Sunday, August 3, 2008

Green Ideas That Get Gears

Commuting by bike has risen 77% since 2,000. Some city officials would like even more "people to pedal." Though he has his doubts and is not yet committed, Mayor Bloomberg is inviting plans from companies to establish bike rental stations near busy transit hubs. NYC residents could then rent bikes and return them near their destinations. Similar programs already exist in European cities like, Barcelona, Paris and Stockholm. New York ain't a city on the other side of the pond though! To be fair, let’s see what proposals are put forward and the city’s related costs and liabilities. I see more obstacles with this idea right now than there are roadblocks in the existing bike paths and streets of New York.

Staten Island – NYC Tourist Attraction?

Most tourists stay in Manhattan when visiting New York City. Admittedly, that’s where most of the city’s famous attractions are. However, Gray Line is starting a Staten Island Tour. As a New Yorker, I know there’s much to be seen and enjoyed in every borough. But Gray’s $15.00 ticket price might seem high to most out-of-towners to see an “unfamiliar” place … maybe even to most New Yorkers familiar with Staten Island as just a stepping stone to New Jersey.

MTA’s Bus-y Business

Between September, 1997 & 2007, bus riders grew 22% yet service was increased by only 15%. As one might have guessed, service in Manhattan and Staten Island fared better than bus service in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. The New York City Transit Authority says ridership was depressed in the mid nineties. They think today’s service levels are at the correct levels. Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign disagrees. He believes the surge in bus travel was not met with the proper increase in buses. So the question is, are today’s commuters riding comfortably on the bus … or being tossed in front of it?

Welfare Roll Reversal

Less people in New York City collect welfare than in the past 45 years. The current welfare caseload is 341,329. That’s a 26.2% drop since Mayor Bloomberg first took office. Under Mayor Giuliani’s policy of tightening standards and eliminating fraud, the caseload dropped from 1,160,593 to 462,595. Both mayors have done a great job with this system. All city residents should indeed be grateful. Now that the welfare number is more manageable, perhaps it’s time to institute a workfare system. Our neighbors who are truly indigent should never be denied. Yet, isn’t it reasonable to demand that those that are capable of work perform some service to benefit the community that benefits them?

Hospitals Are Contagious

The New York State Department of Health recently released their findings on a new study. They were checking the rate of hospital-acquired infections in specific settings; which typically ranging from 2.5-5 cases per 1,000. In general, city hospital infection rates were comparable to the national average while doing slightly better than hospitals upstate. Admit it. The statistics surprised you, didn’t they? Thought they were going to make you really sick, right? New Yorkers ... stay healthy anyway, despite the not-so-bad local health coverage that's available.

NYPD Blue And NYFD Red Go Green

Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to new make city vehicles more eco-friendly is driving forward. Twenty hybrid SUVs will be hitting the streets. Four all-electric Vectrix scooters are being tested as well as a three-wheeled transporter. Whatever proven cost-cutting measures New York City can employ makes sense. The city paid $103.7 million for gasoline in fiscal 2008. With gas around $4.50 per gallon, every drop in the gas bucket helps.