Today’s Headlines

  • Shocker: “Carmageddon” Actually a Pleasant, Light-Traffic Weekend in Los Angeles (NYT 1, 2)
  • Damien Newton Called It! (Streetsblog LA)
  • Commuter Challenge L.A.: The Bikes Beat JetBlue (Streetsblog LA, Slate)
  • Still No Word From Cuomo on Borough Taxi Bill as Fleet Owners Make Last Stand Against It (NYT)
  • Gov Will Sign Life-Saving Crossover Mirror Bill Into Law (NY1)
  • Motorist Drives Land Boat Off FDR Drive, Crashes Onto Cab; Eight Injured (DNAinfo)
  • Jilted Bidder Worksman Cycles Appears in Another Overblown Story Rooting for Bike-Share to Fail (Crains)
  • Can NYC Reform Parking Minimums One Neighborhood at a Time? (Cap’n Transit)
  • News Reporter Tries Her Hand at Pedi-Cab Driving
  • Thumbs Up for First Segment of the East River Esplanade (News)
  • The “Draft Ray Kelly” Campaign Has Begun (News)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • John M.

    Just wanted to thank the DOT staff and/or volunteers on both sides of the Manhattan Bridge for easing the transition this morning from north side path to south.  Everything was clearly marked, people were ready for questions with a smile on their face; most importantly – NO STAIRS! Bikes can ride to the end of that narrow sidewalk and take the switchback that allows you to ride on/off the south side path

  • Tsuyoshi

    Make that Ray “No Criminality Suspected” Kelly.

  • Moser

    Worksman is emerging as a really bad actor – constantly attacking the city’s bike share effort.  Has anyone ever seen a Worksman bike-share bike?  Didn’t think so.  But just saw this…

    @CrainsNewYork DOT’s on-track 2 announce bike share operator shortly + is excited 2 work w NYC 2 plan the system! http://on.nyc.gov/f2ZaGQ

  • Boris

    Worksman should understand that constantly undermining the bikeshare program with these kinds of quotes is ultimately bad for its business.  What cyclist would support a company that seems to be actively working against the idea that the rising tide of a good bikeshare program will lift all boats?  (And bikes.)

    Worksman lost because it has zero experience with bikeshare.  Did they honestly think the city would entrust the world’s biggest bikeshare program to a newbie?  Enough with the sour grapes.

  • Larry Littlefield

    There may be several worse options than Mr. Kelly, all things considered.

    Anyway, the abuse of the legal system Streetsblog has taken note of on Prospect Park West was recently reviewed as a general issue by The Economist.

    http://www.economist.com/node/18867534

    “The right to discovery has been used by aggressive lawyers not just to find pieces of information, but to exhaust and impoverish adversaries through endless motions for more.”

    What this slow slog means is that the rich who can afford it have an advantage in court regardless of the merits of the case.  And judges who allow delay as a tactic are a party to injustice.  On the criminal side, the delays mean suspects rot in jail for years before being acquitted, or found not guilty.

    The law is yet another institution that has been ruined by selfish people with power and resources who manipulate it.  Well intentioned laws — environmental review for example — have thus been warped into tools of injustice and inequity.  Any lawyers want to argue otherwise?

  • As usual, NYPD mucked up DOT’s good efforts. Two police vans were blocking the new Bowery bike lane when I rode in this morning. Photos coming shortly.

  • MRB

    Can anyone think of a time when a huge highway closure actually led to gridlock? Has a traffic doomsayer ever been right?

  • carma

    i think that the planning and the fact that it was widely broadcasted allowed there to be very little if any gridlock.  now, if you DIDNT plan for this, by not telling the public way ahead of time, that is a recipe for failure.  “A failure to plan, is a plan for failure”.

    With that being said, many folks probalby took otherways to get around. bike, walk, etc…

  • carma

    i think that the planning and the fact that it was widely broadcasted allowed there to be very little if any gridlock.  now, if you DIDNT plan for this, by not telling the public way ahead of time, that is a recipe for failure.  “A failure to plan, is a plan for failure”.

