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    Mark Walker

    An op-ed in today’s Times suggests that the state’s power over the city in this and other issues is an antiquated vestige of times when city government was more corrupt than it is now. He suggests that a solution may begin with the referendum that automatically occurs every 20 years to determine whether there should be a constitutional convention to amend the state constitution. The byline on the piece might raise an eyebrow. But it does offer a potential solution to the state overriding city initiatives to install more speed cameras.


    Kevin Love

    No criminality suspected!



    Jarrett Walker made the case that bus stigma was not particular to or ever real in LA:

    “All of this came to mind in reading Amanda Hess’s recent Atlantic Cities article, “Race, Class and the Stigma of Riding the Bus in America.”
    Hess argues that the predominance of minority and low-income people on
    the bus is evidence of an American bus “stigma.” “In Los Angeles,” she
    writes, “92 percent of bus riders are people of color. Their annual
    median household income is $12,000.”

    The reference to race is a distraction. The service area of the Los
    Angeles MTA is well over 70 percent people of color. What’s more, whites
    are more likely to live in low-density areas with obstructed street
    patterns where effective bus service is impossible. So people of color
    in L.A. may be over 80 percent of the residents for whom the MTA can be
    useful, which means that the number of white bus riders is not far off
    what we should expect.”



    I’m not sure I buy that meme fits in NYC. We never had the bus stigma LA has – and I hear it’s fading there.

    The political class here almost doesn’t do transit at all, except for photo ops.


    Joe Enoch

    I can almost guarantee the only bus Cuomo has ever ridden is a campaign bus. Now that I think about, I’m surprised he doesn’t campaign in a caravan of limos.


    Aaron Bialick

    This post is the first I’ve heard about the state of bus lane camera enforcement in New York, but legislating it by route seems silly and unsustainably arduous.

    San Francisco legislated a citywide pilot program in 2007 that allows cameras to enforce only parking violations in transit-only lanes. The state legislature is now considering a bill that would make the program permanent and expand its authority to also ticket drivers cruising in them:



    Two wrongs make an “eh”.


    Simon Phearson

    The distinction between transport cycling and fast cycling is not as clean as you make it out to be. The farther a cyclist has to go, the more they need to be able to do so at higher speeds, if the trip is to be manageable. When you design everything so that they’re stuck going 12 mph, tops, you’re taking away cycling as an option for longer trips. Why would you want to do that, when our neighborhoods remain as far apart as they are?

    Also, pedestrians do not always “deserve” the right of way (and do not in fact have it) and are not especially vulnerable vis-a-vis cyclists (how exactly is a cyclist getting the better of a collision with a pedestrian?). We can acknowledge that cyclists should use reasonable care when using mixed spaces where pedestrian traffic is likely without elevating them to an unnecessarily sacrosanct status.



    What? An official of his stature ride the bus? Everyone knows “buses are for poor people.”


    Simon Phearson

    This is like saying that people choosing to live in New York have chosen not to drive, at all, or to jog. No, it’s preposterous – particularly when we live in a city that regularly accommodates drivers at speeds well beyond anything achievable by a human on a bike.

    We’re not talking about anything that requires special facilities, like NASCAR racing, or conducive natural geography, like surfing. We’re talking about an activity that you can do on just about every street in the city. It’s as natural for someone who enjoys biking for exercise to be accommodated in a car free space, like a park, as it is to accommodate someone who enjoys running for exercise. Would you run for exercise down Eight Avenue? No. You wouldn’t bike for exercise there, either. But it makes perfect sense to try to build our riverside greenways and parks to accommodate that kind of activity, and it could be done easily, if we just put some thought to it.

    And this isn’t just about loops in the park. This is about building bike infrastructure that serves people going any distance, at any level of fitness. If you build all of our infrastructure so that it can only accommodate cyclists at 12-15 mph, you are essentially pushing people who need to make better time on their commutes (because they have farther to go) off those routes.

    If you think that telling a Queens-dweller that they just can’t bike fast anywhere is going to stop them, you’re mistaken. If they can’t use a park, they’ll use the street – and take on the attendant risks. That’s not a fair or smart imposition.


    Brian Howald

    Why is the NYPD concerned with the traffic signal indications?

    Either the victim was jaywalking and the perp was running a red light, putting him in the blame, or she was crossing with the light while he was making a left turn, in which case he would have to wait for her to pass.

    Either the perp was more wrong or completely wrong. Why doesn’t this compel charges?



    There was a time when I wold have agreed with you, but I have since come around to seeing that my own desire to ride fast is simply not supportable any longer in this environment, and that just like a driver, a cyclist must also hold back, yield, and operate with due care in crowded environments that always include the more vulnerable. If you are going to live a long ride from 9W such that it is only a
    weekend possibility, you have made that decision, just as you have made a
    decision not to live in a place where you can drive a car at 70+
    MPH. Most of New York City is not convenient for lots of popular sports. You can surf every day if you live in the Rockaways.



