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  1.  

    JudenChino

    Also, you guys gonna do a recap on last night’s episode of Girls which had a nice segment reflecting the ridiculousness of CB meetings. If only they were like in the show.

  2.  

    JudenChino

    Here’s a good one from Gelinas in today’s NYPost about how Cuomo is just a disaster for transit and in particular, the Airport Redesigns http://nypost.com/2015/02/22/jamming-up-laguardia-andrew-cuomos-airport-meddling/

    All this is consistent with Alon Levy’s post on Cuomo/Authoritarianism https://pedestrianobservations.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/authoritarian-leaders-and-agenda-setting/ in which the only thing Cuomo cares about re: transit/mobility — is making himself look good. All this, to be fair, is PolySci 101 — but still fascinating, notwithstanding cynicism inducing and terrible policy, to see this all play out in real time and to see the court jesters (the press) praise the emperor on his new clothes.

  3.  

    Bolwerk

    Clarification: 2% of total [reported pedestrian/motor vehicle] crashes.

    The statewide number of crashes is significantly higher, but includes things like drivers crashing without hitting peds.

  4.  

    Bolwerk

    I’m not even clear why fatalities is the interesting metric. Look at state data: 16,432 pedestrian/motor vehicle crashes, but only 343 deaths or about 2% of total crashes. Meanwhile, there are 1944 “serious” (their term) injuries or about 11%. Seems clear to me the odds of being killed in such a collision are low, but the odds of being hurt badly are pretty high.

    (all numbers from 2013).

  5.  

    Joe R.

    Arguably, parking is the area which would not only make the biggest difference towards reaching Vision Zero, but it’s also the area most directly under the control of NYC. In the end all our traffic problems stem from traffic volumes which are much too high. The biggest way to reduce them is to make it much harder to own or use a car by reducing the supply of available parking, both off-street, and especially on-street.

  6.  

    Joe R.

    Part of it is also because things are just too far to walk to. As much as many on this site moan the lack of pedestrian amenities in places like Staten Island, or in many NY metro area suburbs, the hard fact is even if they existed they wouldn’t see much use, hence there wouldn’t be popular support to build them. Perhaps the focus should instead be on infill development, rezoning for higher density, less segregation of residential/commercial/educational, etc. Once things are close enough together that it’s possible to walk then more people will want to make it safe to walk. Arguably, that’s why NYC has (mostly) great pedestrian amenities. It had them long before the livable streets movement existed precisely because many people wanted to make many trips on foot. I’ve little doubt the same would be true on Staten Island if it more resembled the other four boroughs.

    There should be more biking facilities on Staten Island (and also in many suburbs). Things there are plenty close for biking. Perhaps we should start there.

  7.  

    Joe R.

    I’m not saying they calculated it, or even thought of it. I’m saying from a strictly policy standpoint we should consider that anyone using a car bought into the risk of doing so, while those not using cars didn’t. The end result of such policy is higher priority for protecting those not in cars, even if it’s to the detriment of those in cars. A great example might be bollards protecting the sidewalk. Sure, they may make a car crash into them fatal for the car occupants which otherwise might not have have been, but that’s an acceptable price to pay given the near certainty an out of control car would have of killing anyone it hits on the sidewalk. Sure, there’s always a risk of getting hurt by other people doing dumb things. However, you can alter the physical layout of the streets so mainly only those doing the dumb things get hurt or killed, not innocent bystanders. Doing so even makes sense from a fairness standpoint. I personally feel we’ve made modern cars too safe for the good of those around them. There’s some truth to the saying the best safety device would be a spike in the middle of the steering wheel.

  8.  

    Aunt Bike

    There was a hit piece in the Staten Island Advance yesterday titled “DOT acknowledges its own red light camera report is misleading; local pols demand more transparency”.
    http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/02/local_officials_want_more_tran.html#incart_m-rpt-1

  9.  

    qrt145

    Staten Island is “safer” by population because relatively few people walk there. But part of the reason people don’t walk in places like that is because it is not safe!

  10.  

    Guest

    I highly doubt that many people calculate the risk of a crash when they buy a plane ticket. To say that someone should expect a higher chance of death because they’re in a car is absurd.
    When engaged in any activity, you need to prepare for the risks of other people doing dumb things. That’s a part of life, and can’t be eliminated.

  11.  

