Today’s Headlines

  • Lander and Levin Survey: Three Quarters of Park Slope Favors PPW Bike Lane (Transpo Nation)
  • Astoria Resident Max Vickers Killed By Hit-and-Run Driver in Nassau (Newsday)
  • Police Arrest Teenage Suspect in Forest Hills Hit-and-Run (Queens Chron)
  • Cyclists Ride in Memory of Jasmine Herron and in Support of Better Drivers Ed (The Local)
  • Hudson Sq. BID Picks Team to Design More Ped-Friendly Streets Near Holland Tunnel (Downtown Exp)
  • Access to Transit = Access to Employment (NYT)
  • Fantasizing About Transit Expansions That Might Never Happen (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • New Yorkers: You Can Live in a Curbside Parking Space Rent-Free! (Post)
  • AMNY Has a Bike Columnist — Here’s the First Bunch of Letters to His Mailbag
  • DC Metro Sets Sights on Quintupling Bike-to-Train Mode Share (GGW)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’d like to see how that survey is stratified — who is in favor or opposed. Age, car ownership and use would be the factors that would interest me.

    Interesting that they are complaining about lost parking when the total amount of parking went up. The fact is, there will never be enough.

  • Can the non-Streetsblog media now please drop “controversial” from “the controversial Prospect Park West bike path?” A 3-to-1 margin of support is a landslide.

    Yet, the Transportation Nation piece leads with Marty Markowitz? At least they did a better job with their WNYC story.

  • I agree with Eric. The only place this is a controversy is on the pages of the newspaper and in Marcia Kramer’s office. The debate, if there ever really was one, is OVER.

    We have to keep riding this wave. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come to the city council hearing this week to defend safe streets from the types of people who ignore surveys such as this.

  • Gotham Gazette on Cuomo and the MTA: link

  • Eric

    Dumptruck backs into and kills pedestrian in UES crosswalk this morning. Maybe a summons.

    http://www.dnainfo.com/20101207/upper-east-side/pedestrian-hit-killed-by-dump-truck-on-madison-ave

  • A Queens cyclist killed in Nassau, and the driver who fled the scene is charged with a felony. That is a good thing.

  • J. Mork

    Andrea Bernstein (Transpo Nation) seems to be here now:

    http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2010/dec/07/survey-three-quarters-bike-lane/

  • mcsladek

    Missed one! NY1 came to our letter-writing party this Saturday regarding the Father Capodanno bike lane removal–apparently because they spotted the event on Streetsblog!

    http://statenisland.ny1.com/content/top_stories/130180/s-i–bike-advocates-embark-on-letter-writing-campaign

  • J. Mork
  • Kaja

    Mellow: Which felony; killing him or leaving the scene?

  • J. Mork

    Oh, and it’s 57% to 43% support to keep the lane vs. getting rid of it from residents of PPW and its sidestreets. That’s not really “about even”. It’s a 14% swing in favor.

  • The Brooklyn Paper offers a surprisingly positive report:

    http://brooklynpaper.com/stories/33/50/ps_bikelanesurvey_2010_12_10_bk.html

    “Only 22 percent of residents responding to a survey sponsored by the neighborhood’s two councilmen said that the city should return the roadway to its original three-lane configuration.”

    Comments are open.

  • @Eric (#5): Thanks for posting the report on the ped killed by the dump truck at Madison Ave. & East 81st Street — 2-3 blocks from Bloomberg’s residence, by the way. A Streetsblog post of mine from July provides data and context: http://bit.ly/c5MfHN. Warning: it’s depressing.

  • Marina

    The Queens cyclist killed by a hit-and-run in Long Island, Maxim Vickers, was someone I knew for many years. He was an A-rider (NYCC classification) and a life-long daily commuter. As Newsday mentions he rode all over the world and took part in some grueling bike races…only to be killed by a 20-year-old in a car. Just because the driver was charged with a felony doesn’t mean she’ll be convicted. Rest in peace, Max.

