Today’s Headlines

  • MTA Service Cuts Would Strand Some NYers Far From Nearest Transit Route (News)
  • News Reporter Walks the Extra Mile to Alternate Bus Stop
  • Bike Racks on Buses: Convenient, Cheap, and Nowhere to Be Found in NYC (NY Examiner)
  • The Govt Is in the Car-Selling Business. Now What? (Money)
  • Desperate Times for Mall Owners (NYT)
  • Speeding Red Light Runner Crashes Into SUV, Sets Off Fireballs on Wyckoff Street (News)
  • MTA Decides Against Extending F Train With 11th Car (Bklyn Paper)
  • Off-Duty Cop Killed in Car Crash (PostNews)
  • Ex-NY Congressman Charged With DWI (NYT)
  • TXTing Records Lead to Six-Year Sentence for Killer Driver in CA (AP)
  • Grieve-Smith Likes the Ride on Albuquerque’s Rapid Buses (via Streetsblog.net)
  • Larry Littlefield

    Let’s send the state legislature to the City of the Future:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/613885

    Dubai is “the site of some of the planet’s worst congestion. It’s not just that everyone here drives; everyone drives badly. In March 8 of last year, for example, three people were killed and 277 injured in a highway pile-up that involved more than 200 vehicles.”

    “According to a recent story in Abu Dhabi’s new English-language newspaper, The National, locals overwhelmingly view traffic accidents as the major cause of death and injury among children. No kidding. Anyone crossing a road in these parts is fair game. To step out means taking your life into your hands.”

    “And if SUV sales have collapsed in North America, Emirates remain as committed as ever to driving the biggest set of wheels they can find. Hummers, Escalades and Cayennes abound. Dubai’s traffic, like its wealth, depends on oil, a commodity that’s already running out. It’s Abu Dhabi, back down the road, that has the vast bulk of the U.A.E.’s oil reserves – 95 per cent. Dubai has less than five per cent, and it is not expected to last more than a decade.”

  • Glenn

    Gothamist interviewed Pat Kiernan (from NY1’s “In the Papers”). http://gothamist.com/2009/04/06/pat_kiernan_ny1_anchor.php

    Given the opportunity, how would you change New York? I have a particular beef about on-street parking. In such a congested city I don’t understand why we just give away (or almost give away) a lane on each side of every street.

    Amen Pat.

    But surprisingly, the interview didn’t cover the fact that not many newspapers may still exist in a year or two.

  • Rich Wilson

    Here’s the original longer story in the texting manslaughter case:

    http://www.redding.com/news/2009/apr/04/shingletown-woman-sent-to-prison-for-text/

    “[prosecutor] Bridgett said that only months after the crash, Matis-Engle had been spotted twice by a California Highway Patrol officer texting on her cell phone while driving.”

  • DingDong

    MTA Service Cuts Would Strand Some NYers Far From Nearest Transit Route

    Maybe time to start saying “would” – not “will”- strand?

  • RE: Grieve-Smith Likes the Ride on Albuquerque’s Rapid Buses

    I like that he mentioned one of the two things that drive me absolutely nuts about riding the bus in NYC: People who insist on exiting through the front door. The time savings by simply requiring people to exit through the back would be enormous.
    The second thing that drives me nuts makes the first thing that much worse: the stops are WAY too close together. You could eliminate half the stops and nobody would have to walk more than two blocks farther, about 3 minutes. Another huge win for almost no sacrifice.

  • I don’t agree with putting racks on MTA buses. Maybe as a trial program for buses that cross bridges, but not in the city streets – especially in Manhattan.

    Things like this work in Baltimore and other cities because of the less dense layout. I don’t think it would work in NYC.

    ALSO : PAT KIERNAN RULES

  • vnm

    Rhywun, not everyone feels the way you do about the proximity of bus stops to one another.

    http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20283354&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=574903&rfi=6

    http://www.qgazette.com/news/2009/0318/senior_page/009.html

    The extra walking distance that caused all this commotion is 75 feet.

  • Rhywun, good points, but remember that frailer seniors need to exit from the front to take advantage of “kneeling” buses. Also, as someone who carries vast quantities of groceries home on the bus, I sometimes find it hard to use one hand to open the back door. Finally, regarding buses being too close together, remember that for people in wheelchairs, people on crutches, people walking with canes, etc. an extra block or two can seem like a huge distance. Basically, buses serve vulnerable populations — that’s why they operate the way they do.

  • Basically, buses serve vulnerable populations — that’s why they operate the way they do.

    Well… they operate this way in America because of the large political influence that seniors have. And good for them… but it makes riding a bus a painful experience for the majority of the population that doesn’t require ten stops per mile or wheelchairs or kneeling. It’s a balancing act, for sure. If we’re going to improve bus service and still cater to those with the greatest needs, it’s going to cost a fortune. Which is I guess why it hasn’t happened.

