Today’s Headlines

  • ESDC Cuts Barclays Parking in Half; Arena Lot Won’t Have Hydraulic Racks (AYRPost)
  • State DOT Acts to Save Bronx River Parkway Drivers From Themselves (NYT, Diaz)
  • Daily News Continues Its Relentless Quest for Answers on This Particular Fatal Crash
  • Witnesses: West Village Pedestrian Carrying Her Dog Seriously Injured by Speeding Cabbie (News)
  • Woman on Mobility Scooter Struck and Killed on Eastern Parkway (DNA, News, NY1)
  • Retrial Begins for Man Accused of Putting Woman in Coma Over Village Parking Spot (Post)
  • No Funding, No Transit, No Problem: Rockland Group Says Tappan Zee Is a Done Deal (Patch)
  • Liu Says New Cabs Must Be Wheelchair-Accessible, Pledges to Reject Contract (Capital)
  • Allen-Pike Street Plaza Set for July Completion (Gothamist)
  • Improvements to Flatbush Avenue Await Approval From Public Design Commission (B’stoner)
  • Planned Development for Willets Point to Be Delayed by Zoning Review (NYT)
  • Expanding Brooklyn Bike Patrol Offers a Safe Walk Home (News)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • J

    The Allen-Pike project is long overdue. However, it’s a shame that the construction of parts the new protected bike lane involves the closure of parts of the existing protected bike lane, making the entire stretch largely useless as a corridor for those not comfortable biking in traffic. Since only a few sections are being fully built out right now, I can only assume that when money is found to built out more sections, those section of bike path will be closed as well during construction. I also imagine that it will take 2-3 more phases of construction to complete the whole thing. So basically, Allen-Pike will not have a continuous protected bike path for the next 5-10 years. This is unacceptable, given that a continuous protected lane existed in 2009 & 2010. Surely there is a way to maintain some sort of bike facility during this lengthy construction.

  • Squiii

    There is nothing wrong with improving the Bronx River Parkway to try to prevent another incident like just occurred. It’s not just the drivers who can’t competently drive that are at risk, but their passengers, other drivers and occupants on the roadway, and pedestrians and cyclists below that are at risk. Yes, even those who are not violating the law are at risk as well.

    I don’t understand why there is all this indignation over the amount of coverage for this incident, either. The implication is clear: the coverage is there because people in a car died, while those on foot and on bicycle are ignored by the media. The fact is that most people that die in transportation are ignored by the media, be they in a car, on foot, or on a bicycle. This receives so much coverage because it is a high number of casualties in one vehicle, the mechanism of injury was spectacular, and it has great human interest story potential: three generations all killed in one car.

    Enough with the righteous indignation already; it just seems hysterical.

  • Fire Ray Kelly

    Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with improving the Bronx River Parkway to prevent another crash. But that’s not why the Daily News and the rest of NYC’s tabloid media is interested in this crash. The interest of the tabloids in this motor vehicle crash is completely pornographic. This is rubber-necking, pure and simple.

    If the local press was interested in making NYC streets safer, there’s a whole host of issues and stories they’d be chasing down. Mainly, they’d be hammering on NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the County D.A.’s relentlessly about their total failure to bring killer drivers to justice. But, instead, we get this crash porn.

    Look at the one, horrible, freak car crash instead of the relentlessly normal, day-to-day carnage that results from speeding, distracted driving and poor street designs. 

  • Hey, NY1, uh, Lana Rosas is still alive

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I for one am not outraged by the level of coverage, its the substance of the coverage that I find outrageous. 

    Radar cameras enforcing speed limits will save way more lives on that stretch of road, and many others at a much lower cost than will higher barriers.  In fact, higher barriers in this case may have gotten more people killed as the vehicle instead of flying off into the Zoo very likely could have landed on another vehicle on the same highway.

    The human tragedy of wiping out an entire family makes it difficult for a proper analysis to be done here, everyone feels bad for the family.  So when anyone tries to rationally discuss the clear factor of speed as the cause of this crash they are seen as heartless, blaming the victim.

    And as far as the should, woulds and coulds go.  This is another case where New York State should be requiring event recorders (black boxes) on all vehicles so that the exact operating conditions immediately prior to an accident could be determined.  In this case it is highly likely that the estimated 70 mph vehicle speed was a low ball. After all, that is only 140% of the posted speed limit, why should that have been considered a factor?

