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View Diary: UPDATE X3: There WAS a traffic study, but Wildstein's 'test' actually screwed it up (177 comments)

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  •  Read 494 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scamperdo

    I am thinking this was legit, as they were trying to determine if flow from I95 might be reduced and I see references from engineers showing the plan to reduce to one lane was one of THEIR recommendations. Meanwhile, their plan was to re-configure other parts of the flow.

    If you read all this stuff objectively, it becomes much less clear this was an intentional act by political flunkies. HOWEVER, it is clear the political folks reveled in the problems this caused to the Ft. Lee folks.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

    by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 05:17:19 PM PST

    •  I can't agree. (8+ / 0-)

      The parties involved deliberately failed to inform the mayor or the populace of their plans and ignored requests for an explanation of their actions. They are criminals.

      •  Now read 550 (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rb608, Louise

        You'll find a mail from a third party contractor listing in detail the dates of the 4 main activities, with the traffic collection data project occurring from 9/9-9/16 (but Foye closed that part down after 4 days).

        At this point I've read the entire thing. I am a 3rd party vendor who often does government projects. This thread of mails to and from contractors, engineers, etc. from page 494 on shed an entirely different light on all this.

        It is really interesting stuff to read and because of the duplication, moving through the material takes only a few hours.

        At this point, I need to see Bridget Kelly's emails in COMPLETE context because with what I now read, I think the study was completely legit. Mails even detail how there are NO traffic counters in Ft. Lee so they don't know exactly what will happen. Another engineer chimes in that he thinks it is going to be bad for the locals in Ft. Lee because they already wait between 7-10 minutes to get through the tools. All those mails are on company accounts and matter of fact. They are also consistent with how contractors, project managers, etc. communicate in advance of a project.

        I'm an honest person who will not play double standards. As much as I was hoping to find smoking guns, I have found the opposite.

        I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

        by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 05:40:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why not inform the public or the local (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wasatch, scamperdo, sethtriggs

          police or the mayor?  Why were requests for an explanation ignored?  Those are issues.  Read the testimony of Samson where he refuses to hand over the documents that would prove his excuse.  He said he would incriminate himself if he did.  He resigned rather than answer questions.  His colleague pled the Fifth yesterday.  Sorry; you are no doubt honest and sincere and competent, but I remain unpersuaded.

          •  That is the part that may have in fact been (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rb608, Lib Dem FoP

            political in nature.

            I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

            by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:01:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for the dialogue. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rb608

              Kind of you to write this diary.  I enjoy reading it.

            •   I agree (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kurt

              If you read some of the press cuttings digests, you will find that there was an article in a local paper warning about the closure of a road in southern NJ to allow for a charity run and that this would likely cause traffic problems (Therefore locals should take this into account when planning their journeys)

              I find it extra-ordinary that if a fairly minor problem could be warned about in advance, nothing was notified about the "TL24" test. Were any of the MSM told about it so they could warn?

              The "killer" question is who initiated the change to the plan plan to add the reduction of the three lanes to one rather than the two which seems to have been the most testing scenario suggested by the professional traffic engineers.

              We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

              by Lib Dem FoP on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 09:31:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  The "Smoking Gun" (0+ / 0-)

          Is that this is all part of the planning for the "Center and Lemoine Avenue Bridge Construction project. The lane closing were legit to test to see if the "new" pattern might be one they could sustain during the construction project.

          All the real technical conversation is extensive between engineering teams and mid-level Port Authority folks, construction managers, vendors, etc.

          I woke up this morning expecting the exact opposite of what I am discussing. Once other intellectually honest people study this part of the docs, they'll put forward the same conclusion.

          I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

          by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 05:58:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think you're wrong.. (6+ / 0-)

            Look at the e-mails I posted in the diary. Why would Rivera (Chief Traffic Engineer) be talking about having to re-do the legitimate traffic study because of the Wildstein 'test'?

            Also, if you look at the names on the e-mails dealing with the legitimate H&H traffic study, you'll see almost no overlap with the names on the Wildstein 'test'.

            Cheers.

            Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

            by databob on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:16:56 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bob, I think they were accessing two distinct (0+ / 0-)

              things. Test TL24 was to see if the revised pattern would be sustainable during the construction. That had to occur during a normal work week AND include one weekend, thus the planned 9/9-9/16 period. One week earlier and it would not have picked up normal traffic patterns as school would not be in session.

              The other data set needed is the ACTUAL count of people through the 3 booths so they'd know the full volume RELATIVE to the normal pattern.

              Two different things.

              Like I said before I MUST see the pols private emails of the period within context now, because as I read it, I see nothing more nefarious than the pols being heartless pricks to the grief the TL24 test caused.