    With that being said, many folks probalby took otherways to get around. bike, walk, etc…

  • carma

    i think that the planning and the fact that it was widely broadcasted allowed there to be very little if any gridlock.  now, if you DIDNT plan for this, by not telling the public way ahead of time, that is a recipe for failure.  “A failure to plan, is a plan for failure”.

    With that being said, many folks probalby took otherways to get around. bike, walk, etc…

  • Larry Littlefield

    Police vans and everyone else.  That isn’t exactly a safe ride by my standards.  The Bowery is the kind of street I usually avoid.  I may go back to taking the Brooklyn Bridge inbound for a while.

  • Pete

    This whole setup still has me worried – directing the MB bike flow across the entrance/exit to the MB, and up Bowery, when there’s only a short dedicated lane, followed by sharrows, is asking for serious trouble.

    Given the emergency and temporary nature of this change (7 months), why didn’t the DOT consider an emergency and temporary creation of a dedicated bike lane on Bowery?

  • Jeff

    When I read the NY Times coverage of Carmageddon, I was expecting a paragraph or two on the background of the situation in LA, followed by an in-depth analysis of freeway teardowns–past, present, and future–across the country.  Instead, they presented the lack of traffic problems (and indeed traffic reduction) as some kind of isolated, unexplainable phenomenon.  Where’s the analysis?

  • Eric McClure

    Surely there are many of us who would’ve liked to have seen Worksman win the bidding — a homegrown supplier would’ve been a win-win. And I’m sure these bidding processes could always be improved. But this wasn’t exactly a case of Bruce Ratner “winning” the “bid” for the Vanderbilt railyard. It’s high time for a little more graciousness from our friends in Ozone Park, rather than this ongoing contribution to the bikelash and the undermining of NYC bike share.

  • Mike

    Even DOT’s “good efforts”, such as they were, were only for 3 hours a day on weekdays.  The other 153 days a week, the bike “detour” is *intended* to be covered by parked cars and trucks, instead of just illegally covered by parked cars and trucks (and NYPD vans) because of lack of enforcement.

    Seriously, DOT?  You close an incredibly heavily used bridge in the height of summer with one business day’s advance notice, you put in a detour route that theoretically exists only 15 hours a week and in practice is never safe to ride, and you think this is OK?

  • Mike

    Sorry, “153 days a week” should read “153 hours a week”! It’s Monday.

  • Daphna

    The opinion article in the Daily News by a guest contributor is very positive about the East River Esplanade – it implies credit to Bloomberg for being innovative, for using good designers/engineers, and implies support for devoting financial resources and space to pedestrians/bikers.  I wish there were more positive stories of this nature published about other bicycle and pedestrian projects.

  • John M.

    For what it’s worth, I also thought Bowery was unsafe – curbside sharrows buried under delivery trucks, existing signage didn’t show any change in standing or parking rules, unspeakable road conditions.

    What about routing bikes east on that stretch of Canal that’s often closed anyway, to turn left on Chrystie?

  • An NYPD van was blocking the bike lane immediately off of the bridge at Canal Street.  The Bowery was blocked everywhere.  This is a disaster waiting to happen, especially for cyclists riding at off hours.

  • Bowery is mostly sharrows, and most were blocked or parked on.  The attached picture was just one of a dozen instances I saw.  My fear is that one ride on the Bowery will scare off a lot of new riders if it doesn’t kill them first.

  • Anonymous

    You would think…  It’s becoming more and more obvious that just cranking out column inches is taking precedence over more probing journalism.  I suspect this is a result of the underlying economics of the news business.

  • Edward

    I totally agree with you…I own a worksman and while I had a great experience placing my order from them I’m very disappointed they’re so negative about an NYC bike share. Get with the program guys! I’m talking to you Wayne Sosin!

  • Daphna

    This is a graphic of the changes:  http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/manhattan_bridge_walking_biking.pdf
    I would like the DOT to use barriers or qwick kubs to create a protected bike lane on Bowery for 7 months.  7 months is a long time and the danger of the Bowery and the volume of bicyclists necessitate a temporary protected bike lane for at least 6 blocks from Canal to Prince.

  • I can’t speak as a lawyer, but one big problem in state court in New York is the underpaid and over worked judiciary.  A good judge with decent morale and a reasonable caseload can rein in discovery and other litigation abuses, foster settlement, and make the system work efficiently. 

