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    (Apologies for screwed-up math hastily posted and then deleted. I blame these people who are giving me work while I am trying to post on an internet message board!)



    No, it’s 20% larger, quite obviously.

    If you can go 10 miles per hour, then in an hour you can reach anywhere within a 10-mile radius, therefore anywhere in area measuring about 62.8 square miles. The area of a circle is 2? x the radius; so 2? x 10 = approx. 62.8.

    If you can go 12 miles per hour, or 20% faster, then you can reach anywhere within a 12-mile radius during an hour, or anywhere within an area of about 75.4 square miles. 2? x 12 = approx. 75.4 square miles, which is 20% larger than 62.8.



    It wasn’t just that drivers weren’t speeding due to the ice, it’s probably also that fewer drivers bothered to use their cars at all. Vehicles were snowed in for weeks, ASP was suspended for an almost record-breaking amount of time, and any sane motorist knew that moving a car to go for a drive meant a very real chance of not being able to find a spot at the end of the day. Not to dismiss the real hardships that some car-dependent people experienced this winter, but clearly a lot of New Yorkers were still able to live their lives, buy food, and get to work without the convenience of a private motor vehicle.

    Goes to show that NYC ought to do more to reform its parking policies if it wants to reduce congestion and improve safety.



    Hurr! But crime is skyrocketing! Hurr! Socialism!


    Jonathan R

    Would that Ferdinand’s drivers who are so concerned about bicyclists running red lights would operate their vehicles more carefully to avoid hitting them.


    Joe R.

    I think his P.R. is off too though. Capitulating to people who complain about cyclists’ “lawlessness” won’t increase respect for cyclists. It will just make them come up with another demand.

    Good point, and I’ve said as much a few times. I’ve learned when you’re dealing with unreasonable people they’ll continue to raise the bar. If all cyclists stop at red lights, the next bar might be everyone should wear a helmet. If that comes to pass, then they’ll want bicycle licensing, registration, and insurance. It’s an incrementalist approach which in the end would make nearly every cyclist give up in disgust.

    I also strongly feel that this entire red light thing is just another way to get cyclists off the roads. Those who complain about cyclists passing red lights know all too well that stopping at every light severely impacts the usefulness of bike travel. As Jonathan said above, even decreasing average speeds from 12 mph down to 10 mph decreases the area you can reach by bike by 31% (1 – (10/12)²). The less efficient bike travel is, the fewer people will use it. These people really don’t care about the lawbreaking. If they did, they would also be complaining about pedestrians jaywalking. Rather, the “cyclists don’t stop at red lights” meme is just a way to help get rid of a mode of travel they detest.



    Well, in an optimal system, stop signs would probably be treated as yield signs for cyclists and red lights would still be stop signs (though turn on red should always be allowed for cyclists) – and there would be space to the right of the automobile lane for cyclists to “idle” safely without risk of being rear-ended.

    But we don’t have an optimal system. I get why the rules are as they are, but everyone needs to accept good faith exception. (If only the NYPD understood that.)

    I think his P.R. is off too though. Capitulating to people who complain about cyclists’ “lawlessness” won’t increase respect for cyclists. It will just make them come up with another demand. Like I said, everybody breaks laws. There are too many laws to not break some.


    Joe R.

    I always stop at red lights in situations of heavy cross traffic. I sometimes see other cyclists weaving between cross traffic to pass lights. That’s really where I draw the line. If I need to do that, it’s not safe to pass a light. My general criteria is I only pass lights if no pedestrians are crossing in front of me AND the nearest car heading towards the intersection on the cross street is at least 10 seconds away from the intersection. I also stop at red lights when I have no visibility at all of the cross street. This might be near bridge abutments where the first lane I would enter is a traffic lane. It’s suicidal to pass red lights when you can’t see what’s coming, although I do sadly sometimes see cyclists doing this.

