Today’s Headlines

  • State Senate Passes Speed Camera Bill; Spox Says Cuomo Will Sign (MTR, NYTNews)
  • NYPD Highway Division CO: Speeding Not Enough to Establish Probable Cause in Crash Probes (NYT)
  • NYPD Working on Strategy to Catch Dirt Bikers Without Chasing Them (Post)
  • Post Now Slamming DOT for Moving Bike-Share Stations; Cuozzo Takes a Ride and Lives to Tell
  • Coverage of Fourth Avenue Traffic-Calming Plan From Crain’s
  • LIRR to Ask Elmhurst Locals About Reopening Station Closed in 1985 (WSJ)
  • State Court Justice Provides Evidence That Judges Don’t Need Parking Placards (News 1, 2)
  • Bill Cowher Involved in Park Avenue Crash That Sent Car Into Scaffolding (News, DNAPost)
  • Fashion Retailers Revamp Inventories in Response to Citi Bike (Crain’s)
  • Taking In the Sounds of Cycling, From Pontiacs to “Pontiac” (IVM)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Bolwerk

    Re “NYPD Working on Strategy to Catch Dirt Bikers Without Chasing Them”: in moments of uncertainty, they could fall back on a hail of bullets. One or two sometimes even hit the intended target.

  • Anonymous

    So, an actual rcime (speeding) is not enough “probable cause” for the NYPD?

    Are they partaking of substances from the evidence lockers?

  • Ridgewoodian

    Re: Cuozzo – ‘Those 25,000 ‘trips” don’t mean 25,000 riders, who might swap wheels 10 times to ride for a mere five hours.”

    I’ve used Citi Bike dozens of times since day one and I doubt all my trips together add up to five hours. Most of them are ten minutes here, five minutes there, to speed me along. A few “long” ones have been half an hour, maybe forty minutes – plenty of time to get from Lower Manhattan to Midtown, even without running red lights. Has ANYONE chained one Citi Bike after another for a five hour leisure ride? I think Cuozzo doesn’t understand what the program is for.

    Also, is it just me or are his threats – in writing – to do bodily harm to Citi Bank employees (who themselves have nothing to do with Citi Bike) really quite distasteful?

    Bad, bad journalism.

  • Thank you for the reference to the Invisible Visible Man.

  • Guest

    How can it be possible that confirming one illegal action that contributed to the severity of a crash and was likely among the causal factors is not “probable” enough to inspect the evidence?

    In the unlikely event that really is true, why isn’t this jackass working to get better legislation so he can do his job properly? The NYPD campaigns for new laws whenever they want to violate civil rights or get new weaponized toys. But this guy is sitting around complaining that people who want to be safe just don’t get it?

    I hope he does read this, because he needs to man up and do his job!

  • Anonymous

    While I appreciate that it is safer to look for the places where the dirt bikes are stored, instead of chasing them on the streets, is it actually illegal to *own* a dirt bike in the city? Can’t someone just claim that they use a pick up truck to take it upstate to a place where it is legal to ride?

  • Anonymous

    RE: NYT article on CIS:

    1) Why is speed not enough to prove a crime?

    2) For car black boxes, doesn’t the NYPD and the DA have subpoena power to demand this information from the car companies?

  • Kevin Love

    This is not just bad journalism. Threats of grievous bodily harm are a serious criminal offence. If I was one of the victims of these criminal threats I would be taking them very seriously.

    Mr. Cuozzo is not just a bad journalist. He is a violent, dangerous criminal.

  • tyler

    Cuozzo… bad journalism? No. Can’t be.

  • mrtuffguy

    Critics can’t decide whether Citibike is bad because it only serves rich neighborhoods or if Citibike is bad because the rich are able to have certain stations removed. All they can agree on is that Citibike is bad.

  • Mark Walker

    The detective talking about speed may be referring to the “rule of two.” I’m not condoning the rule but it may be a limiting factor in his dealings with prosecutors. I was encouraged to hear that the Collision Investigation Squad has had the word “accident” removed from its name, seen its resources tripled, and that the commander reads Streetsblog every day. Could we maybe do a better job of engaging with him?

  • Anonymous

    I was curious about these black boxes (AKA “Event Data Recorder” – or EDR), and found an article from Edmunds from 12/18/2012 that tells about them. They were apparently developed in the ’90s by GM to help them refine the safety features on a car, and now, as of the 2013 models, 96% of cars have them and manufacturers are required to reveal their existence and location but not necessarily give access to 3rd parties to the software that would be able to read them.

