CDTA’s Purple BusPlus v. NIMBY

neighborhood

cdta purple routeThis is one of those topics I would have put in my Times Union blog. But alas, it’s gone. Still, you folks not in Albany, NY, might find it interesting if something like it comes to your neck of the woods.

The Capital District Transportation Authority is currently building the Bus Rapid Transit/Purple BusPlus Line, which will run more frequently and make fewer stops. It will connect Crossgates Mall, UAlbany, Harriman, and Downtown Albany, mostly along Western Ave. it will be funded with federal money.

Recently, I signed a petition supporting the bus stop at the corner of Colonial Avenue/Eileen Street and Western Avenue. The petitioners believe the proposal will:
● Reduce traffic on Western Avenue, which can be quite congested.
● Provide better and higher quality access to transit in the neighborhood, potentially enabling many drivers to transition to public transportation. Sidebar: parking in downtown Albany is sparse and expensive.
● Make a busy intersection more pedestrian and cyclist friendly, something I always favor.
● Be a great asset for the neighborhood students relying on buses to get to North Albany Middle School and Albany High School.

The planned stop will be lighted and sheltered, with improved pedestrian access/crosswalks/beg buttons and heated sidewalks to melt snow and ice in winter. CDTA has committed to using it for tripper buses to bring kids to school.

Naysayers

A counterproposal from a few neighbors suggested relocating the stop to Brevator, where Western crosses over Route 85. That intersection has comparably little housing north of Western and has far fewer residents nearby. “Relocating the stops to this less centralized street will increase walking time to the stop and make it more challenging for residents to take advantage of the route.

“Looking at the proposed purple line from the CDTA website, the distances between Allen St. and Colonial (0.6 mi) and the distance between Colonial and the East Harriman Campus stop (0.6 mi) are already at the upper end of the distance that CDTA prefers between its BRT/BusPlus stops.

“If a stop is placed at Brevator instead of Eileen and Colonial,” which are central to the neighborhoods, “the distance between the two stops will be 0.8 mi, which is a very long walk for those who live between those streets; let alone those who have to walk a couple of blocks just to get to Western.”

I miss not being in the TU because I could point out the newspaper’s shortcomings in its article. It didn’t point out the benefit to school children or the university. Instead, it focused on the fervor of the discussion at a recent city hall meeting rather than the substance.

I figure I should bug CDTA, my city council member, my state assemblyperson, and anyone else I can think of.

Always: the collective folk wisdom

30% chance of rain

cdta_bus_10_downtown_albanyI was taking a bus home from my allergist, the second of two. Someone asked if I were waiting for a particular line, which I was. My CDTA Navigator app said the next bus was coming at 10:04; it was 9:58 at the time.

This person then launched into a tirade. “The buses are always late! They should do something about them!. The buses should come more often!”

The bus rolls up at 10:03, and I got on; there were about six people aboard. Ironically, the other party tried to wheedle their way onto the bus because they had no money for the fare. (N.b.: if they had asked me, I would have paid for them.)

This bugged me, just a little because it’s that unwarranted generalization that the System has failed. In fact, the four buses I took that day were all within four minutes of on-time.

Forecast

It’s like when people say in my presence, “The weather forecast is always wrong.” This is usually followed by “It must be great to get paid for being wrong all of the time.” Occasionally I’ve pushed back against the assertion, but I’ve found that to be not very fruitful. So I generally ignore it.

The accusation is addressed here by a meteorologist. ” Take, for instance, a day with a ’30 percent chance of rain.’ That’s tough to… show in a simple TV 7-day graphic. But it’s possible that a majority of the people stay dry and a small percentage see rain.”

I’ve experienced that quite often. I landed at the Albany airport, where it was sunny and dry. But when I got home, seven miles away, it had clearly rained. Or back in my FantaCo days, it was raining in Albany, but the owner came in from Averill Park, across the river, and he had snow on his roof.

Here’s a geeky article. It states, logically, that the shorter the outlook, say one to three days, the more likelihood, that it’ll be correct.

