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NY's New Deputy Mayor Likes BRT and Congestion Charging -- But Does He Like Bike Lanes?

Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 06:00 AM

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) There have been some interesting political alliances in the transportation world -- former Charlotte Mayor Pat McGrory, a conservative Republican, has been one of the nation's biggest backers of transit. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,  also a Republican, who has also run on the Republican line, has found himself lauded by scrappy environmentalists who would probably otherwise hang with the far left. But when Bloomberg last spring appointed a former Republican Mayor of Indianapolis -- and adviser to George W. Bush -- to oversee Parks, Environmental Protection, and Transportation, a bit of a frisson shuddered through the transit world. Turns out Goldsmith is a huge supporter of congestion pricing, which he's called "terrific" and "imperative." He loves BRT and has seen it in operation in Curitiba, Brazil. He's studied bike share and thinks it's compatible with the short distances New Yorkers travel. But does he love bike lanes as much as Janette Sadik-Khan? Here's a bit of his exchange with me --

BERNSTEIN: There was some thought -- the commissioner wanted to have bike lanes all the way up First and Second Avenues. And then that plan was pulled back and that was around the time that you were coming and there was some speculation that was because you were concerned about that. Is there any truth to that?

GOLDSMITH: No. Not exactly. The mayor and I are concerned about getting the balance right. How to make the city more livable in a way that doesn’t create ancillary byproduct problems. And how extensive the bike lanes should be and where they should be is a legitimate question. I had a conversation about this with the mayor this morning. You know, he is interested in getting the balance right. He asked me a lot of questions and asked Janette a lot of questions about it, as he should, and I’ll continue to work on it.

BERNSTEIN: That was a very evocative ‘not exactly’. Can you expand on that?

GOLDSMITH: No.

Audio, and full transcript, after the jump.

[MP3]http://audio.wnyc.org/news/news20100812_bernstein_goldsmith_web.mp3[/MP3]

BERNSTEIN: What is it that you hope to accomplish here as deputy mayor? When people look back at this administration what are they going to say was your contribution?

GOLDSMITH: I think this is a unique point in time in New York City’s history. We have a totally professional, committed mayor and a very difficult economic time. So it should be a moment where we can reform systems to enhance the stability and foundation of the city so it continues to be the most exciting, vibrant city in the world. So my goal is to contribute to that vision.

BERNSTEIN: When you say systems, is there anything in particular? I know you’ve talked about congestion pricing, you’ve talked about garbage pricing, I know that there’s a new initiative with wireless water metering. I’m wondering, is there a specific focus?

GOLDSMITH: So I think it’s best to, there are a couple of ways to look at this issue, right? There are interesting policy initiatives the mayor and his staff have. And then there’s the challenge of paying for the services that New Yorkers legitimately want. And we’re at a point in time where cost of government exceeds the ability of taxpayers to pay for it. And so we have to make reforms in the way the government operates so that we can produce higher quality but less expensive services. So what I’m talking about [is] structural reforms. I mean, how we do business, how we provide services, and how we modernize the government so that New Yorkers can receive the services they need at an affordable price. And this year and the next year’s budget, in particular, the underfunding is the most severe since the mayor’s been here.

BERNSTEIN: When people hear “reforms,” and if you look at the way New York government has historically worked, what people hear usually is that we are getting less. We’re going to have less frequent garbage pick-ups, we’re going to have bigger classrooms, we’re going to have dirtier subways, which I realize is not the city, but people still sort of lump that together. What is different in your approach?

GOLDSMITH: Well, my goal in being here is not to resist -- I used to say that when I was in Indianapolis that anybody can save money by doing things worse. That’s not a very difficult challenge. The goal is to save money by doing things better, right. How you more efficiently clean up the garbage, how you more efficiently clean the subways, how you more efficiently police. And so, there are lots of rules and costs and bureaucracy layered on top of the good city workers, who everyday go out and do these jobs. And we need to go out and kind of give them more authority, reduce the overhead costs, and drive dollars into the front lines. And I think that can be done.

BERNSTEIN: So make that real for people. When -- because people have heard of efficiency for a long time and I don’t think people really believe it. They either don’t think government can be more efficient or they just think, you know, it’s code for getting screwed. So what does that mean to somebody who lives in New York? How does their experience change?

