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    Even if that is true, that’s not a remotely good argument against SBS. It’s an argument for better signage.

    Or banning driving because you evidently think drivers are stupid.



    Don’t make comparisons like that without a lot of care. London is a sort of strange municipal hodgepodge and much of Munich’s space is greenbelt, including a big regal park. Actual urban density in either can be much higher.

    That said, Queens is dense enough to support a significantly larger heavy rail network.



    The TWU thing is funny because de Blasio is ideologically pro-union and Cuomo is more anti-union.

    Crain’s raises the right point. $30 billion over five years for improvements that often last decades raises hysterical teeth-gnashing in political and media circles, but other than a few anti-labor/anti-transit right-wingers nobody blinks that the MTA probably spends double what a first world country does on transit system labor. Often for shittier outcomes too.



    A 10-figure improvement for a few thousand daily jetsetters? I don’t call that a very worthwhile improvement for the community.

    Granted, I can see the PATH idea being justifiable at $500M (the estimate from a decade ago).


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    While I am aware that Christie is as dishonest and corrupt as the day is long, and while I generally frown on the lobbyist/government merry-go-round such as practiced by NJ DOT Commissioner Fox, I am finding it hard to work up outrage over the United “scandal” in particular.

    United’s requests to the Port Authority for improvements to Newark Airport were certainly motivated by self-interest; but the benefits of these improvements — most especially the PATH extension — would be shared by the entire community. If, in return, United accommodated the then-PATH chairman David Samson with flights to his hometown that they wouldn’t otherwise have run, well, this seems like a pretty benign arrangement.

    This deal with United was discovered during investigations into Christie’s closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge, an absurd move on his part designed to punish the Fort Lee mayor for failing to act according to Christie’s dictates in one matter or another. That is a big deal. The PATH/airport thing, not so much.

    It would be possible to find illegal holding on every corner kick in soccer and on every play from scrimmage in the NFL. Likewise, it would be possible to find some benefactors analogous to Samson who get something personally out of every public works job everywhere. That’s just how life works.

    There must be about a thousand instances in Christie’s administration of shady arrangements that only hurt the public. In light of this, I just can’t get excited over a little horse-trading on the edges that would result in significant public benefits. I guess I’d like to see more focus on the really damaging stuff, of which there surely is no shortage.

    Everyone should support nailing Christie for being a sleazebag and a wannabe-kingpin. But there is no reason to hold him and his administration to standards that no other state or big-city government could measure up to.



    The Post may have a new headline writer, but they are letting UPS get away with the line that they are just double parking. However stopping in the bike lane is not just double parking, it is stopping in a no standing zone. It is the same infraction as stopping on the middle of the BQE or stopping in a crosswalk. Commercial vehicles are permitted to park next to the bike lane with the same caveats as when double parking, but that is not what UPS drivers do.



    It’s about time to install real bike lanes across the city. We give away free parking when what we need are safe bike lanes (and fewer cars). How much do we subsidize cars with free parking and free roads? We should tally that up and subsidize biking just as much.


    Allan Rosen

    You admit that the driver may have been confused by the signage. And yes he was negligent by not looking first before turning. No one stated that the confusing signage caused the accident. But it certainly was a contributing factor and that is the whole point.

    If the signs were clear, the driver would have made the rightturn from the rightmost lane, the bus lane, and the fact that he did not check traffic to his right would not have mattered since there would not have been any traffic to his right.

    As eugenefalk stated “People make mistakes and it is the responsibility of traffic engineering to minimize mistakes not create a situation where people make more mistakes.”


    Joe R.

    Traffic engineers also seek to minimize the consequences of mistakes. In this case, indeed in all of NYC, placing bollards to protect the sidewalk would be such a measure. Sure, drivers may run off the road. Bollards will ensure they come to a stop before the hit pedestrians on the sidewalks.


    Joe R.

    And yet plenty of people like me get by just fine without driving. Given that the Woodhaven SBS will run through one of the poorer areas of Queens, I think you can assume the car-owning percentage of households will be a lot less than 60%. Also, most of those who don’t own cars in this area can’t afford car services, either.


    Simon Phearson

    “Making a mistake” is just a way to conflate culpable negligence with honest errors. I reject that terminology.

    Sure, it’s possible to make an honest mistake. But, knowing this, a reasonably careful driver ought to operate their vehicle so that an “honest mistake” doesn’t result in getting someone killed or causing massive property damage. So, you shouldn’t speed, you should always signal your turns, you should adjust your driving habits based on weather and street conditions, and so on.

