Today’s Headlines

  • Central Park Cyclist Sues Man She Alleges Pushed Her Off Bike, Resulting in Concussion (DNA)
  • Yet the Daily News Can’t Help But Mention “Spandex Scofflaws” and “Speeding Bicyclists”
  • Riders Alliance Pushes for Free Transfers From G Train to J/M and at Barclays Center (Bklyn Paper)
  • No New Taxes, Tolls, Fees, or Fares to Pay for Sandy — We’ll Use the Credit Card (TransNat, NY1, WSJ)
  • Don’t Expect Subway Service to the Rockaways Until Summer (NY1)
  • Verrazano Toll Hike Slammed at S.I. MTA Hearing; P.A. Toll Hike Begins Sunday (Advance 1, 2)
  • Garodnick Drops Out of Comptroller Race, Endorses Stringer, Looks to Council Speakership (News 1, 2)
  • Quinn Wants NYC to Best London and Copenhagen Infrastructure… for Storms, Not Transport (Observer)
  • Citing FreshDirect, Liu Wants to End EDC Subsidies (Crain’s)
  • Tonight and This Weekend: A New Vision for Fulton Street in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill (Brownstoner)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The burden of Sandy will not be upon our riders,” said MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota.
    Instead, the agency will rely on external borrowing.’

    Correction.  The burden of Sandy will not be put on riders my age, but will be put off until we have retired and use the system less and have moved away.  We’re going to stick it to future riders and taxpayers, the way those in the past stuck it to us, until the whole thing collapses.  Consistent with federal, state, local and corporate policy across the country.

  • Albert

    Re: “Don’t Expect Subway Service to the Rockaways Until Summer” —

    Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity for the city to try out bike share stations, which are reportedly so easy to drop off & pick up?  At least stations that weren’t themselves damaged by the storm.

    Besides easing travel for at least some people in the Rockaways, a mini-bike share system like this would allow Citibike to work out kinks before their major spring roll-out.  It also would be excellent PR & publicity for cycling in general.

    I’d also guess that it would show the popularity of bike share when Rockaway residents complain bitterly when the city tries to remove the stations after subway service is restored.

  • MFS

    Not sure that the snark in your “MTA Credit Card” headline is justified.  To expect riders or city or state taxpayers or even drivers to find $5B at a time we are recovering from a disaster is beyond unreasonable (the most bold of any toll scheme only raises $2B max).

    This was a disaster.  The federal government should provide the money and that appears to be the MTA’s (and most other’s observers) full expectation in moving to issue that debt.

  • jrab

    Albert has a good idea, but why not use the opportunity to try out one of the next generation platforms like that Social Bicycle one from last year? That way, if it works, the Rockaways can keep using it, and if it doesn’t work, the city-contracted system doesn’t share the blame.

  • Anonymous

    Borrowing against a receivable (e.g. expected payments from federal government and insurance policies) is not a problem.  It’s done all the time by corporations and governments without any negative effects.  It’s the portion of the disaster recovery that is not going to be funded by external sources which is worrisome.

    That last billion or so really shouldn’t be put on the already heavily indebted MTA balance sheet without a new revenue source to offset it.  This is the part that has to come from either fare increases, dedicated revenue such as congestion tolls, or else from dis-investment in the capital stock.

  • APJH

    Re “Spandex Scofflaws” and “Speeding Bicyclists”
    I work in midtown and I see cyclists constantly speeding down 5th Avenue, RARELY  stopping for red lights, plowing through crosswalks crammed with pedestrians who are forced to jump out of their way. Yes, some cyclists follow the law and yield to pedestrians, but–based on 15 years of observing NYC cyclists–MOST DO NOT.

  • Anonymous

    Liu has been a shockingly good public servant ever since the story of his sleazy fundraisers came out.  

