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    If lowering tolls midday between commute peaks makes the system seem too complicated what about just late nights? Connections to the Manhattan core are hardly transit rich at 2 am, especially for people coming from the suburbs.



    This would have the biggest improvement to the quality of the public realm and to transportation funding of anything that could be done. We need a bold, visionary elected official who is willing to step up to the plate to push for this.



    What is it going to take to get this implemented already?



    Interestingly, De Blasio / Bratton have already checked off the task titled “Expand Collision Investigation Squad cases to encompass all crashes with critical injuries” as completed. So much for accountability.



    Yes, please.

    I agree that variable tolling should be included, but perhaps not highlighted because it can be confusing.



    I thought that the safety allegations were a bit overblown. Most people don’t get their bikes inspected regularly anyway, and the most dangerous thing that could happen here would be a brake failure (the frame is never going to break) but there was no evidence of dangerous equipment, only of a poor inspection record.



    This argument does have merit but I do think the amount of safety provided by a low curb is exaggerated. Anecdote: I have nearly been hit by a bus while on a sidewalk, this was not an out of control bus this was simply a driver who took a turn too sharply.



    Nah, Captian Fiorello doesn’t give a flying fuck about cyclists, and makes it very clear at 88th Precinct meetings.


    Anon resident

    Previous administration of Citibike by former GM Justin Ginsberg were the cause of past problems. Money woes and he jumped ship and he was not qualified to have the job in the first place. Stringer is a monday morning quarter back and if there should be any auditing done it should the use of his SUV to get around town. Geez, he’s a comptroller not a diplomat and could travel around NYC by subway, cab and Citibike.


    Joe Shabadoo

    In the Vacca example above moving the construction materials off a main street seems like a good idea in and of itself



    Great article Ben – really insightful


    erica holder

    I was practically ambushed by a PIX reporter after I took a bike from a dock at Grand Central on Friday. “What just happened there? What went wrong?” she demanded. Well, nothing did. I put my fob in the wrong way the first time, but really, the whole transaction took about three seconds, and the bike was its usual clunky self. She seemed disappointed.



    Well, I was kind of representing a TA campaign, and we have a good working relationship with the transpo committee chair, so I had to keep things diplomatic. Sometimes I do wish I could just go to these meetings as more of an “independent agent” and not have to worry about the politics.



    I’m sorry you didn’t follow your impulse. Though I well know the fears and pressures that impelled you to stay silent — to not risk the opprobrium of the crowd, the wrath of the moderator, the damage to your “credibility,” ad nauseam. Though, who knows, maybe there were a few like-minded others, ready to stand and join you? Next time, then?



    Plus, when cops park like this, everyone else starts thinking it’s okay. There were at least three non-cop cars parked illegally right along with the cops on 4th last time I was there.
    When I report these things on 311, they usually say the incident was investigated and the car had moved by that time. But this is a recurring problem.



    I will hereby remove my comment; you can delete yours and we will never again speak of this.



    This is the way all Comptroller performance audits are. Complete misunderstanding of all quantitative and narrative information + non-sequiter findings + counter-productive recommendations = press release copied and pasted by the NY Times. I’ve been on the inside of dozens of them. I’ve never seen one that got anything right or actually picked up on the the real weaknesses in a program. Until you experience it, you would never imagine that there are people this stupid and lazy in the world. Ignore every Comptroller audit.



    It’s insane to realize that they’ve been doing this for SEVEN YEARS and nothing has been done. The fucking arrogance.



    Yes! Thank goodness for editors :)


    Robert Wright

    I did have a very nice commute this morning, including a very pleasant chat with Doug “Brooklyn Spoke” Gordon, whom I met on the Manhattan Bridge. So there is that.



    I agree with you – but think you mean “overstated,” no?



    Lovely day for a bike ride!


    Robert Wright

    What a depressing set of headlines. None of it’s Streetsblog’s fault – but look at them – traffic violence worse than expected, the subway’s managing only 75 per cent five-minute punctuality; the simple 7 train extension (which was under-specced in the first place) is being botched; red light cameras are being shut off.

    One tries to be optimistic – but some days it’s hard.



