Today’s Headlines

  • Jeff Klein Sides With Senate Republicans in Power-Sharing Arrangement (NYT, Crain’sNews)
  • The Lhota-for-Mayor Trial Balloon May Turn Into a Real Candidacy Soon (NYT)
  • Can Off-Set Bus Lanes Lift 125th Street Bus Riders Out of the Traffic Quagmire? (DNA)
  • Occupy Sandy, Please Stick to Stellar Relief Work and Stay Out of Transportation Policy (DNA)
  • Bike Corral Sprouts on Franklin Ave, the Fourth One in Brooklyn Since Last August (Patch, Bklyn Spoke)
  • Bklyn Paper Tale of Woe Has It All: A Blocked Driveway, Un-used Gas, Cruising for Parking, Etc.
  • Inside the Entitled Minds Behind the Red Light Camera Lawsuit (Advance)
  • Suffolk Adopts Countywide Complete Streets Policy (MTR)
  • Footage of Jay-Z Riding the R Is Great Transit-Oriented Propaganda (Gawker)
  • Attn: Publishers — #BikeNYC Photog Dmitry Gudkov Looking for a Book Deal! (ArtCrank)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anonymous

    Off-set bus lanes alone aren’t going to do it for 125th. That street needs a root-and-branch transformation of space is used for. Every Sunday, half an entire block of 125th is filled with double-parked church cars, which the local precinct explicitly allows. That’s just one church. The DNAinfo article says cars are illegally parked 81% of the time — and again, this is condoned by the NYPD. Select Bus Service simply cannot work in that environment. 

    Far more than elsewhere, DOT can’t do it alone here. Will the NYPD get in line? Will the local business community and driving political elite think about their customers rather than their personal convenience?

    There are 32,000 riders a day along 125th when the buses go walking speed. How many more might there be if the bus was actually fast? It’s an incredibly important project. But it’s probably DOT’s hardest SBS task yet. 

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Marks equated the yellow-light timing on Staten Island to a game of roulette, because of what seem like varying light times at different intersections.”

    OK let’s be fair.  That’s true.  Light times do vary — but for a reason.  Here is what I told my kids after they started trying to drive the speed limit in NYC after having started out driving elsewhere, and ended up going through lights or having to jam on the brakes.

    The speed limit is 30 mph on every street, but that isn’t the speed you should be going.  In Tulsa OK, where there are virtually no pedestrians, the speed limit in residential neighborhoods is 25.  It is 40-plus on arterials.  In NYC it should be 20 on busy commercial streets and residential side streets, but it isn’t.

    But the lights are timed as if that was the case.  They yellows are much shorter on residential blocks than they are on Ocean Parkway, 4th Avenue, etc. They are shorter than they are anywhere else I have ever driven.

    Once I explained that to them, they had no problems with lights, and were driving much safer.

    I’ll bet the folks complaining about the lights were not on Hylan Boulevard.  They were probably going fast down a narrow street.

  • Jjmacjohnson

    Yes leave the transportation policies advice to the smug folks at this web site! Please!

  • Thank you for that headline for the article about Occupy Sandy’s crazy request. The other day I was sent an email petition supporting the suspension of Verrazano Bridge tolls  and my head just about exploded.

  • Joe R.

    I’m not seeing that the request to lift tolls only for relief workers is entirely unreasonable, with the caveat that if you’re caught abusing the privilege (i.e. letting friends or family members not on relief work use your pass) then it would be revoked. If I had money to donate to Sandy relief efforts, I would much rather it go directly towards the victims instead of tolls. On the other hand, if they feel tolls should be suspended for everyone, then that’s totally insane. I might even advocate raising tolls temporarily for everyone else just to reduce the traffic so relief workers can get in and out quicker.

  • Is it just a coincidence that all these corrupt, NY Senate flip-floppers invariably happen to be the most obnoxious opponents of livable streets?:  

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/09/18/sen-jeff-klein-to-no-impact-man-hands-off-my-car-you-f-king-a-hole/

  • Andrew

    @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus Are the relief workers also entitled to free gasoline? Or if they take the bus to get there, are they entitled to a free ride? And when they get hungry, are they entitled to free food?