    Guest

    If you look at that graph, it also shows the pedestraian fatality rate as statistically negligible on Staten Island. When you’re already at single digits, it doesn’t take much in the way of freak events to throw off your graph.

    I emphasize that I don’t mean that to minimize the tragedy that each of those deaths represent, but it’s disingenuous to call out Staten Island as “dangerous” when it is actually statistically safer by population. 1/16th of the city’s population, well under 1/16th of the pedestrian fatalities over the last 30 years. That’s a good thing, not a bad one.

  12.  

    Bolwerk

    Getting rid of requirements isn’t the same as finding incentive to get rid of parking that already exists. It doesn’t even seem to stop parking if the developer wants it, which seems dumb since there is so much of it cratering the city.

    Still, it’s something.

  13.  

    Bolwerk

    Check out The Times’ reelection endorsement for Cuomo back in October. It praises his courage and talks of his prowess with state finances. Why, state budgets were even on time!

    Already, even back then, Cuomo rarely took positions on issues unless he had to, hardly a sign of courage. The Times never pressed him to take positions on the transit system, despite Cuomo even having a history of stiffing it in his first term. But now they raise an eyebrow? They really suck at the journalism thing.

  14.  

    Jeff

    “But it would eliminate all parking requirements for new low-income, inclusionary and affordable senior housing units that are within a half-mile of mass transit. That zone covers the vast majority of the city.”

    If I’m reading this correctly, isn’t this kind of a big deal? Like something us advocates have been bitching about for years, every single time the concept of “affordable housing” comes up? Especially if I’m interpreting “inclusionary” correctly–those projects where the developers agree to set aside a certain percentage of the building for lower-income households, which is supposed to be a huge part De Blasio’s housing plan.

  15.  

    Joe R.

    I think he means absolute peak. If we assume cars follow each other at such speed that they can stop if the car in front suddenly stops dead, then that implies following distances of ~160 feet at 55 mph but only 20 feet at 20 mph (I’m using the same deceleration rate, 0.63g, for both calculations). Add in 20 feet for car length. This gives us 1613 cars/hour at 55 mph but 2640 cars/hour at 20 mph. If you want to add 0.5 second reaction time to the calculations then we get 1318 cars/hour at 55 mph and 1931 cars/hour at 20 mph.

    That said, unless there’s a really good reason to slow cars down to 20 mph, like many vulnerable users who can’t be totally physically separated, it makes more sense to go with higher design speeds. Modern cars are actually most efficient in the 45 to 55 mph speed range. The exception is EVs whose efficiency peaks at ~5 mph (if we ignore heating/cooling power in the passenger compartment). Moreover, in the interests of transportation efficiency, combined with modern car design, it seems 75 to 100 mph is probably most optimal if you have total physical separation,. Obviously this means limited access highways, not urban surface streets. Anyway, the larger point is capacities per lane continue to increase as speed decreases, at least down to about 20 mph. Below 20 mph they decrease. Besides that, there are few safety benefits slowing motor traffic to less than about 20 mph. At 20 mph it’s possible to avoid most collisions with vulnerable users, or to brake down to a low enough speed that a collision is highly unlikely to cause injury. That’s not so if we allow 30 to 50 mph speeds on urban surface streets.

  16.  

    Joe R.

    On the speed differential, think of assholes who put it in reverse at 15 or 20 mph to grab a parking spot which was just vacated behind them. I’ve had close calls with people like that. Then you have your run of the mill “I’m looking for a spot” driver who is going at 10 or 15 mph, stopping or slowing frequently when they see someone they think may be vacating a spot. It’s f-ing annoying as hell to be behind a jerk like that. It’s one thing to slow the general speed of free flowing traffic from 40 or 50 mph down to 20 to 30 mph. That’s good. It’s quite another to add the element of unpredictability that people parking or looking for parking cause. Public roads are thoroughfares for transportation. As such, you generally want traffic lanes to be moving at design speed all the time unless there’s a good reason for them not to be (i.e. a red light). Parking or looking for parking causes unpredictability, which in turn causes collisions and gridlock. On some streets half the traffic is people looking for parking.