The COVID vaccine

Kelly noted that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers defended his “alternative” regimen as “immunization” equivalent to being fully vaccinated. But what ticked off the western New Yorker, understandably, is this: “Liberals hated vaccines when 45 was President but as soon as Biden took over they loved them.”

I know lots of liberals who spent months praying – some of them literally – for a vaccine. If it had been available in October 2020 and I were eligible, damn straight I would have gotten inoculated.

Rodgers is in this prism that suggests that liberals like me are always going to dispute whatever good things happened during 45’s term. What I disputed were what 45 seemed to do to minimize his own vaccine accomplishments by touting hydroxychloroquine or other unproven formulations.

Delta variant and other COVID news

Luciferian Globalists

By Harold Jessurun and Aníbal Quiñones, the prominent creators of the popular Pepito comic in Puerto Rico. Instagram had deleted the image on some sites, citing that it violated its Community Guidelines. https://www.latinorebels.com/2020/04/20/pepitocreatorsimage/

The Delta variant doesn’t give a flying #@$% if you’re tired of hearing about COVID-19.

From the  Boston Globe: “This is not the worry-free summer many envisioned as recently as Memorial Day, full of long-awaited travel, family reunions, and evenings in favorite restaurants.

“Since July Fourth, there’s been a steady drumbeat of discouraging COVID-19 news: Infections are climbing across the country. Hospitalizations in several Southern and Western states are spiking, too. Vaccination rates have dwindled. And communities from Cambridge to Los Angeles County are advising or mandating a return to mask-wearing, even for vaccinated people.”

An old friend of one of my sisters has been sending me stuff such as how some doctor says there is no Delta variant of COVID. But the “logic”, alas, fails me. Then she sent me something about the Luciferian Globalists Implementing the New World Order. Er, no.

Speaking of which: In southwest Missouri, the coronavirus Delta variant and “freedom” collide. Our guest pastor made a credible link between American individualism in this crisis and sin.

Right-Wing Vaccine Lies Are Tearing the Country Apart.

My daughter asked me if I’d ever heard of Eric Clapton. Er, yeah. Apparently, he was trending on Twitter because of some reportedly racist thing he said in 1978; IDK why it was notable decades later. But then I came across this article from 2021 noting that he says he won’t play venues that require COVID-19 vaccinations. I find that… disappointing.

Masking up

Someone asked me, “Are you going to watch the Olympics?” And I was surprised that I answered, “I don’t know.” The COVID surge in Japan has taken away some of the luster from the games in my mind. Ken Levine hit on it.

Except for a few restaurant visits, I tend to wear my mask indoors, even though I’m fully vaccinated. So it’s not onerous for me if it’s mandated.

Oh, and it IS required on the local CDTA buses, as it is on most mass transportation. At a bus stop where I was getting on, two potential passengers were arguing about whether masks were required. I butted in and agreed with the one who said yes. Then the bus driver refused to allow the unmasked person on, so the other one declined to get on too. The two were still squabbling as the bus pulled away.

The Department of Justice decided not to probe COVID deaths in state-run nursing homes in four states, including New York. I can’t speak about the other states, but I was hoping for such a probe in my state. It’ll be investigated at the state level, but federal juice has more impact.

Canada to Open to Fully Vaccinated Americans on August 9.

I read that the morally bankrupt Congressman Madison Cawthorn, who lied about a major aspect of his biography, is bloviating that if the GOP retakes the House, it’ll be prosecuting Dr. Fauci to the “full extent” of the law.

“What do you do all day?” you ask

a week’s worth of newspapers

what do i do all daySince I retired at the end of June 2019, people come up me and ask, “What do you do all day?” It varies quite a bit. I decided to take a day when someone asked me that question – Thursday, December 12 – and answer it.

At 6:30 a.m., I’m waiting for a bus, watching a woman parked at the bus stop waiting for another woman and a child. They’re all standing at the corner – making it difficult to see if the bus coming. Then they all go out in front of the car. A guy is walking his whippet (dog). One of the women engages him in conversation. The guy had three whippets, but one died and the other didn’t want to go out.

