Today’s Headlines

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  • ddartley

    Re: “Car Ads: Selling Fuel Efficiency….”

    There is collusion among the car manufacturers to disinform the public that 30mpg is something to be proud of.

    Have you noticed that most car ads, if they boast of a gas milage, it’s always around 30mpg?

    They can make cars MUCH more efficient than 30mpg. All the way back in 1988, before many people talked about fuel efficiency, and certainly before hybrids, Geo’s Metro could get 53 mpg in a city, 58 on the highway.

    I would bet the car manufacturers are working with each other to keep 30mpg as the nice, low standard they can use to placate the public and not work too hard themselves.

  • ddartley

    Regarding “Move Over Drivers:”

    I just have to say it again. I’ve only seen the ones in Times Square, so I can’t speak about all of them, but with those markings, either the DOT, or maybe just the guys doing the painting, messed up. They DO NOT tell

    “The spots chosen are along three bicycle routes but in areas where the roadway is too narrow for a separate lane that is off-limits to cars.”

    Well, the markings are on the edge of the road, so they effectively ARE a bike lane, even where the road, according to DOT itself, is too narrow for a bike lane.

    Since they’re on the edge, they are NOT “telling motorists that bikes belong.” They ARE telling both motorists and cyclists that bikes belong ON THE EDGE, where motorists can try, contrary to DOT’s intention, to squeeze past you.

    I suspect it’s just that the guys painting them messed up, and they should be repainted.

  • ddartley

    Ha. You can tell from the fragment that I wrote #2 in angry haste! Ignore the “They DO NOT tell” fragment, despite its highly artistic use of capital letters.

  • Steve

    I’m glad DOT finally got around to announcing the sharrows, creating an occasion for Transportation Alternatives to get the kudos it deserves and for the mainstream media to tell drivers what they mean. It’s still puzzling why DOT decided to install the sharrows and then wait a few months before telling anyone what they are supposed to mean; they would not have tried this with traffic devices directed primarily at motor vehicles. DOT’s tardy official explanation that an off-center series of sharrows means that bikes and cars proceed in single file sharing the road as equals is welcome, although I agree that the sharrows are mis-positioned if that is the message. Bicyclists will know what it means however, and they can “assertively” enforce that meaning, according to DOT (go to it ddartley!).

    However the DOT statement fails to address the use of isolated sharrows. These are another potential source of confusion, to the extent the sharrows are misinterpreted (as by NY1 in the report linked above) as intending to “show bikers where they SHOULD be.” In the case of the isolated “turning sharrow” at West 78th Street and Columbus (http://www.flickr.com/photos/43954081@N00/309639048/), DOT leaves us guessing what is intended. There, West 78th Street dead-ends at the American Museum of Natural History and all traffic must turn right onto Columbus, like the van in the picture. Bicyclists heading for Central Park or the Central Park West bike lane will need to turn left at the very next intersection (77th Street) so they will want to stay left. If they are headed downtown, they may or may not wish to “get right” to proceed southbound down Columbus Avenue–but they are not required to do so under NYC traffic rules. This isolated sharrow is positioned smack in the middle of the motorists’ section of the road (where they should be positioned on 5th Ave), indicating bicyclists “getting right” from the bike lane. I doubt the sharrow means that starting on Columbus Avenue, bikes and cars are to proceed in single file sharing the road as equals. Nor does this appear to be a “bike box” configuration. Why does DOT think bicyclists will be, or should be, moving into the middle of the road here? I would not expect this sharrow to cause any safety issues but it may well lead some bicyclists to get right thereby missing the left turn onto 77th Street where the eastbound bike lane picks up. Why this sloppiness from DOT on bicycle-related traffic devices?

  • “They are the first of their kind in the city that show bikers where they should be.”

    Is this what the purpose of these markers are? To tell us where we need to bike? Over on the side?! Don’t mean to nitpick as the more the city does to help, the better, but just found that statement a bit bizarre.

  • Steve

    Greg, it is a bizarre statement because it has no basis in the carefully-worded press release on the DOT website linked above–it is the (mis) interpretation of that statement by NY1. However NY1’s interpretation is probably instructive as to how motorists (at least those who do not find the DOT website a gripping read) will interpret the sharrows.

    One nit I would pick with the DOT press release is its assertion that a sharrow means bicyclists should “not pass vehicles on the left side.” If that is the meaning of all sharrows, then the one I discuss above should be removed because it i telling eastbound bicycle traffic it must make the left turn onto West 77th the “hard way,” with pedestrians from the southwest corner of Columbus and West 77th.

    I think it’s really important for these traffic devices to have a uniform, easily understood meaning so that when people see them they know automatically what to do.

  • Eric

    So Bloomberg doesn’t enjoy the subway experience? I’ll bet, though, he has no problem with the MTA agreeing to sell the Vanderbilt rail yards to low-bid Bruce Ratner for less than half the MTA’s own appraisal. More money surely wouldn’t improve the ride.