Today’s Headlines

  • Limited-Scale Parking Meter Privatization Advances; City Would Keep Right to Set Rates (WSJPost)
  • Stringer Praises Bus Rapid Transit But Urges DOT to Slow Down on 34th Street (Fox)
  • In Dueling Brad Lander and Louise Hainline Op-Eds on PPW, Only One Depends on Scare Quotes
  • Yassky and Goldsmith: Fares in New Street Hail System Will Equal Yellow Cab Fares (News)
  • Nowhere Is Safe! CBS 2‘s Shallow Anti-Bike Fearmongering Crosses The Hudson
  • Port Authority Accepts “Simply Unacceptable” $3.44 Billion Price Tag for WTC Transit Hub (NYT)
  • TLC Hopes to Crack Down on Cabbies Who Refuse Certain Destinations (Post)
  • How Many Customers Could Possibly Be Driving to Foley’s Bar in Midtown? (DNAinfo)
  • Lighting on Qboro Bridge Bike/Ped Path Insufficient And Unsafe, Says NY1
  • Forget All This Safety for Biking and Walking, Lets Build a Garage in Prospect Park (HuffPo)
  • ddartley

    Walking on 14th St. from 1st Ave. to Union Square this morning: 3 cars uncontestably ran a red light.

  • ddartley – your council rep is Lappin, right?

  • Jay

    “Bike Lane Battle Crosses GWB Into Hoboken”

    Huh?!
    Last I checked, Hoboken was nowhere near the GWB.

    Did the city somehow float upriver? Or is this simply indicative of the quality of the reporting?

  • Chris

    I wonder what impact privatizing parking meters (even if the city sets rates) would have for installing future bike lanes / SBS etc? Seems Chicago is in a bit of a quandary now that they’ve essentially sold the public space to private interests.

  • Ian Turner

    WRT cabbie refuseniks, I find that if you (a) open the door and get in before identifying your destination, and (b) threaten to call the TLC at the first sight of a refusal, then pretty much any cabbie will give in. The only exception to this that I’ve come across is when the driver claimed that his “off-duty” lights were on.

  • eveostay

    Does Brad Lander want to be Mayor?

  • G.T.

    Jay. Yeah, you gotta figure they should have at least said Crosses the Hudson. But I am sure if we did some research that the reporter probably drives a car frequently across the GWB so maybe in her mind that’s how you get there….I mean a CBS reporter actually ever taking transit or anything….

    I loved in the CBS story how the reporter said there was no parking in Hoboken. How it was the real issue. How this went from a story about bike and pedestrian safety in Hoboken to CBS working in that there is no car parking is just an example of CBS inserting its own biased, car-oriented views into the story.

  • As described in the Journal, the deal under consideration doesn’t seem to resemble the Chicago deal very closely. It appears like it would only hand over operation of the equipment, with no restrictions on the city’s use of curbside space or its ability to set meter rates. The city must think it will reap a net benefit from having more reliable meters and better parking tech maintained by a private entity. This sounds on the face of it, to me, like a better deal than what happened in Chicago.

    One aspect I didn’t see addressed in the Journal or the Post is enforcement, and how it would be handled under the arrangement. We’ll see what we can find out.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I agree with Ben. What the Journal says is that the Bloomberg Administration is NOT looking to spend all the city’s parking revenues for the next 75 years before the Mayor leaves office, unlike in Chicago.

    But if a deal doesn’t diminish the city’s future, it would be relatively unique among these “privitization” deals. Basically, it would amount to replacing public employees with private sector workers and technology contractors hired though city bids with private procurement.

  • JK

    Ben, the WSJ piece on parking meters is behind a pay wall. The Post piece strongly suggests that Goldsmith’s intent is to send meter revenue directly to a private firm. Nobody would care if this was a contract to maintain meters. Enforcement and summonsing raise far more than meters, and will remain under the city’s control.

    Parking privatizations are intrinsically political exercises. They allow government to do things they already legally can do, but do not have the political support for, specifically:
    > Raise meter rates.
    > “One-shoting” by spending years of meter revenue all at once through and calling it privatization, rather than via a city bond issuance.

    If the goal is improving meter maintenance, the city could hire a private firm, and give it performance bonuses for keeping a certain percentage of meters in service.

    NYC can always borrow cheaper by issuing tax-free bonds than it can from banks. But, fiscal watchdogs and rating agencies think it is very bad to one-shot future revenue to pay for current operating expenses. So, this type of one-shot might be too politically costly for Bloomberg. But relabeling the exercise as “Privatization” and “Asset Maximization” and talking a lot about operating efficiencies will help make it appear different.

  • ddartley

    Hi Ben. No, mine is Garodnick. But I posted that just as part of the little daily log I’m going to start keeping in the “Today’s Headlines” comments section, as a response to the epidemic misconception (demonstrated in that notorious Times editorial a couple months ago) that motorists follow the rules more than cyclists. So I’m not trying to bring up a problem that would be relevant to my council member alone.

    Incidentally, that particular intersection is a dangerous one, and one of the noisiest in the city. Chris O’Leary’s blogged about it, and you guys picked it up. (Can’t look for those links at the moment.) It’s on the border of Garodnick’s and Mendez’s districts. I don’t know if it’s split between those two districts or fully in one of them. Two women were killed there while crossing the street a couple years ago, and there have been numerous injuries and collisions (witnessed many myself) since.

  • MinNY

    I noticed NY1 filming their story on the QB bridge last Friday. On wednesday morning, I saw DOT crews swarming around the area. Wednesday night, there was light.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There is one problem with the traffic data measure that past. It doesn’t measure pedestrain pedestrian collisions, and pedestrian only accidents.

    That is a serious omission. Consider the following two statements.