    As for the aesthetic argument, yes, I’m 100% OK when people use that as an argument against bike parking, too. Parked bikes don’t look a whole lot better than parked cars but in their defense a bike rack doesn’t block lines of sight at intersections. Also, you can park a dozen bikes in the space of one car, meaning the street will look much better if you replaced car parking with bike parking on a 1 to 1 ratio. Your typical 250′ city block which can now accommodate maybe 20 parked cars on both sides can serve the same number of people with one bike rack maybe 30 feet long. It still may be ugly, but it leaves most of the street free for other uses. Also, bikes parking or unparking don’t cause all the aforementioned traffic issues. And then you have the fact that many businesses can actually easily accommodate a small number of bikes inside the store just by putting up a small bike rack. Can’t do that at all with cars, barring of course an expensive parking garage on site. Bottom line-parked bikes are lot easier to deal with than parked cars, both in terms of aesthetics and cost.

  17.  

    andrelot

    This assertion

    ” Road capacity increases with decreasing speed, all the way down to 20mph”

    is false in the sense that optimum road throughput is contingent on geometry and other design features.

    Controlled-access highways with standard design have a peak capacity at around 55-58mph.

  18.  

    J

    Indeed. DOT’s designs at intersections are not good at all. Nothing like what’s done in the Netherlands.

    http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2011/04/state-of-art-bikeway-design-or-is-it.html

  19.  

    Simon Phearson

    Oh, absolutely agreed. Protected infrastructure is the way to go. But not if it, uh, funnels you into oncoming traffic that’s not expecting you to pop up there – which is kind of how the DOT tends to do things.

  20.  

    J

    Fair enough. A network of low speed, low volume bike boulevards could be an excellent option for Bushwick.

    A network of sharrows and double parking lanes would not be much of a change, though.

  21.  

    J

    But would you want your child to mix with traffic? What about friends or loved ones? Most people would not and thus this type of bike lane design serves a VERY limited section of the population. The places where riding a bicycle is a comfortable and convenient option for a broad cross-section of the population do not rely on mixing with traffic, except on streets with very low car speeds AND very low car volumes.

  22.  

    Andrew

    Technological promises? The technology exists. It works fine.

  23.  

    native new yorker

    2-way VZ tolling would mean installing gantries over the Brooklyn-bound lanes at the Bridge. Heard these wonderful technological promises before. MTA has never done high-speed or even barrier-less EZPass readers, you know they will screw it up. The SIE (I-278)/VZ is the only route from SI to the rest of NYC.

  24.  

    Bolwerk

    Borrowing is so evil we need to throw away our transit system to make sure it never happens.

  25.  

    West Harlem Citizen

    I always used this highway to drive to my cottage in Vermont. Tear it down? The backups on Friday afternoons would be incredible.

  26.  

    ahwr

    It would work the same way it does on the Henry Hudson Bridge. If you don’t have EZPass you get a bill in the mail.

    http://web.mta.info/bandt/html/henry.html

    Going back to two way tolling would not have to lead to any traffic backups. EZPass or a bill in the mail, no need for anyone to slow down, stop, and pay cash leading to traffic backups on the bridge. But if that doesn’t happen and the one-way toll is preserved going through Manhattan saves less than ten percent with the cordon toll and reduced outerboro bridge tolls, instead of 100% today.

  27.  

    TYLER 2

    This is humorous if one does the math and finds out how many lane miles there are on North-South avenues in Manhattan alone. Manhattan should be completed in about 55 years, allow extra time for union trouble along the line, lawsuits and other typical-New York slowdowns and inefficiencies and the smart money would be on about 100 years. Someone in City government needs to get serious or leave the public payroll and start writing for SNL or the Comedy Channel; with a statement like that, they’d be very qualified.

  28.  

    qrt145

    Cashless toll systems without transponders already exist, and are based on license plate readers. The DMV knows where you live and can send you the bill.

  29.  

    J S

    And by ‘accidents’ I mean serious collisions with leaking fuel, smashed wind shields, etc.

  30.  

    J S

    As an Astorian and a new resident of 21st Street, I’m shocked that it wasn’t included on this list. It’s way too wide for the amount of traffic it carries with really long lights, leading cars to habitually speed. I’ve witnessed the aftermath of 2 accidents here in the past 6 months alone, and almost got clipped when crossing with the light!

  31.  

    IlIlIl

    The roads need to change less than the mentality of drivers in this city. Who cares if there are pretty green lanes if no one acknowledges their purpose? Manhattan Ave bike lane is a parking/loading/unloading zone for people and the police 24/7.

  32.  

    native new yorker

    This plan looks wonderful on paper. But we’ve all heard promises like this before about how much money the city will get for new transit projects, etc, etc, blah, blah, blah…. The money ends up in some pit until the next brainstorm.

