For those in NYC, I will be hosting/moderating a book launch party for Henry Grabar’s new book Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World on Tuesday, May 9 at 6 p.m. at the OpenPlans office in Tribeca. Details/RSVP here. Hope to see some of you there!
If you have been reading the news you know there are some safety issues with freight trains. And you also know I have been reporting on this for more than two years, and that I started reporting on it because I listened to workers who said there were safety issues with freight trains.
I also heard that workers are afraid to report these safety issues out of fear of retaliation by their managers. I reported this in previous stories but it wasn’t the headline. Now, thanks to some data I got from a Freedom of Information Act request, it is.
More than 2,000 freight rail workers for the seven largest freight rail companies have filed whistleblower complaints against their employers in the last decade, according to documents I obtained from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those get dismissed or thrown out. The railroads say they encourage workers to speak up about safety issues. That is probably true, but they also discourse them from doing so. They do both. This is emblematic of the larger work culture at the railroads with so many rules that they sometimes come in conflict with one another. Therefore, if they want to punish someone, they can, and it all, mostly, looks nice and legal:
“Whistleblower cases are hard to win because [companies] throw up a lot of defenses and confuse everyone,” said Robert Swick, an investigation compliance specialist at OSHA who works on whistleblower cases. To explain the problem, he offered an allegory: “If a worker trips in the snow, the companies say, well, workers must always look down. But if something falls and hits them in the head, they say well, he should have been looking up.”
Read all about it here.
LaGuardia AirTrain Finally Eats It
Since you last heard from me, two extremely bad transit projects have died. The first was the LaGuardia AirTrain. After I published that story, in which I described the AirTrain as “the worst transit project in the U.S.,” a kind reader emailed in to say: not so fast. To him, the SEPTA King of Prussia extension in the Philadelphia suburbs was the worst transit project in the U.S. He had a strong case! As it turned out, a week later, it was also dead.
With the worst U.S. transit projects being bumped off like screaming teens in a slasher film, we need to crown a new champion. What is the worst transit project in the U.S. now? Reply and let me know!
Other Stuff I Wrote
Extremely Thorough Academic Study Confirms NYPD Park on Sidewalks
Uber CEO Does Undercover Boss Routine After Churning Through World’s Rideshare Drivers
The Urban Exodus Narratives Are Wrong (my proposed headline, A Nerdy Deep Dive Into Census Data Margins of Error, was rejected for some unfathomable reason)
I used to love flying. I hate it now and avoid it whenever possible. Everything about it just seems 15-20 percent more stressful than it used to be. I’m real glad we gave the airlines tens of billions of taxpayers dollars to survive the pandemic just so they could make everything worse.
Guess Who’s Back Back Back Back Again
Maurice is back back back tell a friend friend friend
Typo: "also discourse them from doing so" should be "also discourage them from doing so"