Thomas Cook Airlines seeks route proposals between Europe and North America

Thomas Cook AirlinesRoutesonline announced that Thomas Cook Airlines seeks route proposals for new service  between Europe and North America.   According to Routesonline:

The first RFP covers existing network points seeks proposals for additional frequencies to current long-haul destinations in their network out of new European departure airports that can be served by their B767-300 or A330-200 through a W-pattern.  The second will look at the opportunity for new routes between Great Britain, Central or Northern Europe and airports in the Americas, Africa and Asia Pacific that can be served by B767-300 or A330-200 equipment, preferably from the hubs in Frankfurt and Manchester

This could be an opportunity for international service from Niagara Falls International Airport as Pearson International Airport in nearby Toronto, Canada is not served by Thomas Cook.

 

After 41 years as Dortmund’s sister city, Buffalo is not in their development plans.

After 41 years as Dortmund’s sister city, Buffalo is not in their development plans according to Dortmund’s Economic Development Agency.  You would think that after having becoming  partners pair in 1974 or 1977 there would be some type of visible and active business relationship.  The two cities don’t even agree with the year that they became sisters, or twinned as they say elsewhere in the world.  Dortmund claims 1977 while Buffalo says it was 1974

Dortmund’s Economic Development Agency (http://www.wirtschaftsfoerderung-dortmund.de/en/international/) claims:

International

As part of our international activities we inform you about your chances. We provide you with our services to help you to enter foreign markets.

We provide you with support in your search for international cooperation partners.

We advise you and arrange contacts to EU-oriented consulting institutions. We are pleased to pass on our experience with applying for and running EU projects together with information about EU funding opportunities.

As a member of the network of large European cities EUROCITIES we maintain links to over 100 major cities in Europe. Regional focus

The City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency arranges sustainable business cooperations and in Dortmund’s partner towns in particular. The current key regions are:

  • Leeds, Great Britain
  • Xi ‘an, VR China
  • South Korea

The concept behind sister cities goes back to the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower and is wonderful.

Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Sister Cities International serves as the national membership organization for individual sister cities, counties, and states across the United States. This network unites tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in programs in 136 countries on six continents.

Sister Cities International helps advance peace and prosperity through cultural, educational, humanitarian, and economic development efforts, and serves as a hub for institutional knowledge and best practices to benefit citizen diplomats. Sister Cities International empowers individual citizens to become diplomats and represent their community and their country in new and meaningful ways.

We also strive to strengthen the sister cities network through strategic institutional partnerships, grants, programs, and support for our members. We motivate and empower private citizens, municipal officials and business leaders to conduct long-term, mutually beneficial, sister city, county or state relationships.

But why have them if you are just going to collect them like figurines for the living room shelf?

 

Immigration legislation will lead to elimination of Poland visa requirements

Western New York’s large Polish-American community needs to get behind the Senate immigration legislation.  Contact New York Rep. Chris Collins to ask for his support:

Lancaster, NY Office

2813 Wehrle Drive
Suite 13
Williamsville, NY 14221

Phone: 716-634-2324 Fax:     716-631-7610

Or, Email him via his congressional web page.  http://chriscollins.house.gov/contact

 

POLONIA MUST ACT TO DROP VISAS FOR POLAND and

Editor—Debbie Greenlee posted this note, from Alex Storozynski, President of the Kosciuszko Foundation, to various mailing lists because she felt it was a subject of importance for all Polish Americans. I agree, and am repeating it here for those who haven’t seen it before. Considering what a good ally Poland has been to the United States, at a time when we don’t have many reliable allies, it’s about time we quit jerking around Poles who want to visit our country. I’ll let Mr. Storozynski say the rest, as he says it better than I can, and he gives a link to a longer version on the Kosciuszko Federation website that includes specifics.

Now that the United States Senate voted 68 to 32 to pass Sen. Schumer’s immigration bill, it must pass the House of Representatives before Poland will be included in the Visa Waiver Program. We are pleased that New York’s Polish community persuaded Schumer to help drop visas for Poland. It proves what Polonia can do when it sticks together.

