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    Don’t worry, the deal is just “days away”. Like it has been for weeks.



    I’m getting tired of articles (WSJ, NYT, WNYC, etc.) with “revelations” about the ongoing negotiations by Related to buy Alta Bicycle Share. Just let us know when the deal is done.


    Benjamin Kabak

    Ray LaHood Won’t Reveal Many Details About Reinvention Commission’s Work (CapNY)

    I’m going to start calling it the MTA Same-Old-Song-And-Dance Commission. They have no vision and no understanding of the underlying problems plaguing the MTA. It’s sad so far that it’s just been yet another platform for interest groups to push their pet projects instead of a soapbox for actual reform suggestions.



    I love, LOVE reading SI Advance articles. All of the comments are the stereotypical angry conservative suburbanites. Everything’s a “SCAM!” The city’s going to hell in a hand-basket, because of… bus lanes, or something! The politicians are corrupt because you have to pay a fine when you run a red light! Just you wait–don’t believe what they tell you!

    They’re just so cute. I want to go tickle them.


    Samuel L Bronkovitz Presents

    Not sure I follow?



    So the word ‘fracking’ is verboten on Streetsblog?



    It is not unreasonable for the DA not to prosecute charges that they know won’t stick. To do otherwise could be considered a waste of taxpayer’s money. If you look at the few cases that are prosecuted, the fewer that get a conviction (juries are also reluctant to convict), only to be overturned later by a higher court who thinks that they can read the mind of the defendant better than the jury, it is easy to see why the DAs are reluctant to prosecute except in the most extreme cases.

    This all points to a need to rewrite the laws.



    I guess the main difference is how much each city is willing to subsidize the service, but I’d be interested in learning more about it. Maybe the “City Cycling” book has some data.



    If you look at the data on the PDF linked to in the caption, you’ll see that sales tax alone (to individuals only) follows exactly the same overall progression, with the bottom 20% paying 3.7% of their income for general sales tax exclusive of excise taxes and the top 1% paying only 0.6%.

    So: no need to wonder.



    The main contributing factor seems to be a conspiracy by the NYPD and the DA’s offices to let motorists get away with reckless driving and manslaughter.

    Look at all that inattention and tailgating (“following too closely”), and the failure to yield right-of-way, and the unsafe lane changes, and the unsafe speed, and the backing unsafely… this is all what we used to call “reckless driving” (illegal, results in removal of driver’s license), and killing someone while driving recklessly used to be called “manslaughter”. But apparently there’s an NYPD/DA conspiracy to let motorists get away with it.


    Joe R.

    The sidewalks don’t exclude faster walkers, or require them to walk slower (unless they’re very crowded, in which case everyone has to walk slower). Why exactly then would we need to NOT accommodate all types of riders on any type of bike path in order to make it useful to the majority of riders? All you need to accommodate all types of riders is adequate room to pass. That should always exist or everyone will be forced to ride at the speed of the slowest rider. I doubt a 12 mph rider would appreciate being stuck behind a kid on a bike going 6 mph. That’s why you need room to pass, regardless. If a bike path doesn’t have room to safely pass, then it’s seriously deficient, regardless of where it is, regardless of its design speed.

    Faster riders typically hit fewer red lights, not more. NYC isn’t going to time lights for 12 mph on arterials. It would seriously cripple capacity and it would elicit tons of complaints from drivers. It ain’t happening, period, so I don’t know why it’s continually being brought up. At best I can see NYC going with 20 mph zones in most or all of Manhattan, and then having light timing to match that. It may not be ideal for many cyclists, but 20 mph light timing means far fewer red lights even for 12 mph riders than the present 25 to 30 mph timing.

    And the costs of the viaducts should come down dramatically within a decade or two. Right now they would essentially need to be custom built and poured in place in each location. Once 3D printing, prefabrication, and robotic labor take hold (less than a decade for the first two, 2-3 decades for the last), infrastructure in general will become much cheaper. It will also become much faster to build. I can envision a moving factory of sorts which might build a mile of viaduct in a day. A few such set ups could have the entire city covered in a few months. You could even build these things mostly from recycled plastic. With nearly free raw materials plus minimal building costs, the cost issue goes out the window. Who knows, NYC may even eventually evolve to put pedestrians and cyclists above the streets. You’re right, there is a serious lack of space at street level. Eventually we won’t be able to fit everything there, regardless of how much we ask any one group to compromise for the general good. We’ll need cost effective measures to increase space. Taking a cue from nature, the only way is to add levels. As I said elsewhere, this actually has a practical benefit. It means you can still get around if the subways/streets are flooded after a major storm.



    >There’s no reason here any group should be excluded.

