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Mayor Bloomberg

WNYC News

Census Workers Unable to Access 'Housing Underworld,' Some Say

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

As the city plans to challenge what it says are low census numbers by showing that many of the thousands of vacancies – namely in Brooklyn and Queens – were in fact occupied homes, some residents in those areas spoke of an impenetrable "housing underworld" that census workers could not reach.

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It's A Free Country ®

After State and Federal Cuts, City Council Readies Budget Counter Offer

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

This week, the City Council will offer a budget counter-proposal to Mayor Bloomberg. The proposal comes as the city faces cuts from both Albany and Washington. Between a possible $200 milllion dollar cut in Washington and a real $400 million dollar hit from Albany, the Mayor and Council have their work cut out for them.

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WNYC News

City Warns 15,000 Formerly Homeless That End to Rent Subsidies Is Near

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New York City is telling more than 15,000 formerly homeless individuals and families that they should not expect government to help with their rent starting in two weeks.

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WNYC News

Bloomberg Signs Controversial Pregnancy Center Bill

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg signed a controversial bill targeting “crisis pregnancy centers” Wednesday — but not until anti-abortion activists got their say.

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It's A Free Country ®

NYC Indy Party in Trouble over Bloomberg Money

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WNYC

New York's Independent Party has found itself embroiled in controversy after being accused of a cover-up.

Prosecutors accused the state's third largest political party of obscuring a $1.1 million theft by political consultant, John Haggerty. The party has not been criminally charged but the judge in the case has frozen their bank account.

The large sum was a contribution from Mayor Bloomberg for poll-watching back in 2009 in the weeks running up to his city re-election bid.

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Transportation Nation

NYC Mayor Goes After Cabbies Who Refuse Outer Borough Fares

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

(New York -- Stephen Nessen, WNYC) The city is further cracking down on taxis that refuse to drive outside of Manhattan with a proposal for steeper fines and possibly revoking the license of repeat offenders. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday said such "geographic discrimination" is unacceptable and on the rise.

Under the new proposal, the city would issue a $500 fine for the first offense, a $750 fine and a 30-day suspension of the driver's license for a second offense within 24 months of the previous offense. A third offense would result in loss of TLC license.

"It doesn't matter which borough you are coming from or which borough you're going to, if you want to hail a cab, New York City cab drivers are required by law to take you to any destination in the city," Bloomberg said. "Without argument, pure and simple."

The Taxi and Limousine Commission has been creating undercover videos using Baruch college students posing as passengers hailing taxis to locations outside of Manhattan.

In one video, the student asks for a ride to Liberty Ave. and Lefferts Blvd. in Queens, and is flatly refused. He asks the taxi driver if he has a map, and the driver speeds off. (You can see the video, from Mayor Bloomberg's YouTube channel, below.)

The mayor was joined by TLC chairman David Yassky and City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca, who is sponsoring the legislation. Yassky and Bloomberg said the number of cab refusals is on the rise and that when it occurs passengers should call 311 and report the medallion number of the driver.

The TLC currently has 100 enforcement agents ensuring city taxi drivers are obeying the rules. Yassky warned drivers that "if you turn down a fare that may well be a TLC enforcement agent."

Licensed taxi drivers are required to carry a map of the city, but not a GPS.

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WNYC News

Schumer, Bloomberg Call for Stricter Gun Control Penalties

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed a plan to increase federal penalties on states that are not enforcing background checks for prospective gun buyers.

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Transportation Nation

Congestion Pricing Effort is Underway in New York

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  A private, non-profit group has been organizing to bring congestion pricing to New York City.  Environmentalist Alex Matthiessen, the former Hudson Riverkeeper and a former Clinton administration aide, has founded the Sustainable Transportation Campaign, a group devoted to seeking a regular, recurring funding stream for mass transit in the New York City region.  For the past six months, Mattheissen has been quietly meeting with potential supporters.  Still, there is no formal budget, list of supporters, or definite state proposal on congestion pricing.

The last time New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed congestion pricing, it foundered in the state legislature.  A plan once championed by the socialist former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, as a way to transfer wealth from well-to-do to not-so-wealthy transit riders, became seen as billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg's scheme to keep middle-class workers out of Manhattan once it jumped across the pond.

