Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Editors still ignore need for more bus lanes to Manhattan

At the midtown Manhattan bus terminal, The Port Authority provides several large touch screens that make easy work of finding the departure platform for your North Jersey-bound bus, above. But once you get there, you might find a long line of fellow commuters and too few seats, photos below, as I did in late January.

Today, The Record runs a so-called analysis on Page 1 that brings expanded bus service between northern New Jersey and Manhattan no closer to reality, just like the last long story on proposals for a new terminal. 

In mid-afternoon, there were more than 50 commuters on this line to Door 1, where I boarded the No. 165 bus to Hackensack and Westwood, and others boarded the No. 166 to Englewood and Cresskill.


During the morning rush hour, it's standing room only on NJ Transit buses carrying North Jersey commuters to their jobs in Manhattan, and in the evening, riders face delays as buses bog down in traffic jams around the midtown terminal.

Yet, long-suffering commuters know the solution would require no great expenditure of money, and could be implemented in a matter of days -- instead of the 10-year, $10 billion plan for a new terminal:

Two express bus lanes to and from the Lincoln Tunnel -- operated weekdays during both the morning and evening rush hours -- would provide more seats, and speed buses back to the terminal from parking lots in New Jersey.

The single exclusive bus lane, which operates only from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., was opened more than 45 years ago.

Us v. them

Today, The Record's car-loving editors run another long, so-called analysis on the split among Port Authority officials on whether a new bus terminal should be built in New York or New Jersey (A-1).

This story, like the last one The Record ran on a new bus terminal, doesn't advance the debate or the cause of bus riders.

Staff Writer Paul Berger, who is assigned to cover the behemoth bi-state transportation agency, likely has never ridden an NJ Transit bus to or from the city.

If he did, he could tell his office-bound editors about the promise of adding express bus lanes.

Of course, they would be opposed by the Port Authority, because new bus lanes would anger and displace toll-paying drivers, cutting the revenue the agency depends on to cover cost overruns in such projects as the new World Trade Center.

Sloppy editing

The lead paragraph refers to the Manhattan bus terminal as "depressing and overcapacity," but shouldn't "overcapacity" be written as two words, "over capacity"?

And "depressing" might be the wrong word for a terminal where bathrooms have been or are being completely renovated, touch terminals help you find your platform quickly and new concessions are being added.

On the continuation page today, a photo shows lines of commuters at Coach USA gates, not the NJ Transit gates that are used by the vast majority of readers (A-5).

Ford contamination

Today's lead front-page story on a Superfund site in Ringwood is further testament to the abject failure of Ford Motor Co., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the media, especially The Record, to protect the lives of a mixed-race people (A-1).

Ford dumped paint sludge and other industrial waste into Upper Ringwood mines for about four years, beginning in 1967, near a reservoir that provides drinking water for millions of people, Staff Writer Scott Fallon reports (A-5).

That's nearly 50 years ago, and now, the EPA has ordered Ford to conduct more tests on whether the reservoir, and nearby creeks and ponds, have been contaminated with high levels of benzene, arsenic and heavy metals.

The Weeknd

On TV, I watched a singer who calls himself The Weeknd (without an "e"), and looks like he is wearing a black wolf pelt on his head.

So, I am glad to see The Record's front page focus on singer Tony Bennett and jazz pianist Bill Charlap as Grammy winners on Monday night (A-1).

Local news?

There has been so little Hackensack news in The Record in recent weeks the chairman of a business group in the city had to write a letter to the editor on a big development (A-6).

Hackensack, which already has two train stations and a bus terminal, has been designated a Transit Village by the state, and that brings "high priority for state funding of transportation and planning initiatives."

The Local section delivered to Hackensack and other parts of Bergen County today continues to overemphasize news from Paterson (L-1, L-2 and L-3).

Inexplicably, the lead story on the Local front today is about a rabbi in Franklin Lakes who recited the Gettysburg Address in Hebrew (L-1).

Monday's paper

An editorial on Monday threw cold water on Republicans who want to delay the nomination of a Supreme Court justice to replace the late (though not lamented) Antonin Scalia.

But The Record should have gone further and suggested none of the GOP clowns left in the campaign have a ghost of a chance of beating the Democratic nominee in November.

As usual, there was little Hackensack news in Monday's paper, but an inspirational front-page obituary on a woman who lived in the city helped readers overlook that.

Staff Writer Jay Levin called Rosemarie Kasper, who was under 4 feet tall, "an indefatigable advocate on behalf of the physically challenged" (Monday's A-1).

On Monday's L-2, a story reported traffic across the Anderson Street Bridge between Hackensack and Teaneck will be "restricted" from today through June 28.

So does that mean the work will close the single lane?

The story didn't say.

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