Skip to content

Recent Comments



    I’m not saying I’m against some single-family homes, but given the number that exist (probably a couple hundred thousand in the five boroughs) plus the number that could conceivably be built, how many could we conceivably get? A family of four living in a modest single family home isn’t really anymore harmful ecologically than three single people living in respective brownstone apartments in the same building. Such property can even be transit-friendly.

    Still, cheap single family housing here is a bit like rent control. I have no desire to take it away from anyone, but by and large the people who have it now are the ones who bought in in the bad ol’ days. As those properties sell, they will sell at generally higher sale prices, and that will create upward pressure on property taxes anyway.



    Ah thank you. Probably worth doing on its own. But unless you’re coming from NJ, I don’t see how it would be needed to get to the airport given all the other connections to the N. (or Q70 if you’re coming from the LIRR)



    But think of all the traffic congestion it would cause for those poor motorists! Just look at that picture! Clearly no room whatsoever for a bike lane.


    Daniel S Dunnam

    Tish James is so awesome!



    Naw, they started dramatically cutting back on bike lanes in 2010 during the whole bikelash. See the chart I made from DOT data, which can be found here:

    The DOT data shows that the recent uptick in bicycle facilities has almost exclusively been in the form of sharrows, which are literally pictures of people on bikes repeatedly being run over by automobiles.



    Bizarre memes about urban crime and decay refuse to die in the face of evidence.

    Hollywood is still obsessed with it. Look at even some relatively recent superhero films, where absence of the superhero causes crime to go out of control. The Sam Raimi Spider-Man and Christopher Nolan Bat-Man trilogies come to mind as fairly recent examples. If I paid attention to film, I’d probably be able to think of other recent examples.

    And our political discourse is obsessed with it. It’s so cringeworthy listening to people, including many so-called progressives and liberals, acting like there is a huge powder-keg of negro-rage that is only suppressed by the courageous NYPD’s struggle against people like…Eric Garner? Of course, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, since the state’s refusal to let up on oppressing poor urban people in the name of phantom crime frustrates them and has now led to riots in multiple cities.



    Re “?”: he’s probably referring to the Gimbels Passageway.



    There is also no plan of action for creating a bicycling network in NYC. Each bicycle project is planned ad hoc and sold as a stand alone thing. There is no goal for bicycling, other than mileage goals, which are routinely ignored. There has been no public dialogue to create a vision of what the future of bicycling in NYC should be, except at a few CBs, with fairly limited interest in cycling.

    This makes is MUCH harder to get things done. Now, DOT basically doesn’t even mention the word bicycle unless it’s a guaranteed win. Needless to say, this is not a good way to build a low-stress bicycle network.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    I’m not sure what happened in the last two years to cause this idea – holistic safety for all New Yorkers through innovative street designs – to fall out of fashion.

    What happened was the end of the Bloomberg administration.

    Furthermore, that idea was never really “in fashion”; it, however, was well understood by Bloomberg, and also by Sadik-Khan, whom Bloomberg gave staunch support.

    The current mayor doesn’t care one bit about this concept; therefore, it plays no part in his DOT’s presentations of bike lanes.


    Doug G.

    There were plenty of great bicycle projects from 2011 on:

    There are even some great bicycle projects happening right now! Queens Blvd, to name one huge example.

    The problem is that this DOT isn’t a) building on the momentum of the last administration and b) seizing upon the urgency of Vision Zero. The pace of installation should be two or three times what it was in 2010 or even 2013. I mean, here you have a notoriously hostile, anti-bike, parking-obsessed community board repeatedly asking for a redesign that includes a protected bike lane and DOT is still just dragging its feet. Why? If they’re not going to act immediately under these circumstances, when will they act?



    I wouldn’t be surprised. If something has to be cut bikes would be the first to go. The thing is, the infrastructure is so cheap. Bloomberg wanted to expand the bike lane network because it was basically the most cost-effective way to get more capacity out of the transportation network. Now we are seeing the hell that the subway has become and summer would be the perfect time to give people an alternative. By not keeping up with demand for cycling infrastructure, the DOT is also making the subways worse.



    with a fixing of the tunnel between Herald Sq and Penn Station


    finite amount of money we dedicate to transit.

