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    This really is de Blasio’s problem: he speaks to no constituency whatsoever. Bloomberg was the essence of a fake technocrat, but at least he knew his fake technocrat shtick appealed to a certain portion of the city.

    De Blasio just speeds past every constituency in the city, throwing out half-baked policies from his SUV window, and can never understand why no one thanks him.



    lifted escalade won’t fit through the bollards, we’ll make sue of that :)

    steel bollards exist throughout the civilized world and cyclists don’t get crushed against them, red herring

    our major difference on this and many subjects appears to be one of mode share of private cars in NYC. I believe a 10-15% share is a natural level for NYC. Your number is likely 40%


    Robert Wright

    I suspect the issue is that this officer is in charge of making sure they hand out the appropriate number of tickets each month. If that officer’s motivation were to reduce the number of death and injuries, his or her behavior would be very different.


    Joe R.

    I agree. Besides lack of bike lanes, two systematic problems are constant utility work and underlying issues with the subroadbed which cause recurring potholes. Rather than just slapping on a quick and dirty layer of asphalt, we should relocate the utilities to concrete trenches covered by metal plates, and fix the subroadbed problems. While those are being done, use the opportunity to reconfigure the street by adding pedestrian refuges, bulbouts, bike lanes, bus lanes, etc.


    Joe R.

    The goal here isn’t necessarily to reduce auto ownership but rather auto use. If measures like preventing through driving on residential streets make it much harder to drive around locally, people will use other means. They may still drive to the country on weekends but if we get them to avoid 10 or 15 local car errands during the week then we’ve made NYC infinitely more pleasant. Moreover, we’ve gotten people to use cars mainly for the trips where they make sense, like a long drive outside city limits, and to not use them for trips better served by other modes. Multiply ten less car trips per week by the number of households owning cars. That could make a huge difference in people’s quality of life.


    Joe R.

    Just curious how someone going biking or walking speed can be crushed to death on a bollard. You need to impact a bollard at a very high speed to get crushed to death against it. The idea here is to physically prevent entry. I actually want something strong enough to destroy a truck hitting it at 50 mph. If we use plastic bollards, in a week they’ll be in pieces littering the road and trucks will be back to using that street. It’s great to say enforcement is needed but I’ve learned the best enforcement is steel and concrete. If a street requires a constant police presence to get users to do what you want them to do then that street has been poorly designed.


    new yorker

    I don’t expect him to go as far as biking/transit/walking to work (but that would be nice). I do expect him or any other mayor though to take actions and care about a major public safety crisis in the city.


    Joe R.

    The backups only happen if this is a street drivers can use as a through street. Visualize a residential street with bollards spaced barely far apart enough at one end to let passenger cars through, but spaced closely enough at the other to prevent anything larger than a cargo bike from passing. The only people entering or leaving that block by motor vehicle will be visitors or people living there. The backups you fear won’t happen.

    You might have that problem on a through street which happens to be off limits to trucks but there aren’t too many of those. Most streets which have stores requiring regular truck delivery do in fact allow trucks. If backups are an issue, then you don’t use bollards, at least permanent ones. Maybe you have sensors in the road to measure vehicle weight. If it exceeds perhaps 4 tons, indicating a large truck, then bollards go up to prevent entry. Or you have a steel bar 8 or 9 feet high. Bollards are but one answer to physically preventing truck access.



    He never even did Bike To Work Day when he lived in Park Slope and worked at the Municipal Building.

    To be fair, no New York Mayor has as far as I know. Even Ed Lee does it in San Francisco and he’s pretty much their Bill Bratton as far as cycling is concerned.


    Benjamin Kabak

    It does, and I appreciate the newly paved Prospect Park running and biking lanes. But why not take some of that $186 million and invest in bike lanes while also repaving the streets? It’s the perfect opportunity to fix systematic problems.


    Joe R.

    We could knock it but repaving streets definitely benefits cyclists. Potholes are my second biggest complaint about cycling in NYC.