    I think drivers in such a situation almost always pay the injured party’s medical bills. That is what liability insurance is for. It just doesn’t make the news.



    I think that as cyclists we do a lot more for cycling, for pedestrian safety, and for liveable streets when we distinguish between fast road cycling and transport cycling and when we admit that pedestrians are more vulnerable road users and always deserve the right of way and some consideration. That said, that portion of Riverside and the Greenway is very poorly designed.



    350 car parking spaces being converted into 1,800+ bike parking spaces should have been the headline.



    Here’s some low-hanging fruit for you, Streetsblog. Red light cameras attack veterans!



    Does Chaim Deutsch represent the citizens who elected him or the traffic engineers and others who’ve allowed these things to happen?



    This is outrageous. The driver should face the consequences of not showing proper care. This is vehicular manslaughter. How many laws do we have to add to the books? It is shameful to me that a Right-of-Way law is even needed, though it sorely is, and more deeply shameful that it is so rarely invoked.



    Rather than putting the onus on victims to protect themselves against cars that are effectively weapons, Deutsch should be placing the blame on traffic engineers and DOT and demanding to know why they’ve designed such a dangerous junction and what they plan to do to fix it.

    Traffic engineers in other countries can design much safer systems, why can not ours?



    Friends of mine living in Autralia and Europe find it shocking that drivers who kill and maim pedestrians and cyclists aren’t charged regardless. Right of way should not be that much of a consideration.


    Joe R.

    The comparison of recreational cycling with NASCAR really isn’t accurate. The fact is the same things which enable recreational cycling will make cycling for transportation better. Non-stop paths free of pedestrians where you can ride at whatever speed you want certainly seems like it would benefit people cycling for transportation.

    Comparing NASCAR to track cycling may be more accurate. A velodrome for track cycling certainly won’t benefit anyone except those who enjoy track cycling. But those who enjoy any type of road cycling can be accommodating with infrastructure which makes transportation cycling better. It’s definitely not an either/or case here.



    I don’t think those advocating for cycling as a mode of transportation really care about this type of recreational cycling one way or another. It’s certainly an activity I, personally, and many fellow advocates, enjoy and partake in, but it just seems kind of like separate issue altogether, aside from maybe the fact that they happen to use the same type of vehicle. We also don’t particularly advocate one way or another for better kayak launch points, another recreational activity vaguely related to human-powered transport. I don’t think groups like TA need to advocate for road biking any more than a group like AAA needs to advocate for NASCAR.



    “Every intersection is dangerous from vehicles who are turning. They have to slow down and make sure there is no one crossing the street who has the right of way.

    Though I doubt it was intentional, this reveals the bias at work: it’s ok to kill someone if they don’t have the right of way. Essentially, the penalty for jaywalking is death and the driver has a right to enforce vigilante justice.


    Joe R.

    Central Park doesn’t even seem suitable for an individual rider pushing themselves between the 20 mph speed limit, plus the ridiculous fact they didn’t remove the traffic signals from the part which was made permanently car-free. I’m convinced NYC is just brain dead when it comes to cycling. We might talk a good line about getting more people on bikes, but then we give them infrastructure which requires jumping through all sorts of hoops. Really, there’s nowhere else on the planet where you have traffic signals in a space with just pedestrians and cyclists as you do in Central Park.


    Simon Phearson

    Central Park really isn’t a place to push yourself as an individual rider. The speed limit is too low, the stoplights too many, and the hours too short to avoid other park users.

    I actually wasn’t even thinking of paceline training. I can’t imagine why you would want to do that any place other than 9W or something similar.

    The point of my objection is that advocates are throwing fast cyclists under the bus (literally). Sure, the “reality” is that our car-free spaces have been inadequately designed to accommodate the variety of demands we have for car-free spaces. But part of the reason that is and probably will remain the case is that advocates don’t really take fast cycling as an activity that matters (it’s like vehicular cycling in that respect).



    “Pedestrians, although you have the right of way, we all need to be more careful crossing the streets and be more on the defensive side.”

    How is someone crossing in the crosswalk, with a walk signal, in her mobility chair, supposed to cross MORE DEFENSIVELY? Maybe Councilmember Deutsch can answer that for us, so his mobility-impaired constituents can hear it from him directly? I think what he’s really saying here is, “move along, there’s nothing we can do about these deaths, every now and then one of our neighbors is going to be picked-off.”



