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    re: CNU piece. I don’t think the H + T article was criticizing the concept, just the way the Housing portion was arrived at.



    Of course I made the number up. What I’ve read, and what fits my experience, is that maybe the tunnels are fine, but the station itself has trouble dealing with the number of people who go through it. The least one can say is that it is a most unpleasant train station…



    I don’t even know that it has a capacity problem. It has an operating problem.

    It certainly has plenty of capacity if the commuter railroads could play nice and run some trains through to each other’s territories. Even without more tunnels, I bet ~30 TPH could be squeezed through the existing tunnels if they did that.


    Joe R.

    Same here. Maybe before getting into a long-winded discussion think things through a bit. Nothing in the law or the real world states that people using the streets have to account for people who are still on the sidewalk. Your entire argument fell apart at that point. I just wish I would have thought of the appropriate response much sooner, namely:

    It’s assumed a pedestrian has no intent to cross the street until they’ve actually stepped off the curb.

    That’s a fact both legally and practically.



    Isn’t Penn operating at something like 300% capacity now? :-)


    Douglas John Bowen

    Essentially concur. In fact, that was in the original plan, downgraded, and then degraded, by New Jersey Transit and its executive director at the time.



    My take is the tunnel makes lots of sense, but the station it was to serve does not. The tunnel should have gone to Penn. And if Christie fought for this, he would have saved billions while getting a useful project done.


    Douglas John Bowen

    Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. The paper is essentially right; ARC was a good idea run down to terrible during the course of a decade. New Jersey rail advocates helped to get the project scuttled, and we don’t apologize for that, *even as* Gov. Christie did the predictable and went spending on roads.

    That doesn’t make Ms. Teachout “wrong,” per se; whether one believes in the (dubious) merits of ARC or not, one can reasonably ask why Gov. Cuomo was absent from any involvement.



    The NYDN acts like the Neanderthals on 4chan. Teachout “indicts” Cuomo? It was almost an aside. Teachout is right; Cuomo should have said something as a candidate in support of the tunnel, and she’s probably right that Christie should never have been allowed to use PA funds on the Pulaski Skyway.


    Ian Turner

    I guess we found out what it takes to make a cab driver drive safely…



    I give up.



    Thanks lop. Same to Bolwerk, below. — CK


    walks bikes drives

    I just don’t understand why people complain about entrapment when they get a ticket in the mail. It is not entrapment, the speed limit is posted. I can understand if it is a situation where the road is a 35mph limit, but 25 during school days only, and arguing about a ticket not knowing it was a school day in the summer. But if the limit is 25 all the time, and you are doing 37, you are speeding, period. Does not matter how you get caught. If Albany wants cars to go faster, why not just raise speed limits. Oh wait, could it be because most speed limits are based on the safety of the road? So why do they excuse unsafe driving? It doesn’t make sense. Oh yeah, it’s politics. Drivers give more money to campaigns than the people who were killed by them.



    @Komanoff:disqus: Short version: The Pratt Center’s excellent report wasn’t mentioned because the article was already long enough! But you can check out our coverage of the report here:


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Not true in my experience, either. For instance, my building in Woodhaven has no laundry room, and does not allow washing machines. Which is just as well, because I’d prefer going to the laundromat.

    At a laundromat you can do multiple loads of laundry at the same time; so doing four loads takes no longer than doing one load. I can hit the laundromat when it opens at 6:30am on a Saturday, do four loads, and be done by 9:00.

    By contrast, in a washing machine in your own apartment or house, you have to do the loads one by one; so doing four loads of laundry will cost you your whole day.


    Larry Littlefield

    What I’m doing is riding on 8th Avenue and taking the lane to avoid being sideswiped or doored. Thus far no one has tried to run me off the road.

    This evening I was able to ride down PPW as far as 3rd Street and detour into the park. At this rate they’ll be to Bartell Prichard by the end of the week, though it will be (once again) dangerous to ride on that street until the cars are moved off the curb.



    The information I’m acting on is in the article we’re posting on and the accompanying link. It says the plan is $200M on Woodhaven BRT.



    “The DOT will also have nearly $50 million to add nine Select Bus Service routes beginning in 2016, according to budget documents and the agency.”

    Unless they’ve significantly increased that in later budget negotiations or aren’t doing any other SBS projects for the next four years apart from Woodhaven it looks like most of the money won’t be from the SBS pot.

    To the streetsblog writers: have you or has anyone else written any stories investigating where the funding for these SBS projects comes from, if they are dumping the costs of not necessarily transit related items into the pot of money for transit projects hoping nobody will notice, allowing them to get the good press of announcing increased funding for transit and then spend it on other items? If not, it would be nice to see an accounting of these projects, especially woodhaven moving forward given the higher cost.



