Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bloomberg Promises "Smart" Parking Meters, Amnesty, Sensitivity

Bloomberg Promises "Smart" Parking Meters, Amnesty, Sensitivity: "

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A poster for Bloomberg's rival, Montgomery Burns.
There's no stopping Mayor Bloomberg from buying another term, so it's not like he has to win anybody's approval. Still, it's nice to see he's at least making an effort, rolling out the campaign promises just like any other average Joe politician. In an Op-Ed in one of the tabloids today, Bloomberg asks, "How would you like to use your mobile device to see a map of available parking spaces in your neighborhood—and also use it to pay your meter? Or how about getting a text message as your meter is about to expire, so you can get back to your car before getting a ticket?' It's a start... but can these new meters give us back rubs too, like the ones in Japan?



Well, if that's not enough to get you to passively submit to plutocracy, try this on for size: In his third term, Bloomberg promises to 'explore the possibility' of eliminating the $2 fee to pay parking tickets by credit card, as well as an amnesty program to get some of the $700 million the city is owed from old tickets. Long live Bloomberg! He's also vaguely promising to increase 'sensitivity training' for traffic enforcement agents, which sounds very Clockwork Orange, and we like it.



But the 'smart parking meter' vow is definitely the most interesting part of Bloomberg's pandering. And for a mayor that's perceived by some as too anti-car and pro-bicycle, the sop to motorists will probably help his all-but-guaranteed re-election. Still, presumptive loser Bill Thompson is trying to quaintly reason with voters; his spokesman is begging New Yorkers to realize this is all just a 'stunt.' Whatever; A.I. parking meters!





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Our Bridges Are the Worst

Our Bridges Are the Worst: "

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Under the Kosciusko Bridge
While our city's bridges may be fantastic for falcons, they're unfortunately not so great when it comes to us humans. A new list, provided by the General Contractors Association, points out the worst bridges and elevated roadways right here in New York City. Drum roll please!
  • 1. Kosciusko Bridge

  • 2. Gowanus Expressway

  • 3. Bronx River Parkway over Amtrak

  • 4. Cross Bronx Expressway Viaduct over Amtrak and the Sheridan Expressway

  • 5. Bronx Terminal Viaduct Carrying the Major Deegan by Yankee Stadium

  • 6. Major Deegan Expressway over Sedgewick Avenue & Metro-North Railroad

  • 7. Bruckner Expressway Service Road Northbound

  • 8. Bruckner Boulevard Viaduct

  • 9. 150th Street Over Belt Parkway

  • 10. Major Deegan Ramp to 153rd Street/Cromwell Avenue (Southbound)
According to the president of City College of NY, “You can only run vehicles over these bridges and freeways over a period of time before the wear and tear builds up.” Here's a look at the worst bridge collapses in the past 100 years, to aid with your nightmares tonight.





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US DOT Thinks Drivers Shouldn't Text

US DOT Thinks Drivers Shouldn't Text: "

2009_09_texdrive.jpg The U.S. Department of Transportation is holding a 'Distracted While Driving' Summit, which will give recommendations for better road safety in the day of texting and more. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said, "We can really eliminate texting while driving. That should be our goal." How, it's unclear—the NY Times has a story on road warriors who turn their cars into offices and email while zipping down highways. One such driver said, "It’s an adrenaline rush. It’s the buzz we all get of trying to do everything you can in business." Also, what about when you use your cell phone to find parking spaces?





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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cop Cars Banned From Parking On Brooklyn Sidewalk!

Cop Cars Banned From Parking On Brooklyn Sidewalk!: "

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'the poor policing in the getto,' via noneck's Flickr



In a radical move, the DOT will begin prohibiting cops from parking on the sidewalk outside the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station in Brooklyn. Officers at Transit Bureau District 30 have parked on the sidewalk for years, but a new pedestrian plaza set to open next month will mean the end of a longstanding police privilege. Pedestrians and straphangers are rejoicing, with Jameer Henson, a law clerk, telling the Daily News, 'In the mornings it always bottlenecks at the top of the steps because there's only like half a sidewalk for the people coming and going to the subway. I won't be sad to see the cars go.'



