Thursday, June 6, 2024

Congestion Ricing Suspended Indefinitely

That's right folks. Thanks to the extensive editorial opinions published on this Blog😉, Gov HocHul has suspended the start of Congestion Pricing in Manhattan.

Okay, not really this Blog, but it is suspended "indefinitely" or until Gov HocHul's allies win reelection, or both. 

Those of us who think Congestion Pricing is needed can relax. It will happen sooner than later.

Those who never want it to happen can enjoy a little extra free time.




 

 


Friday, March 1, 2024

Frog in a Boiling Pot

    It’s official. NYC will be transitioning to a new side-loading garbage truck. According to Mayor Adams, lucky Manhattan Community Board 9 (Morningside Heights, Manhattanville, and Hamilton Heights) will be the first CB  with 100 percent of its trash containerized and serviced by next year.

 

 

Side Loading Garbage Truck
(Image courtesy of The Official Website of the City of New York)

 

    This is all happening four years ahead of the Mayor’s own previous schedule, which is not a case of grandstanding by a Mayor who had his phones seized by the FBI and is the subject of at least three criminal investigations including an investigation into the mayor’s former buildings commissioner that is expected to yield bribery and mob-related charges against several people who helped raise money for Mayor Adams. Nor is it a public relations ploy to distract from the lowest mayoral approval rating (28%) recorded in the over 25 years Quinnipiac University has been polling.

 

    We won’t look askance at the whopping influx of funds needed for the re-fitted Sanitation Industry in these currently lean years of austerity budgets where almost everything but Sanitation has been earmarked for cuts. Still, a fleet of new trucks for our infamously Italian-cuisine-loving Mayor with a mechanized side loader made from superior Italian technology may be more costly than we realize. In addition, there is the maintenance of said trucks, worker training, new signage and much more that will rack up additional costs for this giant overhaul. We won’t mention these concerns because everyone knows Rats are a real problem in NYC, at least from a human point of view.  

 

    What about the rats’ needs? This program is designed to reduce the rat population by starvation. The program champions proudly inform us these containers will effectively deprive rats access to food. Is that fair? Have we completely forgotten about the rats’ right to live and breathe? Sure, they can’t embarrass us on X or GoFundMe, but what if they did have a voice? Will PETA come to their aid citing cruelty and torture? What news outlets or action groups are taking up their cause? Is this the one species that has no right to live or just another species that can’t afford to live in New York City?

 

    Some Paleontologists believe that a small rat-like mammal is the first known creature belonging to the evolutionary line that led to human beings. Its fossil, uncovered in China, is evidence of the earliest “placental” species, an ancestor of all placental mammals (mammals that diverged from other mammals) like us. To assert our Manifest Destiny over rat territory we may be starving to death part of our own ancestral heritage.

 

    So, let’s assume we do effectively begin to starve out the rats. What recourse will rats then have? Will they go quietly in underground rat hospices surrounded by equally emaciated rat friends and family? Will they fight and cannibalize each other to the bitter end until there is nothing left but a few rat bones to pick over? In the course of history, when the means of sustenance runs out, animals have adapted their food source, migrated or gone extinct. I, for one, have had rats chew through my car wiring on four different occasions over the years disabling lights, hindering transmissions, you name it. Apparently, the insulation is yummy, but they go right through the copper strands as well. I no longer park overnight near restaurants. With this new program, will any distance from our finer food sources be safe? Any New Yorker can tell you what rats do to our streets when heavy rains or a broken water main floods their burrows. It’s the quotable “sinking ship.”

 

    Here I think our Mayor and City Council practice the wisdom of the Frog in a Pot. Not to be confused with the Frog in a Blender, this story is if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in lukewarm water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. It’s a parable that has been used to explain everything from the Nazi rise to power to deniers of global warming and the unraveling of democracy around the world. The plan is to eradicate the rodents before they know it.

