Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

WINNERS

New Jersey Acting Transportation Commissioner Richard Hammer — Hammer said the days of highway expansion in New Jersey were over, emphasizing the state’s focus on rehabilitating existing roads, bridges and transit infrastructure.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James — James introduced a bill expanding a pedestrian’s right of way in a crosswalk to include when a countdown clock appears and a red hand signal flashes.

Upper West Side bicyclists and pedestrians — The NYC Department of Transportation unveiled its redesign of Amsterdam Avenue–where five pedestrians were killed between 2011 and 2013–complete with pedestrian islands and a protected bike lane.

New Haven, CT — The city plans to convert the currently three-lane, one-way Church Street into a two-lane, two-way street with bike lanes.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — AG Schneiderman issued a subpoena to ExxonMobil Corporation regarding allegations that the company misled investors and the public about the risks of climate change.

LOSERS

New York State Assemblyman Mike Simanowitz, Assemblyman Ron Kim, City Councilmember Peter Koo, U.S. Representative Grace Meng (NY) and 109th Precinct Deputy Inspector Thomas Conforti — Instead of calling for safety redesigns, Queens leaders announced a crackdown on jaywalking to increase pedestrian safety in the same precinct where an SUV driver killed Allison Laio and several motorists ran over the body of Aglaia Gounaris after she was fatally struck by a casino bus driver.

Staten Island bus riders — Staten Island riders on the X10, X11, X12 and X42 routes endure an extra 20 minutes on their rush hour commutes into Manhattan due to limited access to the HOV lane.

Bernards Township, NJ Police Department — The Bernards Township police charged Elizabeth Jaeger with “reckless running” after a motorist backing out of a driveway hit her.

New Jersey and New York — Both states scored poorly on their anti-corruption laws: New Jersey earned a D, while New York received a D-. Meanwhile, Connecticut had the 3rd best anti-corruption laws nationwide, earning a modest C-.

U.S. House of Representatives — The House approved an amendment to the federal transportation bill eliminating funding for the High Density States Program, which would have distributed $1.6 billion to transit agencies in seven high-density, transit-dependent states (including Connecticut, New Jersey and New York) over the next six years. We hope none of the tri-state representatives voted for this amendment–but since it was a voice vote, no record of names exists.

3 Comments on "Wednesday Winners (& Losers)"

  1. Clark Morris | November 11, 2015 at 6:34 pm |

    Schneiderman should be ivestigated for intellectual dishonesty and frivolous use of prosecutorial powers. Just because Exxon is ambivalent about climat change doesn’t mean it is misleading investors. As a shareholder (in my IRA), I resent this political grandstanding and waste of Exxon’s money in having to respond to this fishing expedition when both climate change supporting statements and climate change skeptical statements were on the web site. Given many company’s ability to profit on the circumstances they are handed, it is not clear that Exxon would be adversely affected. On the other hand they may have undersetimated the amount of political witch hunting and heresy investigations.

    There are a number of signs of global warming although it has been much less than predicted by the models. Assuming that it is the case, how much of this is caused by carbon dioxide, how much of this is caused by general increase in heat production (including nuclear plants, windmills and solar panels) and ALL mechanical operation. Google is a major energy user and heat producer, and how much of this is caused by solar and other natural forces? Is human activity amplifying any natural changes? Remembr that Greenland got its name because at least during some parts of the years many centuries ago it was Green.

    We should be doing things such as flood proofing our cities and NOT developing anything that can’t be flooded in coastal and flood plain areas. We should not be encouraging sprawl with zoning regulations that exclude people who work in communities (Bedminster – Far Hills and Randolph Township, I’m thinking of you). We should be pricing transportation be it automobile, transit, intercity rail or air such that the user pays most if not all of the cost. We should not be giving a tax break to the well off to buy and use hybrid and electric cars which will still clog our roads and add to the heat pollution. We should be making sure that true pollutants don’t get into the atmosphere (such as mercury and sulfur dioxide) and that our trash doesn’t end up in the waterways and oceans. We should be taking better steps to prevent ship wrecks and loss of goods in accidents or just in transport to reduce pollution. Our waste should be better handled. Most if not all of the steps I mentioned are valuable to take both from a climate change point of view and even if the climate change proponents are proved wrong, they are valuable from a resource conservation and general global well being point of view. Sandy has shown that it is necessary to protect against abnormally high water regardless of cause.

  2. “Remembr that Greenland got its name because at least during some parts of the years many centuries ago it was Green.”

    LOL, no. Just completely wrong.

    It was named Greenland in an attempt to fool settlers into thinking it was a pleasant place to live. Learn some history before posting a term paper on a blog comment.

  3. Clark Morris | November 17, 2015 at 5:45 pm |

    Walter: The following wikipedia and NASA articles:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland#Early_Paleo-Eskimo_cultures,
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age, and
    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/stories/iceage_20011207/ document the probability that Greenland was warmer prior to 1410 than it is today. Among other thing they note the failure of crops and loss of livestock in the Norse settlements. Greenland did not have to be a tropical paradise in order to have parts where land was suitable for agriculture. While Wikipedia isn’t always accurate, it has a fairly good track record for me in the areas of transportation and computers that I follow. Of especial interest to the discussion on climate change is the effect of the sunspot cycle on the earth’s temperature as discussed in the NASA article linked to here. Is human activity amplifying or offsetting solar and other natural phenomena that affect our climate. I’m seeing evidence on both sides of the argument. The data at least says that we should be doing more to protect our cities, not be building in flood plains and making sure we are able to cope with either global warming or global cooling. The winter of 2014-2015 on the east coast showed that not having good snow clearance capability isn’t brilliant.

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