Today’s Headlines

  • Bloomberg to Launch Consulting Firm for Cities With JSK, Burden, and Other Administration Vets (NYT)
  • Avella and Weprin Offensive Against Move NY: WABC Talks to Drivers, NYT Covers Weprin vs. Weprin
  • MNR Installs Quick Safety Fixes; Why Wasn’t This Done Already? (NYT via 2nd Avenue Sagas)
  • Senators Schumer and Blumenthal Want Funding for More FRA Safety Inspectors (NY1, WCBS)
  • Thakoor Dayaram, 52, Loses Legs After Driver Hits Him on Side of Road; No Charges (News)
  • Moped Rider Elvis Batista-Francisco, 22, Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver (News, WABC, News 12)
  • But the Post Continues to Insist It’s Those E-Bikes That Are Dangerous
  • 2nd Avenue Sagas: $3 Million Subsidy for Ferries, But Nothing for Bike-Share?
  • Does Your Street Have a Lot of Potholes? The Times Is On It
  • Crain’s (1, 2, 3) Features Some Development and Transportation Suggestions for de Blasio
  • Looking for Real Estate on the Upper West Side? Use a Parking Space — It’s Free (Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Jeff

    I, for one, believe that RV living is a much better use of curbside public space than automobile storage. Think of it as a crappier version of those canal house-boats they have in the Netherlands.

  • Eddie

    I’ve got some issue with the new rise of subsidy requests for bike share from the Media.

    Bike-share was always billed as a way for the city to make some extra cash while expanding transportation options for everyone, one of the main selling points was that it wouldn’t cost the city a red cent (some parking spaces sure, but I think everyone here can agree the economic value of a 50 bike rack outweighs that of three parking spaces).

    The system works fantastic right now, and through private investment will continue to grow larger while maintaining it’s density to serve more and more of the city. In the past few weeks I’ve seen this argument come up and it’s always read as getting the inch and trying to take the mile.

  • Ian Turner

    I think the point is that bike-share expansion would serve more people, at lower cost, than the planned ferry subsidy expansion.

  • Ian Turner

    I admit I’ve considered giving up my apartment and buying an RV. The idea of living without an NYC landlord is certainly appealing.

  • anon

    I’d love to see a StreetsBlog story on the politics behind that expansion. Perhaps Chris Ward chairing the board at MWA – a bit ferry proponent – has something to do with it?

    For what it’s worth, I’d rather have seen that 3 million fund another SBS route over bikeshare, but either would have been more useful than ferry service.

  • Reader

    I believe that Alta pays the city for some of the lost revenue in cases where a bike share station replaces a metered car parking spot.

    I think most people realize that the promise to not spend taxpayer dollars on bike share was made at a time when bikes and bike lanes were somewhat of a third-rail political topic. But now that the city has turned a page and bikes are no longer controversial it makes sense for that promise to be re-evaluated. It’s not a perfect analogy, but think of it in the way that the subways were originally financed and operated by private companies before eventually becoming a government-run — and subsidized — concern. Eventually the greater public good becomes a bigger priority than the initial promise. Things change.

    And I’m not sure the system “works fantastic right now.” Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s working very well considering the overwhelming demand, rebalancing issues, and initial technical issues, but bike share doesn’t work all that well for people who live in neighborhoods were there are no stations.

  • I hope a thousand more of these RVs invade Manhattan so that people start realizing the absurdity of not charging for on-street parking. I see tons of really junky cars filled with people’s various odds and ends they can’t fit in their apartments. Yet a storage unit of equivalent size can cost hundreds of dollars a month, and it doesn’t even have the benefit of actually being able to drive once in a while.

    This space on the street is literally worth hundreds of dollars a month for each and every spot, and the city is giving it away for free. WHY!?

  • Eddie

    They’re two different systems, the ferry system is more akin to a subway or BRT system, where bikeshare is a real last mile solution, getting you to within a few blocks of your destination. Hence why there are bikeshare stations at all of the ferry landings (within the network) ^_^

    The ferrys also carry a much higher infrastructure cost. Maintaining the boats, ferry landings, and paying the crew comes at a hefty cost, but they’re still providing a valuable service to the city, helping to alleviate crowded subways and bus routes across the river, hence why a subsidy makes sense.

    The bikeshare system has a much lower cost per rider, making it more independently operable.

  • Eddie

    Right, the city is making money off of the bikeshare locations, the system isn’t even passively subsidized. Unless you count having bike lanes installed a method of subsidization, but since they mostly pre-date the bikeshare system I think we can discount that.

    Bikes and bikeshare isn’t controversial still? I think I need to hang out in your social circles more often =). We’re making anecdotal arguments here, but I don’t believe that the bikeshare system, or biking in general, has reached the level of mainstream social acceptance in the NY region as the subway or taking cabs has. Toleration? Sure.

    Saying that the system doesn’t work well for people who live in the neighborhoods where there aren’t any stations is like saying the LIRR doesn’t work so well for Staten Islanders.

  • Reader

    Despite the occasional lawsuit from a luxury hotel or tabloid article, most polls show something on the order of 70% approval for bike share. It’s more than tolerated.