    The one-way (westbound) Verrazano toll is protected by federal law. The eastbound toll plazas have been permanently removed. So forget about 2-way tolling there. The eastbound toll was removed because traffic was backing up along the SI Expwy all the way to the West Shore Expressway, and that was in 1986. 2-way tolling on the VZ today would back up all the way to the Outerbridge Crossing.

    Adding EZpass readers to the East River bridges is great, as long as you have EZPass. What about motorists who don’t, out of towners and visitors?

  33.  

    Simon Phearson

    I dunno, given the way they tend to implement cycling infrastructure, I personally feel safer without it than with it. There’s a two-way bike lane in my neighborhood that periodically becomes a bus stop (and is unprotected throughout, so it’s often parked in). My regular commuting route puts me in a buffered lane that switches from the left side to the right side of the street, with the cross happening precisely where most car traffic is trying to turn across the lane.

    I’d rather mix with traffic, where I can at least behave predictably. I often purposely choose routes with no bike infrastructure, so that I don’t have to worry about getting ticketed for not using it when it seems designed to get me killed.

  34.  

    realposter

    Long overdue

  35.  

    c2check

    I mean, most of Bushwick streets are pretty low-traffic, so I don’t really see a dire need for PBLs here in particular (I’d think Bushwick Ave could be a candidate if they were to do so since both the streets and sidewalks are relatively wide).
    I would love to see some bike boulevards go in, though.

  36.  

    Bobberooni

    Riverside drive may be an alternative to the Greenway if you’re coming from midtwown. But from Morningside Heights it’s the only way to get to the GWB without major hills. For those of us who (used to) bike-commute there from NJ, that’s important.

  37.  

    Bobberooni

    If you’re going to do that, you need to also design the highway with adequate entrance ramp capacity. If you’re trying to get to the GWB from Morningside Heights, getting on the Henry Hudson at 125 St. can be a huge bottleneck. Among other things, it involves a crazy left turn with full of people trying to illegally cut in front of you.

  38.  

    Bobberooni

    > 1) Parked cars are an eyesore. That alone is enough
    > of a reason to not allow it.

    The same “logic” is used all too frequently against bike parking and CitiBike. Enough is enough.

    > In other words, assuming a 30 mph speed limit,
    > the differential speed of a parking car from traffic
    > can be upwards of 30 mph.

    Yes, it’s now 31mph. And the fact that someone is backing up encourages everyone to slow down, which is good.

    > Frankly, as a pedestrian, I feel safer with 4000lbs of
    > steel between me and moving vehicles than on a
    > street without parking.

    The parked cars also prevent you from getting splashed on a rainy day.

  39.  

    Bobberooni

    Trees on the viaduct? Do you know what road you’re talking about? And how will that increase property values for the numerous homes built along that street? This isn’t the High Line…

    Sorry, I think the best uses for that space are travel (bike & car), and parking.

  40.  

    Bobberooni

    The viaduct is a last ditch parking spot for people willing to walk twenty minutes in an area where jobs pay a fraction of what they do in midtown and it’s served by only one local train. Give em a break, people are getting exercise.

  41.  

    Bobberooni

    A long as there are two lanes going through the intersection,a road diet on the viaduct will make no difference in traffic capacity. Road capacity increases with decreasing speed, all the way down to 20mph. The fact that there is so much speeding is evidence that the viaduct is way under capacity. Channeling the cars into one lane will make it far safer for anyone walking, biking or parking there.

  42.  

    Sean Kelliher

    You’re right. Parked cars do provide a road diet, but it is a not very attractive and not very productive use of space.

    We’re coming from the perspective that the space can only be used for either vehicular travel or parking. There are other uses though to consider. Here are a few examples –

    The space could be repurposed for a wider sidewalk or bike lane. Thinking broader – we could have a row of trees to shade buildings, clean the air, increase property values, and provide spots for people to rest. It could be a play area for children to get exercise close to home; or space for vendors that would provide jobs and generate tax revenue.

  43.  

    walks bikes drives

    But alas, it is not breaking the law because I do move it, several times per week – but just across the street. Alternate Side Parking.

    But why would we want so many travel lanes? That increases speed. And having cars parked on the side is effectively a road diet of sorts. But again, I am in firm agreement there is room for improvement.

  44.  

    Simon Phearson

    If you’re parking your car on the street and not driving it except for once or twice a month, you are breaking the law – city ordinances prohibit storing your car on the street for more than a week at a time.

