Today’s Headlines

  • brent

    Mad props to Megan Dees Friedman for the editorial in the Queens Gazette. She raises some interesting points and I am glad someone is being proactive about improving the public realm of Queens Plaza. One thing that I wish had been more emphasized, however, is the obvious connection between the blighted state of the neighborhood and the horrendous, god-awful traffic. It was briefly mentioned: “I don’t want anyone to expect me to solve the problem of what to do with the traffic or the hideous erector set of a train trestle, that’s what the best urban planners do”, but I think any statement endorsing the work of traffic engineers is a mistake. My opinion is that the people in this profession are miserable failures responsible for much of the degraded quality of life in many neighborhoods. They have not demonstrated any willingness to adapt to a new paradigm . They will also prioritize the interests of the many developers in the area. If we let them have at it, all you will see in Queens Plaza is maybe a couple of massive pedestrian walkway structures to conveniently keep them safe- but more importantly out of the way of traffic. What would be better is to dialogue with the residents and businesses in the community. I have a fondness for Queens Plaza for its distinct urbaness- I even like the train trestle. What ruins the entire experience is the overwhelming automobile infrastructure and traffic.

  • ddartley

    Regarding the Pedicab story:

    Streetsblog readers: Continue to contact Bloomberg, thanking him for deciding to take more time to think about signing 331-A into law, and more importantly, show your City Council Members that you’re praising Bloomberg for it!

    Also ask your Council Members to re-write the bill, removing or improving the clauses that unnecessarily punish and restrict the pedicab business. Since I love sounding like Bill O’Reilly, here are the “talking points” I’ve been using, for your consideration:

    – Pedicab liability insurance would have to cover two million dollars. (Yellow cabs currently? Only $600,000.)

    – Police or employees of City agencies could bar pedicabs from all of Midtown for the entire Holiday season (when the area is packed with pedestrians who need extra transport options)

    – Police or employees of City agencies could bar pedicabs from any area for up to two weeks, citing, ironically, “unusually heavy pedestrian or vehicular traffic.” (Tell me, in Times Square and Herald Square, what IS “unusually heavy pedestrian or vehicular traffic?!”)

    – The estimated current fleet of 400 pedicabs would be cut down to 325. (Thermal-, air-, and noise-polluting yellow cabs? Thirteen THOUSAND. Limos? No limit.)

    – Pedicabs with zero-emissions electric-assist motors, which help older or less athletic drivers would be completely banned. One owner in particular (and maybe more) would shut his entire business.