    Are you sure these are ‘transit’ dollars? Or is the airtrain going to be paid for with a new passenger facility charge, as JFK airtrain was? And the rest of the airport renovation with profits from airport operations, often diverted to subsidize other PA facilities?


    The Shitter

    Just imagine for a moment if we had the Number One ranking of a bike city in the U.S.A. in a magazine like Bicycling Magazine? That’d mean without a doubt the reason we were selected was a project like this repaving would certainly include a new protected bike lane.

    What?! Wait?!!! We ARE the Number One ranked bike city in the USA? Oh that’s shitty!



    CB7 first asked DOT to study a protected bike lane on Amsterdam in 2009!!!!!!! It’s been nearly SIX years. WTF?!?



    The bike program basically ended in 2010. Don’t blame Trottenberg, she hasn’t been here that long. The problem must lie with the bike unit itself. Is it a funding shortage? Could be, but that wouldn’t explain the double parking lanes.



    The bike people must just have that set as an email auto-reply.


    Joe R.

    How scarce single family homes are will be directly proportional to how much NYC’s population grows in the future. I’ll grant that tract houses aren’t the most efficient use of land. I’ll also grant that in many cases they encourage auto use, although the latter can be greatly mitigated with good bike infrastructure. However, as a rule home owners tend to be more affluent than apartment dwellers. That means they pay a lot more in income and sales taxes. It may therefore make sense for the city to keep large swaths of tract houses intact, perhaps even use part of any newly acquired land to build more, for that reason alone.

    There are other reasons also. Home owners represent a unique demographic which in many ways can help bridge the political gap between the right and left. They tend to be more conservative. Now we both know one big failing of conservatives is their suburban/rural perspective. City home owners by definition can help counter this. Remember these people bought a home in the city for a reason. Yes, they wanted their own property, along with a (smallish) yard. However, many also want to experience urban life, even a car-free lifestyle. If they didn’t, they would have bought a home on a cul-de-sac in NJ or LI. Anyway, those are my thoughts here. These “urban Republicans” could help make the right a bit more balanced so urban matters will get a fair hearing in Washington no matter which party is in charge. However, to do that NYC and other urban areas need to keep a certain amount of reasonably affordable single and two-family homes intact.


    Doug G.

    “Amsterdam Ave. needs a road diet not only to accommodate cyclists (though that would be reason enough) but to protect pedestrians.”

    Hugely important point. Trottenberg’s DOT has done a terrible job at explaining how “bike projects” are really “street safety projects” that benefit all users. Under Sadik-Khan, the department used to repeat over and over again that the bike lanes on 8th and 9th Avenue, for example, caused injuries to *all users* to drop dramatically. Indeed, that was often the best way to silence the critics who though she was some sort of bike nut.

    I’m not sure what happened in the last two years to cause this idea – holistic safety for all New Yorkers through innovative street designs – to fall out of fashion. It’s a big problem with, as you say, deadly consequences.


    Joe R.

    You have no idea how often the idea of relocating to a suburb after I finished college was pushed on me by well-meaning but clueless relatives. The conversations even got to the point of them saying things like “When are you going to leave that cesspool?”. Granted, the city was a bit rougher back then, but I was really offended at them calling a place I lived all my life and loved, warts and all, a cesspool. Suppose I said the same about their split level on a cul-de-sac? I’m convinced most of the country is just clueless about what cities are and how they work. They believe the crap they saw on the news 25 years ago is still how it is. It’s really funny hearing some people say things like “but there’s all that congestion”. Yeah, that’s because all you suburbanites insist on driving here.

    That said, thankfully within a generation we’ll have people in charge who embrace city life. A city isn’t just a place people in the suburbs work in. Robert Moses thought that way when he built all the highways to get people out to the suburbs as fast as possible without a thought on what those highways did to the urban fabric. The effects of those policies on the larger population are still with us today.


    Mark Walker

    Amsterdam Ave. needs a road diet not only to accommodate cyclists (though that would be reason enough) but to protect pedestrians. The existing speedway is deadly. Every day I walk over two spots in the nineties where pedestrians have been killed. How many more lives must be lost before DOT takes action to fix this major Vision Zero omission?



    Here’s where you can vent your frustration at De Blasio’s impotence: ttp://


    Prolly Nottenberg

    I see room for not one, but TWO extra-wide parking lanes. Hashtag vision zero.



