Beacon Citizen Network (BCN): a place for neighbors to get the word out, be heard and stay informed in all matters concerning Beacon, NY.



10/19 Beacon Candidates Forum, Some Video/ Thoughts

The first hour or so was devoted to the candidates for County Legislature, and the Ward candidates. On the Democrat side, I was most impressed with the performance of Ali Muhammad (at-large), and on the Republican side, I was most impressed with the performance of Thomas Cunningham (4th ward).


When the mayoral candidates came up to bat, about an 1 hour to 1.5 hours into the 3 hour forum, I was electrified to hear Randy Casale mention the Beacon Line THREE times, including at length in his closing remarks. This issue is my crank cause: .



Above, at 3:58 Randy mentions using the Beacon Line (aka the Danbury Line, aka the Maybrook Line) for commuters.


Sometime later, during a discussion about business on Main Street, Randy mentions the Beacon Line a second time as a revenue generator and congestion reliever (I was not recording video).



And finally, in his closing remarks above (0:40), Randy enthuses about the Beacon Line for a minute and a half, prompting Steve to address the topic as well in his closing remarks. Steve notes how hard it is to gain traction with the M.T.A. And he is right, this is a daunting task to cajole the M.T.A. on this subject.


But I am really, really impressed by Randy's passion for the Beacon Line.


I am a lifelong Democrat, and frankly, the Republican party at the national level frightens me, however, this is local politics. Also, Steve Gold has always impressed me, he is a strong steady hand at the mayoral steering wheel, and he has always been kind to Kevin Newman (my fellow Beacon Line drum beater) and I whenever we have interacted on this topic.


But because the Beacon Line is my crank cause, and because Randy is obviously passionate about the subject, I am voting with excitement for Randy Casale this year.


Look, it won't be easy. But if we get some use on this line, ANY use, it will be like 10 Dias opening up in Beacon in terms of an economic boost to Main Street. And if you don't want 9D turned into a 4 lane spur of i84 and our waterfront turned into an asphalt moonscape like Croton Harmon, note that the Beacon Line is a one seat trip into Grand Central from at least 2 or 3 satellite locations in Fishkill, including i84 commuters from Orange County: see the Park-and-Ride replacement scheme on the map towards the bottom of the main page at .


So I encourage everyone concerned about congestion, waterfront linkage to Main Street, and economic growth, to vote for Randy Casale on November 8. Not because Steve won't do the right thing by the Beacon Line, but to have a mayor so passionate about the subject like Randy, it might just be enough to get the Beacon Line through the goal posts, and fire up this gem of a little city like nothing in decades past nor decades to come.


Finally, I really want to thank Beacon High School and Beacon Deserves Better for putting this forum together, it was a sterling service to the city. And I was amazed by the turnout, big crowd!


Views: 1102

Tags: Beacon Line, Randy Casale, Steve Gold, T.O.D., mayoral race


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Comment by Mark Roland on October 29, 2011 at 4:15pm

DC writes:

I found both your and Kevin’s comments abrasive when I suggested that not all car traffic is created equal..


What comment(s) of mine would that be?



You seem to be reading between the lines in my post..


No time for that, just reading the words you wrote.


What I don’t want is people on BCN, or people running for office, making unsupportable assertions about the benefits of the spur line, because one of two things will happen – either they will get tuned out and we will get nowhere, and it will happen on MTA’s timetable and terms, OR, less likely but maybe even worse, we’ll get some half-cocked, poorly scaled rail project financed through the wrong channels without maximizing the commercial and environmental benefits to Beacon, and it will sour people on the whole idea.


So I guess we'll just have to wait for you to lay it all out for us.


There is nothing wrong with imagining many different scenarios at the beginning of an idea for a project. Sure, some of them may be silly or completely untenable. But at this phase, it's about starting a dialogue, letting people see that we have this potentially very useful resource. Of course the obstacles and the feasibility needs to be examined carefully. But that doesn't mean you need to throw cold water every time someone makes a post or a campaign statement.


I went to a seminar at the Cary Institute last week. The reading for CO2 levels on their campus in Milbrook that day was 402ppm. When William Schlesinger the president of the institute, first started studying the link between environmental chemistry and global climate change 30 years ago, the level was something like 320ppm. Ideally (ha ha) we need to be below 350ppm.


We don't have time to be sitting back while the dinosaurs running the MTA continue to find "solutions" that were state of the art when Dwight D. freaking Eisenhower was POTUS.





Comment by Ben Royce on October 28, 2011 at 10:23pm

Thank you DC, now it is possible to have a civil discussion in this thread.


Obviously, the issue is cost.


We have at least a dozen plans here. We need to coalesce, basically, around the most modest and cheapest plan. The more ambitious plans: those are phase 2/ 3/ 4.


Comment by Ben Royce on October 28, 2011 at 4:29pm

I deleted DC's comment. I am inviting DC to repost their comment (I copied it and emailed it to him) without personal attacks.


Just so no one here misunderstands: the problem is not having a different opinion, the problem is the constant personal attacks. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to engage in interpersonal conflict.


Comment by Mark Roland on October 28, 2011 at 7:13am

DC quotes me:

"MTA spent a million dollars adding parking spaces."

Then asks:

 Yes, and? They probably spent a million dollars on paper clips last year too. MTA does not feel that they owe the city of Beacon ANYTHING and they are clearly ready to play hardball as long as it takes.

Of course, I mentioned the figure one million in response to your assertion that it would cost that much to run a trolley on the spur line for a year.

As to the second sentence, MTA does not feel that they owe the city of Beacon ANYTHING and they are clearly ready to play hardball as long as it takes.