    I’m all for RBB, but I don’t think it substitutes for a surface line on Woodhaven. RBB is about expanding the subway network, and Woodhaven BRT is about better localized transit.

    Woodhaven BRT and RBB are complements, not competitors.



    It’s a bus lane set a lane away from the curb (e.g., for bike lanes or parking).



    Off-set bus lanes are travel lanes for buses one lane away from the curb. These lanes serve buses as well as right-turning traffic and emergency vehicles. The lane next to the curb may be used for parking, loading, or kept entirely clear.



    What are offset bus lanes?

    And … any reason the Pratt Center’s Dec 2013 terrific report on BRT rationale and routes wasn’t mentioned? It had a heavy emphasis on Woodhaven BRT.

    All the same: great reporting.



    It’s a road in NYC. Presumably it is undergoing a constant process of intermittent repavement, maybe more frequently than other routes given Woodhaven’s heavy (truck and bus?) traffic.

    If it’s part of a larger road redesign, many of those elements belong in a “road redesign” budget, not a BRT budget. That’s fine, of course, but that’s not being cited as BRT costs. And is still sounds high for pavement that is already there.



    Competition would force other landlords to follow suit.

    Unless the wiring is still at 1950s standards

    With a low vacancy rate they don’t have much competition. Why fix up the wiring or add amenities if you can rent the apartment out for a good price anyway?


    Larry Littlefield

    Image is everything.

    DeBlasio has been a member of the political/union class the way Bloomberg was a member of the executive/financial class for their whole adult lives, with a circle of friends mostly limited to their own crowds.

    Bloomberg realized he had to symbolically be in solidarity with serfs, which is why he took the subway. DeBlasio doesn’t seem to get it.

    It’s kind of like the fact that he usually arrives late for things. It is a big deal in the broader scheme of things? No. But he has a workforce with quite a few people who would like to show up a half hour late for work, and unions that would love it if all of them do. He’s got to set the example.



    They’ve mentioned new wider, landscaped medians, bike lanes, bus lanes, bus loading platforms (extended sidewalks), pedestrian safety advancements. What’s the condition of the road? Do they need to do any roadwork like repaving, utility work, or road bed reconstruction over the next ten years? Maybe they want that done now as part of the project. It’s the most dangerous road in Queens right? Maybe before adding more pedestrians (transit riders) to it they want to make what road design changes are necessary to make it safer to cross.

    Earlier SBS project costs were substantially lower. Woodhaven SBS seems to be part of a larger road redesign. Hard to say though, since they haven’t said what they plan to do with the money just yet. But based on the costs of previous SBS projects it seems reasonable to assume this is buying more than just a bus lane.



    Wow, if only there were a parallel, above-grade right-of-way where a subway line could run. Oh wait, there is — the Rockaway Beach Branch.

    I’m all for BRT on Woodhaven, but a separated Right-of-Way that doesn’t have to deal with cross-streets and traffic lights is far better transit. Far more valuable than another High Line.


    Joe R.

    I doubt such data even exists but from purely the standpoint of attracting tenants, I tend to think a building which either allowed washing machines, or at least had a laundromat on premises, would win. Competition would force other landlords to follow suit.

    Why exactly are washing machines prohibited in some apartments anyway? Unless the wiring is still at 1950s standards, I’m not seeing why they would need to be. Then again, in that case air conditioning wouldn’t be possible, either.



    What are they planning? Studding the roadway with gold? $14 million/mile dollars is insane to take lanes that are basically service-ready. Utah barely spent more per-mile on a crude light rail line, and that presumably required far more new infrastructure.



    Today was a total cluster#$%^& on PPW. DOT just doesnt care or know how to manage its projects. Today, there was repaving in the vicinity of 3rd Street. The 3rd Street bike lane simply dead-ended at PPW with no place to go as hot asphalt was being poured. The crew at work suggested that I “go to the end of the work zone” to get into the park. No signs, no help.

    Also, DOT simply set up cones and barrels near Montgomery or Garfield with no advance warning of the work ahead, so that all traffic traveling southbound on PPW had to turn down the narrow one way street. Chaos ensued with cars backing up the wrong way down PPW or attempting u-turns. There were no Traffic Agents or NYPD in place to direct traffic.

    This is Vision Zero?



    Well that’s why you want mixed use development. Laundry, corner stores etc…work great without much parking (one-two on street spots) if it’s on the ground floor of a mid rise residential building on a block full of that sort of density.

    As an alternative what plenty of places do is offer delivery service.