  • Both the Post and the News refer to the fatal collision in Brooklyn as a crash. Moreover, the police have not yet determined who was at fault. That seems highly unusual. Am I cynical if I think that this crash would already have been declared an accident with nobody at fault if the victim hadn’t been a cop?

  • NJ TRANSIT will be replacing its Northern Fleet of city buses in the next few years and they will also have bicycle racks on them like those in the Southern Fleet. Yet despite the success the bicycle racks on the Southern Fleet have enjoyed, NJ TRANSIT nearly ordered the Northern Fleet buses without them. It was hotly contested debate with the detractors saying that NJ TRANSIT couldn’t afford the extra $800 to $1000 the bike racks would cost per bus.

    However, I don’t know if bike racks would be worth it on MTA Buses since they go so damned slow. They would definately be a blessing on the routes that go over bridges that are off-limits to bikes and peds and maybe on the new (quasi) BRT lines.

  • Speaking of NJ Transit, will it ever join the 20th century and come out with a bus map…?

  • Hi, Liam (#6), would you clarify why you think putting bike racks on MTA buses is a bad idea?

  • Boris

    I wonder why I haven’t seen anyone propose this yet: add an 11th “luxury car” to every train. It will only be accessible through a (safe, modified) entrance from the 10th car, so there would be no need to modify platforms. It should have floor-to-ceiling advertising inside and outside, vending machines, and soft seats (for an extra charge). I think there’s a sizeable number of people with an hour-long commute who would gladly pay extra for a bag of chips or even a beer to consume while riding.

  • rex

    Basically, buses serve vulnerable populations — that’s why they operate the way they do.

    Mark, actually that is one of the major problems with transit in the US. Transit boards have made so many concessions to people that are too unfortunate to be unable to drive, they have hamstrung the service. These managers have created an image that only people who have to ride transit, ride transit. Isn’t it great that the poor an infirm can get around almost like normal people. (Sarcasm Warning.)

    It is kind of a hair shirt for the entire concept of public transit. Yes, in a just culture, everyone has a reasonable right to mobility, but when you have created an image that you are slummin by riding the bus you loose a lot of the appeal to the average citizen. Buses are neither cheap nor convenient, and they will be a minor part of transportation until they serve the typical citizen.

  • Rex, I agree with everything you just said, and Rhywun (#9) as well. But let me just put it in perspective: Here in NYC, many (though not all) neighborhoods are served by both the subway and the bus. The subway is not very user-friendly to the elderly and the disabled, but the bus is, so they have their respective niches.

    I think of this every time I get on the subway: Someday, I won’t be able to schlep up and down these stairs anymore, and I’ll probably never live to see the day when all subway stations have elevators. But I can imagine some future 80-year-old version of myself using the bus. That day is not far off. I’m 51, so my sixties begin in a decade, and my seventies in two decades, and…

    I guess I think about this a lot because I have two sisters in their sixties and parents in their eighties. When your family is full of old people, you tend to identify with them and give their needs a higher priority.

  • Yeah Rhywun,

    I’d also be happy if they joined the late 1990’s and offer decent bicycle parking. I’m finishing a big report that dissects NJ TRANSIT’s bicycle policy. NJ TRANSIT needs major improvement on this front.

    I think the only North American transit agency NJ TRANSIT beats out on this front is the MTA and maybe SEPTA.

  • Thanks for the link, Sarah and Ben, and thanks for all your thoughtful comments. Just the other day (back here in Queens) I saw a young woman fight her way through the crowded front of the bus to exit at the front, when the driver had just been telling everyone to move back.

    There seems to be a general sense that Streetsblog is not as sensitive to the experience of people with various disabilities as it should be. I think it’s a good idea to err in that general direction. When I was in college, the group Students for a Barrier-Free Campus had a wheelchair scavenger hunt during the Spring Fling festival. It was really eye-opening to discover that one section of the performing arts center required three separate elevators to get to it from the main part of campus. At the very least, it merits a lot more discussion. My dad was able to take the bus long after he stopped being able to climb the stairs up from the subway.

    The bus stops in question are in my neighborhood, and I have mixed feelings about them. It took five minutes longer to get to the Queens Green Drinks because I discovered they had eliminated the stop in front of the bar. On the other hand, the buses do go a little faster. The main issue, I think, is a procedural one: nobody in the community was given any notice that these stops were being considered for elimination, or any time to comment. Reasonable community requests – like “can you take out that stop instead of this one?” – should certainly be solicited.

    Oh, and I second the call for a NJ Transit bus map. But in the meantime