GOLDSMITH: Well, first let me go and say I don’t think this is all going to be without pain. There a lot--let me say this isn’t going to be without pain. There is a substantial deficit in the budget. In the billions, not in the hundreds of millions. And it’s going to require people to rethink many of their services. But, if you said, as part of that process what would one do, you would reduce the back office costs, and the administrative costs, and the cost of bureaucracy and the cost of the procurement system, and all these things that have built up over the last 75 years that are pretty much outdated and you would say our goal is to make sure that police officer, the firefighter, the building inspector, the sanitation worker have as much support they need to do their job well. And I think we are looking at the fact that we have million square feet too much of office space. Right, we have 80 data centers when we need somewhere between zero and two. We have hundreds of different kinds of HR systems. So, all of that stuff needs to be pushed together and the savings devoted to the front lines.

BERNSTEIN: So you told New York 1, and I printed this out to get it right, you said, and we’re talking about congestion pricing, ‘It’s imperative’ and I’m skipping a little bit, ‘both how you get around and where you are driving or what subway you are taking, or what bus you are on, and how New York has used these resources will have to be very efficient for the infrastructure to maintain the number of people. And congestion pricing causes people to think differently on how they consume those roads and consume those bridges. And so it’s a very important signal to the populace.’ You said that.

GOLDSMITH: That’s impressive. I like that.

BERNSTEIN: What did you mean by that?

GOLDSMITH: Well, I think my view of the role of government is that it makes life as good as possible for the residents. And it does that by giving them more choices. Not fewer choices. It does that by helping them make decisions. Not by telling them what to do. And we have too little infrastructure sometimes [in the] day and enough or too much other times in the day. So to whatever extent we can price the use of that infrastructure in a way that gives people choice, that’s good. So I think what the mayor tried to do with congestion pricing is not important just because it raises money. I think it’s important because it makes better use of our bridges and roads. And I think the same could apply to buses or subways or parking and the like. And when we give citizens broad signals -- pricing -- and they can make decisions about what’s in their best interests, that’s the way New York should run.

BERNSTEIN: Now congestion pricing did not succeed, as you know. What would make this -- I mean, I understand what you mean by this. And I understand that everything has a cost. Most people don’t think about the cost. They don’t think the sidewalk has a cost, they don’t think the road has a cost, and especially not a bridge that is now free. So what can you say to really persuade people of that?

GOLDSMITH: Well, I’ve been hired in New York as the operations guy, not as the political expert. So, I understand there were problems with congestion pricing, and I’m not making a prediction about the political opportunities here. I’m just suggesting that if New Yorkers are a smart bunch and if they want to hold their cost of government down, and improve the livability of their city, then we should look at ways to better utilize the resources of the city. And if that means that we can move some percentages of the cars or riders to off-peak, that means we’ve opened up an enormous amount of infrastructure at no cost. We’ve also taken a lot of the wear and tear off the infrastructure at the current peak times. And maybe we can price that and people will benefit, and they won’t. It is absolutely true that if people receive something that’s free for very long, they don’t want to pay more or anything for it. But, you know, as economists say, and I’m not one, free goods get overused and so we have to kind of figure out how to price this out. Now people are paying. Right, we are paying for this stuff or else it wouldn’t get done, we’re paying for it with tax dollars, we’re paying for it with extra maintenance costs, extra capital costs. These things aren’t free. They’re just not brought to the public in a way that lets them understand that.

BERNSTEIN: You say, ‘I’m not a politician’, but you were a very successful mayor so you must have some inkling on how to persuade a population that’s already feeling strapped that this is actually in their best interest.

GOLDSMITH: Well, I was once a politician once, yes indeed.

BERNSTEIN: Oh, come on, once a politician always a politician.

GOLDSMITH: I’ve heard that somewhere. The difficulty that the mayor, and I to a lesser extent I face, is that change is always difficult because people who benefit from the change don’t quite believe it in the beginning and people who are adversely affected by the change know who they are and are really against it. So the goal in any big, bold transformative change is to energize the group that will benefit by better explaining to them what the benefits are. That’s a communications issue as well as a political issue, and it can be done. It’s complicated in many of the issues we are dealing with here because they cut across city, regional and state lines and how you create a consensus is important. But New York City’s economy is not only important to the future of the city, it’s really important to the future of the state and the country. But the state as well. And so we all have a stake in the success of the city.

