Today’s Headlines

  • The Fourth Estate Weighs in on Yesterday’s Bike Hearing (NYT, Transpo Nation, Observer)
  • … The Post and CBS, of Course, Focus on the Negative
  • Musical Interlude: These Are a Few of Markowitz’s Favorite Lanes (Observer)
  • New MTA Board Member Brings Experience in Real Estate and Negotiating, But Not Transpo (Ben Kabak)
  • NY Wins $7M in Rejected Midwest Rail Money (CapTon)
  • FDNY to Start Charging Motorists For Responding to Crashes (WSJ)
  • Even With Subsidies, Rate Hikes, Yankee Stadium Parking Can’t Break Even (MTR)
  • City Room Finds Few Cyclists on Columbus Lane During Work Hours, in Light Snow…
  • …Nice Rejoinder From John del Signore at Gothamist
  • NJ Polling Shows Killing ARC More Popular Than Ever (Transpo Nation)
  • Making Atlantic Yards Less Car-Centric: Ped Plazas, Parking Permits, and… Free Beer (Bklyn Paper)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    The proper response to the kvetching in an era of fiscal constraints:

    1) If you don’t like bike lanes, operate a store in a suburban shopping mall.

    2) If 56% of New Jersey doesn’t like ARC, the other 44% should move to Long Island or the northern suburbs once ESA and MetroNorth to Penn are finished *(and they should be). Those who don’t like bike lanes could move the other way. Costs nothing.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Lew Fidler: absolutely no one could commute to Manhattan by bike from his district. “Biking in my district is a recreational activity.”

    The reason my wife and I, when we were younger, never considered settling down in Fidler’s district is that we wanted to live cheaply without a car (one car today) and get around by subway. Living in Fidler’s district would have meant a bus to the subway, with two waits, and with the bus ride slow and unreliable.

    Or so we thought. Now I realize we could have lived in Marine Park and taken a bike the subway in the same time as many people walk to the subway, with no second wait.

    But since most people don’t get that, most people who live in Fidler’s district work elsewhere in Brooklyn, not Manhattan. They, too, could bike to their jobs and perhaps have one car rather than two.

  • vnm

    This proposed FDNY policy is a great step forward for livable streets, not to mention basic equity and fairness. But get ready for the months of howling from motorists who are going to complain that this is going to raise car insurance rates. There will be an aggrieved minority, but will the majority who benefit from this have the same incentive to speak up?

  • Suzanne

    I don’t know what meeting these reporters for the Times, et al. went to but there was very little bitterness, acrimony or contention at yesterday’s City Council hearing. Hard questions, yes, but sanctimony and acrimony??? Most of the time they were laughing and joking around, if anything, and bending over backwards to behave civilly. Why do these papers all want to make the bike debate out to be some sort of war?

  • J. Mork

    Wars sell papers. Also, reporters drive.

  • No surprises reading the reporting from the council hearing. I waited 5 hours to give my supportive testimony, which would have been much longer if so many supporters hadn’t had to leave before their turn came up. There were 6 people who testified against DOTs bike lane strategy – or at least were looking for modifications – 4 of whom made it on WPIX’s evening news. Of the 60-something supporters who signed up to speak in support, none appeared in their report.

    100% of community board members spoke in support of continued expansion of protected bike lanes (I counted 7, from 5 different boards), seniors and teenagers, crash victims and child welfare advocates, cyclists and non-cyclists, public health professionals and parents, from all five boroughs (and New Jersey, even!). Committee Chair Jimmy Vacca was promised a gift of a bicycle for Christmas by Councilmember Gale Brewer. But the only thing I see reported is that there was backlash against bike lanes. Was I at a different bike lane hearing?

  • Dare I say that the utter failure of the mainstream media to objectively cover this issue, and many others relating to livable streets and sustainable transportation, is a really great reason to make a year-end contribution to Streetsblog?

    And props to Gothamist’s John del Signore, who gets it, too.

  • Glenn

    Anyone notice that the subways and buses seem extremely packed the last couple of days in the icy cold weather? All those extra people would probably have walked or biked to their destination on other days. Just another reason to thank commuting cyclists and walkers.

  • Larry Littlefield

    This weather wasn’t near cold enough to make me not want to ride a bicycle, athough I was tempted to ride the subway to use the new Jay-Lawrence connector.

  • The FDNY thing is great. I can cross off one of the many items on my rambling list of the “indirect public subsidies” of transportation by private auto. More revealing, though, is some of the quotes from motorists on the topic of accidents:

    “Accidents happen, and you can’t be held responsible.”