    I’ll grant that Ferdinand has a good point. Others might be more receptive if he relaxed his standards a bit. The guidelines I posted above I don’t consider overly burdensome to follow. They typically mean I get stuck waiting at one out of every 5 to 10 red lights I encounter. I get it when people have problems with cyclists flying through crosswalks full of people crossing with the light. That’s asshole behavior which should have zero tolerance. Same thing with forcing cars to slam on their brakes by going through lights without looking. Let’s focus on ending this type of behavior. That’s a low enough bar which most cyclists will willingly accept, me included.


    Jonathan R

    Area reachable in one hour by a bicyclist who can ride 12 mph is 44% larger than area reachable in one hour by a bicyclist going 10 miles an hour.



    You mean like these vehicles owned by NYPD staff parked on the sidewalk outside of the precinct at Hoyt-Schermerhorn ?


    Joe R.

    Just to be clear, your average cyclist cruises at about 12 mph. If they stop at every red light, they’re probably averaging about 5 or 6 mph-barely above the speed of a fast walk. Add in the time for chaining/unchaining the bike, and in many cases this means cycling is no faster than walking, especially on short journeys of 1 to 3 miles.

    If you can do 60 to 70 mile rides, you’re in great shape. On a good day, I can barely do 40 miles. The most I ever rode in one day was 70 miles-back in my 20s. That was two rides in the same day. The most I ever rode in one shot was 60 miles. That took 4 hours exactly. Not a great average speed, but not horrible I suppose. A 40 mile ride I did in October 2012 took 2.5 hours. Those are the kinds of journey times I expect on a bike based on my equipment and physical condition.

    For medium to longer distance trips, even assuming you can average 10 mph stopping at every red light, which based on my experience isn’t possible where I ride, you’re still significantly adding to your journey times. I know I can average 14 to 17 mph by passing red lights when I can. Sometimes it’s not possible, but accounting for those times my average speeds seem to trend around 14 to 17 mph most trips. On a 10 mile trip you add 20 minutes to your journey averaging 10 mph instead of 15 mph. That’s certainly significant. If a train schedule suddenly had 20 minutes added to a trip which normally takes 40 minutes riders would justifiably be up in arms. That’s 40 minutes added to their daily round trip, or 3 hours, 20 minutes per week. If you allow 8 hours a day for sleep, 2 hours a day for chores, 40 hours for work, and 40 minutes each way to travel, that extra 20 minutes per trip takes away 6.5% of their free time. Note that I’m assuming here most of your after work time isn’t filled with yet more chores as it is for many people. In fact, a lot of people literally don’t have an extra 40 minutes per day to add to their commute. My point is stopping at red lights creates an unreasonable physical, safety, and time burden on cyclists. Of course, if the city wants to pay me my going rate of $100 an hour to wait at red lights I might at least try. Even then, I doubt I could do so on a ride of any length.

    When we have real bicycle infrastructure, not playpens, maybe I might be willing to change my tune because such infrastructure would mean I might only encounter one or two red lights in a 25 mile trip. Until then, however, my physical, time, and safety needs have to take priority.

    By the way, the times I ride, I’d say only a handful of people see me passing lights during a typical ride. Most times I pass through completely empty intersections, so exactly where is the public relations problem with what I do? I wouldn’t be passing red lights in midtown during the day. This isn’t because I wouldn’t want to, but because frankly there is so much cross traffic it really wouldn’t be possible to safely do so.



    That road through the golf course should have been replaced with any of a dozen alternatives years ago, but no one was willing to accept an alternative that affected their home. Instead we have the mess that it’s become today, as the only viable alternative to the Richmond Avenue bridge.



    If you call “surviving” a convenience! I do it 100% for safety. My optimal chance of survival at an intersection is moving away from the potentially insane people who can kill me with their bad judgment.

    That doesn’t mean I never stop at red lights (sometimes that’s safer), but the current law does put cyclists in a situation where they often choose between risking their survival and breaking a rule.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Asking bicyclists to stop at red lights is not setting the bar too high. You are the only person I have ever heard who has brought up any supposed “physical issue”; there is no way that this is an issue outside of elite racers. I’m sorry for whatever physiological conditions you experience; but don’t be so narcissistic as to project your individual ideosycratic issues onto bicyclists in general. For the ordinary bicyclist who averages 10 miles per hour, this problem is utterly nonexistant.

