lost in the conversion to electricity leads me to believe it’s no silver bullet.

    But I’m willing to hear counter arguments.

  • Steve

    Jason, I have it on good authority that when the driver of the vehicle that killed the 82 year old woman was finally located a half hour later, and confronted with the fact he had killed her, he was heard to say “whoops.” In other words, it obviously was an “accident.” And the fact that he left the scene only proves that he didn’t know he had killed her; if he had known, he would have stuck around, right?

    Anyone who wants to second-guess the determination of the police officers who concluded that it was an accident will have to file a Freedom of Information Law request with the NYPD, wait several months, and then possibly have to go to court in order to obtain the most basic details of what happened. But that’s only fair, because otherwise the public might not show proper deference to the conclusions of unnamed police officers, drawn from an undisclosed interview with the unnamed killer and possibly supplemented with additional undisclosed interviews of unnamed witnesses.

    The only information revealed in the press account is the name of the victim, which is OK because she’s dead, not much point in respecting her privacy interests anymore. She may have surviving family, but we won’t worry about their privacy interests, the public has a right to know their mother/grandmother/sibling one got run over by a delivery truck and that no one will be punished for it. It’s only fitting, after all, given the weight placed on her interest is being to safely cross the street 2 blocks from here home.