Today’s Headlines

  • Jasmine Herron Killer on Trial, But Only For Driving With Suspended License (News)
  • Transpo Experts: Progress, Congestion Pricing, Must Outlast Sadik-Khan, Bloomberg (Capital)
  • DOT Will Install and Evaluate Fowler Square Plaza (Patch)
  • Joan McDonald Continues to Cite Unexplained $5B Cost For Tappan Zee Transit (City/State)
  • After Years of Advocacy, NYS DOT Agrees to Make Hempstead Turnpike Safer (MTR)
  • Subway Service Essential to Williamsburg Businesses, Weekend Closures Hurt Bars (Post)
  • Marty Golden Requests Ferry Service, But City Says Riders Wouldn’t Be There (Bklyn Daily)
  • Hudson Square Development Would Replace Parking Lot With 230 Apartments, Park (DNAinfo)
  • Al Sharpton’s Car Impounded at Airport for Illegal Parking, Lack of Insurance (Post)
  • Bill Cunningham Okay After SUV Driver Runs Over His Foot (Gothamist)
  • SF Police Stake Claim to Being America’s Most Incompetent Traffic Enforcers (Streetsblog SF)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anonymous

    Also:  NYC priorities: a cable snaps, no injuries. DOB, PA, and contractor launch investigations. Good. Compare to:  guy hops out of still-running van, leaves it in gear, it jumps sidewalk and kills 2 preschoolers. No charges, no tickets, not even after considerable public pressure.
    http://www.metro.us/newyork/local/article/1100278–photo-city-investigates-crane-accident-at-world-trade-center-site

  • Albert

    Regarding Sam Schwartz’s words in the “Progress…Must Outlast Sadik-Khan…” story:

    “I think we need to have new legislation that recognizes that a bike is not as dangerous as a car,” he said.
    One
    recommendation would be allowing cyclists to turn on red lights, or
    through reds in parks, if there were no pedestrians in the way.
    “I
    think our rules are so unrealistic now, equating a bike with a car,” he
    said. “What we need is not just banging the bike riders over the head;
    we need to change legislation that makes it much more in line with the
    true impacts.”
     
    It’s great to hear someone with stature recommend changes that will certainly be seen as “radical” by many.

    He could also recommend re-timing traffic signals to allow bicycles (rather than cars) to go, say, >10 blocks at moderate speed without getting a red light.  He only recommended “allowing cyclists to turn on red lights, or
    through reds in parks” — as if a turning cyclist couldn’t be a threat to a pedestrian, while one going straight could be.

  • Guest

    From the 2nd article: “I think we need to have new legislation that recognizes that a bike is not as dangerous as a car,” he said.
    One recommendation would be allowing cyclists to turn on red lights, or through reds in parks, if there were no pedestrians in the way.
    “I think our rules are so unrealistic now, equating a bike with a car,” he said. “What we need is not just banging the bike riders over the head; we need to change legislation that makes it much more in line with the true impacts.”

    It’s so sensible yet so far removed from the current political reality in New York that it’s almost painful to hear it.

  • Gridlock

    The Capital recap is a must-read.  It’s amazing that even a wonky discussion about congestion pricing or rerouting trucks off of neighborhood streets so that they stop killing children can descend into a pile-on about the menace of bicycles.  When will New Yorkers grow up?

    Sigh.

  • carma

    while bicycles will never be the same as cars, there are times where the rules should apply to both.  2 days ago, on Franklin ave lane, a cyclist decides to blow through every red without looking.  well, that dude nearly got smacked on one occasion.  he eventually stopped at one red to wait it out, and i was approaching him, he nearly smacked into me too as i was slowing down at the light as he was ready to jump the gun.  i gave him one word of advice that running reds like the way he did will get you killed.

    he replied saying that he had a flat tire. hmmm .. that doesnt give an excuse to nearly get killed running reds.

    i admit that i will occasionally run the red after looking to make sure 1.  no oncoming cars, 2.  no pedestrians darting.  3. no cops nearby.  seldom do i need to even encounter a red, as you can usually time the lights with a bicycle.

  • carma, if he had a flat tire, shouldn’t he stop and fix it instead of ruining the rims by riding? Sounds like a “get away from me” kind of response to me.

  • Albert

    Carma, I assume you mean Brooklyn where you “seldom…need to even encounter a red, as you can usually time the lights with a bicycle.”

    There are few places in Manhattan that one can cycle more than 3 blocks between reds without approaching car speeds.  There are many places where riding at schoolmarm speed will get you 2 blocks max without hitting a red.  (This is north/south, and without turning, you understand.)

  • carma

    @45589687e8df260df565d048dab64df2:disqus 

    yes, i mostly mean queens and brooklyn,

    but on my occasions that i do cycle on manhattan streets, i can pretty much hit about 10 north/south blocks without hitting reds.  if you are hitting a red every 3 blocks, you are either really unlucky or REALLY slow. lol…
    my avg speed is aorund 13 mph.

  • Anonymous

    OMG, the Bill Cunningham thing!  He is one of the city’s most iconic cyclists in addition to his general awesomeness and importance to our cultural fabric.

  • Anonymous

    @45589687e8df260df565d048dab64df2:disqus, I like your wish for Schwartz or someone to recommend re-timing of signals to allow bikes to get ~10 green lights when doing a moderate speed.  You understate the problem.  That’s not the accommodation cars currently get.  Currently, NYC signals are timed to encourage drivers to SPEED.  Seriously.  They can’t fix that?  Vehicular LOS is sacrosanct, more important than lives?  More important than bus/bike/ped LOS?  

