Monday, August 06, 2007

Hizzoner, The Carbon Emissions Champion

New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is a good mayor. Much better than Giuliani was and better than most cities could even hope to have.

Bloomberg wants NYC to cut its carbon footprint and is encouraging New Yorkers to use public transportation, and he brags about how he takes the subway to work himself.

I want Bloomberg to succeed. I want New York City to be a world-class city with a world-class transit system used by as many people every day for as many hours as they want to get around town.

I am confused about the mayor's commitment to the subways. He tells people to use the subway, but the subway keeps getting worse and worse.

He says he uses the subway, and he thinks it works, so he clearly doesn't use the same subway I use.

I do not believe the Mayor has ever ridden the F line (a/k/a the Sixth Avenue Local), because he would be appalled and disgusted by the schedule (or lack thereof), the filthy subway cars and stations (filth that is often covered with artificial strawberry room deodorizer), the surly transit workers (actually, they do a damn good job given the conditions), and general condition of subway platforms. To put it bluntly, the F line stinks! It takes me seventy-five minutes to commute from Brooklyn to my job in Midtown Manhattan. I live ten miles from my office. Seventy-five minuets is a bit long.

There is a rumor that the F line will have an Express train soon, which might cut fifteen minutes off my commute. This is a good idea. The Brooklyn end of the line makes it impossible to be considered for daily errands or casual commuting.

The G train (a/k/a the Crosstown Local) that connects with the F train in Brooklyn is actually terminated right after downtown Brooklyn, instead of continuing along the express track all the way to Coney Island. If people could commute from Eastern Brooklyn to Southern Brooklyn you could probably cut back on some car usage. Especially if you ran the subway cars every five minutes all day.

And don't even get me started about the people who have to commute from Bay Ridge. They only get the Fourth Avenue Local, which might be underground, but is slower than the Sixth Avenue Local ever dreamed of being.

If you live outside Midtown Manhattan and want to use the subway, you are really at the mercy of incompetence and a Republican desire to fail.

The mayor is often photographed on the subway, on his way to work. This is impressive. What the caption under the pictures fails to tell us is that the mayor is driven, by two huge SUVs, from his front door to an Express Train twenty-two blocks away! How's that for an individual person's carbon footprint? TWO SUVs for twnty-two blocks! That's a lot of twos!

If I could have a luxury car drive me from my front door to an express stop twenty-two blocks from my home, then I would think the subway was hunky-dory! I would get a seat and travel to work more quickly. But I don't have that luxury. Neither does anyone else, really. Like a regular New Yorker, I walk from my home to the closest subway and suffer quietly. This mayor does not have any idea what it is like to ride the subway. He knows what it is like to create a publicity stunt that makes it look like he knows about the subway.

This guy is losing more credibility by the day.

It's not even as though I want a mayor who rides the subway. I am not looking for this billionaire to prove that he's just a regular New Yorker. He isn't. He's a billionaire and he's the mayor and good for him!

What I want is for Bloomberg to shut-up about traffic problems and subways until he is planning to actually do something about it besides charge working stiffs more money to simply live like Americans by driving their cars. Charging people an extra tariff to drive in Manhattan will not reduce carbon emissions. It will inconvenience your constituency, but it will really make no change. And somthing has got to change!

Get up to Albany and tell them that something's gotta give. More money has to be invested if we are going to make this public transit thing work. We have to stop privatizing subway services, because it is a failure. We have to add more service to existing lines. We have to add more lines (like a subway along Second Avenue for the East Side). We have to run trains the full-length of their track. Stopping the V in the Lower East Side and the Q at Carnegie Hall is stupid! The people who thought-up those plans should be fired, if they still work for us. The subway has to be redesigned as a four-borough transit system, not a convenience for those in Manhattan.

I believe that Bloomberg wants the subway to work; but, instead of publicity stunts, he has to make things happen.

Let's start with caring for the subway we have today. Force the private contractors raking in the millions for cleaning the cars and platforms to actually clean the cars and platforms. Every day. All day. So that the cars and platforms are actually clean. Imagine?!?!?!?

If we can get the existing subway clean, we can move towards scheduling trains to actually serve New Yorkers. After that, who knows? Maybe some improvements!

Until we can care for what we have, making it more effective is just a pipe dream.

NY's "subway" mayor is chauffeured to train station
Wed Aug 1, 11:36 AM ET

New York's billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, boasts that he rides the subway "almost every day" but a quarter of his commute is spent in a chauffeured SUV, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The Times monitored the mayor's routine for five weeks and discovered that instead of walking to a local train near his house, Bloomberg is driven to a swifter express train 22 blocks away. . . . Continue . . .

Maybe you could call the Mayor and tell him what you think.

Dick Mac Recommends:

America Alone
Stefan Halper, Jonathan Clarke


Liz said...

I know this is a bit obvious but, ok, Republicans = bad. So how can Bloomberg, a Republican, be good for anything?

He sounds like he has had one too many meetings with our mayor, Ken. All the things he wants to implement we already have, like the congestion charge.

The idea is sound - apply an £8 a day charge to cars driven into London and use that money to improve public transport, thus driving people onto it because a. it's going to be much better to use and b. it's cheaper to use per day than the congestion charge. But there is one problem with all this...

Erm, drivers do not *want* to use public transport. They don't want to sit next to strangers. Or walk to stations. They want to have their own space, freedom, privacy and protection from the masses. They will use cars even if the charge is doubled because they despise public transport, no matter how good it gets. This will never change! Drivers are selfish. They don't give a rat's behind about the environment and all the congestion charges in the world won't make them. They will continue to drive, alone in their car, as much as they like.

You can't force people who don't care about their carbon footprint to care. Personally, I do care and am happy as a clam on public transport. The English are no cleaner than the Yanks but I find the Tube, a few stations aside, to be quite nice to travel on and clean too.

The fundamental difference is that the Tube was designed to be a public transport system and it is engineering genius. The NY subway was designed as a private railroad for the rich and has been adapted as public transport. Structurally, it's rubbish compared to the Tube. The only thing it has over the Tube is that it's cheap and air-conditioned!

Anonymous said...

public transport in big cities will never mean for a pleasant ride due to it's flaw, subsidy funded by public taxes and unionized. Unless we change our way of doing thing, open all the cities transit system across North America for competitiveness run along side by smaller licensed independent franchise operators, things will get worst. In order to open competitions, all current city transits will have to Re-incorporate current operation then with a fully control breakaway entity and a new establishes franchise operation. Thus, service will improve on all level with result increase riders and help cut off our 4 wheelers commute habit.