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Rarely do we see Chris Christie's contrite side, but above it's apparent that he knows he's really stepped into it this time. It's the before and after Christie toning down his brash in your face style to hide behind the lectern asking for forgiveness like a naughty boy.

The damage done by the closure of two lanes of traffic on the George Washington Bridge from Ft. Lee, NJ, to NYC just keeps adding up. Cristie's nightmare continues as the environmental and economic costs are revealed.

But here’s an angle most media have missed: The lane closures also caused more pollution. When cars idle in traffic, they burn more fuel per mile traveled. That means more local air pollution, which causes respiratory ailments and tens of thousands of deaths per year. Idling cars also generate more CO2 emissions.

{...}

Local environmental activists are criticizing Christie for the environmental impact of the GW Bridge lane closings. “You have to understand when you jam up the streets, the amount of pollution it creates,” says Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “You create six-hour traffic delays for four days, that creates a lot of air pollution.”

First estimates and calculations are showing that the bridge debacle may have economic costs of up to 21 million in lost productivity!

How's that bullying turning out for you Christie?

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 06:03 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The link contains flat out erroneous information (0+ / 0-)
    The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says 102 million vehicles per year cross the George Washington Bridge, which comes to 279,000 vehicles per day. Assuming half of those are traveling from New Jersey into New York, that means 139,500 vehicles were caught in Christie’s traffic jam per day. Multiply that by the four days traffic was slowed and you have a total of 558,000 affected vehicles.
    That assumption makes no sense, the actual traffic ON the bridge probably flowed more freely with one of the entry ramps shut down.

    This link explains what actually happened

    Orange cones were set out before the sun rose blocking two of the bridge’s three local access lanes and forcing commuters to merge into one painfully slow toll lane. There was nowhere special for “EZ-Pass” drivers; everyone waited to pay the $13 toll in the “CASH” lane.

    Two separate queues stretched down Fort Lee’s narrow streets for a half-mile until noon each day. At 10 a.m., an estimated 550 vehicles were lined up in Fort Lee awaiting access to the bridge, according to the Port Authority’s traffic study. Over a four-hour period, a total of 2,800 hours were lost to traffic delay, the study said.

    So, the number of affected vehicles was more like 550 (per 4 hours) x 24 (to account for the 4 days) or 13,200 or about 2% the number in the article.

    Not sure why people just make shit up and put it on the internet when it is so easily debunkable.

    •  if only half a million (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CentralCoaster, VL Baker

      was lost, it was still needless and petty because of politics.  And that doesn't count the cost of tension, fear, etc. for people worrying they might be fired, the parents whose kid was lost and police couldn't respond, etc.  Real traffic studies seek information so they can relieve the stress of traffic slowdowns.

      The article explains how they reached the number and admitted it could have been overestimated.  But they didn't just make it up.   The one published number of vehicles was a snapshot.  The 2800 hours may have been an estimate, not a measurement,  it isn't clear to me that any real study parameters were set and complete analysis completed.  The article that first published these numbers that I saw pretty much indicated that the engineers knew it was bogus, called it a 'test' not a traffic study, and never completed their work and analysis after the test was ended.  So the amount of waste involved is still pretty high, not just the traffic victims, but the employees of the PA, and all the time and effort going into unravelling this after the time and effort spent to cover it up.   Because of a petty ogre and his ego and thirst for power.

      •  My point is that the methodology in the (0+ / 0-)

        link given in the diary is fundamentally nonsense by focusing on the total bridge traffic.   If anything, the overall traffic across the bridge was flowing more smoothly and the bulk of commuters * saved * time and money.

        THAT was not the problem, the problem was the number of people stuck in Fort Lee (which the article that I linked tried to quantify).  

        •  the report showed (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Samer, CentralCoaster, VL Baker, Sylv

          a gain of over 900 traffic hours for non Fort Lee traffic, but hardly worth the pain caused to Fort Lee.

          Again, arguing the details of productivity lost misses the real point of the scandal.  Productivity was lost, public money was wasted, it wasn't a real traffic study with a public purpose, it was petty politics.  One penny lost was one penny too much.

        •  If you read the 200 page report issued by the Port (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ruellia

          Authority (it's the abbreviated version with the imprimatur of David Wildstein and called Exhibit A for the TL24 Study) that includes calculations made by traffic engineers and professional post the 4 day delay,  you would find that their own calculations concluded that an average of 5 minutes of travel time was saved by "through" highway traffic over the GWB but when factored against the actual average delay in travel time for the Fort Lee access commuters there was a net annual increase in overall traffic travel time (delay) for all commuters (through and local) over the GWB, in the amount of thousands of additional hours.  The extrapolated cost per year to loss in "peak travel tolls" vs " non-peak travel tolls" (because of delays) amounted to a loss of approx $137,000 per year in revenue for the Port Authority.... so not only was it an irritatingly stupid idea that increased overall commute time over the GWB, it also lost them money.

