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  1.  

    NYerGirl

    Seaman is a residential street, so there would be no loss of business. It would also give the delivery people a safer way to travel.

  2.  

    NYerGirl

    hmmm, ” the street isn’t wide enough for separated bike lanes and two lanes of parking.” How about just moving the bike lane over to the sidewalk side of the street to give bikes a small amount of extra protection? Plus with all the double parking on Seaman, we usually have to drive into the oncoming lane anyway.

  3.  

    Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    This would be fantastic! Much of the time when I ride this route there are more cyclists than cars.

  4.  

    stairbob

    I’m sure TransAlt would love for you to volunteer to head up that effort.

  5.  

    J_12

    lanes without any physical separation often serve as passing or parking lanes for motor vehicles, which causes the markings to wear down very quickly (not to mention potholes and damage to the road surface.)

  6.  

    Bolwerk

    The people most likely to be killed in transit-related accidents are the ones outside vehicles who exposed to the vehicle in motion. With the subway system, that would be in stations. With buses, that’s the street (mainly crosswalks, I think).

    PSDs might be nice, but I don’t know if they’re so feasible. And the only thing I can think to do with buses, besides training drivers, is to limit their most high-risk turns.

  7.  

    Brad Aaron

    Different divisions, sure. Same umbrella.

  8.  

    BBnet3000

    The problem here is that there are few intersection fixers, too many intersections, and virtually no money to improve them on a permanent basis (with concrete rather than paint) besides some federal money that trickles in.

  9.  

    qrt145

    I guess there are many ways to compare. But keep in mind that most people killed by buses were not bus passengers but just bystanders.

  10.  

    Geck

    Andrea Bernstein on Brian Lehrer, discussing Allison Liao’s death and lack of consequences.
    http://www.wnyc.org/story/no-fault-traffic-deaths/

  11.  

    BBnet3000

    I like this strategy, but the problem is that none of our existing backbones are complete. I don’t have much faith that the new ones would be any better.

    Look at 34th Ave as an example. In Woodside it goes to sharrows, though on those streets its perhaps OKish. If you are going from Jackson Heights to Midtown though, you’ll have to contend with sharing the road on 2nd Ave after the bridge, which I’ve done plenty of times and I always dread.

  12.  

    Bolwerk

    How neat is that comparison though? More people ride subways, and presumably they ride them longer distances, so there will be more passenger-miles to be killed on.

  13.  

    Bolwerk

    One of the bigger dangers to buses is turning at crosswalks, a danger that doesn’t apply to subways. Crowding is a pretty big threat to both.

    Still, the best way to improve transportation safety is to increase transit use and decrease automobile use. Transit is subject to histrionic safety scrutiny that cars don’t get.

  14.  

    BBnet3000

    If the city instituted traffic calmed (and through-traffic free) Bike Boulevards sharrows on them could count for something. Sharrows on high traffic roads should count for -1.

    High traffic streets that are orange on the bike map like 4th Ave in Brooklyn, Varick St in Manhattan, and Cropsey Ave crossing to Coney Island in Brooklyn, should not be on the bike map at all. Its a joke where the punchline is scaring people away from cycling and human lives lost.

  15.  

    BBnet3000

    I wouldn’t mention safer buses and platform edge doors in the same sentence. Not only is it not the same people at the MTA working (or not) on these two things, but buses and trains operate in near-complete isolation. They might as well be two different agencies.

  16.  

    r

    In a real Vision Zero system, Uddin’s death would trigger an immediate investigation not only by the NYPD but by the DOT, who would determine what design changes should be implemented to prevent another tragedy.

    Instead, perhaps they’ll come to the community board in a year or two.

  17.  

    Bolwerk

    If I had to pick a single way to screw New York’s future, depriving it of a working transit system would probably top the list. If you don’t want to borrow for normal replacement, that’s what you’re insisting on. No way around it.

  18.  

    Mike

    I’m wary of platform doors. It’s already bad when there are markers on the ground at some stations indicating where the doors will be when the train arrives. People on the platform crowd around these spots and make it a necessary to do a lot of pushing and shoving to get off the train — far more than at stops without these markings. I can only imagine that platform doors marking the where the doors will open at every stop will make this worse.

    Also, people should have the right to end their lives (though perhaps not in a way that inconveniences commuters and traumatizes train drivers), but that’s a topic for a different blog.

  19.  

    Brad Aaron

    Not saying platform doors are not needed. I personally don’t really have an opinion one way or the other yet.