              I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

              by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:27:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, heartless pricks don't plead the 5th (7+ / 0-)

                If the 'TL24 test' was legitimate, Wildstein and Baroni wouldn't have 'voluntarily' given up their jobs - and careers - and why would they need to take the 5th now?

                There's an old saying (that I just made up): If you want to know if your ship is sinking, just watch the rats.

                Besides, if you want to actually witness the chaos of blocking off 2 lanes - which you don't need to do because it is entirely predictable and easy to model on a computer - you certainly wouldn't pick the same week that there is a study scheduled to gather data for NORMAL traffic flow, would you?

                If you had to do both studies and they were both legitimate and they couldn't be done concurrently, you'd just delay the camera one.

                Cheers.

                Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

                by databob on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:55:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I wish we had all the material (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  wasatch, CenPhx, Louise

                  this is too much disconnect between the political and tech stuff. I look forward to more disclosures.

                  Regardless how this one falls, I am captivated and think it kills Christy either way. Once their is an army of smart people digging into his shit, this stuff will not be the worst to see the light of day. I expect his quashing of the 43 count indictment of a friend will be worse for him and since that's going to trial in a wrongful termination suit, it is all gonna come out.

                  I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

                  by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 07:24:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I agree with both of your thoughts (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    CenPhx

                    There is so much we don't know - such as what happened between 8/5 and 8/28, why Baroni quit, whether Kelly really originated the whole thing, etc, etc, etc.

                    The real question now is how badly damaged Christie is...

                    If this peters out now, he is wounded, his prospects for 2016 are bleak and his ability to help other Republican governors as head of the RGA is damaged.

                    If a few more revelations appear that connect Christie, then he's toast..... he'll have to resign the RGA job (in favor of Kasich? Brownback? Perry? Snyder?) and he'll have to resign as governor possibly, and 2016 is gone.

                    I think I'd rather see a wounded Christie.

                    Cheers.

                    Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

                    by databob on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 07:59:25 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Bull (6+ / 0-)

            you don't need to close the lanes to know that traffic will be impacted. You can run computer simulations to know that.

            You might get some readings on NORMAL flow to run the simulations on what closings will do, but you don't close lanes on a heavily trafficked bridge to find out how bad it wil be if you close the lanes.

            •  Wrong, you need data to run simulations (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pdx kirk

              In one of the mails one of the engineers specifically notes that Ft. Lee has NO traffic counters so they were not certain of the volume it generates. The most they knew was anecdotal information that a normal day required one person to spend about 7-10 minutes to get through the toll.

              I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

              by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:30:08 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  So you don't close lanes to get the data (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pdx kirk, Cardinal Fang, kurt, sethtriggs

                you monitor a NORMAL traffic pattern, and then run the simulations using that.

                Closing lanes is not how you'd do it. That throws everything off, pisses off a ton of people, and doesn't help at all.

              •  Again, you're wrong IMHO (6+ / 0-)

                There is no need to 'test' changes to traffic flow by putting up cones.

                In the city I used to live in, I worked with the planning department on a study of projected changes to traffic flows related to the new general plan - a 30 year look forward at the future of the entire city. No traffic was disrupted, and the only data collected was of existing traffic. That data was put into a database and applied to software that enabled modeling of traffic flows for the entire city based on different scenarios of development.

                I can't believe that the Port Authority of NYNJ and the GWB don't have software to model traffic flow across the GWB, and if some politician suggests closing 2 toll lanes, they could easily provide the results.

                Cheers.

                Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

                by databob on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 07:03:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  pajoly, my experience as an architect.... (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                CenPhx, kurt, sethtriggs, True North, SneakySnu

                ....who has worked with traffic engineers is that they can work with a wide variety of data sets and get to solid answers without having to do any live testing. They can take data from a Sunday and a Thursday and extrapolate the other days with resonable accuracy.

                All public works departments have a ton of data already available and traffic engineers have many formulas available to insert variables and sufficiently predict results.

                Heck twenty years ago they did this work without computers.

                In the case of the GWB they can start with the traffic studies they did to determine that Fort Lee needed three lanes in the first place!

                I just can't buy that this 'TL24' study was legit, much less that it HAD to go on all week for them to answer the question of possible time savings for commuters on I 95.

                .....it's on the table, under the watermelon she demurred. Thanks, I was planning on shaving anyway he replied.

                by pdx kirk on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 08:09:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  The legitimate study didn't close any lanes.. (8+ / 0-)

          and in fact, as I have documented above, they talked about having to re-do the legitimate study because the data was corrupted by the Wildstein 'test'.

          cheers

          Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

          by databob on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:20:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I've gone back and forth on this while reading. (13+ / 0-)

      The handling of the TL24 'test' was a shambles from the beginning. The outcome was predictable and the results show that it cost a fortune and accomplished nothing positive.