    The road accommodates bikes, pedestrians, and cars today. Nobody is excluded. Some are just better accommodated. It’s the same issue. There’s no magic solution (tens of billions building your viaducts isn’t a viable solution, cut construction costs 95% then maybe, but until then absolutely not) to this lack of space. You accommodate one user at the expense of another nine times out of ten. The only question then, is who to accommodate?

    The population willing to bike 15-20+ mph to get around is much much smaller than the population willing to bike 10-12 mph. It’s more equitable to target them for accommodations, because there are so many more of them, even if that means the rider who wants to cruise at 18 mph hits more lights and only ends up averaging 14 mph or less. And the only reason faster bikes might possibly ride more miles total today (which might not be true even before city bike, and almost definitely after), is because they are better accommodated than slow bikes today, and you see the mode share that results. If your goal is to allow a large segment of the population to bike to get around, not just for fun, then you need to accommodate 10-12 mph cruising. This is what’s been found in every city where a lot of people bike. NYC isn’t special, it won’t be different here.



    Hangzhou, China is ~ $30/year, $0.15/hour after 1
    Paris, France is ~ $25/year, $2/hour after 0.5
    Lyon, France is ~ $30/year, $2/hour after 0.5
    Barcelona, Spain is ~ $50/year, $2/hour after 0.5
    Brussels, Belgium is ~ $40/year, $1/hour after 0.5

    So what’s the deal with North American bike share being so expensive?

    NYC is $95+tax/year, $2.50/0.5 + $9/next 0.5
    Montreal is $82/year, $5/hour over
    Boston is $85/year, $6/hour over
    DC is $75/year, $6/hour over
    SF is $88/year, $11/hour over

    All of these north american cities use the same bikes… Is our model/infrastructure that much more expensive than the international ones?



    Usually, not always.

    Letitia James in 2003 ran for city council as WOR, defeated the democrat nominee, first third party win since the 70s.

    I think for governor they usually want to endorse the democrat because then people can vote their party without worrying that they’ve wasted the vote, it guarantees them ballot access in other elections. And running someone for an assembly district or state senate seat or city council might be easier to pull off, so there they’ll try their own sometimes, though usually that ends up just pushing the democrat to the left in the primary.


    Kevin Love

    Because nobody had a large family before cars were invented…


    Joe R.

    As I’ve said repeatedly, good infrastructure can and should be able to accommodate riders of all ages and abilities. Your hypothetical 12 mph rider will certainly get stronger if they keep riding, and will eventually be able to go 15 mph or more without breaking a sweat. Faster riders may constitute a minority in terms of raw numbers, but they actually account for a large percentage of bicycle miles traveled. That fact alone means they should be accommodated.

    I should also mention that e-bikes are an affordable and viable option instead of a velomobile for those who don’t want to work hard. E-bikes allow the best of both worlds-you don’t sweat but you can pretty much keep pace with strong riders.

    There’s no reason here any group should be excluded. Sure, there are die-hard VCs who will oppose any separate bike infrastructure at all, but they are the minority. Most of the time it’s just bad infrastructure which faces opposition by the VC crowd.

    I want everyone to bike who physically can. That can’t happen until you have places to ride which are both safe, and accommodate every type of rider.

    I should also note I’m not 100% opposed to “slow” infrastructure if it’s only for a block or two, provided there’s just no cost effective way to build anything better. Slow is better than nothing at all in that case.



    You mean the same illegals that keep our commodities cheap. You know, the ones that work below minimum wage? That boosts productivity for businesses.

    And WTF is a hipster anyway, haha. Almost everyone i’ve ever met on a fixie or alternatively dressed was born and raised here.

    NYC is not overpopulated. Upzonings are needed in most neighborhoods though. Automobile exhaust does definitely negatively affect the population as well as burning heating oils and other air pollution.



    People want to bike to work and other destinations without spending thousands on a velomobile or breaking a sweat. That’s 10-12 mph.

    If you want cycling to be a good option for most people, then that’s what you have to accommodate. Yes other users lose out sometimes, but there aren’t that many of them and it’s necessary if you want a lot to bike.



    Yep, back when streetcars ruled Kings County. PMV’s were far and few between.



    Doesn’t WFP always endorse the Democrat? They don’t run their own candidates afaik.



    Spitzer is no longer Greenfield’s deputy chief of staff. See corrected update in post above.


    Samuel L Bronkovitz Presents

    By now its pretty obvious on all counts – from transit policy to marijuana policy, from corruption to courting elites – that Cuomo is a NE Republican, waving the right flags for PR and fucking over anyone that isn’t rich. A shame the WFP ended up endorsing him; but the woman that had bubbled up, Zephyr Teachout, is going strong. Vote for her in the primary!


    Joe R.