    Unfortunately, a lot of them will end up riding up Columbus. And then angry people will use that as proof that cyclists don’t deserve better infrastructure (e.g. a protected lane on Amsterdam).


    Aaron M. Renn

    And the Columbus bike lane doesn’t even go through yet, etc.


    Joe R.

    I’ll put it a bit more succinctly—Cuomo is like Nero fiddling while Rome is burning. His priorities are completely misplaced. He’s focusing on gold-plated infrastructure projects of dubious value, much like Nero was focused on bread and circuses, while basic needs aren’t being met. He really needs to ride the subways and buses for a day or two to get a clue.

    And yes, that freight tunnel should be one of Cuomo’s signature projects. It would take thousands of trucks off the streets.



    This is going to be a disaster. All those casual Citi bikers riding up Amsterdam? Something will happen.



    So what’s the word? “we are studying the street”?…. have they responded at all?



    When crossing mountainous terrain, with curvy track and 3% grades, factor in track distance not crow fly distance. Add in all the station stops in between, and the urban speed limiting curves and switches. 125mph average is what one could manage out from NYC all the way to Boston, Richmond Va, Cleveland and Columbus Ohio.



    Well, it’s better than another AirTrain I guess, but I don’t know how ideal it is for airport service. It’s probably less effective and more expensive. Rapid transit is arguably more capacious because there is less seating and more room for luggage. But if you’re going to expand service, I think it’s better to do it so you can reach intermediate points. Airports really don’t generate a lot of rides; they aren’t bad rapid transit stops per se, but they’re probably rather average.



    No, I’m referring to the Rockaway Beach Branch (@simonphearson:disqus) reactivation. Woodhaven Blvd BRT is several blocks from RBB and they have little in common. I know that Goldfeder is trying to use the rail reactivation as to prevent the Woodhaven improvements and keep car lanes, which is of course unfortunate and not too dissimilar from the attitude of QueensWay fans.


    sensible internet commenter

    The project you are referring to in Queens is a Complete Streets (transportation) project moreso than just adding park space. The point is to slow down car traffic, improve reliability of bus service, and make biking and walking along the corridor safer.



    Not to mention you have the LIRR option as well. It’s rather quick to get to JFK from Penn Station, even in the height of rush hour.


    Simon Phearson

    Which transit corridor in Queens are you talking about?



    If anything, outsiders actively dehumanize city residents. We’re not seriously here. One day we’ll grow up and move to the suburbs. Then they pursue policies that make it happen by pricing us out so upper middle class and filthy rich people can have their little boutique demesnes. Nobody in national politics talks much about urban poverty, even as it’s being outsourced to inner ring suburbs. That’s why Cuomo can spend $5B on a bridge and $4B on a secondary airport while the most single piece of local civil infrastructure in the country crumbles. He has no empathy for us.

    Hell, sometimes insiders dehumanize other insiders. People like Bloomberg and even de Blasio just shrug when police brutalize poor blacks.

    Double-Hell, even otherwise decent advocates don’t entirely escape chauvinism. Look at how middle class whites in the urbanist movement are trying to turn a potentially hot transit corridor in Queens into a playground to jog and bike through, while existing parks in that very corridor rot.



    I’ll also add my bias here stems from the fact Manhattan to EWR is
    typically 100% rail, whereas any travel to LaGuardia involves buses.


    Also, IMO LaGuardia is just a shitty airport, even compared to Newark, which I know a lot of people hate (I’m fine with it myself).


    Liz Patek

    Thank you, Tish James.



    Awesome leadership by Public Advocate James. It’s about freaking time that DOT started to consider the safety of people on bicycles as a standard part of Vision Zero. Nice work to the advocates that brought this to her attention!


    sensible internet commenter

    People expect city life to be dehumanizing? Really? That seems like the mentality of the 1980s, or my parents generation. People today (especially Millennials) are all about city living and find suburbs to be boring and lifeless. Many cities are serene and livable now and other ones are getting better because there is increased interest in cities.



    I don’t have much of a problem with fixing up LGA, but some of the “improvements” are rather dubious in terms of usefulness, considering the finite amount of money we dedicate to transit. For example, the AirTrain to Willet’s Point and the proposed LGA Ferry Terminal seem like big money sinks to help very few people overall.