  • fj

    from Scientific American

    Accident-Zone:  Poorer Neighborhoods Have Less-Safe Road Designs

    http://bit.ly/K16Ig5

    @sciam:disqus 

    “Traffice injuries are four to six times higher in low-icome areas in Montreal, compared with wealthy neighborhoods.  Researchers find that better road designs could reduce those disparities.”

    Pathologies of Power
    Structural Violence

    Poor People First, and the tremendous benefits of Poor First initiatives.

  • Ben

    It’s pretty revolting that the Daily News opinion writers chose this instance to insist on agency attention to traffic safety, since they have 1) completely ignored Ray Kelly’s failures to uphold traffic laws and 2) devoted column after column to castigating Janette Sadik-Khan for implementing projects that save lives on neighborhood streets, thereby slowing down progress on other projects that would also save lives. They have no credibility on these issues.

  • Ed Ravin

    I hope NYS DoT does not narrow or impede the sidewalk along the Bronx River Parkway viaducts with the new barriers – they’ve been known to do that before.

  • Anonymous

    I think most readers on Streetsblog know that the knee-jerk response to the BRP crash to put up barriers to accommodate and forgive high-speed accidents is the wrong one. It is the spectacular nature of this accident that has so captured the attention of the press and the public. These rare but spectacular media-frenxied accidents like plane crashes, crane collapses, elevator plummets, etc. always invoke a knee-jerk responses that rarely address the actual problem but just satiate the public’s desire for action so they can go to sleep easier after the evening news feeling like this won’t happen to them.

    Who’s to say that adding barriers won’t encourage even more speeding, drivers now knowing that they won’t fly off the sides? And who’s to say that if a barrier had been in place that that car wouldn’t have bounced off at 70mph and gone flying back into moving traffic, causing a multi-car pileup resulting dozens more injuries and fatalities to other drivers? The real problem on the BRP is speeding, and barriers do nothing to address that.

  • vnm

    Re Bronx River Parkway: The focus on making roads more forgiving to bad drivers takes away impetus for making drivers more aware of their actions, more cautious and more careful with the multi-ton machines they’re piloting.

  • Anonymous

    @IvoryJive:disqus  “The real problem on the BRP is speeding, and barriers do nothing to address that.” Indeed, as you noted, the barriers will *encourage* speeding. Bravo for your comment, and ditto to Niccolo — great to have you back, I’ve missed you!

  • Brad Aaron

    @brianvan:disqus Good eye.

  • Squiii

    What strikes me as knee jerk is the assumption by the majority of commenters here that speed is the primary cause. Everyone is asserting this as if it were fact, yet where is the evidence? Vehicles have been known to go airborne at much lower speeds than even the speed limit on the BRP. Was the driver’s high rate of speed a contributing factor? Most likely, as it reduced her ability to adequately correct. Causative? Who knows, but to listen to everyone here, it has been studied and proven conclusively as the cause.

    The rampant speculation about the fiery deaths of so many more if the vehicle had been contained to the roadway is just that – speculation. The purpose of barriers along roadways is to contain vehicles on the roadway. If they have been demonstrated to fail at that task, as is the case here, it is not unreasonable to revisit them. It is particularly important in a location where people in areas below are at risk from vehicles leaving the roadway.

    As for the media: I think everyone here understands that the media is not in the business of being safety advocates, but rather in *business*. This kind of story sells, and followup indignant stories calling for safety improvements also sell. People have a very poor understanding of risk, and an emotional response to it, and media can capitalize on it.

    Bottom line is that this is not a fight worth fighting. Keep advocating for safety improvements to the infrastructure for vulnerable road users and recognize that spectacular crashes like this are going to cause DOT to react. Government has always been reactive and always will be.

  • Media Critic

    If seven cyclists, all members of the same family, catapulted off of the Williamsburg Bridge at once and fell to their deaths in the East River, the Daily News would suddenly find itself VERY interested in cyclist safety.

  • fj

    Stop pussy-footing around climate change and the glacial pace for achieving great low cost safe net zero mobility will morph into positively disruptive change in the way we move about this planet as one of the major solutions to the rapidly accelerating emergency.

    Climate Change Is Not A ‘Message.’  It’s An Objective Reality And An Urgent Crisis.  That’s Why We Must Talk About It.

