Today’s Headlines

  • DC Metro Crash Highlights Decrepit State of Big American Transit Systems (NYT)
  • So Much For Getting Anything Done in Albany This Session (NYT)
  • MTA Board OKs Sweeter Atlantic Yards Deal for Ratner (Bklyn Paper, AYR, News, WNYC, NY1)
  • Timothy Egan: Traffic Enforcement Cams Make Cities "Impersonal" (NYT)
  • Funds for Green Transportation in New York State Take a Hit (MTR)
  • In LA, Police and Prosecutors Have Serious Anti-Cyclist Bias Too (Streetsblog LA)
  • There’s More: In Tucson, Cyclists Get Tickets When They’re Struck By Cars (TBL via Streetsblog.net)
  • What Happens When You Try to Reason With a Bike Lane Blocking FedEx Driver (Cyclosity)
  • Transit Union Vote Signals Trouble for Current Leadership (News)
  • Bus Drivers, Station Agents Catch Fare Hike Flak From Riders (AMNY)
  • Glenn

    I know we all wanted a lot more out of the state this year, but THANK GOD they at least put the band-aid (which obviously is incomplete and requires attention sooner rather than later) on the MTA before they decided to self destruct. Without the band aid we would be facing doomsday that might have sent NYC back to the 1970s.

    This is a lesson to future legislative leaders – don’t wait to act on something vital because you never know when something else might totally disrupt the agenda.

  • I see what the NYT is saying about the traffic enforcement cameras, I guess. They’re not opposed to traffic enforcement (I mean, the caption to the picture of the traffic agent writing a ticket is “We will miss you”), anyway.

    This passage caught my eye though:

    Numerous studies have found that robo-cams make intersections less safe. People panic knowing the camera is on them, trying to beat the recording click of their license plate. In Alexandria, Va., one study found that accidents increased 43 percent at intersections where cameras were used to enforce red lights.

    Is that really true? It seems that the consensus here is the opposite.

  • apropos of nothing, a doctor who lives in my building who knows I bike asked me in the elevator today about folding bikes. He said he has to drive to Newark every day and was considering getting a folding bike he could take on the train. I’ll keep working on him.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’ve got a suggestion for the divided TWU. Why not cut NYCT in half?

    Supporters of the New Directions crew could get the B division on the subway (IND/BMT) and MABSTOA (buses in Manhattan and the Bronx).

    Supporters of the establishment crew would get the IRT and the Brooklyn and Queens bus lines.

    You’d have a President and top five managers for each, but otherwise there wouldn’t have to be many management changes, given the way NYCT is organized.

    And not that strikes are any more illegal in the middle of a contract than at the end, you’d still have contracts that never ended less than six months apart.

  • Ian Turner

    Josh,

    The deal with traffic enforcement cameras is this: When they are installed correctly, they improve safety and reduce accidents. Unfortunately, they are not usually installed correctly. The important thing is to provide a lengthy yellow cycle to avoid having people slam on the brakes, which creates rear-end collisions. The other best practice is to give a grace period of at least 1/10 s to avoid “technical” violations.

    In many jurisdictions (but not in NYC), cities make a deal with an automated enforcement company, where a private firm installs the cameras and administers the program in exchange for a cut of the tickets. The problem is that the company has an incentive to set the yellow cycle as short as possible in order to raise more revenue.

  • Mr. Egan seems to be implying that the ghettoization of Rust Belt cities is a good thing. Maybe he thinks all those people left who are too poor to get out are going to be farming boutique tomatoes like he does.

  • > It seems that the consensus here is the opposite.

    Yellow-light culture is different across America.

    A Californian friend just moved to VA, and has received three red-light cam tickets in as many months. Out west, the light going yellow seems to mean step on it, and red lights are for blowing through right up until cross-traffic goes green.

    Plenty of municipalities are also shortening yellow durations in order to raise revenue. This is counterproductive in every possible way, and undermines the case for automated enforcement.

  • Littlefield’s suggestion re MTA mitosis is brilliant; competition among government agencies is entirely appropriate in this case.

    Unfortunately, it’ll never happen, because government has no incentive to subject itself to competition.

  • Re: FedEx Drivers

    I don’t bother talking to the delivery truck drivers who block bike lanes. What’s the point. If someone was paying me to deliver packages and my paycheck depended on me doing that job as efficiently as possible, I’d be in whatever damn lane I want. Combine that with the fact that drivers know that FedEx and UPS have deals with the city to limit fines and you get the current situation.

    The best thing is to design lanes that cannot be so easily blocked. If that buffer area had been a raised curb or planted area that truck would not have fit in the bike lane. If you want to discourage parking the bike lane you need to make a bike lane that can’t be obstructed so easily or raise the fines to the point where tickets are just too risky. We have to dis-incentivize the bad behavior on a much larger scale to achieve better results.

  • FedEx and UPS have deals with the city to limit fines

    Say what? That’s pretty outrageous if true. When I walk around, every delivery truck has one or more tickets tucked in the windshield. I just assume that businesses swallow the tickets as part of the cost of doing business. Which means the tickets aren’t really doing their job.

  • Ian Turner

    Rhywun,

    I give you the Stipulated Fines Program.

  • Ian Turner

    Note that the “reduced fines” for many violations is $0.

  • Wow. Why is there no outrage over this from the “little people”? Oh…