    Point is people hit by bus drivers are no less worthy. Seven deaths last year, by my count, and eight so far this year. I imagine more than 50-some are injured annually. They matter too.

  20.  

    Greg

    Agreed. Platform doors seems like a very worthwhile endeavor.

  21.  

    jzisfein

    Let’s give thanks that Seaman has been (mostly) repaved. For years, the smoothest parts of the road were the speed humps.

  22.  

    Reader

    Good point! Really shows the absurdity of leaving networked system design to non-experts serving near-lifetime appointments to a body that isn’t actually accountable to anyone other than people who park cars on the street.

  23.  

    HamTech87

    Re: TZ Bridge. The fact that the Times is not investigating this story, and just copying and pasting from the Authorities Budget Office, is so disappointing. What happened to investigative journalism? What happened to analysis like we’re reading in, of all places, the New York Post?

    Emblematic of the Times sycophantic coverage of Cuomo and the TZ Bridge is the continued parroting of the $3.9M price tag fiction, even when Cuomo has already said publicly that he has no idea of the bridge cost: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2014/09/8553402/cuomo-hedges-tappan-zee-financing

    Glad to see Capital New York has latched onto the TZ story. In a time of declining VMTs, the TZ Bridge oversized boondoggle will be a sad one for the history books. And historians will at least be able to refer to some good journalism, just not at the Times.

  24.  

    qrt145

    It would be even worse than you say: no one would have sewer or internet under “neighborhood level sewer planning” or “neighborhood level telephone/Internet planning.”, because the your sewer or internet pipe at some point would have to pass through a NIMBY neighborhood…

  25.  

    qrt145

    Re: “meh”. More people are killed by subway trains than by MTA buses (50+ a year by subway trains; I don’t know the exact number for buses). Even though many of those people meant to kill themselves it doesn’t meant they shouldn’t be saved (despite popular misconception, not everyone who is prevented from committing suicide in some way finds a different way to do it). Suicides aside, there’s a non-negligible number of people who fall accidentally, are pushed (OK, maybe that’s very rare), or go into the tracks with a non-suicidal motivation (some might call it “stupidity”).

  26.  

    Reader

    We should have things like “neighborhood level sewer planning” or “neighborhood level telephone/Internet planning.” Some neighborhoods would have clean water, toilets that flush, clear phone connections, and strong wifi signals, while others would be stuck with cholera, outhouses, and tin cans and string.

    Only when it comes to matters of life and death on our streets do we defer so much power to community boards. It’s shameful.

  27.  

    iSkyscraper

    It’s technically not legal to cross the HH bridge on a bike, nor to ride in Inwood Hill Park, is it? That’s another part of the problem. IHP is huge and certain routes could easily be marked for bike use without disrupting the other park uses, but DOT and Parks can’t get their act together and so simply ban bikes instead.

  28.  

    J

    Fantastic idea!!

  29.  

    krstrois

    So, the lack of transit on the TZ is essentially a conscious understanding of how many individual cars the bridge would need to service its debt? Quelle catastrophe.

  30.  

    qrt145

    I suggest that when adding up the miles of bike lanes the DOT should use a weighting factor depending on the type. Protected bike lanes: 1; “regular bike lanes”: 0.1; sharrows: 0.01.

  31.  

    SantaRosaNavySeal

    The husband was not present. He snapped at Vaccaro the laywer representing the crash victim.

  32.  

    J

    Great, more “neighborhood level bike planning”, which has been super effective at getting sharrows and double parking lanes installed in neighborhoods across the city. Yes, they don’t actually make it any easier to ride a bike, but they sure do add to the DOT lane miles statistics. But hey, protected lanes are hard and all; better to just focus on the easy stuff that doesn’t work.

  33.  

    Joe R.

    If the rest of the Second Avenue subway costs as much per mile as the first part, it will have cost $25 billion for 8.5 miles. By your math then it will need 2.5 million daily riders to be justified on its own merits. Just as a point of reference that’s nearly half the number of weekday riders in the entire system.

    By the way, I’m not necessarily taking issue with your math here. The problem is that numbers of riders needed to justify projects at current costs come to something ridiculous regardless of the project. We need serious cost containment by the MTA. In fact, we need it across the board in all infrastructure projects. My only remaining glimmer of hope this might actually happen will be when robotic labor can do most major infrastructure work. At that point there are no wages to pay or pension obligations, just whatever maintenance of the robots costs.

