Today’s Headlines

  • If You Thought Dropping 34th St. Plaza Would Placate the Post, the News, or City Council, Think Again
  • 34th Street BID: “Plaza Was a Problem for Some of Our Building Owners” (Crain’s)
  • Did Macy’s Help Kill 34th St. Plaza Over Once-A-Year Parade on a Different Street? (Transpo Nation)
  • After Getting Parking Ticket, Retired Firefighter Strikes Officer With Metal Pipe (Post)
  • Man Puts Woman in Coma For Trying to Save a Parking Space (Post)
  • SI Advance: Without Sidewalks or Transit, Cutting School Buses Endangers Students
  • “Tomb of the Unknown Cyclist” Ghost Bike to Be Placed in Front of Brooklyn Borough Hall (Bklyn Paper)
  • Presented with East Side Safety Plan, Manhattan CB 11 Worries About Losing Parking (DNAinfo)
  • DOT Plan To Shift Maspeth Truck Traffic Off Local Roads Wins Praise (News)
  • City Council Holds Hearing on “Pothole Pandemonium” (DNAinfo)
  • Bike Champ Praises NYC Improvements, Urges Cyclists To Follow Rules (WSJ)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Number of non-emergency vehicles I saw flagrantly running red lights on my bike commute, last night plus this morning: 4

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Not that she hasn’t com mitted a boatload of costly mistakes — starting with turning over vast swaths of city streets to delivery boys on bikes and the occasional cool dude peddling along in his Day-Glo tights.”

    So which one am I?

    I think everyone in the city should be made aware that is what the Post thinks of anyone who ride on a bicycle, in whatever place, for whatever reason. Which is no wonder that their readers are mostly members of…well I guess I’m not allowed to say it here.

    No one under 55 should read the Post. By that I don’t mean that those now under 55 should start reading it when they are 55. I mean that no one current under age 55 should read the Post ever.

  • Chris

    It’s just insanity, like we should go back to the old days when delivery boys were riding on the sidewalks? (Sure, they still are on streets without bike lanes, but on streets with proper biking infrastructure I see the delivery boys in the bike lane all the time).

  • Bolwerk

    God, I hope a grassroots effort to get that pedestrian plaza back crops up. If only to piss the Post off.

  • Josef

    The Daily News story has some well-deserved praise for the 1st and 2nd Ave BRT. Shouldn’t be categorized as the same type of vitriol as the Post.

  • Bolwerk

    Yeah, the Daily News is fairly pro-transit. It’s not always smart about other transportation reforms though.

    The way the pedestrian plaza bothers people is visceral. They’ve been proven successes elsewhere in Midtown at least twice. The one in 34th would have nearly zero impact on regional transportation, and nothing but positive impact on 34th Street.

  • It’s not the same type of vitriol, but it’s still full of misinformation designed to perpetuate the view that the NYC DOT program for better transit and safer biking and walking is somehow aloof and imperious. They imply that phase 1 on 34th Street, the bus lanes and cameras which they endorse, was not DOT’s doing. That’s wrong.

    There are also little throwaway statements that ignore the substantial public outreach that’s gone into previous street redesigns, like this:

    Sadik-Khan has rightly taken a lot of heat from some communities for installing bike lanes without fully consulting residents.

    The fact that it’s not written in the voice of a frothing madman makes it more insidious.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    I’m hearing that the owners of the Empire State Building were instrumental in killing the ped plaza. If true, I find that mind-boggling. The Empire State Building’s office workers, tourists and landlord would have been the #1 beneficiaries of a prime pedestrian space on 34th and 5th Avenue.

  • Louise

    Macy’s too since it’s a prime tourist destination, especially at the holidays. Amazing that the two biggest tourist attractions in the area are so tone deaf as to how the majority of their visitors arrive and how they could get them to linger longer.

  • Joe R.

    If the way they do business is any indication, it comes as no surprise that Macy’s would kill this. Macy’s business model is still in the 1960s, so no surprise they might think the majority of their customers arrive by car.

  • fdr

    Apparently Macy’s biggest priority is the parade. As for the Daily News, at least they print pro-bike and pro-Sadik-Khan letters to the editor. Haven’t seen that in the Post.

