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  1.  

    carma

    please have pity on me as im one of the unfortunate souls that have to go through the PABT every weekday. im a reverse commuter, but nevertheless, i share the same pains as commuters from NJ to NY.

    however, the problems are not with the dank dark humid conditions of the terminal itself, but the queues of buses waiting just to get INTO the terminal.

    there are simply too many coach buses that are competing with nj transit buses and buses often are waiting 15 – 30 minutes on the ramp shortly after the tunnel. worse, is if the buses are circling around the city streets and the driver wont let any passengers off. another waste of time.

    yes, my ipod and 4g phone helps save some valuable time by being productive, but id rather not be stuck in a 8foot by 30foot container everyday for countless minutes.

    no matter how much money you put into upgrading ac, lighting, etc within the terminal, a better use of funds would be to using it to build another ramp and build another storage location for the buses.

  2.  

    Charles

    It would be a fantastic place for an artist-designed light installation on the underside of the viaduct.

  3.  

    van_vlissingen

    Isn’t Plaza maintenance usually paid for with B.I.D. money? If so, I don’t believe vendors kick into that pot.

  4.  

    Jass

  5.  

    Daniel

    I don’t think all that work was in vain. Most importantly 25 mph corridors probably helped get the ball rolling in Albany. Also we won’t get the lower limit in 90 days on all the arterials. Many arterials will remain at 30 and 35 mph. Only the arterials that are most deadly at higher speeds are slated to change.

    The 25 mph default will also mean arterials that remain at 30 mph speed limits will have signs, which as you note, will come as a shock to many drivers and even some police officers. I’m also hoping there will be a big educational campaign that will help as well.

  6.  

    Sunnysider

    I definitely prefer plazas to parking as well, but this particular plaza did not take away any parking. Local businesses used the installation of the plaza as a means to kick out vendors. There’s no reason why the plaza and vendors cannot coexist.

  7.  

    Joe R.

    I’m not really sure exactly what the point of the article is. Maybe it’s the fact that the bus driver at least empathized with her enough to send her a get well card, even if the police couldn’t care less?

    Ironically, I had something similar happen to me in October 2012. One of my cats had died. I usually look before crossing the street. I’m also usually aware of the state of the walk signal, even though I’ll cross on red when there’s no cross traffic. Anyway, I started crossing the street, heard brakes screeching, and then got hit. Fortunately the driver had managed to brake down to maybe 10 mph. I wasn’t hurt, so I told them to move along since it was most likely 100% my fault for not looking before crossing. I had been in such a daze I not only didn’t look before crossing, but didn’t even know the state of the signal. I probably had a don’t walk signal. Even if not, the driver most likely would have given self-serving testimony. I figured why waste time waiting for the cops? Besides, since I don’t have a cell phone, it would have been up to the driver to call for help, not me.

  8.  

    dporpentine

    The thing that gets me is that the whole thing is supposed to be so heartwarming or something, when really it’s just vile victim shaming.

  9.  

    Joe R.

    We can do that right now-GPS determines your location, and then governs the car’s maximum speed to no more than the speed limit at that location. Unfortunately, trying to legislate something like that into new cars, never mind retrofitting it into existing vehicles, would be a political nonstarter. We can’t even get legislation to force the driver to allow access to a vehicle’s black box.

    Really, the problem here is more political than technological. Any engineering solution will be met with opposition from drivers who don’t want to give up their “freedom”, which I presume also means freedom to drive any way they want, no matter how dangerous.

    P.S. I know you meant “cars” when you wrote “Maybe we can develop a system in cats similar to cruise control, but a self setting governor.”

    Nevertheless, a self setting governor for cats would sometimes be nice as well!

  10.  

    walks bikes drives

    Bike lanes in both directions would do nicely here, since the Greenway at this point has too few access points to be viable for local commuting.

  11.  

    walks bikes drives

    Street design is very important. I consider myself a very competent and safe driver, but I still found myself doing 40mph on Riverside Drive in the 150′s a couple weeks ago, as were the cars in front and behind me. The street should be severely narrower, especially since is is a passenger vehicle only street.

    (It annoyed the car behind me when I slowed down)

  12.  

    walks bikes drives

    Maybe we can develop a system in cats simalar to cruise control, but a self setting governor. Set a maximum speed that is set based on radio signals from the streetlights.