Why would a "public benefit corporation chartered by the State of New York" possibly be concerned with the environmental, health, quality of life, safety, and climate change issues facing the communities where its stations are located? Why would they, after hearing from the community that it was particularly concerned about traffic and parking at the waterfront station, not go ahead and pave over about the last bit of earth that's not officially parkland? In an area subject to storm runoff and flooding?

To claim the spaces are being built in the name of disaster relief for Port Jervis commuters affected by the temporary disruptions in that line is beyond cynical. I won't go into it here as I talk about it on my website.

Back to your latest comments:

How tone deaf can you guys be about the situation in this town for young people, for schools, for the tax base, for employment? Scolding and insulting car owners when businesses are failing, properties are vacant and nobody can find a job within 20 miles of their house?

I may have missed the comment where someone scolded and insulted car owners (ie just about everyone), but what does this have to do with young people, tax base, etc? And what does any of it have to do with cheerleading for a spur line in the City of Beacon? Does that cause somehow detract from solving all the issues you mention?

All the problems you so helpfully list can be seen as a consequence of our failing systems, with single occupancy vehicle use high up on that failure list. If you think it's going to be fixed by the same old fixes, if you think it's just a matter of the financial shamans and "people in charge" coming up with the right mix of tweaking this and tweaking that so we can continue along merrily as we were, I'd have to disagree.

Ben may be thin-skinned and somewhat naive (including by thinking this is a pivotal issue on which to decide who to vote in as mayor), but so what? You seem to know more than most of us, and have made some helpful suggestions. You've made your point several times in numerous ways that you don't see much use for the spur line at the moment ("magic carpet", "your railroad buddies" etc.). Why not leave it at that?



Comment by Ben Royce on October 28, 2011 at 12:50am



The problem is not your opinions, the problem is your personal attacks. "Ben is too butt-hurt to acknowledge it but..." doesn't really say much about the Beacon Line. As the original poster of this thread, I can delete comments, and I will delete any comment of yours from here on out if you can't talk about the topic without engaging in personal attacks.


Again: the problem is not that your opinions are different than mine, that's perfectly OK. I welcome you to comment 20 more times if you like, please do. Your criticism in fact has got me thinking about a lot of things. But the continued personal attacks and abusive language is what is unacceptable. It's not about me, or my butt, sorry. Final warning on the personal attacks and abusive language.




We are early in the process here. Brainstorming is perfectly acceptable. The next step is to get a mayor elected who is passionate about this topic. Facts matter, of course. But passion does to, especially in the beginning. Just ask the guys and gals who got the Walkway over the Hudson moving or the High Line in Manhattan. It takes time, and it takes noise. After the election, we have time enough to do all the fact finding in the world, and maybe get some funding too for some studies if we play our cards right.


Having said all that, if we can't change our tactics, and we approach the M.T.A. about the Beacon Line with just a bunch of cotton candy "gee whiz!" platitudes, nothing is going to happen here. So I do appreciate your words and your warning. I hear you loud and clear.


Comment by Anna West on October 27, 2011 at 5:35pm

Yes, Kevin said>>> there is a definition for the word 'insanity' that goes something like 'insanity is doing the same stupid thing over and over"


Ben, you would get a lot further in your goal, if your posts kept on topic instead of going on and on about the train stuff. People are going to ignore you.  If you really want to work on this project I have the following suggestions:


a) Stay on topic.

b)Do real research instead of making stuff up. ( seems obvious but you do make statements that are not based on facts.

c) that research should include searching for funding to real/factual studies.

d) Research all alternatives methods and MTA corridors.  If you gain real knowledge people will come to you.


Just some suggestions, if you can back up what you say, and your headlines relate to topic you would be surprised what can happen. At one time, I was on a board of directors and could call up Commish of Transportation of NYC--and he took my calls. That can happen to you BUT, you need to change your tactics.


Comment by Steve Knowles on October 26, 2011 at 11:38am
I guess I was thinking of the older trains being traditionally fired by coal, but I'm sure they could produce steam through a diesel fire, greatly reducing the obnoxious smoke (I've ridden on one before, and the smoke was annoying!).
Comment by Kevin Newman on October 26, 2011 at 9:03am

bravo Mark Roland!

there is a definition for the word 'insanity' that goes something like 'insanity is doing the same stupid thing over and over" and as far as people getting to the busineses etc. well. duh that's what the train would be for and the concept of the 'transit village' - everything clustered in one place around a train station - however for those still stuck in the 1960's-1970's and insist on driving a car - instead of using mass transit - there would be a SMALL minicipal lot 

DC - the BDL (Beacon-Danbury line) would be restored for MNRR (Metro North rail road) service and the rail vehicles they currently have and hopefully will have IE: DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit) manufactured by US Rail Car of Columbus Ohio NOT 'light rail' (they weigh 85 tons) - these DMUs are full FRA complient are true multiple units just like MNRR has now except the 'power unit' is not a locomotive but coach as well - this is 21st century kind of stuff



Comment by Mark Roland on October 26, 2011 at 8:32am

DC wrote:

 "even throwing a trolley on those tracks just to “get the ball rolling” – in a totally bare bones operation, without really maximizing the commercial or environmental benefits – would cost AT LEAST a million dollars in the first year..."


The MTA just spent a million on paving over a half acre down at our waterfront, to accomodate about 90 more cars, which will instantly put 180 more car trips on 9D the day it goes into operation.


But right now, that [traffic] would be a good problem to have in the minds of a lot of business owners and residents...


Yes, the old canard that traffic equals economic growth and progress. I think we've past the limits of that 20th century strategy.

Comment by Ben Royce on October 25, 2011 at 7:58pm

Thank you Mark, your input is always appreciated.


Duck one: get a mayor who is passionate about the concept. Now we can do that on November 8, in two weeks.


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