But law enforcement officers are upset about the law being enforced! 'It's not a very bright idea,' one transit detective tells the News. 'There's literally nowhere for us to park around here. That's why we're on the sidewalk in the first place.' The new pedestrian mall is temporary, but DOT officials plan to extend the sidewalk and make it a permanent gathering space over the next two years. Also a bad idea, says the detective: 'This street's already too crowded. Cars can barely get by as it is with all the traffic and double-parking going on. Just imagine if you have 50 people sitting in the street.' First pedestrians take over the sidewalk, then the streets—next thing you know they'll be spreading a picnic blanket on Ray Kelly's desk!





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NYPD's Parking Placards Cop Allegedly Hooked Up Gal Pal

NYPD's Parking Placards Cop Allegedly Hooked Up Gal Pal: "

092809nypd.jpg Responding to the glut of city employees' parking placards—which let them park for free at meters and many off-limits areas—last year the mayor's office managed to cut the 144,160 placards by over 20 percent. To accomplish this goal, the city consolidated control over the placards with the NYPD; formerly each city agency got to dole out their own. The NYPD's point person for determining which officers got placards was Lt. Jemal Doute, the head of the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau's Vehicle Placard Unit—until recently, when it was discovered that a female friend of Doute's obtained one of the "older" models of the placards through Doute.



Doute, a 15-year veteran, faces departmental charges of failing to safeguard a department placard, and will be transferred. He says the woman was a friend who had recently stopped by his office, and he claims that she must have swiped the placard without his permission. A patrol cop spotted the outdated placard on the dashboard of a parked car in Brooklyn several months ago and notified Internal Affairs. Now the Post is calling Doute the department's 'plaque sheep.'





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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Attack Of The Parking Hustlers!

Attack Of The Parking Hustlers!: "

092909noparking.jpg As if the skunks weren't bad enough, the Bronx is being overrun by slick panhandlers promising to keep your car safe from vandals for a small fee. And while their presence is annoying, court precident protects their right to do this. In 2006 panhandler Eddie Wise was awarded $100,001 after he sued the city, citing the First Amendment right to ask for anything from motorists. While local business owners are concerned, State Senate majority leader Pedro Espada tells the Post "It’s pretty f---ing funny, what these guys do here." Worrying that your car will get vandalized if you don't cough up a dollar? Hilarious.





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Thursday, September 24, 2009

NYPD Priorities in Action: Keep Traffic Moving, Pedestrians Be Damned

NYPD Priorities in Action: Keep Traffic Moving, Pedestrians Be Damned: "

Yesterday we saw what it looks like when police value pedestrian safety and enforce the integrity of the crosswalk. That's how they roll in Sacramento. Here in New York, the NYPD's priorities are a little different.


Clarence Eckerson recently shot this clip at the intersection of Canal and Lafayette. As you can see, an officer crossing the street with other pedestrians noticed a vehicle blocking the box (and a bike lane). Instead of giving the driver a summons, he proceeded to hold up everyone who had the right of way and wave the car through the crosswalk, directly into the path of at least one person on foot. All in a day's work for New York's finest.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is Your Fancy Food Truck Hurting the Poor Hot Dog Man?

Is Your Fancy Food Truck Hurting the Poor Hot Dog Man?: "

Just as Tyra Banks discovers gourmet food vendor trucks, Blackbook has joined the growing backlash against their trendy proliferation. It's yet another article that looks at the turf wars between the arriviste artisanal food trucks and the old-school hot dog and kabob guys. But at least this one comes with a clever neologism: 'vendrification,' which is what happens when the new upscale trucks start 'shaking up the culinary terrain of the streets.'



By casting a sympathetic eye toward the struggling hot dog vendor, writer Katie Robbins signals the shift in foodiot attitude toward the gourmet trucks. Just as artsy hipsters can't tolerate certain neighborhoods once enough frat boys move in, we expect a post-Tyra food truck future to include bearded bespectacled types 'keeping it real' by queuing up for kebab. Or maybe people will just keep eating what tastes good.





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