Today’s Headlines

  • Speeding Driver Launches Over Speed Bump, Hits House in Williamsbridge (Post)
  • Post Claims 6 1/2 Avenue Stop Signs Are Causing Gridlock; Observer Looks at the Facts
  • School Bus Driver Charged in Corona Crash That Injured 16 (DNA)
  • Bike Lane Critique From Daily Newser Alex Nazaryan Is Actually a Good Argument for More Bike Lanes
  • Assembly Member Matthew Titone: The Case for Speed Cameras (HuffPo)
  • “Another Week, and Still No Discernable Enforcement of Traffic Laws” (Ditmas Park Corner)
  • Victory for Man Who Fought for Stop Light at East 85th and East End Avenue for Six Years (NYT)
  • Taxi of Tomorrow Gets Blasted at TLC Hearing (CapNY)
  • Thruway Authority Studying Electronic Tolls; Higher Tolls May Be Coming (Times Union)
  • Margaret Chin in Favor Of LES Curbside Bus Stop Proposal; Urges More Input  (NY1)
  • Cap’n Transit Continues the History of How NYC’s Overnight Parking Ban Was Eliminated
  • MTA’s Oldest Subway Cars Get Rehab to Make It Through Final Few Years (SAS)
  • Fearing Increase In Diesel Truck Traffic, South Bronx Activists Expand FreshDirect Suit (News)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Guest

    What do you want to bet that nobody had 6 1/2 Avenue added to the City’s 911 system, so when people call in with that location there’s an extra two minute conversation with the dispatcher on the other end of the phone who can’t identify the location on the system?

  • Anonymous

    RE: Speed Hump Crash.  Sadly, I expect to see people pull out this article whenever they don’t like a speed hump on their street.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Queens car wash workers voted to unionize.  It is possible that car wash union will raise wages for some of the serfs, leading to higher prices for the car driving executive and political classes.

    That would be a reversal of a trend, in which the executive/financial and political/public union classes use their free choice in the marketplace to demand a better and better deal from the serfs.  Meanwhile, they cut deals with their cronies to enhance their own pay and  pensions, as investment returns and public services disappear.

  • Real New Yorker

    Man, Alexander Nazaryan is a wimp. Real New Yorkers aren’t scared by a little traffic.

  • krstrois

    Pretty confident Nazaryan never supported cycling infrastructure to begin with and just wanted to say he did so he’d seem like an objective and curious person to readers who are not familiar with his many other pieces about cycling infrastructure, all of which have the same “objective and curious!” initial tone and all of which end in the same conclusion — bike lanes are scary and bad! 

  • J

    Mr. Nazaryan is a lot like a lot of New Yorkers. He doesn’t feel protected by a strip of paint, and he correctly observes that drivers don’t respect the white lines either. Like Mr. Nazaryan, most people are going to leave their bikes in their basements, until they can bike safely and comfortably around the city. His favorite lanes are all protected lanes, but we have so precious few of them, and they don’t yet connect to each other.

    More protected bike lanes!

  • kevd

    Wow, that Alex Nazaryan is quite a schmuck.

    He probably would get lost and fall down in a shopping mall!

  • Guest

    Speed hump: sure, it looks bad.  But there’s two things to consider:

    1) It helps reduce speed in the vast majority of the cases.  So the tradeoff of one out-of-control vehicle for hundreds of slower vehicles should tilt in favor of public safety.

    2) Even with the crazy out-of-control vehicle, this probably improved safety.  The car crashed after the speed hump, which was sited by engineers to minimize crash risks.  Had the vehicle not be intercepted by the speed hump, what are the chances it would have come to a stop in a fiery crash on the far side of a busy intersection, after wiping out another vehicle or two and a handful of pedestrians?

  • Reader

    Nazaryan’s complaint that bike lanes don’t do enough and are therefore worthless is a bit like complaining that cancer treatments are not 100% effective so therefore we should stop trying to cure cancer.

  • @7d84473213f40db0d63aa6432f2eddae:disqus : there are no addresses on that street designation, only addresses relating to the buildings that are on designated lots on the cross-streets and avenues. So if they know the address of the building where they are at, there’s no routing problem at all. And if they don’t know – well, that’s a fairly common issue and isn’t a fault of the new designation of the pedestrian spaces.
    I do think someone ought to update 911’s systems with it, but if Google Maps already has the information, I bet it’s official in government mapping systems (including the ones that 911 uses) by now.

  • Anonymous

    Nazaryan’s experience, from a more objective observer, would lead to a call for more protected bike lanes and better automobile and pedestrian behavior/enforcement in and around bicycle infrastructure. As yesterday’s TA NYC Century once again illustrated, getting around large swaths of New York City by bicycle is for the most part practical and enjoyable, regardless of Nazaryan’s complaints. Indeed, my 11 year old son managed to do so with little difficulty.

  • Guest

    @brianvan:disqus – I should clarify – I didn’t mean that this was a problem caused BY the designation of the 6 1/2 Ave… rather, it’s yet one more case where the unaddressed problem with the 911 system could create an issue.

    People often don’t know addresses in an emergency. 

    You’re walking down the sidewalk and somebody gets hit by a car.  Call 911… What’s the address?  Beats the Hell out of me!  What’s the cross street?  6 1/2 Avenue.  That’s not in my system.  That’s what’s on the sign… And around you go!

    That said…
    DOT would be smart to put in the extra effort to make sure this creation of theirs is included in the system.  If something does happen, you know the Post will place 110% of the blame on DOT.

  • Jeff

    @7d84473213f40db0d63aa6432f2eddae:disqus  I know exactly what you’re talking about.  Last winter, I was crossing the Williamsburg Bridge Bike Path late at night during a snow storm.  Needless to say, there was very little bike/ped traffic, so when I saw a man passed out on the side of the path, I immediately called 911.  “I’m on the Williamsburg Bridge North Bike/Pedestrian Path”.  “What’s the address for that?”  “I’m in the middle of a bridge.”  “I need an address, sir…”

  • Driver

    I wonder if Nazaryan is going to give up crossing the street as well. 

    “So many embarrassing tumbles”???
    I call BS.  Either that or he can’t handle his beer.

  • Anonymous

    I also called 911 to report a suspiciously abandoned vehicle right in the middle of a bridge, and the operator (or her computer) was remarkably obtuse. “I’m in the middle of the bridge”. “What’s the cross street?” “I don’t know, does the Harlem River count as a street?”. What do they do if you call and you are in the middle of a large park, or at sea? I suppose the 911 operators “out in the country” somehow manage to figure it out.

  • Joe R.

    Honestly, Nazaryan’s article does make a couple of good points even if I vehemently disagree with his overall conclusion. One thing I particularly agree with is this:

    “Adding to the madness is the fact that bikers are conditioned to enjoy the speed of a vehicle intended to run with minimal restriction. You don’t buy a Cannondale SuperSix EVO to crawl along Amsterdam Ave.”

    This point seems lost on those who design bike infrastructure in NYC. Not only are there many unintended obstacles on bike lanes, but the city has its own in the form of infernal traffic signals, sometimes on every f-ing block. Human powered transport works much better when the motion is continuous. More importantly, it’s much more enjoyable that way. Enjoyable is what gets people coming back for more. Start-stop-start-stop-start-stop is not the way to do it. If you want to make bicycle infrastructure which is both enjoyable and useful, then this means seldom requiring stops or slowdowns. Most of what has been built does absolutely nothing to address this even though there is loads of existing grade-separated infrastructure, particularly in the outer boroughs, which could be leveraged if we wanted to.

    As things stand now, because of traffic congestion, even here in Eastern Queens, the only time I find it enjoyable enough to bike is after about 10 PM. I certainly wouldn’t want to commute any distance during the day the way things stand. And riding in Manhattan? I would have to be paid to do so as it would be anything but pleasant. If I’m going to be delayed by traffic or traffic lights, I’d rather just be sitting in a bus. Nothing more frustrating than taking a hour to cover a distance you know you can physically cover in 20 minutes if better conditions were provided. NYC needs to look at the bicycle superhighways in The Netherlands and emulate them. Even London is studying the idea of elevated cycleways. In the end, this might be the only way to efficiently cycle in dense cities during business hours.

    All this isn’t to knock what JSK has done so far. She put bicycling on the map and is to be commended for that. But just as cars only came into their own when expressways were built, we sorely need the equivalent for bicycles. The existing bike infrastructure serves more as the equivalent of local streets. A bicycle is a wonderful machine which only really comes into its own when you can pedal uninterrupted.

  • krstrois

    @ Joe R. I have to disagree with you slightly. The *transportation* cycling infrastructure shouldn’t first be built for speed but for the safety of the most endangered and at risk street user — a child or elderly person. Those people should be able to cycle safely throughout the city and get a across a street without fear. I think Nazaryan is right that cyclists have been conditioned to go fast. I think this is because what cycling culture we have in the US is largely sport-focused and associated with spending and a sort of performative leisure and the people who historically cycled for transport were either poor or eccentric and certainly not worthy of any respect or extra care. These social signifiers are changing in some ways and remain intractable in others. 
    I support timing lights for bicycles and totally separated Dutch-style infrastructure. But I just can’t get into the idea that the roads are built first and foremost for fast cyclists. We complain when drivers use our regular roads like they are in Formula One. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask cyclists to ride differently when they are not in the velodrome or in a road race. 

  • Joe R.

    @cc36704b289cbef0ac72a06121c6c6d8:disqus You might want to take a look at the cycling superhighways in the Netherlands I mentioned. These routes are equally safe for an 8 year old and someone going 30 mph on a velomobile. Bicycle infrastructure which is totally separate from motor traffic and pedestrian traffic, including at intersections, *is* inherently much safer. It also happens to be faster for those who choose to ride fast. Actually, it’s faster for everyone because you don’t need to stop. And that’s the point. I’m not advocating infrastructure designed solely for fast cyclists. I’m advocating for infrastructure for cyclists of all abilities, and that includes fast cyclists. Remember that the speed differentials between fast and slow cyclists aren’t huge compared to the speed differentials we routinely have for cars on expressways. Certainly if we design for safe passing cyclists of all speeds can safely coexist.