The Polish Community across the United States now must get their members of Congress and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to pass the immigration bill. Rep. Boehner must allow the bill to go to the floor of the House for a vote. It aims to secure America’s borders, penalize employers who hire illegal immigrants, and provide a road map for immigrants to legally become American citizens. It would also drop the visa requirement for Poles who want to visit the United States as tourists.

So call and write to your Congressmen! If you don’t know what to write, what to say, or who your Congressman is, you can find this information by clicking this link to The Kosciuszko Foundation web site: <http://www.thekf.org/fundacja_ko_ciuszkowska_polska/PolandVisas/>

If all Polish-Americans speak up, Congress will not be able to ignore us.

Alex Storozynski

President and Executive Director

The Kosciuszko Foundation

 Editor—Incidentally, Senator Barbara Mikulski deserves a fair amount of credit for getting this through the Senate. Since this story is current and things could change rapidly, I wanted to check and see what the current status of the bill is. According to the story at <http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/139768,US-visa-waiver-for-Poland-one-step-nearer>, the bill is still waiting to pass in the House of Representatives, where it faces some tough going. So unless things change over this weekend (which seems unlikely), there is still need to speak up.

Are ropeway systems the future of people moving within the city of Buffalo?

Are ropeway systems the future of people moving within the city of Buffalo?  There is seems to be growing interest in aerial ropeway transportation to the Buffalo waterfront and beyond.  To this point conversation has  centered around  pictures showing existing short distance systems in operation around the world and in the United States.  They are touted as being efficient,  attractive, inexpensive, quiet, energy-saving  and scenic.

What gets neglected has been totally ignored in the conversation is the 800 pound gorilla in the room – WIND.

According to City-Data.com Cheektowaga (#35), Amherst (#36), Buffalo (#37) and Niagara Falls (#38) make its Top 101 windiest city list.  All 3 have an average speed of 11.8 mph.   Where monthly stats exists, i.e. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,  the months of November, December, January, February and March would have a major impact of local cost single ropeway transportation as the average wind speed rises to 12.6, 13.1, 14.0, 13.3, 13.1 miles per hour .  Additionally NOAA identifies something we know already, particularly those living along the Lake Erie shoreline.  This area’s prevailing winds arrive from the Southwest, South-Southwest, or Westerly direction, blowing laterally across the shoreline and major roadways.

This means that anyone inside an aerial gondola along the waterfront would not be moving into the wind or with the wind at their gondola’s back.  You would be buffeted by the wind.

There is a very busy tram system in operation serving Roosevelt Island in the middle of the New York City’s East River.  A blog titled Roosevelt Island Online recorded post from people who were on the tram during a windy day:

Very windy day on Saturday. gcris tweeted:  Roosevelt Island Tram. Nothing scarier than being suspended on 3 wires on windy day above the East River.

Roosevelt Island 360 reports on a message he received from a passenger on Saturday’s Tram:  Today’s ride (02-19-2011) was HORRIBLE. People were screaming inside. Due to high wind the cabin was swinging terribly. I’ll never take the tram during windy days. I was scared to death!  I spoke with a Tram Operator on Sunday who was on duty Saturday. The Operator told me that the Tram handled the high winds fine on Saturday.

According to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC), the Tram:  Operates in all weather conditions except for lightning and winds over 50 miles per hour.

I hope your Tram ride was uneventful and that there was no screaming during the journey over the East River.

The Roosevelt Tram was constructed in 1976 and refurbished in 2010 at a cost of $25 million for its 3,100 foot length.  That is $8,064.52 per foot.