Now, Mattheissen is spearheading a non-governmental approach. Supporters of congestion pricing hope that can separate the issue from Mayor Bloomberg's political fortunes.

Still, Bloomberg doesn't seem quite willing to stay above the fray. At a press conference today, he joked with reporters, "My God! How did they think of that?" before adding: "If they're working on it, I happen to think it makes some sense, but I'm going to stay out of it.  We've done everything we can. We had an idea. We did all the work to implement it and explain it to people.  But unfortunately it was like jumping 95 % across the Grand Canyon -- it didn't work."

Other groups who have supported congestion pricing in the past say they are still behind the concept, but are waiting to see a specific proposal from Mattheissen. Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, said she believes relieving congestion is a key priority for business in New York, but said there's no proposal to support. The Working Families Party said they also were waiting for a specific plan, but they hadn't signed off on anything.

Governor Cuomo expressed skepticism during the campaign about congestion pricing. Speaking in Poughkeepsie last week, he said a payroll tax passed last year to fund the MTA was "erroneous" and he was open to a "better way" to fund the MTA -- but he didn't say what that would be.

Manhattan State Senator Daniel Squadron supports the idea of congestion pricing and is floating the idea in Albany, though neither legislative leader has come out in favor of it.

More TN coverage:

NY Candidate Cuomo: Congestion Pricing "Moot";

NY Third Party Candidate Charles Barron Opposes Congestion Pricing;

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

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WNYC News

Christie Mulls No. 7 Subway Extension as Trans-Hudson Option

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who refused Tuesday to repay the government $271 million for the canceled Hudson River rail tunnel project, said he is considering another trans-Hudson option: extending the No. 7 subway line.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Park Slope Residents To Air Feelings About Bikes Tonight, and Tulsa Transit To Do a Fast Forward

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Support for making people register their bicycles hits Park Slope (Gothamist)--which is also where, tonight at 6:30 (Old Reformed Church - Carroll and 7th Avenue) the NYC DOT will present their preliminary Prospect Park West bike lane findings to Community Board 6. The Brooklyn Paper says that the bike lane is working, and "accidents have plummeted dramatically since the installation of the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane in the spring, new city data reveals."

The NYC MTA says Select Bus Service has sped up travel on Manhattan's East Side by up to 19% (NY1).

Gen Y housing preferences were the subject of at least two panels at the National Association of Home Builders convention. A key finding: They want to walk everywhere. (Yahoo Real Estate)

Tulsa unveiled Fast Forward, that city's new transit plan, which will include standard buses, express buses, streetcars, commuter rail and light rail transit.  (Tulsa World)

China is planning on installing 10 million electric vehicle charging stations by by 2020. (Autoblog Green)

Ray LaHood blogs appreciatively about PBS's recent episode of Need to Know, which tackles high-speed rail.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials kicked off a six-week social media campaign Wednesday to generate public response about the country's transportation needs. The group plans to present the videos and comments to federal officials in March. (Washington Post)

These are strange transit days in Toronto. One Globe and Mail columnist writes: "First, a new mayor refuses to go ahead with a light-rail network that has been planned, approved, announced and funded, with contracts signed and construction under way. Now, the regional transit agency, Metrolinx, recommends going ahead with a project – electrification of GO Transit lines – that would take two decades to plan, approve and build and that lacks any government funding whatsoever."

Brooklyn residents say MTA platform closures leave them stranded. (WNYC)

Chrysler is partnering with the EPA to develop a new minivan that doesn't use batteries or electric motors to drive it (CNN Money). Meanwhile, Toyota is developing a car battery that doesn't use rare earth metals (Gas 2.0).

Is Venice going on a "road diet?" Suck it in, cars! (LAist)

One KALW listener witnessed a bus rider roasting marshmallows with a Bic lighter on a MUNI bus.

Mayor Bloomberg tweet from yesterday's State of the City address: "If subway fares increased as fast as pensions, by next year it would cost $8.39 a ride!"

Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following: Mayor Bloomberg talked about livery cabs and ferries in yesterday's State of the City address.  NYC's first rental of a Chevy Volt happened yesterday. And: What can the US learn from Europe's restrictive parking policies?

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WNYC News

Bloomberg Delivers 10th State of the City Speech

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

At his tenth State of the City address, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the state of city is strong, but progress is not inevitable — it is up to us to create it.