    In general we should tax behaviors we don’t want and not tax things we do want. Sales and income taxes both make little sense in today’s world. It makes more sense to do things like tax driving more, perhaps have a wealth tax, and only have sales taxes on luxury, optional items, or highly undesirable behavior like smoking or recreational drug use (yes, it should be legal but taxed heavily). On the flip side, I could make a good argument that there should be a negative tax (i.e. payments) for desirable behaviors such as using bikes or public transit, keeping your weight within certain guidelines, probably a bunch more things I can’t think of at the moment. Taxes are revenue for governments but at the same time they can be used to provide incentives for things which save governments money, or disincentives for things which cost them money.



    You bring up a good point. Why not fund transit with excise taxes placed on behaviors with large negative externalities? Like say I wanted to move throughout the city in a massive box that spews pollution and makes honking noises. Tax that, and put the proceeds towards transit!


    Joe R.

    Sure, the type of bike one rides can make a huge difference. I have trouble holding any speed much over 15 mph on most mountain bikes, for example. My bike has a rear wheel fairing which probably buys me another 1 to 1.5 mph. Such a fairing can be installed on any bike. Here’s a how-to if you’re interested:—For-your-Bike/

    These serve two purposes. One, they give you a noticeable speed increase for any given effort. Two, they keep sticks and other similar things out of your rear wheel spokes. The second reason was actually my primary motivation for making them.

    That said, assuming we were in a hypothetical world where the primary goal for human-powered transportation was speed, velomobiles might provide the answer for people like you. In the best velomobiles, a strong rider can maintain about 40 mph. An average rider can go 20-25 mph without working up a sweat. Moreover, velomobiles typically have a large cargo capacity, so they’re very practical for utility cycling. The downside of course is that most cost over $10K. However, I feel if they were mass-produced we might get the price under $3K, perhaps even less. I plan to buy a velomobile in time. Even though I ride reasonably fast, I would prefer to be able to ride faster, make more lights, etc. with less effort. A velomobile would facilitate that.

    18 mph in a sprint distance triathlon (the bike portion is 20 km, or 12.4 miles for those not familiar) is pretty decent if you ask me. I once covered 10 miles in 25 minutes. That’s an average speed of 24 mph but I was 19 at the time. Nowadays I find if I don’t need to stop, my average speeds trend towards 17 to 19 mph on level roads with no winds. That’s without killing myself. If I pushed it to my limit, I might be able to average about 21 mph or so over 20 km. Comparatively speaking, 18 mph for the same distance for a 40 year old woman is probably an equivalent feat. On some days you might even give me a run for my money.


    Andy B from Jersey

    You make good points on this but it has long been noted that sales taxes punish the poor much more than the rich which is nothing new here.

    But it is good that you remake this point! Why fund transit with sales taxes when other taxes are more equitable? This is something I wondered about too when traveling out here in the West where cities like Denver, Seattle and Salt Lake have been using such taxes to fund mass transit upgrades.


    Tal F.

    You’ve got cause and effect confused. These communities are becoming more dense because of the increase in the cost of housing. If anything, rents have gone up MORE in desirable areas that have stubbornly refused to build denser, such as the West Village and parts of TriBeCa, and much less in similar areas that have allowed significant densification, such as Battery Park City. South Queens is cheap because it’s not that desirable (yet). Parts of Midwood, particularly Coney Island Ave, which is relatively transit accessible, are in danger of seeing rents explode in the next wave if they don’t act now by building denser.



    in recent years communities that have become more dense have had a dramatic increase in rent, making them only more exclusive….communities with less transit options usually have lower rents and are more available to the public… can scoop up a house in south queens for $300k which would cost a million in billyburg.



    Good point about the other options, and the hills.

    The advantage of Morningside though is that a protected lane on the west side of the street would make for ~1.5 miles between 110th and 141st without a vehicle crossing (excepting the gap between 123-128). This is a big improvement over a mixing zone every other block, and would provide almost the same level of safety and speed as the greenway.

    Most of us will bike anyway, but something like this is what’s needed to get more women and children out.



    14-foot parking lanes _are_ de facto bike lanes (example: AC Powell Blvd above 117th St.) Except for double-parking, of course, but that happens even with marked bike lanes.

    The Morningside Ave. redesign can be a template for West End Ave.


    Andres Dee

    Use the “other” category and be descriptive. The site is a little tricky in that it does not give you feedback that an issue was accepted. You can verify by zooming in on the map and checking if your issue is there.


    Tal F.

    I’m generally on your side, but having lived there I can attest that at least anecdotally it seems that the overwhelming majority of voters in Midwood drive. It’s not a very dense area, so boro-wide numbers are outweighed by higher density car-free neighborhoods closer to Manhattan.