    Jonathan R

    My lease says no washing machine. My building has laundry in basement; buildings on either side do not. There are two busy storefront laundromats within two blocks of my apartment.

    The attraction of the large laundromat (often with parking area) is that there are always enough machines to run your family’s entire wash. My family of 4 does 8-10 loads of laundry a week, which would overflow our heavy duty shopping cart. Clothes are not as dense as groceries.


    Jonathan R

    Kids who were born when the congested corridor report was produced are entering kindergarten this year. Is there any sense of urgency here?



    Will the designs for the 2nd phase replace this? Will they include the entire corridor? The first phase is a part-time, curbside bus lane, not BRT; and definitely nothing even close to “World Class BRT”. With 126′ of ROW (10 travel lanes + 2 parking lanes + 3 medians) and $200 million dollars to work with, let’s hope phase 2 is significantly better than this.



    “When the inevitable pressure to water down the Woodhaven BRT plan surfaces”

    Any more and it will be homeopathic. Lets hope the plan that comes out this fall is a lot more ambitious.



    “Most apartment buildings which don’t allow tenants to have a washing machine tend to have a laundromat on premises.”

    This doesn’t fit my experience, but I’m very interested in seeing data. My impression is that most leases are very restrictive, often unnecessarily so.


    Joe R.

    We had a washing machine even back in the time I was a kid in a housing project in the 1960s. There are few apartments these days where it’s not possible to install a washing machine. Indeed, you have those stackable washer/dryer combos if you’re short on space. It’s mostly that residents either don’t want to, or can’t afford a decent machine. Most apartment buildings which don’t allow tenants to have a washing machine tend to have a laundromat on premises. Frankly, I’m surprised commercial laundromats these days get enough customers to stay in business. In fact, if loss of a few parking spots drastically affects your business, then it was probably a marginal business which was going to fail eventually anyway.

    All that said, a nice size heavy duty shopping cart can easily carry a lot of laundry or anything else quite a distance. I use mine to lug up to 100 pounds of groceries from stores about 3/4 mile away.


    Jonathan R

    One thing you can say in defense of single-family home ownership: it is trivial to install a washing machine on your own premises,



    I used to haul my clothes to the laundromat (a granny cart also helps), but that was in a Manhattan neighborhood where laundromats were plentiful and this one was half a block away (I now have my own washing machine).

    I imagine around Ozone Park laundromats density is less, either because population density is lower, or a larger fraction of the people have their own washing machine (or at least washing machines in their building).

    If we want walkability and less dependence on parking, I guess we need to find ways to maximize the density of laundromats or alternatives to laundromats, but that’s not easy to retrofit. But it’s hard too to expect people to walk half a mile hauling their laundry.



    Or just start wearing a helmet cam. The upfront expenditure will save you a ton of grief down the road.



    Well, to be entirely honest, I only go laundromats that have convenient parking. I can’t carry my laundry on a bike, car is the only option. Carrying two large bags of laundry is not the same as carrying couple of shopping bags. These laundromats are thriving while the ones without nearby parking are usually not doing well. So that one business may have a point.



    Fellow cyclists, you can avoid most of these tickets altogether if you start strapping action cams to your helmets and/or bikes. In a hearsay battle the cop’s word almost always wins. A camera removes any doubt as to who was right, and it keeps the cops honest. Plus, it’s great evidence if you’re ever struck by a motorist because, as you all know, cyclists often get pittance for justice when it comes to car-bike collisions. A $200-300 expenditure now on a camera will save you an untold amount of headaches later.



    In NY a cyclist is only classified as a pedestrian if he/she is injured by a motorist. While you’re operating the bike and are free of danger you are another vehicle.



    Is Operation Harassment Cycle officially over? Any stats about how many people were successfully harassed?

    Yesterday, I ran a red light in front of an unmarked police car. They were probably not looking for cyclists to ticket, but luckily I didn’t have to find out because the officer was too busy texting while driving to notice.



    Read the last article.


    Eric McClure

    Next time, The Advance should bring a speed gun AND Staten Island’s driver-coddling elected officials to the streets.


    Joe R.

    I never once said I couldn’t see pedestrians by the time I got to the crosswalk. Not once. Not being able to see people until I’m some distance from the crosswalk doesn’t matter operationally unless that distance is less than the stopping distance at the speed I’m traveling. However, I don’t tend to go faster than my lines of sight allow, so I can always stop within the distance I can see.