BERNSTEIN: So I was here when congestion pricing first floated as an idea. So we’re talking 2005. And when the idea first floated this was “Red Ken” Livingstone’s scheme to bring transit to the masses. And by the time it crossed the pond, it became billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s scheme to limit Manhattan to the rich.

GOLDSMITH: It’s better in this conversation to stick to why I think it’s important. I can’t do the political autopsy of kind of the congestion pricing. I think the message is important and how we pay for the bridges, and how we pay for the MTA, who benefits from the MTA are important. And I think the capital and the operating issues in the MTA are serious. I think the fact we needed to look at van shares, how people move around in the outer boroughs is important. And so, I would hope that we could look at how folks outside of Manhattan benefit from congestion pricing in the way it improves their access to the city and to the region.

BERNSTEIN: Should the city, you know the mayor gets blamed for the subways even though he doesn’t run the subways. Do you think the mayor should be running the subways?

GOLDSMITH: I’m not involved in that conversation. I think I have great confidence in the mayor and I would rather work for the mayor than an authority, but I don’t have a position on the MTA.

BERNSTEIN: One of the challenges the mayor has had in convincing people to back things like congestion charging has been sort of bad PR that transit has. For example, last year, and this wasn’t really his battle but the Ravitch plan, but when bridge tolls went up and we sent reporters to the Bronx, you know, most of whom don’t have cars, and we said, would you rather have bridge tolls or a fare hike, and they said ‘What’s the MTA doing with that money anyway? They’re probably wasting it.’ Is there some repair work that needs to be done there?

GOLDSMITH: I think presuming the politics of the congestion pricing is something I’m not prepared for and I’m not astute about. I do think that whatever we do to improve the quality and quantity of public services needs to be well explained to the citizens and hopefully that will lead to some changes.

BERNSTEIN: Let’s talk about garbage -- the idea that there would be a fee for throwing away garbage, which a lot of municipalities across the country do. Does Indianapolis?

GOLDSMITH: No.

BERNSTEIN: No. But a lot of places do. How would it work in New York? What do you think?

GOLDSMITH: Well, I don’t know whether it would work in New York. I said I don’t know whether paying for garbage will work in New York. Let’s just step back for a second. So we’ve got a couple of goals here. One is to maximize the percentage of waste that’s recyclable. That’s good for the environment and good for the taxpayers. The second is to minimize the total amount of waste, so that means packaging waste or the like. And the third is to make sure we can afford to pick up all of the trash with a pretty expensive system in place. And if there were a way to cause people to act differently, to make them throw away less trash, to make them be more efficient in recycling, it would be good to consider that. There are cities that charge for extra bags. I don’t know whether that would work in New York or not. I didn’t rule that out automatically because I like to look at anything that gives people choices over their own lives and gives rewards to people who do good things for the environment. But whether it could work in such a complicated trash pick-up place in New York, I’m not sure.

BERNSTEIN: What do you need to know to answer that question?

GOLDSMITH: Well, there are a couple of issues here. One is politics, right, so is it even politically feasible. Second is how does it work because you want to make sure that people who follow the rules are not punished by people who don’t follow the rules. And one can figure out a number of ways this is difficult to enforce. And third is whether it’s practical. So I wouldn’t want to suggest that the city is ready to go to charging for trash. All I’m saying is if any reasonable idea, somebody wants to present it to me and show me how it’s able to make the city’s work better, faster, cheaper, particularly if it has an environmental overlay to it –- I’m interested in looking at it. There are a lot of logistical complications in New York City to doing this.

BERNSTEIN: When do you think you’ll have processed that? I know the mayor has said it’s something on the table, when are we looking for this to be rolled out or have an answer one way or another?

GOLDSMITH: Well, we have about 100 things we are looking at: some little, some midsized, how we look at solid waste disposal is the big issue and these are the subsets of those, how to improve recycling and the sustainability agenda is related to the subject as well. So I’m not sure. There’s been a lot of work over the last year over on the subject. I’ve asked it to be kind of freshened up and presented, but there’s no deadline.

