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    “When the inevitable pressure to water down the Woodhaven BRT plan surfaces”

    Any more and it will be homeopathic. Lets hope the plan that comes out this fall is a lot more ambitious.



    “Most apartment buildings which don’t allow tenants to have a washing machine tend to have a laundromat on premises.”

    This doesn’t fit my experience, but I’m very interested in seeing data. My impression is that most leases are very restrictive, often unnecessarily so.


    Joe R.

    We had a washing machine even back in the time I was a kid in a housing project in the 1960s. There are few apartments these days where it’s not possible to install a washing machine. Indeed, you have those stackable washer/dryer combos if you’re short on space. It’s mostly that residents either don’t want to, or can’t afford a decent machine. Most apartment buildings which don’t allow tenants to have a washing machine tend to have a laundromat on premises. Frankly, I’m surprised commercial laundromats these days get enough customers to stay in business. In fact, if loss of a few parking spots drastically affects your business, then it was probably a marginal business which was going to fail eventually anyway.

    All that said, a nice size heavy duty shopping cart can easily carry a lot of laundry or anything else quite a distance. I use mine to lug up to 100 pounds of groceries from stores about 3/4 mile away.


    Jonathan R

    One thing you can say in defense of single-family home ownership: it is trivial to install a washing machine on your own premises,



    I used to haul my clothes to the laundromat (a granny cart also helps), but that was in a Manhattan neighborhood where laundromats were plentiful and this one was half a block away (I now have my own washing machine).

    I imagine around Ozone Park laundromats density is less, either because population density is lower, or a larger fraction of the people have their own washing machine (or at least washing machines in their building).

    If we want walkability and less dependence on parking, I guess we need to find ways to maximize the density of laundromats or alternatives to laundromats, but that’s not easy to retrofit. But it’s hard too to expect people to walk half a mile hauling their laundry.



    Or just start wearing a helmet cam. The upfront expenditure will save you a ton of grief down the road.



    Well, to be entirely honest, I only go laundromats that have convenient parking. I can’t carry my laundry on a bike, car is the only option. Carrying two large bags of laundry is not the same as carrying couple of shopping bags. These laundromats are thriving while the ones without nearby parking are usually not doing well. So that one business may have a point.



    Fellow cyclists, you can avoid most of these tickets altogether if you start strapping action cams to your helmets and/or bikes. In a hearsay battle the cop’s word almost always wins. A camera removes any doubt as to who was right, and it keeps the cops honest. Plus, it’s great evidence if you’re ever struck by a motorist because, as you all know, cyclists often get pittance for justice when it comes to car-bike collisions. A $200-300 expenditure now on a camera will save you an untold amount of headaches later.



    In NY a cyclist is only classified as a pedestrian if he/she is injured by a motorist. While you’re operating the bike and are free of danger you are another vehicle.



    Is Operation Harassment Cycle officially over? Any stats about how many people were successfully harassed?

    Yesterday, I ran a red light in front of an unmarked police car. They were probably not looking for cyclists to ticket, but luckily I didn’t have to find out because the officer was too busy texting while driving to notice.



    Read the last article.


    Eric McClure

    Next time, The Advance should bring a speed gun AND Staten Island’s driver-coddling elected officials to the streets.


    Joe R.

    I never once said I couldn’t see pedestrians by the time I got to the crosswalk. Not once. Not being able to see people until I’m some distance from the crosswalk doesn’t matter operationally unless that distance is less than the stopping distance at the speed I’m traveling. However, I don’t tend to go faster than my lines of sight allow, so I can always stop within the distance I can see.