    As a general rule, people crossing the street with the walk signal only tend to wait for something which is in the crosswalk, or nearly in the crosswalk and moving at a good rate of speed (i.e. they don’t wait for bikes or cars slowly rolling up to the crosswalk). They’re not going to glance 30 feet or 40 feet down the street, see me slowly approaching the red light at 10 mph, and wait until I pass on the assumption that I’m not going to stop. That would be stupid for two reasons. Their assumption may be wrong, in which case they will have needlessly waited. Or if they stay in motion, they may very well be well past the point in the crosswalk I’ll be riding through by the time I get there (that’s almost a certainty if I’m 30 feet or more away from the crosswalk when they first see me). Again, they will have waited needlessly. Most people crossing with or against the light have a good sense of when an approaching vehicle will reach the intersection. I know I do. When I jaywalk I can see a car approaching at 40 mph, start crossing, and time it so I’ll be at least a few feet past their traffic lane when they pass the intersection (assuming they don’t see me and slow down, which they often do, in which case they pass me with an even wider berth).

    Since we’re talking about rules, legally I’m not breaking any rules whatsoever until I enter the crosswalk at a red light. If it were within the capabilities of my brakes and myself, I could legally approach a red light at up to the speed limit, and decelerate from 30 mph down to a stop in 2 inches, so long as I stopped prior to the crosswalk. Of course, that’s not physically possible but I’m using it as a hypothetical for what I could do without breaking any laws whatsoever. I’ll grant that a person crossing with the light who sees a car or bike down the road approaching the intersection at a high rate of speed may indeed wait because they’re not sure if the vehicle will stop, but remember there are absolutely no laws beyond the speed limit governing how rapidly you may approach a red light, so long as you stop prior to the crosswalk. And as I said several times already, I don’t approach red lights at such a speed that people crossing may think I won’t stop.

    Whether I see people or not when I’m far from the crosswalk shouldn’t matter. Operationally I’m not affected by those people until I’m a certain distance away. And chances are good nobody is going to break their stride to wait for a bike approaching the intersection when it’s still 10 or 20 or more feet away, unless maybe it’s going 25 mph, but that’s not applicable in my case. On the other hand, I have seen people walk right in front of a moving bike, as in when it’s 5 feet away, to cross against the light. That’s telling me people in general won’t wait for bicycles to pass if they have the walk signal when they don’t even do it when they don’t have the walk signal.

    Can you clearly explain exactly the set of circumstances you mean here because frankly nothing you’re saying makes any sense at all? When I say explain, I mean using distances, speeds, etc., not general terms. It sounds like you think if I’m approaching a red light and can’t see people step off the curb I should come to a dead stop right where I am, even if it’s 100 feet from the intersection, on the assumption that a person crossing will see me in motion, think I’m going to blow the light, and wait. Legally I don’t have to do that. Neither do motor vehicles approaching the red light. By definition everyone can remain in motion until they reach the crosswalk. It also sounds like you think I approach intersections at speed even if I have no view whatsoever of people stepping off the curb until I’m on top of the crosswalk. I never said that. To refresh your memory:

    “First off, in general I can’t even see people until they step off the curb thanks to parked cars, nor can they see me.”

    I see no mention of distances or speeds there. It’s a very general statement which is true nearly all the time. At some distance from the crosswalk I can’t see pedestrians until they step off the curb. However, does it really matter if that distance is 100 feet, 50 feet, or even 10 feet? The exact distance is irrelevant so long as I adjust my speed so I’m able to stop prior to the crosswalk once I can see someone step off the curb. That’s the case 100% of the time.

    My statement was in response to what you said, namely: “Why should a pedestrian who is approaching the crosswalk and is about to cross but has not yet stepped off the curb be forced to wait for an impatient cyclist?”

    So now drivers and cyclists are supposed to react to people still on the sidewalk? Nothing in the law says they have to. For example, drivers must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk when turning, not pedestrians who have not yet stepped off the curb. Suppose someone standing on the corner isn’t crossing, but just watching girls, or maybe waiting for someone? That’s why the law is written as it is. It’s assumed a pedestrian has no intent to cross the street until they’ve actually stepped off the curb. In the real world it’s not feasible for people to start guessing what the intentions of someone still on the sidewalk may be.



    I would just like De Blasio to take public transit and walk or bike as much as possible and encourage every city worker to do the same.

    Should we be paying for his personal (not city business related) transportation? No, but as has been pointed out he has to have a security detail with him all the time and tax payers should pay for that.



    Why would Council members be on two wheels? Based on the police response to it, I’m pretty sure that sort of behavior is only for deviants and miscreants of the worst sort…



    I get how car-guy Cuomo would support this. But Congressman Engel? He is all about reducing US dependence on foreign oil-producing countries, even chairing a House caucus on the issue. Why would he support a mall that incentivizes more driving?

    Here’s the caucus: