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    Kevin Love

    Where is the All-Powerful Bicycle Lobby when we really need it?


    Kevin Love

    The attitude towards the countless thousands it endangers is, “Good enough for the likes of you.”


    Joe R.

    He’s talking about hitting a pedestrian who suddenly darts out from in between parked cars when you’re almost on top of them. In this case, there’s literally nothing the driver can do.



    While I agree that cabs are not an option for most people for daily trips, they are used by plenty of non-rich people for some trips, and are in a completely different league than pedicabs in terms of price. The cab equivalent of the $50 pedicab trip mentioned above might cost $10. It depends on conditions of course, but consider that the marginal rate for taxis in slow traffic is $0.50 / min, while pedicabs typically charge $3-$5 / min.



    Cross street green + the occasional turn phase isn’t a 60 second red for traffic on northern. Probably closer to half that. You don’t hit every light biking on the street, there are only lights every 3 blocks typically. Your memory from trying it briefly decades ago is flawed or inapplicable to the situation on the ground today. Riding at a moderate pace I can average about 8-12 mph around Queens and Brooklyn depending on route/time stopping at lights during the day without exerting myself too much. Pushing myself it usually doesn’t get over 12 mph, maybe 14 mph if a lot of the route was on a greenway, because I get caught at a lot of the same lights or the next one down to let cross traffic go. So I ride at a moderate pace. 8-12 mph is far faster than walking. With traffic lights/stopping for cars and bikes that don’t yield to me in the crosswalk walking is only about 2-3mph anyway. Get a beater bike and use it for errands, riding at a moderate pace, it’ll save you time if you take a good route and you won’t have to wait for the city to install a network of viaducts. This is a big city with a lot of people. In a world without traffic lights but just as many people moving around in private vehicles (bike+car) or on foot when biking I’d have to slow down to 5mph or so every block to check for cross traffic, including pedestrians. I’m not sure that would end up any faster.


    Joe R.

    Pretty much the same thing is true of taking a regular cab. Cabs and car services are something which exists mostly for the upper middle class and the wealthy. Regular middle class people can’t afford to take them on a regular basis. Last time I rode a cab was over a decade ago, and then only because the person I was working for paid for it.


    Joe R.

    So then that just bolsters my case for a bike viaduct. To me the primary issue with putting one on Northern Blvd. (or most other NYC arterials) would be cost. Aesthetics are mostly moot because these are ugly commercial streets anyway. In fact, properly done a bike viaduct could enhance the street, shelter sidewalks (if built over them), carry utility lines and street lights, etc.

    You’re exaggerating the number of lights that exist, and how often you hit them if you’re on a bike too.

    It’s not just the lights. Cyclists in a protected bike lane would be delayed by turning vehicles, pedestrians intruding into the bike lane, probably delivery trucks unloading, and so forth. That means missing lots of lights a cyclist might otherwise make at their normal riding speed. I’ve ridden Northern Blvd. at peak times. Back when I was a strictly law-abiding cyclist, I often couldn’t go more than 3 blocks without hitting a light. Figure maybe 40 seconds to travel 3 blocks. By the time I’m up to speed I’m hitting a light just as it’s flipping from yellow to red. Slam on the brakes, wait 60 seconds, repeat every three or four blocks. About 100 seconds to go 3 blocks, which equates to a whopping average speed of 5.4 mph. It’s not much slower for me to walk, which is partially an answer as to why I often walk errands rather than bike them.

    Back when I used to religiously stop for red lights, it was difficult to get average speeds higher than about 10 mph no matter what routes I took. This was when my area had perhaps 1/3 the number of traffic signals it has now. The bottom line here is if NYC won’t reduce the number of traffic signals, won’t let cyclists legally pass reds, or if it’s unfeasible to do either on account of pedestrian volumes, then we need off-street alternatives. Cycling just doesn’t work on city streets as they’re configured now. It’s unpleasant, dangerous, tedious to have to deal with myriad obstacles plus repeated starting and stopping. Bikes don’t work in such environments.



