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  1.  

    Larry Littlefield

    “In February, the MTA said it planned to contribute $370 million each year from its operating budget to the capital program. If it used these funds to issue bonds, it could leverage $6.5 billion over eight years. Thanks to the new labor agreements, that number has been cut by more than one-fifth, down to $290 million a year. “

    Ahem. Pay as you go capital funding is pay AS YOU GO capital funding. You don’t bond it, and spend the next 30 years of such revenue in just five or eight years.

    At the very least, the MTA should stop using capital money to fund the operating budget through “reimbursable” operating expenditures. To prevent a future system collapse, all ongoing normal replacement should be paid for in cash.

    The $290 million per year is a small portion of the $4.4 billion per year in ongoing normal replacement. That needs to be squeezed on both end — it needs to cost less, and someone other than the federal government has to put up cash.

  2.  

    Robert Wright

    I get the feeling that, in quite a few policy areas, the new mayor hadn’t worked out quite how much needed to be done to overcome years of complacency and dangerous attitudes. I really think he didn’t at all grasp quite how serious his problems with the police were.

  3.  

    Joe R.

    There is a point of contention even among Streetsblog regulars about what speeds are appropriate for bicycles, so it’s no surprise the NYPD and the general public have the kinds of opinions on the matter which you allude to. It also doesn’t help that bicycles are small vehicles which to a casual observer appear to be going a lot faster than they really are. I was once cycling and happened to be going about 25 mph when I went by a woman who noticed me while she was walking on the other side of the street. A few minutes later I was going the opposite direction, but was going slower for reasons I forgot. The woman asked me why I was riding so fast with something along the lines of “I saw you a couple of minutes ago and noticed you were really flying. The cops can give bikes speeding tickets you know.” While her concern about me possibly getting a ticket was nice, I stopped and just out of curiosity I asked her how fast she thought I was going. She said between 50 and 60 mph. She was dumbfounded when I told her I was only going 25 mph, 5 mph under the speed limit. She didn’t believe me, but I told her my bike computer was carefully calibrated by wheel size so it measured my speed/distance to about 0.1% accuracy. I also showed her my GPS which incidentally gave speed readings which matched my bike computer. Even if she didn’t believe me on the bike computer, the general public knows GPS speed readings are very accurate. I don’t know if my attempt to educate her worked or not, but it made for an interesting encounter.

    Yes, I highly doubt all that many cyclists in this city are going much over 25 mph sustained. My opinion is that if a bike path can’t be safely negotiated at the speed limit of the adjacent street, or at least at the upper limit of what strong cyclists are capable of (25-30 mph) then it has serious design defects. Sure, there will be times when the path is crowded and everyone must slow down, but the design of the path shouldn’t preclude the speeds I mentioned at times when this isn’t the case.

  4.  

    J

    NYPD on #VisionZero: “A bus isn’t gonna yield to anyone”. More evidence of a deeply permissive and fatalistic view towards traffic violence. This will NEVER get us to Vision Zero. DeBlasio, what are you doing about this?????

  5.  

    Upright Biker

    In San Francisco we pay a yearly fee to park in the Residential Parking Permit zone near our house. The cost is roughly 4x that of a monthly Muni pass.

    Seems like relatively wealthy car owners are getting the deal, while the poor and working class you’re so worried about are the ones already getting the shaft. If those wealthy car owners were able to sell those spaces as they left in the morning, the poor and working class would be additionally discriminated against.

  6.  

    Robert Wright

    I’ve been arguing for a while now that there’s a continuing, powerful cultural bias in the NYPD against, among other groups, cyclists, whom they seem to see as a troublesome out-group: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2014/05/an-angry-off-duty-police-man-rainy.html As for the “too fast” thing, it’s just nonsense, isn’t it? If the police were worried about the consequences of excessive speed, they’d start by setting up some speed traps on the West Side highway, right next to where this crash happened. I’ve seen vehicles going down there at easily 70mph. When I worked in midtown, for a while I was cycling daily past the wreckage of a vehicle that crashed there at 100mph. The speed limit’s 35mph.