    Someone design that!

  13.  

    Joe R.

    Funny but most transportation engineers suggest a lot of the same things I do. And guess what? These things actually work for the most part. When transportation engineers fail, quite often it’s because laypeople gummed up the works by insisting on inappropriate solutions. For example, NYC Community Boards are great at insisting traffic signals or stop signs be installed, even when in most cases better solutions to the problem exist, even when more often than not they create more problems than they solve. Of course you have legislators who think they’re better at setting speed limits than qualified traffic engineers. Then again, legislators think they’re better at doing nearly anything than experts.

    I took a traffic engineering course in college. I’m also an experienced electronics engineer, meaning I’m familiar with using a scientific, rational, data-driven approach to solve problems. In the end what we have here is just another system. It’s no different than the circuit boards I design in that the components generally behave in well-documented, fairly predictable ways. And just as I design my circuits to behave properly with known component tolerances, we can design our streets to function properly with known behavioral differences among users. I don’t see legislators telling me what components or layouts I should use in my circuits. It’s just as inappropriate for them to micromanage traffic engineers.

    I’ll make a good bet after the photo-ops are over NYC DOT won’t get funding to redesign the streets so the lower speed limit is largely self-enforcing. The end result will of course be a monumental failure. The traffic engineers will of course be blamed, but if their hands are tied due to lack of funding, plus legislative interference, how could the outcome be any different?

    Finally, it also bears mentioning that no matter how well we engineer the streets, if the vast majority of drivers are incompetent due to our really low licensing standards, the streets might be safer but still dangerous. Or getting back to my circuit board analogy, I can’t design a really great circuit if I have mostly marginal components to work with. For example, if someone tells me they want specs within 0.1%, but forces me to use 5% tolerance components, sorry, but it ain’t happening no matter what I do. Low licensing standards is one area where legislators can and should take action. So is permanently removing the licenses of drivers who continually kill or injure. Sadly, it’s the one area they won’t touch for fear of not getting reelected.

  14.  

    Andy

    As much as I may whine about transportation engineers, I am so glad that they exist, and that our transportation systems aren’t designed by Joe!

  15.  

    Joe R.

    That makes two of us. Seriously, I’m not saying ban all drivers, just nonessential ones. That basically means everything except buses, emergency vehicles, delivery vehicles, sanitation trucks, maintenance vehicles, and paratransit. Private cars and for-hire cars by definition are nonessential. They also constitute the bulk of traffic by far.

  16.  

    Joe Enoch

    Banning all drivers you say? Now that’s an idea I can get behind!

  17.  

    Joe R.

    No it will not. Cars will go 40-50 in the peak direction.

    Yeah, right. So they’ll be going 50 mph when they cross a major arterial like 164th Street, and the cars on 164th will be going the same speed? I actually hope that’s the case at first because it will make for some really great news footage. It won’t take long for drivers to get the message that driving more than 20 mph through uncontrolled intersections will make them DEAD, not allow them to reach their destination faster.

    Local streets are not highways. It doesn’t matter how fast it feels comfortable to drive. If you don’t want a long commute, then move or get a new job.

    This isn’t about travel time here. Most drivers who care about travel time already stick to highways for as much of their journey as they can. Rather, it’s about doing something which I can say with 100% certainty will fail miserably unless accompanied by street redesigns. Uncontrolled intersections have been shown to work exactly as I say elsewhere. Why won’t they work in NYC? We’re no different than anywhere else. Besides, uncontrolled intersections are but one tool in the book to design streets for lower speeds. Narrower lanes work. Roundabouts work beautifully to keep speeds down where you want them the lowest, namely at intersections. What doesn’t work is just slapping a lower number on a sign.

    Crossing Union Turnpike and other similar streets is just about impossible now for much of the day, so what makes you think anything I propose will make it worse? I’ve even wrote my legislators suggesting we install pedestrian bridges over major arterials as there seems to be no other way to get across them in a timely manner. Don’t bother mentioning walk signals. They’re not at every crossing and no, I absolutely refuse to wait sometimes upwards of a minute for a walk signal to cross a street. That’s f-ing insulting. I can walk a block, or even two, during the red cycle of many walk signals. I cross a street whenever I get to it, walk signal or not, but if the cars have the green they never stop for me. What happens if I have a red light when a bus I want to take is right across the street? I shouldn’t have to miss my bus to wait for cars to pass.

    Getting better camera legislation will be easier and faster than redesigning every street in the city over the next few decades.

    No, it won’t. The minute there are enough cameras that many people start getting fines there will be political support to have them ALL removed. Speed cameras are a great tool when used in spots where high speeds are particularly inappropriate, but they’re not a blanket solution for the reason I mentioned. In the end slow speeds must be mainly enforced through street design. It won’t take decades, either. We could do this in 5 years if we went at it 100%, perhaps even less. The vast majority of NYC streets at this point need at least a repaving, if not a complete rebuild. At the same time we do that we could reconfigure them for slower speeds.

  18.  

    Joe R.

    On the city side, it will be up to DOT and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to continue overhauling streets so that design makes the new speed limit as self-enforcing as possible. The city still has far too many wide streets where traffic moves at deadly speeds during off-peak hours. The Arterial Slow Zone program is a useful short-term improvement, but it’s no substitute for thorough redesigns that give more space to walking, biking, and transit.

    Thank you, Ben. This is really the most salient point in your article. As both a pedestrian and a cyclist, I want people driving slower in NYC. At the same time, I’m also aware of the reasons why speeds are currently too high. Just slapping a lower number on a sign won’t change a thing without the redesigns you mention. This is especially relevant given that speed cams will be inactive during the late night hours when high speeds, combined with darkness, result in the highest number of pedestrian fatalities. We can hope the speed cam legislation will be changed but in the end you hit the nail on the head-a lower speed limit should be largely self-enforcing. If it isn’t, we’ve failed. If it is, it means drivers have bought into it.

    Semi-related to all this is the fact NYC will finish installing LED streetlights by 2017. I feel this will trump all other safety improvements by letting drivers see things much better. Perhaps we should try to get the timeline moved up?

  19.  

    lop

    >Redesign the streets, starting with removing most of the traffic signals and stop signs. That will get drivers to slow down for sure just out of self-interest.

    No it will not. Cars will go 40-50 in the peak direction. Trying to cross union tpke and similar roads without traffic control devices will be damn challenging, on foot or in a car, because if you are close enough to the car in front of you then you won’t have to slow down. Local streets are not highways. It doesn’t matter how fast it feels comfortable to drive. If you don’t want a long commute, then move or get a new job.

    Getting better camera legislation will be easier and faster than redesigning every street in the city over the next few decades.

  20.  

    Joe R.

    You need saturation enforcement to keep people at legislated speed limits if the speed limit is lower than the design speed of the road. This was demonstrated repeatedly during the 55 mph era. You actually had to have 55 mph patrol cars blocking all the lanes in order to get everyone to adhere to the limit. NYC doesn’t have the manpower for saturation enforcement. Thanks to the watered down speed cam legislation, that’s not an answer, either.

    Redesign the streets, starting with removing most of the traffic signals and stop signs. That will get drivers to slow down for sure just out of self-interest.

  21.  

    Joe R.

    Why do you assume in the absence of posted speed limits that drivers will drive at autobahn speeds? Drivers drive above posted speed limits only when those speed limits are set too low for the design of the street. The converse of that is without speed limits people won’t be driving any faster than they’re already driving. Yes, it’s reasonable to assume given the lack of speed limit enforcement that for all intents and purposes the speeds we’re seeing now reflect the speeds we would see if we removed posted limits entirely.

    Want to get drivers to slow down? The biggest reason why drivers speed in NYC is traffic signals. They speed to make lights. They also speed in the knowledge that a green light lets them pass intersections with little chance of a collision due to the concept of legal right-of-way. Get rid of traffic signals and drivers won’t speed as much. Better yet, have uncontrolled intersections and chances are good they will rarely drive above about 20 mph because that’s the maximum speed you can approach an uncontrolled intersection at while still being able to stop in time to avoid potential collisions.

    There are plenty of reasons why people drive fast, but the number on a sign actually has very little to do with it.

    And as I wrote earlier, let’s focus on things besides speeding. People in this city are horrible at driving. Better driving training might be a good start, including periodic retesting. Aggressive/distracted/incompetent driving is the biggest problem from where I stand, not speeding. If speed were the only cause of injury/death, then we would need to reduce speed limits to 5 mph in order to reach Vision Zero. That’s the only speed where the risk of injury/death is close to zero.