    Ha. Guess what the population at large does? The overwhelming majority drives and does not bike. So if you want all laws to cater to majority, simply outlaw biking. Problem solved.


    Philip Neumann

    And I’ve heard from many cyclists who live in Queens (eastern/middle of Queens chiefly) that it’s quicker for them to take the Williamsburg or Manhattan Bridges to get to work, than to traverse over to the Queensboro and cycle down 2nd Ave.

    Truthfully, I’d like to see the South Outer Roadway given to cyclists, year-round. Very few motorists actually take that entrance on 59th Street in Manhattan (from 1st Ave or York), it’s closed off entirely in the evenings, and the ramp on the Queens-side has been the site of some very serious crashes in recent years. Plus, if it was only for cycling, it dumps right out onto an already marked bike path at 59th.



    Seems like an appropriate reason to file a FOIA request.



    Good point, forgot about the raised path in 2018. I’m nervous since flex delineators just tend to disappear, and I don’t think it’s because of out of control cyclists…



    No specific insight. Maybe, with plans to build out in concrete as a raised bike path in 2018, DOT wants to keep cost of install install down? Also either Qwick Kurb bollards or Jersey barriers, while providing more protection, would be less permeable to bikers entering and exiting the bike lane to access side streets, perhaps DOT was concerned with that?



    I guess the pedicab is an option if you are incapable of walking and have lots of money to throw away. Given their rates, a short ride might cost $50 or more.


    Benjamin Kabak

    I am really mad at this. No notice to the community; no CB review; no nothing. Just a unilateral decision made as a political favor to someone. What a corrupt and farcical system.



    No one expects pedestrians to behave “perfectly” or in a perfectly predictable way. The point being made here is that there is such a thing as behaving so unpredictably that no reasonably prudent user of a shared space could anticipate or prepare for that unpredictable behavior.

    When it occurs, slow down. Don’t just ring your bell/blare your horn.

    insinuating that I wasn’t behaving reasonably prudently under the circumstances.

    You weren’t riding in a prudent manner. You waited to slow down until it was too late for you to be able to do so safely. It’s fortunate that you hurt only yourself.

    What happened to me was tantamount to a grown adult running into a street, from between parked cars, almost directly in front of an approaching driver

    In such a situation the driver should slow down, not just honk their horn and try to chase the pedestrian out of the way. If instead they honk their horn without slowing down, and then as a result a moment later they are too close to be able to stop before a crash occurs and swerve out of the way at the last second and damage their vehicle, someone else’s, or injure themselves or another, I would consider the driver substantially, though not completely, responsible for the crash. If they plowed right into the person I would consider them substantially responsible for hitting the person who ran in front of them.



    Any insight into why flex and not something more substantial?



    You missed the point. Cyclists not having to stop for red lights is something that can work with the right rider culture when there are only a handful. When you get up to 1000+ cyclists an hour, the conflicts will be far more frequent. At peak you have more than 1000 pedestrians an hour crossing between arterials where you want to limit the lights to. And when there’s a line of cars stopped at a red light adjacent to the bike lane visibility is minimal, cyclists would have to slow down to 5 mph or so anyway, they’d have to virtually stop every light. You can’t get an at grade high volume route with minimal signal delay without a massive impact on pedestrians and vehicular cross traffic (including bikes) unless that high volume service is buses and trains. You could have 50 people on a bus go by every minute, and there’s a minimal delay to let it go by for people crossing. Put all those people on bikes or in cars and the conflict is increased by an order of magnitude at least.

    You’re exaggerating the number of lights that exist, and how often you hit them if you’re on a bike too.



    Flex delineator should help with that when they go in.



    Was on a bus that used the new bike lane as a bus lane outside of the Queens Center mall…



    Am I reading this correctly? People use pedicabs as a substitute for taxis?