    And if you have totally separate infrastructure you don’t need traffic lights at all. As a general rule, traffic lights on bike routes should be used very sparingly, if at all. And if they’re used, it should be to mainly to give bicycles priority over motor traffic at intersections which can’t be grade-separated for whatever reason. This is mostly how the Dutch do it on their superhighways. They don’t use traffic lights to stop bikes, but rather to stop motor traffic so bikes can proceed without stopping.

    As a cyclist, I feel I shouldn’t have to slow down when I’m already under the legal speed limit 99% of the time. The situation you mention with motor traffic is completely different. Drivers regularly go well in excess of the 30 mph speed limit on local streets. This is why we rightly complain about them all the time on this site. There would be no objection if cars mostly kept to the 30 mph limit, and I’m not seeing why there should be any objection to cyclists already doing the same by virtue of their limited power. When you start designing infrastructure to intentionally keep all cyclists well under the legal speed limit, then you essentially have separate but unequal facilities for motor vehicles and human-powered traffic. That’s illegal in many other facets of our society. It shouldn’t be tolerated here, either.

    I’m perfectly OK with cyclists who just want to amble along. At the same time though, I shouldn’t be forced to go at the same speed, especially if I need to cover a serious distance. Don’t think all fast cyclists are riding for sport. Long before bike lanes or biking was in vogue, I used to run long errands on my bike with my brother. Among them was a 20 mile each way trip to Lynbrook. The idea of riding that distance at an ambling 8 mph is ridiculous to say the least as it would turn an ~2.5 hour round trip at the speeds we managed to average into a 5-6 hour marathon. Long distance bicycle travel may well be a minority, even in the Netherlands, but that same infrastructure which accommodates it can also accommodate shorter distance cycling far better than bike lanes which mix all traffic. The Amsterdam model works in Amsterdam but NYC is 20 miles across. We need to think of terms of both short and long cycling trips if we are to grow utility cycling past Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn.

  • Joe R.

    @cc36704b289cbef0ac72a06121c6c6d8:disqus You might want to take a look at the cycling superhighways in the Netherlands I mentioned. These routes are equally safe for an 8 year old and someone going 30 mph on a velomobile. Bicycle infrastructure which is totally separate from motor traffic and pedestrian traffic, including at intersections, *is* inherently much safer. It also happens to be faster for those who choose to ride fast. Actually, it’s faster for everyone because you don’t need to stop. And that’s the point. I’m not advocating infrastructure designed solely for fast cyclists. I’m advocating for infrastructure for cyclists of all abilities, and that includes fast cyclists. Remember that the speed differentials between fast and slow cyclists aren’t huge compared to the speed differentials we routinely have for cars on expressways. Certainly if we design for safe passing cyclists of all speeds can safely coexist.

    And if you have totally separate infrastructure you don’t need traffic lights at all. As a general rule, traffic lights on bike routes should be used very sparingly, if at all. And if they’re used, it should be to mainly to give bicycles priority over motor traffic at intersections which can’t be grade-separated for whatever reason. This is mostly how the Dutch do it on their superhighways. They don’t use traffic lights to stop bikes, but rather to stop motor traffic so bikes can proceed without stopping.

    As a cyclist, I feel I shouldn’t have to slow down when I’m already under the legal speed limit 99% of the time. The situation you mention with motor traffic is completely different. Drivers regularly go well in excess of the 30 mph speed limit on local streets. This is why we rightly complain about them all the time on this site. There would be no objection if cars mostly kept to the 30 mph limit, and I’m not seeing why there should be any objection to cyclists already doing the same by virtue of their limited power. When you start designing infrastructure to intentionally keep all cyclists well under the legal speed limit, then you essentially have separate but unequal facilities for motor vehicles and human-powered traffic. That’s illegal in many other facets of our society. It shouldn’t be tolerated here, either.

    I’m perfectly OK with cyclists who just want to amble along. At the same time though, I shouldn’t be forced to go at the same speed, especially if I need to cover a serious distance. Don’t think all fast cyclists are riding for sport. Long before bike lanes or biking was in vogue, I used to run long errands on my bike with my brother. Among them was a 20 mile each way trip to Lynbrook. The idea of riding that distance at an ambling 8 mph is ridiculous to say the least as it would turn an ~2.5 hour round trip at the speeds we managed to average into a 5-6 hour marathon. Long distance bicycle travel may well be a minority, even in the Netherlands, but that same infrastructure which accommodates it can also accommodate shorter distance cycling far better than bike lanes which mix all traffic. The Amsterdam model works in Amsterdam but NYC is 20 miles across. We need to think of terms of both short and long cycling trips if we are to grow utility cycling past Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn.