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Posts from the "NIMBYs" Category

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How the Post Engineers Bike-Share Bashing, Facts Be Damned

It took a few days, but the Post found someone to go along with its bike-scare nonsense, according to the Post.

SHELL GAME: A DOT agent swoops in to adjust bike-share docks in response to public input.

Here’s the latest:

“The bike racks present challenges to firefighters and frankly, trying to get around the city now is harder than ever before,” Uniformed Firefighters Association President Steve Cassidy said at a press conference in Manhattan.

“I think that it is going to continue to impact response times for emergency vehicles in a negative way.”

Cassidy cites no examples of firefighters impeded by bike-share stations. Nor does he explain how bike racks placed along curbs make the city more difficult to negotiate than at any time in the 148-year history of the New York City Fire Department.

Once the tabloid had react quotes from Cassidy, the Post finally excerpted a statement from FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano, who on Tuesday said bike-share stations are not a problem for firefighters and other first responders. In a story that ran Tuesday, the Post failed to verify with FDNY that it took EMTs over an hour to get a man past an empty bike-share station and into an ambulance, which FDNY told Streetsblog was not true. Yesterday, the Post repeated this account — fed to the paper by people who are suing the city to have a bike-share station moved — and again omitted Cassano’s statement.

In January, Cassano and Mayor Bloomberg announced that FDNY achieved its fastest-ever average EMS response time last year. Cassidy claimed yesterday that the city’s response time numbers are off, but the union’s beef concerns 911 staffing levels, not time spent in traffic or getting around bike or pedestrian infrastructure.

The Advance, CBS, and the Daily News covered Cassidy’s press conference, and none of them reported his bike-share remarks. Yet the Post would have readers believe Cassidy summoned the media to denounce bike share.

Then there’s this:

Read more…

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New York Post Serving as Stenographers for Bike-Share Litigants [Updated]

Update: Streetsblog had a call in to FDNY about the Post story. After this post went up, we talked with spokesperson Frank Dwyer, who said: “We had no operational or response issues to this call. Period.”

If you believe the story in today’s New York Post, it took an EMT crew over an hour to get a 92-year-old man past an empty bike-share station and into an ambulance on Sunday. But the piece cites no EMTs to back up its claim.

Before the bike-share station was installed, parked cars lined the sidewalk in front of 175 W. 13th Street. Photo: @pwbnyc

Reporters Julia Marsh and Amber Sutherland quoted no sources other than residents of 175 W. 13th Street and their lawyer, who are suing the city to have the bike-share station removed.

“It’s exactly what this building feared would happen,” said Steven Shore, the building’s attorney, who filed a lawsuit over the bike racks last week. “The good news is the guy’s not dead.”

Parking spots for 39 bicycles create a barricade that runs the length of the 20-story co-op. The ambulance was forced to park three doors down along West 13th Street for the emergency call, the co-op board’s vice president, Dave Marcus, told The Post.

It took EMS workers more than an hour before Liss was taken to Beth Israel Hospital.

“With great difficulty they managed to get the guy out,” said Marcus. He called the kiosk, which was installed in the dead of night last month, an “impregnable wall.”

“The ambulance was forced to pull in at the eastern-most portion of the bike rack, where they had a clear shot to the sidewalk,” Marcus added.

It’s specious at best to claim that EMTs who must constantly work around any number of obstacles, like automobile traffic, could be foiled by a bike rack — particularly since the bike-share station in question replaced car parking. But clearly the Post has no qualms with printing straight-up propaganda from anyone who opposes Citi Bike.

Bonus: The Post put up a video with this story. What it shows is an FDNY vehicle stuck behind motorists, followed by footage of sanitation workers easily loading a truck from the sidewalk in front of 175 W. 13th.

Better luck next time, New York Post.

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FDNY: “We Haven’t Had Any Issues” With Bike-Share Locations

Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota, on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show yesterday, said that while he didn’t “know this for a fact,” he views the bike-share program as an example of failed agency coordination in the Bloomberg administration, because he’d read press reports that people were complaining about new bike-share stations potentially impeding emergency response. Despite Lhota’s speculation, based off hysterical media reports, the Fire Department says they were consulted by DOT and that the stations have not been a problem.

Joe Lhota's speculation about bike-share coordination? Turns out not to be true. Photo: Daily News

“You bring in the police commissioner and the fire commissioner and the DOT commissioner and you coordinate and you work out all of the issues related to, for example, where the bike racks are going,” Lhota said. “I don’t know if they’ve done that.”