    From the WSJ on Yellow Cabs: “Sarah Morse, a 64-year-old who lives on the Upper East Side, approached the same street hoping one of the many yellow taxis driving by would notice her. In previous years she said she was forced to take a pedicab to her destination because there were no available taxis.”



    Also, any sane society would have so-called public transit 100% subsidized so there would be no fare.

    What society is sane?



    An authority pamphlet from 2010 estimated that “the M.T.A. spends 15 cents of each fare dollar just to sell or collect that fare.”



    Look at the language used in the story:

    “…he slammed into an open car door, flipped off his bike into the street and was run over by another car…”

    Sounds like some crazy stunt biker, slamming into things and doing flips. How about “a careless driver opened a car door directly into a bike lane, knocking a cyclist in front of a moving vehicle.”



    My point is there’s not a need to automatically slow down every time you approach a pedestrian.

    I said to slow down when the person on foot does something unexpected instead of just blaring a horn/bell, not slow down every time you approach someone.



    One estimate puts it at 6% of the entire budget.


    Bernard Finucane

    Another example of pure insanity in American city planning.

    But of course this is really just corruption. The guy who got this favor is worth much more than the countless thousands it endangers.



    Yes, 20 years is a ridiculously short lifespan. Amtrak is starved for equipment and can’t afford to ditch anything–perhaps they’ll overhaul the old Acela trainsets to replace/supplement the Amfleet cars? Those are rock-solid but significantly older and in need of another overhaul.



    The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade has maximum float size regulations, which should be sort of typical. I checked them out a few years ago when someone asked if the presence of that parade would make it impossible to put protected bike lanes on Fifth Avenue (answer: it wouldn’t).

    And, by the way, marching bands can re-form into any configuration, from wide & short to narrow & long. They even like to show off how spectacularly and interestingly they can do it! Therefore, pedestrian refuge islands are likely to be more aesthetically pleasing than any “potential replacement treatments.”


    Joe R.

    But that would be too sensible. NYC instead has to find more expensive, difficult, and brain-dead solutions lest it lose its reputation as the world leader in screw-ups.


    Joe R.

    Good question. My guess is at least 25% of the fares collected, possibly more.


    Joe R.

    Agreed. If we get rid of the slowest parts of the corridor, increase speeds where they can be increased, then you could probably get NYC to Washington running times down to 2:15 or even 2 hours. At that point, you probably don’t even need meal service unless you’re running from Washington to Boston. Yes, pack as many people in as possible, like the Japanese do on their Shinkansen. 3 + 2 seating works fine. Come to think of it, why didn’t we buy Shinkansen trainsets instead? They accelerate better than locomotive-hauled sets. On the NEC with its constantly changing speed limits that could shave more than a few minutes off schedules. Or maybe I’m missing something and the new Acela sets will have some axles on the intermediate cars powered.



    They could replace the floats.



    Glad she’s supporting protected bike lanes–it’s the least she can do to protect cyclists from herself.


    Kevin Love

    I wonder what the total cost is of fare collection and enforcement?


    Joe R.

    That’s exactly the case. Besides the $460 per day to incarcerate these people, a permanent criminal record makes them unemployable. That means many tens of thousands in welfare payments over their lifetimes. It’s probably less costly when you consider that to just not bother enforcing fare evasion, even if fare evaders increase ten-fold.

    Also, any sane society would have so-called public transit 100% subsidized so there would be no fare.


    Kevin Love

    Like what? Like a low cost Metrocard so poor people can afford to pay fares. And funding this by cutting down on the over-the-top expensive enforcement.

    That is what the article advocates. That “preventative measure” works for me.


    Joe R.

    Sometimes the city does things so monumentally stupid it makes you wonder if the people in charge are less intelligent than the roaches inhabiting their apartments. This is certainly one of those times.

    Is the city going to remove the islands, replace them after the parade, and then remove them annually? What are the “potential replacement treatments”?


    Kevin Love

    No, actually. Even Singapore’s new “Tougher measures” are merely higher fines to a not-so-whopping $S50. No jail time. See:

    While reading the article, please notice how public transit fares were REDUCED 1.9% last year.