      The fact that it wasn't announced and conducted in a transparent and above board fashion is a big red flag. And the cover up was extreme. They refused to respond to media inquiries. They refused to answer any questions whatsoever despite the fact that the scandal was growing. The way it was handled after the fact is HIGHLY suspect and goes against every truism of Crisis Comms 101.

    •  3 days. (5+ / 0-)

      The go-ahead for the TL24 test was given 3 days before it happened. This impacted I-95 and the George Washington Bridge. The exact interplay between the legit traffic study and whatever Wildstein was doing post-"time for the some traffic" is unclear. But I cannot believe that a 3 day lead time for a modification so extreme it wasn't even included in the initial proposal even hints at legitimacy.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 05:43:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but the plan for it goes back further (0+ / 0-)

        That is clear from other detailed mails between the engineers about the plans. They NEEDED to do it on the day school was back to get a read on what normal flow was like. A summer read would have given false data.

        In fact, looked at objectively, had they done this test the week before, it might have been not as bad, prompting the engineers to think the revised pattern might be a good choice during the new deck construction.

        Part of the reason I think this was legit is that detailed discussion of the results of the 4 days findings BETWEEN ENGINEERS, not pols.

        I saw MSNBC during Hayes's hour and a guest made light that the study was but a few Ppt pages. It was more than that, but like the ppt was made to be appropriately brief because it's audience would be senior people who don't want the lower level detail.

        I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

        by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:08:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would you please provide some references? (5+ / 0-)

          You're talking about stuff that I haven't seen in the documents I've read.

          Also, I agree totally with the people who have pointed out that it is not necessary to close down traffic lanes to predict the effect of closing down traffic lanes.

          I've worked with a city traffic planning department enough to know that there is very good traffic planning software available that models complex traffic patterns. We did intricate planning right on the computer screen without needing to inconvenience drivers with a 'test' using cones.

          Cheers.

          Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

          by databob on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:25:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Let's shut down a runway at Newark... (5+ / 0-)

            ...to see if there are any air traffic delays! We'll give the go ahead on Tuesday, let's get this done by Friday".

            it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

            by Addison on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:46:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Sure wish I knew how to embed images into comments (0+ / 0-)

            Let me see if I can list the relevant content, none of it involving pols or appointees:

            page 591 lists the detailed expected costs to implement the TL24 test pattern during the entire phase of bridge construction based on the preliminary data they had collected from the TL24 Test up to 9/11.

            This is further hint that the TL24 test is legit (if ill-advised).

            page 588 is the letter from the construction company about all the planned upcoming analysis/testing sets in prep for the Center & Lemoine Ave construction including the traffic counting scheduled to occur from 9/9-9/16. (that makes sense as it covers a full "normal" week.)

            585/595 A mail explaining why the camera data cannot be shared with Ft. Lee Police. The rationale is sound and not nefarious. Ft. lee is but one borough and their lanes serve many more communities. They were concerned about privacy issues and advised that Legal be consulted FIRST before giving the vid data to Ft. Lee.

            page 580  The message seems like the Wildstein's team is assessing the days findings, even while aware it is causing problems. Subsequently it seems the test was decided to continue to get full data. We might be able to surmise certainly that Wildstein was indifferent, but remember, his title related to directing infrastructure projects, so his peole would be the right ones to be testing this stuff in prep for the Center and Lemoine Ave Bridge construction project involving the new orthotropic decks.

            Il'll try to go back and find more

            I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

            by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:51:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  more (0+ / 0-)

              You can see on 564 and the pages immediately before and after they are discussing collection of counts from other east bound and west bound areas in part of the larger analysis that includes the lanes feeding from Ft. Lee.

              page 531 shows some of the engineers not at all happy with a one lane pattern test, believing it will invite disaster.

              On 521 the engineers discuss what they think might happen as a result of the planed test, such as "more people stay on the main I80/95 approach rather than getting off and finding their way into Fort Lee."

              I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

              by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 07:12:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've seen all those emails (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kurt, SneakySnu

                I just put it all together differently. To me, the emails show that a legitimate rehab of the Center-Lemone deck was being completed. The only work related to that project the week of 9/9 was supposed to be the traffic counts from the cameras on Center and Lemoine. Other phases were to take place later and in November. The Ft. Lee police had been notified of the cameras and the traffic count well in advance and the other stages of the project were already announced, but nothing re closures of the lanes. Then, after a discussion with Wildstein, Rivera drafts proposals for shutting down the lanes, which is implemented with no notice to Ft. Lee and over the objections of PA police officers. When those officers ask Durando whether the closures are permanent or temp, he says he doesn't know. [How it a study be structured like this?] Durando has to wait for Wildstein's call every day to tell him whether the closures will continue the next day.