    The significance of the void in NYPD’s traffic fatality reporting cannot be OVERstated. The Matrullo death is one in a long line of traffic deaths essentially swept under the rug through flawed NYPD procedures under which police services are rationed only to those crash victims who are immediately declared dead or, in the untrained and negligent eyes of officers at the crash scene, deemed “likely to die.” Clara Heyworth was another.

    Beginning in March 2013 we have been fed a steady stream of promises that “dead or likely to die” would no longer be the sine qua non for meaningful police involvement in a traffic crash ( Those promises plainly were lies.

    In the lawsuit brought by Jake Stevens to hold NYPD accountable for failing to investigate Clara Heyworth’s death, it was argued that one reason for NYPD’s failure to investigate all serious injury crashes was a desire to minimize public awareness of the epidemic of traffic violence, and thus minimize the burden on NYPD of investigating crashes. Can anyone seriously doubt that this is, at the very least, the effect if not the purpose of NYPD failing to report 25% of fatal crashes?



    People really love parking, don’t they? I went to a community board meeting about the Kosciuszko Bridge replacement, and they talked about mitigating the loss of 13 parking spaces in a (relatively) low-density industrial area for a solid half hour. The state DOT guy kicked it off with, “Now I know that parking is an issue in this community that concerns everyone…” I just wanted to stand up and say, “Actually I don’t give a shit about parking. I just don’t find it that interesting. So if you’re really making all of these decisions based on the idea that everyone in this community drives and values free parking above everything else, please make a note that at least one person doesn’t feel that way. Thanks!”



    Vacca. :( Term limits people miss the point. We need Vacca limits.

    Goldfeder has a petition up to support reactivation of RBB. Not that his motivations are exactly pure, but it’s still a good cause.



    FWIW, with some good estate planning a good attorney can probably get anyone many kinds benefits quite legally. Re medicaid, I think eldercare attorneys sometimes specialize in that tactic. At least pre-Obamacare, there was a nontrivial population of older Americans who weren’t quite old enough to get medicare but couldn’t afford their medical bills despite having middle class estates or above.

    WIC probably survives because it’s indirect corporate welfare.


    Larry Littlefield

    They have sedan para transit services. I’ve seen them go by.



    Indeed, probably the entire reason for the existence of WIC coupons in
    lieu of cash for food is the fact that the cash often wasn’t used for
    real food, but for drugs/alcohol/tobacco, even in cases where there were
    children who needed to be fed.

    No it was the fear and outrage at the idea of that happening. Reality doesn’t matter.

    Besides this just creates a market with soda and similar items as the currency.


    Philip McManus

    Stand up and fight back!

    Please tell your friends on social media.

    This Sunday, December 21st 2014, at 3pm at the southwest corner of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard we will be holding a rally for faster transportation for Queens.

    Queens is divided by a toll on Cross Bay Boulevard, DeBlasio took away the Queens-Rockaway Ferry, our Subways/ Bus service and roadways are overcrowded and collapsing, and the Queensway has just been given an additional $440,000 in STATE FUNDS to convert the Rockaway Beach Branch right-of-way into a park!

    Please join us so that our voices can be heard! We NEED a TRANSIT OPTION along the Rockaway Beach Branch right-of-way, citywide ferry service, and IMPROVED Subway and bus service!

    Please RSVP Queens Public Transit Committee, Chairman Phil McManus at 718-679-5309 or for more info!

    We hope to see everyone this Sunday. United We Stand!

    Philip McManus

    Queens Public Transit Committee
    Faster transportation will create more social, economic, recreational, and environmental opportunities.

    Rockaway Beach Rail Line
    Queens Public Transit
    Rockaway Beach Branch

    Rockaway Beach Line

    Rockaway Branch Line blog
    Rockaway Branch Line Mission Statement
    Queens Public Transit

    Please support the following petitions:
    Ferry – Weekend Service
    Queens Rockaway Beach Line
    Q 52 Bus
    Station Agents
    Metro North Station in Queens


    Joe R.

    I think Larry Littlefield hit on a better idea in a post above-offer free bus/subway rides to the disabled, perhaps supplemented by cab/paratransit rides at full fare. At the same time have some measures in place to prevent fraud. The only people taking advantage of the full fare cab/paratransit rides will be those who truly can’t use regular mass transit as there would be an incentive to use regular mass transit if it were at all possible. You may still get some abuse in such a system but I suspect it will be mostly those taking advantage of the free subway/bus rides. The incremental cost of those rides is practically zero, so a higher level of abuse there can certainly be tolerated.