  7.  

    roymeo

    Haystack is targeting residential parking? Odd then that their video is about a coffee shop.

  8.  

    com63

    After Intro 238 goes into effect, is there any way to force NYPD to open a criminal investigation? If you ask to file a criminal complaint, do they have to take it and do something with it?

  9.  

    timsmith

    We generally subsidize services that provide a broader public benefit, and that can’t be paid for through user fees. By that measurement, residential parking definitely shouldn’t be free, as it would be easy to charge the full cost of its use, and it provides no general public benefit (storing your car for cheap is not something the government should be bending over backwards to accommodate).

  10.  

    Reader

    “Too fast” = any speed you were going when you were hit by a bus driver who didn’t yield.

  11.  

    BBnet3000

    He was going “too fast”? There seems to be a misconception that bike paths are for going slow on, probably because they are so poorly designed that even the off-street ones are too narrow to pass comfortably on. Some crazy lady yelled at me on the East Side path under the FDR for going too fast (~15-18mph?) and ive been taking the quite horrid South Street for the most part ever since.

    What exactly is “too fast” on a bike anyway? Even roadies are probably doing 25mph sustained on level ground, which is what we just got the default speed limit changed to for cars. If drivers cant yield to someone going 25mph how are they supposed to handle a 2-way stop?

  12.  

    BBnet3000

    If we were serious about cycling Delancey Street would have a bikeway like Allen Street all the way to Allen Street, creating a T that would enable people to get from Brooklyn to points north and south in Manhattan easily.

    They could even put the first 4-way green for bicycles in North America at Allen and Delancey.

  13.  

    Robert Wright

    Motor vehicles have already killed at least two people on the Greenway, one of them very close to where this incident happened.

  14.  

    Reader

    No nice way to say it: if you ride a bike in NYC, even on a greenway where it’s supposed to be safe, your life isn’t worth a damn thing to the NYPD. You are other, less than, and not a real person. And the same goes for people on foot.

  15.  

    Ian Turner

    Someone is going to get killed here, and if Delancey St. is any guide, that is what it will take for there to be any engineering changes.

  16.  

    Dino

    Many services are subsidized by the government and paid for by taxes. I’m all for charging more for metered parking, based on demand. However, the problem with RPPs will persist. Gouging residents with higher fees and apps like Haystack are not the answer.

  17.  

    vnm

    Also, even if it is the law, this isn’t enforced. Churches and funeral parlors do it all the time.

  18.  

    vnm

    Taxes wouldn’t have to be so high if the government charged for parking what people are evidently willing to pay. Taxes (on drivers and non-drivers alike) are what are being used to subsidize parking.

  19.  

    Joe R.

    Look, even my 75-year old mother who has trouble walking sees it as better than playing frogger with cars, so yes, it may well be a better solution in some cases. Note that these would mainly be needed over major arterials, not over every single street. This means someone walking will encounter one overpass every 1/2 mile or so. Being that most seniors don’t walk far, in practice this means they’ll being climbing a bridge exactly once each way in return for guaranteed safety crossing the street. Everyone else benefits too. When arterials are busy, you often have to wait through a long light cycle to cross. It’s insulting to ask people to wait for cars to pass just to cross a street. It’s also anti-pedestrian.

  20.  

    Dino

    Yet another nearsighted article. What about residential parking, for which Haystack is specifically targeted? Should neighborhood residents be charged outrageous fees to park near their homes, even though they generally pay high taxes? I suppose this approach would hasten gentrification. Can’t get the working class and poor out of their own neighborhoods quickly enough! The free market rules!

    While we’re at it, maybe there should be a middleman to charge the poor for government benefits. They shouldn’t be getting them for free. Right?

  21.  

    Jonathan Hawkins

    Wait, so now the elderly and disabled are supposed to climb stairs or a giant winding ramp to get to a pedestrian bridge? That does not sound like a solution to me.

  22.  

    vnm

    Awesome post. This is exactly right. The appearance of apps like this is a sign (as if we needed another one) that curbside parking is a valuable underpriced commodity. Let the public be the beneficiaries!

