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    Very easily, thanks to Al D’Amato. When he required the MTA to institute a round trip toll in the Staten Island Direction, westbound traffic decreased. The peak hour eastbound (free) direction total divided by 6 lanes is greater than the peak westbound ($16) direction total divided by 5 lanes.

    Water filled plastic barriers are probably a bad idea. Water expands as it freezes – breaking the plastic. Water is also heavy. Light weight hollow metal jersey barriers bolted to the bridge deck are a better choice. You can buy and install enough of them for $300 million to continue the path across Staten Island and into New Jersey.



    Yup, windshield perspective. They identify with the car driver. “Shit, that could’ve been me driving,” more than they do with the victim, thus, victim blaming all day and ridiculous empathy for the driver: “Solar glare,” really?



    Fuck the law. This should be 2 to 5 years. You run a red light then you should bear the consequences. If you choose to have too much to drink, then get behind the wheel, and injure/kill someone, you go to jail. You choose to try to “beat” the light or proceed to drive at a fast pace, even though, you cannot see through the sun, and a crash occurs because of such actions leading to serious injury or death, then you should go to jail.

    It just sickens me that BdB can claim Vision Zero then not give a flying fuck that a woman was killed sitting at a bus stop while the person who ran the light gets off scot-free. WTF. Should the woman at the bus stop not been on her phone [victim blaming]. Was she not in the middle of the x-walk but just outside of it, thus fair game.



    This is a legitimate concern. That section of Bergen isn’t always clear in the winter, and relies in part on shovel work from the 78th Pct, which, while appreciated, isn’t an ideal solution.

    Many other section of the bike lane “network” become unusable in the winter. DOT does have the necessary tools, though. I’d just file snow removal under the general “DOT needs to step up” header.



    And I guess this woman missed the day in grade school when they taught context clues. “Gee, other cars are stopped, I’ll just keep going at full speed.”



    Don’t forget deBlasio.



    Under your assumption that no one reads or pays attention to any signage, we should just eliminate all signage. Well good luck with that one.

    Nice jump to an invalid conclusion, once again. “Rarer than you think” is not the same thing as “nonexistent.”

    No one said he didn’t check for other vehicles. He just didn’t do a very good job of checking. The bus could have been approaching at a high rate of speed which he could have misjudged.

    I’m struggling to imagine that the bus could have been approaching at a speed too high for him to judge correctly…if, that is, we assume that he is/was a competent driver.

    He was still wrong in any case. But the poor signage was a contributing factor to the accident any way you look at it and that is the point.

    A person who is incapable of ensuring that the adjacent lane is clear before moving into it is not going to be helped by any amount of signage.



    If you can’t see the light, you have to slow down and/or stop until you *can* see the light. What makes these people think that if they can’t see, they may as well just keep going and hope for the best?! Jesus.



    When I said hurting more than you help, of course I wasn’t talking about physical harm.

    I didn’t say you were. I was pointing out the difference between the number of people who are hurt vs. helped and the amount of hurt vs. help.

    What I really should have said was causing more harm than good. That translates into more minutes lost than is gained.

    Right, that’s what you should have said. I was just pointing out that it wasn’t what you actually said.

    The reason people are supporting the Rockaway Beach branch is because it is only a plus.

    Ignoring the costs involved, you’re right: It is purely an expansion of the transit system that doesn’t directly interfere with any other modes.

    Considering the numbers of people who will likely use it and the cost to restore and operate it leads to a very different conclusion.

    The legitimate questions are what would it cost and would it be worth it.

    The really legitimate question is the latter one. And the answer is almost certainly “no,” as the MTA has previously concluded (admittedly that was a study of restoring LIRR service, but many of the factors cited as negatives still apply).


    Alexander Vucelic

    the same way any protected bike lane gets plowed, simple


    Joe R.

    Some good may still come of it. This enforcement initiative may well discover that drivers are failing to do what is required of them a lot more than pedestrians. Maybe next time it will be more like: “You can’t assume anything. Let’s face it, vehicles are weapons. Drivers out there, you can’t assume that someone crossing knows you can’t see them because you’re looking at your phone. Stop that text, stop that cell phone use until you’re parked.”


