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    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Several comments from me:

    1. The bikelash will never go away. Our enemies are more numerous than we are, and they have the sympathy of the idiot media. We must understand that the bike infrastructure that we have came about not because of any public outcry for it (though I have enormous respect for the work of TA and other advocacy groups) but because of the insistence of a fearless mayor and his visionary DOT commissioner, both of whom are now gone. We will always be operating from a position of weakness; and our gains will steadily erode under public pressure the farther we get from the Bloomberg / Sadik-Khan heyday.

    2. Dollar vans continue to be a menace. It’s obvious to all that these unregulated incompetents drive like maniacs, endangering their passengers and everyone else on the road; and it’s no surprise that many of them are unlicenced. Furthermore, they as a group siphon off revenue from the legitimate bus lines, and they depress ridership numbers that would otherwise justify expansion of services and even new lines. We need to get rid of these thieving pirates.

    3. The “Power Broker” is a breathtakingly brilliant piece of work. It is an in-depth portrayal not only of Robert Moses but also of Al Smith, Fiorello LaGuardia, and many other major characters in the history of New York. The reader also learns about myriad figures whom the general public would have known little, but who played important roles in the City and the State. I am re-reading it now, after more than 20 years. Actually, this time I am listening on Audible. For anyone who has Audible, be aware that the book is a great deal, as it is only one credit despite its enormous length (five to ten times the length of other books).



    Thank god for the federal government!


    Kevin Love

    I have to partially disagree with this. I suspect that bicycle traffic is moving a lot faster. Perhaps a major media outlet should do a “before and after” comparison of cycle traffic speed. As well as how much more convenient and pleasant is the result of the street improvement.

    Yes, I know. When pigs fly. Or cycle. Gotta find the photo of Miss Piggy cycling…



    Double parking is the symptom, not the cause. The cause is the free or cheap curb parking enabling long-term squatting by everyone *but* those who use it for shorter-term commercial purposes.



    “Cyclists and pedestrians comprised 25 percent of traffic on Flushing Avenue at Waverly Street on June 20, a Friday, and 41 percent of total traffic on August 16, a Saturday.”

    Those percentages are comparisons of the various modes WITHIN those days, not between them.



    This is a much deserved reprimand for Cuomo. He is a disgrace to the Democratic Party and to New York State.



    Precisely! The root of the problem is that we’ve built a civilization where it is extremely difficult to get anywhere except by automobile (NYC and a few other places excluded). Being able to get a license too easily is a largely a symptom of this underlying problem.



    “Construction activities arising from transportation projects do not advance water quality, and CWSRF funding should not be used for these purposes.”

    This is pretty straightforward. If he had gotten away with this it really would have made us question the basic purpose of the EPA and of Clean Water funds.



    “Unfortunately because someone was killed around here recently, we’re being a lot more strict and letting everyone know that they can’t be breaking laws. Everybody that does it, whether you’re in a car or on a bicycle, is going to get a summons for it….” explains Officer Cirelli.”

    If only this were true, Op Safe Cycle wouldn’t be quite so odious (misguided, not the most effective way to go about it, sure, but not as offensive). Til then, I agree with Peter Moskos–it’s a bs thing to do.



    Name one other place in the US that has a blanket prohibition on right on red



    Given how “well” NYC drivers attend to the glowing red lights, I never ever pull out immediately when the light turns green. Probably a 1/3 of the time there’s still some idiot barreling through at 45 mph.


    Call me crazy, but . . .

    Do you think this piece could have anything to do with the fact that the Columbus Avenue protected bike lane currently stops just short of Channel 7′s studios and they REALLY want to keep it that way? Nah.



    It’s really not that unique… really it’s not. The NYC “exceptionalism” is a fun game and all, but it’s not constructive OR true. By the way, I think andrelot mentioned Denver and Salt Lake City, not Cheyenne.



    Really enjoyed Steptoe’s article. I would love to know more, though: I’d love to hear what the injury numbers were for *other* modes’ (car occupants, peds)
    in the same periods he examined before, during, and after OpSafeCycle.
    I want to know if PD
    pulled resources (personnel and/or other resources) from driver
    behavior, and if OpSafeCycle, as a result of resource changes or not, caused or
    at least coincided with an increase in injuries in other modes.



    You clearly come from a place where car culture rules and there is plenty of space.

    Driving a cargo van or box truck (which are both non articulating) is VERY, VERY different than driving a sedan or SUV. How many people ever practice driving without a rearview mirror?



    WTF are you talking about? Your post features a baseless assertion and…racism?

    Well done.



    When I said the City I was only referring to New York City, which is extremely unique compared to other “cities” in America.

    How you can equate driving in Cheyenne Wyoming (which is NOT URBAN) to a densely populated urban environment like NYC, I do not know.


