Today’s Headlines

  • 29 License Suspensions Don’t Prevent SI Man From Killing Elderly Couple With His Car (NYT, News)
  • Revolving Doors Keep Spinning: Driver With Suspended License Kills Bronx Bride-to-Be (Post, News)
  • DOT Proposal For Union Street @ Grand Army Plaza: Turn Parking Lane Into Moving Lane (Post)
  • LIC Residents Ask for One-Way Conversion on 49th Ave; Merchants Complain About Process (News)
  • The Times Wants Federal Oversight for Transit Safety
  • Most Megabus Customers Switch From Driving (WNYC)
  • Straphangers Struggle to Figure Out How to Get Their Money’s Worth From MetroCards (News)
  • Windshield Perspective Alert: The Times Gives Thanks for an Alt-Side Parking Holiday
  • Manhattan Times Publisher Whines About His Own Parking Tickets
  • This Will Be the Most Intensely Reported Incident of Careless Driving in a Long Time (CNN)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • pher

    DOT’s Union Street suggestions are startling for their lack of imagination, especially given the agency’s newfound reputation for daring. DOT re-envisioned the entirety of Times Square in one shot: when will they turn to Brooklyn with the same comprehensive focus? How long will they continue to nibble around the edges?

  • 7th Ave Man

    What a lame, small-minded, non-holistic “solution” that Ryan Russo offered for this bottle-necked, broken street. The Grand Army Plaza Coalition has thoroughly laid the groundwork for a major re-think of this entire intersection and DOT comes with this completely non-creative solution? What a shame. The whole Plaza, PPW and 8th all need a major redesign not this non-creative nibbling at the corners. Janette Sadik-Khan should take Russo off of this job if this is the best he can bring to the table. Hire a consultant who can bring some new ideas to the table.

    Also, some of what Russo is talking about is just plain baloney. The green time for a two-way Prospect Park West and east-bound Union Street traffic could easily be shared. All of those vehicles could be released simultaneously — especially if all of the traffic were routed northbound and DOT closed the street between the Arch and the Park. Frankly, it’d be hard to make the rotary more chaotic and dangerous than it already is. It needs a total overhaul.

    Michael Primeggia is long gone but, apparently, the spirit of Michael Primeggia lives on at NYC DOT.

  • Thank you, Streetsblog, for sensitizing me to the issue of traffic violence to the extent that I feel obliged to draw attention to last night’s episode of Family Guy, in which Brian the family dog runs over another dog while driving. The family pooh-poohs the incident because the victim was only a dog, but all I could think of were the similar lame excuses made for those who kill humans with their cars.

  • The Union Street proposal would be a big step back for pedestrian safety if it were implemented. This is one area where livable streets activists can find common cause with the moronic parking preservationists.

  • The Dynamic Mumeshantz

    At first when I heard this idea of removing parking, I thought it was crazy. But then thought more about it and even in my pedestrian-first-safety sort of mind I thought – maybe this solution would work better with no parking. It is dangerous as hell to ride a bike up Union to the park, at least two moving lanes of traffic would be better for all, maybe even keep traffic flowing better.

    But then I thought more about it and thought there must be a better way. So I am back to being confused with no opinion on anything I’ve heard.

    Perhaps there should be a website or article where all the of the different plans are posted and let the people debate?

  • What I want to know is how it’s possible to get 29 license suspensions in a city with no functioning traffic enforcement. Dude must have driven like an utter maniac, all the time, to trigger even 10 tickets in that span of time. It’s hard to fathom. (Also hard to fathom how he wasn’t already in jail.)

  • pher

    Capn Transit: I agree (altho I won’t say they are moronic). Union St is a residential street that has been thrust into the role of a traffic artery without adequate resources. If you are in Park Slope or points west, and you want to go east, it is the only street between Park Place and 16th St, for goodness sake, that gets you across GAP and Prospect Park – what is that, over 20 blocks? The street carries more than its share of traffic, and that doesn’t have to be the case. 2 way PPW and 8th Avenue would alleviate this automatically by making any of the other east bound streets that dead-end on to PPW viable alternatives: drive up to PPW, turn LEFT, and then turn right at GAP. Union Street is suddenly no longer so special. Neither is 8th Avenue…

  • Marty Barfowitz

    DOT could very easily create two eastbound lanes on Union Street and keep the neighborhood’s precious parking by simply eliminating the westbound travel lane on Union between PPW and 8th.