 

    In today’s world what would people do if they were systematically denied the very food they need to survive? Say it was a group of people on a flight and the stewardess announced there would be only enough food for first class and the plane will never land.  I suspect it will land with a crash. Or imagine a crowd of people waiting for Walmart to open on Black Friday were suddenly told there would be only half as many sales items this year. They’ve made movies about that one. Safe to say humans would not go quietly. Will our great aunt/uncle ancestor, the rodent, go any quieter?

 

New Garbage Truck Minus parking space

    A Dept. of Sanitation (DSNY) report estimates that the new extra wide trash containers will take up between 10% to 25% of curb parking on any given block. That would mean once this becomes a citywide program, it could result in the loss of up to 150,000 parking spaces. Chalk it up to the ever expanding list of citywide initiatives (too many to mention) to systematically choke off street parking and drive it (and us) to ultimate extinction. 

 

    Once again, the middle class, who can’t afford a garage, who need to park our cars on the street, are treated like rats.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Congestion Pricing is Already Here

    Make no mistake. Congestion Pricing is here. The Talking Heads are still wagging. The rules and rates will probably face new obstacles and legal challenges but the sensors, quietly in place, are already watching and waiting. 

    What you see below is not a truck clearance barrier, car charging station, or drone parade formation.  Even now, Big Brother is gathering data and we are it. They will image your car and your license plate and anything else their sensitive cameras can detect. Is it only a matter of time before the data is used for crime solving? And then crime prevention?

    Lastly, there's always that cutting edge, state-of-the-art, AI-masterminded Crime Prediction. That new digitally enhanced facial recognition, data-crunching, probability-munching algorithm that knows before you do what crime you may commit. Only kidding. Right? Still they can't help but invade what was once taken for granted as our personal space. The autonomy of being in your automobile will  be a little less. Again.


Above 61 Street, West Side


 

    They hover above us, so shiny and new. They loom ahead like traffic lights that charge you to pass through an intersection. They don't blink red. They only blink green. Yours and mine. So let's just say it: drivers in the city must be able to afford it, right? After all, they own a car. The MTA would like us to assume  such logic. Then we could reason that it is simply to tax the middle class driving public in order to improve service on our transit system. A large portion of the cleared funds will, no doubt, go to train and bus service, but Car Shares and bicycle rental stations, traffic enforcement cameras, employee salaries, anything and everything under the Transportation umbrella will likely be fair use of the new revenue stream. Beware the moment our city or state goes into an economic downturn, then this tax will go wherever the Mayor and Council deem worthy.

    Of course, this new surcharge will also cut into the profits of taxi companies and NYC's billion dollar off-street parking industry, not to mention the multiple billions of dollars spent on automobile sales, parts, repairs, maintenance, insurance, registration fees, tolls, ticket revenue (and all it's enforcement and collection goods and services), etc. Many  local brick-and-mortar businesses count on parking availability to increase sales. That's why the implementation of curb front parking meters can be so fervently contested in Community Board hearings. No worries, small businesses. Amazon or Door Dash can make up that difference (increased delivery fee added).  The point is most of us will clearly be able to afford these losses to the local economy and tax base. Right?

    What will happen to those businesses on the border of a congestion parking zone?  Cross into a zone and be on the wrong side of the tracks. Will the garages and other businesses on the right side of the tracks have a new unearned advantage? Why did your favorite food delivery, just blocks away, become more expensive? Maybe right-sided businesses and residences will experience a real estate boom. Only, how crowded will those all important dividing streets and their subway stations be? Those sidewalks? Someone will tell us that all these factors have been carefully weighed and considered, but does that council member or MTA board member live or buy groceries in midtown, own a car, a small business? As government employees they may have to request a cost-of-living raise.

    The most unfairly taxed is our commercial traffic. They have to pay even higher congestion rates (currently set at $24 - $36 compared to $15 for regular motorists). Only they don't have any other public transportation options. What does this mean for the prices of delivered goods in our beloved, but expensive Manhattan?  They will be going up to absorb the new costs, of course. But will they only go up in congestion parking zones? So, isn't this really a tax on everyone?