    Morris Zapp

    “It’s foolish of the DOT to claim that the bike lane speeds up traffic on Columbus.”

    Concur. Trying to appease drivers is a fool’s errand. It can’t be done. But it’s like the tendency is embedded in DOT’s DNA.



    Double parked trucks also make biking a pain with regular bike lanes/sharrows/no infra.

    One thing we could do to help existing cyclists in NYC as well as drivers is to turn a lot of street parking on commercial corridors into loading zones.



    Yup, in my experience the drivers who are most likely to be vocally abusive without my having said or done anything (including my TM headshake given for bad driving habits) are almost invariably texting and/or have an earbud in, have just finished passing me too closely and almost always for the sake of speeding up in order to stop at a red light.



    This, a million times this. That supermarket is a ridiculous bottleneck throughout the a.m. rush—I’ve been blocked by tractor-trailers in the bike lane between 73rd and 74th as early as 8:30 a.m. and as late as 10:00 a.m.

    Happens almost every day of the week. Is this even legal? Perhaps DOT could give them a loading zone along Columbus or one of the side streets?



    similar experience in Michigan in the 90s – it as a several day-a-week after school class for an entire semester, where we covered everything from basic traffic rules to how to change your oil (even bicycle hand-signals!) – you went out once a week with a partner – gradually building up to driving on the freeway – at night. We even got practice driving on snow and ice. you had to take some crazy exam at the end of the class just to get your learner’s permit – then I had to go to the secretary of state to take the exam for my real license (and they made you go back for an eye-exam when you renewed). When I moved out to the east coast – I was first amazed that speed limit was 30 mph on residential streets and never enforced – then astonished at just how little driver’s ed people had – and they just gave me a new license without having me retake the exam (odd since different states have different rules).

    as an aside – I also get the feeling that people who are the most angry about cyclists on the road are probably the most marginally competent drivers.



    Another interesting story–sounds like it’s time to get rid of some private car parking to make room for buses on the UWS:



    It’s actually legal under many circumstances for commercial vehicles making deliveries to double park. You see lots of double-parked trucks with tickets in the windshield, but many of the tickets get thrown out (or automatically reduced if the company is enrolled in certain programs with the City).

    The whole delivery/enforcement/curbside-space-allocation paradigm is very convoluted, and often seems to work at cross purposes with mobility.


    Joe Enoch

    Actually, I am usually the last one to defend the NYPD, but I actually have seen them out there from time to time writing tickets. Occasionally I will stop and suggest they head over to the grocery store and clear up the mess there and they’re usually receptive.


    Doug G.

    Plus, reporters generally have parking placards so they don’t even have to suffer the indignity of searching for free parking like those “real” New Yorkers I’m always hearing about.



    Sounds like it’s double-parking and traffic, not bike lanes, that are causing the delays. It’s possible that an initial improvement in travel time after reconfiguring the street was lost after people changed their behavior to compensate.


    Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Did ABC7 ever mention one time in the entire story that if the NYPD wrote tickets and got the illegal double-parkers off the Avenue it would be much clearer? No.


    Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    It’s nice to see bikelash is back! The windshield reporting in this town (where such a small percentage of people actually use a car for every trip every day) is horrible. But you know who uses their cars/vehicles for every trip/every day in NYC? That would be news reporters. They believe everyone goes thru what that they do every day and it is the norm. It is not. They need to get out of their vehicles and experience what the average NYC resident does to get to work and play feels like.


    Joe Enoch

    As someone who bicycle commutes down Columbus Ave every morning, let me tell you, the times along that stretch of Columbus Ave have NOTHING to do with the bike lanes and EVERYTHING to do with whether there are deliveries at the Pioneer grocery store at 74th st. Without question every weekday morning there are trucks double or triple parked there. Once I even saw them quadruple parked — yep, three trucks in Columbus Ave and one in the bike lane.

    It’s an insanely dangerous scenario for bicyclists and it completely chokes traffic during the busiest possible time of the day on Columbus. I don’t understand why they schedule their deliveries for that time of day.


    Brian Van Nieuwenhoven

    More relevant, there are far more users of Columbus Avenue who are local to the Upper West Side than there are from the outer boroughs / neighboring counties, and, regardless of what their car trip found, the one constant in the local network news coverage is that it’s like the mega-CBDs don’t even exist.

    To consume Manhattan and Brooklyn-based blogs and community newspapers is to hear a COMPLETELY different story of life from what the evening news programs cover. It’s not just a case of broadcast area spread/sprawl, it’s also a case of the broadcasters having demographic priorities. The suburbs are completely their audience, and they’re not at all concerned with audiences in central Manhattan, central Brooklyn, etc. I guess they assume all these people have lives and wouldn’t bother with TV anyway. But, indeed, there are 2-3 million mega-urban city dwellers who practically don’t exist in TV news coverage.