    Alexander Vucelic

    imagine ty victims can not even recover a cent of medical costs from the killer driver’s insurance


    Alexander Vucelic

    As long as NYPD has a driving culture, they always will side with the driver. The moment NYPD beat cops start actually walking a beat, they’ll protect pedestrians and charge drivers.

    Bratton Bears responsiblity for the attitude of his 38,000 employees



    Oh but I’m sure they feel just terrible about it (as they go about their daily lives, not in a hospital or making funeral arrangements for a loved one) and isn’t that punishment enough (no).


    Mark Joyella

    The proverbial “sun was in my eyes.” The driver who hit and injured my wife and daughter in Brooklyn this summer said the same thing.



    Every other card in the deck seems to be a variation of ‘get out of jail free’ when you drive. Glare. Accelerator malfunction. Mistook gas for the brake. Medical event. I didn’t see her. She came out of nowhere. And on, and on, and on. Pretty much anything but, “I’ve been drinking” and you’re in the clear.

    It’s incredible disturbing that this person is probably driving around NYC today. And that guy in SI who killed someone with his boat, he’s probably out fishing. No big whoop.



    I noted this elsewhere today, but my theory on how this happens over and over and over in this city is that NYPD officers actually feel bad for the drivers that kill. They believe that living with having inadvertently taken a life is punishment enough, no matter how reckless the behavior that lead to that death. And so they don’t even bother to write a 100% justifiable traffic ticket on the scene, let alone charge the driver with anything more serious.

    It’s also worth noting you can be charged with a misdemeanor for hitting a pedestrian with a bicycle on the sidewalk, but not with your car. How’s that for justice?


    Alexander Vucelic

    Driver said

    I recklessly drove through a crowded intersection even though Inwas blinded by the sun plus I was driving significantly above the speed limit



    oh yes….the “setting sun” – the motorists get out of jail free card.



    Any idea how this lane gets plowed?


    Joe R.

    In principal I wouldn’t be against HOV vehicles in the bus lane. The key though is how would you enforce it? If there was some automated way to enforce it then it could work. If the police do it then enforcement will be spotty at best. The end result would be lots of non-HOV vehicles in the bus lane.

    Without looking at the other options I can’t say which would have been best. You may well turn out to be right. I personally think the MTA has a lot riding on having a successful outcome here. I suspect they may end up doing a lot of tweaking if the initial results aren’t as expected.


    Joe R.

    Let me tell, as someone who has been around the block dealing with getting people to do what they’re “supposed to”, that in general it’s a lesson in futility. People are going to do whatever is most efficient and convenient for them. In NYC that means pedestrians and cyclists will pass red lights, pedestrians will walk in bike lanes if the sidewalk is too crowded, cyclists will ride on sidewalks if the street is unsafe, everyone will consider their need to go faster more important than everyone else’s. Good luck trying to shame people into changing what they do. We’ve tried to legislate morality on other levels for millenia. Look at the drug wars. Big waste of trillions of dollars. I say legalize and tax the stuff. Same with prostitution, same with just about every other behavior which doesn’t overtly harm anyone but the person engaging in it. The nanny state which prevents people from harming themselves is a massive failure.

    The streets are a gray area. You obviously can’t let anarchy reign because larger, heavier faster vehicles are harmful to others. You need some sort of order. However, I submit that this order is best imposed by infrastructure, steel and concrete, not behavioral expectations. The latter can’t work in NYC because it’s a multicultural city. Behavioral norms aren’t consistent across the board. In general, trying to change these norms across the board is a failure. That’s doubly true in NYC with a constant influx of immigrants. Therefore, infrastructure is the answer. Give each user infrastructure which is optimal for their mode, and they will want to use it. No more bikes on sidewalks or pedestrians in bike lanes. More importantly, inherently engineer in safety. If a group has poor red light compliance then don’t try to fix that. Instead, engineer out the need to stop at red lights for safety. If excessive speeds are the problem, design so someone driving too fast will become part of the scenery. The nice thing is infrastructure functions as both an enabler and a full-time enforcer. You’re idea has been tried, over and over again, since man started walking erect. If it had any chance at succeeding, we would have long ago been living in paradise.