    I’m inclined to agree with his idea here.  Further to his idea, how about instead of cities throwing money at specific companies, cities instead just try to be overall really good, healthy cities, where smart, talented people would want to work and start businesses?  
    Last night Cap’n Transit tweeted a Matt Yglasias article that got me thinking about this, and now it seems like Liu is saying something similar.  Here’s the Yglasias article:  http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/11/28/living_social_laying_off_400.html

  • Anonymous

    @9d1931a986585a6ce6a7fc048c7ade27:disqus : I never ceases to amaze me how people like you consider cyclists going at 12 mph to be “speeding”, while failing to notice the motorists going at 40 mph (for the record, the speed limit is 30 mph).

    You should look up “confirmation bias”.

    Yes, it’s wrong to plow through a crowded intersection against the light. But I seriously doubt that “most” cyclists do it.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Right, I work in Midtown also, and don’t see much like that going on.  Is it more common north of 44th Street?

    Riding in Midtown, nearly every day I am forced to stop at a green light.  Why?  The wave of high speed auto traffic has passed, and jaywalkers have already swarmed the crosswalk. 

    On the rare occasions that I see “pedestrians who are forced to jump out of their way,” it occurs when other bike riders fail to yield the right of way to those who do not have it, as I do.

  • Anonymous

    @9d1931a986585a6ce6a7fc048c7ade27:disqus 
    Let me try to clarify this for you: 

    Some people are assholes.  Some people are bicyclists.  Some assholes are bicyclists. 

    It does not follow that “most” bicyclists are assholes.

    Also, I bike commute to midtown.  I think you’re suffering from stockholm syndrome.  Don’t get me wrong, I hate the asshole bicyclists too.  But, the non-yielding cars that turn, have got to be higher on the annoyance list, then bicycles. 

    And also, do you really work off of 5th ave in Midtown?  Because if so, I’d think your biggest annoyance would be the tourist tsunami blocking the sidewalk, looking up at the sky, and not where they’re walking.   Or maybe you don’t work near Rock Center?

    The critique of “spandex” and “scofflaw” language is that it stains all bicyclists with that slur.  I ride to work in a suit every day (ok, biz casual most days).  I yield to peds and obey most laws (but sure, I’ll ride on the sidewalk for 2 blocks on the West Side Highway, since you can’t cross on the cross-street I take, and there are rarely any peds on the sidewalk).   But, I’m not running people over in Central Park and so I resent the accusation.  Cars kill people like crazy in NYC but we don’t assume all drivers are entitled assholes (ok, some are, but not all and probably not most (well, except when looking for a parking spot perhaps)).

  • @9d1931a986585a6ce6a7fc048c7ade27:disqus A fun trick you can play with your comment: substitute “cyclists” with “drivers” and “stopping for red lights” with “signaling turns or lane changes” or “following at a safe distance” or (as @qrt145:disqus has already pointed out) “going the speed limit.” (But, hey, it’s New York, right? Cars are supposed to be driven by sociopaths. That’s what we’re here for!)

    An unfun trick with your comment: look up who actually kills people in this city. And then look up who dies. Pedestrians and cyclists are rarely, if ever, in the first category. But they make up a disproportionate number of the second.

  • APJH

    I did not mean to imply that all cyclists are assholes. I also did not mean to imply that cyclists are hitting 40 MPH down city streets. I’m just saying I see several cyclists each day who do not reduce their speed when approaching an intersection, even when they have a red light ahead.

    Certainly, there are plenty of asshole drivers as well (far more than asshole cyclists, to be sure). However, from a pedestrian standpoint, a car is far more visible when running a red light than a cyclist. Hence, jumping out of the way of a cyclist can prove to be trickier.

    I have no problem with cyclists on the road and I believe (a) there should be more of them and (b) there should be more dedicated lanes for them. I just believe they should follow the rules of the road and not put pedestrians in danger.

  • Joe R.

    @9d1931a986585a6ce6a7fc048c7ade27:disqus The cyclists who don’t reduce their speed when passing red lights will eventually die off by natural selection. In NYC that’s practically suicide. As for the rest, yes, cyclists will often not adhere strictly to the rules of the road for both practical and safety reasons, just as pedestrians jaywalk and cross against the light. So long as they look where they’re going, which most do, this is harmless behavior. Not one person has been killed by a cyclist since 2009. During that same time period hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by motor vehicles, and tens of thousands have had life-changing injuries. Focus on the real danger here. I’ll readily admit that certain classes of cyclists, primarily delivery cyclists, are a low level annoyance, but so are many other things in this city. I personally always yield to pedestrians, even when the pedestrians are jaywalking. I also regularly pass through red lights and stop signs, but only after slowing enough to ascertain if the path is clear. I’ve yet to have even a close call doing this, never mind an actual collision.