    The MTA also has serious labor issues but that’s not unique to them. It’s a problem across the board with public employees, combined with politicians who give away the store just to buy votes.I might not feel so livid had these deals been paid for when they were made. I don’t think it would go over all that well to tell struggling subway commuters they now have a $7 fare to fund the latest labor agreement. In fact, I’m sure it would have went so badly the deal would have to be rescinded, replaced with something more reasonable.. By borrowing to fund the wage increases instead, today’s riders are spared that. When the day of reckoning finally comes, those who made these deals and benefitted from them will be long gone.

  34.  

    Joe R.

    I never said we shouldn’t do that. In fact, I was actually thinking of bike highways above or near most major arterials. By definition those could serve for a lot of trips not involving Manhattan, including those currently served only by crowded, slow buses. Like I said though, you won’t get significant numbers of people riding unless it’s safe, efficient, and unstressful. As someone who has logged over 4,000 hours and over 72,000 miles, mostly on Queens streets, I can tell you riding here is anything but those things much of the time. In fact, that’s why I ride after 10 PM most of the time. Riding conditions then are still far from ideal, but they’re tolerable to a hard core cyclist. The problem is few things worth going to are open that time. During the day I personally find riding conditions atrocious. Based on how many people I see riding (up from a decade ago but still not all that many) I think others share my view. Ironically, I found riding around my neighborhood much better 20 or 30 years ago. Traffic was quite a bit lighter during the day. You also had far fewer traffic signals. The masses of people driving everywhere just ruined it for everyone not driving.

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  37.  

    ahwr

    Have to use debt, screw the future right? They have just as much work to do in the next five year plan. And the one after. And the one after. And now they’ll also have to pay debt on the work done on this plan. Hello $5 fares.

  38.  

    Bolwerk

    When you demand out of pocket cash to fix a station, you are demanding up front payment. Nobody is saying debt issuance hasn’t been abused, but there is still no realistic way to finance a $20B cluster of projects, some of which should have been completed decades ago, up front. There will be debt involved, and not accepting that means more deferred maintenance, more service interruption, and ultimately more debt to finally fix an even bigger problem.

    NJ could pay for its roads by charging a modest gas tax. The NJ pols are are doing to NJ’s transportation system what New York’s politicians were doing to NYC’s in the 1970s.

  39.  

    queenser

    mass transit can probably never be viable for many trips solely in the outer boroughs but with good infrastructure cycling can be. The emphasis here is on safe, fast, stress-free riding.

    What about trips between queens and Brooklyn, or within queens but not heading to or from Manhattan? Why not focus on trips served only by busy and slow buses?. In queens maybe a flushing-jamaica corridor instead of replicating existing heavy rail transit?

  40.  

    J_12

    I doubt the MTA could issue anything longer than 20 year munis to finance this project. Assuming they can sell 20 year debt at a little under 4% right now, back of the envelope it should cost almost $90M per year to finance $1B of capital spending.

    Even using $1B as a cost estimate, which I think is extremely low, that means you need about 36 million trips per year (at full fare) to cover the debt service. That’s an average of almost 100K per day, every day including weekends and holidays.

    That doesn’t take into account the maintenance or operating costs of the line.

    All told, you need well more than 100,000 rides per calendar day to justify $1B of subway project on its own merits (ignoring externalities.)

  41.  

    Joe R.

    Maybe then we should get money by levying taxes which primarily affect those older generations. A lot of them are cashing in their investments now. Maybe NYC should levy a hefty capital gains tax. And NYC should tax the pensions of city employees who move out of state. If you sell any property, like many retirees do when they move to Florida, any capital gains on that property should be taxed at 50% unless they’re put into buying another property in NYC, with “property” here meaning a place you plan to live, not a real estate investment vehicle designed solely as a tax shelter.

    You’re right-they didn’t want to pay then, so let them pay now. I’m sure NYC could get really creative here figuring out ways to get people to pay who shirked their responsibility in the past. It might even be politically popular in the end. You could use a tagline like “How would you feel if your grandparents had a night on the town 40 years ago, and sent you the bill now?”

  42.  

    Joe R.

    For what it’s worth, it’s pretty hard to average 20 mph if you hit any traffic lights at all. Remember if you can ride at 20 mph, but hit only one traffic light every mile which stops you for a minute, you’re bringing your average speed down to 15 mph. I’m not totally against traffic lights either, but I think we should consider any more than one red light delay every 5 to 10 miles excessive, the idea being it should be possible to average within 1 mph of your cruising speed no matter what that speed happens to be.