    According to the article:
    “… the data on a recorder is generally considered to be the car owner’s personal property. Just as law enforcement can’t access data on your computer without a search warrant, it can’t access your car’s EDR without one either. Attorneys and insurance companies can’t typically access or use the data in a court case without the car owner’s consent.”

    http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/car-black-box-recorders-capture-crash-data.html

  • Anonymous

    What if on top of “speed”, you added “distraction”? Does that get you there?

    Maybe super-helpful attorney Jim Walden would take this on pro bono? Amazing how the Post can say only the rich are helped, and then quote Walden who helps the Prospect Park West residents pro bono.

  • Gibby Dunn

    Breaking News: the rich have nothing better to complain about and have the resources and connections to retain high-priced lawyers to advocate for their petty concerns.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks. I’m no lawyer, but isn’t the crash enough to generate a search warrant?

  • Anonymous

    Ben, I see this frontpage NYT article as a huge validation of the work you and the rest of the Streetsblog team have doing to improve street safety by getting the police to do their jobs. Congrats, and please keep up the great work.

  • Daphna

    Gothamist made fun of Steve Cuozzo’s citi bike review: http://gothamist.com/2013/06/23/steve_cuozzos_flaccid_citi_bike_rev.php

    Fox and U.K.’s Daily Mail both ran stories based on the NY Post report of moved/removed docking stations. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2346870/CitiBike-stations-removed-Outrage-New-York-rips-Citibike-stations-near-luxury-Manhattan-condos.html http://www.myfoxny.com/story/22665339/report-nyc-moves-citi-bike-stations-from-richest-areas

    Greenwich, Connecticut’s local paper reported on citi bike’s high usage. http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/More-than-1M-miles-logged-by-NYC-bike-share-users-4617305.php

    CBS did a segment on people pedaling backwards on the bikes when they are docked. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50149491n

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    I am not a lawyer, I just play one on the internet:

    1) One would think that conducting a search of the black box only on speeding would lead to the trial judge throwing out that evidence if it was done without a warrant. It is clearly a search which has no special exemption allowed for by case law (e.g. officer safety, likely destruction of evidence, national security, etc.). Arizona v. Grant seems most pertinent here.

    2) In order to to get a warrant, they would need to provide probable cause to the warrant issuing judge. Traffic violations, such as speeding, alone have never allowed for a search of the car based on a ton of case law other than what is in plain view.

    Again, I am not one to let the constitution, and its interpretation by the supreme court, stand in the way of good policy, but this is quite the uphill battle.

  • Daphna

    Citi bike high usage numbers are surpassing all predictions: Friday, 6/21, citi bike riders took 30,187 trips, on Saturday, 6/22, 30,241 trips and on Sunday, 6/23, 30,427 trips! On each of those days 2,746 , 4,478 and 4,095 people respectively bought daily memberships. As of 6/23 there are 46,840 annual members. New Yorkers love citi bike.

    The number of total available bikes jumped from 4,358 on Saturday to 8,480 on Sunday. Is this real? Not just an error in citi bike system information feeds?

  • Greg

    From the NYT article:

    “Inspector Ciorra, who starts every shift by reading Streetsblog, a Web site often critical of the department, pays attention to the complaints. ‘Our goal in every one of these cases is to put someone in cuffs.'”

    Inadequacy of the current process aside, I’d like to sincerely thank Paul Ciorra for the effort and care shown in this quote (assuming it’s genuine). If he really wants to do right, understands the frustration behind many of the comments here, and appreciates the urgency of the subject and how it mars the character of our city, I thank him deeply for that understanding and offer nothing but support for him finding ways to be more effective going forward, in what’s obviously a challenging political environment.

    It’s easy to take a cynical line and assume the quote is a meaningless pleasantry. Or that it’s not enough. I’m going to risk the chance that it’s sincere and just say thank you, for at least that.