    As a general rule, people crossing the street with the walk signal only tend to wait for something which is in the crosswalk, or nearly in the crosswalk and moving at a good rate of speed (i.e. they don’t wait for bikes or cars slowly rolling up to the crosswalk). They’re not going to glance 30 feet or 40 feet down the street, see me slowly approaching the red light at 10 mph, and wait until I pass on the assumption that I’m not going to stop. That would be stupid for two reasons. Their assumption may be wrong, in which case they will have needlessly waited. Or if they stay in motion, they may very well be well past the point in the crosswalk I’ll be riding through by the time I get there (that’s almost a certainty if I’m 30 feet or more away from the crosswalk when they first see me). Again, they will have waited needlessly. Most people crossing with or against the light have a good sense of when an approaching vehicle will reach the intersection. I know I do. When I jaywalk I can see a car approaching at 40 mph, start crossing, and time it so I’ll be at least a few feet past their traffic lane when they pass the intersection (assuming they don’t see me and slow down, which they often do, in which case they pass me with an even wider berth).

    Since we’re talking about rules, legally I’m not breaking any rules whatsoever until I enter the crosswalk at a red light. If it were within the capabilities of my brakes and myself, I could legally approach a red light at up to the speed limit, and decelerate from 30 mph down to a stop in 2 inches, so long as I stopped prior to the crosswalk. Of course, that’s not physically possible but I’m using it as a hypothetical for what I could do without breaking any laws whatsoever. I’ll grant that a person crossing with the light who sees a car or bike down the road approaching the intersection at a high rate of speed may indeed wait because they’re not sure if the vehicle will stop, but remember there are absolutely no laws beyond the speed limit governing how rapidly you may approach a red light, so long as you stop prior to the crosswalk. And as I said several times already, I don’t approach red lights at such a speed that people crossing may think I won’t stop.

    Whether I see people or not when I’m far from the crosswalk shouldn’t matter. Operationally I’m not affected by those people until I’m a certain distance away. And chances are good nobody is going to break their stride to wait for a bike approaching the intersection when it’s still 10 or 20 or more feet away, unless maybe it’s going 25 mph, but that’s not applicable in my case. On the other hand, I have seen people walk right in front of a moving bike, as in when it’s 5 feet away, to cross against the light. That’s telling me people in general won’t wait for bicycles to pass if they have the walk signal when they don’t even do it when they don’t have the walk signal.

    Can you clearly explain exactly the set of circumstances you mean here because frankly nothing you’re saying makes any sense at all? When I say explain, I mean using distances, speeds, etc., not general terms. It sounds like you think if I’m approaching a red light and can’t see people step off the curb I should come to a dead stop right where I am, even if it’s 100 feet from the intersection, on the assumption that a person crossing will see me in motion, think I’m going to blow the light, and wait. Legally I don’t have to do that. Neither do motor vehicles approaching the red light. By definition everyone can remain in motion until they reach the crosswalk. It also sounds like you think I approach intersections at speed even if I have no view whatsoever of people stepping off the curb until I’m on top of the crosswalk. I never said that. To refresh your memory:

    “First off, in general I can’t even see people until they step off the curb thanks to parked cars, nor can they see me.”

    I see no mention of distances or speeds there. It’s a very general statement which is true nearly all the time. At some distance from the crosswalk I can’t see pedestrians until they step off the curb. However, does it really matter if that distance is 100 feet, 50 feet, or even 10 feet? The exact distance is irrelevant so long as I adjust my speed so I’m able to stop prior to the crosswalk once I can see someone step off the curb. That’s the case 100% of the time.

    My statement was in response to what you said, namely: “Why should a pedestrian who is approaching the crosswalk and is about to cross but has not yet stepped off the curb be forced to wait for an impatient cyclist?”

    So now drivers and cyclists are supposed to react to people still on the sidewalk? Nothing in the law says they have to. For example, drivers must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk when turning, not pedestrians who have not yet stepped off the curb. Suppose someone standing on the corner isn’t crossing, but just watching girls, or maybe waiting for someone? That’s why the law is written as it is. It’s assumed a pedestrian has no intent to cross the street until they’ve actually stepped off the curb. In the real world it’s not feasible for people to start guessing what the intentions of someone still on the sidewalk may be.



    I would just like De Blasio to take public transit and walk or bike as much as possible and encourage every city worker to do the same.