  22.  

    lop

    85th percentile speed limits are not in any way a viable solution for local streets. Legislated speed limits work well when pared with enforcement.

    http://hria.org/uploads/catalogerfiles/2013-speed-reduction-resources/DCCaseStudy_120313.pdf

    DC’s Automated Enforcement program has demonstrated significant public health and safety benefits. The number of traffic fatalities in DC has dropped from 68 in 2003 to 19 in 2012. Average speeds among all vehicles in DC have been reduced, and the rate of speeding over 10 mph above the speed limit has dropped from one in three drivers to just one in 40.

  23.  

    Andy

    Your answer is turning city streets into an autobahn or banning all drivers? Both are awful ideas.

  24.  

    Joe R.

    Speeding may be involved in crashes without being the primary cause. What I’m getting at is if a driver only going 5-10 mph above what is most a legislated speed limit (as opposed to a properly set one) and doing nothing else wrong, the chances of them getting in a crash are probably close to nil. Don’t conflate this with “driving too fast for conditions” which is often a bigger cause of crashes than driving slightly over the speed limit.

    What we really need to do is train drivers to drive at speeds appropriate for the conditions, without regard to the number posted on a sign. In fact, for this reason I feel speed limits in general are a horrible idea. Without them, drivers would most likely be doing exactly what you want them to do-paying attention to their speed. However, they wouldn’t be paying attention to a number, but rather to whether or not they’re going too fast for the conditions. Indeed, in my book cars shouldn’t even need speedometers in order to be driven safely. The NYC subway didn’t have speedometers on its trains until the 1990s, yet it had a great safety record due to well-trained operators.

    It all boils down to speed limits being set improperly due to being legislated. The current 30 mph is widely ignored. Why? Because it’s a legislated speed limit, as opposed to one set by proper traffic engineering practices. And the fix is what, another legislated speed limit, this time a lower one? You know what they say-the very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. We’ve now had 40 years of experience with legislated speed limits, starting with the 55 mph national speed limit in the early 1970s. The consensus is they don’t work and aren’t obeyed unless by chance the legislated speed limit happens to match the design speed of the road. It’s time to try something different, like maybe redesigning streets with the goal of lowering the design speed. Yes, it’s a more expensive, long term solution but why are we here in the US always focused on quick fixes, even when there are none?

    Want a quick fix? Here’s one-ban private cars and every other type of non-essential motor vehicle in the five boroughs. Sure, it’s sort of a throwing out the baby with the bathwater solution but it would most likely drastically reduce traffic deaths.

  25.  

    lop

    Speed

    21% of all pedestrian KSI crashes were attributed by responding officers to speed-related contributing factors: speeding (8.3%), slippery pavement (i.e. driving too fast to stop under prevailing weather conditions, 3.8%), limited sight distance (i.e. driving too fast for specific geometric conditions, 5.2%), aggressive driving (3.8%), and following too closely (0.5%). These numbers are likely to underestimate the importance of speeding, since NYSDOT contributing factor data does not account for all crashes, and only two contributing factors may be reported for each crash. Many DWI crashes (4.8%) and driver inattention crashes (36%) are also suspected to involve speeding or unsafe speeds.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nyc_ped_safety_study_action_plan_technical_supplement.pdf

    Getting people to pay attention to how fast they go, hardly a burdensome activity even in an urban environment, will go a long way towards making the streets safer, both by reducing the frequency of accidents and lessening their severity. That travel times may increase slightly in some cases is a necessary price to pay for safety. For those for whom the difference is burdensome they can switch modes, move, or get new destinations.

  26.  

    Amanda

    I live in Sunnyside, and it’s amazing how quickly residents began using the plaza the day it opened. The pictures don’t do it justice. It is usually much busier than this, with more tables and chairs. The next step would be more lighting and a cleaner overall environment.

  27.  

    Joe R.

    The limit isn’t vague. The problem is we lack the tools to enforce it accurately, so in practice we give a cushion.