    I don’t understand why curbside parking exists anywhere. If a business wants a place for its customers to park, let them build it! If an apartment building wants places for its residents to park, let them build it! Just think how many traveling lanes we could have, if we took out the parking lanes that are on virtually every street.

  45.  

    Joe R.

    Here are the reasons why I feel curbside parking is an awful, awful, really, really awful concept:

    1) Parked cars are an eyesore. That alone is enough of a reason to not allow it.

    2) In order to parallel park, you have to stop dead and then go into reverse. In other words, assuming a 30 mph speed limit, the differential speed of a parking car from traffic can be upwards of 30 mph. If that isn’t about the most dangerous thing possible then I don’t know what is. I’ve had more close calls with cars pulling into and out of parking spots than with anything else. Parking cars also impede smooth traffic flow.

    3) Parked cars create an ever present dooring hazard to cyclists. Yes, I know all about avoiding the door zone except often you can’t. For instance, you might be stuck on a street with traffic going too aggressively to take the lane but there’s not enough room in the parking lane to get out of the door zone.

    4) Parked cars interfere with snow removal. Without parked cars, plowed snow could be pushed into the nearest sewer or otherwise piled where it doesn’t block crosswalks. With parked cars often the plowed snow ends up in hills in front of crosswalks.

    5) If people can store private property like cars by the curb, then in fairness to those who pay taxes but don’t own cars you should also allow storage of other types of private property.

    6) Curbside parking increases the supply of available parking which in turn encourages more car ownership. This is true whether you charge for it or not. I’ve found many car owners are illogical, in that they’ll spend far more to keep a car than it’s worth. Therefore, even paying for parking might not be enough to discourage car ownership. Outright eliminating parking on the other hand would.

    As to those who use car infrequently, while it’s true you’re hardly adding to traffic or pollution, you are hurting the city’s economy. From an accounting standpoint owning an expensive asset which is seldom used is a highly inefficient use of that asset. It would make more sense to rent a car the rare times you need it. And that money spent on the car ends up not being put into other economic activities which might benefit the city more.

    Frankly, as a pedestrian, I feel safer with 4000lbs of steel between me and moving vehicles than on a street without parking.

    The fact that you feel you need protection from moving vehicles while on a sidewalk speaks volumes as to the horridly low standards for driver training (and if anything makes the case for a lot lower levels of car ownership/driver licensing). No way, no how should a motor vehicle properly driven ever end up on a sidewalk, even in the absence of a row of parked cars to block it. If one does, then it should be grounds for immediate, permanent revocation of the driver’s license, and forfeiture of the vehicle being driven. Besides that, if you eliminate parking, the space would most likely be used for a bus lane or bike lane. In either case, particularly a bike lane, you would want a strong physical barrier between it and motor traffic lanes. That barrier would serve the same purpose the row of parked cars does now.

  46.  

    Mark Walker

    I should probably note, since no one else has, that a vast stretch of lower RSD already has two traffic lanes plus parking on both sides, in the 70s, 80s, and the 90s where I live. So converting to that configuration farther up really should not be much of a conceptual stretch. 25 (or even 20) mph would be welcome, given the many peds crossing into the park.

  47.  

    KillMoto

    “All these morons are doing is wasting gas, putting wear and tear on their drivetrains/brakes.”

    True that. But some of them are rushing to the red light so they can read and send text messages.

  48.  

    walks bikes drives

    But those of us who own a car and use it once or twice a month, as you mention, are neither adding to traffic or adding to the pollution, since we use them infrequently. I use my car when public transportation or cycling is not feasible. Otherwise, my car sits there and doesnt hurt anyone. I am all for losing a parking space here and there for safety, even several here and there. But your argument about the storage of cars, frankly, I find obsurd. I agree that parking should not be free, and that permits should be required with a fee attached. But your overall belief against curb side parking, I’ll never agree with. Frankly, as a pedestrian, I feel safer with 4000lbs of steel between me and moving vehicles than on a street without parking.

  49.  

    BBnet3000

    Absolutely not a single protected lane, that’s pretty much definite. Whether we get even a half mile of regular bike lanes is even money I’d say.

  50.  

    J

    $1,000 says this plan results in double parking lanes and sharrows, and not a single protected bike lane or bike boulevard. And most people in the area who don’t bike already will continue to not bike.