Thursday, January 31, 2008

Critical Mass for cars?

What if, on an agreed upon day, 1,000 drivers were to strategically position themselves in groups of 50 cars at 20 major thoroughfares throughout the city, occupy each lane of those thoroughfares, and proceed to obey the speed limits and all other regulations; i.e., not blocking the box, full stops at stop signs, etc.? Bullying SUV drivers who'd like to pass and drive 20 mph above the posted limits would be blocked. With full gas tanks, and another 1,000 relief drivers, this civilizing action could affect both morning and evening commutes. We'd certainly slow traffic down somewhat, and the police couldn't say any laws were being broken; their hands would be tied. In addition, this would be an irresistible story to the press; we'd get massive coverage from every major media outlet. What's the argument, that there's a basic right to break the law? I'd like to organize this and make it happen; if you'd like to participate, email me here. This would definitely get attention—and produce results.

Death tally for 2007

Reported by Kirsten Davis in yesterday's Daily News, the traffic death tally for 2007 was 271 in New York City.

136 pedestrians were killed.

77 drivers and passengers were killed.

23 bicyclists were killed.

35 motorcyclists were killed.

The report failed to mention how many times charges were filed. Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said, "We're going to do whatever we can to make those streets less intimidating and less chaotic.", and I thank her for her efforts—much remains to be done.

Tiles too expensive

Yesterday, Pete Donohue of the New York Daily News reported that various officials within the MTA and New York City Transit have admitted that the granite, terazzo or ceramic tiles used in station rehabilitations are far too expensive—$1.7 million per station for granite, and $1.4 million for ceramic—vs $421,000.00 per station for concrete.

And concrete needn't be ugly, as claimed by MTA board member Andrew Albert. There are new, textured and colored concrete flooring options available, and environmentally friendly recycled shredded tires embedded in resin could also be used. Both options were mentioned in my report on traffic and transit (see post of January 5th) written in May of last year. Apparently, the MTA board is unaware of these options. Please write to them and let them know.