    Wasn't that the plan all along:

  • years of redirected and increasingly restricted traffic flow, 
  • more and more bicycle lanes to promote our recommended mode of transit for the coordinated and uncoordinated, young and old, firm and infirm
  • the Covid pandemic (has to be) 
  • massive midtown and downtown building construction
    (and their approved environmental impact studies that project as acceptable the increased load on utilities, subways and traffic systems, human and automotive) 
  • NYC's vital tourism trade (It's what we do most)?

    We have over crowded our midtown streets. 

    Now we get to charge admission.  

 

 

 

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Parking Restrictions Held Against Will (Oh no!)

It's true. In residential neighborhoods near and far our beloved parking signs have been overrun. They have been grabbed, bagged and gagged. Humiliated even. But please, let's not lose ourselves in the heat of the moment.

Sure, parking in NYC is getting harder and rarer by the minute. We pay our high prices, tolls, fees, taxes, insurance, maintenance, congestion rates and generally hold up our part of the economic bargain, only to learn that deal has been taken off the table. The Great Parking Squeeze is upon us. Parking spaces are gobbled up by the big brains of the DOT like snack pellets in a Pac-Man game.

  • Former parking spaces usurped by bicycles fit only for the death-defying and athletic among us
  • Higher meter rates
  • Car share spaces encroaching more and more on your block and mine... but the cars are never available on holidays or weekends, are they?
  • Increased regulations and restrictions openly calculated to suppress car ownership

It is alarming and may even seem, to some, to be un-American, but that is no excuse for violence or insurrection. We are, after all, all in this together.

The pictures you are about to see may be disturbing to some viewers, but I think we need to see where our frustrations have led us if only to learn just how far is too far.


Bound and taped (just doing its job)

Blacked and bruised (family can't identify)

Innocent bystander, mistaken for DOT maintenance, booted.

Doesn't even work. Good luck beating this ticket!




Is this who we are now? Sure, we're in the under appreciated minority and should never tolerate a DOT fiat, but unrestrained violence hurts us all. For the common good, shouldn't we learn to control our worst impulses (and protect the innocent) no matter how justified?


Tuesday, December 5, 2023

parkken NYC Street Parking App announces HUGE price cut

The parkken iPhone app, normally on sale for $4.99 is now available for 99¢. Wait, WHAT? 

How many percent drop is that? (80%)
Volume of ads (0%)

The app that answers your parking queries for any Manhattan street for any 12-hour period (and longer) you choose is now practically free. Unless you don’t think 99¢, in our current economic inflation, is basically FREE.

WHICH app, you ask. The parkken NYC Street Parking app that:

  • answers immediate queries on a Manhattan Block’s street parking rules
  • has a base map with an self explanatory display of our trademark Parking Clocks that show the parking rules in stunning detail (if you have the time to read it; if you don’t, just query)
  • includes garage and lot locations
  • remembers favorite locations
  • convenient Alt Side Parking Suspensions calendar

Parking Query options


WHY are we doing this:

Because we like people
Because with the rising costs of everything, we wanted to buck that trend and help NY Drivers
Because of the goodness of our hearts
Because like you we know too well that closing in of No Parking zones that like our oceans will continue to rise until we can no longer tread water
Because we want more of you to buy the thing, duh!

But seriously, this is an experiment that may not succeed and, fair warning, the price of the app may have to return to its previous level.

NOTE: the 99¢ Android version is now also out.


Monday, December 4, 2023

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

How NOT to Double Park, Please!

Is it true that some New Yorkers still don't know how to double park?
It's simple: If any of the vehicles legally parked at the curb cannot get out because of your vehicle, you deserve that ticket.

You, who doesn't care, won't share or is ignorantly unaware, this simple graphic is for you:


If you ABSOLUTELY have to park someone in, AT LEAST leave your PHONE NUMBER on the dashboard.

 


More people than just you use NYC streets!

Duh!