Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's At Stake: Bus Cuts in the 39th

The document below discusses the potential service cuts in our district if MTA funding needs are not met. In addition, we could say goodbye to meaningful upgrades for the foreseeable future. And then there is always the issue of fare hikes.

Proposed MTA Service Cuts - 39th District - Free Legal Forms
I understand that drivers do not want to pay to cross the bridges. It's a resource that has been underpriced for so long, it feels like an entitlement. The reality is we desperately need financing for mass transit in this city. Tolling the "free" river crossings and reinstituting the commuter tax are necessary measures required to keep transit fares low and maintain service levels.

Some argue that bridge tolls are regressive; this is disingenuous. The vast majority rely on transit, especially the poor, the young, and the elderly. If you want to see truly regressive funding policy, it's called a fare hike.

Nadler Amendment Passes - More Funds for Transit

Some good news anyway. $3 billion is not much, but it is a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Action Item: Call Your Rep for More Transit Stimulus

From my mailbox, an urgent request - and a good one - kudos to Nadler for introducing this amendment:
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will vote on an essential economic stimulus bill, desperately needed to help turn the economy around from the Bush recession. The $825 billion dollar legislation includes many strong provisions for health care, clean energy, education, middle class tax cuts and unemployment insurance. However, one key piece of our infrastructure, mass transit and high-speed rail, has been shortchanged in the stimulus. Only $10 billion has been allotted to improve the backward, crumbling mass transit and rail systems upon which tens of millions of Americans rely.

Fortunately, we have a chance to increase rail funding in the stimulus package. Approved for a floor vote just today, Rep. Jerrold Nadler's (NY-08) amendment would fund the New Starts program, with $1.5 billion each for the Transit Capital Assistance and the Capital Assistance Grants programs.

Please call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-225-3121. Ask for your representative, and ask them to vote yes on the Nadler amendment, which is amendment 70 for H.R. 1.

The House will begin consideration of H.R. 1 tomorrow morning, Wednesday, January 28th at 10am ET. If you're unable to contact your representative's DC office before the close of business today, or in the morning tomorrow before the voting, you can also leave a message on your representative's office voice mail after hours.

Thank you so much for your fast response!

In solidarity,

Chris Bowers, BlogPac

MTA Public Hearing on Service Cuts - Wednesday Night

This is a big one people. AS discussed at last month's CGNA meeting, Carroll Gardens and the 39th District as a whole are facing severe mass transit cuts. Tom Gray of Bill deBlasio's office sent the following notice (excerpted) to the CGNA listserve:
The MTA has proposed eliminating entire bus lines that service
District 39, as well as overnight and weekend service. In addition,
the MTA proposes to close station agent booths at a variety of
locations throughout Brooklyn, potentially compromising the safety of

• The B16, B23, B37, B75 Could be eliminated entirely. The B71 could
lose weekend service. And overnight service could be cut on the B67
and B77.

• Station Agents would be cut from the Metrotech end of the A, C and F
station at Jay Street; the west side of Flatbush Avenue entrance to
the Bergen Street 2, 3 station; the southbound F and G station
entrance at Bergen Street; the northbound entrance to the Carroll
Street F- and G-train station; and the entrance to the Borough Hall 2,
3, 4 and 5 trains at Court and Joralemon streets.

• Reduced frequency of service weekends on F and R and increase
crowding during off-peak on F, R, 4 and 5

• The total elimination of M service between lower Manhattan and
Bensonhurst (That means 16 fewer trains on the 4th Avenue line during
the rush hour mornings; and 12 in the p.m. rush. As a result,
rush-hour waits will double and crowding will greatly increase on the

• The G would terminate at Court Square all the time (now goes from
Smith-9th to Forest Hills on weekends, nights)

On top of these cuts, the MTA is proposing a variety of fare hikes,
including: increasing the base fare of train and bus rides to as much
as $3, increasing express bus fare to as much as $6.25, and increasing
the price of Unlimited Ride MetroCards to as much as $9.50 for a 1-day
card, $32 for a 7-day card, $60 for a 14-day card and $105 for a
30-day card.
It's important for residents to show up at this meeting and let the MTA know that these cuts are intolerable. I'll be there and I hope to see a sizable contingent there from Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Gowanus, Park Slope, Kensington, Windsor Terrace, and Boro Park. All of us will be impacted by these cuts, and the burden will fall hardest on the elderly, students, and those with difficulty negotiating the subway system. Basically, anyone who relies on the buses to get around will be seriously impacted.

It's not enough just to complain about service cuts. We need to be realistic about the finance problem the MTA is facing: the City and State have shortchanged transit for years, leading to massive debts at the MTA. The debt service payments are choking the MTA budget. We need to have steady, reliable and larger revenue streams to not only run the system, but also expand it and keep up the state of good repair. Raising fares on riders yet again is NOT the answer.

Their are many proposals out there, but the two that will raise the most funds while remaining equitable are (1) tolling the East River crossings and (2) bringing back the commuter tax.

Let your elected officials know that we need reliable, robust transit funding. We won't get it unless we demand it.

MTA Public Hearing on January 28th, 6pm – 9pm
at the Brooklyn Marriott, 333 Adams Street

I Am Scarred For Life

Follow this link to the Brooklyn Paper, if you dare.

Monday, January 26, 2009

You Like Us! You Really Like Us!

Carroll Gardens featured in the New York Times's Living In column. CGNA's own Maria Pagano is quoted in the article:
“Carroll Gardens is very much still a Sesame Street kind of community,” said Maria Pagano, president of the neighborhood association, which has been focusing opposition on construction projects it describes as out of scale. “That means people get out there and do things; they’re involved,” she said.

And 1st Place specifically garners praise for its proliferation of 25' wide brownstones. The article could have been three times as long and still not have scratched the surface of what's so great about this neighborhood. A worthwhile read.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What Goes Around Comes Around

Joe Bruno indicted. It seems like only yesterday Joe Bruno was doing his best to stick the shiv in Eliot Spitzer. And his clown of hatchet man Roger Stone was stirring the pot, shopping around any dirt he could dig up on Spitzer to anyone who would listen.

When you think about the shifts in political grounds in 2008, it really was a year of breathtaking change. Bruno out, now indicted. Democratic state senate control for the first time since 1964. Barack Obama elected President. And wide Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress.

Outside of the fact that we're teetering on the edge of a depression, I feel pretty damn good. Because now we at least have a chance. Good leadership means a world of difference.

Monday, January 12, 2009

CGNA Meeting Tonight

Meeting tonight at Hannah Senesh School
Smith between 1st and 2nd Place

See you there!

Also, Lost City has a Carroll Gardens centric post today, with a look at some of the local characters, shops and institutions. Worth a look.