    Alexander Vucelic

    doing more than Bratton & Trottenberg combined to protect New Yorkers from Traffic Violence



    Funny. I didn’t say I stop in the crosswalk or take pedestrians’ rights of way. I have no problem with complaining about that behavior- I feel strongly about those- but that is not what this thread is complaining about. That was my point. Talk about real issues.



    When I said hurting more than you help, of course I wasn’t talking about physical harm. What I really should have said was causing more harm than good. That translates into more minutes lost than is gained.

    The reason people are supporting the Rockaway Beach branch is because it is only a plus. Unlike BRT which has pluses and minuses and more minuses than pluses when you consider others besides bus riders. Even nearby home owners would benefit when you consider increases in property values whew a rail line exists. There are also modern sound mitigation techniques and quotes vehicles that exist today. So a lot of the fear by NIMBYs is baseless.

    The legitimate questions are what would it cost and would it be worth it. That needs study and there is State money available for that but the MTA is unsure if they should apply. Why? Are they afraid of favorable results that might jeopardize current BRT plans? That is the only logical assumption that can be made. When has the MTA refused money before?



    The flexible barrier used for one block of Bergen St should be the standard treatment for all curbside, buffered lanes. This sort of low-hanging fruit would cost almost nothing and deliver huge improvements in user experience.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    If there is no bike box at the intersection, then placing yourself in front of the cars puts you well over the stop line, and perhaps into the crosswalk. That’s bad behaviour; and it should be criticised sharply.

    It’s this kind of arrogance which makes pedestrians feel vulnerable to bicyclists, and which turns them from our allies into our enemies.

    I am perfectly willing to denounce pedestrians who walk in a bike lane or who walk on the bike paths of the Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges. But pedestrians have a perfect right to cross with the light in the crosswalk. Anyone who impedes that right, even on a bicycle, is doing something wrong.


    Joe R.

    Fair enough—there wasn’t room for him to pass you, and he was a jerk for trying to get by. You weren’t doing anything wrong or rude here, he was.

    I don’t however consider letting someone go by you to run a red light if there’s room for it as abetting bad behavior. It’s always prudent to allow room for something to pass if it’s at all possible. It might not be a commuter/delivery cyclist running a red light, but a cop on a bike answering a call. The time it takes you to tell the difference, then get out of the way, could be life or death. Or maybe the cyclist behind you is getting out of the way of an out of control car. The point is it’s the scenarios you can’t think of which make allowing room to pass you when you’re stopped a good idea.



    Um, this is about bicycling in Manhattan, not Dhaka, if you are talking abut the “most heavily populated single place on earth.”

    And, Mark D, no one is forcing you to live or work or ride in Manhattan, either. You, too, can move to where you can freely ride your bike, without any interfering people. Like the country or ‘burbs.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am glad of the bike lanes and alternative transportation these bike rentals give. I want less motorized vehicles in NYC. But the “my way or the highway” dictatorship so many other supporters, evidently including you, express really bothers me.

    New York is about compromise. If you have none in you, or can’t see the other side’s perspective, you might always have trouble living in such a diverse environment.



    Exactly. DOT has no excuse. They could install some protection next week if they wanted to. It’s pretty clear that there’s no down side to this for other (law abiding) street users and it has been well received by people on bikes. DOT needs to step up. As someone who rides on Chrystie St. (and other mediocre NYC bike infrastructure) I’d love to see DOT spend some time/$ on this kind of fix.


    Allan Rosen

    Yes getting “free buses” would not be such a bad thing if SBS would be a neutral solution, that is help as many as it hurts. But that isn’t the case here. SBS is one thing and I think may even have helped more than it hurts if DOT would allow HOV vehicles into the bus lane. But they ruled that out as a possibility.

    Instead, they chose a major rebuild option (BRT). That also might not have been that bad if they would have chosen one of the other two options under consideration. However the option chosen for a variety of reasons (and I could write and did write pages on that) stands to do much more harm than good.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    I was stopped in the space between the stopped cars and the parked cars. Due to the width of the street, there was not enough room on either side of me for another bike to pass.

    Furthermore, whether passing the light would have been physically possible is uttlerly beside the point. I was stopped. This was not only in keeping with the requirements of the law, but it was in keeping with my ethical obligation to bicyclists’ general interest (namely: the obligation to not earn bicyclists even more contempt from the general public than we already have by staging a public display of arrogant disregard for the law). While I cannot prevent other people from violating these obligations, I certainly am not going to enable and abet someone’s bad behaviour; and it is beyond absurd to suggest that.

