Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I have proposed that the town WIFI E Hartsdale Ave. We should provide free WIFI access to the avenue --a suggestion that could help the merchants on the avenue. WOuldn't it be great to be able to bring your computer to the Harry' Lia's or Starbucks? Wouldn't some commuters appreciate having WIFI access at the train station or at the parking area?
THe proposal will be forwarded to the town MIS committee.


Ted Mann said...

Great idea, Paul. Back when our parking committee was still meeting, we would gather in Oporto. A bunch of times I brought my laptop, hoping to show some of the things we were working on, but we could never seem to get onto a WiFi network. Doing something like this (which I believe both New Rochelle and White Plains have recently implemented, too) would give the downtown a great new amenity.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ted, the restaurants on East Hartsdale Avenue are for dining, not for public meetings with WIFI-connected laptops.

Bad enough as the flooding has been, I can't imagine that the restaurant owners on East Hartsdale Avenue would ever want or need this.

Because we live in the neighborhood, my husband and I are frequent patrons at these restaurants. We appreciate that the better restaurants here discourage cell phone use.

We can't imagine that they would allow laptop use, and we certainly hope the town would never spend our tax dollars to encourage laptop use with WIFI.

It's bad enough as it is that my husband can't let go of his blackberry once we're at the table. You want him and others to bring their laptops in too?

If you want to use WIFI, go to Starbucks at the train station. There's a hotspot there that they'll let you pay for.

Anonymous said...

Maybe only for around the train station area *if* the the Parking Authority or Metro North pay for it *and* maintain it. It's an expensive undertaking, and I'd rather town money be used for neglected matters like roadway maintenance.

Anonymous said...

I am always amused when government officials think they have great ideas for private sector businesses. Good businessmen can very often fix bad government programs, but it never works the other way. If WIFI is a good business idea someone in the private sector will provide it. Clean the streets, pick up the garbage, control the traffic. We keep getting into trouble when government officials try to get creative with the taxpayer's dollar.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster who left out an additional benefit of letting the private sector deal with it - avoiding liability!
How long do you think it will take before the parent of a victim of an internet sexual predator sues the wifi provider?

Anonymous said...

Bring on the WIFI! That way we can read Garfunkel and Gooljar while taking space at Starbucks!

hal samis said...

Paul, this is one of your ideas which should percolate longer before being served. It would be a good idea if there were more public spaces in this area to take advantage of this benefit.

Whereas hot zones are fine for cafes, I don't see people working at laptops as the kind of milieu that restaurants want to promote as the "fine dining" experience.
Furthermore looking past the illusion that their house is your house, restaurants that are doing well really depend on turning over the tables, not encouraging diners to stay. When the waiter comes back to ask "can I get you anything else" it is not just to boost his sales commission (a tip is a percent of the goods sold) but also to get you the hell out so his next customers can sit down.
The incremental business gotten from customers occupying the table to blog on this post is minimal.
Although it could be argued that anonymous bloggers occupy no space.

Furthermore, do we really want people to occupy parking spaces while they work online?

Further furthermore, with the hot zone at Starbucks, do we need more around the station. It may be an appealing mental picture of people sitting around De Santi Plaze in June but in winter? I think not.

From another perspective, if some of the restaurants approved, how does this benefit the rest of the businesses? I think I'll drop my pants off to be cleaned and check my email? I think I'll go to the bank and hang out and make the Guard nervous? I think I'll sit in a car in a parking garage and make everyone nervous?

Finally, how far down East Hartsdale Avenue are you offering this freebee? Does that mean that some residents (apartment dwellers would get free internet) while other residents do not?

It was a nice thought but one better left for Berger to pick-up.
You've had some better ideas recently and in the past; this one should quietly be put to pasture.

Edward said...

I like the idea of free WiFi for the train station, but I agree that most of the businesses on East Hartsdale Ave would not benefit.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Samis, you are such a nice person for saying it like that: "Paul, this is one of your ideas which should percolate longer before being served." I feel the same, though my choice of phrasing would not have been as kind.

Anonymous said...

Something like this might be considered for a comprehensive economic development plan for the township - if one is ever created - but WiFi is certainly not appropriate to implement on a whim.

Anonymous said...

Greenburgh should be progressive. Other communities are WIFI-ing their business areas. So should Greenburgh

Anonymous said...

Regarding some other communities, yes, but as part of a professional, comprehensive, long-term economic development plan, not because it's trendy.

I don't think it's a bad idea, but I'm don't think that the supervisor understands that this would be a huge undertaking for the town.

As the town can't even handle simple weed-wacking and street-sweeping, can the town be trusted to maintain WiFi?

hal samis said...

