Today’s Headlines

  • NYU Study: Alt-Side Parking Rules Increase Driving (WSJ)
  • Hit-and-Run Van Driver Critically Injures Cyclist on Flatbush Ave (PostGothamist)
  • BMW Driver Arrested After Slamming Into Man in Sunset Park (Post)
  • Felix Salmon: Following Traffic Signals on a Bike Is Pretty Cut-and-Dried
  • Brooklyn Bike Thieves Have No Shame (Bklyn Paper)
  • Prediction: This Subway Etiquette Problem Will Never Be Solved (NY1)
  • More Coverage in Gothamist of TA’s Report on NYPD Failure to Uphold Traffic Laws
  • What NYPD Does While Not Enforcing Traffic Laws: Painting Over Anti-NYPD Murals (DNA)
  • What, No Landmarks Review for This Historic Change to Inwood Curb Lane? (DNA, News)
  • Got a Bridge? Andrew Cuomo Is Happy to Widen It (Buffalo News)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anonymous

    Re street sweeping: is the sheer frequency necessary?  It happens like twice a week in my neighborhood, and the street never looks any different after than it did before.  Those trucks seem to move filth around more than remove it.

    Can New Yorkers pay for Buffalo’s bridge?  Can we? Please! Can we, Daddy Cuomo?

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    The Alt-Side parking study doesn’t seem to take into account all the people who would have cars if it weren’t for street sweeping.  While the people with cars may drive more as a result of alt-side parking, it has to keep even more cars from being owned by NYC residents.

  • kevd

    @ Bolwerk…
    I think in many locations the frequency of streets sweeping is about double of what it needs to be.
    Also, New Yorkers are disgusting slobs who should have to root in their own filth for a little while if they’re going to dump their litter everywhere.

  • kevd

    I would suspect that the frequency of street cleaning and garbage pick-up is somewhat influenced by the power of the sanitation workers union. But that is really just a guess.

  • Haha I love this: http://villageofhaverstraw.fil… Everyone sign this petition, please:

    A Liked

  • Anonymous

    @kevd:twitter : Probably.  Thing is, the street sweeping doesn’t seem to keep us from rooting in our own filth anyway. Preventing that would require actually fining litterbugs and dealing more proactively with waste. (A perfectly reasonable move to limit plastic bags was shot down by the retail lobby a few years ago.) 

    Maybe a deposit on plastic bags would do a lot of good. It does seem to make cans and bottles being strewn around relatively rare.

    Unrelated: does Disqus care that their product is a complete POS? They don’t seem to.

  • Anonymous


    I have no problem with anything that Randy Cohen wrote.

    I DO hold drivers to a higher standard than cyclists or
    pedestrians.  Just as I hold gun users to a higher standard than I
    would a person holding a rock in their hand. 

    I have a problem when the police tell me they can do nothing about a
    driver threatens to drive over me if I don’t get out of his way, but
    on the other hand, they will come running to my aid if the driver
    has pointed a gun out the car window and made the same threat.  When
    the cops can explain the difference between a six foot wide, two ton
    car uphill from me, and a half inch wide bullet – when the driver has a
    better chance of hitting me with the car – then I will take whatever
    else the police have to say seriously.  This is not hypothetical – this
    actually happened, and no, senior NYC police officials could not provide
    any answer to why guns threats are serious, but car threats cannot – will not – be addressed.

    This would all be a much smaller issue if any American driver
    actually understood and performed a YIELD properly.  Drivers, cops
    and judges are clueless about what YIELD means. This is all too kind
    to drivers; STOP signs have been installed in the hopes that
    drivers will actually slow and look, something they never do with
    YIELD signs. 
    Unless you have been watching me drive, you never see
    any drivers actually come to a full stop on a Right Turn On Red;
    they are all rolling through, more or less in accord with the YIELD
    law, but certainly not with the stop law.  Rolling Stops are the norm for drivers.  Stopping half across the crosswalk, and starting rolling before the green light is the norm for NYC drivers.

    European streets certainly have many more YIELD than STOP signs, but
    that is not all that is involved.  First, driver education and
    enforcement has nearly zero tolerance for stupidity.  Second, the
    roadways themselves are designed and built to alert drivers to the
    change from being on a priority road to coming to an intersection
    where cars have to yield priority.  In older cities, signage and
    pavement surfaces and markings are liberally applied to alert, warn,
    and guide drivers, cyclists and pedestrians about what is coming. 

