Mass Train-sit

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The “outskirts” of Hyderabad, one of the many megacities in Asia which are largely unheard of in the US

I’m delighted to declare victory in my campaign to make 2019 The Year of the Train! Thank you to Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and all the other courageous politicians who made this momentous victory possible.

Jokes aside, a lot has happened related to mass transit in NYC in the last two months. We spent the month of February in India, and I’m personally still digging back out from a backlog of correspondence and chores, so hence will keep this brief. It’s always jarring to travel between India and the US, and the contrasts cast in stark relief the challenges and opportunities in both countries, not least of all related to mass transit. (Incidentally, it is especially jarring to transit between South India and the Northeast of the US at this time of year. We went from 37 degrees Celsius to 37 degrees Fahrenheit in a day!) And, of course, the hypocrisy of writing about the need for urgent climate action and my own elective transcontinental air travel in the same paragraph is not lost on me, although I’m not alone in grappling with such contradictions.

On mass transit in NYC, I was thrilled to see Corey Johnson’s sweeping plan, though haven’t yet had time myself to do it full justice. Its release followed close on the heels of the release of the Governor and Mayor’s joint plan. I recommend readers have a look at the Second Avenue Sagas roundup of Johnson’s ambitious plan and the Sagas and Signal Problems breakdowns of the joint gubernatorial-mayoral plan as well. (This piece from Sagas on Mayor de Blasio’s utter failure to address mass transit issues is also worth reading.)

All of these developments have me now questioning the viability of my own #CuomoDeBlasioFixTheSubway proposal, and I’ve been reflecting on what practical steps everyday New Yorkers can be taking to support sane, just, sustainable mass transit policies for the 21st century. For now, I’ll continue to reflect, but hope to write more on this by month’s end.

In the meantime, here’s:

What I’m Reading

The Subway Action Plan is not making the subway better. Here’s what is. – Illuminating piece from Aaron Gordon of Signal Problems on how political pressures distort narratives and practical action related to/by the MTA.

The MTA as a Worker – Great piece from an MTA worker that appeared in the NYC DSA’s newsletter.

Powerless: What it looks and sounds like when a gas driller overruns your land. – Powerful reporting from ProPublica on the abuse of eminent domain in the expansion of the fracking industry in Appalachia.

COP24: Developed Nations Continue to Dictate Terms of Global Climate Action – From December. Title says it all.

What I’m Doing

This month, just one action item:

  • Support efforts to block the Williams Pipeline. We don’t need this fracked gas pipeline running beneath New York Harbor and just off the coast of the Rockaways. You can sign petitions and submit comments via this website as a starting point.

And a…

Bonus

Actually three bonuses:

First, here’s some welcome, if quite serious, comic relief from the halls of Congress regarding the impact of seismic airgun tests on whales.

Second, this month’s sobering reminder about the scale and direness of climate change, courtesy of NASA.

Third, and finally, a humbling reminder of the courage of activists and communities at the frontline of climate action, this one from Wet’Suwet’en Land.

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