Today’s Headlines

  • Clyde Haberman: New York’s Texting Ban Has No Teeth (NYT)
  • Hit-and-Run Driver Strikes Bronx Man on Bruckner Blvd; Victim Unlikely to Survive (News)
  • Driver Who Killed Paula Jimenez Charged With Second-Degree Homicide (News)
  • After Two Weeks Without Service, 181st Street Station Back in Business (NY1, 2nd Ave Sagas)
  • One Good Thing to Come From Subway Ceiling Collapse: MTA Joins Twitterverse (City Room)
  • Thank God for Traffic Tickets (Slate)
  • There’s a New NJ Transit Entrance to Penn Station (The Local, NY1, AP)
  • Did You Know? NYC Bus Drivers Used to Make Change for Passengers (City Room)
  • Portland Gets Its First Cycle Track Two Years After NYC’s (Bike Portland)
  • Would Bike Lanes Function Better If Sidewalks Were Wider? (On Transport)
  • Unsettling Video: Red-Light Running Pol Rams Cyclist (Cyclelicious via Streetsblog.net)

More headlines over at Streetsblog Capitol Hill.

  • David_K

    The Clyde Haberman column is an excellent read.

    Driving while texting — though twice as dangerous as driving the legally minimum drunk — will be treated as a secondary offense: you to be committing another offence simultaneously (like speeding) in order to even get the $150 wrist slap.

    Quotes of especial note from Haberman:
    “it is often a struggle in car-worshipping America to convince state or federal lawmakers that certain restrictions imposed on drivers are sensible, even essential.”

    And:
    “Tough tactics in the name of auto safety tend to come slowly…Until four years ago, drunken drivers who killed people in crashes were able to avoid vehicular manslaughter charges unless a secondary factor like speeding could be proved. Death and injury aside, drunken drivers infrequently land behind bars in New York State.”

    As the article in the Times about the Utah texting ban made clear, it will be an especial uphill climb to enforce any text ban. If a cop sees someone swerving on the road, stops them, figures out that the driver is not drunk but suspects that the driver was texting, what to do next? The sensible thing would be to have a system in place to immediately assess whether the driver was texting, and if so, arrest the driver. Somehow though I cannot see that happening.

  • Josh

    Wow, that is an honest-to-goodness new entrance to Penn Station. I thought that would just be about them reopening that closed stairwell at… 31st and 8th, I think, is the one that’s closed? And then calling that a “new entrance”.

  • Kaja

    I don’t understand the texting ban. Every consequence of distracted driving is already illegal; this will only increase police attention on people who’ve not yet hurt another person.

    Also, what’s the argument for spending energy here, when the police won’t arrest folks who commit manslaughter after blowing red lights?

  • David_K

    By the way, re: texting and driving

    Check out this story and PSA video:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/01/technology/01distracted.html?hp

  • Apropos of nothing:

    Clinton Street where it empties into Tillary, e/b in the north Heights at Cadman, is a textbook example of where it’s far safer to treat the red light as a yield.

    Green means you’re riding directly into Tillary’s westbound lanes as they turn north; they aren’t expecting cycles coming, and there’s no bike lane per se, rather drivers are looking left to ensure their flanks are clear.

    On reds, you have a clear view in all directions, and are never in danger of getting in front of a car.

    The Idaho stop isn’t just a good idea, it’s natural law.