Tag Archives: Roads

County Leg: Making it Rain

23 May

The County Legislature bipartisanly took the bold step of literally just wildly throwing money – $5 million of it – at the beleaguered road network. Surely our roads are in need of repair, thanks to a brutal and relentless winter, but is it too much to ask Republican legislators to actually set up a plan, or maybe name some priorities, before they shame everyone to spend money so prospective opponents can’t label them as anti-road? 

Seriously. This kind of spending is typically what Republicans criticize Democrats for.  But it’s ok if it’s roads, because almost all county roads are in the suburban districts. 

We need to review the county road network, which grew without control under the old Board of Supervisors, and determine what roads should be maintained by the regional government, and which should revert to local control. 

Cryptic Billboard on the 33: Lost Bet?

5 Sep

I’ve driven past this billboard several times, and finally managed to snap a quick picture of it. I posted it to Facebook and Twitter, asking, WTF?!  It reeks of a political hit mailer, and it’s clearly not selling anything. 

I received a bunch of speculation, but one answer seems plausible, and was repeated a few times by different people. The guys in the picture lost a bet, and this is what the winners selected as their “punishment”. If anyone knows the story, or knows who they are, or what the bet was over, I’d love to know. 

O Hai

6 Jan

Busy, busy, busy coming back from several days off, so here’s a catch-up post:

1. Paul Krugman – nobel laureate in economics – predicts a second great depression looming right now unless some very aggressive Keynesian policies are implemented. This isn’t fun.

2. Time Warner is hiking rates. Weren’t we supposed to have actual competition between cable companies by now? Weren’t we promised that, like with electricity and gas, where NYSEG and National Fuel, respectively, handle the delivery, we could pick the generator? Why can’t I pick a different cable provider and just pay Time Warner for the delivery charge? I’m not putting a dish on my house, and FIOS is available in like 6 towns.

3. So, if I go car shopping now, can I get ridiculous, unprecedented deals on vehicles?

4. Steve Jobs has a disease whereby he eats but doesn’t gain weight. That’s a disease?

5. Chris Collins and the legislature are going to court some more to argue over who can raise taxes, and by how much. What a wonderful utopia we live in.

6. Niagara Falls continues to impress. No matter how silly and bad it gets there, it always manages to get sillier and worse. That takes genuine skill.

7. News of the shuttering of a local company that makes rolls for player pianos is being met with sadness. Workers are expected to be absorbed into the parent company’s phonograph and VHS tape divisions.

8. Although I had tickets to attend Obama’s inauguration, and I planned to attend with my 8 year-old daughter, I have decided against it. The thought of flying down to Baltimore for one day and battling my way in and out (and through) DC, given the estimated 5 million people expected to show up, just seemed to be too much of a logistical migraine. Instead, we’ll go to the Detroit car show (a.k.a. NAIAS) later in the week, and I’ll get to post a bunch of nonsense about cars that will please me, but that you’ll all ignore.

9. A woman hit black ice on the 990 at North French the other day, and her SUV flipped over down the embankment, killing her. Her two children, also in the car, were only mildly hurt. This is a tragedy that really should prompt someone to look into the design of that roadway. Even the slightest slipperiness causes cars to careen off of that roadway and down embankments, and I can’t imagine it would be that difficult for the DOT to add guardrails to the side of the road. This morning, I passed by the spot where the woman left the roadway, and I find that the guardrail begins just before the overpass, and there is a massive 50 – 100 foot dropoff right before it with no guardrail whatsoever. That entire stretch of roadway is, frankly, a death waiting to happen day in and day out. Be careful. We’re expected to get snow and ice again tonight.

10. During a recent drive into Canada, I noticed a truck spraying liquid icemelt to the surface of the QEW, rather than spreading salt. I wonder if there is a cost benefit to that, or whether it is significantly more effective than road salt?

11. Speaking of roads, tolls on the Thruway went up 5% this week. But don’t fret – it’s just the Authority’s way of saying, “Happy New Year”, and “thanks for staying in New York. Suckers.”