    And topping at red lights does not result in unreasonable travel times. Averaging 10 miles per hour is just fine, whether for a daily commute of around 10 miles each way, or for a day of pleasure riding.

    In the summer I regularly do day-long rides of 60 or 70 miles; and I have done several other days of more than 100 miles. I have ridden down to Seaside Heights; I have ridden to Connecticut and through northern New Jersey on the same day. In the past two years I have ridden well over 11,000 miles total — all while stopping at every red light. So don’t even try to tell me that it can’t be done.

    Bicyclists’ act of blowing red lights is 100% a matter of convenience, caused by our having been enculturated into the assumption that the traffic laws don’t apply to us. Remember that this is how I behaved also: I ignored red lights for most of my life as a bicyclist, and I crossed when and where I saw fit. Why not? We had nothing to lose.

    But the advent of bike infrastructure has changed the conditions: now we have plenty to lose; and it’s irresponsible to ignore the crucial role that our collective image plays in whether our infrustructure survives.



    No word on any plans to cut illegal parking by NYPD placard holders outside of precincts.



    Ok I think they have had more then enough warning time to get the books and pens out 84th!



    With Jay, you could do a lot of good without even writing tickets. Most of the double parking is actually standing, so just start sending cops through during rush hour telling people to move along.

    I do appreciate that Tolentino seems to be receptive to our complaints about the state of the street. With biking season starting to really hit, Jay is only going to become more chaotic.



    Are you surprised at all?



    This is definitely a step in the right direction, but we should not have to wait for a tragic event in order for road safety measures to come to fruition. These basic upgrades should be a default standard especially near schools and high pedestrian areas.



    When will this become standard operating procedure citywide???



    They stopped the bus between stops? That’s wacky – I’ve never seen it done that way.

    Most systems have small fare validation machines. All we have here are repurposed MetroCard Vending Machines, which are enormous and slow, and I can’t blame the MTA for not being willing to pay Cubic for a custom validation device that will be retired in a few years.



    ‘And raising the limit for transit riders doesn’t help, since subway riders (as opposed to largely suburban commuter rail riders) only pay $112 per month.’

    That’s the key part. This tax break subsidizes the sort of sprawl that leads to long commutes, whether by commuter rail that exists solely to ferry people to and from work, or by car where so many people are coming from so far away spread over too much space for transit to be feasible to a dense urban core that parking in the core has to be rationed ($$). The goal shouldn’t be to add bike share or expanded transit benefits. The goal should be to eliminate this subsidy for sprawl. For parking and for transit.



    This is coming from the Capt. that states: The best way to educate drivers is with summonses.



    Well, what I saw was they stopped the bus in between stops and checked people without opening doors. I assumed the long stop with the doors not opening was related. But to be fair, that was the only check I ever encountered despite somewhat frequent M15 use, so maybe that was either early procedure or I’m jumping to conclusions….

    In some European cities, people do full cash payment on trams at a TVM, which takes longer than a dip for a receipt. I haven’t seen it on buses, but buses aren’t *that* much smaller.



    5th Ave in Park Slope (especially the southern end) next please.






    It’s even worse if you’re picking a place to live based on your job rather than picking a job based on where you live, since the house that’a 20-minute drive away from the office is probably a lot cheaper to buy or rent than the apartment that’s a 20-minute walk or bike ride or subway ride away. And raising the limit for transit riders doesn’t help, since subway riders (as opposed to largely suburban commuter rail riders) only pay $112 per month.

    The transit benefit, if it exists at all, should be valid on housing expenses as well.



    If this lasts more than a week, it’s good news.



    Have you actually seen them lock the doors? I’ve never seen that.