  • Anonymous

    Inspector Ciorra, I really hope you really do read Streetsblog like the Times article says you do. Since we’re all ultimately on the same side of wanting fewer road maimings and deaths, then what’s your view on how we as a city (and state?) make it so that speed alone, or at least a certain formula of excess speed, IS enough to establish criminality? I don’t expect you to just chime in here in the comments section under the name “InspctrCiorra” or something, but please, find some way to reach out to this community and give us YOUR thoughts on how to best get rid of this “speed is not enough” problem. There’s a very active community of activists who read this site every day whose significant energies you yourself could influence. Please, if you want some of the same things that we do despite our frequent criticizing NYPD and DAs, then tell us what YOU think we might do. Cause I don’t know how you really feel about it, but to me and many others here, there’s just absolutely no question: excess speed alone should and ought to be enough to establish criminality. It’s a f—ing CITY full of PEOPLE; it’s not all just highways here. Inspector, I don’t know if all the harsh criticism of NYPD that goes on in the world (and yes, including on this site and in its comments) bothers you and others high up at NYPD, but even if it does, please be the bigger guy and don’t let it stop you from harnessing all the energy of this community.

  • Daphna

    Citi bike is installing new docking stations. At the end of last week 3 were installed:
    on East 15th St just west of 3rd Ave
    on West 31st St just east of 7th Ave
    at Greenwich Ave & 8th Ave

    Over the weekend 3 more were installed:
    on Dekalb Ave and Skillman St in Brooklyn
    at East 37th St & Lexington Ave
    at East 55th St & 2nd Avenue

    The NY Post (and the UK Daily Mail and My Fox NY who copied the Post) need to correct their stories. They reported that the docking station in front of Milan Condominiums at East 55th Street and 2nd Avenue had been removed due to anti-bike lawyer Steven Sladkus. Sladkus thought he had been successful for his client in getting the docking station moved but I think in truth that station was just one of the 21 stations that Citi bike did not have time to install prior to launch. It was never removed from the map as a planned station and now Greg’s system feeds show that is had been installed. https://sites.google.com/site/citibikestats/

  • Guest

    But nobody is talking about searching a vehicle based on speeding alone.

    We are talking about examining evidence to determine causation in a crash where the driver was operating the vehicle in an illegal manner.

    A warrant very well may be necessary, but for the life of me, I can’t see how it could be denied based on the fact of the crash and evidence of speeding from other investigative tools.

    Finally, if the law is too limiting – CHANGE IT.

    Enough excuses for not doing the right thing already.

  • Daphna

    Owning a dirt bike is legal. Riding on the street on a dirt bike is not. The dirt bikers in Harlem are asking the local community boards and other organizations to held them find a vacant lot that they can turn into a dirt bike park so that they can bike there instead of on the streets. The organizers even have a shuttle program where they would pick up the bikes of the riders and bring the bikes to the park so that no one has to ride on the street to get there.

    I think the law should change. Bicycles are allowed on streets and motorcycles are allowed, but everything in between is not. Scooters, electric assist bikes, dirt bikes all are not allowed. I think the streets would be safer if all these were legal. Everyone riding any type of unenclosed 2-wheel vehicle has to pay attention to all street hazards and street users around them; they have to ride in a way where they will not hit anything otherwise they will be hurt themselves. I welcome all of these vulnerable street users to the streets no matter what type of vehicle. (Although the noise is a detraction.)

  • Greg

    Interesting. Thanks for pointing out the jump. That looks suspicious – I’ll try to dig up an explanation behind that.

  • Daphna

    There is also a huge number 6/22 to 6/23 in the number of working docks from 10,101 to 20,088.

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    To look at the data in the black box, that would be a search for evidence. Before obtaining that evidence, there needs to be a warrant. Before there can be a warrant, there needs to be probable cause. In order to show probable cause, there needs to be more than just speeding as has been held in a ton of case law regarding the 4th amendment.

    It is not a law in the normal sense holding back this search, it is the supreme court precedent. There may be wiggle room if you would reclassify speeding as an arrestable offense rather than a traffic stop offense but other than that, it seems like it would require a dramatic turn from very well established supreme court precedent.

    I don’t agree with the policy but there are a lot of barriers to getting it changed, far more than say, installing speed cameras.

  • Greg

    Note that on Citibike’s map, 55th & 2nd now shows two markers: there’s still a “planned station” orange marker, but there’s an “in service” blue marker directly behind it.

    Can anyone give an in-person verification of the state of that station (or any of the above)? I’ll check Greenwich & 8th myself later today (I saw the physical station appear later last week).

  • Daphna

    Alta is a bit slow to update their map. It seems to take them a couple days after the new station has been installed and has come online before they change it from orange (planned) to blue (in service) on their map. http://citibikenyc.com/stations

  • Peter

    Dirt bikes aren’t legal because they don’t have the safety equipment required by law: lights, signals, a horn.