BERNSTEIN: Have you given, I mean some years ago, WNYC sent a reporter to the San Francisco Bay area where there’s all kind of charging for different things and you can get as big bucket as you want for recyclables and you could only get one small bucket for everything else. And she came back to New York City, and it was the Giuliani administration at the time, and said could this be done? And the response was ‘Absolutely not. You’ll never figure out a way to get apartment buildings to participate.’ Is there a way?

GOLDSMITH: You keep asking me the same question and I keep answering it in the same way. So we’re looking at the best practices nationally with respect to recycling and sustainability and solid waste management. The city has a huge cost in solid waste disposal. Very, very expensive and not easily maintained over decades. And there are many aspects of that that need to be addressed relatively immediately including the cost of disposing of the trash today, how to increase the number of recyclables. But one of the things that I think may be underutilized thus far is what can we do be to encourage better conservation on the front end, better packaging on the front end, so we’re looking at all of those issues and no deadline about when we will resolve them.

BERNSTEIN: What cities do you think have it right when it comes to garbage?

GOLDSMITH: There are many cities who have many pieces of it right and some use waste to energy, some use pricing to reduce the amount of trash in the first place, others use this extra bag pick-up. I mean, I think I’d rather leave it at…those are all subjects we are looking at and then we’ll put together something that works for New Yorkers.

BERNSTEIN: Other cities that you are envious of that you think have a plethora of good ideas that you think New York should be imitating?

GOLDSMITH: Well, at the first instance I’d say there are more good ideas in New York City government than anywhere else in the country, which is why I came to work here. The mayor has created a culture of good ideas and innovation and so across the group of commissioners and deputy mayors there’s an unusually vibrant thinking of innovation. I’m just trying to look at the more boring aspects of how you operationalize many of those innovations and so I’d like to say that New York City is number one and I really believe that, which is why I took this job. There are other cities that are exciting and are doing interesting things. Chicago does a lot of interesting things in kind of how the city works. And there are lots of good ideas in cities like Portland, occasionally even in Indianapolis, but I say if you picked a city in the U.S. that has a reputation for innovation and creativity inside city government, it’s this one.

BERNSTEIN: What do you like about Chicago or Portland, or Indianapolis?

GOLDSMITH: Well, Chicago, it works and the mayor delivers a relatively high quality of service in a very serious way and Portland is the country’s leading city with respect to sustainability, green initiatives, trash, land use policy and the like--very advanced; Indianapolis has a reputation as being very efficiently run in terms of basic city services, so there’s things here and there from each city. They all have to be tailored to New York City, which is bigger, grander, more exciting, and more diverse, but the ideas can germinate here as well.

BERNSTEIN: One of the departments under your jurisdiction that is not at all boring is Department of Transportation and there’s been an awful lot of heat generated over the past several years. Janette Sadik-Khan has been called a zealot by Marty Markowitz for her bike lane policy. Are you behind what’s going on there? Do you think it’s on the right track, and it should be expanding? I mean what are your thoughts about that?

GOLDSMITH: There are differences in opinion about bikes. The transportation director is a very creative woman. She has lots of ideas and those ideas make the city a very exciting place but many of those ideas are also controversial and I think the program for bikes is a good one. I also understand that those policies can literally and figuratively collide with automobiles and transportation policy. I know the mayor is interested in getting the balance right and so I salute a director who has a lot of innovative ideas and also understand that we need to balance those against the interests of others and see what happens. So far, Times Square and the like have been very successful pilots.

BERNSTEIN: There was some thought --the commissioner wanted to have bike lanes all the way up First and Second Avenues. And then that plan was pulled back and that was around the time that you were coming and there was some speculation that was because you were concerned about that. Is there any truth to that?

GOLDSMITH: No. Not exactly. The mayor and I are concerned about getting the balance right. How to make the city more livable in a way that doesn’t create ancillary byproduct problems. And how extensive the bike lanes should be and where they should be is a legitimate question. I had a conversation about this with the mayor this morning, you know, he is interested in getting the balance right. He asked me a lot of questions and asked Janette a lot of questions about it, as he should, and I’ll continue to work on it.