    I personally think many people here at Streetsblog are too focused on speed and speed limits when we should be focusing on other things. The biggest cause of accidents bar none is distracted driving. The second biggest cause is aggressive driving. There are many actions which constitute aggressive driving. They don’t necessarily include speeding (unless we’re talking extreme speeding, like 60+ mph on urban streets). Jockeying around for position, quick lane changes, quick turning, passing vehicles too closely, changing speeds quickly, etc. all are far more dangerous than just going 5 to 10 mph over the speed limit. Sure, speed makes crashes worse, but chances are nearly 100% that someone crashing was engaged in one of the actions I mentioned in addition to speeding. This is where our attention should be focused. Remember it’s possible to drive dangerously even at 20 or 25 mph. This is why I feel we’re going to be sorely disappointed at the results of these speed limit reductions unless they’re accompanied by serious street redesigns, combined with much better enforcement of aggressive driving and distracted driving.

  28.  

    Larry Littlefield

    “In Chicago, for instance, speed cams issue fines to drivers clocked exceeding the limit by 6 mph, and the fines increase for violations of 11 mph or more.”

    To me, that’s a fair system. Giving someone a ticket because at one point they are going 27 mph on an arterial – the way tickets are given for one tenth of a second past a red light — undermines support for the law.

    I would suggest that those driving 3-5 miles per hour over the speed limit be sent a letter asking them to slow down, with a possible fine after three violations — and after three more violations, etc.. And beyond 11 mph, the higher the speed the greater the fine.

  29.  

    Andy

    “but it’s not realistic to think you should have to drive under the speed limit all the time”

    This is why I wish the limit was actually a limit. You seem to like the idea of a limit being vague. I don’t.

  30.  

    Joe R.

    The speed limit is supposed to define the maximum speed that it’s safe to drive at under good conditions. Obviously obstacles will sometimes slow you to well under the speed limit, but it’s not realistic to think you should have to drive under the speed limit all the time, which is what you would need to do in order to avoid a speeding ticket if there was no buffer.

    I totally agree however at people who just gun it the second the light turns green, with no thought at all given to what’s ahead. After you drive or ride a bike on a street enough times, you have some idea of the light timing. It makes no sense to speed if doing so only gets you to the next red light faster. Now I’m obviously not a fan of traffic signals at all, but I feel if we have them, then they should be timed at around the speed limit as an incentive to keep drivers from speeding. At the same time, we should also give drivers the tools they need to keep up with the green wave. You might have something similar to the string of LEDs used in some bike lanes in Copenhagen, for example, to do that. This would keep drivers at or near the speed limit with minimal distraction. Another tool is to put something similar to a pedestrian countdown timer where drivers can see it. Drivers might not speed to make lights so much if they knew exactly how much time was left in the green cycle.

    The idea of speed controlled lights doesn’t make any sense. It penalizes everyone else who might have been on the same block as the speeding driver. And without sensors, you would have no guarantee of green lights even if you didn’t speed. In fact, I strongly favor sensor controlled traffic signals. A traffic signal on an arterial should never go red unless something is on the cross street. We have pedestrian and vehicle sensors which could easily make this a reality. Combined with speed cameras to keep drivers from speeding when they have an endless string of green lights, this idea would make streets safer while also avoiding needless delays for much of the day. You may still need the traffic signals on regular timed cycles during busier times, but maybe from about 8 PM through 6 or 7 AM they could be on sensors only.

    All that said, remember the only reason drivers speed is because we have legislated speed limits. If speed limits were set at the 85th percentile on urban streets, we wouldn’t have much speeding. If the 85th percentile turns out to be higher than we want, we would need to redesign the street to get it down to whatever speed we felt was more appropriate.

  31.  

    Joe R.

    This is such a better use of this space than for parking. Seriously, the space under the viaduct is prime urban real estate. It’s centrally located. By definition it’s near mass transit. It’s shaded in the summer. Why we don’t use the entire space for something else besides parking is beyond me. It would even make a great place to install a bikeway, provided we blocked thru traffic from the cross streets so it would be a continuous run. Heck, there’s so much space you can have both a bikeway AND plenty of pedestrian space, perhaps even retail establishments.

  32.  

    Andy

    I think you miss the point. People assume they should always be able to go “the speed limit” or 10 above. I wish it was that the limit was a true limit, and to be safe, you’d WANT to stay below it. I know people still wouldn’t, but at least it would be clear. “I stopped you because you were going 26 in a 25″ instead of “I’m giving you a warning for going 35 in a 25″.