    Should we be paying for his personal (not city business related) transportation? No, but as has been pointed out he has to have a security detail with him all the time and tax payers should pay for that.



    Why would Council members be on two wheels? Based on the police response to it, I’m pretty sure that sort of behavior is only for deviants and miscreants of the worst sort…



    I get how car-guy Cuomo would support this. But Congressman Engel? He is all about reducing US dependence on foreign oil-producing countries, even chairing a House caucus on the issue. Why would he support a mall that incentivizes more driving?

    Here’s the caucus:



    RE: Adding lanes for Bronx Malls. Adding more cars to our roads.

    According to this press release from the Governor, the taxpayers have already spent $3.4Million on additional I-95 access completed in July. That comes to about $1,900/per job created. Who knows what other non-road taxpayer subsidies this mall was given?

    So now pols wants to provide more subsidies for road access? Remember, this is a mall with big box stores owned by huge corporations. The jobs are undoubtedly low-wage and unskilled. And the consequences of all those cars to the environment, increased energy usage, poor health, and competitive pressures on local neighborhood businesses are not even considered.



    I think it would be nice if the Mayor did some symbolic things like buying/using a personal MetroCard, but let’s not get too crazy here… The Mayor of NYC has a continuous security detail not much different than the head of state of most countries. I work for a government bureaucracy — I’m pretty sure a little *less* tracking of expenses and a little *less* reimbursement for x, y, and z would actually SAVE the city money. Remember folks, this is the type of organization that requires processing by 8 people and probably 2 hours of labor to buy a box of pens.

    I’m all for accountability, but not this kind. He’s the Mayor. He needs to go places (both officially and personally). Those drivers, police and other security personnel are already on payroll… they’re already working and assigned 24 hours per day… This doesn’t increase because he goes out to dinner or visits his sister.

    The personal trips fall within the baseline. The “expensive” trips are going to be events where security is beefed up and would fall under the official category anyway.



    De Blasio went from being mini-John Lindsay to mini-Mitt Romney and hardly anyone blinked.

    I wonder if Council members on two wheels will be harassed by the polizei just like us. Or do they get special placards?



    I think you accidentally linked a Bronx Times article from the 1960s. There are several quotes about “doing everything we can” to improve access to the new mall, but they only mention adding additional automobile capacity–there’s nothing in there about increasing transit service or ensuring a pedestrian/bike friendly design that stitches the mall into the surrounding community.



    A single sentence, but a telling one. You justify blasting through crosswalks against the red light with your strange assumption that, if you don’t notice a pedestrian, all is good.

    You have no way of knowing how many pedestrians see you coming and wait for you to violate their legal right of way. “I didn’t see the pedestrian” doesn’t cut it for motorists, and it doesn’t cut it for cyclists either.
    Not only are you breaking the law, you’re refusing to do so in a way that respects the needs and rights of those whom the law is intended to protect. Pedestrians who you don’t notice still notice you and wait for you. Pedestrians crossing with the light should never feel the need to wait for anyone – they have to wait long enough when the light is red.



    But then you have all those cars turning in front of you when you cross west st, you may end up needing to put in a separate light phase for bikes and turning cars.

    Better would be to throw up some jersey barriers on either side of the bike lane. There are two travel lanes before that block, so one turning lane for each direction, let cars go straight from one or the other, and a jersey barrier protected bike lane shouldn’t mess traffic up too horribly. Just make sure it’s narrow to start so cars never try to use it.



    I find it hard to believe that the loss of a couple of parking spaces is killing business. Wouldn’t those cars be mostly sitting there on the long term or were there muni-meters and loading zones? I’m not to familiar with this area.

    Also, how long has that lot of Liberty and Drew (SE corner) been vacant? Looks like a pedestrian oriented business in that location could do wonders to improve activity in the area.



    The difference is much smaller outside the Manhattan core, but is growing in inner ring and other desirable neighborhoods. Almost 60% of renters (market and regulated) pay 30% or more of income in rent. If you don’t have frequent reliable transit to get you to everything you can’t walk to moving can start to look very attractive.