Lehrer then asked, “So you’re for the bike-share program, but you think the racks aren’t being put in the right places because there was a bad decision-making process?”

Lhota continued:

It’s possible. There have been some articles about it already. You’ve got the bike racks, some that were in the Village, it was written up in one of the newspapers yesterday, that it’s you know, according to the article — I don’t know this for a fact — but they’re in violation of the fire code…Now, you could make this into a larger issue than it is…I’m all for the bike-share program, I’m for the bike lane programs, I’m not to be interpreted that I’m against it. But putting it in front of an entranceway of which emergency services use to rescue people, that’s insensitive.

In DOT’s report about the bike-share planning process, it lists NYPD and FDNY as “planning partners.” It also says that station sites “must not impede the use of…fire hydrants.”

Streetsblog checked with the Fire Department to see if New York’s Bravest had been consulted by DOT. “We gave to them our input,” a spokesperson said, adding that discussions took place at the battalion division or borough level, as the program’s initial phases will not be citywide, covering only parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

When Streetsblog asked if the stations have impeded fire access to buildings, the reply was simple: “We haven’t had any issues.”

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Trolley Terror! Meet the Original Prospect Park West NIMBYs

The electric trolley was said to be "dangerous to property, man, and beast."

Norm Steisel, Louise Hainline, Iris Weinshall, and their anti-bike “Better Bike Lane” comrades aren’t the first well-to-do, politically connected bunch to wage war against a new configuration for Prospect Park West. According to a fascinating Curbed piece from the Weekly Nabe’s Keith Williams, another powerful NIMBY cadre once sought to undermine a nascent progressive transportation movement. In the late 19th century, the object of fear and loathing was the electric trolley.

Williams writes that, at the time, Brooklyn was a smattering of separate towns, and railroad owner Henry W. Slocum saw an opportunity to provide residents with intra-city travel and access to the shore.

Slocum had already electrified the five miles of track between Park Circle (the southwest corner of Prospect Park) and Coney Island. In 1891, he was looking to convert the Brooklyn portion of that line: straight up what is now Prospect Park Southwest, across the future Prospect Park West to Ninth Street, and down to Smith.

But those living along Prospect Park weren’t having it. Their main argument was that electric trolleys would crush pedestrians without warning. Go figure: pulling a lever to operate an electric brake was more reliable than trying to get a horse to stop. There was also the fear of fire caused by falling wires, which had happened on a few occasions in other cities. The 500-volt supply was “enough to kill a regiment of men,” according to one electrician. Since then, however, safeguards had been developed to keep dislodged wires in place.

The drama even had its own Marty Markowitz, says Williams: Congressman David A. Boody, a trolley foe who became mayor of Brooklyn.

Read more…

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Businessman Who Protested 1st Ave Safety Fixes: It’s the 9-Year-Old’s Fault

NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance are reportedly targeting a crossing guard for her supposed role in the death of 6-year-old Amar Diarrassouba, who was killed by a truck driver in East Harlem Thursday morning. Meanwhile, a local businessman and community board member who waged a campaign against pedestrian refuges and protected bike lanes on First and Second Avenues has publicly pinned the blame on the victim’s 9-year-old brother.

Amar Diarrassouba

Robert Carroll was issued summonses for failure to yield and failure to exercise due care, according to the Post. Reports say Carroll was turning right from E. 117th Street onto First Avenue when he hit Amar with a rear tire of the tractor-trailer. Amar and older brother Youssouf were crossing First Avenue east to west, on their way to nearby P.S. 155.

Community Board 11 endorsed protected bike lanes and pedestrian refuges on First and Second Avenues from 96th to 125th Streets in September 2011, but rescinded its support two months later, when restaurant owners Frank Brija and Erik Mayor, who are also on the board, organized against the project.

Brija and Mayor, owners of Patsy’s Pizza and Milk Burger, respectively, said businesses were not contacted about the proposal for protected lanes and pedestrian islands, a claim refuted by DOT. They also said the safety measures would make traffic congestion worse and increase asthma rates.

The board ultimately endorsed the plan, which had broad community support, a second time, in March 2012. Construction was supposed to begin last spring, but was pushed back after the board waffled. While it’s impossible to know how the First Avenue redesign would have affected this crash, a narrower roadway may have saved Amar’s life by forcing Carroll to make a tighter, slower turn.

