Archive for August, 2017

Three young men were out walking around 8pm in Ville Platte (La) when they were struck from behind by a truck. But rather than charge the truck driver, the three men were charged with misdemeanors for not wearing reflective clothing:

Police have fined the three for not wearing reflective clothing at night and charged them with obstructing a public passage. Twenty-one-year-old Deonte Williams, 19-year-old Cody Mayes and 17-year-old Tevin Wilson have scrapes, bruises and even staples after being hit by a truck on North Chataignier Street.

What the three find most upsetting is that the driver was not charged and they were.

“For me to find out that this guy gets to just go home, we all get some misdemeanors and nothing happened to him,” Williams explains. “I’m upset about it.”

The crash happened near a neighborhood around 8 p.m. Tuesday night. The area doesn’t have sidewalks.

That this happened in Ville Platte is no surprise. Ville Platte was recently investigated by the Federal DOJ for its practice of criminalizing walking and penalizing the poor. In 2011, the town passed a curfew prohibiting walking outside after 10pm. The curfew only applied to pedestrians. So while it was legal to drive to a nearby store or friend’s house, it was not possible to walk there. The penalty was $200 — or jail for those who couldn’t afford it. According to a complaint filed by the NAACP and ACLU, hundreds of residents were swept up each night for violating the curfew.

The DOJ investigation led to the city dropping the curfew, but other notorious laws remain. Besides the reflective clothing mandate, the Ville Platte fashion police will arrest anyone wearing baggy or sagging pants that fall “more than three inches below the hips causing exposure of the person or the person’s undergarments.”


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During the Obama Administration, the FRA began work on a NEC Future plan that was to modernize and speedup the Northeast Corridor Acela service. One of the easiest bang-for-the-buck opportunities is along the Connecticut shore, where train speeds slow considerably. The FRA proposed an inland bypass option, which would have solved the problem. But now the local Nimby’s have succeeded in killing it off:

Bowing to local pressure, the Federal Railroad Administration has dropped plans for a controversial new rail line along the eastern Connecticut shore from its ambitious project to overhaul the railroad system in the Northeast corridor.

[The] FRA dropped plans to add new tracks from New Haven to Providence, preferring instead to focus on increased maintenance and repair of the existing rail line and allowing Connecticut and Rhode Island to work with the FRA and other states, including Massachusetts, on a “capacity study” that could include alternatives to the existing route.

This decision means that NYC-Boston travel times will probably never be made competitive. It should also be noted that political opposition came not so much from anti-rail Republicans, but from anti-rail Democrats — i.e. Connecticut Senator Blumenthal and Governor Malloy.


Senator Blumenthal


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In January 2017, Fox News published a how-to video of driving techniques for plowing through crowds of protestors. “Study the technique; it may prove useful in the next four years” they advise. The video features scenes of motor vehicle violence set to the lyrics “Move Bitch Get Out of the Way.”

They silently removed web page today, but the internet remembers:



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Warm Springs is what BART calls an “automobile-access” station. No expense was spared in building new roads and highways for convenient car access. It has a huge parking lot, tricked out with solar panels and other “green” features.

The pedestrian access on the other hand…


The photo above is Warm Springs Blvd, at the east entrance to the station. Those signals are totally new, and provide car access to the station. But as you can see, they lack pedestrian signals, and there are no crosswalks. The signals only permit cars to cross, not pedestrians. A pedestrian crossing the street (say to the business park on the other side), has no easy way to do it. The nearest intersection with ped signals is at Grimmer Blvd  — a half-mile detour just to cross the street. And in any case, there is no sidewalk on the other side of Warm Springs Blvd, even though the road was completely re-built. So the detour would involve walking out in the roadway.

The other roads in the station neighborhood are no better. Fremont Blvd, along the west side of the station, lacks sidewalks on both sides of the street. The speed limit is 45 mph (with actual speeds much higher), so you can imagine what that is like for pedestrians:


And here is Grimmer Blvd, along the north side of the station, which also lacks basic pedestrian accommodation:


North of the station, Warm Springs Blvd changes name to Osgood Rd. But it has the same crappy pedestrian access. Pedestrians must get by on a weed-choked dirt path:


These terrible conditions are not due to any lack of time or money. The Warm Springs station went through 10+ years of design and construction. During that time, vast sums were spent “improving” roads and freeway interchanges around the station, but not a single thing done for pedestrian access. From almost every direction, it is impossible to safely walk to the station.

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