Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Le Sigh

The President we elected, Barack Obama, and enticed us with promises of a more transit-friendly future is still aboard the train to a transit-based utopia.

From Track Twenty-Nine, who got it from Transportation for America and C-Span:

It's imagining new transportation systems. I'd like to see high speed rail where it can be constructed. I would like for us to invest in mass transit because potentially that's energy efficient. And I think people are a lot more open now to thinking regionally…

The days where we're just building sprawl forever, those days are over. I think that Republicans, Democrats, everybody… recognizes that's not a smart way to design communities. So we should be using this money to help spur this sort of innovative thinking when it comes to transportation.

That will make a big difference.

Oh, wait! We lost the funding in the stimulus bill and most of it that was left went to sprawl in the form of brand new highways. ""Huh. How about that?

Quote of the Day: Share the Good News! via Track Twenty-Nine

"The days where we're just building sprawl forever, those days are over" via Transportation for America

Monday, February 9, 2009


i have to drive by myself to work (40ish miles? traffic=suck) tomorrow until the 23rd.


Pedestrians are moving targets

Disgusting. A Jersey City cop was driving drunk and hit two pedestrians in the crosswalk last week. Marilyn Feng, a recent graduate from NYU was killed, and her boyfriend was seriously injured. Yesterday's Gothamist reported that the mother of the driver is a complete asshole (emphasis and links from Gothamist, entry starts with "After" and ends with "pay"):

After Jersey City cop Martin Abreu was charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, after allegedly striking two pedestrians—killing one and injuring the other—his mother defended him. The Daily News reports that a woman who identified herself as Abreu's mother said, "It was her fault," referring to 26-year-old Marilyn Feng, who died while crossing West Street at Albany in Battery Park City. The woman added, "So my son went out and had a couple of drinks. He deserves to have a good time now and then."

Feng and boyfriend Dennis Loffredo (both pictured at left) were walking to Feng's apartment at 3:40 a.m., after a night of tango dancing. The News reports, "Cops pointedly refused to say whether the couple had the light or not." Feng, who had recently graduated NYU Law school, was about to start a job at the Chinatown Manhpower Project helping immigrants find jobs, according to the Post. Feng once interned in Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office; Stringer said she "had a great future."

Jersey City chief of police Tom Comey said, "The charges surrounding this incident are most serious and this type of activity will not be tolerated by the JCPD, which led to Mr. Abreu's immediate suspension. While Mr. Abreu was in no way representing our department when this incident occurred, our primary thoughts are with the injured and the woman who perished. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families." Abreu has been suspended without pay.

Yeah. Classy. If your son wants to pay a bar to get smashed, that's great. How about he walks there? And he goes with sober people willing to put up with him and make sure he gets home okay? What if your son were drunk, and he walked out into traffic? I bet that wouldn't be his fault. Or if he was drunk and smashed some windows? The businesses should clean it up, right? We all deserved a good time but no one deserves to die because of it. Your son is not owed a sacrificial lamb because he works hard. This woman had her life ahead of her and now she doesn't anymore. The community and family have lost her, because, you say, she dared to cross the street while your son was intoxicated.

Yes, if the light is green, a car gets to go. But a car does not get to hit pedestrians.

For me, the problem with my accident—getting his by a car in a crosswalk—is not that I spent almost two weeks in the hospital, missed work and pay, have had my life and health derailed, am looking at my plans to travel disappear, have lost most of my friends because they're lazy incompetent twits, and am now viewed as a child after years of convincing those around me that I'm a mature adult capable of making my own decisions, but that people I don't know--doctors with nice big cars, medical professionals, strangers, think that I willingly flung my body into traffic. That because I dared cross a street that I am incompetent and unable to cross a street, despite years of navigating the notoriously difficult MTA system unharmed. Traffic in Rockville

is terrible but the drivers in Baltimore County are generally dangerous and I wasn't a danger to a speeding car. I was in an accident, in which both parties failed to see each other. I'm still not pointing fingers at the car, but I'm pointing my finger at assholes who think a four-wheeled vehicle rules the road and areas it covers. Drivers as a whole tend to believe that their swiftly traveling vehicle takes precedent over smaller objects: compact cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycles are not targets on the road, and we need to change these principles or our society can never move forward.

It's ignorant thinking that's polluting air, tangling our roads, destroying the stimulus, and killing people. Lady, I hope your cable goes out during the next airing of your favorite show. And I hope it happens the week after. And I hope you never have to go through the turmoil these families, and mine, had to go through when their children were hit by vehicles. I hope this post hasn't upset my family. Discussing the accident in general makes people uncomfortable, but I really can't swallow this attitude quietly, and I would probably rail like this if I had driven to work that day instead of taking the bus. I do want to applaud the JCPD, for trying to convince me that Jersey City is not where dreams go to die, by making a statement about this behavior. When I drove to New York in October I revealed to my sister that Jersey City scares me, mostly because of the lore (and the song), and she told me, shape up kiddo, that's embarrassing.