    John Z Wetmore

    “Perils For Pedestrians” Episode 94 has now moved to YouTube at:


    Kevin Love

    Don’t forget repairs and maintenance.



    Hmm, wow. That surprises me.

    I really have no idea how common it is, but it doesn’t seem that abnormal outside Manhattan. Perhaps that’s why this is framed as it is: Manhattan indeed apparently has a big gulf between stabilization prices and market prices. That doesn’t mean the rest of the city necessarily does.



    Krugman’s main mistake is to assume that the reason for the constrained housing supply in the northeast and California is due to regulatory factors like zoning. There is plenty of zoning in the south, too. Okay, maybe not Houston, but even it has its share of land development regulations and restrictions.

    The basic difference is quite simple: availability of land. The Southern metros largely lack geographic constraints. It is still easy to find buildable land without too many NIMBYs nearby within commuting distance of major centers. In the coastal metropolises that generally is not possible. All the good land in the coastal California metros has already been built on. The northeast megalopolis has sprawled so much for so long (well over a century, really) that there are no true greenfield sites of any scale left anywhere nearby. As a result, development has hit geographical and human walls on the coasts. There is nowhere cheap to turn to.



    They don’t count if they don’t mention that they would have gone elsewhere if the plaza wasn’t right outside


    Kevin Love

    What? Do you think that those people are real human beings? Not in New York City they aren’t.



    I guess pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users don’t count.


    Eric McClure

    As long as they don’t care about winning.



    If you are in a stabilized unit then the rent guidelines board decides every year the maximum rent increase. What was it this year? 1 percent for one year leases, 2.75 percent for two year leases? It takes a while for the maximum rent to get too high in those units. Where in the city is the legally permitted rent well above the market rate in a substantial share of units? (and what’s well above) Somewhere that’s near good transit, doesn’t have horrible crime etc…getting back to the issue of whether nyc housing+transportation is affordable.

    And yes they can jack it up to the legal maximum rate if they’ve worded everything right – if they don’t tell you it was a preferential rate a good lawyer can help you get what you were getting set to the new legal maximum rate or something.

    Table 3

    Rental Housing Inventory by Rent Regulation Status

    New York City 2011

    Rental Units

    Number Percent

    All rental units 2,172,634 100.0%

    Rent controlled 38,374 1.8%

    Rent stabilized 986,840 45.4%

    Pre-1947 stabilized 743,527 34.2%

    Post-1947 stabilized 243,313 11.2%

    Private non-regulated


    849,800 39.1%

    All other rental units(b) 297,620 13.7%

    All other includes publicd housing, mitchell-lama, In Rem, HUD-regulated, article 4, municipal loan, and loft board units.



    “Ali’s business partner, Ahmad Ubayda, said shop owners will be hiring an attorney to fight the plaza.”

    Paging Jim Walden!



    Pardon, below the regulated rent, not below the preferential rent.



    Where are you getting that number from? Many are in “stabilized units.” but even then the market rate is often well below the regulated price ceiling. When that happens, it’s called preferential rent. And, if I’m not mistaken, a landlord can jack the rent up as high as he wants below the preferential rate.

    I rather doubt even adding together stabilized + controlled + projects brings the total to 50% of the city falling under the category of “aren’t…market rate units.”



    Do those averages count the more than 50% of renters citywide who aren’t in market rate units? 1600 is a jump over the current market units there, but smaller than you think, and typical of what you’ll see in the area 5 years from now.



    And those in non market rate apartments, more than 50% of renters.



    I take your point, and can verify that the repaving had already started as of this morning. However, the point of this post is that DOT gave not a jot of thought to cyclists when doing this work, and thereby created unsafe conditions that were *entirely preventable*. Since the milling work there have been many cyclists expecting to use a contraflow bike lane who ended up salmoning either toward other confused cyclists and motorists, or took to the sidewalk. The agency that fails to even acknowledge that cyclists are legitimate users of their infrastructure when undertaking a repair job that includes one of the most well known protected bike lanes is the city clearly demonstrates that it is not on board with Vision Zero.

