Volume 22, Number 15 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Aug. 21 - 27, 2009

Transit Sam

By Sam Schwartz

Dear Transit Sam,
What’s the deal with these mid-block ramps that lead to absolutely nowhere? There are no signs, no warnings and the fine for blocking one is a steep $165.  
Phil, Little Italy

Dear Phil,
The intent of the ramps is to provide access for persons with disabilities.  The rule in question is N.Y.C. Traffic Rule 4-08 (f) (7), which prohibits parking “alongside pedestrian ramps or in a manner which obstructs a curb area which has been cut down, lowered or otherwise constructed or altered to provide access for persons with disabilities.”  But, the designs are often poor and many locations counter-intuitive. I have written a letter to N.Y.C. Dept. of Transportation requesting all new pedestrian ramps that are mid-block, have a high-visibility yellow pad installed for the tactile portion (allowing blind people to “feel” the ramps) or have signs posted “No Standing.”  I’ll keep you posted. 
Transit Sam

Dear Transit Sam,
What is that monstrosity that’s been parked on Sixth Ave. between Vandam and Prince Sts. at 196 Sixth Ave.? It says National Boiler Rental and is hooked up to the building.  I’m sure it’s providing heat and hot water but it was parked there all winter and now all summer.  Does that building have the right to use a city street (it takes up at least two to three parking spaces)?  The city is losing revenue from the parking meters.
Ivan, West Village

Dear Ivan,
Provided the proper permits are obtained from N.Y.C. D.O.T., then yes, these units may be stationed in these spots for a specified amount of time. But given it’s the summer, the permit has since expired and the city will be issuing a summons.
Transit Sam

Dear Transit Sam,
I heeded your advice and got the Easy Pay Express MetroCard, a Pay-Per-Ride one. It works fine on the subway, but when I used it for the PATH train, the turnstile said, “Invalid.” Luckily, I had an old MetroCard which worked fine. This doesn’t make sense. Transit Sam, please fix this!
Bob, World Trade Center PATH Station

Dear Bob,
One would assume that if a regular pay-per-ride MetroCard works with PATH, then naturally, the replenishable ones would as well. In that regard, the M.T.A. is one step behind. N.Y.C. Transit tells me they’re on it and will start calibrating its systems so that PATH will recognize these types of cards, come the fall. If all goes according to plan, you’ll be using your MetroCard to travel “across the river” by year’s end.
Transit Sam

Sam Schwartz, a former first deputy commissioner of city transportation, is president and C.E.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering, a traffic engineering consulting firm to private and public entities including the Port Authority at the World Trade Center site. Email your questions to TransitSam@DowntownExpress.com.

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