  23.  

    J

    um, no. Using your car to reserve a parking space in not illegal, based on the law you cite.

  24.  

    J

    Fantastic article. It’s basic economics: when government artificially sets a price for a good that is below what the market demands for it, there will be shortages. When shortages persist, black markets may develop to link those willing to pay for an good they can’t get, and those who have already obtained said good.

    If you talk about government setting a price for milk, people scream bloody murder, cause bread lines will form due to the ensuing shortages, and they’re right. However, those same folks will fight to keep governmental price controls on parking, despite the shortages and other negative consequences we’ve all been suffering for decades.

  25.  

    JD17

    I agree with you — but what if those city officials responsible refuse to collect the money? In most cities, parking is given away for free or for under-market rates and city officials refuse to charge enough for it.

    Think of it this way: if your city government were throwing $20 bills out onto the street here and there, would you blame the people who went and picked up that money? It is the same with free or underpriced parking–quite simply it is giving money away. I am astounded that it took so long for people to figure this out.

  26.  

    Free Parking Is A Human Right

    Does this app violate NYC Parking Rules 4-08(n)
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/trafrule.pdf

    (7) Unofficial reserving of parking space. It shall be unlawful for any person to reserve or attempt to reserve a parking space, or prevent any vehicle from parking on a public street through his/her presence in the roadway, the use of hand-signals, or by placing any box, can, crate, handcart, dolly or any other device, including unauthorized pavement, curb or street markings or signs in the roadway.

  27.  

    Tal F.

    Agree 100%!! Great article. I hope these apps shame our city governments into charging market-clearing prices for parking.

  28.  

    Andres Dee

    If money is to be made on street parking, it should be made by the city/taxpayers who built and maintain those spaces.

  29.  

    Joe R.

    That’s all great stuff I would love to see. There’s no argument that at some level of bike traffic fast riders can’t go as fast on a path as they might otherwise be able to go, and you know what, I have no problems with that because I could always do recreational rides at times when I know the path is nearly empty.

    75th Avenue is actually just fine as is to use as a route from Main Street to the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway. From where I go on at 166th Street there are only two traffic signals until the VMP. The way the timing is typically if I get a green at one, I’ll hit the next one on green also. If not, and I can’t safely pass the red, it’s only a 30 second delay which is just fine given that this will be the only delay I’ll encounter over 1.7 miles of riding. 75th Avenue is actually a better bike route than the parallel 73rd Avenue, at least up until the point where it dead ends. 73rd Avenue was totally ruined as a bike route in the last decade when something like ten traffic signals were added. The key here is really to just pick streets for bike routes which don’t have that many traffic signals because they don’t have much car traffic. In that regard, 75th Avenue is ideal. With the VMP connection, you can go quite a distance from my place and only encounter two traffic signals.

    Between Main Street and 164th Street 75th Avenue only has three lights. I don’t go this way as much, so I’m not 100% sure if the timing is optimal, but the times I’ve ridden it the trip didn’t seem to take an excessive amount of time. Bottom line, I doubt you would need to play with light timing much on 75th Avenue to make it a decent part of a bigger bike route. You certainly don’t need to add any traffic lights as those would spoil it, plus they’re not needed. It’s a quiet street with mostly quiet cross streets. One thing I might do is get rid of parking on at least one side of the street in places where it’s narrow. As things stand now, two cars can barely pass each other in such places. If you have a car and a double-parked truck, you have a blockage.