BERNSTEIN: That was a very evocative ‘not exactly’. Can you expand on that?

GOLDSMITH: No.

BERNSTEIN: What about the BRT lines that are going up or the select bus service that is going up? On First and Second Avenue. There’s been a lot of praise for that and there’s also been some concern that some of the things that have worked in some cities--segregated bus lanes, no right turns from the bus lanes--are not going to be part of this system and it’s not going to make it as effective as it could’ve been.

GOLDSMITH: I actually think that project’s a very interesting project. There are some traffic obstacles, if you will, particularly the left turns that will be interesting to watch. I was driving and saw a couple confusing moments two nights ago. Buses turning, and cars going. Having said that, I think the way we should look at this is how New Yorkers can move most efficiently at the lowest cost, going where they want to go--to shop, or to entertainment, or to work. And express bus lanes are definitely an important element of that. They are a way to move lots of people more efficiently and less expensively than other ways. And to the extent that we can shorten the travel times of those buses will be in everybody’s best interests. I think there will be a lot of experimentation, my guess is that the transportation department will get it wrong occasionally because they’re kind of out there on this, but I think that express bus lane and restricted bus lane idea is a very good one and if we can move more people by bus and fewer people by car, it would really be a very good thing for New York.

BERNSTEIN: There was a sense that there was an opportunity lost there. That there could have been, well I haven’t been to Bogota, Colombia, myself, have you?

GOLDSMITH: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: What I hear is that the buses woosh by all the cars. And the opportunity to have that replicated in New York is not going to happen because of that.

GOLDSMITH: I was just thinking Curitiba when you said Bogota. I don’t know if there’s a better way to do it than we are doing it now. I came in midstream through it and I think it’s easiest for me to say I applaud her initiative. I think it’s really important what the MTA and the DOT are doing together. I think there are also ways to improve the customer experience on those bus lanes. You know, we have to look at the enforcement issues, we have to look at the ease of the egress and ingress from the bus in order to speed those up, the number of stops. But they’ll be tinkering around the edges and I hope there’ll be more of those.

BERNSTEIN: People seem to take in New York a lot of these painted lines as suggestions, not really requirements. Should there be more enforcement in express lanes, bike lanes, and the like?

GOLDSMITH: My general view in life is that there should be fewer rules better enforced rather than more rules lesser enforced or less stringently enforced because if you have lots of rules and don’t enforce them then you actually penalize the people who do follow the rules. And so I don’t know in those bike lanes, turn lanes, bus lanes, you know, which of those are the problems, which aren’t. But we should decide what’s right and then we should enforce it because any other way is a wrong signal to the public.

BERNSTEIN: Traffic fatalities now are at their lowest level since recorded history. Days of the horse and buggy. But there are still hundreds of people that die every year. What should happen to reduce that number and how should it happen?

GOLDSMITH: I’m not prepared for that.

BERNSTEIN: Okay. There’s been some discussion for a privately run BRT, I believe actually along the Brooklyn waterfront. Do you know anything about that? Do you think there’s a role for the private sector in transportation in New York?

GOLDSMITH: Sure. A taxi is a role for public transportation in New York. For example, what I find a bit curious is the conversation on public transit here is a conversation about MTA buses and subways and the like. And when we talk about public transit we ought to be talking about how we are moving people. How we’re moving them by cab, how we’re moving them by van, by private transit. I hope we can build out the MTA as much as possible. Its workforce and its capital plan. But the goal of the city, the mayor and Goldsmith should be to use every possible way to move people efficiently and if sometimes that’s private vans or private pick-up then that’s what it should be. And I applaud the TLC for its authorization of the share ride vans, and they’re looking at shared taxis as you know, and those are all important ways to reduce congestion and it’s unfair to the people who live here that they have to live in a more congested environment because we have a special way of doing things.

BERNSTEIN: Is there an issue with, I mean a number of cities have been able to innovate on the transportation front because they don’t have unionized high labor costs. And I’m wondering, if you see in New York’s future, more of that?