    There are plenty of street-legal dirt bikes out there. And plenty of offroad-only bikes that aren’t. The same way that track riders will take a street-legal sportbike and make it a track bike by removing all the items that are irrelevant on the track.

  • Anonymous

    If they have the resources to be installing new stations, it sure would be nice if some of that installation would go to expand the service area, in addition to increasing the density in the existing service area. In particular, it seems to me that docks in Red Hook would be very welcome, for the same reasons that it’s so popular in the East Village.

  • The story about stations being moved from rich neighborhoods is baloney. In many cases, stations were simply moved from one side of the street to the other. I’d hardly make the case that Barrow Street west of Hudson is less wealthy than Barrow Street east of Hudson.

    All this tells me is that rich New Yorkers are more dependent on free, on-street parking and door-to-door access than the poor and car-free. It completely belies the notion that it’s the workaday “real” New Yorkers who depend on cars.

  • The story about stations being moved from rich neighborhoods is baloney. In many cases, stations were simply moved from one side of the street to the other. I’d hardly make the case that Barrow Street west of Hudson is less wealthy than Barrow Street east of Hudson.

    All this tells me is that rich New Yorkers are more dependent on free, on-street parking and door-to-door access than the poor and car-free. It completely belies the notion that it’s the workaday “real” New Yorkers who depend on cars.

  • Greg

    This was indeed a doubling bug, which has been fixed (and is related to changes made last night in preparation for a new data display: neighborhood reports).

  • Daphna

    Alta is installing the 20 stations that were supposed to have been part of the 330 station launch but were not. The program launched instead with about 308 stations. Alta has 13 more stations to install that had been planned for May.

    The next expansion will be to LIC in Queens, and to Greenpoint, Bed/Stuy and the rest of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. After that the next expansion is up to 79th Street in Manhattan. Originally all of these areas were part of Phase I (back when Phase I was to have been 600 stations and 10,000 bikes). Now Phase I has been broken up into parts.

    Unfortunately Red Hook was never part of Phase I. I am not sure if Red Hook was even in the theoretical Phase II expansion. Red Hook is a transportation dessert and could definitely benefit from bikeshare. The local elected officials who represent Red Hook need to speak up and work to get bikeshare brought to Red Hook. Sara Gonzalez of Brooklyn district 38 represents Red Hook on the NYC City Council. Call her or email to let her know to advocate for bikeshare in Red Hook. Phone: 718-439-9012 Email: sgonzalez@council.nyc.gov

  • Daphna

    That means the bikeshare system is supporting over 30,000 rides per day with only about 4,200 bikes. Sunday has an average of 7.2 rides per bike!!

  • Daphna

    That means the bikeshare system is supporting over 30,000 rides per day with only about 4,200 bikes. Sunday has an average of 7.2 rides per bike!!

  • Kevin Love

    Just across the NY state border in Ontario, there most certainly is a “certain formula of excess speed” that is enough to establish criminality. 50 km/hr ( = 30 MPH) over the speed limit is punishable by six months in jail. It is also good for an immediate roadside driver’s licence suspension and immediate seizure and impoundment of the car that the criminal was speeding with.

    I presume that it is not coincidental when the Ontario government brags about having the safest roads in North America. See:

    http://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2011/05/ontario-roads-the-safest-in-north-america.html

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget about Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, Crown Heights (Brooklyn South of Atlantic Ave) along with Manhattan to 79th Street as part of the final roll-out of Phase 1. But Carroll Gardens and Red Hook seem like obvious choices for expansion beyond that.

  • Anonymous

    The law can be frustrating, but I don’t think I would give up hard won protections from unreasonable search and seizure for the sake of giving investigators easier access to the vehicle data recorders.

    If a driver is violating a motor vehicle law, say by speeding, an officer can perform a traffic stop. He does not have the right to search the vehicle or the driver or passengers based on that alone. He has to observe something else which would give him either “probable cause” or “reasonable suspicion” (in certain cases) to perform such a search.

    Crashing a car doesn’t constitute probable cause in most cases, although one could argue that it *should*. But that would require a legislative change. Most criminal charges have to have an element of intent, and even if the consequences of a driver’s actions are very bad, it is hard to establish his intent.

  • Anonymous

    Even at 30,000 trips, I still feel like Citibikes make up a small percentage of the total bikes I see in used-I would estimate 1 in 10 within the Citibike service area. Don’t get me wrong, I think a 10% increase is great, but it shows general bike usage is much higher than most people realize.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks!