    I know your point was that you might have to choose which type of rider to accommodate but 75th Avenue turns out to be a route which easily accommodates both. There are so few traffic signals that light timing largely doesn’t matter. Also, when traffic signals are spaced that widely even a small change in riding speed means the difference between hitting a light on a red cycle versus a green cycle. Or put another way, normal variation in riding speeds, even with the same rider, due to varying conditions would make worrying about light timing here kind of pointless. Worst case even if a rider hit all 5 lights between the VMP and Main Street right when they flipped to red, that would be what, about 2.5 minutes of delay tops over a distance of about 2.5 miles? Not a cause for concern at all. For a 12 mph rider, that’s a drop in average speeds from 12 mph to 10 mph. For someone like me, it might represent a drop in average speeds from 17 mph to 13.3 mph. Again, not a huge problem. In reality, and I’m too lazy to go through my GPS logs for exact numbers, I think I typically average around 15 mph riding from the VMP to Main Street. That’s just fine. If I could get around all the city by bike knowing I could average 15 mph at all times, that in my mind is good enough. 20 mph average speeds might be nice, but 15 mph is good enough for me to consider biking as transportation viable. The present 6 to 10 mph (which is what you get if you always stop at red lights) really isn’t.

    A great alternate route I take to Queens Boulevard from me is to go to Main Street via 75th Avenue, go left on Main, and then stay on Main until it hits Queens Boulevard. This puts me further east on QB than taking Jewel, but I avoid that traffic-clogged mess, and also avoid that dicey spot where it crosses the highways (and the long slog uphill).

    In the end we’re not going to build a great bike network overnight. I know that. The outer boroughs are seriously lacking in decent bike infrastructure, so I would certainly support something like you proposed. When bike mode increases, we could think about enhancements.

    Oh, and yes, the VMP isn’t a place for 30-40 mph velomobiles. Widespread usage of velomobiles is actually something where my idea of viaducts would start to make lots of sense but until velomobile manufacturers solve the cost issue most people will use regular bikes, me included.

  30.  

    rickbynight

    That would be my guess too. It seems like US cities are looking for sponsorship/rider costs to pay for the majority of the system, whereas many international cities view it as just another form of public transit, which should get subsidized at a (somewhat) similar rate for its positive impact on the urban environment.

  31.  

    bolwerk

    I’m not sure we are that easy to catch unless they’re on bike too.

    The fact is most people will comply when told to stop by a police officer, even if the police have no business stopping them.

  32.  

    Joe R.

    What fascinates me about Staten Island is that it’s clear to every Island politician that inadequate public transit is a major hold up on the island’s future and development, yet they are absolutely terrified to be seen as supporting public transit over the car culture.

    It’s probably because most of “the people who matter” drive, so they see anything which *they think* would make driving slower, more costly, or less convenient as something to be opposed. The irony here is more transit and complete streets generally don’t negatively affect driving. It’s been shown time and again that reducing traffic lanes in order to fit in bus or bike lanes often makes traffic flow more orderly with little increase in overall travel times.

    Oh, and what you wrote is actually a problem citiwide. Windshield perspective dominates far too many discussions of transportation policy.

  33.  

    lop

    >Why exactly then would we need to NOT accommodate all types of riders on any type of bike path

    It’s hard to explain this stuff in generalities sometimes, so here’s an example.

    75th avenue is a minor road, less traffic than 73rd or union. You could time the lights there (adding lights where needed) for less than you do on 73rd or union without causing much trouble for cars. The reason there is less traffic is that the road dead ends for cars at Cunningham. A bit of pavement and a curb cut and it wouldn’t dead end for bikes, you’d connect to the carless motor parkway. The question is, who do you time the lights to benefit, slow or fast riders? Once you get to the greenway then you have no lights so you accommodate a wider range of speeds, assuming fast bikes understand to go slow because elderly walkers with dogs use it too. It’s not a place your velomobiles going 30-40+ would ever be appropriate though, at least not if there are more than a couple of them, and they would have to slow dramatically whenever anyone else is around, which is already often enough.

    Then you have a nice route to main street. You might be able to send it through the park by willow lake as a shared path on boardwalks without it being too out of place, though that forces people to go slow, and then you’d have a way to get to forest hills without dealing with the mess on Jewel or union. Extending the other way to LIJ would be feasible as well, shared path next to union, maybe cut through school grounds to get to 76th then 74th etc…

    Now you have a nice route covering a good distance connecting people to some popular destinations. But you’ve had to compromise several times that reduces the usefulness for those who want to go fast, in that it’s often a shared path, or slow light timings, or on wood planks instead of pavement.