    Vehicle LOS considers the ability of 1 to 7 persons to flow well.  It also devalues safety.  Other modes’ LOS considers many more PERSONS’ ability to flow freely.  Therefore Vehicle LOS should be a secondary, not primary, consideration.

  • Anonymous

    I measure my speed with a GPS that I use for training, and while I try to stay up around 20-23 in aero doing park loops, I find it almost impossible to go faster than 10 on city streets.  That’s avg speed, including stops for cross traffic, police idling in the lanes, etc.  13 is pretty fast.

  • Albert

    A couple years ago I buttonholed a mid-level DOT official (forgot his name) at a BRT demo and suggested timing traffic lights for moderate bicycle speeds as a way of not only slowing cars and allowing bicycles to travel a reasonable distance without being confronted with a red light, but also as a way of encouraging cyclists not to ride at unsafe speeds and get where they’re going just as quickly.  He thought it was a good idea and even implied that it could be doable.  Perhaps he was placating me — it hasn’t happened yet.

  • Charles_Siegel

    “suggested timing traffic lights for moderate bicycle speeds”

    It is called a “green wave,” and it is being done in a few cities.

    “Green waves are sometimes used to facilitate bicycle traffic. Copenhagen[1], Amsterdam[2], San Francisco[3],
    and other cities, may synchronize traffic signals to provide a green
    light for a flow of cyclists. In Copenhagen, a green wave on the
    arterial street Nørrebrogade facilitates 30,000 cyclists to maintain a
    12 mph (19.3 km/h) speed for 2.5 kilometers. In Amsterdam, cyclists
    riding at a speed of 15 to 18 km/h will be able to travel without being
    stopped by a red signal,”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_wave

  • carma

    @station44025:disqus 

    13mph also assumming no headwinds.  its not lights, or traffic that slow me down.  its the 20mph winds.  on a good day, i do my 13.6 mile trek in 56 minutes.   on windy days, im up to almost 1 hour 15 min.

  • Glenn

    A woman who opened her parked car’s door and knocked a Brooklyn cyclist into the path of a bus went on trial Thursday – but only for driving with a suspended license. Even if convicted, Krystal Francis, 25, will face just 30 days in jail or a maximum fine of $500 .

    That’s it – 30 days in jail for driving without a license and contributing directly to the death of another person and not staying at the scene of an accident she caused??

  • dporpentine

    @b0b5a0cf4ee09ff380fd46de4055393f:disqus  Not just leaving the scene, but leaving the scene to go to a . . . baby shower. And of course (from the article): “Jurors are barred from being told that Jasmine Herron, 23, died in the September 2010 accident.”

  • Ian Turner

    On Wednesday I passed a driver who was calling the police to complain about a cyclist he had doored, because the cyclist “tried to get away”.

  • Joe R.

    I fully agree with everyone here who mentions that it’s refreshing to hear someone of stature mention that laws regarding bicycles should be more realistic. I personally would allow bikes to treat reds as yields whether going straight or turning. And I emphasize that yield means exactly that-if cars or pedestrians are crossing the intersection, you wait until they clear it before proceeding. If there is no clear interval, you simply wait for the light to change.

    Timing lights sounds good in theory, but for various reasons it’s not practical in many parts of the outer boroughs. Remember that unlike Manhattan, you have major arterials going north-south and east-west. Timing lights on both so one can proceed at a steady speed without hitting red in either direction is just about impossible. Light timing works well only where you have an arterial which only intersects minor streets. Even in this ideal case, timing lights for cyclist speeds presents major problems given the variability in cruising speeds even for the same cyclist under different road conditions. A far better approach would be to replace as many traffic lights as possible with roundabouts.

  • Joe R.

    @d8d46f16f380afef59ca318522397233:disqus Same thing for me with the winds.  A few weeks ago I rode a couple of miles past city limits. Coming back fighting the headwinds I barely averaged 14 mph. Of course, going out was nice-I averaged over 17 mph, including close to 19 mph over one 6 mile stretch. And I hit 35 mph twice, once on a nearly level road (which shows how strong the tailwind was). Overall average for the 24 mile ride was 15.6 mph. I find when it’s windy, the speed I gain with the tailwinds never makes up for the speed I lose fighting headwinds in the other direction. Crosswinds are always a speed killer as well.

    Regarding Manhattan, it’s been literally decades since I last rode there, but one experience stands out. Back in 1981 when I tried messengering for a short time I went from 125th Street to West 4th Street without hitting a light. Of course, I did it in 15 minutes flat. I’ve yet to average that kind of speed over that long a stretch anywhere else in NYC, even Eastern Queens late nights. Back in college I covered 10 miles in 25 minutes, but this was on Route 1 in NJ going from Trenton back to Princeton.  That road only had lights every few miles, and they stay green unless a vehicle on the cross street trips the detector.

  • Eric McClure

    That San Francisco video is chilling.  And police acceptance of vehicular violence appears to be bicoastal.

  • fj

    Senate Climate Hawks Deliver Speech Call for U.S. Action on the “Planetary Crisis of Global Warming”

    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/02/17/427842/senate-climate-hawks-speech-action-on-the-planetary-crisis-of-global-warming/

  • fj

    World’s Worst Elected Official Makes the Case for Sprawl

    http://thinkprogress.org/rom/2012/02/20/428714/worlds-worst-elected-official-makes-case-for-sprawl/

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