    I personally sometimes average around 20 mph for portions of my rides, sometimes doing so legally without passing red lights. However, I find even passing as many red lights as possible it’s difficult to average much above 15 or 16 mph overall. Lights in the entire city are either poorly timed for bikes, or not timed at all. I tend to think bike highways would not only be useful for travel but also useful for people just riding for fitness. That type of riding especially doesn’t readily lend itself to the stop and go common on surface streets.

  43.  

    Joe R.

    True, we probably don’t need a whole lot of route miles to get most of Brooklyn and Queens within a mile of a subway station. The problem is I see zero serious proposals to do anything in that regard. All I hear is a lot of talk about SBS and BRT. Lost in all this is the fact that buses are less comfortable than subways, usually much slower, and far less immune to weather problems. When there’s a heavy snow things on surface streets come to a standstill but the subways generally still run. Even the els usually run fine right after a major snow. Rail in all its forms is just much more reliable.

    Anyway, the whole idea behind the bike highways was never solely to address a subway shortcoming. Rather, it’s to give people another option which can potentially be better than mass transit, as good as driving, while also being a lot cheaper than both. It’s also to address the fact that mass transit can probably never be viable for many trips solely in the outer boroughs but with good infrastructure cycling can be. The emphasis here is on safe, fast, stress-free riding. You won’t get that with painted on-street bike lanes due to aggressive motor traffic, traffic signals, poor road condition, etc. I honest feel with the right infrastructure cycling can replace a lot of driving in the outer boroughs, even on trips of 10 miles each way or longer. Such trips are currently a nightmare for many if done on slow, traffic-clogged streets. The extra expenditure of time and energy compared to just cruising along is enormous. The same bike highways which would make 10+ mile trips feasible would also make shorter trips a lot easier.

  44.  

    Joe R.

    Big difference here. Bikes can go from a bike highway to a regular on-street grid with zero delay. An intra outer borough trip which can theoretically be done on mass transit often isn’t practical on account of the delay incurred during each transfer. Also, the bike highways aren’t built instead of a finer grid of local bike infrastructure. They’re built along with it. They give cyclists another option, especially at times when surface streets are crowded.

  45.  

    Alex Gonzalez

    There’s needs to be a camera system that automatically penalizes cars for parking in the bike lanes or cars that are double parked. Many of these people that drive cars are unhealthy and out of shape bodies that only wish they had the legs is steel that cyclists have.

  46.  

    ahwr

    Who said fix them all at once? The cost to fix them up and maintain them is being paid for with debt. But you’re fixing them up over thirty years or more. The employees you need for this work? They’re permanent jobs, not temp gigs. And guess what? When you’re done fixing them up, you’ll have some that need a rehab. You need to pay for this with cash. Otherwise fifteen years in you’re short on cash because you’re using it to pay debt service. That’s where we are now. The answer isn’t to double down on debt, that just digs a deeper hole. It doesn’t matter if the work lasts thirty years. You are rebuilding just a small fraction of the system each year. You can’t pay for this with debt. Look at NJ. They didn’t raise enough money for their highway fund. So they paid for everything with debt. And now? Every dime of revenue coming in has to go to debt service. So they can’t maintain their roads. Every dime paid by today’s users has to pay for ongoing maintenance of the last decade or two. Then they have to come up with twice as much money to cover today’s on going maintenance too. That’s where the MTA is heading. The fares and tolls will double or more in real dollars if you keep using debt for ongoing expenses.

    There isn’t cash on hand? That’s the point. You need more money, moveny isn’t enough. You need to cut costs. And in some cases cut services to balance the budget. Or bury your head in the sand and issue debt for another ten years and the fare in 2025 will be the equivalent of $5-7 today.

  47.  

    Bolwerk

    If it’s just to address a subway shortcoming, subway coverage problems aren’t as insurmountable as people pretend. Probably two ring-like routes through the outer boroughs would fix most of the routing issues and make a significantly more complete system. Buses are fine for trips of a mile or two.

  48.  

    Bolwerk

    This isn’t an argument against borrowing. It’s an argument against deferred maintenance. Previous generations should have been borrowing on schedule to replace depreciated plant, but decided not to. They didn’t, and now are forcing us to borrow more even as dopey politicians crusade against debt.

  49.  

    Bolwerk

    Refusing to borrow to fix stations is refusing to fix stations. There isn’t cash on hand to bring them all up to a state of good repair at once.

    Are they borrowing for operating expenses? I’m guessing they did in the past, but I’m not aware of them doing it now.

  50.  

    queenser

    Just like subways are useful for intra outerboro trips because they connect to a finer grid of buses? So what’s your complaint about the subway orientation, seems the same.