    So I will “rethink” nothing regarding this. Our obligation to follow the law is clear. Those who need to rethink are those who provide self-serving rationalisations for anti-social behaviour, and those who advocate the idea that bicyclists have the right to unilaterally disregard the law at their own convenience.



    “Drivers should not be expected to read the minds of the engineers…”

    No, but drivers should definitely be expected to know the f’ing law!


    Joe R.

    Thank you for mentioning this. I too want to be right in front of all the cars when the light goes green for the same reasons. I was actually taken aback at all this critical discussion of cyclists just doing something which to me makes all the sense in the world, and especially at inventing a name for it which implies it’s merely just rude behavior. As I said, it’s a lot more complicated than that.



    That’s a good point for sure. I still do think Citi Bike’s expansion will encourage more city kids to view biking as something that they can do, even if they can’t use the bikes themselves yet. Hope they’ll put some more racks by high schools.



    Under your assumption that no one reads or pays attention to any signage, we should just eliminate all signage. Well good luck with that one.

    No one said he didn’t check for other vehicles. He just didn’t do a very good job of checking. The bus could have been approaching at a high rate of speed which he could have misjudged. He was still wrong in any case. But the poor signage was a contributing factor to the accident any way you look at it and that is the point.


    Joe R.

    Let’s say hypothetically that you’re right, and the MTA’s study shows the benefits of SBS to be minimal. Maybe they’re just pushing this to get the feds to pay for new buses and for no other reason. Is that really such a bad thing? If it turns out SBS is a bust on Woodhaven Boulevard at least the MTA got some “free” buses out of the deal. Given how hard it is to get federal money for transit these days I may have done exactly the same thing.

    I’ll also mention that I’m one of the first people to come out against the idea of SBS as some sort of “subway substitute”, if indeed that’s what the MTA is thinking here. At best it can function as a bridge between a conventional bus line and a real subway. Even then, it needs to be properly implemented (i.e. prepaid fares, buses designed for rapid boarding, traffic signal preemption). I’ve yet to see traffic signal preemption on any bus route in the city. I think this is very necessary if SBS is to have close to the impact the MTA wants it to.



    Intersections with bike boxes put all cyclists in a line out front of the cars for a reason. That’s where I want to be at every red light, bike box or not, so that I’m through the intersection by the time the cars get into it. I am not going to wait in line behind other cyclists, crammed next to giant vehicles likely to turn blindly into me, just for some false idea of politeness. I can share the width of the road with other riders and they can share it with me. I’m sick of the shaming of behavior that makes us safer.



    I applaud your sentiment, but these kids are under the age of 16 and therefore too young to use the bikes.


    Joe R.

    Exactly, although given how rarely I even encounter other riders this probably only happened to me once or twice. Still, it made enough of an impression for me to consider it very annoying. I typically like to jump right up to 20 mph once I’m clear. This is mostly to get the heck away from the pack of cars. When I get stuck behind someone coasting up to speed, that basically means being stuck in a big mess of cars going every which way.


    Joe R.

    A lot more people could do it too if employees started pushing for it. Management needs to get out of their industrial era mentality. That’s all I’m saying. You’ll always have some number who can’t, but I think we can greatly reduce the impact of rush hour. It’ll be better for transit systems as well where you won’t need to have extra capacity you only use for a few hours per day.


    Allan Rosen

    I agree with you last two sentences and it was back in the late 1960s. However the demand for public transportation always exceeded demand. That is not a new phenomenon although there are more public transit riders today than there were back in the 1970s.

    And yes SBS may indeed be a first step. But again that is a generality. It does not mean that it is appropriate for every roadway where it is proposed. Every case is different. Saying it has to work on Woodhaven simply because the roadway is wide and that BRT works in other places like Bogata Colombia, is insufficient justification to say it has to work on Woodhaven.

    The process must be transparent and questions must be answered. There are many problems with existing SBS routes that first need to be resolved before we create another 14 in the next two years which is de Basio’s plan. He is rushing DOT to quickly act when they do not have the resources nor the time to do a proper job, which may be the reason we are seeing deficiencies in signage. It is not always possible to do a good job under pressure. I remember when I was in school that I could have improved by grade by as much as 30 percentage points if I only had an additional ten minutes to formulate my answers.