    It’s just acknowledging the reality of the situation as it currently exists. If you want to push yourself as an individual rider, Central Park and Prospect Park are appropriate. If you want to do full-on “road biking” with a team and all, then yeah, get out to 9W. Getting swarmed by a team in Central Park on my leisurely morning ride is absolutely terrifying, even as someone who does go out to 9W almost every weekend. SHOULD people be able to train like this somewhere in the city? I don’t know, maybe. But right now they can’t (while being respectful of other road users). So they shouldn’t.



    He struck her after she passed in front of his car, meaning he certainly did not “not see her”. This is one of the CLEAREST cases of driving in an unsafe manner I have ever seen. The law must change. There needs to be at least manslaughter charge for exactly this.


    Joe R.

    I wonder what would have happened if the child had been hit by a car in the street? The police almost never charge drivers with failure to exercise due care. And there certainly wouldn’t be any calls for the driver to pay the injured party’s medical bills. I have a gut feeling if a motor vehicle were involved, the child’s parents would be charged with negligence for letting the child wander into the street unattended. Because a bike was involved, you have a set of double standards.

    Sure, the cyclist absolutely should have operated carefully around a child that young, but I honestly feel the parents deserve a little blame here for not keeping an eye on the child. Back when I was kid, if I started wandering towards the street, I was instantly yanked away by my parents, giving a good scolding, sometimes even given a spanking. Kids don’t know any better but their parents do.



    Not to mention, there’s nothing wrong with cracking down on toll evaders. They’re yet another example of the seemingly unlimited sense of entitlement of New York-area motorists.


    Joe R.

    The same infrastructure could serve the needs of both utility cyclists and exercise cyclists if done right. Unfortunately, NYC has few places where a cyclist can ride for any length of time without encountering traffic signals, stop signs, crossing pedestrians, double-parked cars, etc. I’ve been arguing that it needs this type of infrastructure. It would give recreational cyclists a safe place to ride to their capabilities. It would also give utility cyclists a mostly nonstop, much faster trip. The obvious question is how to fit this into an already crowded city. I’ve offered ideas on that multiple times. As a nearly 100% recreational cyclist the need for this infrastructure is real. As things stand now I need to go out after 10PM to have conditions which are even semi-suitable for the type of riding I like to do. Decent, nonstop infrastructure would also get more people doing utility cycling. The sad part is even a visionary like JSK never had any plans for such a network. I think far too many people, even those running local DOTs, think it’s perfectly fine to mix cyclists and pedestrians. They also think unless you’re in a motor vehicle, speed isn’t important. Nothing could be further from the truth.



    Have we *ever* seen a driver get charged with failure to exercise due care after maiming or killing pedestrians or cyclists?


    Simon Phearson

    I won’t debate that a busy mixed-use trail is not the place to go “full throttle” (although at this point we only have the say-so of a witness that the cyclist was going at an unsafe speed), but the recommendation that cyclists do their “full throttle” riding essentially outside the city, on trails that are simply not convenient for anything but a weekend trip, is facile to the point of being non-serious.

    Exercise cycling exists, and exercising cyclists live throughout the city. They’re going to look for places where they can push themselves that are convenient to where they live and relatively safe and efficient for cycling. That’s just a demand that exists and will continue to exist. Essentially banning them from any car-free space – rather than structuring car-free space so that it can be compatible with both pedestrian and cyclist uses – is not a solution, unless you view forcing those cyclists to accept the risks of riding in traffic on busy arterial streets to be a “solution.”

    When advocates pushed to cut the speed limit in Central Park to 20 mph, they effectively destroyed the one place in this entire city where pedestrians and exercising cyclists could have been accommodated simultaneously, both safe from car traffic. I wouldn’t be surprised if a result of their actions will be more cases like the story on Hudson River Greenway, as cyclists look for places to ride fast that aren’t ticket traps.



    The limo driving elite do go out on bikes during weekends for recreation so thats very important


    Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr.

    As of right now, he have other major transportation obligations that matters to him most such as: 1) replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge with a pair of cable bridges; 2) Renovating LaGuardia Airport; and 3) Demanded NYC to pay its fair share to the 2015-2019 MTA Capital Plan, despite that he “found” at least $8 billion out of thin air (which I do not know where does the money comes from). To him, this bill cannot be signed immediately because it is a minor issue to him and the rest of NYS, right at this moment. ????


    Joe R.

