MTA gears up for systemwide subway cleanup

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) next month will launch a multipronged plan to clean up trash on New York City subway tracks.

Dubbed “Operation Track Sweep,” the initiative is aimed at improving the station environment and reducing track fires and delays caused by garbage and debris on the track, according to an MTA press release.

As part of the plan, MTA on Sept. 12 will kick off a two-week track cleaning “blitz” at all 469 stations. The cleanup on underground stations will be performed at night, when ridership is the lowest, MTA officials said. During the day, workers will clean tracks at outdoor and elevated stations.

In addition, MTA is working with two manufacturers to develop a portable track vacuum system that can be deployed quickly, operated from platforms and easily moved from one station to the next. Vacuum prototypes are slated to arrive in November or December, MTA officials said.

The agency also has ordered three new track vacuum trains, with the first two trains arriving in 2017. The vacuum trains can remove up to 14 cubic yards of trash each day, according to the MTA.

Moreover, the agency will purchase 27 new refuse cars to support the expanded cleaning effort. The units are equipped with special railings to secure and transport wheeled garbage containers that are collected at subway stations.

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Bilderberg-Trilateral-Bankers and Oil

WHERE IMPOSSIBLE HAPPENS™

Who are the masters of the new world order (there is a platitude first uttered by Adolf Hitler in 1939, and revived George Bush, Jr. at the beginning of his first term in the White House) on the threshold of an extremely uncertain 2006?
The old order crumbled in the dramatic turn of the eighties and nineties of the last century, with the end of the Cold War bipolarity of the United States and the Soviet Union as the then superpowers and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, Comecon, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. The new evolving expansion of the European Union and NATO to the European north, east and south of the Balkans, as well as the proliferation of China now third economic powers of the world (as a capitalist country, even under the rule of the local Communist Party) and the US-British war to conquer Iraq’s oil…

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Ancient

Perspectives on Life, the Universe and Everything

I, a million years old,
sitting underneath
shadow of my master,
admiring all blessings,
suffering each disaster,
time has been an endless companion,
seen Mother Earth’s magic,
then sapiens did the damage, so tragic,
tears dripping with some red colour,
through wrinkles of my age old face,
along-with traces of humanity,
lost memory, past my sanity,
now weak and senile,
thinking Samaria and Nile
are children of mineIMG_0021.JPG

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Bernie Sanders, US Opposition Leader

It’s about time the US had a powerful, viable Opposition Party leader. It would be a lot easier if Congress allowed for formal opposition representation, but it is not impossible within the current structure. It would also fit the description of politically revolutionary, from an American congressional perspective.

Formal opposition parties are a routine and practical function of almost every democracy in the world except the politically draconian United States.

Formal political opposition is a useful thing in in a democratic society. It lends credence to dissent and makes checks and balances real. It is a presence that is long overdue in the US.

Don’t believe for a moment either of the two major political parties will agree to recognize opposition in either house of Congress. The way to get the process off the ground is to begin with a caucus.

Step number two would be a homework assignment for rank and file Progressives/Democrats. Elected officials would have to hear from constituents in their districts in no uncertain terms that formal opposition is required and that their chosen opposition leader is Senator Bernie Sanders.

Organize local groups and meet directly with representatives and senators. Tie participation in and support of the caucus and its policy initiatives to donations. When they put the interests of wealthy corporate donors ahead of the people get busy organizing against them.

The same groups that met to support Bernie for president are a perfect vehicle to organize formal opposition on Capitol Hill.

This is quite an achievable objective. The infrastructure is already in place. If the anger is focused and directed it can be a powerful force for good.

Make the message clear to the elected officials in your state and in your district: “We need a formal opposition in Washington and Bernie Sanders is the man to lead it.”

Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

FTA lays out plan for improving WMATA’s track problems

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday issued a safety directive requiring the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to complete 12 actions to correct track integrity deficiencies in its rail system.

The directive calls for WMATA to develop corrective action plans to address findings in an FTA report that resulted from its investigation of WMATA’s track this spring, FTA officials said in a press release.

The report addresses WMATA’s “systemic” deficiencies in track inspection resources and training, its track inspection manual, track quality oversight and supervision, and track construction and maintenance.

The FTA noted that WMATA track inspectors have inadequate training and that the transit agency doesn’t allow enough time for track inspection. The agency also lacks a clear process for track inspectors and supervisors to impose and remove speed restrictions, FTA officials said.

Additionally, WMATA’s inspection and maintenance activity doesn’t adequately address the tunnel drainage system where water can corrode track infrastructure, according to the FTA.

The FTA directed WMATA to develop additional track inspection training and certification requirements, expand use of a track inspection vehicle, and develop a formal procedure and protocol to ensure maintenance managers and track inspectors share information.

“While WMATA has taken a number of critical steps to address safety deficiencies, it must improve its track safety protocols and training programs,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “In addition, greater coordination is needed between WMATA track and maintenance personnel to prioritize work and adhere to established standards, including conditions that warrant speed restrictions or single tracking.”

To enforce the safety directive, the FTA has the ability to withhold federal financial assistance from WMATA and direct the agency to use federal financial assistance to correct safety deficiencies. The FTA also could shut down sections of WMATA’s rail system.

Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) last week released the results of its investigation into WMATA’s July 29 derailment near the East Falls Church Station in Arlington, Va.

Although the NTSB didn’t provide a probable cause, the board noted that the distance between the rails on that section of track was 59 inches. WMATA standards require that tracks with a gauge greater than 57-and-a-quarter inches be removed from service, NTSB officials said in a press release.

NTSB investigators also identified a severe tie condition in the accident area and found that there were more than 30 feet of track with no effective crossties. WMATA’s standards require that there be no more than 10 feet between nondefective ties, according to the NTSB.

The board’s briefing to congressional staff on the incident marks its final update on its investigation into the derailment.

Also last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx noted progress in efforts by Virginia, Maryland and District of Columbia officials to establish an independent oversight agency for WMATA.

In a letter to the leaders of the three jurisdictions, Foxx said that each has drafted new legislation that would meet the legal requirements for a new state safety oversight agency.

Foxx also reiterated that the February 2017 deadline to create such an agency will remain in place.

“The progress that the three jurisdictions have made to date clearly demonstrates that you are capable of meeting the deadline with continued focus,” Foxx wrote.

Bordeleau’s Brightest

One With Vino

BordelauChardonnay

Nearly one year to the day when I first wrote about Bordelau Winery, it’s with great honor that I get to write about them again.  And as an added bonus I helped volunteer to pour wine at their booth at the most recent Great Grapes Festival.   This was a joy.

Bordelau2016Banner2

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tom at various festivals, including this very one, a year ago. He’s always been so laid back and easy to dialogue with on all matters vino.   Through mutual people and a little assertiveness, I got in touch with his wife Lisa, and after a few light-hearted  e-mail (and other electronic means) exchanges I find myself on the other side of the tables on that Sunday.

It’s a different animal but one I’ve fully embraced.  On many occasions I’ve been a patron and taken advantage of all the tastings and samples I could get…

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