Another guy with a small dog walks by. He jokes(?) that he ought to whip the two women because they had the child in the street. They were protecting the child from the whippet, they claim.

I take two buses to the Gateway Diner. It only took 11 minutes and I was early, so I circumnavigated the nearby CVS. It was too cold to stand around.

There were 19 of us at the Bible Guys’ breakfast. I talk to one guy, Bob, at length about genealogy. Someone noted that it was a year ago that Charlie Kite announced to the group that he was dying from cancer and that he would not see February; he was correct.

After Philip took me home, I deleted a bunch of emails while listening to the previous day’s news. Then I got all distracted on a genealogical search for my biological paternal grandfather. I’m about 80% sure that I know who it is, based on DNA matches I have on Ancestry.com that I can’t otherwise explain.

I called the Omaha Steaks people about problems with an order, a gift from my BIL. If their automated system offers to call you back, take it. One box was opened within the shrink-wrapped styrofoam. The human being who returned the call emailed me.

I took two buses to Delmar, I assumed to see my podiatrist, Dr. Manzi. But he has sold the business to a married couple. The male doctor treated me. I stopped at Dunkin’ and had one of those Bynd “sausage sandwiches. It’s not exactly the original, but it’s not bad. I take two buses home. En route, I got through a week’s worth of newspapers.

Ah, the kitchen counter needs cleaning. My daughter and my wife get home at roughly the same time, but my wife has a church meeting. We eat some leftovers before she goes. I gather the garbage to go out, and take a bus to choir rehearsal. BTW, I took seven buses today, but because of CDTA’s Navigator card, I only paid for the first three. (An unpaid, unsolicited plug.)

An hour and a half later, I get a ride home from Christy. I check my email and listen to that night’s news. In bed by 10 p.m. You’ll note that I didn’t work on the blog or do insurance stuff or see a movie or actually watch TV. Almost every day is different.

Demisemiseptcentennial or dodransbicentennial?

Rats and cops and drug dealers

175thMy grad school alma mater, UAlbany, is celebrating its 175th anniversary. It was founded in 1844 as the New York State Normal School. It became the Normal College in 1890, the College for Teachers in 1914, and a university in 1962. So 2019 is its demisemiseptcentennial.

WHAT? Demisemiseptcentennial is literally one-half (demi-) x one-half (semi-) x seven (sept-) x 100 years (centennial). Is this a real word? Villanova used it 2017.

According to the Wikipedia, the Latin-based term for 175th anniversary should be dodransbicentennial. It’s from “a whole unit less a quarter,” but I’d never heard that one and I’m even less likely to remember it. My spell checker likes neither of the terms.


There’s a large window behind me where I work in downtown Albany, on the third floor. (Note to self: Water the plant!)

About 4:50 p.m., I hear some male voice yelling. I assume he’s part of an argument. But looking up the street, I see just one guy . He’s carrying some sort of plastic bucket, with stuff, and holding a thin white pole. Even from fifty meters away, I can tell he has holes in the knees of his jeans, and it was cold enough for him to be wearing his dark knit cap.

I tune him out and leave to catch the 5:40 p.m. bus. When I exit the building, the guy is still there. Now I can understand what he was saying: “Rats and cops and drug dealers”, which he repeated every ten seconds, sometimes directed at worried pedestrians.

The #10 Western Avenue bus arrives and folks queue up to enter it. The guy mumbles, “Oh, this will do,” and returns to his litany. He enters, then stands near the front of the bus, saying to nearby customers his message. The driver miraculously ignores him.

Sometimes he adds a few words. “Do you you know it’s rats, and cops and drug dealers?” At least one rider is amused, but others are clearly terrified.

He gets off at the stop near the Washington Avenue branch of the library. At once, I am both relieved that the auditory performance is over, and worried the APL patrons will be subjected to it.

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