Random Thoughts of a Failed Southern Belle

Friday, December 02, 2005

Fuck you very much, MTA.

Every single day that I venture out into the world (at least when I am in NYC), I end up having to ride on the Escalator of Insanity (see photo). The EOS is the conveyance that takes me down to my subway platform, and its approximately equal to about five flights of stairs. Actually, it's three separate escalators. In theory, one should be going down and two up (or vice versa) depending on rush hour. But given the status of the NYC transit system, we are lucky if two of them are working. And the usual status is that just one EOS is running in the up direction. And sometimes, we are just shit out of luck.

When hundreds of people get off a train and then jockey for position on the single functioning up EOS (because only the really weird uber motivated exercise freaks actually walk up the Stairs of Insanity which are adjacent to the EOS), it creates quite a log jam. It is a long two minute ride when someone stranger's butt is less that a foot from your face.

So when they recently tore up the EOS for a week or so, we hoped it would be a sign of more reliable service of all three escalators. Not so.

No, no... the MTA's priorities are not aligned with those of the common people. In fact, they are much more mysterious in how they choose to spend our hard earned tax dollars.

When the work was done, rather than having three working EOS's... we had two but with the added bonus feature of speakers. Speakers that blare unintelligible messages on a continual basis. It's sort of like being in Charlie Brown world. " Mwaahh mwah mmwahh mmmwah escalator". "Mwwwwwah escalator mwah mwa mwa mmmwahhh." "Have a nice day."

Yeah, for some reason you can hear the "Have a nice day" message, but the dire warnings about how to properly ride the EOS without getting killed are completely muffled. Because, you know, so many people were getting killed and maimed on the EOS before the speakers were installed. Thanks, MTA, for wasting money on stupid ass "safety measures". Do me a favor and just burn that money on the tracks next time.

End of Post



Blogger Char said...

mwah mwah mwah mwaah wahh woh woh wahm...

12:40 PM 
Blogger Elyce Rae Helford said...

Wouldn't it be nice if SOMETHING public was adequately funded, adequately maintained, and adequately appreciated?

As well you know, down here in Murfreesboro, we ain't even got public transportation!

Enjoying your blog (and now blogging myself! woo hoo! come visit!)


10:24 PM 
Blogger Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

Hey Sweetie! Thanks for tuning into the India Diaries! I've got a lot of catching up to do on your blogs and will add yr link ASAP.

Love from the East,
Hey, Elyce is here too! Gotta go harass her! (grin)

2:12 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Er...shouldn't it be the EOI?

11:24 AM 
Blogger mrbrklyn said...

Congestion Tax Hikes

The city council today stabbed the heart of every citizen of Brooklyn and Queens last night be passing the tax hike which makes Brooklyn and Queens residents second class citizens in their own city, while giving a free ride to suburbanites. Meanwhile, a permanent blank check has been given to the Metropolitan Transit Authority by issuing this unaccountable agency vital Brooklyn and Queens earnings to pursue any crackpot idea that they come up with, even if it includes ripping up most of midtown Manhattan to ferry precious Long Island voters from their enclaves in Suffolk County to Grand Central station, because god forbid that that can't get off their fat duffs and walk from 34th street to the east side, nor can they even dream of taking the subway.

And for all of this, Brooklyn and Queens gets stuck with the bill. We've been pimped once again by Manhattan based politicians who have twisted our cash strapped city with the termination of the commuter tax, the increasing subway fare, the rising unfair burden of MTA fares, and a midwinter transit strike.

Despite the rhetoric, Brooklyn and Queens members of the city council, members of working class areas, by fare the largest consumers of the MTA's filthy, smelly, unreliable transit-ware, voted nearly 2-1 to defeat the Congestion tax. We hate it because its a fraud. Not since Robert Moses has the borough been raped like by Manhattan and suburban interests.

Going back to the earliest weeks of the Bloomberg administration, a Mayor born in Boston and a Manhattan transplant, this mayor has threatened Brooklynites with a toll and the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queensboro Bridges. It's been his overriding goal to put Brooklyn on par with Jersey city, and West Caldwell, New Jersey. This Mayor has never recognized Brooklyn and Queens residents as equal rights holders to our cities heritage. To his mindset, we are just “Bridge and Tunnel” people who haven't been squeezed enough, despite the fact that we're not only the largest portion of cities tax paying families, but also the city's core population.

Make no mistake about it. If the plan just passed increased suburban commuters transportation costs a whooping 8 dollars a pass, it would be dead in the water in Albany as surely as the commuter tax is. The burden for this tax hike, and the MTA's ballooning budget deficits, and the coming city budget deficits secondary to the slump on Wall Street, and the stalled World trade Center reconstruction are going to land smack dab where they always do, on the dinner plates of every Brooklyn and Queens resident. This plan is crap.

For starters, let's look at the MTA. It wasn't more than a few years ago that the MTA wanted to pass a referendum to have the City guarantee spending and borrowing for the MTA. The referendum failed miserably and for good reasons. The MTA is an unregulated monopoly which directly affects the lives of every Brooklyn and Queens resident and they're completely unaccountable and crooked. The MTA for over 40 years has raped the New York City transit system while pouring increasing subsidized resource into the Long Island Railroad and Metro North. Why does New York City resident have to continue to subsidize suburban lifestyles? Do we have representation on a local level or not?