Dear 9:12,

Where is the Greenburgh business area? Certainly not just in Hartsdale Center, in Hartsdale. Certainly not just at "4 corners" in Hartsdale. Certainly not just along Central Avenue in Hartsdale.
The point is that if for one area, why not other areas? Why not the business center in Fairview? Why not the Midway Shopping Center in Edgemont? Why not Taxter Ridge park? Why not the Courts? And...
why not the Villages?

Other communities have wired their business centers?...then monkey see, monkey do. As most residents spend little time in shopping areas to do things other than shopping, if there is any basis to apply a shared good and passing the expense borne onto the greater community, then the residential areas where much of the non-workday is spent, the need is greater and the internet connection expense per home is highest...this should be the focus of government effort to reduce the indvidually billed cost much as a public library exists to share the expense of making books and media available to all at no cost. If the Town library exists to compete with Blockbuster and Netflix or Barnes & Noble and Borders, then there is no reason that the Town shouldn't apply its ability to create a Hot Zone townwide and reduce the cost per home from dollars to pennies. Even though competition with Verizon has already resulted in rate INCREASES from Cablevision this should not be a bar to giving both Verizon and Cablevision a run for their money, let's provide "free" internet access to residents by leasing their capacity on a bulk basis in the same manner as independent long distance providers lease lines from the Verizons of the world and then sell the individual calls at lower rates than the Verizons charge their own subscribers.

And as a resident not living on East Hartsdale Avenue, I would object to any Hot Zone "leaks" which would allow nearby apartment tenants to have free internet connection while I do not.

Paul Feiner said...

Hal: I would like to see the entire town offered free internet access. E Hartsdale Ave could be a beginning.

Jim Lasser said...

Dear Mr. Feiner -
You say you'd like to see free internet access in the entire town.
Have you truly thought that through?
Do you understand the economic implications of your desire?
Is the Town prepared to plan for and budget the necessary dollars to build and maintain such a complex infrastructure?
How many WIFI transmitters will be set up?
Who will maintain them?
How will the Town control access to prevent becoming the first municipality in the United States indicted for spamming?
Who will provide the connection from the WIFI router to the internet?
Will it be Verizon or Cablevision or some player to be named later?
How much will the provider charge the Town?
How will the Town budget for the periodic hardware upgrades necessary?
What about the software?
Will there be redundancy built into the system to prevent outtages?
Will the Town be funding research and development so that the system will continue to improve? Because remember, once you go into competition with private industry, their incentives to spend money on things which do not immediately increase their bottom line disappears.
The Town is not a business, but it needs to be run in a business-like way. Being business-like in this case might just mean the Town should stick to its current tasks and improve the delivery of the services it already provides. How about picking up both paper AND commingled recycling items EVERY week - while maintaining twice a week garbage pickup? Please don't tell us that such service will cost more because the Town will have to make a capital investment in new trucks and bear the burden of new hiring and paying new employees - don't you think entering the new business of providing WIFI service will entail similar expenses? Let the Town do what it does best - and if the Town is really so good at what it does, perhaps the villages would like to buy some of those services from the Town.
Like many attractive ideas, the devil is in the details.

Anonymous said...

As an example of why government should not be dabbling in non-government endeavors, you need look no further than Rye Playland. What private enterprise could run such an operation with four deaths in four years and still be in operation? Leave WIFI to the private sector.

Anonymous said...

Jim Lasser: Your type of thinking is *precisely* what is required for someone in the position of Town Supervisor.

Paul Feiner: I have the sense that you are a well-intentioned person. Your ideas such as this, however, often make me feel embarrassed to live in Unincorporated Greenburgh. Since the the town chooses not to perform basic DPW maintenance tasks like weed-wacking, how could we trust or support that the town could maintain a WiFi network townwide or even on East Hartsdale Avenue?

Anonymous said...

If you need wireless that bad you can always buy a verizon card, and have internet everywhere. No need for Greenburgh to supply it.

TVozick said...

Town-wide free WIFI is a progressive idea, the kind Feiner is known for. Times have changed, folks - if you want younger people - your kids - to consider buying houses here and revitalize the community, you need to be progressive. Townwide WIFI is a great place to start. The restaurants will benefit - yes, drop off your pants and grab a coffee and check email. Take a trainride into Manhattan and take a look. It happens everywhere and it's time to be ahead of the curve.

Anonymous said...

Municipal WiFi is progressive, and I don't think that it's a bad idea. However, there are so many other mandated town functions that go neglected to address before this. I just don't trust that Greenburgh administration could handle the actuality of implementing and maintaining such a system. First show me something simple like regular street sweeping on Central Park Avenue; then perhaps I can support this venture.