    Joe R.

    Well, this was about a decade ago, and there were other examples suggesting these people weren’t exactly in the income bracket deserving of Medicaid, like fur coats and expensive jewelry.

    I’m philosophically in favor of helping those who really need it (and if possible helping them to become more self-sufficient at the same time) but the age old question is how to do so without getting substantial numbers of people abusing the system. Maybe the way to do that is to just give the poor what they need outright at distribution centers where food, clothing, and medical care might be had. Those who might abuse the system probably wouldn’t be interested in substantial waits at these places for a very basic level of goods/services, even if they were free. For the truly poor on the other hand, meaning those without jobs, these sets of tradeoffs would be worthwhile.

    You can quickly see the way this idea would work in practice when you see people asking for money on the street. I’ve offered to buy such people a meal or coffee rather than giving them money outright. I was refused 100% of the time. Same thing when I saw people asking for money “for the bus”. I said I’ll swipe my Metrocard for you when the bus comes. Offer refused. Why? I suspect in all cases the people would have used any cash I gave them towards alcohol or drugs. Indeed, probably the entire reason for the existence of WIC coupons in lieu of cash for food is the fact that the cash often wasn’t used for real food, but for drugs/alcohol/tobacco, even in cases where there were children who needed to be fed.



    “Cheating in NYC on social services is quite high. My brother used to work in a pharmacy. He saw no shortage of people covered by Medicaid driving away in late model cars, for example. One or two you might chalk up to relatives driving them around, but this was a virtual flood.”

    Off topic but this a a pretty poor conclusion. Late model cars are NOT a sign of wealth in 2014.



    Yellow school bus operators are pretty poor too. And waste management would be third.



    Is the right PSA video showing a bike ramming into the back of a bus? Or a bus or truck turning into a bike, showing a scene from the driver’s POV that shows they couldn’t see a bike in the mirrors?



    You know about unlocking unused docks, right? Maybe in your area there are a lot of broken docks but in my experience the lock mechanism is more frequently just incorrectly closed with no bike in the dock. There’s nothing you can do when you’re trying to return a bike but once your bike is docked you can do a good deed by using your key to unlock them.



    Parking placards are the kind of things where it’s easy to shrug it off as not really expensive or burdensome for society, so why not?


    Gargamel Tralfaz

    Does Scott Stringer ride Citibike?



    as a founder member, i think the single most annoying thing right now is not the bicycle itself, but broken docks. and there definitely are a whole bunch that simply just dont work.


    Greg Costikyan

    Saw something similar on 30th St in Manhattan two days ago: Police cars drawn up perpendicular to the street, blocking half the sidewalk. Pedestrians were inconvenienced, but in addition, this limited the traffic lane so that it was basically impossible to move past cars on my bike, as they were crowded over against parked cars on the opposite side of the street. (33rd there has sharrows, not a bike lane, but is considered a bike route by Google maps, anyway.) In other words, increasing hazards and inconvenience for both pedestrians and cyclists, to provide convenience for the police; Vision Zero indeed.


    Cold Shoaler

    I agree that it’s silly to come out damning the prior management about performance at what was hopefully the nadir of the program. I’ll also allow that things may be turning around; I certainly hope they are and continue to. However, from my experience of using the system lately I’m quite suspicious of the claim that the inspection rate for the fleet is 98-100%. Unless, of course they’re only doing some level of ‘essential’ repairs in these mechanical checks. The bikes are in awful shape. The last half dozen docks I’ve used have also been in pretty bad shape. My last two bike returns – the dock closed my trip but didn’t lock the bike.



    It’s my understanding that with the LIRR disability scam outside doctors were certifying disabilities. For access a ride you have to go to an assessment center where that would hopefully be less of an issue. Some are determined eligible on a temporary basis. If they want to extend that they have to go in and recertify.