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/05/02/475761/climate-change-message-objective-reality-urgent-crisis-we-must-talk-about-it/

    @climateprogress

  • Anonymous

    @29faeffc9a5c2985a9ed6e369910f5b9:disqus

    If seven cyclists, all members of the same family, catapulted off of the
    Williamsburg Bridge at once and fell to their deaths in the East River,
    the Daily News would suddenly find itself VERY interested in cyclist
    safety.

    No, the Daily News would mock the cyclists for anything they were perceived as having done wrong. They would use the word “lemmings.” There would be no analyses of road design. 

  • fj

    “We have to change the political game, so candidates can champion climate solutions and win.  And to do that, we need both moral power and a climate conversation that won’t quit.”

    And, net zero mobility is a major climate solution.

    “We’d be fools to ignore what our communication research tells us.  But we can’t develop the strength we need just by telling people what they want to hear.  We have to tell the truth, and act like we believe it.”

  • fj

    media critic & dporpentine,

    The media will find itself very interested in cyclist safety when another even more powerful storm than Irene actually floods the entire subway system for a month — not to mention wreaks havoc with the power grid — and the city starts hemorrhaging large portions of it $4 billion daily economic activity. 

  • Anonymous

    @Uptowner13:disqus 
    I hear you on the Allen-Pike Bike lanes.

    I used to take that route to work to reach the East River Greenway towards FiDi.

    And I agree with your sentiments 100%.  They already had a nice protected lane there.  Now, they want to make it all pretty like . . . great, but in the interim, we have to squeeze on allen, and if you’re heading north, from E Broadway through Delancey, you get squeezed big time by the Chinatown buses.

    The DoT has a schizophrenic relationship with cyclists.  On one hand, they seem to be trying, but on the other hand, they don’t really think these things through . . . 

  • fj

    And, the mere $24 million for bike share — had to be from private funds no less — and the $600,000 for 200 miles of paths will be quickly identified as obscene irresponsibly low amounts for net zero mobility; especially since Southern California recently got many $billions for this major whole system solution to climate change.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t mind the fact that the tragedy on the Bronx River Parkway is being covered, but what bothers me about the surrounding commentary, including the latest Daily News editorial, is how it highlights the mindset that drivers can do no wrong.

    * Speeding driver kills cyclist/pedestrian: it’s the cyclist’s/pedestrian’s fault for being on the road! (Or because we “know” the cyclist/pedestrian must have been breaking some law!)

    * Speeding driver kills self and all her passengers: it’s the government’s fault for not building a foolproof racetrack!

  • Zulu

    If you want to make BRP safe remove the barriers, install rumble strips at the outside shoulders an watch everybody avoid the right lane and slow down to 30mph or less. Yes, this would be an extreme measure but it goes to show that when you give people the responsibility for their own safety they take it seriously.

  • J

    @JarekAF:disqus To be fair, DOT isn’t in charge of the Allen/Pike construction. I think it’s the Parks Department that’s in charge, and from what I’ve seen, bicycling is a very low priority for Parks. They seem to simply not care. They refuse to put bike racks near popular destinations in parks, and have been extremely weak in any sort of push to actually promote cycling. It is therefore not surprising that construction under their supervision completely neglects the details of maintaining existing bicycle infrastructure. 

    That said, DOT needs to be fighting for these types of things. Bike lanes take time to build ridership, and if DOT can’t even keep them open (Allen/Pike & Grand), there is no way that ridership is going to grow, or even stay the same on these corridors.

  • Jay

    @e856fccbb144b4f3b9e7bcaa8ca30831:disqus & @29faeffc9a5c2985a9ed6e369910f5b9:disqus – there are no pedestrians…

    The sidewalks along this section of the BRP were abandoned to neglect and cut off from the pedestrian network long, long ago. 

  • Larry Littlefield

    Here’s an interesting article in The Economist about how oil imports screw up the U.S. and world economy.

    http://www.economist.com/node/21553424

  • reply to Larry:

    Thanks for the link. The world oil reserve is not? as abundant as it sounds.
    Saudi Arabia is not and will not be able to meet the high oil demand if
    trades with Iran is cut down.

  • Sorry to be so late to the comments on the Allen-Pike lane, but J is mistaken, the current bike lanes are NOT protected bike lanes, they are buffered. There is nothing in the way of a speeding out-of-control motor vehicle other than a plastic bollard.

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