    Oh I know, we are NYC after all!


    new yorker

    This is a “mayor of the people” who gets motorcaded 11 miles to his gym every morning. I think he might be a lost cause for safe street advocates.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Or you could use technology. The bollards at the Brooklyn entry to the Williamsburg Bridge can move up and down. The police, the fire department, and the DOT have the ability to lower them.

    This sort of bollard could be deployed all around. That takes care of emergencies. And UPS, Fed Ex, and the Post Office could be given the ability to lower them. That takes care of mail and parcels.

    Any other needs, such as the delivery of furniture on a truck, or the arrival of a plumber’s or tree-trimmer’s van, would be met on an ad-hoc basis with a call to the local police precinct. The police would let the vehicle in and escort it to its destination, then come back later to let it out.

    So we could indeed have barriers which would just barely let in only passenger cars, and which would keep unauthorised trucks out. There is no techincal obstacle to such an arrangement. The only thing preventing it is the prevailing orthodoxy.


    new yorker

    Eric Adams has been outspoken on street safety. He should at least get consideration in 2017.


    Zero Vision

    De Blasio is doling out $183 water bill rebates to pander to homeowners who probably won’t vote for him anyway. Meanwhile, $183 could buy a handful of plastic delineators and a few gallons of paint to put a JSK-style curb extension on a corner. Do that a few hundred thousand times and you’d save a lot of innocent New Yorkers from injury or death.

    I’ll wait to see who the competition is, but safe street advocates should probably not vote for de Blasio again. Maybe then he’d start pandering to us.


    new yorker

    If “nothing” is their job then why do they still get paid? (rhetorical question)


    Jym Dyer

    @Larry Littlefield – The oft-repeated claim that bicyclists are at fault for our injuries most of the time is based on statistics from police reports, which suffer from survivor bias and the reporting officers’ observer bias (as they tend to be motorists themselves, not bicyclists).

    Way back in the 1990s, Streetsblog contributor Charles Komanoff did an analysis of police reports which found that motorists magically became more at-fault when a third-party eyewitness was there. Oh, and it’s not just bicyclists, the same is true for pedestrians.


    new yorker

    What do the officers at the 78th precinct think their job is????



    For the record – “about half of households” owning a car it’s astonishingly low by North American standards.


    new yorker

    DeBlasio is just a terrible politician, by softening Vision Zero he is alienating his base while pandering to a group that will never vote for him.



    Automatic enforcement is quite effective. Go for a drive where there are speed cams and notice that no-one is seeding.

    I’m sure vision zero works great, but I don’t think it includes anything resembling the proposed bollards. Here’s a typical Stockholm intersection:

    What do you see? Typical medium-width European street widths, ped islands, and not much else. That’s fine, and combined with enforcement, works.



    Both are critical elements. Since reengineering a large city’s worth of streets takes a really really long time, relying solely on engineering ensures that we won’t have safe streets for a really really long time. And education is meaningless without enforcement.

    Widespread camera enforcement can be implemented citywide as soon as Albany allows it (which is why so many motorists are opposed to camera enforcement), and the police alone could be far more effective if only they had a commissioner who cared.

    Certainly, we need to continue to pursue engineering fixes, but we can’t afford to wait for them before taking shorter-term action.


    Jym Dyer

    @Andrew – Kelly was awful, and indeed BdB’s campaign got a lot of support because he focused on the NYPD’s excesses under Kelly. Then, once elected, he appointed Bratton to continue doing those excesses.



    I guess I just disagree? NYC is already one of the hardest cities to own a car in, and yet… about half of households still do. I think at that point we’d be biting at the margins, at great cost. The original proposal for bollards here was to restrict trucks from non truck routes; I think that’s silly. However, I’m reasonable, let’s crunch the numbers:

    If you do go forward with bollards you have to make them fit at the bare minimum, ups trucks, ambulances, and firetrucks. (To say nothing of their turning radius/bollard interaction for the moment, or often times desired speed, let’s just look at raw width, including mirrors):

    Typical midsize sedan (camry): 7’2″
    The smallest UPS truck: 8’10”
    Ambulance: 9’0″
    Firetruck/engine: 9’9″
    Firetruck/ladder: 10’0″

    Let’s say every driver is super skilled at maneuvering their vehicle, and only needs 2″ of clearance on either side to pass a bollard safely.