                Nothing about this is scientific or designed or run like a study in any way, and none of the people who should have known it was a study knew about it. If it was somehow shoehorned into some obscure relevancy to the Lemoine project, it wasn't because that project needed it, but because that project could give a whiff of legitimacy to clearly unnecessary closures. And I bet dollars to donuts, if Rivera testifies he will say the closures were not needed. Foye already testified to the same thing (I think).

                You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” --George Bernard Shaw, JFK, RFK

                by CenPhx on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 08:40:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Some engineers. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          databob, pdx kirk, CenPhx, Just Bob, kurt
          Part of the reason I think this was legit is that detailed discussion of the results of the 4 days findings BETWEEN ENGINEERS, not pols.
          From the emails it seems to me that a small number of engineers were silo'd off from the actual study, and given the task of putting forward this hasty, unapproved, and illegal segment of the study. They did their job, but it wasn't part of the original study being talked about elsewhere in the documents. Again, the lane closures were only given a go-ahead 3 days before it happened. That isn't normal procedure, and half the emails express disbelief and wariness about the sudden plan.

          it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

          by Addison on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:45:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  3 days, yes, but zero business days (6+ / 0-)

            The general notification within the PA went out Friday afternoon for implementation Monday morning, so no business time.

            I'm now going through Exhibit A - lots and lots of duplicated documents (probably coming from different e-mail accounts and not well edited).

            Cheers.

            Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

            by databob on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 07:08:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  1 lane not from the engineers... (11+ / 0-)

      Rivera (chief traffic engineer) produced 3 configurations for traffic entering from Ft. Lee:

      mid-day - commingled, non-regulated across all toll lanes

      rush-hour - 3 right lanes dedicated to Ft Lee

      possible mod - take 1 lane away from Ft. Lee

      After discussion with Wildstein, option 4 was added: take 2 lanes away from Ft Lee

      I don't think that came from Engineering. If you see a document that indicates it does, please indicate which one-I didn't see one. (if '494' is a reference to a document, I don't understand it)

      Also, Engineering would never have sprung this as a total surprise on Friday with implementation on the following Monday. I'm an engineer, and we don't work that way. Politicians do!

      Cheers.

      Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

      by databob on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 05:46:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have clients all the time (16+ / 0-)

        that want me to do things that don't make sense (I'm an architect) and sometimes it is simply impossible to talk them out of it.  So you just have to play along, and when it blows up they finally understand.  Or they fire you.

        I totally agree with you.  Wildstein saw an opportunity and he asked the engineers to do this.

        If this was legit, several things would be different:
           1) Foye's warnings would have been heeded and the lanes opened up asap
           2) The mayor would have been notified
           3) The engineers wouldn't have had to postpone/restart their real traffic study
           4) The governor would have certainly been notified eventually and, if he was totally innocent, he would have immediately opened up the lanes, looked into it and fired whomever was responsible.
           5) The governor would not have called up Cuomo to tell him to "call off his investigation"
           6) Wildstein would not have pleaded the fifth, risking contempt, and asking for immunity if this was nothing more than a traffic study!

        This whole thing is cracking me up - I'm already halfway through a bag of popcorn that normally takes me a month to finish!  I can't wait to see Christie resign in disgrace....

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:01:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And thank you for this BTW!! (6+ / 0-)

        "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

        by La Gitane on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 06:01:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The most damning thing I read in the entire dump (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Addison

        Page 525

        Mail from Mark Muriello, one of the PA professional managers, says "this is a 24/7 toll plaza change the 15th floor is seeking."

        The 15th floor is the exec floor of the Port Authority.

        So yes, this is a real study, but it may be that Wildstein ensured the most disruptive test routing plan (option number 4 to feed into a single lane) was selected.

        I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

        by pajoly on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 07:16:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you are reading it wrong (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kurt

          The only real study was the Center and Lemoine rehab. All the work was outlined in advance and Ft. Lee was given notice. Wildstein came up with the closures idea, pitched it to Rivera, who made several options, which were implemented with no notice and over objections. The closures in no added the Lemoine rehab and in fact, set it back because the traffic count had to be redone.

          You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” --George Bernard Shaw, JFK, RFK

          by CenPhx on Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 08:45:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Traffic engineers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CenPhx

        do not need to do a test that deliberately creates chaos to know that is what is going to happen.  They would already know that chaos would result because of their traffic counts and the peak time and direction counts.  They have studied this stuff and know what will definitely NOT work which is why they are professionals.

        To me, the analogy is that a building contractor does not have to deliberately build an unsafe structure that does not meet minimum safety standards to know that it is unsafe.  The builder already knows the requirements needed to build a structure properly.  Those requirements are part of his licensing and training.

        "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

        by gulfgal98 on Sat Jan 11, 2014 at 07:01:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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