    When I drive through cities, I don’t expect to drive the speed limit. Usually I stay around 15-20mph anyway, especially if it’s a place with frequent ped crossings. As slow as that may sound, the reality of urban traffic is that we all end up at the same red light or queued stop sign. Going 35+ mph is just inefficient, because you waste gas acceleration, just to stop at the next light anyway.

    All cities could use more of the speed controlled lights too. If you speed in the block, the light turns red and makes your trip take longer – but if you stay within the limit, you can get green lights all day. No ticketing, no enforcement, no whining to police or wasting time fighting tickets in court. Just instant feedback.

  33.  

    Joe R.

    There’s vagueness for two reasons. One is inaccuracy of the speed measuring equipment used by law enforcement. The second more important reason is inaccuracy of the speed measuring equipment in motor vehicles. You can’t expect a driver to adhere accurately to a speed limit if they don’t know their speed accurately. Moreover, even if they did, the amount of attention focused on keeping exactly at the speed limit would detract from more important driving tasks. Exact speed limits will have to wait until motor vehicle are no longer human controlled. Even then, we’ll need some way for the vehicle to know its speed accurately-perhaps via GPS along with a vehicle driven speedometer for times when GPS isn’t available. The onboard speedometer can be regularly recalibrated via GPS. For now something like a 5 mph buffer at typical urban speeds and a 10 mph buffer at highway speeds is pretty much the norm. I don’t know why Albany passed a law with an 10 mph buffer. Car speedometers aren’t that inaccurate, and a driver can easily keep their speed to within 5 mph over the limit or less.

    All that said, it has been the norm on railways to do exactly what you say. However, this is only practical for two reasons. One, train speedometers are generally required to be very accurate, often to better than 1 mph. Two, trains change speeds slowly, so its easy for a human operator to keep a train pegged right on the speed limit (I’ve done this myself in train simulators, even on undulating terrain).

  34.  

    lizbeeee

    Why so eager to give the government another opportunity to take money from already overworked people Daphna? This bill should not even be considered in a supposedly free country because it takes away from a small part of citizens lives and civil liberties. When does the government stop trying to “help” us by treating us like babies and watching us on a constant basis, next thing you know well have chips installed in our bodies. There is a line and it is being crossed again and again by the people who are supposed to defend our rights. Im going to assume you never read Orwell’s 1984 but our existence is beginning to look more and more like it every year. The fact of the matter is that unfortunate things happen all the time and speed cameras are not going to stop them from happening. So No opposing speed cameras does not mean sanctioning speeding it means opposing abuse of power.

  35.  

    douglasawillinger

    Has ‘Capt’n Transit’ ever had an opinion that ‘Streetsblog’ has ever failed to agree with?

  36.  

    douglasawillinger

    Did not Stockholm get to construct an underground downtown orbital freeway without its construction funds being siphoned away as with NYC’s Westway?

  37.  

    Mark Walker

    If there is going to be an 11 mph buffer, and we really want to keep injuries down to the amount occurring at 25 mph, it would make more sense to set the official speed limit at 15 mph. Either that or, as Andy suggests, make the limit a real limit.

  38.  

    Daphna

    I’m glad Cuomo finally signed the 25mph legislation. Now all the hype, planning, manpower hours, time and money put into the 25mph corridor designs seems a bit wasted….all that timing of what corridor would get the 25mph at which date, etc. Now everywhere will get the lower limit in 90 days. Best guess is that the 25mph corridor plan started when NYC did not think Albany legislators would cooperate and give NYC this change that the city wanted.

    With the current 30mph speed limit, it is not posted on the vast majority of streets, and most drivers don’t know what the limit is – this includes the NYPD; for example, I had a police officer wrongly tell me that the default speed limit on all local streets is 35mph. Now that the speed limit will be 25mph, I hope signage will be sufficient to inform drivers of the limit.

  39.  

    Andy

    I hate speed limit vagueness. Set the limit to be a LIMIT, and anything over is ticketable. It’s crazy that people say “but I was only going 10 over” as a defense to speeding.

  40.  

    Maggie

    The Daily News article reads to me like it’s demonizing pedestrians. I’d love to see their sources for distracted walking accounting for 78% of pedestrian injuries across the country, what exactly they’re talking about when they say more than 25% of Manhattan pedestrians are distracted by a phone or headphones while crossing the street – is this someone in the crosswalk, with other pedestrians and with the light, wearing headphones or holding a phone? and so what? and why they say specifics of pedestrian distraction levels in NYC injuries and fatalities are not available.

