Category Archives: Urban Studies

Video: Getting Back on Track: The New York Transit Crisis – Part 1

This morning, the Murphy Institute hosted a forum exploring the nature and causes of the current mass transit crisis, and focusing on solutions that could enable New York to sustain itself as a world-class city.

Panel 1:

  • Kafui Attoh, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Murphy Institute
  • Robert Paaswell, Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, City College of New York and Director Emeritus, University Transportation Research Center (UTRC)
  • Pierina Ana Sanchez, Directer, New York, Regional Planning Association

Panel 2:

  • Andrew Bata, Regional Manager North America, International Association of Public Transport (UITP)
  • City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation
  • John Samuelsen, President, TWU International

Missed the event or want to catch it again? Part 1 is below:

How Poor Public Transit Makes Idiots of Us All

This post originally appeared on the London School of Economics Policy Blog.

For more on the public transit crisis, join us for our October 13th forum “Getting Back on Track: The New York Transit Crisis.

By Kafui Attoh

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, 1848

There is perhaps nothing more idiotic than a city with poor public transit. The typical North American city may, in this sense, be the paragon of idiocy. As many have long noted, the US remains rather unique amongst developed nations in the reluctance of its citizens to board anything resembling – gasp!—a public bus.  In 2012, only 7 percent of all US residents used public transit on a daily basis. A whopping 51 percent reported never using public transit at all.  For many, of course, the reasons are clear enough. Beyond the “absurd primacy of the automobile in American life,” public transit in the US suffers the same underfunded fate as so much else that is “public” in this country. To quote John Kenneth Galbraith we remain a society that is “privately rich and publicly poor” and nowhere is this more evident than in the sorry state of urban mass transit.

Only this past summer, malfunctions with New York City’s century old signaling system drew national headlines after millions of subways riders complained of excessive delays, overcrowding, and of being stranded at their respective stops. In the previous summer a spate of track fires in Washington DC’s metro not only led to service delays, and the launch of the semi-ironic website “ismetroonfire.com” but several hospitalizations from smoke inhalation. Where this is the reality in two of our most transit-dependent cities, it is undoubtedly worse in smaller cities where transit often remains the domicile of the poor and where suburban sprawl makes commuting via bus slow and inconvenient. Continue reading How Poor Public Transit Makes Idiots of Us All

Event: Getting Back on Track: The New York Transit Crisis (10/13)

Friday, October 13th, 2017
8:30am-11:30am
Murphy Institute, 25 W. 43rd St., 18th Floor, New York, NY 10036

RSVP HERE

This forum will explore the nature and causes of the current mass transit crisis, and will focus on solutions that will enable New York to sustain itself as a world-class city. During the course of two panels, speakers will offer strategies to modernize and maintain the City’s transit systems, with responses from local elected leaders on the crisis and policies to remedy it.

  • Andrew Bata, Regional Manager North America, International Association of Public Transport (UITP)
  • Robert Paaswell, Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering, City College of New York and Director Emeritus, University Transportation Research Center (UTRC)
  • John Samuelsen, President, TWU International
  • City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Committee on Transportation
  • City Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor
  • Kafui Attoh, Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, Murphy Institute

Additional speakers to be announced.

Photo by Timothy Vogel via flickr (CC BY-NC)

Event: Divided Results: Voting and Partisan Gerrymandering (9/15)

Update: missed the event and want to watch it online? Catch the video here.

Friday, September 15

8:30am-10:30am

Murphy Institute, 18 Floor

RSVP: https://the-politics-of-voting.eventbrite.com

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Gill v. Whitford, this panel will explore the history of gerrymandering and the effects of recent changes in technology, data mining, and dark money, to understand the implications of potential Supreme Court decisions.  Before this case made it to the Supreme Court, what work had been taking place on the ground to address the effects of gerrymandering? How has the US Census influenced redistricting?  What can we expect from the Supreme Court and how will this impact the future of electoral politics?

Speakers

  • David Daley, author, Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy and former Editor in chief of Salon.com
  • Lauren Jones, National Civil Rights Counsel, Anti-Defamation League
  • Michael Li, Senior Counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program
  • Deuel Ross, Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Jerry G. Vattamala, Director, Democracy Program,  Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
  • Moderator: John Mollenkopf, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, CUNY Graduate School and consortial faculty, Murphy Institute

Orientation Brings New JSMI Students Together

On Wednesday, August 23rd, 75 new Murphy Institute certificate students gathered along with existing students, faculty, administrators and staff members for a warm welcome to the Murphy family. The new student orientation brought together union semester and community semester cohorts, as well as Public Administration, Healthcare Policy and Administration, and Labor Relations groups. Thanks to all who participated, and here’s to the success of our students!

 

TWU Proposes School Bus Coop

School bus maintenance and driving has long been a tricky business in New York City. In the face of mounting maintenance costs, excessive emissions and flatlining wages, the Transit Workers Union (TWU) has proposed a novel — and potentially transformative — solution for the city’s school buses.

This week, TWU international president John Samuelsen and Manhattan New York City Council member Daniel Garodnick outlined the plan in the New York Daily News:

Here’s our plan. Let’s establish a unionized, worker-owned cooperative to transport students in non-polluting (and air-conditioned) electric school buses. For the pilot, we envision the worker cooperative entering into a contract with the Board of Education to provide service on approximately 15 existing routes that are not permanently assigned to any private company. Continue reading TWU Proposes School Bus Coop