My reason for being here and my goals

This is the excerpt for your very first post.


Ever since I was really young (It is odd saying this as I am almost 16) I have been interested in transportation. Specifically the New York City Subway. From a young age I have collected all sorts of transit memorabilia (subway maps, timetables, railroad timetables, maps, bus maps and all of that stuff). I also  have a lot of books. I live in New York City and as a result I have been on the subway hundreds and hundreds of times. I have learned and learned more about the system through looking at books, actually going through the system, online on forums like subchat and New York City Transit Forums, and actually taking the time to go into the Municipal Archives. I love to edit wikipedia in order to allow others to get a better understanding of New York’s transportation system. As a railfan I know all the little things about our transit system, such as memorizing the map, knowing the track layouts, knowing which subway cars are on what line, knowing all about its history, the signaling, past proposals, and even things that the MTA doesn’t know.

Recently, I have made up my mind and I desire to become a transportation planner, an urban planner. In my free time I make fantasy proposals that would help make New York City more connected, more affordable, and easier for people to live in, regardless of how much money people make. My first proposals started out really big, and were unrealistic. They would have so many lines that would really help NYC. However, this is not Shanghai. We cannot have this many lines built because of our political reality. Our Governor is a car person and doesn’t care about public transportation. He has vetoed the Lockbox bill, which would have ensured that MTA funding would stay for the MTA. He has vetoes a bill that would have provided an additional free transfer. And most of all, he is refusing to fund the MTA’s Capital Program. I will create a future post about Cuomo later. Today, America is not investing in our infrastructure. Instead, we are wasting it on overspending on the military, and on bickering in Congress getting nothing done. Republicans are against spending a lot on transit, but are for creating jobs. News flash. Public works projects provide new jobs. If there was a constant stream of public works projects across the country more people could go back to work. This would accomplish multiple things. It would reduce unemployment, it would allow for people to get around more efficiently, and it would support economic growth.

With this blog I hope to raise awareness for the importance of transportation, and I hope to propose ideas that will be taken seriously that would help people in their every day lives. I will mostly be focusing on the New York Region, however, now and then, I might focus on things around the country. In this blog I will try to balance two things: a project’s benefit, and its cost. While most of these proposals won’t come to fruition, it is still good to dream big. I hope that I will be able to show illustrations of these proposals, but I am not very good with this so far, so sorry about that in advance.

I really look up to other blogs, such as Second Avenue Sagas, Pedestrian Observations, Cap’n Transit, Queens Transit, and the private LIRR Today. I am younger, only 15, and over time some of my posts might look stupid, or even ridiculous. If you find anything wrong with my posts please respond to me, and even offer a counterproposal. I hope that this blog will help get people interested in our transportation system.

Lets just hope that someday I will be able to help complete a plan like this.


Shaul Picker

One thought on “My reason for being here and my goals”

  1. Re your age… I was around 19 when I started getting into crayoning. The very first outline I wrote of regional rail through-running, in a post on the now-dead Straphangers forum, was in 2008, when I was still 19.

    Re “we are not Shanghai”: well, Chinese cities are rapidly growing due to China’s industrialization. Developing countries should be spending more on future investment, including infrastructure, than mature economies. Consider Stockholm: it has high population growth for a European city (faster than New York, I think, but way slower than the US Sunbelt), a pro-transit political consensus, and low construction costs. It’s expanding its subway now, but it’s the first round of system expansion in 20 years, and even relative to population, it’s nowhere nearly as impressive as what Shanghai and Beijing are doing, with twice the construction cost and one third to one half the income with which to pay said construction costs. But adding 25 km of tunnel, as Stockholm does, would be a very good development for New York, where scaled to population it would be 250.


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