Every important local infrastructure, the core components of our urban lives, are controlled by super conglomerates which are not only barely accountable, but also permanently politically fixed against Brooklyn interests. And nowhere is this more true than with regard to the MTA and the Port Authority. Give the MTA a permanent stream of income to the tune of billions of dollars based on the traffic entering in and out of Manhattan, the cornerstone of the city's economic engine and the touchstone of our urban existence, without direct oversight of outer borough officials? Are you crazy? Evidently yes, our Mayor is just that.

The last time we went through this kind of automated funding of a semi-autonomous quasi-government agency Robert Moses ripped the Bronx clean up with the Cross Bronx Expressway, destroyed the continuity of Williamsburg and Greenpoint cleaved Redhook from the rest of the Borough,of Brooklyn, nearly destroyed Cobble Hill and Carrol Gardens and wasn't stopped until his treat to destroy Brooklyn Heights was ended resulting in the creation of the landmark and preservation committee, too little and too late to prevent the destruction of the Boroughs economy and neighborhood driven prosperity driving the city into a 30 year economic and social upheaval capped by the race riots of the Dinkens administration.

Oh what wonders await us now with the Congestion Extortion Tax nearly upon us! Do we get a 2nd Avenue subway that can't find its way to an outer borough despite the terrible need? Do we get to rip up Midtown Manhattan to build an Altlantic Avenue size train depot on top of a Grand Central Station which already has far more capacity then it is currently using? Do we get new Metro North lines to Newburg and Middletown to help carve out more of our natural resources , all on the Boroughs dime?

You can bet on it.

And things get worse. The travel tax on Brooklyn closes vehicular access between Manhattan and Brooklyn, one of the major driving forces behind the growing arts and cultural economy between the two cities. Specialized baked goods, food from the Bronx Market, and access to all of New Jersey is being taxed. Why build a new shiny office tower in Brooklyn when you can just move to Jersey City which has direct access to markets without having to pay the travel tax? The travel tax penalize any anyone trying to get out of the Borough for 12 hours of the day. This is just a continuation of the stranglehold that Manhattan has put on Brooklyn since the original skirmish over getting steam power at the Fulton Ferry in the 1830's.

Do you want even more proof that this Congestion Plan is really a olitically motivated tax? Just look at what a rational plan to increase mass transit use would entail. It would make the subway FREE. Yet fares have just gone up because of lack of a lack of support for city transit by suburban dwellers. It would call for rolling out full express service and expansion. Subway service has been on a decline for 50 years. It would increase tolls on the New Jersey tunnels and bridges. These tolls are being subsidized by the plan. It would add a residents only access to the free bridges. It doesn't. It would include tolls on the Long Island Expressway, the southern State highway and the Bronx River Drive/saw Mill Parkway. These all remain absolutely free. It would prioritize trucks over cars. It does just the opposite. In a nutshell, this is a Brooklyn and Queens tax to support a suburban agenda. It's the only thing they could pass. Its a rape of Brooklyn. It would end the government policy of subsidizing the growth of suburbs over economical and ecologically sounder plan to drive people back towards the city. It does just the opposite. It discourages living the Brooklyn and Queens by making the slow dirty commutes more expensive.

The MTA should ditch it's LIRR extension to Grand Central if it needs money and get serous about trimming fat. The sole leverage we have to accomplish this by having it to come to us for money from the general tax fund. This plan destroys that need.

In fact, the entire city transit infrastructure should be returned to the city, bridges, tunnels, subway, buses and all. Let the LIRR, Jersey Tunnels and Metro North live off own communities earnings. Let all the MTA bridges go directly into city confers to use as we see fit.

Baring this, if the Transit tax on the borough passes Albany, then clearly it is tie for Brooklyn and Queens to end the union of the greater City of New York. Brooklyn and Queens can form it's own city, or function individually. Its time. Manhattan and Suburban planning has been carving up this town for a very long time. The time has come to end this farce. If we are destined to be “bridge and tunnel' people, then it is long time for us to have a local government which represents our needs. the pretense that we are all equal citizens of the City of New York needs to end.

Meanwhile you should know the devils who sold you out in the travel tax. These are the elected officials who picked your pocket and treated you like second class citinens.

Helen Foster of the Bronx who was against the plan but failed to vote

City Council Rats from Brooklyn and Queens:

* Eric Giola of Queens
* Sara Gonzalez of Brooklyn
* Letita James of Brooklyn
* John Liu of Queens
* Michael McMahon SI
* Hiram Monserrate Queens
* Domenic Recchia Brooklyn
* James Sanders Queens
* Kendall Stewart Brooklyn
* Albert Vann Brooklyn
* Thomas White Queens
* David Yassky Brooklyn

These all voted to rip you from your city and money.
Let's get them the heck out of office.
Queens voted against the plan 9-5 and Brooklyn voted against the plan 9-7. Manhattan and the Bronx voted 17-0 for the travel tax. Who's bread is being buttered?

Ruben Safir

6:58 PM 

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