Bloomberg also warned that the most severe budget cuts are ahead, due to unfunded mandates and pension benefits with no expected extra help from Albany or Washington this year.

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It's A Free Country ®

Medicaid: US vs. NYC

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The US attorney's office stepped into a hornet's nest they weren't expecting here. Not only Mayor Bloomberg, but advocates for the disabled as well have come out and said, "Gee, we want people to stay at home; that's the optimal thing and in general it's less expensive." Their answer of course is, we're not taking sides on policy, this is just out-and-out fraud.

Anemona HartocollisNew York Times reporter, on The Brian Lehrer Show

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: ARC Repayment Deadline Absolutely, Positively Jan. 25th; NJ Gov. Christie to NY Sen. Schumer: Mind Your Manners

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NJ Governor Chris Christie says when it comes to voicing opinions about the ARC tunnel, NY Senator Charles Schumer should "mind his manners on the other side of the Hudson River."

Meanwhile, New Jersey's third--and final--deadline to repay the federal government $271 in unused ARC tunnel money is January 25th. (NorthJersey.com)

Amtrak passenger rail service will be restored to downtown St. Paul when the $243 million renovation of the Union Depot is complete next year. (Minnesota Public Radio)

San Francisco Muni employees will lose their free parking perk--and agency officials have vowed to crack down on their staff who park illegally on the street and sidewalks around their job sites (San Francisco Chronicle). But exactly when this will happen is unclear.

In his State of the City speech today, Mayor Bloomberg will roll out a proposal to change taxi rules to make it possible to hail a new category of livery cab anywhere in the outer boroughs. (WNYC)

Mismanagement in the Washington State Department of Transportation caused a “gross waste of public funds,” costing the state $42.5 million in cost overruns. (The News Tribune)

The Federal Transit Administration on Tuesday cleared the way for Oahu to begin construction on a $5.5 elevated rail transit system. (KITV)

One side benefit of China's epic traffic jams: enterprising village residents sell food to stranded travelers at a markup. (New York Times)

Ray LaHood says that "the number of laser strikes on airplanes in 2010 nearly doubled from the previous year to more than 2,800. This is the highest number of incidents since we first began keeping track in 2005."

A new British study found public transit riders are six times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory infections, and occasional riders are most at risk.  (New York Daily News)

Which cars cost the most to insure? Rule of thumb: "Any vehicle that would cause a teenage boy to stop and gawk." (MSN Money)

Minneapolis' Caribou Coffee redesigned bus shelters to look like ovens as part of an ad campaign to promote their new breakfast sandwich. Yes, that heating element is real. (Adrants.com)

Why are thieves swiping catalytic converters from vehicles--which happened this week at an auto dealership in Wayne, New Jersey? 1) The pollution-reduction devices contain platinum and palladium, and 2) they're relatively easy to steal.  (The Star-Ledger, KRDO)

Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following:  NY Senator Schumer and NJ Governor Christie are trading rhetorical blows over the ARC tunnel. Also: House Transportation Committee chair John Mica says the next transportation authorization bill needs "alternate means of financing," and Montana legislators continue to wrestle with that state's DUI problem.

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Transportation Nation

Senator Schumer Blasts Christie on ARC

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

(Photo by: Jim O'Grady) U.S. Sen Charles Schumer talks NY region transpo infrastructure while taking a shot at NJ Gov Christie for canceling the ARC Tunnel.

New York U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is calling NJ Governor Chris Christie's decision to cancel the ARC tunnel a "terrible, terrible decision...By not completing the ARC tunnel, we are sacrificing the region's growth for the exigencies of the moment."

Schumer's remarks came at a Crain's New York Business breakfast forum, a venue politicians often choose to make pithy remarks about regional policy.  Schumer has so far been restrained in his public comments on ARC -- expressing disappointment with Gov. Christie's decision, but not taking him on directly.

But today Schumer went all out.  Governor Christie's proposal to use $1.8 billion of ARC money for other projects, he said, "compounds one mistake with another."

And Schumer pooh-poohed Mayor Bloomberg's plan to extend the number 7 line to Secaucus. "Let's be honest - this is Mayor Bloomberg taking lemons and trying to make a little lemonade."

We'll have more on this story later today.  You can read his prepared remarks here or below.