    If all we want to allow through are UPS trucks, we get a width of 9’2″. So the UPS truck can barely squeeze through, but the camry has a foot on each side (not enough to really slow anybody down).

    However, we probably want ambulances and firetrucks to be able to squeeze through too, right? So we get a final width of 10’4″, giving our camry 1″8″ on each side.

    Congratulations, you’ve just spent a ton of money on bollards that will cause emergency vehicles to crawl by, but will let regular cars, cabs, etc. zoom right through. I chose a camry for this example because it’s about average size, but keep in mind, a corolla is 2 inches narrower, and a miata 6 inches narrower.



    I agree that Bloomberg was generally better than de Blasio with respect to street redesign, but Kelly was no better than Bratton is when it comes to police attitudes toward street safety.


    Jym Dyer

    @reasonableexplanation – No, enforcement is the least effective approach. We have “three Es,” environment, education, and enforcement, and that’s in the order of effectiveness.

    The reason there is interest in Vision Zero is that it works very well where it was invented, in Sweden. And in Sweden they focus on infrastructure. Here we’re misusing the term and focusing too much on enforcement which — as this story ought to make abundantly clear — is not working!


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Yes, I have seen that happen.

    Anyway, I hope you see that your example of one car double parked on one street is not the same thing as the proposal of physical barriers becoming the norm on thousands of streets. The first is a local nuisance; the second would be a transformative social policy.



    Yeah, but they DEFINITELY won’t be voting for de Blasio. Why try to pander to them now?


    Benjamin Kabak

    Drivers who feel that safety improvements somehow infringe their constitutionality protected right to drive dangerous through the nation’s most densely populated city.



    I don’t get de Blasio. Who is he trying to please with this move? The anti-safety coalition?



    “one street that had a lot of double parking”
    Not at all, what I’m talking about is a single car double parked poorly, creating a space that just barely fits another car. That all it takes to back a street up for a while. I’m sure you’ve seen it happen.



    Probably not. But the article’s theme was how Uber/Lyft will help economic development upstate, and there’s a quote from Uber’s spokesperson. Doesn’t good journalism demand that the other side be given a chance to speak?


    Benjamin Kabak



    i noticed that section of the Pelham Parkway path was inaccessible a couple weekends ago. Funny thing is though that I was avoiding the path anyway because, from an inline skater’s viewpoint, it’s not that great. Narrow, cracked asphalt, sand and dirt, etc. So instead I was skating the wrong way along Pelham Parkway North because it seemed safer and happened to notice as I skated past that a few blocks of the park was fenced off.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    On point no. 1: you’re thinking of one street that had a lot of double parking. That isn’t the topic here.

    What is being discussed here is the (fanciful) concept of physical barriers on every residential street in the City that would require drivers to slow to practically nil in order to pass. This would fundamentally alter the calculus on owning and using cars in a way that any one particular street’s issue cannot do.

    The result of this wise policy would not be gridlock, but rather a drastic reduction in automobile usage. Pity that it will never happen; our society is too far gone to accept such a sensible move.



    I can’t wait to vote for a mayor that cares whether my family lives or dies on our neighborhood streets.



    What’s most pathetic about BdB is how easily and cheaply bought he is.

    What are these developers giving BdB to push the expensive ass and unscalable ferries (like, they’re currently $4 each way) or a completely unnecessary boondoggle of a street car. What are they donating? Like $250K, right? That’s so cheap. Surely progressives could come up w/ that much. There’s got to be more than a couple Mark Groton’s out there.