12. NYU’s Brennan Center reminds us that New York’s legislature remains among the most dysfunctional in the nation, and that few, if any, of its recommended changes and reforms have been implemented. Naturally, lawmakers legislative leaders deny that there’s a problem at all, likening more transparency and debate to the way third world banana republics do business. Of course, that is completely inaccurate, if not downright insulting, but none of it matters one whit. They don’t care, there is no impetus to change, and by and large, the people of the state of New York don’t care. At least, not in a way that would prompt lawmakers to act.

Happy New Year, everybody!

NYS Thruway Authority: Right on Top of that Whole “Maintenance” Mandate

8 Dec

The above is something, but it isn’t modern art.

Rus Thompson was on Bauerle’s show this morning, and on his site explains:

For a few weeks I have been watching as an inspector went up and down each and every concrete pier under the South Grand Island Bridge. He started on the Tonawanda side first then went over to the Grand Island side.

On every pier there are markings, some of them look like jig saw puzzles. Some of the lines are white and some are orange. But they are everywhere on every pier.

Last year a group of concerned citizens attended a regular meeting of the bridge committee at Town Hall. Questions were brought up to the panel concerning structural damage to the bridge supports, bridge bearings, sliding plates and most importantly, rust that for years that has been oozing out of the concrete piers that hold up the Grand Island South Bridge.

My major concern is and always has been the condition of the concrete piers. It is not normal to have rust running down the sides, cracks, chunks of concrete missing, and swelling concrete

It’s not. It looks like the South Grand Island Bridge is up for a lot of … work.

But Rus makes the larger point – the Thruway Authority has said time and time again that toll revenue is needed for bridge maintenance. They sent a guy out to inspect the bridge, and…

Now, this coming year they plan on “Borrowing” over 45 Million to repair and re deck the North bound South Bridge. Apparently now they are planning on repairing the concrete piers, all of them including the bases and the bases that are in the Niagara River.

Wouldn’t you think regular repairs and maintenance over these decades could have prevented all this?

This is completely irresponsible and shows that these bridge tolls are simply a cash cow for the Thruway Authority and Albany.

The Thruway Authority is an incompetent cabal of irresponsible patronage hire liars operating a system mired in 80s-era technology, and most of its money goes for self-preservation. As my 2 year-old would say, all done Thruway Authority. All done.

Outer Harbor

9 Aug

I’m still somewhat puzzled by the incessant desire to:

1. Add heavy truck traffic to a 4 or 6 lane at-grade boulevard;

2. Add heavy commuter traffic to a 4 or 6 lane at-grade boulevard;

3. Enjoy idling truck and commuter traffic at stoplights and intersections on an at-grade boulevard;

4. Ensure major backups on the not-yet-going-anywhere Skyway and on Ohio Street during rush hour, where traffic from those to approaches to the Outer Harbor comes together;

5. Make-believe that it is the bermed Route 5 that is hampering development on the Outer Harbor.

But if people want to do urban planning by lawsuit, that’s fine. The comments at Buffalo Rising naturally devolves into a city vs. suburbs debate, because it’s the evil “other” who are dictating planning decisions to solely benefit the mean, nasty suburban commuters into the city. The commenters want more land opened up for development on the outer harbor at $500,000 per acre. They say that this trumps commuter concerns.

Except it’s not as simple as that. It’s not just commuters who use Route 5. The area on the outer harbor south of downtown Buffalo is home to numerous industrial entities which all use that roadway to access the I-190. There is no viable alternative, unless you’re asking trucks to go down to Blasdell, access the Thruway, and pay a toll, all with $5.00/gallon diesel fuel. (That’s about a 10 mile detour). Or if you’re asking them to cut through at Tifft Street and rumble through South Buffalo’s residential streets.

Which is fine. No one brings up the trucks because even hemp totebags and Kashi get delivered by truck. It’s the commuters everyone comes out against. I think the city can just ask DHS to put up barriers at all city entrances and declare itself a sovereign state. It’ll work because, obviously, suburban commuters don’t contribute to the city’s economy. Right?

Also, cars are bad and people in them are meat-eating bad people.

Most Exciting Amusement Park Ride in Town

7 Feb

990.JPG

All we need is a remotely slippery condition, and cars go sliding and flipping off the 990 like it’s a roller coaster.