  • Macy’s is a public company based in Cincinnati. Joe R. and fdr are both correct: I would wager that 95% or more of the customers at all 850 Macy’s Inc. stores arrive by motor vehicle. The Herald Square branch is necessary to anchor the parade and the movie and create a tourist attraction, but I don’t think adding more customers to the store actually makes them any more money.

  • Louise

    The Post editors still don’t know how to spell pedal. How embarrassing for the greatest city in the world.

  • Sean

    Marty: ESB killing the ped project? Where did you hear this? I find that very odd, given that their loading dock is on 33rd and that their office workers would benefit immensely from the plaza (ask anyone that works in Flatiron building what they think of the new 23rd/Bway), as well as the obvious benefits to tourism.

  • That comment up on the “Word on the Street” sidebar this morning–“time to stop being policy wonks and get out there and fight for what we believe in”–should be directed at the DoT staff involved in the 34th Street Transitway project. I’m not saying that the Environmental Assessment should be done in anything other than a professional and objective manner, or that DoT should conduct the community consultation process in a partisan way.

    But let’s be honest: DoT has concluded that on 34th Street, traffic congestion, bus travel times and pedestrian safety and quality of experience are issues that need to be addressed with infrastructure changes. Their staff need to put forward the very good and persuasive reasons why the agency has concluded this.

    At the last Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, DoT’s staff didn’t do this. Instead, they put forward tremendous amounts of data without simply and clearly stating the conclusions DoT has drawn from the data. The DoT staff failed to pro-actively respond to number one criticism of the plan that was circulating in the press at that time: the supposed lack of curbside loading and other access. Then the staff broke the meeting up into three geographic interest groups (east, middle, west) for further discussion.

    Once again, in the East 34th Street breakout group, the DoT staff failed to state that the DoT in fact had a plan to accommodate all the curbside loading needs of the community–a dedicated curbside loading and access lane that would be open to all local traffic, and would reflect a net INCREASE in the amount of curbside loading access enjoyed by residents and businesses on 34th Street. During most of the breakout session, we listened as angry people demanded that the 34th Street sidewalks and trees be torn out in order to accommodate a bus lane consistent with curbside loading and other access needs. it was only when one of the participants in the breakout session asked DoT what it’s plan was for curbside access, at the end of the session, that the DoT representative gave the most cursory of descriptions of the loading/access lane feature of the DoT’s design. And here we are, a month later, and the press is still torpedoing the plan on the strength of the supposed lack of access issue.

    DoT has got to stop with the policy wonk bullsh1t and do the work necessary to enable a rational, informed debate on this project. The commissioner is a very effective communicator, but for some reason, she is keeping silent. Maybe it is believed that this is approach “taking the high road” and silencing critics by not responding to them, but the opposite is happening.

    If it is somehow required that JSK remain silent in the face of this ferocious, concerted and ill-informed press attack on her and the plan, her staff at the CAC meetings and elsewhere have to step up and carry the water. Staff need to be prepared with written talking points that simply but forcefully set forth the relevant information about the plan. And no, it is not pandering for those talking points to specifically address and dispel the misinformation in the Post and the News. Rather, it is essential to do so. Moreover, DoT has to do explicitly communicate the vision of 34th Street underlying the plan–a transportation corridor that frankly prioritizes the safety, experience and convenience of bus riders and pedestrians, without sacrificing the daily curbside access needs of business and residents, by re-routing LI-NJ traffic away from Manhattan altogether or at least to its perimeter controlled-access highways. That is a vision that handful of angry East 34th St. residents can, or at least should rationally be able to, embrace. It must be articulated forcefully–just as the Post and the Daily News have forcefully and effectively argued that 34th Street should remain the traffic sewer it is, for the sake of the LI-NJ drive-through crowd.

    finally, DoT staff must be prepared at the next CAC meeting on March 14, for the potential for plan opponents to play a HIGHLY disruptive role, spread misinformation, and in general struggle to out-do each other so they can be lionized in the Post and the news the next day. The DoT staff need to have specific, explicit instructions on how to deal with this kind of activity.

  • Suzanne

    Cop beaten for giving a traffic ticket and a woman put into a coma for saving a parking space??? When is there going to be a crackdown on homicidal, raging drivers?

  • Mike

    So what IS the curbside loading/access plan?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Cop beaten for giving a traffic ticket and a woman put into a coma for saving a parking space??? When is there going to be a crackdown on homicidal, raging drivers?”