    The existence of sharrows as bike “infrastructure” and their
    fading everywhere in this city are also examples of that. IMHO, if they’re going to put them off to the side of the roadway creating the expectation among motorists that bikes belong in the door zone, we may all be better off if they don’t bother repainting them.



    I think there may be a transitioning problem with NYC. Easy enough to live here, but if you lose your job, it’s probably hard to find another that meets all your needs. Likewise, the price pressure on apartments is basically always upward, so eventually you have to move, and that’s expensive.

    Not sure if that can be extrapolated to the entire northeast though.


    Joe R.

    NYC has above-average rent, but it also has below-average transportation costs.

    The total cost of transportation plus housing always seems to be lost in any discussion of housing costs anywhere in the country. I’ve had this discussion with relatives who try to justify moving out in the middle of nowhere. They just don’t get it when I tell them you need to factor in car expenses. Of course, their answer is “but you would have the car regardless”. They don’t realize it’s quite feasible to live in some places like NYC without a car. When a car falls into the category of “must have”, then you need to count car expenses into any decision to move. When it’s in the “nice to have but not 100% necessary” category, you don’t.


    Joe R.

    About the only people NYC is affordable for are those who bought their own home before the prices went crazy. My parents bought their home in 1978 for $52K. The mortgage was paid in 2003. Dad passed on in 2006. I’m living here with mom. Housing expenses are basically real estate taxes and utilities. That’s well under $1000 a month. In most neighborhoods you can’t even get a studio for that. Needless to say, I’m staying in this house until they carry me out. No real reason not to as I work from home, so relocating for a job will never be an issue.



    That’s probably above market rate for Jamaica. It’s an attempt at “luxury.”

    Anyway, it doesn’t give you a very realistic rent picture, with average rents in that area probably being <$1500. NYC has above-average rent, but it also has below-average transportation costs.

    I'm not disagreeing heavily with Krugman, but I think he's oversimplifying the effect of the housing issue.



    so let me get this straight: PPW will temporarily lose the bike lane while the repaving job takes place. Meanwhile, up where I live in the Bronx, the few bike friendly corridors we have (all of which use sharrows on the main roadway surface – that’s it, no separation infrastructure, not even a painted bike lane) have almost no pavement markings left due to damaged thermoplast from this past winter that was never repaired.

    Sorry, I just can’t find it in me to feel bad for those who use the PPW lane. You’ll have it back in no time, and honestly, you don’t even know how good you have it. And Streetsblog, how about a little reporting on the vast majority of the city outside of Manhattan and gentrified Brooklyn that make due with a pitiful level of bike infrastructure?



    And: just what does Krugman think has de Blasio done to make housing more affordable? :-

    He’s talked about it a lot.

    That’s pretty far out, not sure it’s still Jamaica, and 1600 for a 1 bedroom. Market rate in NYC isn’t affordable for many. You either find a regulated unit or moving starts to look attractive.



    How about trailers that are portable docking stations that can be moved around to add capacity to permanent docking stations (empty or full) where needed.



    More saturation of the already-served area is also needed to reduce the imbalances. Expansion gets all the talk, but increasing saturation is very important for balancing purposes–and even more important, if and when expansion actually happens.



    They need trucks or trailers that open on the side, like a beer truck. Then bikes could be taken off quickly, right onto the sidewalk or directly into docking stations.



    Interesting to see these! One problem is Citibike’s method – those big box trucks with ramps – is so time-consuming. They offload *one bike at a time* by rolling it down the ramp from the truck to an open dock. The ones you show here could definitely cut down on the time it takes to rebalance, getting more bikes to the places that need them.



    That’s a good point. And the really shitty education systems in red states suggests their solution is to not really bother, which of course cuts local costs in the near-term.

    OTOH, transportation in the northeast outside NYC is actually really expensive. The commuter rail is expensive, and the local transit is all slow, lumbering bus. Car ownership is unusually expensive.