By Jim Cameron
Over Thanksgiving I’ve been musing on some recent developments.
Are you heading into NYC to go shopping? Veteran riders will remember when Metro-North would offer “Shopper Specials” trains to handle the crowds, but no more. The trains may be seeing more passengers but the railroad tells me only that they are “monitoring ridership carefully and (are) prepared to quickly add trains to any of (the) lines if demand calls for it.” Tell that to the standees on many rush-hour trains.
If you’re one of the 3 million Americans who flew on Sunday, congratulations. That’s a new one-day record, according to the TSA. But that’s nothing compared to the 5.7 million New Yorkers who take the subway, bus or commuter rail each day in NYC. Just saying.
What’s really been bothering me this week is the unchecked pedestrian carnage in our city streets caused by rogue drivers.
In Stamford last week a 74-year-old woman was killed in a hit and run as she crossed the street at 6:15 a.m., apparently not in a crosswalk. This follows the slaughter of two restaurant workers last December as they crossed the street in Stamford, in a crosswalk, and were struck by a 24-year-old from Greenwich who didn’t even hit his brakes as he fled the scene.
And last March a 63-year-old Greenwich woman, walking her dog away from the roadway, was killed by a motorist in the Glenville neighborhood. Pedestrian deaths in other Connecticut cities are just as frequent.
Where are the local police departments? Why don’t they enforce the law, ticketing jay-walkers and speeding drivers? Why is walking a game of “Survivor” for people on foot?
As for the state’s plan to require everybody to “go electric” in their car buying by 2035, it seems there is far from universal support for the idea.
This summer DEEP (the Department of Environmental Protection) asked for comments on the plan to ban the sale of petroleum-powered cars and got more than 4000 responses. While the agency says the public “overwhelmingly supported adoption” of the plan, a further review shows otherwise.
Analysis by The Yankee Institute showed that 900 of those comments came from the same email address in a Bridgeport-style attempt to stuff the ballot box. Of the remaining responses, hopefully more genuine, 74% opposed the plan and only 25% voiced support.
That regulation can move forward by the vote of just 14 lawmakers later this month, members of the Legislative Regulatory Review Committee. But if they vote no then the entire General Assembly would have to approve it next year, an election year… if they dare.
I’m guessing nobody is opposed to the cleaner air that would result from such a scheme. But the price of electric cars and the lack of sufficient charging stations would give many pause when considering its impact on their lives.
And nobody, in this land of steady habits, likes being told what they can and cannot do when it comes to their cars.
Jim Cameron is founder of the Commuter Action Group and advocates for Connecticut rail riders. His weekly column “Talking Transportation” is archived here. You can contact Jim at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com.