    Having said that, it’s never too late to start changing the neighborhood for the better by encouraging TOD and fewer parking spaces.


    Tal F.

    For the time being, at least, Greenfield’s district happens to be one of those few areas where you must drive, at least if you want to get around in a reasonable amount of time. Buses are slow, and subways only serve commuters going into Manhattan.


    Tal F.

    So it sounds like you meant to write “Midwood was built and designed specifically for MV traffic,” in which case I’d have to agree. Nonetheless, it’s not too late to change that, and much as today’s residents may disagree due to their short-sightedness, those with a long term vision for Midwood and NYC as a whole know that it is necessary for Brooklyn’s “outer-ring” to densify and become more transit friendly in order to prevent it from becoming an exclusive enclave available only to the rich.


    Tal F.

    Very good article overall, but just to nitpick, your chart at the top is for sales AND EXCISE taxes. It is well known that poor people smoke and drink more than rich people, but these are behaviors with very large negative externalities and therefore quite worthy of taxation despite their regressive nature. It’s like saying that punishing crime is regressive because criminals tend to be poor. While certainly true, this does not mean we should stop punishing crime. I just wonder to what extent the lopsided nature of that chart comes from the excise tax portion versus the sales tax portion.



    I tried to use the site. It was useless to me.

    The concern is pedestrians spilling into 8th Ave as they head toward the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and the need to take a lane from traffic and repurpose it to wider sidewalks, from about 34th St to 50th St.

    But that problem didn’t fit into the narrow categories offered with the map. (Jaywalking is defined as “crossing” a treat, while on 8th Ave, the jaywalking is contraflow in the bike lane or even in traffic lanes.) When I tried to Comment, I got “Results”, not a place to add my new Comment.

    Did anyone else get the site to work for them?



    @bkabak:disqus: Spitzer is no longer Greenfield’s deputy chief of staff. See corrected update in post above.



    The blockage will be the fault of the illegal double-parkers, not the pedestrian safety island. And it could be easily remedied with enforcement (except that the NYPD seems to have decided that God granted a right to double park in front of churches which supersedes the laws of the land).



    “18 mph is relatively easy to do on a good road bike.” Says who? Maybe for a fit man, but not the average person. My average speed in a sprint distance triathlon was just over 18 mph and I was in the top third of 40 year old female finishers.

    The rest of your argument is reasonable, but I’m sick of having bicycle standards be defined by men who ride hard on lightweight bikes. I ride a bike that I can carry gear on, wearing my work clothes. Anything over 12 mph means I start sweating even on a chilly morning.



    The pedestrian island picture shows the fatal flaw in this plan. That church on the right creates a flood of double parkers every week. With only 2 lanes for traffic, they will clog the block and make this impassable.



    You’re wrong. Orthodox Jews (including Hasidim) are not forbidden by religious practice to use mass transit. However, they do tend to have large families, which makes a car a necessity.



    Morgan Pehme’s piece puts the cart before the horse. A deputy mayor of planning for each borough would not be an effective measure in a city that fails to even comprehensively plan. DCP does not plan – it wields the blunt instrument of zoning as its one planning tool. NYC has always been a developer driven city, and to engage in the kind of forward thinking planning that the author suggests – rather than simply reacting as megatower after megatower is built – the entire city planning regime needs to be re-thought.


    John Smith

    Bike riders are a public nuisance now…the city could make a lot of money by having undercover cops pull over bike riders. In fact, 90% of bike riders would be ticketed on a typical day….the ticket revenue would definitely justify the cost of enforcement.


    Payton Chung

    CaBi docks were how most casual users in a DC intercept survey found out about bike-share; seeing the bicycles around was a distant second. And to confirm the point, Deutsche Bahn runs its Call-A-Bike system either dockless (“flex”) or docked (“fix”), and the docked systems generate more rides per bike per day.



    there are different sects that have different rules…some can some cant…


    Payton Chung

    Uptown’s main tourist attractions (Museum Mile, Central Park, AMNH, maybe Columbia) seem like better candidates for bike-share trips than Midtown’s or Downtown’s. However, I agree that adding them into the Citi Bike footprint won’t change the program’s financials overnight.



    Serious question not trying to be snarky: If that’s true, why do I see Hasidic Jews on the subway all the time? Do the Hasidim and the Orthodox have different rules on that?



    all of our commerce is motor vehicle driven and has been for almost a century…that is why the city was designed for it….and crime is up…open your eyes



    brooklyn and queens were not even part of NYC in 1811…big development came in the 1920′s and 30′s…



    I want people to be able to chose their own mode of transportation without being harassed or demonized….if you wanna take a bike…fine….if you wanna drive a car…so be it….they are both perfectly acceptable modes of transportation…..