    I’ve encountered two modes of inspection. I’ve seen them hold the bus at the stop with the doors open, with one inspector at each door (to check tickets of people getting off and on) while two (or three?) inspectors make the rounds on the bus itself, and I’ve seen them carry out the inspection while the bus is moving from one stop to the next. Obviously, I prefer the second approach, but even the first is pretty quick.

    It takes too long to dip a MetroCard and get a receipt to move the existing SBS-style machines onto the bus, and, for that matter, they’re way too big to fit on a bus. Moving fare collection back onto the buses while still achieving the SBS time savings really can’t happen until the MetroCard system is history.


    Joe R.

    I’ve discussed the rationale for passing red lights many times so no sense repeating myself here. My issue with what you say is threefold. One, passing red lights often isn’t for the sake of convenience. Bolwerk describes nearly the exact scenario below which almost got me killed while waiting at a light years ago. If it’s a choice between my personal safety or giving people a bad impression of cyclists, my safety wins every time. Two, I don’t consider it a “convenience” to expect reasonable travel times while on a bike. Motorists simply can’t grasp the concept that traffic signals hurt cyclists a lot more than they hurt motor vehicles. Light timing seldom requires motor vehicles to stop every block or two, but this situation is all too common with cyclists. Three, there are also physical issues involved. This isn’t just the stresses of repeated starting and stopping, but also the potential to overheat in warmer weather, or spend more time exposed to the elements while waiting for red lights during colder weather.

    The bottom line is if you set the bar too high, you won’t have many who will follow you. I’ve said many times if we had blanket enforcement such that I could no longer pass red lights, I would give up cycling altogether. I would have to. There would be no joy in it, nor could my body physically deal with repeatedly starting and stopping. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the way. That means fewer cyclists on the road, fewer people who are vocal about cyclist issues. I submit that in the end your approach does more harm than good. You may be left with a handful of cyclists like you who adhere to every law, but you’ll lose the numbers game. We need to make cycling less burdensome, not more burdensome, if we are to grow our numbers.



    After the event, Council Member David Greenfield tweeted that his favorite idea of the night was a zero-tolerance crackdown by NYPD on drivers who park on sidewalks.

    Interesting observation given the number of close calls I’ve had at Borough Hall with cars driving on the plaza or across the crowded sidewalk to get to the makeshift parking lot.



    You are certainly bringing up a very good point that we should all aspire to correct behavior in every aspect of life.

    But as a bicycle advocate, I have to respect individual bicyclists and the choices they make instead of tarring them with the brush of irresponsible citizenship.



    Everybody breaks several laws per day, including the right-wing law ‘n order columnists who probably number among this city’s nine figures of daily jaywalkers.

    And even by your standards, emergencies are all too common when cycling, and lights are especially dangerous for cyclists. That SUV bearing down on the light only needs to underestimate its stopping distance by a few feet and an accident that is fairly minor for a car-on-car collision is game over for a cyclist.



    There’s only a transit benefit if one’s employer chooses to participate in the program, which some (mine included) don’t.



    My condolences to Ms. Rivera and the rest of Mr. Riley’s family.

    I go by this corner every morning. Tremont between Webster Ave and Third Ave is a motorist-heavy stretch, I think because of the lack of crossings over the railroad tracks. Something must be done.


    Ian Turner

    So disappointing.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    One may break a law conscientiously, when that law is morally repugnant; consider the draft or prohibitions on sexual practices. Or one may break a law in an emergency, such as when going through red lights while driving someone to a hospital.

    But breaking the law merely for the sake of convenience is by its nature a selfish an anti-social act, and one which has harmful consequences. This is the very opposite of a thoughtful and well-considered decision. Bicyclists who behave this way are demonstrably not responsible citizens.


    Chester Bumerfo

    It’s not nice to gloat, but these garbage dumpers are such lousy neighbors that it gives me pleasure to see that the money they spent on this frivolous suit was wasted. The finances of this building are notoriously bad; residents pay outrageous common charges. And yet they continue to throw money away on legal fees and fines for dumping. What trashy people!