  • “…it helps to ride at a speed that drivers must respect.”

    From AMNY’s cyclist correspondent is pretty terrible advice. It’s not a battle for “respect” out there and making cycling into a personal battle is what got us to this very combative place.

    There’s a really big problem with people interpreting behavior as though it were personal. Soemtimes, someone cuts you off in traffic. It’s not because they’re a bad person who’s in a rush to get home and torture kittens, it’s because they didn’t see you, or didn’t look or both. That doesn’t excuse that kind of thing, or make it right, but it’s important to draw distinctions between carelessness and malice. Making problems like that into battles between yourself and random drivers is bad for everyone.

    A friend of mine nearly got himself killed in a shouting match with a crazy driver(he later learned the driver had a warrant out for his arrest). Just because you’re right doesn’t mean that you get to behave badly or humiliate your opponents.

  • Dan, in my experience, slow riding on streets is more stressful than fast riding. It’s harder to take the lane riding slowly because cars will dart in in front of you more readily. If you can’t take the lane you have to negotiate around every double-parked car, which stresses me out because I have to find a wide gap in the oncoming stream of cars into which I can merge.

    And when drivers honk? That’s because they do see you and want you to obey them by getting out of the way. It’s extremely stressful to be honked at, and to your point, it’s an entirely personal decision on the driver’s part. Cars don’t have automated horns that go off whenever there’s a bicyclist in front.

  • Doug

    While I support the PPW bike lane, and I think that it is also very popular, I don’t think that survey has any validity. Are you actually taking a web survey seriously? I mean, just consider: the proponents are generally young professionals, the opponents generally older and retired (yes, very broad brush). Who do you think is responding to the survey in greater numbers?

    Can someone distinguish the following two cases for me, this has been bothering me:
    1. A plan is floated to widen a street, thereby reducing non-auto volume. The residents, all pedestrians, who live adjacent oppose it, but everyone else in the neighborhood supports it, and the neighborhood overall, and outlying areas also support it.
    2. A plan is floated to calm a street, etc. etc.
    In both cases, a minority who is directly affected in a way they perceive to be negative (whether they actually benefit is another matter) may have their opinions steamrolled whereas the majority who benefit prevail.

    I honestly can’t distinguish the two cases except to say that “I think biking and street calming is better.” However, that’s no way to win public opinion, which may be why road widening, highway construction, and bike backlash are the word of the day today.

  • @Doug,

    Considering that the “Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes” were quick to launch a Facebook group well in advance of a similar effort by supporters of the Prospect Park West redesign, and that their favorite means of communication appears to be email, I don’t think you’re criticism holds.

    As for the tyranny of the majority, we’re not talking about protecting some afflicted minority group from oppression or prejudice. We’re talking about a relatively small group of people who don’t like the change to their million-dollar views, and are nostalgic for the days of a three-lane avenue on which nearly all drivers were speeding.

  • “Your.”

  • Other Doug:

    Lander’s office made every effort to make sure that those with more limited web facility were able to participate in the survey, handing out leaflets and going door to door. You could conduct survey after survey using every last scientific and non-scientific method and you’d still find huge support for a safer Prospect Park West. (And you’d still find the other side rejecting results that don’t conform to their preconceived opinions.)

    Surveys aside, you don’t get a five-to-one pro v. anti turnout at a bike lane rally on a cold weekday based solely on demographics or who spread it more on Twitter. People want this.

    The support for turning PPW back to the way it was is simply not there, even if you adjust for the fact that supporters may be a tad more nimble with the Facebook. And besides, why shouldn’t those on both sides use every available resource to bolster their case? If Lois Carswell and her crew have some advantageous tool at their disposal, should they not use it because it wouldn’t be fair to the other side?

  • molly

    Eric/Doug G.: please stop feeding the trolls.