    And then you look at the instance of the city removing the restrictive deed on that nursing home in the LES, which immediately gets flipped to private developers as a windfall to the seller b/c of the removal of the restrictive deed. THAT is straight up “theft of honest services.” People should really go to jail for that one. That’s straight up arbitrage. The differential in the value with v. without the restrictive deed should absolutely go straight into the city coffers. Instead, connected fundraisers/lobbyists/developers pocketed the spoils. Someone should go to jail for this one for sure.



    Think this through. Here are just a handful of problems off the top of my head:

    1. The gridlock issue. Read what I wrote above about side streets and double parkers. That’s what this will look like. not pleasant. I lived for years on a block just like this, and when cars drove by here and there, no big deal. but when there was a narrowing like this; to put it plainly it sucked. Even ignoring the honking aspect, the idling cars stop and going outside my window were far worse than the sporadic cars driving by for my quality of life.

    2. If these bollards are steel, you’re going to have the occasional biker or pedestrian crushed to death against them. Flexible plastic bollards like the kind in the tunnels would be an improvement.

    3. Firetrucks, legit local deliveries, bigger vehicles like minivans, access-a-ride, Fedex trucks, etc.

    4. “low enough to be set below mirror height.” Mirror height of what? a stanced miata or a lifted escalade. There’s quite a huge variety.



    I thought there was a ‘highway safety officer’ (or some such title), often but not always a sergeant, at every precinct. If so, perhaps the issue then becomes, are they focusing on the right violations?


    Joe R.

    Having traffic victims in the Compstat statistics would allow this to happen. I don’t understand why they’re not counted now.



    Enforcing truck routes is best done with a combination of cops and traffic cameras.

    Ok, but this is a comment on an article in which the cops are literally saying they can’t really enforce truck routes. So put me on team “moderate behavior by design.” Maybe not 7 feet bollards but other mechanisms which physically force cars/trucks to slow down.



    I like Eric Adams and Tish James. And I disagree with your assessment re: Bloomberg and Ray Kelly. Bloomberg “got it”. He was willing to expend political capital. Sure, he sold out the Bedford Bike lane but by and large, he saw the big picture. I’m highly confident if he and JSK were still in charge, we’d see a lot more and better infrastructure improvements.

    BdB is just too fucking scared. Bloomberg was willing to stick his neck out, because, on the merits, livable streets are best for all, even if you have to remove some street parking.



    You raise some good points. Cars are fucking gigantic now, and for no good reason other than pursuit of status. It’s become a sick arms race of size and horsepower. Couple that with the sheer number of them compared to how it was back in the day, and driving around here just makes both the driver and everyone around them miserable (peds, cyclists, you name it).


    Kevin Love

    I am good with that.


    Ferdinand Cesarano

    Also, which of your mayoral hopeful candidates look to be doing a better job on this than the guy who is in office now?

    Maybe Tish James, who has called for bike lanes to be part of all street redesigns. And one gets the feeling that Ydanis Rodriguez, who has championed several bike-related and livable-streets-related initiatives, is gearing up for an eventual run, even if he doesn’t go for it this time.



    sounds like a great method for protecting local streets, the vast majority of cars are just 6′ wide without mirrors, the bollards could be low enough to be set below mirror height.


    Joe R.

    I definitely smell it during the summer months when I think they add a little more. You can get rid of the chlorine by just letting the water stand for about 24 hours, even in the refrigerator.


    Peter Engel

    It’s all well and good to lay blame on the NYPD. Cops cannot be
    everywhere, not even their front door. If you want to speculate that the
    white SUV is probably a cop, I’d tend to agree with you.

    But here’s my question: did you actually contact 88th Precinct C.O. John Buttacavoli or Community Affairs officers Brathwaite and Sergeant with this?

    I say this because posting stuff and making blanket accusations without direct contact is for children who don’t want to be taken seriously.



    Could a dead pedestrian funnel $100k into a non-profit for him?