    Some fraud is acceptable. Most efforts to fight fraud will cost money, eventually you reach the point of diminishing returns. A more valuable benefit – taxis for the price of a subway ride shifts the calculus somewhat. You still have to respect the dignity and time of the disabled though, and that leaves room for abuse. I know some people who will tell people they are epileptics and that their dog isn’t a pet it’s a seizure alert dog because they want their pet to be allowed to sit next to them in the outdoor cafe. You could get rid of that by coming up with an expensive hard to cheat licensing system that required regular certifications of disability, but eventually you start to place an acceptable burden on the legitimately disabled.

    Right now access a ride charges guests a full fare. How many would prefer a cab so they can bring a couple guests who wouldn’t have to pay a fare? If you say they should pay the fare, how do you plan to enforce that? How many groups are currently taking the subway or bus but will switch to a cheaper, faster and more comfortable cab?



    MTA wanted to give free metrocards a few years ago. Do you know if they did or if it’s just discounted?


    Larry Littlefield

    Unfortunately NYC is ground zero for that sort of thing, from disability pensions to unneeded housekeeping etc. services under Medicaid. Not to mention Wall Street.

    The problem with services based on need is the need is almost impossible to measure objectively, and the need is a continuum where it is first inconvenient, then difficult, then extremely difficult, and then impossible to get by without special assistance. So sometimes benefits are allocated based on the sense of entitlement, and we get that in spades here. In fact, sometimes the entitled get things while the truly needed are made to jump through hoops to save money.

    For a long discussion of the general philosophical problem of equity and eligibility, you can read my perspective here. Word doc.

    I’ll bet if the disabled were allowed free bus rides, lots of them would take the bus. That’s what Chicago did to cut its paratransit costs.



    I’d take a curb where I’m visible over a block of cars and box trucks where I’m hidden until drivers are pulling into the turn lane/bike lane any day. Runaway cars really aren’t that frequent, but turning cars are every 2 blocks.



    ~170k are qualified for access a ride. ~1/3 conditionally – only for trips where there isn’t wheelchair accessible transit, when it’s too hot/cold etc…only ~27k trips per day spread over the city. In manhattan + inner outer boros you have well established taxi companies that could provide cheaper rides. In the outer outer boros you lose some of that advantage, the cabs need to deadhead more etc…Access a ride vehicles are overbuilt for most of their users. That drives up cost per ride.


    Joe R.

    I think ahwr is just using prior abuses of the system (in this case the LIRR’s disability pension system) as a forecast for what might happen, even with measures in place to stop abuse.

    Another part of the problem is there doesn’t appear to be any measures in place to rescind services or privileges once they’re no longer needed. I’ve known people who had handicapped parking because of a temporary disability. They’re still able to get new placards without a doctor verifying their disability. Some of these placards even get sold off on the black market to people without disabilities.

    Yeah, the current state of the NYPD is really just a reflection of society at large. We tolerate a culture of no accountability in the NYPD largely because much of the public and private sectors in NYC run with little accountability. From housing to health care to education to public transit unions there are abuses galore. Nobody wants to hold any one group accountable because they know if they do, a group they’re in might be in the crosshairs next. In many ways, much of NYC is run like the old USSR-via bribes and hoarding favors. That’s why people like ahwr might suspect the worst every time we offer a new benefit.



    the report seems well timed… there aren’t as many cyclists on the streets and people are preoccupied with the holidays, this would have been a banner story in the spring/early summer.



    Look at the average cost of an unlinked trip. How many taxi rides within NYC cost $71.59? I can’t remember taxi current charges right now, but I don’t think they’re $8.07/passenger-mile. (This is accounting for ride sharing.)

    Not saying there is no place for paratransit, BTW, but I think at least some people who might be too disabled for certain transit trips could probably manage a taxi trip if they had the option.



    I never said anything about equality. If anything, I’d make a case based on practicality: we all admit we need some accessibility for the disabled. We can debate how much, but the basic economic reality remains that it’s a lot cheaper to buy a taxi ride for many people who are grievously disabled than it is to provide them a paratransit vehicle they may not even need. Some will still need paratransit vehicles – anyone for whom getting out of a wheelchair is impossible, I’d expect.

    Yes, there aren’t so many people who are so disabled they can’t get on transit comfortably, but there are some. I would also think that somewhere there is a gray area of people who can access surface transit fairly easily, but who would find the climb or descent to a grade-separated rapid transit vehicle burdensome even with accessibility provisions.