    Sure, a shared path lets people go fast easily when few are on it, but if it’s crowded you lose that. And given the greater speed differential between fast bikes and walkers than fast and slow walkers, it gets crowded enough to slow down the faster bikes with far fewer people. And if it’s utilized well enough for it to be worth spending much money on, then it’s too crowded for fast bikes much of the time.

    It’s not ideal for people biking to Manhattan, but for several closer destinations, as well as to get to transit along Queens Blvd, it would be nice to put together, wouldn’t it? And for those shorter trips, averaging 15 instead of 11 mph doesn’t save you much time, because the ride is so short to begin with, so it doesn’t matter to people as much, and it gets them somewhere without sweating much.

  34.  

    Mark Walker

    To know what it’s like to be old, you have to get old. After not having my height measured for a long time, I recently discovered I’d lost nearly an inch sometime over the past 15 years, much of it in my legs. I noticed the difference in pants sizes before the doctor confirmed it. When your legs are shorter, you can’t walk as fast. Add that to the other infirmities of age and you have a slower, less agile pedestrian who can’t jump as fast out of harm’s way — as I’ve had to do as recently as yesterday, when a U-turning driver tore into the crosswalk. And if you actually are hit, lower bone mass means injuries that are more likely to be fatal or life changing. Street designs that are unfit for seniors are inhumane and obsolete.

  35.  

    bolwerk

    Okay, first off, don’t take at face value anything anyone shoots out as many carelessly constructed fibs as kenney.

    There is a small grain of truth in what he said. There is no single interpretation of Orthodox (or any) Judaism. It ranges from quite progressive strains like Modern Orthodoxy, where some members could be big gay rights supporters, to any number of more politically and religiously strict ones that go so far as to separate men and women in all sorts of ways. There are private buses run by Haredi sects in Brooklyn that segregate men and women.

    But overall, no, Orthodox men and women are not adverse to being in public together. And it’s a silly thing to build policy around period.

  36.  

    Aunt Bike

    The Advance encourages these comments by giving people like Lanza and Malliotakis a platform to say these things themselves. They don’t have to prove “cameras are a scam”, they get to repeat it to a widely receptive audience. Many of which gleefully repeat it back.

    But as an avid Advance comments reader, I think I’m seeing more and more commenters there going against the flow, by simply saying things like “stay out of the bus lane/don’t run the red light/ don’t speed and you won’t get a ticket”.

    What fascinates me about Staten Island is that it’s clear to every Island politician that inadequate public transit is a major hold up on the island’s future and development, yet they are absolutely terrified to be seen as supporting public transit over the car culture.

  37.  

    Andy B from Jersey

    Go read the comments in the Star Ledger or better yet, Asbury Park Press if you want more of the same! :)

  38.  

    Andy B from Jersey

    Meanwhile, in New Jersey what? Ohh….. that stupid idea!

  39.  

    Ben Fried

    They’re buying Alta.

  40.  

    Wilfried84

    Are they buying Alta or Citi Bike? Other articles seemed to say Alta, but this WNYC article says Citi Bike (despite the Streetsblog headline above which says Alta). So which is it? Citi Bike is just the system in New York, a subsidiary wholly owned by Alta, or Alta, the parent, which would involve many cities, so not the same thing at all.

  41.  

    bolwerk

    So the millions of people in this city every day who take transit are not engaging in “commerce”? What exactly do you think commerce means?

    A simple check of police statistics that are publicly available prove your claim about crime wrong. Go the extra step beyond opening your eyes and use them to read something that isn’t the New York Post.

  42.  

    Maggie

    “the orthodox men cannot sit next to women on public transportation, so they are forced to drive due to religious doctrine”

    This is fascinating. I’m not familiar with the customs. Can the orthodox men take airplanes? Can they be around gay men?

  43.  

    Bolwerk

    Cuomo is a member of American’s conservative republican party, which for some reason calls itself the Democratic Party (it originally was the Republican Party). It’s the party the pushes for the interests of the establishment and tries its best to keep a stable status quo. Drivers are the status quo. Subways we have now are the status quo, but more are disruptive.