GOLDSMITH: I think what you want to do right is more transportation and if there’s more transportation there’s more of a role for both TWU workers to be fully employed, not laid off as we’re facing, and more private transportation as well, and I think one way to think about this is that there are a lot of people living in this area needing to go to a lot of places and we ought to take the most substantial, densest routes and they ought to be run by the government-run transit systems and then the smaller areas need to be serviced by vans or cabs or whatever. So I don’t view it as this or that, I view it as how to increase the whole of transit in the community.

BERNSTEIN: There’s a couple of plans floating to take down a couple of highways. The Sheridan Express Way is one, FDR Drive there’s a proposal to remove the lower part of it. What do you think of these plans?

GOLDSMITH: Well, I’ve been here for six weeks. What makes you think I’d know the answer to all of these questions?

BERNSTEIN: Well, you can't fault me for trying. So you have no view on the Sheridan Expressway?

GOLDSMITH: I’m not involved in that right now.

BERNSTEIN: The water metering plan. The wireless metering plan. So mid 21st century, it’s sort of mind boggling that the city could sort of put this thing in. Are there more things in that vein that are coming that people should expect?

GOLDSMITH: Many more. This is really so cool. I’m very excited about it. I have very little credit it in but I’m just its leading enthusiast. I mean, basically, what you want to say, and this looks like an odd, boring thing, but this is quite a big deal.

BERNSTEIN: I’m genuinely excited about it. I’m not making this up!

GOLDSMITH: So the city put in a wireless backbone that’s the best in the world for its public workforce. And then it asked the department to put in digital meters that run on the backbone and it did it in record time and still doing it. And then, what we’re saying is, okay homeowner, or condo-owner, we’re going to give you lots of information about your water usage. And not only are we going to tell you when there’s a leak, we’ll be able to tell you how your water usage is priced and how much water you’re using. And if the goal of it is to say, look, New Yorkers are a smart group, and if we give them a lot of information they’ll make smarter decisions. They’ll use less water, we’ll identify water breaks more quickly. This is the future. This digital, electronic water meter reader is the future and it will unlock enormous amounts of information and it’s just the first of what I think dozens of very important related announcements.

BERNSTEIN: Give me one.

GOLDSMITH: No.

BERNSTEIN: None?

GOLDSMITH: None.

BERNSTEIN: None? What operates like a water meter?

GOLDSMITH: Life.

BERNSTEIN: And by that you mean?

GOLDSMITH: I mean that if you say to the citizens that we have a better, more efficient way of giving you more information that will allow you to change your behavior and the way you make life decisions, then people will make decisions in their best interests, which will help the community as a large. If we remove pieces of paper, we remove needless letters, we remove all those annoyances that government red tape produce and instead provide very accessible information, it will make life better and it will make their exchange with government even better.

BERNSTEIN: Have you studied the tenure of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff?

GOLDSMITH: Studied might be too strong. I’m aware of it.

BERNSTEIN: I mean now you are in charge of carrying out the PlaNYC--one of his kind of final initiatives. You know, what did you learn from his life as deputy mayor that you think would help you carry out that mandate?

GOLDSMITH: He was a bold thinker that organized resources around pretty big thoughts, had the confidence of the mayor and produced great value for the city. I think it’s a great example, and I also think the bigger and bolder your thoughts, the more likely you are to get tripped up here and there by a constituency that stops you and that should just be more energy for going on to the next battle. I think there’s a lot to learn from what he did.

BERNSTEIN: When you spoke at the Crain’s breakfast, you said you and the mayor hadn’t spoken yet about congestion pricing. Have you had that conversation yet?

GOLDSMITH: Well, no, we haven’t had a real conversation yet. He knows that I’m interested in it, and I know he’s anxious about wanting to make sure that we did something again that’s realistic and that’s as far as we’ve gone.

BERNSTEIN: Even though his chair bumps right into yours.

GOLDSMITH: So far, I haven’t done anything so alarming as to hit me over the head yet.

BERNSTEIN: Can I just say that you say that you’re not a politician. But people who are not politicians don’t normally bat away questions with such alacrity.

GOLDSMITH: I’m interested in my term being longer than three months.

BERNSTEIN: I’ve interviewed deputy mayors before and they usually don’t do that.