  • fdr

    The Times is reporting that Iris Weinshall and Norman Steisel met with Brad Lander to explain their opposition to PPW:
    “They made very clear that their goal is to see the bike lane removed and the old configuration restored,” Mr. Lander said in an e-mail.

    Ms. Weinshall said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that she “had concerns over all about safety elements of the bike lane and the level of both community input and the data that’s being made available to the community.”

    Ms. Weinshall had previously declined to comment on the lane, with speculation in the cycling press swirling around her role in opposing it.

    “I’m not opposed to bike lanes,” Ms. Weinshall said. “I put in a number of them as commissioner, including the lane on Plaza Street” that connects to Prospect Park West.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/survey-finds-support-but-a-bike-lane-debate-continues/#more-252565

  • Joe R.

    It’s actually refreshing to hear the AMNY’s bike columnist advocate riding faster. I personally feel MUCH more vulnerable when I’m going uphill, or into a headwind, on account of the larger closing speed between motor traffic and myself. If I have to take the lane for any reason under those circumstances, then I’d better hope there’s no traffic. In any case, short of obstructions or bad roads, to me it makes little sense not to always ride as fast as you are physically capable of. Your fitness improves for starters. You get where you’re going faster, assuming you’re riding to a destination rather than recreationally. If you need to take the traffic lane, the lesser speed differential ensures that gaps in traffic last longer. And lastly, it’s just more fun.

    I also agree somewhat with the “speed that drivers must respect” comment although those aren’t the words I would use. I might use words such as “speed where cyclists are taken as serious transportation”. The average non-cyclist pedestrian seeing a slow rider in a bike lane moving at 7 or 8 mph is likely to think two things. First, this person isn’t moving all that fast, isn’t all that dangerous if they hit me, so I’ll feel free to spill over into the bike lane any time the sidewalk gets too crowded. Second, they’ll also think that the person is out for a joy ride, or at least doesn’t need to be anywhere anytime soon, or they would be moving faster than someone jogging.

    Now contrast this to seeing someone moving along at a good clip ( say 20 mph ). First reaction, heck I’d better stay out of this person’s way or I’ll get hurt ( i.e. this keeps them from even thinking about loitering in the bike lane ). Second, hey, this person looks like they need to be somewhere yesterday. Hmm, maybe those bike lanes are serving a useful transportation purpose. I’ve generally found that I’m treated better by both pedestrians and drivers when I’m moving fast. I’ve seen motorists casually cross the street and enter their car right in front of me while I’m slogging up a hill at, say, 12 mph. On the flip side, I’ve yet to see a pedestrian dare cross in front of me if I’m descending at 30+ mph. Even at 20 mph this pretty much holds. So long as you’re visible ( i.e. lights at night ), you’ll be given a wider berth if you’re moving faster. Just make sure to slow down as necessary when and where appropriate for the conditions, such as on mixed-use paths.

  • Iris, I’m sorry, you’re no longer the DOT Commissioner, so cut the bloviating about the dangers of the Prospect Park West bike lane. You’re though!

  • Doug

    Molly, somehow I figured someone would call me a troll for asking an honest question, so, kudos. Just for the record, and not that this should matter, I happen to be an active bike advocate.

    Thanks Eric for the info on how the poll was conducted – it adds a lot of credibility, no?

    You didn’t really answer my question, though, Eric: how do you determine when someone’s rights are being stepped on and they’re not just being unreasonable? I know it’s a common conservative mantra to defend white privilege under the banner of “equality,” but seriously, what are the limits?

  • Doug,

    I’m not sure that I know how to answer that in any absolute terms. But one way, perhaps, might be that when the city Department of Transportation makes changes to a public street — requested by the Community Board — that reduce illegal speeding by a factor of seven, vastly increase safety for cyclists, and make it easier for pedestrians to cross, the “rights” of Prospect Park West residents probably are not being trampled. If that’s not reasonable, I don’t know what is.