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Re: Best Article I've Read on Reasons to Reactivate the Rockaway Beach Line

Posted by WillD on Fri May 4 04:10:47 2012, in response to Re: Best Article I've Read on Reasons to Reactivate the Rockaway Beach Line, posted by BrooklynBus on Thu May 3 11:18:25 2012.

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Because that's impossible. His drive was not to provide transportation, just like the goal of his parks was not to provide recreation facilities. Everything constructed by his authorities and the agencies he headed, at least after 1947, was ultimately about the greatest expenditure he could get from the government, regardless of the utility of the resultant infrastructure. He actually says as much in his fighting against the professional planners who pointed out the massive flaws in his Midtown Expressway proposal. The actual number of people carried by the highways he built were immaterial to his decision of what to build. The highways, the parks, and the dams were all merely an extremely expensive wrapping paper to keep the public and their elected representatives away the incredible amount of government money (be it toll revenue or tax disbursements) being expended by his authorities. And ultimately despite all the promises his highway system has proven about as useful as wadded up wrapping paper and ribbon when it comes to reducing congestion.

To that end saying "we need a Robert Moses of mass transit" is to blithely wish for someone who will expend massive amounts of money without any hope of improving the commuting experience of the city's transit riders. You claim to be a planner, yet you invoke a man whose legacy as a profligate spender is all-too-often overshadowed by his staunchly anti-transit stance. His arbitrary micromanagement of some projects drove costs to unheard of levels while ensuring they would never be able to fully achieve their stated goals. Why would you want something like that handling the city's mass transit projects?

Not only do we not need a 'mass transit Robert Moses', that is in fact the complete *opposite* of what we need. The last thing NYC needs is an arbitrary and capricious process by which the city would invest its scarce transportation funding on dubious projects. You can ignorantly gripe and groan about the cost of the process by which decisions make, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than deciding to change things after the concrete has set.

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