    The point continues to be irrelevant here in any case. The driver may have been confused by the signage, but there isn’t any indication here that the confusion caused the accident or the driver’s apparent negligence in the confusing conditions.

    I don’t know why you want to shift the discussion to one about pedestrians. Well, I do – you want to avoid admitting how wrong you are on the point you first made, so you want to change the flamebait. But suffice it to say that I haven’t started talking about them because no one here was talking about pedestrians or how pedestrians through their negligence cause buses to crash into buildings.


    Alexander Vucelic

    1/2 of Queens area Is empty ( swamp,JFk, etc) so Comparing Apples to Apples Queens had greater density than Paris.

    But Queens has more than 2x density of

    Munich at 10,000
    London at 12,000

    so the argument that Queens Is not dense enough for SBS Is false


    Alexander Vucelic

    1/2 of Queens area Is swamp, JFK, etc

    Munich density 10,000
    London density 12,000


    Alexander Vucelic

    not quite since 1/2 queens is swamp, JFK, etc.

    Munich density 12,000
    London density 10,000

    Thanks for playing



    Queens 21,333 persons/square mile
    Paris 55,000 persons/square mile


    Alexander Vucelic

    Queens has greater density than Paris



    Hmmm…let’s think this one through. Queens is inner suburban with many detached and semi-detached homes. Over 60% of Queens residents own cars and of those who do not, many depend on car services, which will not be allowed to use the bus lanes. Neither will car pools.

    Mass transit from the Woodhaven Corridor is really only practical for Manhattan, Long Island City and surrounding neighborhoods, Flushing, Jamaica, and downtown Brooklyn work trips. The car or car services rule for every other type of trip. Compared to restoring the Rockaway Beach Line and running it into Grand Central Terminal when the LIRR connection opens, or to Penn Station, SBS/BRT will pose a marginal time improvement for mass transit trips compared to the current system. It certainly won’t draw people from cars for trips to The Bronx, Connecticut, New Jersey, or Westchester, or even to the Upper East Side.

    So pray tell, how can anyone seriously believe that SBS/BRT is going to reduce accidents on Woodhaven Blvd even with a roadway redesign to include pedestrian islands? Are there going to be big masses of people willing to leave their cars at home, or not call a car service or “Uber it”? Not without massive bus route changes and fare restructuring allowing for three buses for a single fare, which are not part of the plan. SBS alone will not be incentive enough for passengers to leave their cars at home especially during off-hours when bus headways are sparse at every 15 to 30 minutes. Also, some believe that the street redesign which will require boarding the bus from the center of the street instead of from the service roads will increase the number of accidents, as harried commuters rush to catch a bus without first looking for cars as they cross existing and new service roads to be created.

    Rather than safer streets, actually the opposite is true. There will be more injuries and deaths. Throwing bus lane roadblocks on of Queens’ busiest roadways will only make motorists, car service/Uber drivers, truck/van drivers more anxious, frustrated, and angry. And they will take to using residential streets because there is no feasible north-south alternative to Woodhaven. DOT’s plan has not been thought through.

    And that’s the biggest plus of the Rockaway Beach Line, or QueensRail. It makes transit much more attractive than buses, even BRT. It will draw transit-oriented development (who in their right mind would dump millions into a new development because of fancy painted lanes). All without causing more havoc, including to residents and businesses on one of the busiest roads in New York City.



    The MUTCD REQUIRES signs to be clear and concise to minimize motorist confusion and reaction time. When signage is not clear and concise motorists make mistakes. One (you) can make the argument that motorists should not make mistakes but that is the nature of people. People make mistakes and it is the responsibility of traffic engineering to minimize mistakes not create a situation where people make more mistakes.

    Obviously, if neither motorists of pedestrians made mistakes there would be no traffic crashes. It’s interesting that you don’t discuss pedestrian mistakes — or deliberate violations of law such as crossing mid-block or against the light. Or looking at a phone / computer screen and just walking into traffic.



    “the law would be to ake your right turn from the lane where the SUV made that turn”.

    No, because what the law actually says is that bus lanes may be used for right turns. No signs are required. See §4-12(m) of Title 34 of the RCNY. On the other hand, I see nothing in the law that implies that the existence of a bus lane allows an illegal turn across a lane of traffic.