    “I don’t choose to have an accident. It happens.”

  • MQ

    Does the FDNY crash fee apply to bicyclists or only “motor vehicles?”

  • Bolwerk

    New York, almost certainly the place with the highest potential for a useful rail infrastructure in the entire United States, should be pissed off that it only got $7M of its own money back for vital transportation projects.

  • J. Mork

    Larry — This week wasn’t too bad, but next week’s forecast of single-digit wind chills has me pre-emptively shaking in my boots. (BTW, what time do you ride PPW? I usually go SB from GAP at 8 am.)

    Lawrence St. — the MTA hasn’t even bothered to update the online subway map to include this transfer.

    Jeff — those quotes are insane. And representative of a lot of the problem with transportation in this country.

  • J. Mork

    Eric — you want to donate to SB, not contribute 🙂

    (And thanks for the reminder.)

  • Bolwerk, every state got the money that they requested. $7 million is the gap between what NY requested last year and what they were given earlier this year.

    If they wanted more, they should have planned for more.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Larry — This week wasn’t too bad, but next week’s forecast of single-digit wind chills has me pre-emptively shaking in my boots. (BTW, what time do you ride PPW? I usually go SB from GAP at 8 am.)”

    My schedule varies, but there is a very good chance you pass me on at least some days. Look for the orange vest with LED lights, and blue helmet and jacket. (Go Mets).

    With single-digit windchills, I break out the wool socks, mittens and long johns. I stop at zero because I don’t want to invest in more stuff, since below zero wind chills almost never happen.

  • J. Mork

    Okay, I’ll give a shout. I’m the one with the kid with the red knit cap under his helmet (Go Phillies 😉

    Long johns. Hm. Now you’ve got me thinking I can do it. My hands and feet have been the worst of it this week, despite breaking out the wool socks and ski gloves. Maybe 2 pair of each.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “My hands and feet have been the worst of it this week, despite breaking out the wool socks and ski gloves.”

    Your body lets you hands, feet and face get some heat once it realized the core is warm enough. I shift from ski gloves to mittens below 15 degree wind chill or so.

    You need to protect three things, including hands and toes. The ladies need to protect two. So if it’s that cold, I go with long johns.

    People ski, don’t they? And what did people do in winter 200 years ago?

  • Joe R.

    I’m amazed that the number of people cycling when it’s cold is as high as it is. Last time I was out was Sunday night. All I could tolerate was an hour in the 33-34 degree temperatures. That’s pretty much the limit of what I can deal with. Hands were numb despite the gloves. The feet were starting to get numb also towards the end. Great you guys can deal with this cold but I don’t know how you do it.

  • If so see me out there Joe R. I’ll be on a 25 minute trip at most. I’d never last an hour! But luckily my ride to work is within my threshold, at least down to 20 degrees and moderate wind. Also: OLD SKI MITTENS.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The winter bicycling site I took advice from when I first started bicycle commuting seems to be gone, but here is another one.

    I forgot to mention, I swap out the wire rim glasses for “revenge of the nerds” plastic glasses when it is very cold.

  • Doh! Thanks for the link correction, J. Mork. I did mean donate, but contributing isn’t bad, either.

    And if a Mets fan and a Phillies fan can share the Prospect Park West bike path peacefully, it really shouldn’t be too hard for angry PPW millionaires and drivers to allow we cyclists a few feet of safe road space.

  • Bolwerk

    jass: Eh? That is patently absurd.

  • One explanation for why people cycle when it’s cold: physical activity makes you feel less cold. I’m not a cyclist, but I walk a lot, and I’ve noticed how a) I walk faster when it’s colder, and b) I’m almost sweating after having walked a mile even if it’s very cold.

  • Joe R.

    That’s exactly it, at least for me, Alon. I definitely walk faster when it’s cold just to keep warm. As for cycling, I may well be putting in more effort than I do in warmer weather, but unfortunately this effort doesn’t translate into faster movement. Between the extra drag from winter clothing, the heavier air, and finally the ever-present winds, it seems I average about 1 mph less than I do in warmer weather despite the rides being more physically draining. For example, tonight and last night were two very similar rides-21 miles in 1 hour 23 minutes. Back in August I was covering about 1.5 to 2 miles more in the same amount of time, seemingly with less effort. And yes, I sweat profusely by the end of the ride, except the extremities which are nearly numb. Ah, the joys of cold weather cycling, or should I say “bicicling”!