    Doug G.

    Arguing that fast, convenient driving is vital to the New York City experience should be something that gets you laughed out of town, like insisting that everyone here root for the Red Sox, eat deep dish pizza, or take a Lender’s bagel out of the freezer.


    Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    I’m so glad they kept the EXCLUSIVE banner up all the way thru. BTW: I wonder how long it takes a bicycle? Maybe they should get on a bike?



    No, I’m not confused. Cabs do still speed down Columbus late at night when traffic is light. On the other hand, during rush hour, whenever a truck is double-parked in order to make deliveries, traffic is reduced to two narrow lanes, which creates traffic jams.



    Right. In the motorist mindset everything caises traffic except for motorists.



    Not many cars are turn left on Columbus between 96th and 77th, except on 86th and 81st.


    Tal F.

    Sadly this kind of reporting makes sense to the generally middle-aged outer-borough demographic watching the local news. They come into the city maybe once a month at best, and when they do it is invariably by car, so this is what they see. But they are not the majority of the street users on Columbus Ave. To the majority of street users, the improvement is self-evident.



    Remember the motorist mindset: If it weren’t for that damn bike lane, traffic would be moving fine! If it weren’t for that damn bus stop, I’d have found a place to park! If it weren’t for that damn crosswalk, I would have had to stop here!

    When a motorist is stuck in traffic and sees a bike lane, in their mind, if it weren’t for the bike lane, that lane would be 100% free and clear for their own personal use. No, not that you would simply have four jam-packed lanes of automobiles as opposed to three: In their mind, you’d have three lanes jam-packed with *other people*’s automobiles, and a fourth that is exclusively for *them*.



    You’re confusing top speed and average speed. The increase in average speed also wasn’t because of the bike lane, it was because of the turn lanes they added when they added the bike lane.

    This is still a justification we should not be using. We SHOULD be improving cycling and putting in cycling infrastructure even where it negatively impacts driving (which we have never done as far as I know of). That isn’t to say that I want to screw over drivers. The end result I see is far fewer private cars and necessary delivery trucks driving fairly smoothly around the city (and at a low top speed).


    Tal F.

    The argument is that while your top speed may be lower (due to narrower lanes), total travel time will be unchanged as you spend less time switching lanes behind turning vehicles due to the addition of left turn pockets. Of course, it’s not the bike lane itself that helps, just the removal of a few parking spaces at the end of the block for a left turn pocket, so the branding may be a bit misleading, but the fact is the protected bike lanes and turn pockets do go hand-in-hand.



    All of this pandering just reinforces the notion in motorists’ minds that these tolls and parking meter fees are a “scam” or a “gotcha”, as opposed to a legitimate user fee. Everyone wants lower Subway fares, of course, but nobody is under the impression that they should be suspended because we shouldn’t have to pay fares in the first place.



    Protected bike lanes and road diets are meant to slow down car traffic, not to speed it up. It’s foolish of the DOT to claim that the bike lane speeds up traffic on Columbus. Anyone who has ridden or driven Columbus both before and after can tell you that traffic is moving slower now — which is a good thing.



    Ah, Gentile… The same braindead creature that last week proposed suspending parking enforcement on 9/11, so that New Yorkers can focus on mourning. The guy is incredible.



    With the growing number of people texting while driving, too often it’s just the quick toot to let them know it’s a green light is helpful. The one time I got rear ended was when someone assumed I should have gone immediately when traffic started moving…



    i know how it is. i also drive stick shift. at lights once the foot goes off the brake and i am clutching into 1st gear, drivers in the back think im not moving for that split second. i mean, seriously relax. im going to move. get off the damn horn.



    I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but none that have resulted in the death of an innocent bystander.

    I didn’t say this wasn’t a mistake. I said it wasn’t an accident. There’s a difference. It is absolutely and unequivocally illegal for a motorist to turn through a crosswalk, with the signal in the pedestrians’ favor, without first ascertaining that one is not about to turn into the path of a pedestrian.

    Your caps lock key is stuck.


    Luke Skywalker

    And then you get fired for that mistake. The driver needs to go to jail for this “mistake”.


    Ian Turner

    Yes, but it is comparable to Japan, which has a similar licensing system to Germany. The difference? In Japan, you can get most anywhere you want to go on transit.






    They also have children take bicycle safety courses starting in the 3rd or 4th class. These are usually run by the local police precinct or a special bicycle safety unit from the police department. Kids and cops go out on bike rides wearing high-vis vests and the police officers point out how they should do things like signal or cross streets, merge with traffic, etc. In short, they emphasis safety and personal responsibility for safe behavior at all ages and for all modes.