    But New York state court judges make far less than many lawyers right out of law school make starting private practice, and only a tiny fraction of what their counterparts by age and experience make in private practice. 

    Just as low cop salaries drive up the number of incompetent cops, there is a similar if more nuanced effect with judges.

    On the whole, I think we’d do better to improve conditions for judges than to adopt the proposal in the economist article you linked, of restricting discovery rights to reflect the hypothesized cash value of the rights at stake.  How would the value of the dignitary interest in being free from discrimination or arbitrary treatment by the state be calculated by such a system?  Only in routine types of commercial disputes are the potential damages easily calculable in the discovery phase of litigation.

  • Volunteers in BK were awesome.  Bowery lane was a disaster.  I also saw the parked NYPD van(totally empty btw) in the Bowery buffered lane. It was a little confusing to figure out the best way to the east side.

    Still, I love my bike commute so much I don’t think there’s anything that could convince me to give it up.  I’m totally hooked. 

  • One of the things that sometimes happens with abuse-of-process is that it will cause the judge to bend over backwards to show that he is not letting the abuse affect his view of the merits of the actual case. Which of course invites lots more abuse of process.

  • Anonymous

    To me it read more like cynicism about the political process in NYC, not bike share per se.  It is also possible that the quote is presented out of context. Who knows.

  • Daphna

    Why are bicyclists being re-routed to the south side of the Manhattan Bridge and pedestrians being re-routed to the north side of the Manhattan Bridge?  Both sides are still open.  What is the emergency that is going to take 7 months to fix that necessitates switching pedestrians and bicyclists to opposite sides of the bridge?
    California was able to tear down a bridge and build it back up with an additional lane for cars in 35 hours (at a cost of $1 billion) – that is because they prioritize motor vehicles and do not want to deny them infrastructure for a long length of time.  NYC should have greater concern about removing vital bicycle infrastructure and should find a way to limit the time or provide alternative infrastructure (sharrows under double parked commercial vehicles do not count as alternative infrastructure.)

  • Mike

    No emergency, Daphna.  This has been known for years.  They’re replacing the suspender cables.  I fully agree that the detour is horribly botched and needs improvement…

  • Kaja

    Amen to DOT; those people coped with my already-bad mood really well, even pointing out that I didn’t need to use the stairs.

    But the Bowery? I’m an experienced, fast, confident NYC cyclist who’s also a driver, and the Bowery made /me/ nervous. 

    Police vans and semitrailers parking atop the sharrows, I took a car lane, alongside a lady who seemed also both experienced and worried. Roaring trucks blot out the whiz of SUVs and cabs blowing past with one foot of ‘clearance’.

    Potholes and ruts abound — as did, interestingly, jaywalking pedestrians. I’d never noticed the Bowery needed more crosswalks.

    Tomorrow I’m making a right turn on to Hester, and continuing up First Avenue like old.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Elisabeth Rosenthal has a post on climateprogress saying that she is in favor of better bike lanes, but she was shocked to find that everyone she talked to in the neighborhood was against the Prospect Park West bike lane.
    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/07/16/269439/on-biking-why-can%E2%80%99t-the-u-s-learn-lessons-from-europe/

    Yes, this is the same Elisabeth Rosenthal who wrote a front page story in the NY Times saying that the goal of European transportation policy is to “irk” car drivers.

    I added a comment saying that polls have show that the majority in the neighborhood support the PPW bike lane and that hundreds of people have demonstrated in support.  Other people might also want to add comments. 

    Despite her claim to be in favor of bike lanes, she is clearly hurting the PPW bike lane by saying that everyone in the neighborhood is against it – or maybe I should say: that everyone in the neighborhood is irked by it.

  • Driver

    September 11th 2001 when the Queens/Bronx bridges were temporarily closed locked up traffic across the entire borough of Queens, and I would imagine it had a similar impact in the Bronx. 

  • According to Wikipedia Ray Kelly will be 70 on September 4th 2011. Am I the only one who thinks he’s a little old to run for mayor?

  • Daphna

    The Slate article is awesome! Positive media coverage for once!