    When I formulated the Southwest Brooklyn bus reroutings, which resulted in the most major changes to NYC bus routes in 1978 in history in a single day (prior to the 2010 service cutbacks) we had a 200 page document describing our computer modeling that was available to anyone who wanted to see it. The MTA supposedly also used a computer forecasting model to develop this SBS plan. DOT also supposedly used a traffic forecasting model too. All requests to see that information has been denied. What are they hiding? Could it be that both models do not show SBS/BRT to be beneficial or their confidence level is so low that their results are meaningless? Is the real reason for BRT just to take advantage of federal funding? Some MTA buses are nearing the end of their life cycle. With BRT on Woodhaven, these buses could be replaced with federal funding rather than using their capital budget. Sorry, but that is not good enough reason to rush through a plan with major problems. But sadly, goverment is awfully shortsighted.


    Joe R.

    The absolute worst possible thing we can do is to expect people to do certain things in order for a system to function safely or efficiently. As an engineer I can’t emphasize this enough. “Operator error” has been the cause of more mishaps than anything else. You try to engineer a system to minimize the consequences of operator error. In the case of bikes, if unsafe passing is causing issues you give more room to pass. If cyclists not obeying red lights is an issue, you engineer the need to stop for safety out of the system (i.e. grade separation). If pedestrians spilling into bike lanes causes issues for people cycling, you either install a fence, or move the bike lane away from close proximity to pedestrian facilities.

    People “doing what they’re supposed to do” only works until it doesn’t. We’re coming up against that right now with motor vehicles. A change in infrastructure to minimize the consequences of errors is worth 100 times as much effort trying to get people to change behavior. I’ve found in general you have little luck with that. When I design things, I assume the person will do the most stupid thing at the worst possible time, and plan accordingly. In the end, that makes for a much more robust system than expecting people to always unerringly follow some script. People are really bad at that.


    Alexander Vucelic


    great photo – totally illuminating.

    Munich is a fascinating case of rigorous regional zoning against sorawl which keeps lots of farmland close to city boundaries. Similar to the Portland ring but better enforced.

    Middle European cities tend to have rather small civic bohndries.

    If you apply a city boundary map to the photo, you’ll see the farmland pretty much ending before city limits.



    If people shoal me and get away fast, without slowing me down, I don’t care. If they do it and then actually get in my way when the light changes, it annoys me a great deal.


    Joe R.

    I didn’t say that. I just said if it’s at all possible to allow another cyclist to pass you without compromising your own safety then it’s the polite thing to do. Same thing if a motor vehicle is trying to pass you. There are times I’ve taken the lane and cars just had to follow behind at my speed. I wasn’t being a rude jerk but the street just didn’t have room for them to safely pass me. However, the second I could move to the right to let them by I did. In most cases they only were behind me for a half a block until I could let them by. I almost never heard honking or other signs of impatience in these situations. On the other hand, I’ve seen other cyclists take the lane and stay in it for blocks with a line of angry, honking motorists behind them. They did this even when they could have safely let these vehicles pass. That’s what I mean by rude behavoir.



    Exactly. But had the signage been clear, he would have been in the bus lane.

    You’re assuming, with no justification, that he would have read and obeyed the signage. That behavior is rarer among motorists than you seem to think.

    Also, no matter what the signage said, there simply is no justification for making a right turn from a center lane without checking to see whether the adjacent right lane is clear. None whatsoever.



    “I avoid walking, riding on trains, buses, or bikes, period, when it’s rush hour. “

    Good for you. Congratulations.



    Which isn’t exactly the same as “hurting more people than you help”; it’s really “losing more minutes than you’re saving.” But point taken. However, that kind of analysis, which is valid, is definitely not why anybody is supporting the restoration of the Rockaway Beach Branch.



    I would agree with that. But it is no generalization to say that virtually every cyclist goes through red lights (at least 90 percent of them), some of them without even sliwing down. You certainly can’t say that is true for automobile drivers.

    Personally I think the law requiring cyclists to wait for every green signal is unreasonable which is why cyclists do not adhere to it.