    The fact remains that they are using a service for which the charge is $9.60 round trip (not $13, unless they don’t have EZ-Passes).

  • Andrew

    @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus Are the relief workers also entitled to free gasoline? Or if they take the bus to get there, are they entitled to a free ride? And when they get hungry, are they entitled to free food?

    The fact remains that they are using a service for which the charge is $9.60 round trip (not $13, unless they don’t have EZ-Passes).

  • Andrew

    If some lights have yellow phases shorter than 3 seconds (I personally haven’t found any, but that’s not to say that they don’t exist), they should be repaired.

    Rather than filing a lawsuit, if these people were interested in safety, they’d be pushing to expand it to as many intersections as possible.

  • Joe R.

    @Andrew_J_C:disqus If you read the article, it sounds like the tolls are the biggest expense here by far. I’m normally not in favor of doing stuff like this, but the fact is it sounds like the relief workers are actually not making some trips they otherwise would make on account of the tolls. I’m not really sure either who pays for the tolls, gasoline, etc. Is it the relief workers themselves, or the relief organization? Either way, money spent on tolls means less for supplies, but if the relief workers pay then I can see why this is a problem. It’s one thing to offer your time for free, but if it actually costs you money and time to help, that would turn a lot of people off. Besides, it’s not like we get these kinds of weather events every year.

  • Andrew

    Gasoline is expensive. Should the gas station give me free gas so that I can have an easier time volunteering for Sandy recovery?

    Cars are expensive. Should the car dealer give me a free car so that I can have an easier time volunteering for Sandy recovery?

    Nobody would even suggest such a thing – the thought is absurd. What makes a bridge toll different? A bridge toll is only different if you believe that bridges shouldn’t really have tolls at all. If that’s what you believe, we can stop right here, since we’re never going to agree.

    But if you believe that drivers on the bridge incur a cost, whether they’re on their way to work or to the mall or to volunteer for Sandy recovery, and that the toll is in place to offset that cost, then asking for the toll to be waived is no different than asking for a free car. If individuals or non-profit organizations wish to contribute to defray those costs to encourage participation, that’s wonderful. But the costs are still there.

    (By the way, if we’re going to waive tolls for people driving for noble causes, why restrict it to just this one noble cause?)

  • Anonymous

    @Andrew_J_C:disqus : I don’t think the request to waive the tolls for relief efforts is necessarily crazy. 
    First, giving a free pass on a bridge is not the same as giving away cars or gas, because the the right to cross a bridge is not “stuff” and has a marginal cost of virtually zero. It costs the government exactly the same to maintain the bridge whether you cross it or not (assuming a small number of free passes are given), but giving away gas costs you the material cost of gas.

    Second, the government already subsidizes many causes it considers worthy by, for example, allowing for a tax deduction for charitable donations. Giving free toll passes to qualified charities for a limited time in an emergency situation is not much of a stretch.

    Now, the question for me is whether this request is practical or necessary at this time. I’m undecided on this question.

  • Joe R.

    @Andrew_J_C:disqus”(By the way, if we’re going to waive tolls for people driving for noble causes, why restrict it to just this one noble cause?)”

    How about we use the criteria that if an area is declared a federal disaster area then we can waive tolls and fares for relief workers? That would restrict this practice to a very small subset of causes. Normal charities which operate year-round have already built tolls and fares into their ongoing set of expenses. A lot the volunteer efforts for Sandy victims are just regular people deciding on the spur of a moment to help. If I had a car and a driver’s license I might have volunteered myself, but the tolls would have been a show-stopper. I just don’t have the kind of money to pay a $9.60 toll perhaps a few times per day. As qrt145 said, allowing a small percentage of individuals to cross a bridge for free until the crisis is past has a marginal cost of virtually zero. It may also cost next to zero in lost revenue if you operate on the assumption that many of these relief trips wouldn’t be made at all if a toll was charged. Obviously the question of whether doing this is practical or necessary must be looked into. I don’t have the information to answer that. I’m just saying the request isn’t entirely unreasonable, and shouldn’t have been dismissed outright by the MTA.

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