    Just remember when riding a bicycle that these people are out there, and the News and Post are encouraging them to act out against their “tormentors.”

    I would expect to find a few on Prospect Park West, but then to get at me there they would have to leave their motor vehicles behind. After all, when I rode by today an outraged driver had come across his smashed window, as his car had been broken into.

    Must have been someone on a bicycle, right NY Post? Or perhaps the economy has something to do with it. Anybody got an old-school “This Car Has No Radio” sign?

  • Daphna

    Regarding the Post article: “Woman knocked into coma in parking fight”. Had Oscar Fuller driven into Lana Rosas instead of getting out of his car and punching her, then said something like “I didn’t see her”, the police might have determined “no criminality suspected”. But since he committed the assault with his fist, the police took it seriously and he is in jail. I just wish that the police would take vehicular crime just as seriously because in general 2,000+ pounds of steel and glass (a car) traveling at a high velocity is more dangerous than a person’s arm and hand.

    Vehicular crime needs to be taken seriously not just when it is intentional from road rage or when someone is drunk, but also needs to be taken seriously when it is unintentional and caused by driver distraction, impatience, lack of knowledge of rules of the road, fatigue, etc. The damage that results is the same even if it was unintentional.

    But instead the police let motorists speed in Central Park at 40mph in a 25mph zone and ticket cyclists with $270 tickets for rolling through red lights when there is not a single pedestrian at the crosswalk that the light is for.

  • Pete

    @BicyclesOnly – that was my comment yesterday, and thank you for the follow-up, because you’re dead-on right. It’s not as much a call to arms for the rank & file (frankly, we’re already there), it’s the DOT that needs to do a much better job managing the message.

  • Suzanne

    Since Bike Snob has better things to do than post here about vehicular scofflaws, I’m taking it upon myself:

    “At one point I was riding in a protected bike lane, and while I waited like a good little cyclist at the red light a siren blared behind me. It was the “fuzz.” For a moment I thought I was about to get a ticket for riding a bicycle with sub-par welds (I was on a Scattante after all), but it turned out they just wanted me to get out of the way since they were using the bike lane to travel the wrong way down a one way street. In fairness to them they might have been on urgent police business, though judging from the pizza pie in the front seat they were merely in a hurry to get someplace to park and eat before their lunch got all cold and rubbery.”

    http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2011/03/bsnyc-plug-fest-and-friday-fun-quiz.html

    Also, my two cents:

    Patrol car crossing the double yellow line to drive around large delivery truck stopped at a red light. Of course it ran the red light right after that, endangering every single person going in every direction at that intersection.

    I can’t keep track of all the traffic violators. Only the most egregious ones seem to stick in my mind.

  • Joe R.

    Great NY Times article on Janette Sadik-Khan:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/nyregion/06sadik-khan.html

    Comments are still open. I encourage people here to comment in support of her. I just posted a long comment ( probably not yet through moderation) under the screenname “JTR”.

  • That most Macy’s customers nationwide arrive by car doesn’t mean that it’s good strategy for the chain to behave as if it’s true for its Herald Square store, too. The chains that succeed in both urban and suburban areas, such as Target, maximize profits by tailoring the stores to the needs of their particular locations.

  • Alon, you are absolutely correct.

    If Macy’s wanted to close 34th between 6th and 7th on the day after Thanksgiving, I’m sure the city would bend over backwards to do it. The straightforward improvements to their environment that DOT suggests would clearly increase foot traffic to their store. Yet we’ve heard nothing from Macy’s about supporting this plan and the tabloids, in which Macy’s advertises heavily, haven’t ceased complaining about it.

    My theory, then, is that Macy’s is ticked off at DOT for changing the parade route in 2009 and that for that reason, the corporate office in Cincinnati isn’t putting their full weight behind the DOT’s plan.

  • Non-emergency motor vehicles I saw flagrantly ran red lights during my bike commute home this evening: 1

    Lunch hour bonus: A guy doing about 55mph on 9th Avenue in the 50s totally blew through two clearly red lights.

    But as the Times points out, aside from cyclists, “everyone else” follows the rules.

  • Glad to see that Manhattan CB11 is looking out for the 14.7% of zip code 10035 residents who have cars.

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