    Under US zoning and traffic designs, a cull de sac can be 60 feet
    wide while intersecting a major road, so how is a driver supposed to
    know to even slow down?  Drivers don’t even realize they have an
    intersection ahead of them, or on such a wide road, they think they
    have the priority.

    In NYC you run into a red traffic light every 200 feet, 20 intersections per mile, for mile after mile.  And those lights are timed to keep cars moving at 30 MPH or faster, not at a cyclists 12 MPH cruise.  Cyclists keep running into red lights and have to stop for a minute at each one.  Even in Manhattan, once the waiting cars and pedestrians have crossed on their green, the streets are empty, and can be crossed, with caution, to move ahead to the next waiting red light.  There are more traffic signals in NYC than the rest of NY State and New Jersey put together!  Cyclists, by design of the signal timing, are constantly being delayed by red lights, often with no cross traffic. 

    Europe typically implements shorter overall traffic signal timing – complete cycles (red to green to red) in 60 seconds, so no delay is longer than 30 seconds.  Second, European cities are not afraid to lower the street speed so cyclists can stay on a 12 MPH Green Wave, they don’t violate red lights, because they are not forced to keep hitting red lights.  They also implement leading green so cyclists and pedestrians can clear intersections before the cars are allowed to move.  And drivers are educated and enforced to ensure these features keep working.

    Some of the worst days I have ever had when cycling – or driving,
    for that matter – have been when I have taken a holier-than-thou We
    Will ALL Follow the Law attitude.  I was lucky to come out alive at
    the end.  Traffic, despite explicit laws, requires an ongoing
    choreography between all the roadway users.  Rigid adherence is
    brittle and therefore things will crack into pieces.  Drivers all
    too frequently do not follow either the law, or the rules of the
    road, and cyclists have to be flexible to deal with this.

    Two of the very few car-bike collisions I have had in 60 years of cycling, involved drivers
    rear ending me, at a stop sign, and at a red light.  The red light
    ramming was a hit-and-run, and when I reported the crash to the NYPD and NYS DMV, with the license number, they did less than nothing about it.  In a third crash, I
    was hit by a car while I was riding on a BIKE PATH – yes, cars were
    banned from that bike path.  Again, the NYPD did less than nothing – in
    fact they threatened to arrest me for asking for the responding
    officers names and badge numbers.

    And you expect cyclists to obsequiously follow the law.  As if that
    will do us any good?
    Cyclists can do everything right, all the time, and our police, DAs and courts will not back us up, at all.  We are systematically marginalized.

    I am still waiting for that seat at the lunch counter and a seat at
    the front of the bus.

    Randy Cohen is right, bicyclists are a third way, and the laws were
    not written for us, much less with us in mind.

    Under most US motor vehicle law we are not part of the solution. 

    If we are not being treated as part of the problem, the law treats
    us as part of the precipitate

  • Anonymous


    I am still waiting for that seat at the lunch counter and a seat at the front of the bus.

    I strongly recommend walking back on that comparison. Strongly.

  • Ian Turner

    “The driver was arrested at the scene”

    Again, an odd way to spell “No criminality suspected”. Also odd, since according to the Post it was not the driver but rather the BMW which was involved in the crash.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Re street sweeping: is the sheer frequency necessary?”

    On many residential streets, occasional street sweeping would do.  When the trees drop their leaves or other other stuff, mostly. 

    But then, how would people know to move their cars? That would seem to make once per week the minimum without sophisticated electric signs that could flash for a few days before a periodic sweeping.

    Other stuff is also frequently scheduled for alternate side.  Utility work for example.

  • Joe R.

    @Brownstone2:disqus You make great points, especially the one about the sheer number of traffic signals in NYC. Sure, in Europe cyclists usually obey signals because 1) they’re often timed for bicycle speeds, although I think 30 km/h makes more sense than 20 km/h and 2) European cities usually use roundabouts so a traffic signal is a rare thing.