    Drivers who want to go westbound on Union from Eastern Parkway have to merge across five lanes of traffic and the go flying in to the path of pedestrians via this crazy slip-ramp type of thing here:

    Why not just get rid of that? Anyone driving westbound down that one block still has many other options for getting to their destination.

  • Marty is on to something. Making Union St one-way eastbound from 8th to GAP would vastly simplify and improve pedestrian conditions at the SW corner of GAP, and would make it easy to extend the Plaza Street West bike lane directly to Prospect Park (and to the upcoming PPW bike path), instead of the horribly confusing merge thing you have to do now on a bike.

  • eliot

    @MikeEpstein: As a non-driver, I’m somewhat clueless here, but still: How could someone could rack up 29 suspensions in 3 years? Is suspending a license totally meaningless?

  • Don’t ask me — I had the same reaction. It boggles the mind.

  • #10 –

    It appears all the license suspensions ever did was free the guy from the burden of having to pay for insurance…

    Also noticed this from the NYT piece:

    “The official said that Mr. Lekperic had also been stopped at least four times for not wearing his seatbelt, as well as for talking on his cellphone while driving, following another car too closely *and driving without a license*.”

    What happens when you get pulled over in NYC for driving on a suspended license? I should hope they don’t let you just drive away from that?

  • Hilary Kitasei

    I am disappointed but not surprised at the proposal to add a lane of traffic at Grand Army Plaza. At the Rudin Center forum last week I asked the Commissioner if after doing such a good job with taming the streets, she would next look at taming the parkways — the linked park and road system that includes the park roads, historic boulevards and genuine parkways. The answer was no, because DOT was reviewing their status. What this means, of course, is the parks are subordinated to traffic. This DOT may seem enlightened from a biker’s point of view, but from Parks it looks very backward.

  • Steve O.

    It seems to me that you could even make Union one-way westbound if you made PPW two-way. All of the motor traffic now stuck on Union would be distributed to the side streets south of Union, and this eliminates the problem of adding another cycle to the GAP lights. Just give eastbound Union’s turn to NB PPW.

  • eliot

    JayinPortland says:

    “What happens when you get pulled over in NYC for driving on a suspended license? I should hope they don’t let you just drive away from that?”

    Does anyone know the answer to this question? I am just baffled at how the Staten Island killer was able to get back in the drivers seat day after day after having his license suspended 29 times. What part of the system is broken here?

  • Marty Barfowitz

    What happens when you get pulled over in NYC for driving on a suspended license? I should hope they don’t let you just drive away from that?

    JayInPortland,

    You must not be from around here!

    I’m pretty sure the NYPD just writes you a summons for not having a drivers license and then sends you on your merry way. The last thing a New York City cop wants to be bothered with is pulling over a dangerous driver, hauling them off to the precinct, having their vehicle towed and doing the paperwork that’d be involved in that.

    However, if you’re a cyclist caught riding on the sidewalk without I.D. on your person… you spend a night in the box.

    http://gothamist.com/2009/06/05/husband_wasnt_missing_just_jailed_f.php

    Yes, it’s that ridiculous.

  • The cops, I think, have a sense that not having a car disenfranchises you from being a fully-functional person; but that not having your bike just makes you less of a yuppie jackass. So they’re happy to take your bike, but loathe to take your car, lest they make your entire life impossible.

    (I mean to attempt to explain what I suspect is their attitude, not to praise it.)

  • Thanks, Marty.

    Unbelievable, but at the same time it must be true. How else can someone have their license suspended 29 times? I have this vision of the guy driving to court on a suspended license, attending his hearing, having his license suspended again and then driving home. Can’t a court officer or something at least follow the guy outside or something? Lol…

    I’m not a driver myself, although I’ve had a license since I was first legally able to obtain one. I’m pretty sure that getting pulled over on a suspended license is a rather serious offense at least here in Oregon, as well as in the other states with which I’m familiar (NJ, where I grew up, and California).

    Eliot – Looks like the whole damned system is broken, doesn’t it? I mean, what kind of judge doesn’t get pissed off at somebody coming into his or her courtroom for the 3rd or 4th time for the same offense, let alone the 28th or 29th?! I’m sure even repeat shoplifters get jailtime after the 3rd or 4th offense, let alone the 29th.