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    The only thing I can see the NYPD having authority to do in every case is that they should request permission to access the data recorder from the driver. The driver would have the right to say “no” but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

  • Joe R.

    The NTSB routinely pulls black box data for crashes involving other forms of transportation, including commercial motor vehicles. I’m not seeing why it wouldn’t have jurisdiction to do the same for private motor vehicle collisions. When you’re operating on public roads, there can be no expectation of privacy as far as anything relating to vehicle operation goes. Black box data should routinely be pulled in cases where the driver claims to have lost control of the vehicle. Instead of giving them a free pass, prove the vehicle acted on its own (i.e. accelerated even when the brake was being depressed) via the black box data. We all know why drivers are reluctant to do this. 9999 times out of 10000 the black box data will show the driver was at fault, not a mechanical malfunction. Motorists want to retain the “I lost control of the car” defense.

    That being said, camera technology is cheap enough that we could easily install cameras at each and every intersection, then pull the videos when a collision occurs to determine fault. The same cameras could also be used to estimate speed.

  • “brags about having the safest roads in North America”

    Ha. It’s like being a better pianist than a killer whale, but good for them anyway.

  • Daphna

    Alta just changed their map this afternoon to show that the docking station at Bryant Park (40th Street and 5th Avenue) is now installed. Anyone out there with eyes on the street to confirm its physical presence?

  • moocow

    If our police force is in place to investigate and prevent crime, then this info makes “Stop and Frisk” even more heinous. They can search young black men because of “Furtive Gestures” but not if you drive your vehicle so irresponsibly you damage it, other property, and maybe someone else too?

    I just got back from Crested Butte, CO, ( =bike heaven) and riding around today was a humid reminder that drivers in NYC are unafraid of tickets, hurting pedestrians, cyclists, or themselves.

    Maybe Inspector Ciorra is the only member of the NYPD reading Streetsblog, and I want to thank the Inspector for doing so. And thanks to Streetsblog for being the megaphone for the cause.

  • Joe R.

    I second your thanks to Inspector Ciorra for reading Streetsblog. I wish more members of the NYPD were regular members here. They need to know we consider them essential partners in the fight for safer streets. At the same time, we want smart policing which doesn’t involve ticketing for safe, but technically illegal, actions. That applies to motorists as well. I don’t care if motorists have tinted windows or not, but I do care if they fail to yield to crossing pedestrians.

    +1 on the weather. I went almost 26 miles last night. I nearly passed out towards the end. Can’t wait for the fall. NYC summers absolutely stink.

  • Kevin Love

    Yes, The roads in The Netherlands are safer still. 30 times safer than in the USA.

    But I keep getting the “We in North America are genetically a different species of human being than in Europe so their infra solutions won’t work here.”

    So all one has to do is get on the train that leaves Penn Station every morning at 7:15 to Toronto. Where the people tend to look the same and speak English with sorta the same accent. But the laws are different – and are enforced.

    Just ask people like Vladimir Rigenco, who lives in a Toronto suburb. Mr. Rigenco bragged in an online forum about driving his German luxury car at 100 km/hr (62 MPH) over the speed limit in a residential neighbourhood.

    Someone complained to the police. Immediately a team of police officers sprung into action. They knocked on doors throughout the neighbourhood and turned up witnesses to Mr. Rigenco’s offence. Mr. Rigenco was charged with Dangerous Driving (good for 5 years in jail) and pled guilty to the lesser charge of Careless Driving (good for six months in jail).

    Details here:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2010/08/10/speeding_boast_online_costs_19yearold_his_licence.html

    Can we imagine a New York where a complaint about a dangerous driver results in a team of police officers springing into action and knocking on doors to successfully find witnesses to the crime? And then laying appropriate criminal charges with appropriate jail time?

    That would be a big difference from “No criminality suspected” even when somebody is killed or injured.

    Then maybe the New York government would also aspire to having the safest roads in North America. Still not The Netherlands, but a big step forward.

  • Guest

    This is ridiculous. If we can pass laws requiring drivers to submit to a breathalyzer test after crashing their car, surely we can require them to grant access to their vehicle’s information.

    I can’t believe anybody on here is really arguing that inspecting the evidence at a potential crime scene is somehow violating somebody’s rights. Surely sticking a probe into your mouth would be a greater affront to your privacy than checking the wreckage of the car you crashed, no?!

    If safe streets advocates can’t even make common sense arguments for the reasonable tools we need to get criminal drivers off the road, how are we ever going to have a chance???

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