          "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

          by Uncle Moji on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:36:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, it wasn't vehicles; it was people. (0+ / 0-)

      People in cages with wheels are still people.
      However, if a person's preference is for people in cages, rather than running free, then it makes sense that he'd think in terms of the cages.
      Same as when we put lions in cages we hope the cages are secure.
      Same as when Christie refers to a traffic jam in terms of setting up the cones.
      People are just mobile objects to be moved around or contained.

      Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

      by hannah on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 07:02:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  550 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gustynpip

      cars in line at anyone time, which means 550+ how many cars get through the gate each hour, x16 (if only 4 hours per day but it lasted 8 hours each day, 4 past the lane closure) so 2800-5600 per day plus the number that get through the toll lane each hour.  Plus you have other traffic in Fort Lee that was affected by the lane closure.

      RB I think your back of the hand calculation is just as bad as the reporters.  Without data from the PA we are just guessing the numbers.  He probably overestimated and you underestimated, IMHO.

      "In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism" Marine Corp Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler

      by Kevskos on Tue Jan 14, 2014 at 07:08:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those aren't my numbers, they're from (0+ / 0-)

        the Washington Post.

        And if anything, based on what you just said (i.e., that the snafu only lasted 8 hours a day - my calculations used the entire 24 hours that a day entails) I did not under-estimate - in fact, that means that I over-estimated by a factor of 3.

        •  The calculations are yours, bud, and they're (0+ / 0-)

          REALLY bad.

          •  Explain how - they're from what (0+ / 0-)

            the Washington Post reported.

            They reported that 550 cars were waiting in a 4 hour period  - I'm interested in how would * you * extrapolate that to a 4 day period?

            •  Because 550 cars were waiting in line does (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kevskos

              not mean that 550 cars were crossing.  Your entire analysis is flawed.  You make a major assumption that has no basis in reality.

              •  Yes, they were crossing, why else would they (0+ / 0-)

                wait in the line?  To argue otherwise makes no sense at all.

                Previously it was reported on this site that the delay was for 4 hours, that's what I based my calculation on - according to the Washington Post article about how many hours were wasted, the delay might actually have been 5 hours - meaning that the rate at which cars were going through was just a bit over 100 per hour.  

                This is really quite an elementary concept - figure out how many cars were impacted for a set amount of time (e.g., for 4 hours, or 5 hours as the case may be) and then extrapolate to a longer time period (e.g., 4 days).

    •  Your figures make no more sense, though. (0+ / 0-)

      Just because at one point in time, there were 550 vehicles waiting in line doesn't mean there were 550 vehicles actually crossing per 4 hour period.  The relevant information is how many were making it through the toll per 4 hour period. Assuming it takes 10 seconds for the toll taker to take the money, make the change and lift the gate (which is generous - it should take half that), about 2500 cars would be passing through one toll booth during that 4 hour period.  That's using the lowest possible number scenario.

      Didn't the fact that you arrived at a number like 13,200 ovr four days - or 4300 per day - going over the busiest bridge in the world - in NYC - tip you off that the numbers YOU just made up would be so easily debunkable?

      •  And did the fact that THIS ONLY FREAKIN' (0+ / 0-)

        INCLUDED VEHICLES ENTERING FROM FORT LEE tip you off that THIS was complete nonsense:

        Didn't the fact that you arrived at a number like 13,200 ovr four days - or 4300 per day - going over the busiest bridge in the world - in NYC - tip you off that the numbers YOU just made up would be so easily debunkable?
        Really - JUST WHERE THE FUCK DID I SAY THIS WAS HOW MANY VEHICLES WERE GOING OVER THE BRIDGE?

        Bottom line, I didn't.

      •  OK, to re-do my vehicle estimates (0+ / 0-)

        according to the Washington Post article there were 2,800 hours wasted in a four hour period.

        With 550 cars in the queue, that would indicate that it took the average vehicle just a tad over 5 hours to make it through.

        Or about 110 cars per hours, or 2 a minute (which seems reasonable that it would take about 30 seconds per transaction - since this was a manual cash lane, not an automated EZ pass lane.

        If this situation NEVER LET UP - then 110 cars per hour for 96 hours (or 4 days) works out to 10,560 vehicles.  Or quite close to my original estimate.

    •  how could it flow more freely? (0+ / 0-)

      once you get on the bridge traffic flows fine. (I mean, there may be some instances when it doesn't, but I've crossed it at 1 hr wait times and traffic always flowed fine once past the toll booths.