    NYC on the other hand has gone completely crazy with traffic signals, including implementing horribly complex timing patterns at intersections of 3 roads in the outer boroughs whereas a roundabout would be perfect in this situation. As a result, often red light cycles are in excess of one minute. During last night’s ride between 1 am and 2:30 am I actually saw a fair number of cars pass red lights, so it’s not only cyclists who feel lights are too frequent and too long. Given this awful environment, how can one not expect most cyclists to pass lights when stopping and starting repeatedly will take as much energy as riding a stage in the Tour de France, and will also reduce average speeds to walking speeds? NYC hasn’t even bothered putting in vehicular and pedestrian detectors so at least lights wouldn’t go red unless something was actually crossing. A few weeks ago I saw an amazing contrast between NYC and everywhere else. I rode out to Glen Cove Road at about 1 am. I took NY 25 most of the way home as usual. For the first 6.3 miles before I hit city limits I didn’t see one single red light. Evidently the lights out there all had detectors, and since there were no cars waiting on the side blocks, the lights on NY 25 remained green. I did see a few lights go red from a distance when a waiting car triggered the signal, but the light changed back to green within seconds after the car passed, long before I got there. Once I hit city limits it was back to the same old sh*t despite the traffic level being just as low as during the rest of the ride. I must have saw 15 or 20 red lights in the last 2.8 miles I was on NY 25, compared to none on the first 6.3 miles. So my question is if NYC insists on having so many traffic signals, why can’t they do the same thing as Nassau Country and most of the rest of the country and use detectors? Having dumb timed signals which force everyone to wait at 3 AM for literally nothing is about as dumb as it gets, and is very disrespectful of people’s time. It’s high time we had people petition NYC DOT for a little traffic signal sanity. The situation has just gotten completely out of control.

  • Anonymous


    [the police] will come running to my aid if the driver has pointed a gun out the car window and made the same threat.

    Not if the driver, is the police, as happened to me in DC as I was approaching a red light too slowly for the off-duty cop.  (who was screaming obscenities at me as well . . . and then when I approached, he flashed his gun).

  • KillMoto

    I agree with Randy Cohen that nobody should get away with picking and choosing when to follow the law. 

    Let’s start with the NYPD, who ignores the law for infractions large and small.  Large: failure to investigate traffic crimes when the victim has substantial injuries but is not dead.  Small:  Parking police automobiles in bike lanes and sidewalks, requiring cyclists and pedestrians to go into harms way. 

    Respect?  Motorists will never respect pedestrians or cyclists until they are routinely held liable for roadway homicide. 

    I’ll stop for lights once the NYPD starts to lead by example. 

  • m to the i

    It’s finally happening. City Council wants to expand the Brooklyn Bridge bike and pedestrian path.

  • Anonymous

    @b4a5eba3fdc7e69ca000b7c0bb4f992a:disqus : Cool. It’s a small step closer to how the Brooklyn Bridge should be. The peak year for usage was 1907, when there were streetcars and el trains crossing it. (Source: see page 4 of this PDF.)

  • krstrois

    I like Felix Salmon except for when he’s really f*cking annoying. 

  • I am still waiting for that seat at the lunch counter and a seat at the front of the bus.

    I strongly recommend walking back on that comparison. Strongly.

    Oh dear. Let us roll out the fainting couch at maximum velocity—but stopping and waiting for any red lights, of course. It is a terrible terrible thing to compare racial discrimination with this routine matter of life and death affected by non-racial bias.

    Even where racial discrimination plainly overlaps with anti-cycling bias (have you hated a “delivery cyclist”, lately?) it’s important to avoid viewing anti-cycling attitudes within their ridiculously obvious social context.

    This is all a simple matter of self-improvement. Verily, if a few more Streetsblog-reading pedestrians and cyclists will stop and await every traffic signal, all Long Island motorists will support our great cause!

  • Anonymous

    @n8han:disqus I suppose you endorse the idea that the situation of bicyclists in New York City is even faintly analogous to Jim Crow-era African-American oppression? That you think having to obey a single traffic law (stopping for red lights) is, again, even faintly analogous to the suppression of voter rights, the systematic elimination of wage and work-environment protections, the formal and informal division of the social and cultural world into one that is at all moments and in absolute terms superior and inferior, the legalized reduction of access to social services,  the legalized freedom to be killed by a mob?* 

    If you do, then you cannot have a very real sense of the problems people face currently in this world. Transportation issues matter a great deal–a great deal more than people generally think. And they affect people at all levels of the social world but are particularly hard on people at the lower rungs. But biking is not even the most important transportation issue, and as a social issue it pales by comparison to many others.

    I worry that I have even fewer values in common with people on this site than I thought.

    * If you thought that poor crash investigations = pro-lynching laws/practices, that would be incredibly scary. So I’m assuming you don’t.

  • There’s really no need to make it personal if you disagree with something another commenter says. I’m closing this thread.


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