Update: Gothamist has an unrelated pedestrian accident (the victim is "okay"), plus an older unrelated story where a van was left idling/on and reversed through traffic and hit a group of children in the crosswalk, two of which died. (This has been talked about on this blog before.) The police have charmingly called it an "accident," in a way that implies it's no big deal.
Finally, there's a white bike for sale at Macy's, which is absolutely inappropriate. Someone had to have seen this before it went on the floor and spoken up, right?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

the new dirty word

I posted about the stimulus this week on Examiner.com this week. It didn't go well.

Mobtown Shank looked at the resulting assinine and found that what did pass wasn't so great either. Emphasis mine:

Sadly, you'll see no request for any mass transit projects in the Baltimore request list. In fact, most of the funding looks to go be planned for legitimate and much needed infrastructure work - roads, water, bridges, schools, public safety, etc. I didn't see anything that seemed like a vanity project or even a forward thinking project - just mostly maintenance.

What this means, Maryland Tax Payer, is that if Senate Republicans are successful in blocking this stimulus package, Marylanders have one of two options - to allow our rapidly decaying roads and bridges to fall apart or pay higher state taxes.

Oh, and that legalizing slots magic bullet (that was really a tax on the poor) that everyone was all excited about? That turned out to be a turd.

They also hated on Head Start and NASA. I don't understand why these projects are wasteful.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I've got a sauer kraut masher

Via Baltimore Sun's twitter, zombie warnings have been spotted in Maryland by way of traffic signs. Zombie warnings were hacked into signs in Texas earlier this month.

MTA said its signs were hacked with messages, including the decidedly unoriginal message, "I love Tony." Hackers, I prefer we keep the messages to relevant content for other dimensions: warnings, traffic data, and 1 800 Dial a Spy notices related to pirates, zombies, dinosaurs (Indiana has a raptor warning), sea monsters (I'd love to have that incorporated, or maybe the prehistoric python?), Big Foot, the abominable snowman, the Snallygaster (it's real!), robots, the Montauk Monster, the Jersey Devil, and miscellaneous hipster symbols, please. Scientologists will also do.

MTA removed the hilarious sign from route 43 in White Marsh and is looking into beefing up security.

I recommend you grab a shovel or alternatively heavy duty tool as a precaution. (I used to pick lawnmower, but that requires gas or electricity, as do chainsaws, whereas hammers are too small and trash can lids just plain inefficient.)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lost and founds

WMATA, MTA (NY) and MTA MD have lost and founds! (I am going to assume that CTA, MARC, Metra, and Amtrak do because if I researched and saw that there wasn't a L&F I'd be crushed. I love Metra, desire reliability from Amtrak and MARC, and have turned things in to CTA.)

If I accidentally left my phone on a MTA bus I would assume it was gone forever. I guess that's not fair, but if someone commented that the L&F is a page "just in case something gets turned in" I wouldn't be surprised. Not that my faith in WMATA is higher.

(I haven't been caffeinated.) This morning's Examiner.com post is about the L&F, but I wanted you to KNOW just in case you don't read there. And lose something valuable.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Via DCist, Colbert covered the December arrest of a photographer who was shooting Amtrak for the train's annual photo contest.

Yes. He went to the platform to photograph the train, because the company holds a contest every year.

Awww, Colbert. I want to hug you now. (Because as a photographer, I think it's kind of ridiculous.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

If you pee on the train and they find out, it's out of service

The New York Times discovered, while riding, that passengers 1) urinate on the train and 2) if you want the urinator removed, you'll shut down the train. Which is not awesome, because it's not simply removing the urinator, it's ruining it for all of the passengers, who already have their day ruined.

MTA! Get it together. You're being unfair.

My sister was riding with her husband one night when a drunk man whipped it out and started to pee all over the seat. He had the seat near the door, so he soaked just his vicinity, as the board blocked areas beyond his footspace, but it was still a dangerous 30 seconds, and my sister quickly abandoned the car. Or her end of the train, I forget. I should video her re-telling, because it involves hand motions. I wonder if Metro would also delay the car?

Route from York, PA to Baltimore hopes to alleviate 83 congestion*

York's transit will provide a bus line from York to Baltimore to aid Pennsylvania commuters. From The Baltimore Sun:
York County's public transportation system, rabbittransit, will run six round trips each weekday day between York and Shrewsbury, Pa., and the Timonium/Hunt Valley area.
The best part is that it ends in Baltimore at the Light Rail, allowing commuters to use transit to reach their destinations. (I take my commuter bus to a Metro stop, but the other stops are...in the middle of nowhere. Take a hike a mile in either direction and you're okay, MTA guesses.)

Rides are $5 each way and $64 for a monthly pass.

And it's funded, too!
The rabbitEXPRESS service, a three-year demonstration project funded by the federal government's Congestion Mitigation Air Quality fund, comes at a time when Maryland has been shedding commuter routes in response to budget problems.
Nearly 8,000 York Countiers commute to Baltimore County with an additional almost 3,000 working in Baltimore City.

*Am I the only one who has never dealt with traffic on 83? I'm always fine. I've never driven on it over a week day morning (but it looks clear from the Light Rail!) I'm also driving between Towson and the city, so I guess that's vastly different, too.