Today’s Headlines

  • Anti-Bike Lane Council Members: We’re Not Against Bike Lanes, "Per Se" (City Room)
  • Bloomberg Proposes Discount Cab Fares for Seniors. What About Streets Safe for Walking? (News)
  • Sources: Walder a Lock for MTA Chief Once Senate Finally Gets Around to Hearings (AMNY)
  • City’s "Safety" Fix for Pelham Parkway: Remove Trees, Install Guardrail (News)
  • Software Firms Tap the Market for Curbing Txting-While-Driving (WSJ)
  • NYPD Goes on Chinatown Bus Towing Spree (AMNY)
  • Car-Free Montague Street Shrinks This Year; Merchants Not Pleased (Bklyn Paper)
  • Back-in Parking a Hot Campaign Topic in Forest Hills (News)
  • Times Style Section Thrilled By NYC Cycle Chic
  • Seattle DOT Looking to Expand On-Street Bike Parking (Car Free Days via Streetsblog.net)
  • Eliot

    Hallelujah! I’m glad to see Chinatown buses get towed. They cause so much havoc in the neighborhood, and are constantly double-parked in the Chrystie St bike lane and elsewhere.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Per the Wall Street Journal, bike theft soaring throughout the U.S. as NY thieves spread out in response to NY riders watching Hals videos.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203706604574372742013894458.html

    I think the actual reason is unmet demand — not enough affordable bikes set up for commuting, with more people interested in trying it.

  • Omri

    I really doubt it, Larry. How many middle class curious-commuters would buy a bike from a junkie?

    I think the bikes are going for use by landscapers and dishwashers and other desperate workers in the “informal sector.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    They’re bike commuters too.

    And as taxes soar, wages fall, public services collapse, social benefits are eliminated or degraded for younger generations, and the moral legitimacy of government deteriorates, the “informal” sector could get a lot bigger.

  • The Opoponax

    I think the bottom line is that the economy sucks and bikes are both easily obtainable and have a resale value. They’re one of the few easily portable items which doesn’t become practically worthless the minute you take it out of the shop. And what’s better, the cops don’t even care! The more desperate people there are out there, the more attractive bikes parked on the street are going to look.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if car theft wasn’t on the rise, too, to be honest. Though they’re harder to steal and harder to sell.

  • Larry, I like your thesis about the shortage of commuter bikes causing them to be more desirable on the informal market. One hitch, however, for the person who wishes to test this form of acquisition: a bike that is desirable enough to have been stolen once is desirable enough to be stolen again.

    As far as curious commuters buying bikes from junkies, classified-ad services on the internet make it easy to launder ownership of bicycles. I’m sure there are folks in many cities who spend their weeks stealing bikes and tossing them into a pickup truck, then come out on Saturday morning, arrange them nicely in a park or wide sidewalk, and sell them for cash.

    Opoponax: according to preliminary numbersgrand larceny auto rates are up, indeed.

  • Some takeaway quotes from the News story about a guardrail replacing trees on Pelham Parkway as a “safety” measure:

    “We’ve had a number of fatalities and accidents on the roadway. The trees are so close to the road … if you swerve to the right or the left you’re hitting a tree.” This is from the district manager of Community Board 11.

    When did drivers acquire a right to veer off the road? How did this become protected behavior? Why is a major thoroughfare being redesigned to reduce the consequences of such a careless, reckless, and lawless act? Is the purpose of the guardrail to provide a more permeable barrier with less impact for the car? If so, what happens to people on the sidewalk? Note that city agencies are squabbling over the type of guardrail to install and some presumably have more stopping power than others.

    A note of hope: “But the city Public Design Commission has yet to decide. It plans a public hearing soon.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    If they are going to remove the trees on Pelham Parkway, perhaps they should consider removing the planters on Park Avenue.

    Actually, didn’t a lot of trees get chopped down on Mosholu Parkway not too long ago?

  • Eliot, will you also be glad to see the Chinatown bus customers coming by car instead?

  • Mark –

    Sometimes swerving is not the result of “careless, reckless, and lawless” acts. There are mechanical failures that can occur that cause a vehicle to not track properly. There are unexpected tire failures. There are also times when another vehicle does something careless or reckless, and it causes an innocent driver to lose control of his or her vehicle. I don’t see why there is anything wrong with trying to reduce the fatality rate when some of the fatalities occur with innocent people.

  • Nanterking, what I object to is increasing safety for drivers at the expense of pedestrians (and secondarily trees, which are also living things). The ethics of the “innocent driver” have been well explored on this blog. In my opinion, no one who turns the key in the ignition is ever entirely innocent.

  • Driving is a dangerous activity. And it always should be. We don’t want drivers whizzing around feeling invincible. If Pelham Parkway is dangerous because of pesky trees (do they jump out in front of cars?) then maybe the drivers should just slow down. I’m sure the “safety police” would have a fit if they saw some of the narrow, twisty, exposed roads in the Alps, yet it’s the sheer dangerousness of these roads that makes them relatively safe.

  • It has recently come to my attention that there is a planned project, to begin this summer, for so called “reconstruction” of Pelham Parkway, which will involve the cutting down of 87 trees, for “safety” issues.

    As a resident of the Bronx, who goes back to the 1950s in this area, I am adamantly opposed to the cutting down of old tree growth along Pelham Parkway for “any purpose.” The trees along that parkway, and in particular the European Lindens that line the roadways, are not “replaceable.” Cutting down these trees is completely without mind and without appreciation for what Pelham Parkway has always been about; natural beauty and the history of the Bronx. The expedient and wasteful “reconstruction project” that is planned, will degrade that Parkway. I think that this is a complete waste of public funds: at a cost of 47 million dollars this is a completely disproportionate and unjustifiable amount of money for this project. Instead of cutting down trees, it should be spent smartly in building a few new parks, especially for the benefit of kids and teenagers.

    Pelham Parkway was designed to create a continuity of two of the largest park areas in New York City, namely, Pelham Bay Park with Bronx Park (including Botanical Gardens and Bronx Zoo). Mosholu Parkway extends that continuity into Van Cortland Park as well. Every decade or so this hair-brain idea resurfaces but now seems to be seriously taking shape. As I have just found out about this plan; I’m still gathering information, but the basics are clear. I am requesting your support in this and I am going to make every effort to seek out others who react to this plan in the same way that I do. As one who has lived here for most of my life, I cherish Pelham Parkway. To hack into this historic and beautiful landmark that affords so many people a sense of open space and recreation is outrageous to say the least.

    Just because it has “passed” in the meeting rooms of some bureaucrats does not mean it must happen. My aim is to begin with a court order, blocking it, but I would need others to join me. I love this area of the Bronx and if anything is worth fighting for it’s one’s home and immediate environment. Are we just living for barriers, asphalt, and the rationale of self-protection?

    As far as the issue of safety: To prevent drivers from hitting trees, hey should just build the guard barriers and leave it at that, without destroying the trees, as had been done successfully between Williamsbridge and Eastchester Roads. Decades ago, many of these trees were already well established. Planting small trees or saplings in their stead, as this “plan” calls for is meaningless; the full arbor of such trees took generations to grow.

    I cannot take on the forces that have orchestrated this intended project, alone. As such, I am determined to recruit others of like mind and sensibility and prevent this from happening. If you are outraged by this I would appreciate your help or alliance.