Schumer Crain's 1.18.11

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WNYC News

Wal-Mart Takes Aim at Critics as Opponents Prep for (Delayed) Hearing

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The back-and-forth between Wal-Mart and its opponents heated up in the days before a city council hearing to examine the retailer. But due to the pending snowstorm expected to blanket the city on Wednesday, the council postponed the hearing until Feb. 3.

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Micropolis

Bloomberg's Snowpocalypse: The Animation, in Taiwanese

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A new viral video entitled "Bloomberg Blamed for Mishandling Snowpocalypse" is making the rounds online in a segment that takes jabs at the city's blizzard response with the help of strangely compelling CGI animation.

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Transportation Nation

Illegal Streets: Off the Map, Not Off the Grid

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation)  In his press conference yesterday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked a question about how long it would take the city to plow every street. His response generated some curiosity.

"I don't know that you ever get everything plowed, because there are always streets that---there are streets that aren't even mapped on the map, there are illegal streets."

We called the Mayor's office for clarification of the term "illegal streets;" we've received no response yet. In the meantime, we turned to the The New York City Department of Transportation, which avoided the word "illegal" and said that there are two criteria: streets that are mapped, and streets that aren't.

The City doesn't own all the streets it turns out. According to Montgomery Dean, a DOT spokesperson, streets not titled to the city are classified as unmapped. The City doesn't maintain (pave, plow, or impose/enforce alternate side parking rules) them. These would also be known as "private streets."

Each borough president's office maintains a topographical unit, so we began calling around. Staten Island leads the list, with 638 private streets. A spokesperson for Brooklyn borough president's office said that Brooklyn has about 100. The Bronx has far fewer; while a spokesperson couldn't given an exact amount, she said there were "not many." The Manhattan borough president's office said that they had never heard the term "illegal streets."

So who maintains these streets? The residents, many of whom are happy to foot maintenance bills in order to keep parking there—residents can require permit parking only. A New York Daily News article quotes one Brooklyn resident as saying "it's like having your own garage." Of course, there can be a flip side: a Brooklyn Eagle article describes a dozen residents of one Bay Ridge block who lost heat and hot water in January after a pipe burst--and had to come up with $10,000 for repairs.

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Transportation Nation

Koch Feelin' Groovy Over Queensboro Bridge Name Change

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

(Alex Gorzen via Wikimedia Commons)

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) Ed Koch is getting a 1,400 foot-long present for his 86th birthday. Mayor Bloomberg is planning to propose renaming the Queensboro Bridge after the former mayor at Koch's birthday party tonight.

Koch said that he was delighted, grateful and surprised when he got Mayor Bloomberg's phone call telling him the news late Tuesday afternoon. Moreover, Koch thinks it’s a good fit.

“There are other bridges that are much more beautiful, like the George Washington or the Verrazano,” he said, “but this more suits my personality because it's a workhorse bridge. I mean, it's always busy, it ain't beautiful, but it's durable.”

Read the story over at WNYC.



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Transportation Nation

NYC To Raise On-Street Parking Fees

Thursday, November 18, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  New York City's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, will phase in on-street parking increases over the next six months.  The move is part of the Mayor's so-called "budget-mod," an amendment to the existing budget to close projected shortfalls.

The city will up the rates from $2.50 to $3.00 south of Manhattan's 86th street, and north of 86th Street parking will go from $0.75 an hour to $1.00 an hour.

City hall officials are noting the city's rates are still way below market rates for parking, which can run around $20 an hour in Manhattan. The city is also looking to increase the deployment of muni-meters, which allow for differential pricing according to demand.  Officials say this isn't just about increasing revenue, but also helping retailers by ensuring greater turnover, and thus more open spots for potential customers.

Look for more so-called market flexible parking pricing in your future.

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Transportation Nation

Son of ARC: Mayor Bloomberg Wants to Extend Subway Across Hudson

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killled the ARC tunnel twice, but it still won't die.

Now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to build a transit tunnel under the Hudson, extending the number 7 subway train -- a new line under construction -- to New Jersey.  The project is projected to cost $5.3 billion, about half the ARC's pricetag.

Once, it  almost seemed like Mayor Michael Bloomberg was indifferent to the project's death.  "We are not a party to this," the Mayor said at a city hall news conference as the ARC tunnel was flatlining.  "This is a Port Authority Project...They have their own financial problems and they can afford some things and not others."

But around the same time

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