Another problem with the ropeway was discovered in a study prepared for Portland State University in Portland, OR.  This city has a Ropeway in use.  The study found that with current technology, the longer the Ropeway the less the passenger load and the less frequent number of cars in use.  Length causes diminishing returns and increased cost.  You can read that study here:

http://web.pdx.edu/~bertini/courses/558/Aerialropeways.pdf

Finally, the fastest cable ropeway in operation is the 2.1 mile long Genting Skyway at Gohtong Jaya, Malaysia.  Wikipedia has this to say:  “At the maximum speed of 6 metres per second (21.6 km/h – 12.96 mph), the 3.38-kilometre (2.10 mi) journey up the mountain peak takes approximately 15 minutes, depending on the weather.”

At the moment, supporters are in love because they see this as a novel waterfront experience and are selling that notion without looking at the whole picture beforehand.    I hope that the instead of promoting an attractive notion, some serious research be done that provides the most reliable method of mass people moving based on cost, speed, reliability, and weather related shut down before going any further.

Ropeway systems may be the way to go.  And then again, it may not.

Buffalo – Niagara Falls may or may not be in the running for the new PeoplExpress.

PeoplExpressPeoplExpress, headed by CEO Mike Morrisi, has just announced the purchase of Boise, ID based Xtra Airlines.  Xtra’s “Air Operators Certificate” (AOC) will let PeoplExpress to get in the air sooner than would happen if it sought its own certification.

The issue of PeoplExpress was raised here in March and once again in April that  Buffalo and Niagara Falls  interests should aggressively pursue its service.  Then, hopefully sooner rather than later,  one of the two local airports might be added to its first five city route system of Newport News, VA – Pittsburgh, PA – Providence, RI – Newark, NJ –  West Palm Beach, FL.   Routesonline announced the new carrier could be in the air by late summer.

Routesonline post stated that XTRA’s AOC gives PeoplExpress authority to operate in the United States, Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and that the XTRA brand would continue to be used for charter operations .  For those who once flew to Florida from NFIA you might recognize the name XTRA Airlines.  It was one of the carriers used by the now defunct DirectAir on its Myrtle Beach, SC – Florida routes.

At this time my betting is that should PeoplExpress come to the area it would service Buffalo-Niagara International Airlines as Niagara International seems to be destined to stay little more than a low-cost outbound traffic only airport used by Canadians to fly to Florida.

 

The dual Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo USA to Fort Erie Canada will never be built.

The dual Peace Bridge Connecting Buffalo USA to Fort Erie Canal will never be built was the theme of my 2004 Masters Degree  in Education project at SUNY College at Buffalo in 2004.  I received my Masters.  I assume my findings were worth the paper they were printed on.  By 2004 the debate over the bridge was about ten years old.  Here we are nine years after my project and nineteen years after the idea was announced and the bridge still not has been resolved.

The problem then, as it is now, there are too many conflicting interests in involved in the decision-making process.  Fort Erie has 74 acres of land available for bridge services,  Buffalo has 18 acres.  Fort Erie has 30,000 residents – Buffalo 260,000.  The bridge in Fort Erie will no expand into a residential neighborhood in Buffalo it will.  Bridge traffic in Fort Erie bypasses its small central business district in Buffalo it passes right through it.  The U.S. under-staffs the bridge crossing the Canadians don’t.  The bridge is vital to Fort Erie economy (jobs) in Buffalo it is not.  The list goes on and now the Governor of New York and  Canada’s Counsel General have gotten involved and demands that people be replaced are invoked.

It is a mess.

It is time for everyone to grow up get serious and do what should have been done 20 years ago.  Settle the issue.  And here is how it must be done and done ASAP.

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and keep doing it

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until it is resolved.

Peace Out!

 

Borussia Dortmund, a missed a German marketing opportunity.

Borussia Dortmund, a missed a German marketing opportunity.    There was a two week buildup to the biggest football (soccer) match of the year on the European football calendar.  It  took place at London’s Wembley Stadium. Two German clubs, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich were competing in the finals of the European Cup Championship.