    If we’re going to build a rail link, we should do it right or simply not bother. A rail link should have either: extended the N/Q north and east to the airport (with a fixing of the tunnel between Herald Sq and Penn Station) or a new link should have been built between LGA and the LIRR at Woodside (with a stop at Jackson Hts/Roosevelt Ave), thus benefiting far more suburban and city dwellers.

    If we’re not going to even make an attempt to make a good rail link, we shouldn’t waste any money on that component and instead sink the money towards better bus service to and from the airport (eg: alleviating overcrowded buses and putting in more bus lanes).

    It’s a shame that as far as “sexiness” of infrastructure (which isn’t very politically sexy to start with), airports seem to rank far higher than other modes that are used by far more people.



    I should clarify that I was ironically embracing what I think is the mainstream attitude in America and why it’s so hard to improve cities. People just expect city life to be a dehumanizing grind.

    You don’t like the subway? That’s New York! Why did you move there?

    Cities could be serene and livable if we just took them seriously.


    sensible internet commenter

    Suburb life is gross and degrading. You have to drive everywhere and walking or biking is dangerous and inefficient and there’s no public transit. Every business is a chain and there’s no culture. Who would ever want to live in a horrible place like that?



    Don’t you get it? Cities are fine to visit but no one is supposed to actually LIVE in them. City life is gross and degrading and there is nothing to be done about it. Grow up and move to the burbs.



    Pretty interesting contrast yesterday – watching the Dan Doctoroff-backed Boston Olympics bid collapse out of an insistence that taxpayers would be liable for unknown, unwanted bloated cost overruns, the same day Biden comes to town to slap Cuomo on the back for a new airport terminal.

    I’m not equating an Olympic stadium with an airport, but I wonder how many more airports and train stations Cuomo is going to sheath in marble – how many more animal bathing facilities at the airport and the like will we build – before we get equitable, common sense toll reform, or countdown clocks and ADA-compliant elevators in our subway stations, or a trans-harbor rail freight tunnel to push deadly trucks off of local surface streets.


    William Farrell

    It’s quite incredible that someone in the business of transportation could sincerely believe that more lanes will result in less congestion.



    But it doesn’t actually “get the job done” — your lovely “real new york” nostalgia notwithstanding.



    Newark is easier at 10x the price.



    Hillary took the subway once in 1992, campaigning for Bill. The Clintons live pretty close to the Chappaqua Metro-North station and Bill has long had an office on 125th Street, not a bad walk from the train. It’d be a pretty easy trip and faster than being driven during rush hour. But alas, I doubt he’s ever done it.

    Has a sitting president ever even used the DC Metrorail?

    Would NYPD even allow a sitting president to use the subway? I’d think they’d have a conniption and force the entire subway system shut while the prez rode a private train.



    The right way to do transit to a big city airport is simply rapid transit to a terminal, and shuttle trains or buses between terminals. City buses mingling airport and non-airport users don’t really cut it.

    But some of those criticisms seem exaggerated. The subway is pretty reliable compared to other options. Plodding, but reliable. AirTrain actually was delivered within a fairly reasonable budget, at least for New York. It is very poorly sited though.



    Even densely packed single family homes on the land of a dispensed airport would probably have a modest impact in NYC. Either way, people looking for a single family home in New York City are basically getting a scarce, almost boutique, property.

    Higher incomes aren’t that far-fetched if the political winds change. To some extent, that has already even kind of been happening as many states and localities have been boosting minimum wages. I suppose a good portion of “progressives” still buy the neoliberal Kool-Aid that we should cater policy to the investor class. BdB has one foot in that ideology, and people like Bloomberg and Christine Quinn were worse.



    The London Airport is suppose to cost 65 Billion, but includes a high speed rail link. The way it improves flood protection would involve placing the boundary of the artificial island in the 5 mile strait between Breezy Point and Sandy Hook. There have already been proposals to build a sea wall there that would basically block a storm surge into New York Bay protecting not just the urban areas of New York City and New Jersey, but the Port of Newark as well (second busiest in the country). You could have the airport plug a portion of the strait and leave open shipping lanes the could be closed off with flood gates. There was 65 Billion dollars of damage done by Sandy and over 100 billion dollars in lost economic activity when the storm hit…the airport should be paid for with a lot of federal dollars for this reason and supplemented by the sale of land at the 3 airports that would be closed.