    Danny Ruscillo

    Yes nonsense and dangerous!


    Allan Rosen

    The MTA in its 2013 Looking Ahead report specifically stated that they would consider reactivating un or underutilized railroad rights of way. When the state made funds available for exactly that reason, the MTA’s response was they have not made up their mind whether or not they will apply for that funding. Why should they even question not applying? It is because they are afraid that the results of such a study might conclude QueensRail is affordable and can provide more long term benefits than SBS could ever do and without any of the negative impacts SBS will have like trucks using residential streets and longer indirect and slower trips for motorists, or an expensive ongoing yearly operating cost for enforcement.

    A study might jeopardize DOT’s plans for SBS and Queensway and that is the reason the MTA is undecided if they should apply for funding to study the feasibility of QueensRail which should have been included in the original corridor study anyway. Instead SBS was predetermined as the solution before the study began. Now proponents are trying to manufacture reasons to support it such as this article which claims without any proof whatsoever that SBS could have prevented past accidents had it been in place.


    Allan Rosen

    My description of the signage has been clear. I stated that some signs indicate only buses are allowed in the bus lane. Others say right turns are also permitted from that lane. I stated that the sign on the block preceding where the accident occurred stated it was a bus lane only. Barring any banning of a right turn where te accident occurred, the law would be to ake your right turn from the lane where the SUV made that turn. Therefore he broke no law by making that turn because he adhered to the signage.

    However , he failed to exercise due caution by making sure there were no vehicles on is right side who were going straight since those vehicles woud have the right of way over vehicles that are turning, so there was a collision. Of the half dozen accounts I read regarding the accident, WPIX was te only source that mentioned an illegal u-turn by the bus. Perhaps they omitted it because it was irrelevant to the accident having occurred earlier. You state Streetsblog’s description does not blame the bus driver for causing the accident.

    Here are the exact words from the article: “Woodhaven’s high crash rate came up in the news again last month when a bus driver heading to the Resorts World casino crashed into a Rego Park building after making an illegal U-turn, colliding with another vehicle. Six people were injured in the crash.” That certainly seems to blame the u-turn supposedly made by the bus as at least being a factor in the accident, neglecting to mention that the accident really was caused by the SUV making a right turn from the lane adjacent to the bus lane or whether tat was or was not the appropriate lane for him to be in. I would call Streetsblog summation of the accident as misleading at best, and totally incompete. So nowhere did I make a fallacious ad hominem attack.

    The thrust of the article is that accidents such as what occurred is the reason Woodhaven needs to be redesigned when the truth is that the redesign that was done so far to make the roadway safer was a contributing factor to the accident. You say you would “never accuse the DOT of competence” So why would you trust them to make further changes to the roadway?


    Allan Rosen

    if signs are unclear, that causes hesitation and last minute decisions by drivers who do not use the road everyday. Those decisions are likely to cause accidents. So it doesn’t matter how safely a driver is operating his motor vehicle if he becomes confused by missing, poorly placed or unreadable or comflicting signage and that causes him or the vehicle adjacent to him to have an accident or both of them.

    The responsibility for that accident is the agency responsible for the signage and lane markings that also ay ve unclear or totally worn out, not the drivers who are victims of that poor signage and pavement markings. Please place the responsibility where it belongs. Every accident is not always the fault of the motor vehicle operator as you imply. If someone steps in front of a car without first looking, there is little a driver may be able to do to avoid a collision.


    Anon resident

    Still amazed how the former GM, Justin Ginsberg who help tank Citibike ends up working at Motivate.


    Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr.

    Rick, that is because there is a lack of accountability, a lack of communication, as well as the lack of transparency by the NYC DOT and the MTA that many ordinary New Yorkers, especially in Queens do not even know about. The bottom line is this: Their political crusade to solve a general problem on public transportation and safety was too exaggerated by using data and statistics to address the general public about the positives of SBS and leaving out the negatives or any improvements of transportation equity in a particular area or corridor. As of a result, this is a recurring trend that many community members are not supporting SBS because of two things: 1) Lack of positive dialogue; and 2) They do not like the overall implementation of the proposal for SBS projects. Think about this: Some members of the general public are saying that most SBS routes did not improve bus service and in some cases, especially in the outer boroughs, they are truly opposed it altogether. Look at the MTA ridership statistics and see that only the Bx12, the Bx41, and the S79 SBS routes are the only SBS routes that have significant ridership increases from 2013 to 2014. Therefore, both the NYC DOT and the MTA are focusing on short-term band-aids instead of long-term solutions. ?


    Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr.

    Jeremy, I am a member of the Queens Public Transit Committee since last Spring and I am supporting Queensrail, a proposal for the Reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Branch, which NYC still owns. Keep in mind that the MTA supports this Reactivation in the long-term as well as NYS Comptroller Thomas DaNapoli in the next 20 years, as long there are no obstacles in the way such as the Queensway and NIMBY’s. ?


    Rick Horan

    DOT has failed to produce any convincing evidence that Select BS will contribute to the safety and reduced commute time for everyone who uses it.


    Rick Horan

    QueensRail would go a long way towards transportation equity. Unlike Select BS this project will not slow down 60,000 motorists while trying to speed up 30,000 bus riders.



    If you talk to Charlie McCorkell over at Bicycle Habitat he’ll tell you the opposite story. As much as he was and is still a booster of Citibike, he believes bike-share may have contributed to the erosion of bicycle sales at his shop. Not sure if he is correct about that, but that’s his sense.


    Carmela Soprano

    This is a bunch of nonsense. Removing a lane on each side and using it for bus service will not be helpful. How many people who use Woodhaven/Cross Bay who are not from the area and must commute? What about an increase in commercial traffic? The renovation and re-activation of the LIRR Rockaway Line makes the most sense of all. More vehicles and passengers off the road and onto the rail! Alternatives to road use, such as train and ferry service makes the most sense, will save lives and create more mobility for the impacted population more than ever!


    Danny Ruscillo

    Yes my new bumper sticker.
    Let’s Create A Mess With SBS!
    Rally For The Rail And Get On Board!


    Simon Phearson

    I hadn’t realized that the MUTCD trumps drivers’ obligations to operate their vehicles safely on the road. Oh, wait, your point was irrelevant.


    matt w

    So what’s the REAL reason MTA is pushing Select B.S. ? They can’t/ won’t even answer any of the questions by the public. WHY NOT ? They are hiding something ! Don’t forget that the MTA is owned by THE PEOPLE of NY STATE ! There’s some other driving force behind this, A POLITICAL ONE ! The MTA is in a GIANT rush to get this done without properly investigating the problem. It’s a fast “BAND AID” approach to a problem. There’s too many vehicles on the road, it’s TOO congested, so we add more buses and close off more lanes ? Pedestrians are getting run over. Vehicles are hurting pedestrians by jumping curbs. How about “let’s get off the road” ? How about let’s “RE-ACTIVATE” the “IN-ACTIVE” Rockaway Beach Line that runs through Queens again ? The QueensRail (In-active Rockaway Beach Line) is the answer ! YOU KNOW IT ! I KNOW IT ! and EVERYONE ELSE KNOWS IT BUT, THE M.T.A. ! Why is this being so heavily “AVOIDED” ? IT’S THE 600 lb Gorilla sitting in the room, NOTICE IT ! The more questions that are asked about reactivating the railway the better. The tracks are there, the stations are STILL there, the signal towers are still there the infrastructure is STILL THERE. The only things missing are the trains and the people. How much longer is the INSANITY with “Select B*ll Sh!t” going to continue for ? The MTA just “stalls” and drags it feet solving NOTHING ! We need to connect Northern and Southern Queens again with the QueensRail ASAP. The MTA has spent more $ on fixing “ONE” subway station roof (2nd ave) than it would cost to re-activate the old RBL (Rockaway Beach line) that’s just sitting there doing nothing. That railroad was paid for by the Tax Payers and WE WANT IT BACK ! Bloomberg opened up and extended the No# 7 Line to increase the land value for his FAT CAT friends on the west side but, we can’t get 3.5 miles of straight track re-opened ? Why does ALL THE MTA $ get spent on Manhattan, as Queens is told “T.F.S. Sailor” ? Stop Stealing Lanes, stop “Vision Zero”, we want “OUR” Railroad back, WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND IT NOW ! AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO STOP FIGHTING UNTIL WE GET IT BACK ON LINE ! It’s OUR Railway built with “OUR” taxes ! The M.T.A., “THEY’LL SAVE MONEY NO MATTER HOW MUCH IT COSTS” !



