Thursday, September 19, 2013


Some days things happen that deserve to be booed. Today is one of those days when there are just a lot of crappy policy decisions in the news. It's like rooting for Minnesota Vikings. You know the games will end badly, the public will get hosed, and there really isn't much you can do about it. So you boo.

This is what I am booing today:

Bill de Blasio, front runner to be New York City's next mayor, is beholden to the rent seeking yellow taxi medallion holders. Booo! If you can find a special interest group who deserve less sympathy than the yellow cab medallion holders, let's hear about it. The medallion system should be smashed, not protected, and the green taxis may well turn out to be one of the best transit service innovations that help people in the outer boroughs to happen in years. David Yassky has been a great TLC commissioner and should be applauded for trying to actually make the city work better.

In Edina, Minnesota the city is using eminent domain to take a property so they can build a parking lot. Booo!

Tom Pendergrast, the Chairman of the NY MTA was on NY1 yesterday and made the bold and depressing claim that the MTA will never be at the cutting edge of technology. It will always be right behind the cutting edge.  Booo! The MTA is large enough to move the technological cutting edge with regard to most any aspect of transit operations. I get that the MTA is risk averse, but someone has to think about what the MTA can be and should be rather than just trying to do the things it already does marginally better.

Taken together these, and other similar stories, are all a troublesome adherence to the status quo. Our transportation and land use systems are currently not working well, and we should encourage public leaders to try new things--even if they may fail. A commitment to inefficient taxi systems, favoring parking lots over existing businesses and committing one of the world's largest transit systems to being a follower are not encouraging signs. Booo!

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