  • Albert

    Let’s please retire the cliche “The Rules Of the Road.”  It’s just lazyspeak for rules that were designed only to discipline motor vehicle drivers, and with only their requirements & convenience in mind.  These rules that everyone seems to think always existed, if followed mindlessly by pedestrians & cyclists, would make walking & cycling so inefficient and tedious that no one would ever walk or bike.

    Until lights are timed for safe cycling speeds, few, even courteous, cyclists will slavishly stop for reds.  And as long as 90% of streets remain one-way, delivery cyclists will salmon and ride on sidewalks, no matter what “The Rules Of the Road” say.

  • @45589687e8df260df565d048dab64df2:disqus And thanks to salmoning, some people will be injured and some people will die.

    Let’s follow the rules of the road, shall we? Doing so doesn’t stop anyone from advocating for changing them.

  • Bolwerk

    Term limits didn’t do jack to bring fresh blood to the City Council.  All the major officials are just trying to play musical chairs.

    And, wait, did Liu want to do something sane? How about: end EDC subsidies, put PUT THE MONEY TOWARD TRANSIT.

  • Joe R.

    @twitter-951559544:disqus It’s great to advocate changing the law, but if all cyclists were to suddenly start following the rules of the road as they exist, my guess would be the lawmakers would say there’s no problem, and therefore no need to change the law. History has shown that nonsensical or unjust laws are usually only changed when large numbers of people disobey them. Albert has it right-existing laws and infrastructure make cycling/walking ridiculously inefficient and tedious. I’m a fast cyclist, but if I stopped and waited out every red light I encounter on some streets, I could probably walk just as fast. Remember a lot of lights now are set up for double stops for reasons I can’t fathom. Just as the light on one block turns green, the next one turns red. That could mean taking up to 2 minutes just to go one block. The grossly excessive number of traffic lights and stop signs in this city is one reason I’ve long been advocating grade-separated bike highways. If we refuse to change the laws or get rid of the lights, then we need to provide cyclists with an efficient alternative just as we provide cars with expressways to bypass traffic lights.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “If we refuse to change the laws or get rid of the lights, then we need to provide cyclists with an efficient alternative just as we provide cars with expressways to bypass traffic lights.”

    Light timing for 15 mph would probably solve the problem.  Instead of cyclist being expected to stop every two blocks, faster moving drivers would be expected to do so.

  • Joe R.

    @f9b2cb395abd5a101456b3b0a40912e1:disqus In theory light timing can help, but in practice too many things can throw everything off. Putting aside that cyclists ride at different speeds, even if a cyclist had ideal light timing for their riding speed, what happens when they encounter the typical things one encounters on NYC streets, like errant pedestrians, double-parked cars, stretches of bad pavement, buses pulling out of stops, or even headwinds? It doesn’t take much delay to result in missing a light, and then another a few blocks down, and so forth. I’ve encountered this even riding in Eastern Queens at 9 PM where there are sometimes enough random delays to cause me to miss lights I otherwise would have no trouble making. I can only imagine that it’s exponentially worse in Manhattan during business hours. The hard fact is that large numbers of traffic signals are simply incompatible with bikes, no matter what you do. This is why it’s common practice on European bike routes to either minimize the number of signals, or to use them via bike detectors to give priority to bikes at junctions.

    Incidentally, I’ve found a couple of stretches by me where the light timing is ideal as is. For example, going west on the LIE service road, I can go 4.3 miles from East Hampton Boulevard to Main Street without hitting a red, provided I get green when I hit Springfield Boulevard. Of course, I need to average about 18 mph but this is a comfortable pace for me. Even so, a headwind of just 6 or 7 mph throws everything off. So does traffic at any time earlier than about 9 PM.

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