    Larry Littlefield

    “Importantly, 90% of these fines are the result of tickets for fare-evasion. The audit leaves unaddressed the larger question of whether public transit should be funded in this manner, on the backs of New Yorkers unable to afford the rising fares but still needing to move about the city for work or other appointments.”

    “Likewise, the audit neglects to question whether fines, which increased to $100 in 2008, went unpaid because people who skip out on $2.75 might not be able to afford them.”

    The person who wrote this is against the fines, not just the arrests. And the arrests are for people without IDs, who could use false names and never pay the fine.

    This person advocates “preventative measures” instead of tickets. Like what?

    If society believes people should have a free fare it should give it to them. Just making it easier to evade the fare just means it isn’t means tested and “costs nothing” because the transit system will cover it somehow. How?

    We’ve done this before. We know what the consequences are. What’s the point: we’ve already done the retroactive pension increases and the debts, so let’s bring back fare evasion too?



    Can someone file a lawsuit to stop this? Just need to delay it for a few more days.



    Concur with Kevin. I can’t see how what you are talking about relates to the article at all. It’s completely daft for fare evasion to be something you arrest over. Anything related to this topic belongs in the civil sphere. As a practical matter, it is preferable to tolerate some fare evasion than have an over-bearing security state. If right-wingers understand this (some do, most are too asshole or stupid), good for them.

    A sane judge or prosecutor, who finds a homeless person evading the fare to get to a social services appointment, or a job interview of all things, really could just let that go. It’s usually pretty easy to tell who is desperate and who is being a malicious mook. Any cop not emotionally intelligent enough to do it shouldn’t be a cop.



    Another country? Wild guess: Singapore.



    I don’t remember the details anymore, but I thought the buff strength regulations get sunsetted when PTC is implemented? The article says they’re capable of 186 mph, which isn’t too shabby.

    Re the headline: aging though? They’re not even 20 years old, and should live to 40 or 50.

    And I still think they’re fundamentally doing HSR the wrong way, turning it into a premium service. It should be largely “coach” class. It should be accessible to the general public. Really you don’t need anymore comfort than a commuter train or bus when you can do Washington to New York in under 3 hours. Do what Megabus and BoltBus do: pile as many bodies in as you can. Done properly, it could be arranged so you could live in New York and work in Philadelphia.



    If the organizers requested this, why can’t they pay for its removal and reinstallation? I mean, that seems fair if they believe it necessary. Otherwise, Jesus Christ. What an insult.



    Imagine if someone with that kind of political influence took time to walk places, or liked to bike!
    Sure is easy to ignore the rest of us peds and cyclists (and transit users) when those in power (and their friends) have money to have someone drive them everywhere.



    It takes a year of public CB meetings to put pedestrian improvements in, and a single closed-door deal to take them out.

    How are these floats moved around the city before and after the parade if they can’t fit on a 2-lane side of Eastern Parkway? (except in front of the Brooklyn Museum where they apparently can?)


    Benjamin Kabak

    Potentially willful action by NYC DOT and NYPD that could lead to a serious injury or pedestrian death. This is completely outrageous especially in the so-called era of so-called Vision Zero.



    Clearly somebody with political pull intervened. The question is — who was it?



    Note it was the NYPD that instigated this story.

    They suddenly care so much about pedestrian safety… when it becomes an argument against the West Indian parade!


    Kevin Love

    Read the article. Nobody is advocating fare evasion. The proposal is that the present over-the-top draconian enforcement be scaled back and that the resources saved should be put into low-cost Metrocards for the poor.

    I do not know anywhere else in the world where people go to jail for fare evasion. Does anyone else know of any other country that does this? Somehow, everywhere else manages to enforce fares without spending $460 per day to send people to jail for a $2.75 fare violation.

    Let’s not forget the permanent criminal record. Yes, the solution to people not being able to afford fares is to make it really, really hard for them to get a job. That’s just crazy.