  •  Basically, they flipped the bird (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VL Baker, Calamity Jean

    at the environment. Those staffers who deliberately, with malice aforethought, decide to close down that bridge, were, in fact, flipping the bird at every single citizen who has any concern whatsoever about the environment...and, basically, flipping the bird at all of the people of that state, as well.

  •  Loving Diesel Fumes in Ft. Lee, NJ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VL Baker, LakeSuperior

    Thanks to Rethug NJ Gov. Chris Christie (aka Al Kayda) and his NJ Taliban.

  •  There isn't any point in fighting about (0+ / 0-)

    the calculation of whatever folks are talking about in the diary or in the comments without placing the actual calculation of the result in plainly stated equations using and displaying the proper units of measure for each numeric element in the calculation.

    On a bridge time hours wasted problem, it would be helpful to also have a brief summary explanation in the form of a graphic that would support narrative on the calculated result.

    Arguing about someone else's calculation not plainly displayed in front of us isn't very efficient discussion of the controversy.

    Since Democrats are supposed to be the party that thinks mathematics is important (as Bill Clinton notes, we know how to count), diarists and commentors owe it to the DK readers to be transparent, clear and accurate in portrayals of numerical data and calculations.   Doing so in a competent manner here on DK is a method for how progressive Democrats foster and demonstrate our competence for governing.    Nate Silver wouldn't have it any other way as a math exemplar for progressive Democrats.

  •  Here's a question for the physicists (0+ / 0-)

    and engineers out there.

    I remember enough from high school and freshman physics about the relation of mass, momentum, vector stuff to wonder if X number of vehicles sitting still on a bridge might not create as greater downward force than the same X number of vehicles moving across the bridge as say 55 mph.  That wouldn't even include that the slower traffic is more closely packed.  
    There would be a greater number of vehicles on the bridge at 0 mph than at even as little as 5 mph.

    Are bridges engineered to deal with difference in the load relative to speed and the increased number of slower moving traffic.

    I've sat on the I 495 bridge bumper to bumper parking lot over the Potomac often enough and wondered if the thing had been designed to hold that much tonnage, both relative to the mass/momentum thing and to the total number of vehicles.

    Cause I'm wondering if turning the GWB into an hours long massed parking lot might have had some real danger of structural stress.

    Or is this just a case of a little knowledge, on my part, being a dangerous thing?

    •  the bridge has toll booths only on the NJ side (0+ / 0-)

      going from NY to NJ is free. Some entrance lanes are from the NJ turnpike and the like, hence do not really enter Ft Lee, it's just the interstate going towards Ft Lee from the West; another set of entrance lanes, of which the two were blocked, are accessed from Fort Lee itself near the river. hence the cars waiting for that lane were all still in Ft Lee, not on the bridge - yes, it would be creepy to have all those cars sitting on the bridge itself, but at least that didn't happen

  •  Add that $21 million... (0+ / 0-)

    To the money he spent on the phony-baloney extra special off-day Senate election to try and plump his already large margins...

    And you're starting to talk some real money!

    First time I remember noticing Christie is when he took his helicopter AND his limo to his kid's ball game.

    Gotta say he hasn't changed a bit.

    "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

    by Notthemayor on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 02:22:39 AM PST

  •  Even the Jersey mafia used to kneecap their (0+ / 0-)

    enemies. They didn't try to take vendettas out on huge swaths of the population. The governor needs to focus his wrath in a more nuanced fashion.

  •  Resign now while you can. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Stay away from Lakehurst! (0+ / 0-)

    That where another blimp crashed and burned a while back!

    In an insane society, the sane man would appear insane

    by TampaCPA on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 08:39:33 AM PST

  •  Bye Bye Chris Christie (0+ / 0-)

    Bitter former candidate for President, ever more bitter forever resident of New Jersey.  

    Let's watch the rats jumping the Jersey Garbage Scow the USS Governor Traffic Jam.

    Good news for Chris Christie - He's got an ever better paying job future across the GWB working for Roger Ailes on Fox, and then succeeding Roger Ailes as his heir apparent where he can snipe at his enemies in public and unleash Jersey style hell and call it "ratings".

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:44:02 AM PST

  •  the enviro argument isn't great (0+ / 0-)
    “You create six-hour traffic delays for four days, that creates a lot of air pollution.”
    But how much more?? Did it double the pollution output for those days? Triple it? Did it have a noticeable impact on smog? Anything like that?

    "We need institutions and cultural norms that make us better than we tend to be. It seems to me that the greatest challenge we now face is to build them." -Sam Harris, neuroscientist

    by MarthaPeregrine on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 01:22:12 PM PST

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