GOLDSMITH: Well, there’s an enormous opportunity here to improve things and the mayor is, to his credit, not at all reluctant to have things be changed. Not defensive about the past. And one of the reasons I decided to take this job was the mayor’s explicit mandate that I want the third term to be valuable and not third termitis that sometimes sets in. And that mandate and authority to change is very exciting and hopefully I’ll produce half the changes I advocate.

BERNSTEIN: What do you think about bike share?

GOLDSMITH: I think bike share is an interesting program that should be looked at and it’s worked and not in major cities around the country. We’ve got to figure out what’s worked in some of the international cities and what hasn’t and if we can make -- a lot of New Yorkers travel short distances and if we can help them travel short distances in a safe way then it should be considered but it’s not without challenges.

BERNSTEIN: What do you think the challenges are?

GOLDSMITH: Well, bike share requires that some of the bikes are in good shape and that the bikes are well taken care of and that the bikes are not vandalized and there are a number of issues. But when it works well, it works really well. So I know the department is studying it, but no decision has been made yet.

BERNSTEIN: Is it something you would like to see before you leave?

GOLDSMITH: I think that when the department and when the mayor are ready for that, we’ll let you know.

BERNSTEIN: You’re tough. Anything that I haven’t asked you that you would like to say?

GOLDSMITH: I can’t imagine there’s anything that you didn’t ask me that I would like to say. No.

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Comments [2]

Corey Bearak

Here We Go Again (Again?)

One would think someone, some staffer, might just bring the guy up to speed. But Deputy Mayor Goldsmith keeps on chatting up the discredited congestion tax sort of like that rabbit in that battery commercial.
Thus in case our Deputy Mayor missed our July 28 commentary, we reprint below for his convenience (and attention):

“Periodically, someone speaks, perhaps from the hip, ignorant of local history and politics, without doing the research, or choosing to ignore the undisputed facts. And Keep NYC Free responds to properly educate the misinformed one and anyone who might accept the misinformation. For example, look at our post, The Song Remains The Same from last March; or You're The Next Fool! (Reprise) last February or You're The Next Fool! as 2009 ended. Deputy Mayor Goldsmith's recent New York 1 News interview brought to mind the closing lyrics of a song penned by Eagles bassist/ vocalist Timothy Schmit:
Ooh – Could it really be it's not the same
Looking' back behind is such a silly game
But here we go again

“As we stated several times here (and elsewhere) Congestion Pricing – what we more properly call the Congestion Tax – remains “the faulty policy that no amount of messaging can correct.” The scheme just does not achieve what the supporters claim. Worse, the Deputy Mayor talks of the congestion tax as a solution to current congestion most likely the result of the administration's plaza schemes with all their attendant lane closings, re-routings and revised bus routes, and having little relation to increased traffic. Throughout the past debates Keep NYC Free documented how the scheme and its variants failed.
“No change in Deputy Mayors or mouthpieces fixes the inefficiencies, the unfairness, and the unsoundness of each of the schemes.
“For the Deputy Mayor's convenience – if he really cares about the economy and steady revenues for the MTA, we recommend he add to this summer's required reading list the Keep NYC Free plan.”

Just imagine if the Deputy Mayor spoke about the stimulus money not used to avert the service cuts.
(Please see above with hyperlinks and all at:
http://www.keepnycfree.com/media/files/2010-08-13_Here_We_Go_Again_Again.pdf

Aug. 16 2010 12:58 AM
jeff

Let's not be lazy and start adopting
the "very successful mayor" description
without mediation. As an analysis
in "City Limits" has argued, many
of the Mr. Goldsmith's fee based
behavior control schemes fell flat
on their face (some laughably).
As for this interview, seems like
we can expect more of the same
arrogant knowi-it-all condescension
and pseudo transparency of our mayor.
Mr. Bloomberg, having barely achieved a third term running against himself, and wielding his narrow
electoral margin like a club
has brought in a right wing republican
to "reform" the city's service culture.
Beware of anyone who poses "balance" as an objective, it's
an indication of status quo.
Faith based initiatives round the corner. Should be a good fight.

Aug. 12 2010 08:58 AM

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