  • Anonymous

    Argh! Infuriating! I tried to post a response, but couldn’t get the commenting system to work.  Are all her interviews set up by NBBL? did she do them all in the lobby of 9PPW? Or does she just make stuff up to create a nice thesis for her article?  She says she did find any diversity of opinion on the bike lane.  I had a friend who went to Columbia J School.  She did a piece on my band as a class project, and when it cam out she warned me, “I didn’t have enough quotes so you’ll notice I had to make a bunch of them up–please don’t tell anyone.”  I’m afraid this kind of journalism, where the facts are bent to fit the needs of an article is all too common. I repeat: ARGH!

  • J

    It’s all about information. If people know about the closure, they have time to adjust their schedules and plan accordingly. 9/11 was not planned, so everyone proceeded as normal, and of course there was backup when a major route was removed. In short, the best way to avoid traffic jams is to tell everyone that there will be traffic jams.

  • Larry Littlefield

    How old are you?

    Unless you are 55 or over, I suggest planning to work until age 75 yourself.

    Beame lived to 94.  So if you are right about when he left office after having been defeated for re-election, he spent 23 years in retirement.  Once the country has been bankrupted, few will get a retirement that long, and only at the expense of the rest.

  • Pbsinnyc

    The delay of NYC’s bike sharing program is wonderful news for NYC’s livable city/streets movement–a blessing in disguise.  Though, I wish this setback was done intentionally on NYCDOT’s part, as it would demonstrate that they are willing to take the time to do what is best for NYC.

  • Nobody’s saying Ray Kelly shouldn’t work, but running for mayor and keeping up with the grueling 24/7 schedule New York City mayors are subject to, is probably considerably more stressful than most physicians would recommend for a man in his seventies. Of course he could take a hint from Bloomberg – spend weekends in some undisclosed location away from the normal stress of the job and deal with the Monday morning fallout whenever.   

  • Mike

    Um, huh?

  • carma

    actually, age IS a very important consideration.  lets all look back at EY2008.  obama vs. mccain.  many consider mccain to be too old, and asked the what if question.  what IF he croaked on the job.  is his running mate going to cut it.  thats one of the many reasons he lost the election.  b/c for a time, voters DID look at age, and looked at what would happen if his running mate became president.

    Many independent minded voters can swallow mccain or obama.  but when mccain threw in palin, those votes went straight for obama.  you can say that he garnished some conservative votes w/ palin too.  but he lost more than he gained.

    the same w/ ray kelly.  70 is not old.  but it certainly is not young.
    im assumming he is in good health

  • Joe R.

    Yeah, even though I’ve never ridden there, looking at those pics of the Bowery in the other article would definitely give me pause.  And this is coming from someone who has ridden on Queens Blvd, Hillside Avenue, Jericho Tpke, Horace Harding Blvd, Northern Blvd, etc.

  • Pbsinnyc

    it’s best not to rush things

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, I fully expect to come full circle and be working as a  busboy after age 70. 

    But if Kelly can still do the job, age shouldn’t rule him out.  We’ll just be paying for him to collect a pension anyway.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, I fully expect to come full circle and be working as a  busboy after age 70. 

    But if Kelly can still do the job, age shouldn’t rule him out.  We’ll just be paying for him to collect a pension anyway.

  • carma

    w/ 9/11, i recall driving from queens to see my back-then gf/ present wife to make sure she was okay.  i remembered the bqe was shut down and the only way to make it down was to take the jackie robinson and to then traverse through local streets.  it took 1 1/2 hours.   traffic was horrible.  but its funny cause its not much worse than what it normally could be during rush hour on the bqe.

  • carma

    w/ 9/11, i recall driving from queens to see my back-then gf/ present wife to make sure she was okay.  i remembered the bqe was shut down and the only way to make it down was to take the jackie robinson and to then traverse through local streets.  it took 1 1/2 hours.   traffic was horrible.  but its funny cause its not much worse than what it normally could be during rush hour on the bqe.

  • carma

    im hoping sooner than later.  while i dont want things to fail.  its something that i cant wait to see get done.

  • carma

    im hoping sooner than later.  while i dont want things to fail.  its something that i cant wait to see get done.

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