Today’s Headlines

  • Pedro Espada‘s Bronx Charity Spends Big on Hulking SUVs, Luxury Cars, Other Guzzlers (Post)
  • Utah’s Tough Texting Ban: Offenders Who Kill Get Up to 15 Years in Prison (NYT)
  • Surprise: Now That TEAs Can Enforce Blocking-the-Box, Drivers See ‘Shakedown’ (AMNY)
  • Parking Tickets Decline in ’09; Revenues Down $30 Mil (Post)
  • The Times Gets 30 Minutes With Ray Kelly and Comes Away With 900 Words About Ties
  • Woman Critically Injured By Speeding Van Driver Exiting Van Wyck (News)
  • Placard Abuse, Illegal Parking Rampant in Mid-Queens (NY1)
  • Do You Have Clothing That Says ‘NYPD’ On It? Then You, Too, Can Commit Placard Fraud (Post)
  • Someone Stole Gersh Kuntzman’s Bike, Again (Bklyn Paper)
  • Why Is It So Hard To Install a Public Toilet in NYC? (NYT)
  • Doc Sits on Traffic Agents’ Car, Becomes Folk Hero to Aggrieved Motorists (Woodside Herald)
  • Re: Espada, Nothing has convinced me more that Soundview Health is a giant slush fund than this article. I work for a health-care nonprofit and we have no fleet vehicles whatsoever. My colleagues and I take the no. 2 train a lot.

  • Gersh needs a private consultation with Hal.

  • Barnard

    RE: Surprise: Now That TEAs Can Enforce Blocking-the-Box, Drivers See ‘Shakedown’ (AMNY)

    a) New Yorkers need to learn how to drive.

    b) Peter Vallone, drivers who block the box and block crosswalks are _not_ “law abiding.” I don’t know how you can say that people who’ve been ticked for these dangerous and obnoxious offenses are compiling with traffic rules.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Some here might find this set of articles on the suburbs linked from The Housing Bubble Blog interesting. Optimism a few years ago, pessimism today.

    http://thehousingbubbleblog.com/?p=5607

    From the Orlando Sentinel.

    “The two men represent the extreme of what experts describe as a new ‘outer edge’ of poverty in remote suburbs hit hard by foreclosures. Fueled by ‘subprime’ mortgages that made new homes suddenly affordable for those who otherwise might not have qualified, outlying communities mushroomed during the middle of this decade.”

    “Wentworth’s roommate recently enraged neighbors by walking the streets with a hand-lettered sign that pleaded for gas money to make the 20-mile round trip for a loaf of bread and boxes of macaroni and cheese. The same remoteness that drew them to the community that straddles Polk and Osceola counties has left them stranded in a sparsely furnished house. The nearest bus stop is a two-hour walk. Existing without running water for more than a week, they have no church or emergency housing within seven miles. Every day they face the prospect of losing power and cell-phone service, which would further isolate them. ‘I would like to stay here. But in the dark, with no light, no water, no phone?’ said Wentworth, 42. ‘… I’ve got no place to go.’”

  • Josh

    I can think of possible situations where intersection/crosswalk-blocking drivers are doing so through no fault of their own, but they’re in the vast minority to those that are entirely the driver’s fault.

  • @Barnard,

    Good point. If Vallone thinks drivers blocking the box are “in situations they have no control over,” then those drivers’ inability to control their vehicles should preclude them from obtaining a driver’s license.

  • David_K

    re: Utah’s Tough Texting Ban

    Driving while texting is twice as dangerous as driving at the legal minimum of drunkenness according to the article. It looks like Utah would not have acted had it not been for the heartfelt testimony of the young man who, driving while texting, killed two scientists.

    Note (near the bottom of the article) the comment by the past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers): “The police have no business going into my phone.” Is this a defensible position to take given the hazards of texting while driving? Can the police “go into” someone’s phone without violating privacy — ie, merely to establish whether or not the person was texting at the approximate time of an accident, without prying into any specifics about the message or recipient?

  • ddartley

    re: Blocking the box AMNY:

    It’s an offense the city is now enforcing at more than 10 times the rate it did less than two years ago, before state legislation changed blocking the crosswalk from a moving violation to a parking infraction and empowered the city’s 2,800 traffic agents to dole out tickets.

    There’s Exhibit 1,000 for why City Council should pass Garodnick’s bill Int. 881, which would do the same thing for idling.

    Also, I’m very glad if the TEAs newly doing blocking the box enforcement really are also considering crosswalks to be part of “the box” and therefore ticketing drivers who block them. I wrote some long thing last year to the bill’s sponsors about how blocking crosswalks is an even worse problem than blocking cars, but the bill went through as it was (without the hotly-discussed “ddartley amendment.” I hope they never stop ticketing crosswalk blockers. Short of moving enforcement duties back to NYCDOT, giving more ticketing powers to TEAs is the way to go.

    Another funny thing about TEAs vs. regular cops:

    You can actually talk to a TEA without having to knock on a closed car window.

  • Hahah, the police have no business going into my phone. That’s his objection? I suppose he thinks it’s unreasonable to assess people for alcohol intoxication, too. If you can’t go into his phone, then I find it hard to believe he’d support going into his body.

    What a clown.