On Streetsblog and Twitter this morning, attorney Steve Vaccaro noted that, had the project proceeded as planned, the crash that killed Amar Diarrassouba might not have happened. In response, Mayor tweeted: “Steve you are pathetic to place blame on us. The child was being walked by his nine year old brother who did not pay attention.”

Erik Mayor, owner of Milk Burger and member of CB 11, waged a campaign against safety measures for the intersection where Amar was killed.

Read more…

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Union Square Skateboarder Was Killed on Rejected Pedestrian Plaza Space

The crash that killed a skateboarder near Union Square yesterday occurred on a block that DOT intended to use as a part-time pedestrian plaza until the agency capitulated to neighborhood NIMBYs.

Union Square West between E. 17th and E. 16th Streets, where a man was killed by a truck driver yesterday, was proposed as a part-time pedestrian space in 2010. DOT dropped the plan in response to NIMBY objections. Image: NYC DOT

At around 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, the 24-year-old victim, whose name had not been released as of this morning, was run over by the driver of a delivery truck on Union Square West just south of E. 17th Street. Accounts vary, but according to NYPD the man was riding his skateboard when he “lost control” and fell underneath the passing truck.

Though there seem to be as many versions of the crash as there were witnesses, at 3:15 p.m. the Post reported that NYPD had declared the crash an “accident” and would not be filing charges against the driver.

As part of its 2010 plan to give room to pedestrians and cyclists around Union Square, DOT proposed that Union Square West between 17th and 16th Streets be designated as “flex space,” to be closed to motor vehicle traffic at certain times of day.

DOT did not announce the exact hours the space would be car-free before that facet of the plan was dropped in response to complaints from area residents. However, if the block was intended to be programmed as part-time plaza space, it seems likely that it would have been open to pedestrians and closed to motor vehicle traffic at lunchtime on a weekday.

Yesterday’s fatality occurred a short distance from where Roxana Sorina Buta was run over by a hit-and-run truck driver, at Broadway and 14th Street, in May.

This fatal crash occurred in the 13th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector David Ehrenberg, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 13th Precinct council meetings happen at 6:30 p.m. on the on the third Tuesday of the month at the precinct, 230 E. 21st Street. Call 212-477-7427 for information.

The City Council district where this crash occurred is represented by Rosie Mendez. To encourage Mendez to take action to improve street safety in her district and citywide, contact her at 212-677-1077, rmendez@council.nyc.gov or @RosieMendez.

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Can East Side NIMBYs Thwart the UN Bike-Share Terror Threat?

Ban Ki-moon may be pleased by the prospect of bike-share docks near the United Nations, but self-styled security advisors from the neighborhood are second-guessing the secretary general. DNAinfo reports:

Surely no one takes the bike-share bomb nonsense seriously. Except the media, and possibly NYPD.

Dr. David Gootnik, who lives near East 43rd and Second Avenue, said the area is vulnerable because it is home to not only the United Nations but also dozens of international missions and embassies.

At a recent Community Board 6 meeting, Gootnik, who runs a management training and development firm with his wife, referenced a 2008 terrorist attack that took place in Jaipur, India, during which the attackers used bicycles to house their explosives.

Fifty-six people died in the incident, and 84 were wounded, according to reports.

“Why do I share this horrific true story?” Gootnik said during his presentation to the community board.

“Because it appears that bombs inserted on or in bike parts could become a tool of global terrorists in our city under a citywide massive bike program.”

Never mind cars and trucks, backpacks, suitcases, shoes or other would-be explosive delivery devices, including the hundreds of thousands of bikes presently on streets and inside buildings across the city (the ones Marcia Kramer already warned us about). Terrorists around the world are biding their time until Manhattan is blanketed with potential bright blue Citi Bombs — assuming they are not turned off by the pricing structure, which is geared toward short trips and not meant to encourage bike-to-bomb conversions.

What Dr. Gootnik fails to appreciate is that bike-share provides an exceedingly clever mechanism to infiltrate and ultimately dismantle the intricate financial underpinnings of global terror networks. Just think of all the terrorists whose credit cards will now be on file thanks to Citi Bike.

The capper: Following preemptive complaints from terror nuts and garden variety NIMBYs who want to keep cyclists away, NYPD is reportedly evaluating Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, located on E. 47th Street between First and Second Avenues, to determine its appropriateness as a bike-share location.

During last week’s CB 6 meeting, when the board recommended that DOT implement plans for new Midtown bike lanes ahead of this summer’s bike-share rollout, members also issued a call for constructive suggestions for station sitings. Comments may be sent to bikeshare@cbsix.org.