  • BicyclesOnly

    Crash tax follow up: Insurers are saying their policies don’t cover the taxes, and Vallone has proposed legislation banning user fees for emergency services.

    I’ll bet there’s room for debate under many insurance policies as to whether an FDNY user fee is covered. Absent an explicit exclusion in the policy, the policyholder’s reasonable expectation would inform the scope of coverage. A judge could easily conclude that all costs associated with an auto crash were covered under a comprehensive auto liability policy that did not contain a crash tax exclusion by name.

    As I have long maintained, the better approach for the crash tax is to charge it through the NYPD. NYPD already charges $15 or so to provide a copy of the crash report they complete at request of participant in crash. As far as I can see, the entire purpose of the NYPD report is to help the participants and their insurers adjust the claim afterwards–the form is set up to detail the circumstances of the crash and the damage to the vehicles. (Maddeningly, the form has a pictogram allowing officers to note damage to autos, but none for noting damage to bicycles). The report has nothing to do with rendering emergency services and NYPD does not necessarily prepare one unless requested by a crash participant. The two crash reports I have requested involved hour-long waits as the two cops who interviewed spoke with each crash participant, examined the vehicles, checked our licenses, and very, very slowly filled out the form.
    Car owners and their insurers are impeding law enforcement by turning cops into claims adjusters at the rate of $7.50 per cop per hour, less than minimum wage. Given that NYPD responds to car crashes more frequently than FDNY, and that there is already a charge (however nominal) for the non-emergency, at-participant’s- request NYPD crash report, isn’t raising the fee for that report the less controversial and better method to raise revenue than creating a new FDNY crash tax?

  • J. Mork

    All right; I’m going to bike tomorrow with long underwear and my parka (I’ll see if I can avoid investing in mittens). Rode this morning with my new fenders — sweet!


Today’s Headlines

Jay Walder Is Girding for TWU Contract Negotiations (Times Herald Record) The Jim Walden Media Tour/Smear Campaign Goes On — at No Charge to the Client (News) Who’s Against a Car-Free Prospect Park? (Brooklyn Paper) Pedestrian Suffers Serious Head Injury After Driver Strikes Her at 57th and 10th (Post) Bill Thompson Is Back and Sounding […]

Today’s Headlines

Sales of New Single-Family Homes Drop to an All-Time Low (Observer) Vornado’s Promises to Improve Penn Station Help Win Approval for Midtown Tower (NYT) Rejoice: Seatless Subways Are Off the Table (News) Brooklyn Paper Comes to the Defense of Ghost Bikes Post Gets Excited About Brooklyn Resident’s BQE Tunnel Proposal Scooter Riders Seem to Think […]

Today’s Headlines

Bloomberg on Bike Lanes: “I’m Probably on the Other Side” of Iris Weinshall (Transpo Nation, Post) Anthony Weiner Again Gives a Non-Committal and Qualified “I Support Bike Lanes” (Observer) Drivers Collide in Jackson Heights, Kill 82-Year-Old Pedestrian Margaret Choborka; No Charges (News) Michael Grynbaum Notices Bike Lane Data Thanks to Wolfson Memo (NYT) MAS President: […]

Today’s Headlines

NBBL Keeps Acting Like Nobody Knows Their Lawsuit Was a Cynical PR Stunt (Bklyn Paper, Observer) Cyclist Slain By Hit-and-Run Driver on Staten Island Identified as Ron Tillman (News, Post) On Behalf of the Subway-Riding Class, Clyde Haberman Takes Down House Transpo Bill (City Room) More on the NYC Region’s Bipartisan Alliance Against the House […]

Today’s Headlines — PPW Rally Edition

In non-PPW news… Report: Runaway MTA Debt Will Wallop Transit Riders Unless Gov Steps Up (Post, News, AMNY) Meanwhile, Cuomo’s “Urban Agenda” Says Nothing About Transit (Transpo Nation) Feds’ Cost Estimates for ARC Tunnel Come in $4 Billion Lower Than Christie’s Scenario (Transpo Nation) Seven Injured in 6-Car Pile-up at Grand Army Plaza (Post) State […]

Today’s Headlines

City May Reverse Plan to Add Bike Lanes to Greenpoint Avenue Bridge (Bklyn Paper) Atlantic Yards Might Just Be a Stadium + Parking Lot Forever (Post, Gothamist) …or Not (AYR) Florida’s Loss = New York’s Gain? Amtrak and Cuomo Apply for HSR Funds (Transpo Nation) Long-Time SI Advance Copy Editor Killed By Drunk Driver on […]