    Arrest the cops. Honestly, in NYC you need a procedure for that. There are too many scofflaw cops in NYC.



    If they thought this way, US taxpayers would donate all their motor vehicles to charity to get the tax deduction and there would be no more traffic jams.



    Being a bicycle advocate means advocating for all bicyclists. Advocating for bicyclists means treating them as responsible citizens who are making thoughtful and well-considered decisions. Sometimes those decisions involve going through red lights.



    Sad news about Steve Faust. I had the chance to meet him a year ago while commuting home via bike one day on the Putnam Trail through Yonkers and Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. As I’m riding, a bearded fellow comes up from behind and then along side me and we started chatting about how great it was to be able to ride on a paved, car-free pathway. When we were about to part ways in the park, we exchanged business cards, and upon seeing his name and realizing who he was, I was like “I’ve heard of you!”. We then spent another 20 minutes nerding out about bike advocacy and urban planning stuff. I had no idea he was sick :-(



    True, and perverse, but nevertheless driving is still the most expensive option, tax break not withstanding.

    It would be be nice if I could use my pre-tax transit dollars to pay for my my bike share membership.



    I am completely in agreement with you on e-bikes vs cars/etc in heavily populated urban areas. They would disrupt parking garages, cars, public transportation like buses, and impact gas prices probably also… Its a very neat solution if safety standards are implemented and followed. NY could be greener than ever… It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to think of a few entities with influence on politics wanting to stop this before it goes viral.



    Zero. It falls within the Manhattan Core, which has had parking maximums since 1982:



    The system as it exists:
    Let’s say, all things being equal, you have job offers from four different workplaces.
    The first is a 20-minute walk from your house.
    The second is a 20-minute bike ride away.
    The third is a 20-minute drive away.
    The fourth is a 20-minute subway ride away.

    You would get the biggest tax break by taking the one you have to drive to. There’s a small bike commuter tax benefit, a slightly better transit benefit, and a larger parking rebate if you drive. You get nothing for walking to work or working from home.

    Working is the act that should be rewarded with a tax break – not getting to work.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Note that that maniac, during her otherwise hyperbolic rant, rhetorically asks, “How many bicyclists actually stop for a red light?” The horrible truth is that she scores points with that comment. Sadly, there will surely be some amount of Queens morons who will read that article and who, in response to that comment, will think to themselves, “You know, she’s right”; they will be persuaded by the author’s mention of bicyclists not stopping at red lights, because these readers will have noticed the same thing.

    And this is why we as bicyclists and bicycling advocates need to take a hard line against this practice, and why we must try to make other cyclists understand that responsible bicycling entails adherence to the law — even to the laws that we don’t like. Despite all the rationalising about how it’s sometimes safe to run a red light, and all the philosophising about the inappropriateness of requiring bicycles to function within infrastructure designed for automobiles, the real-world effect of our not complying with this (admittedly inappropriate) law is that we arm our enemies and give their arguments a strength that they otherwise would not have.

    Of course, even if every bicyclist stopped at all red lights, a person as horrible as that would still have written her odious article. But if we had denied her the opportunity to buttress her absurd premise with the justifiable assertion that few bicyclists stop at red lights, then the article would have been that much less persuasive. We need to stop acting against our interests and stop making it easier for the anti-bike people to make their contemptable case.



    This is not so much an SBS/BRT treatment, but would it kill them to start changing the attitude about collections? That they actually stop buses, lock the doors, and check everyone is pretty crazy and probably makes the 95% of people who follow the rules resentful.

    You may be right about MC readers being a poor investment, but they’re needed for SBS. I’d still rather see them on every bus than at every minor stop. The cost to replace them when the next fare media comes out is probably the same.



    Is there any followup to the hit-and-run in Flatbush 2 days ago where an SUV driver hurt 7 people, 2 seriously, and fled, according to DNA info? I haven’t seen any other reporting on this.



    Ian Turner

    What are the odds the Crowne Plaza will be required to have parking?