    Good arguements, BUT in the US traffic regulation is controlled by the US Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices which is federal law. The MUTCD requires that traffic control devices (signs) be clear and unambiguous. The motorist must be able to comply without thinking about the intended meaning. But then again, NYC DOT is a political agency, not an engineering agency


    Ben Fried

    What do you see as the motivation behind Streetsblog’s “dig” at Uber?



    There are several different questions here.

    What evidence is there that Select Bus Service is the best mass transit alternative for this route? At BEST, SBS will reduce travel time from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. The QueensRail option (reactivation of the LIRR Rockaway Beach Line) would reduce travel time to under 30 minutes. At a small cost increment.

    If Select Bus is not a good reason for spending over a quarter of a Billion dollars, what is the reason? If it is pedestrian safety, perhaps there are other, simpler and less expensive alternatives. One place to start would be timing traffic signals as federal law and engineering practices mandate. Every traffic engineer knows that wider streets demand longer pedestrian intervals and longer stopping times. But NYC DOT is run by politicians, not engineers.

    Another safety measure might be pedestrian education. Does anyone remember such phrases as “cross at the green, not in between”?

    Probably the final safety measure needed citywide, is incarcerating habitual motorists who operate vehicles when not properly licensed.

    Has DOT or the city generally considered any of these? No, they have NOT! The true intention of the “SBS” project is to make it more difficult to drive. Why else would half or the traffic lanes be removed, punishing over 100,000 people for a possible benefit to fewer than 30,000 people?


    Jeremy Topaz

    If it’s parity of transportation you seek? Why are you not supportive of rail service operating through Woodhavem?



    If you want to lump yourself in with the Post, that’s up to you, the shoe fits better and better every day. Personally, I think their standards are garbage, and i’m insulted that you guys would try to claim this is a just the facts – “no value judgement” comment when anyone with a working brain can see otherwise. Just be honest. (a request I wouldn’t make, or even expect, from those other publications you listed)



    I was about to say “a city requirement is fine because these are of little use in rural areas”, but actually when you drive out in rural america most of the trucks already have these for aerodynamics/fuel savings.



    Well, that’s not his fault, but at least he’s trying…and showing his frustrating. He clearly cares. The same thing isn’t obvious for Blasio. Although, you could argue he has more power than Obama to do something about it, so he’s even more responsible. His speech could be less, “please guys, fix this, we know how” and more “I’m going to fix this, tough shit for those who disagree”.



    Not just that, his justification makes no sense. You have to slow down and be careful to go around, or you have to slow down and be careful to not go around. Same difference, I’d rather be involved in a minor collision with a pedestrian at low speeds than get mowed down by a driver who’s pissed and speeding around double parked truck.



    Need a federal requirement here.


    Brad Aaron

    We report on cab crashes all the time, most of them not involving Uber. Look it up.

    In this case the driver works for Uber. A fact not in dispute. We reported what happened and what Uber had to say.

    I assume you’re taking this up with the Post, the Daily News, DNAinfo, Gothamist, and the Daily Mail, since they also reported the Uber detail. And any other outlet that ever notes when an Uber driver is involved in a crash.

    Otherwise you’re trolling.



    That wouldn’t be ADA compliant. How about instead of thinking of new and innovative ways to make cycling inconvenient we just design a better path that would work well for everyone?



    People won’t behave on their own? Then make the path out of cobblestones to slow cyclists.



    Montgomery County, MD currently releases all violations data on a daily basis:

    DC currently has a bill submitted to the City Council to make all violations data and crash data public. The bill is a result of the unanimous recommendations of a bicycle and pedestrian task force created by a DC Council Member. The task force was chaired by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) and AAA Mid-Atlantic. Really exciting stuff if it passes:



    I absolutely impute a “value judgement”, what reasonable person wouldn’t?



    They should also publish CIS reports. Redact information that is confidential or personal, but publish the reports so we get to see how NYPD investigates crashes.


    Allan Rosen

    All you can do is baseless attacking. I described the content of the misleading and inadequate bus lane signage and discussed how they contribute to accidents when the bus lane was supposed to improve safety. When there is any type of traffic, tell me how a 20 foot broken line in the pavement gives drivers enough time to enter the bus lane in order to make a right turn into Yellowstone Boulevard. There is no prior signage which states you are allowed to enter the bus lane before the broken white line. DOT has created a dangerous situation. And those are the facts sir, not “groundless hysterics.”


    Alexander Vucelic

    fer real