    The radical liberals are the so-called Republican Party, which is not even meaningfully republican in any way. The GOP is more right-wing for sure, but it’s not more conservative.

  44.  

    bolwerk

    Their usual strategy is the same as the old Liberal/Conservative Party (I’m dating myself :-O) strategy of trying to influence a major candidate or, barring that, run their own.

  45.  

    Joe R.

    I’m always seriously concerned whenever I’m walking with my 75-year old mother and we need to cross a busy street. Sometimes we just barely make it across before the cars get the green, even if we start crossing right at the walk signal. When turning vehicles fail to yield to us, I become concerned we may end up stranded in the middle of the street right as the light changes. Because of these things, my mom feels (and I agree) that pedestrian bridges across very busy streets would make crossing safer and less stressful. She’s even asked me several times why there isn’t one on the local drag strip (i.e. 164th Street).

    Another big problem is large parked vehicles blocking visibility. Seniors don’t move all that fast. If they can’t see what’s coming before they cross, they really can’t cross safely.

    We need to think what kind of streets we want not only now, but when we’re older with diminished senses, reflexes, and walking speed. Right now far too many streets are hostile to get across even for a younger, relatively fit person. It’s no surprise then that senior citizens lead in pedestrian fatalities.

  46.  

    qrt145

    St. Nicholas Ave. definitely makes more sense as a through route. Still, Morningside Ave practically begs for a two-way protected lane like the one in Prospect Park West, even though its usefulness would be more local.

    I’d wish for both, but if I had to pick one I’d pick St. Nicholas Ave.

  47.  

    stairbob

    Another good thing about docking stations is that they create new bike parking, instead of taking it away from private bikes (for which parking is already in short supply).

  48.  

    Jonathan R

    The crazytrainmatt bikeway would require downtown-bound people to bike along 126 between St Nick and Convent, past the post office loading dock, with plenty of truck traffic, then make a left turn on Convent. I didn’t make an explicit point of it in yesterday’s post, but when I’m going downtown through Central Park I take Manhattan Ave to 108th St and turn left, then enter the park at 108th and CPW.

    But coming uptown is a different story. It’s easier to leave the park at 110th and ACP, and use the on-street bike lane to 117, then make a left turn crossing ACP to St Nicholas and turn right onto the bike lane, all the way to 168th St. Using 113th St instead means crossing ACP, FDB and Manhattan Aves to access the crazytrainmatt bikeway, which is a quarter-mile out of the way. Then backtracking east at 124th St one block (1/10th mile), crossing Morningside Ave, and making a left turn at St Nicholas. That’s five avenue crossings to go 11 blocks along the crazytrainmatt bikeway; wouldn’t it be easier just to stay on St Nick and cross only ACP and FDB?

    Plus Morningside and St Nicholas Parks block access to the crazytrainmatt bikeway from the west, reducing its utility further (need two-way bike lane on 123d between Morningside Ave and Amsterdam!)

    My family is 75% women and children, and I doubt out-of-the-way bike lanes that parallel their route for short distances, and require more avenue crossings, are going to make them bike any more than they already do. Remember, detours inconvenience slower riders more. It’s two miles from 150th St to 110th St, or 15 minutes at 8 mph; adding 0.35 miles of detours slows the trip 3 minutes, or 20%.

  49.  

    Mark Walker

    I hope the West End Ave. plan will narrow the four lanes to two, if only to stop the rampant U-turning. Yesterday I was crossing in the crosswalk, with the light, when a driver doubleparked on the other side of the street decided to U-turn right through the crosswalk. I had to jump back to avoid being hit. I see U-turns at this corner (WEA and 98th) several times a week, and it’s not as if I’m just standing there all day waiting for them.

  50.  

    Kevin Love

    And the linked article is so amusing. Bus lane cameras are “entrapment.”

    Hint to the clueless: If you don’t want a ticket, then don’t drive in the bus lane.