    “In 2011, a total of 150 pedestrians were injured in collisions with bicycles.”

    “In 2011, a total of 150 pedestrians were injured in collisions with bicycles, and 25,000 pedestrians were injured in collisions with other pedestrians or falls without collisions.”

    Most of the judgements and claims against the Department of Transportation are for sidewalk slips and falls, and most of those are by seniors. DOT should at least have information on people who file claims.

  • dporpentine

    An apostrophe in “Let’s,” please, in the headline for the Singer slime post.

    And I think it’s a measure of how desensitized we’ve become to the crazy spewing out of PPW bike lane haters that the Singer post hasn’t already earned fifteen comments about its incredible dishonesty.

    One of who knows how many examples: “Bloomberg’s DOT claims it created the bike lane to cut down on speeding motorists and to reduce the number of collisions involving bikes and cars.” The first part of this is not in any meaningful sense a “claim.” That the Community Board *voted* to ask DOT to redesign PPW in order to cut down on speeders is a fact, not a claim. Singer knows the difference–I’m willing to say that categorically–and yet he pretends not to so he can pretend to be reasonable. It’s disgusting.

  • Peter

    Did anyone notice that Singer (the HuffPo article) is a Hofstra professor?

    Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that he lives in one of the neighborhoods near PPW. What are the chances he commutes to work via the LIRR, versus driving every day? Because the entire article reeks of windshield perspective.

    I almost feel sorry for the guy – having been stuck on the BQE & LIE trying to get out to Long Island during rush hour before, I’d be raging against everyone around me too. A shame he chooses to vent against bicyclists. He’d be better served lobbying for improved mass transit, so he could commute in peace and actually get something done on his ride, rather than staring at the bumper of the car in front of him.

  • TKO

    Limited-Scale Parking Meter Privatization Advances, like earlier posts worries me. Looks like short term profit and long term loss. The idea of limited scale seems like cover to slowly privatize the whole thing. Bad fiscal policy.

    Seems like a Bloomberg type idea that private business knows better. Look at our economy now to see if tat is right.

  • kevd

    Singer – another faux liberal interested above all else, in looking after his own interests.
    Ah huffington post, you used to be worth my time.

  • NM

    I couldn’t for the life of me get the login function to work on HuffPo but hope someone has asked Singer the question by now – if PPW is so congested with people trying to get somewhere, is it really the best place for a few people to store their very large possessions?

  • Thanks for the heads-up on the Hoboken piece. I purposely don’t watch CBS 2 news due to its editorial bias on bike lane issues. Will make sure to add this to my blog so Jersey readers will be informed.

    While their bias is again heavily slanted, as is evident in the way the piece opens up, it’s not as bad as I feared it would be.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There was another legit point raised in the Hainline piece.

    Recently NBBL has conceded that the agenda includes having those who ride northbound use 8th Avenue, which I consider too narrow and congested for most of them. You wouldn’t see the women, children and seniors riding there that you do in the PPW bike lane.

    This article points out what the real problem is — double parking for dropoffs and pick-ups. And once again, it is an example of space being claimed away from cyclists due to the behavior of drivers and the problems of motor vehicles.

    When someone pulls to a stop in front of me, to drop someone off, pick someone up, drop off packages, or pull into a parking space, I stop and wait respectfully if I can’t get around safely. On my bike or in my car. Others curse and hit the horn.

    Some of the NBBL are probably getting honked at by folks who think they are the most important people in the world. So why do they want to take away something from me that makes my life and so many other people’s lives better?

  • Larry Littlefield

    By legit point by the way, I don’t mean I agree with it. I mean someone is admitting what the issue really is, as opposed to all the red herrings being thrown out there.

    The bicycle infrastructure hasn’t affected moving motor vehicles or parking motor vehicles, but it has affected double parking motor vehicles.

  • Ian Turner

    Actually, if the city were to outsource parking enforcement, it might help curb placard abuse. A private company would be a lot less likely to offer “professional courtesy” if it were taking a cut of the tickets.

  • J:Lai

    There are a number of reasons why privatization (full or partial) of on street parking is good.

    A private entity will be more likely to charge market rates. Although the city could do this itself, there is a lot of political pressure to keep rates artificially low. Privatization removes much of the politics. (I realize that NYC is not currently looking at allowing a third party to set rates, but I would be surprised if that option is not on the table in some form.)

    Further, if the private entity has any role in enforcement, enforcement should be more uniform as political considerations (eg “professional courtesy” or fear of ticketing other public employees) would be removed.

    Finally, the municipality has the option to receive an upfront payment equal to the expected future revenue from the meters. Whether this is good or bad depends largely on 1) how badly the municipality allows the financiers to take advantage of it, and 2) what the money is used for.
    Regarding #1, contrary to popular belief, there is no reason to assume that the municipality will overpay as there is a fair amount of competition for these deals.
    Regarding #2, using the “one shot” revenue to invest in infrastructure or other productive resources is a good use of the funds, while using it to fund operating expenses is not.

  • tom

    Doesn’t anybody pay attention and read the parking reports cited on this blog. For instance, I read that in Europe they have handed over enforcement of on-street parking regs to private contractors. These in turn send vans with cameras around and record every vehicle improperly parked. Summons are mailed out to the owners, sort of like the stop-light summons. Don’t you get it? Private operator whose revenues comes from the collections, not the ‘forgiving’ NYPD. A record is created–no one gets ‘professional courtesy’. They then have to pay, or explain their circumstances against the recorded evidence. Not so easy. Bye-bye phony placards. Bye-bye parking on the hydrant all night. Pay, or risk your job(or your significant other’s job). All records will be audited by the agency in question, and by the Comptroller.
    Might as well leave the car at home.

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