    I was in a similar situation about 30 years ago. A driver exits his car without looking and I hit the door. It was a POS subcompact. I knocked the door clean off its hinges. Fortunately I wasn’t badly hurt but the first words out of his mouth are “I hope you have money to fix my door.” I gave him an incredulous look and said I’m not paying a cent. You need to pay me to fix my bike since you couldn’t be bothered looking before swinging your door open. At that point you could the smoke coming out of his ears. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out what looked like a folded knife but I wasn’t 100% sure. Before he completes the motion my fist meets his mouth, and I see blood and teeth on the street. My bike was barely rideable, so off I went. I wasn’t about to stick around to see what happened next. I remain surprised he didn’t get back in his car and chase after me.


    karen orlando

    Nonsense. The entire federal government shut down in 2013 because it wasn’t “functioning” likely due to electeds inability to behave like rational adults. Why would people expect that Community Board members in NYC or alternately the activists that attend behave any differently, particularly when there’s evidence that they aren’t actually being covered in the news or to those in attendance, including perhaps people employed by DOT? Oh and discussions about Times Square in the news only recently brought this quote “the bike Nazis who speed through our city without license plates or responsibility, fueled by a sense of arrogant entitlement, rarely obeying traffic signs, red lights or speed limits. Sometimes killing people.”



    EXACTLY. The SI Advance bitches nonstop about de Blasio’s mostly imaginary failings then also bitched that he doesn’t visit enough (“…and the portions are so small!”). Stop trying to please everyone and start worrying about the stuff you can control, where the greatest number of people are concentrated anyway.



    I dunno… tolls are already low on the TZB, and no one has yet suggested they be increased. For example, the regular toll on the TZB is lower than the carpool toll on the GWB. So why should there be a discount?



    Even when riding on the street, anytime I see kids or dogs anywhere near the curb I slow way down.



    I ride that path daily. The biker’s excuse was lame. “I didn’t expect to see her right in the middle of the path.” Sorry, one must ALWAYS slow WAY down for toddlers. They have no common sense and are prone to dash across the path, especially if their parents are on the other side. The biker is 50 yrs old, maybe even has her own kids. She should know better. Slow to a crawl and wave “hi” to the parents. Better safe than sorry.

    Some days, the Hudson river bike path is so full of people out with their BBQ that you can’t go faster than a brisk jogging speed. C’est la vie.

    You want a place to let it out “full throttle”? Try NJ Route 9W, or the Putnam Branch bike path.



    To be fair, litterers should be summarily executed.


    Simon Phearson

    I feel like you buried the lede on the TPZ toll story, since one element of his plan to keep tolls low is to explicitly subsidize local bridge users. Whoever said drivers pay their own way?



    People do need to treat the shared path as such, and slow down. Interesting though that the cyclist is expected to be charged with failure to exercise due care, yet I rarely hear this in stories about more serious vehicular collisions.


    Tyson White

    When over 10,000 pedestrians are hit, the idea of charging so many drivers under the law is daunting. Just like it was with the number of murders, rapes, robberies and assaults in the 1980’s when police could barely fill out reports for each of those.

    Perhaps Bratton should take a page from his own book and enforce a “broken windshield” policy against motorists who disobey smaller infractions (like blocking crosswalks at red lights and honking illegally) and the bigger problems will go away.



    If there is no change, then why oppose it. If you change the limit and now drivers are speeding by 10 mph over the limit, you have a much stronger argument for additional changes.


    Tyson White

    Now that the amendment sought by the TWU failed, the whole purpose of enforcing the law (primarily against bus drivers to spark their opposition to the law) is no longer there.



    Does Crains still think that Vision Zero in New York includes any improvements for safer cycling? Fooled me once, shame on you, fooled me 10 times…


    Joe R.

    It may have happened that way or not. Any way you look it, the SUV driver was the primary cause of this. When you see 40 feet coming at you, you don’t play chicken even if you have the right-of-way. In this case, the SUV driver didn’t even have the right-of-way. I see these stupid games of “me first” all the time. If we’re really serious about Vision Zero, drivers behaving like this should be the second priority of police, with failure to yield being the first.

    I still remain puzzled why the bus driver didn’t just hit the SUV. From a liability cost standpoint it likely would have been a better situation. Probably better for the passengers as well. A bus hitting a car is like a train hitting a semi. The vehicle being hit gets totaled but the passengers barely notice. On the other hand, a bus hitting a building is never good.

    It’s also worth noting even if this happened as you said, the bus driver was likely in this situation dozens or hundreds of times. He probably reacted the same as every other time, sped up, with the expectation the other driver would just back off. Probably that’s what happens 99.99% of the time. I know it won’t happen, but I wish the SUV driver would permanently lose the privilege to drive. This is just a completely wrong attitude to have behind the wheel, thinking you’re special and can cut people off as you please just to save a few seconds.


    Welcome Guest

    Geez, maybe someday it’ll finally sink in that, aside from a handful of zealots, New Yorkers don’t give a rat’s ass about your vision zero nonsense.

    Instead of banging your heads against the wall, maybe you should be packing you bags and brushing up on your Dutch, Danish, or Portlandish.