This was the first time two German clubs had ever faced each other in the European Championship match.  The match was played in London between  the two German clubs in front of   86, 298  spectators.  The match was sadly was won by Bayern Munich 2-1 over Borussia Dortmund.  It was the last match for Bayern’s 68-year-old manager, Jupp Heynckes, who is retiring and will be replaced by Pep Guardiola for 2013-14.  It had a worldwide television audience,  was well-played, fast paced and dramatic event of  David vs Goliath proportions.  Bayern Munich has a global following, has won five European Cups and  is loaded with money.  Borussia Dortmund on the other hand had won the title once (1997), plays in the largest football stadium in Germany, is on the rise, and is the eighth largest city in Germany five steps below Munich at number three.  Borussia Dortmund is also the only publicly traded club on the German stock market.  It is a people’s club.

Borussia DortmundSo how did Buffalo miss a marketing opportunity?  Buffalo and Dortmund are Sister-Cities.  They have been Sister-Cities since 1972, that is 41 years.  The  Buffalo Mayor’s office did not send at comment of support to the mayor of Dortmund.  The local media did not contact the Dortmund media about the match.  The local business community offered no congratulations, support or encouragement.  Even after the match, the Buffalo News and local television stations gave the score but never made mention that there was a Buffalo connection to the event.  The sports “reporter” on WGRZ  read the results and made no effort to find a way to pronounce the name of  Dortmund’s  goalscorer, İlkay Gündoğan (Il-kay Gun-do-gan).  We are a multi-ethnic community, what does he do?  He made a joke about it, how professional.  Ilkay is German born of Turkish heritage and Buffalo has a Turkish Sister-City – Yildirim-Bursa.

I believe the problem is that the Sister-City program is off little interest to Buffalo’s public and business communities.  No one knew Dortmund was a  partner.  Some may find this accusation absurd.  For me knowledge and using that knowledge, including sporting events, to  get our community in front of  people in a positive light is invaluable.  The USA and European Union are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement.  We should be preparing for it by developing increased contacts with our long time sister,  or twin as many call the arrangement, Dortmund.

Buffalo has ten Sister-Cities, three in Europe – Dortmund, Germany – Lille, France and Rzeszow, Poland.  I have a feeling we have do a poor job promoting and discussing these relationships  in the interest of  public, cultural, business, trade and travel opportunities.

The Buffalo Skyway can be adapted for non-vehicular re-use.

The Buffalo Skyway can be adapted for non-vehicular re-use, all we need do is look for alternatives to demolition.  The bridge is a familiar sight to anyone one who lives in or has visited the city. An observer on a boat on Lake Erie, the Niagara River or standing on the Fort Erie, Canada waterfront is treated to a signature view.

Buffalo Skyway crosses  the Buffalo River

Buffalo Skyway crosses the Buffalo River

The Skyway was designer and lead engineer was Edward P. Lupfer,  He had a similar role in the construction of the International Peace Bridge in the late 1920s.  The Skyway came to life in October 1955 as a route between the heavy steel and cargo industries on the Buffalo Outer Harbor and City of Lackawanna.

It was constructed 7,000 feet long to allow for a water clearing elevation of 193 ft over the Buffalo Ship Canal and 215 ft over the Buffalo River.  This made it possible for the ships of the various Great Lakes fleets access the Buffalo River inner harbor cereal, grain storage, chemical, steel, warehousing and other industries that lined a 5 mile segment of the river.

Today, the heavy industry of the lake and river waterfronts are gone.  River traffic is probably down to less than 25 ships per year instead of 25+ ships per day.  It has been reported that it keeps some 30 acres of prime waterfront from being developed.  The New York State Department of Transportation has labeled the structure as a “deficient” bridge.  The U.S. Dept. of Transportation is even more harsh calling the Skyway :”fracture critical.”  That means it could suffer a structure catastrophe.

Raptor cruisingIt will cost $100 million to demolish the structure or over the coming years $125 million to keep it from failing.  People hear that number and automatically say, “that is an awful lot of money!”  If you put it in perspective number really is not that great.  An F-22 Raptor costs $150 million each.  ;-)

i was in favor of demolition for a long time.  But, I made a 180 degree turn when, a couple of days ago, I stumble upon a Ran Webber presentation from 4 years ago.  He has an idea that provides an adaptive reuse of the Skyway at a public-private cost of $285 million, two F-22 Raptor’s.  It is daring.  It is creative.  It is entirely unique.  It is an opportunity for the community to really make a statement.  Unfortunately, it looks like there is very little political or community interest.