    The NYPD seems so quick to blame pedestrian victims – two recent examples are the near-immediate reports that Jean Chambers was on her phone and Nicholas Soto had on a hoodie when run over and killed. I’m just wondering if I mis-interpret the NYPD stats, since they seem to show pedestrian phone/headphone use as a contributing factor less than 2% of the time in collisions causing injury or death.

    Not saying it’s not awful when it happens and we should and do care.

  41.  

    Ian Turner

    It appears I made assumptions and lept to conclusions. I apologize.

  42.  

    J

    In DC, speed cameras issue fines for drivers going 1 mph over the limit. It’s amazing how effective this is.
    http://mpdc.dc.gov/node/403192

    A few key findings from a report evaluating the effectiveness of the camera program:
    “The number of traffic fatalities in DC has dropped from 68 in 2003 to 19 in 2012. The rate of speeding over 10 mph above the speed limit has dropped from one in three drivers to just one in 40.”
    http://hria.org/uploads/catalogerfiles/2013-speed-reduction-resources/DCCaseStudy_120313.pdf

  43.  

    callmejane

    are u a native american?

  44.  

    Mike

    I never said they were as dangerous as cars, just that they can be dangerous. As folks interested in street safety (ie. most Streetsblog readers), we should care about dangerous behavior from all folks, pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. As the News points out, one quarter of pedestrians are distracted crossing the street, and it would be safer if they weren’t.

    Also, I wasn’t “dumb pedestrian victim on phone.” I was “victim of dumb pedestrian on phone.”

    Finally, a lot of pedestrians do walk around like clueless toddlers. Many of them are tourists or recent transplants.

  45.  

    Tal F.

    “NYPD Blows Off Pedestrian Strike, But at Least the Victim Got a Nice Card (NYT)” is just ridiculous. Not even a citation for failure to yield?? No lawsuit against the driver and/or bus company for her physical and mental pain? What is wrong with society? I simply don’t understand how you can hear about people intentionally falling down in a store or lobby then suing for millions while simultaneously these bona fide victims get nothing but a get-well card.

  46.  

    Maggie

    This is terrible, Mike. I’m really sorry it happened to you.

    Something I’ve been wondering though: is the focus on pedestrians and phones a red herring, that absolves drivers of responsibility for the immense damage they (in aggregate) cause?

    I look at the NYPD stats for contributing factors in injuries and fatal collisions… here looking at May 2014, the latest report on Streetsblog. If I do the math right, there were 10,046 listed contributing factors for 3,318 crashes that resulted in 4,646 injuries or deaths. The top 5 factors are “driver inattention,” “following too closely,” “failure to yield right of way,” “backing unsafely,” and “unsafe lane changes.” That’s 65% of the total contributing factors (total 6,578). I probably over-count factors that really mean “dumb pedestrian victim on phone”, but I get 163 total, or 1.6% of the total.

    I’m personally offended at the Daily News language talking about pedestrians as toddlers to be potty-trained – um, no thanks and screw you – but I also wonder, am I missing something in the stats here? This seems minuscule.

  47.  

    bolwerk

    I took the Bellafante piece to be more critical of how bike-share was implemented than of the idea itself. But it’s hardly a stain on his legacy.

    Turning being brown in public into reasonable suspicion for letting police put their hands on you and other heavy-handed police attacks on the citizenry is the major stain on his legacy. He might even have gone down in history as a good mayor if it weren’t for Orwellian antics like that, in spite of some of his less deliberate failings like the rising inequality thing.

  48.  

    Aunt Bike

    NYPD Blows Off Pedestrian Strike, But at Least the Victim Got a Nice Card (NYT) is a short but good read.

  49.  

    Nathanael

    No. The DAs we have are not interested in filing charges.

    For a contrast, see Chicago; there was a “reckless homicide” charge reported on Streetsblog Chicago not long ago. No drinking involved.

  50.  

    Nathanael

    Violating multiple traffic laws, driving without a license, etc. etc. is quite sufficient to demonstrate a mindset of *reckless endangerment*.

    In fact, historically, drinking was considered an *excuse*, because a drunk person’s judgment is impaired, and so they may not be intended to drive recklessly. A sober person driving recklessly would have had the book thrown at them back in the 1920s.

    The blame falls largely on the DA and police here.