Skyway AdaptionMy site is so small it won’t reach many, but, like the lottery, you never know.  I think his ideas needs a good hard look-see.  Click the link to view Mr. Webber’s 16 minute presentation.

http://www.ranwebber.com/Movie/skywaymovie.html

Buffalo’s “MetroRail” offers more bang per mile than most LRRT systems.

Many locals bitterly call it the train to nowhere and yet Buffalo’s “MetroRail” offers more bang per mile than most LRRT systems.  Western New York is controlled by suburban driver.  You can easily find them at supermarkets, strip malls and gigantic malls.  They endless circle the lots looking for a parking space directly in front of the door they want to enter.  They will drive to the nearest store to buy milk even if it is within walking distance.  Then they will complain about the price of gasoline.

They are all the folks that have vociferously fought against the introduction of Light Rail service into their communities.  They don’t want the “noise” and they don’t want the “city” people popping in.  As a result Buffalo’s 6+ mile LRRT is a City of Buffalo system only operating between downtown and the northeast Buffalo campus of the University @ Buffalo.

Despite their opposition over the years to MetroRail expansion, these same people are the first to derogatorily call the system the train to know what.  How shallow and unthinking can they be.  As other similar sized communities grow their routes Western New York does not.  And that is very sad.  For those who live near the MetroRail is has become a welcome convenience.  As the sixth shortest LRRT system in the United States, the fifth smallest city with a rapid transit system, the Buffalo MetroRail is the fourth most heavily used system of the 32 in existence.  Everyday 3,109 people per mile use the “Train to Nowhere” just behind San Francisco at 3,511, Houston’s 4,987, and Boston’s 7,946.

It really is time to put the detractors and naysayers in their place and expand the route’s.  The silent majority will use the train if it becomes available.  I know I do.  It is cheaper to park at the University and ride the train to a downtown event than it is to drive downtown and pay for parking.

Light Rail Systems
Rank – Daily Boardings City Daily Boardings Route Miles Daily boardings p/mile
1 Boston 222,500 28 mi 7,946
13 Houston 37,400 7.5 mi 4,987
3 San Francisco 160,100 45.6 mi 3,511
20 Buffalo 19,900 6.4 mi 3,109
2 Los Angeles 203,400 70.4 mi 2,889
15 Minneapolis 31,500 12 mi 2,625
12 Phoenix 46,000 20 mi 2,300
29 Tacoma 3,168 1.6 mi 1,980
4 Portland 115,400 59.4 mi 1,943
5 Philadelphia 113,900 60 mi 1,898
8 Denver 65,300 35 mi 1,866
16 Seattle 29,800 16.9 mi 1,763
9 Salt Lake City 60,600 35.3 mi 1,717
7 San Diego 87,700 53.5 mi 1,639
21 Charlotte 14,800 9.6 mi 1,542
11 Sacramento 49,600 36.9 mi 1,344
6 Dallas 103,100 85 mi 1,213
10 St. Louis 52,500 46 mi 1,141
17 Pittsburgh 27,600 26.2 mi 1,053
19 Jersey City 21,426 20.6 mi 1,040
23 Newark 10,075 9.9 mi 1,018
18 Baltimore 29,200 30 mi 973
14 San Jose 33,800 42.2 mi 801
26 Norfolk 5,200 7.4 mi 703
24 Cleveland 8,900 15 mi 593
27 Memphis 3,300 6.7 mi 493
22 New Orleans 10,000 21.5 mi 465
25 Oceanside 8,500 22 mi 386
30 Tampa 600 2.3 mi 261
32 Kenosha 300 2 mi 150
31 Little Rock 340 2.5 mi 136
28 Trenton/Camden 4,273 34 mi 126
Source: American Public
Transportaton Assoc.