    People in Staten Island aren’t asking for the LIRR. But people in Park Slope, Astoria, much of the Bronx, etc. are asking for Citi Bike. And many people who enter the city via Penn Station and GCT are finding that bike share doesn’t work well for them because of re-balancing issues. A city-funded expansion could help that problem somewhat.

    It’s a chicken-and-egg problem. Perhaps what it might take to gain more mainstream acceptance for bike share is a taxpayer-funded expansion that positions Citi Bike as part of the public good.

  • yep

    And now we know where JSK is headed. Who else will be next?

  • krstrois

    Wow, that RV story has everything. And really is a good introduction to the challenges of our current city politics. The rabbi gets to hide in the warm glow of something he doesn’t even know is heavily subsidized and anyone objecting seems like an Scrooge-like asshole gentrification monster. This really is one of the big livable streets problems — people not understanding the undercurrents, but just going with the thing that makes them feel good politically.

  • AvidlyAwaitingUWSbikeshare

    I’m a huge supporter of Citibike (member number under 3000), but I live in the Upper West Side and the system sure doesn’t work fantastic right now for those of us above 60th Street – or who would ever like to get somewhere above 60th via Citibike. From my perspective, it can’t grow soon enough.

  • Jonathan R

    As Ben Kabak says, the ferries are limited by geography and cannot serve inland areas. I looked at the pro-ferry group’s power point a couple months ago when SAS linked to it, and I noticed that most of the “potential” ferry landings shared the disadvantage of not saving time.

    So what do we get as taxpayers in return for those ferry subsidies? A nicer dock at India St?

  • JamesR

    but it IS automobile storage. They just happen to be automobiles of a sufficient size and configuration that one can dwell in them for an extended period of time.

    Street parking is ugly looking in general, but these take the cake. Get these monstrosities off the street and into rented off-street parking ASAP.

  • Eddie

    It’s accepted as a service that doesn’t add to city taxes, or take away from services that are already receiving them. Attitudes may shift if money has to come from elsewhere in the city to fund a system that not everyone participates in.

    Citibike is profitable in it’s 1st phase, with a planned (privately funded) expansion to widen the system’s reach. There’s no need for any government subsidy towards it.

  • Jeff

    By some definitions, sure. And the aesthetic argument certainly holds. But I just feel that big ugly hunks of metal that house people activate an urban space more than big ugly hunks of metal that just kind of sit there for most of the day.

  • qrt145

    If we choose to allow free car storage on the street, we shouldn’t whine when someone decides to use that privilege in a creative way that we don’t like.

    By all means, get rid of free car storage on the street, but those people who live in their RVs are within their rights as long as they don’t break any laws, and their vehicles are neither more nor less monstrous than anyone else’s. It’s possible that there exists some law that bans sleeping in a vehicle on a public road, but no one has quoted one in this discussion yet. All the arguments seem to be emotional at best.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    Especially when the folks who live this way likely have fewer housing options than the average Manhattanite who owns a car and expects to park it for free on city streets.

  • Kevin Love

    Eddie wrote:

    “Attitudes may shift if money has to come from elsewhere in the city to fund a system that not everyone participates in.”

    Kevin’s comment:

    That’s how I feel about car drivers. Why should they be parasites on the hard-working taxpayers who have to pay large sums of property and income taxes for car infrastructure that they are legally forbidden to use?

    And also police, fire and medical services for car drivers and their victims.

  • Bolwerk

    Given the relative Democratic hegemony in NYC, there probably isn’t much reason to expect Giuliani/Bloomberg era apparatchiks will be getting reappointed. The few that are/were heavy hitters still are fairly polarizing, and de Blasio is probably going to be leaned on to return Democratic apparatchiks to the fold. The only ones that seemed somewhat willing to shake the status quo were JSK and Goldsmith, and…well, the latter is tarnished by domestic violence allegations. Maybe Doctoroff too, but he didn’t do much besides push PlaNYC, and seems to be more in the business world.

    I could understand keeping Frieden, though, again, I doubt he will. Bringing Bratton back was obviously calculated to counter the tabloid furor about the second coming of 1980s-level crime.

    Also, IMHO, it’s still better to give commissioner-level appointees a break or another role. These are pretty consuming jobs, and I think there’s a tendency to get stale in them. The major burst of JSK reform happened years ago.

  • Diagonalec

    Yeah, well Amsterdam has a limited number of moorings for canal boat-houses (cca 2500) and they are not cheap…

  • qrt145

    It’s a bizarre form of populism. Give away a parking spot worth $200/month so you can park your BMW? Sure, it’s a basic human right! Give away $100/month in food stamps to the poor? Damn those moochers, suckling at the teat of the state!

  • I understand you are trying to agree with me, but I disagree with your premise. There is nothing inherently wrong with a city deciding to give away something that has a monetary value, even to the rich. These so-called rich would be the first to point out that they pay a lot of taxes, so they rightfully feel they should get something back for those taxes. Maybe they really do have more right to a $200/month benefit than the poor. No one is looking to outlaw airlines from providing benefits to those who buy a first-class ticket, so why shouldn’t those who pay more taxes get more government benefits, too?

    The city gives away admission to parks, such as Central Park, located in very wealthy areas and disproportionately frequented by the well-heeled. But that is not a problem, in my view. Central Park can sometimes be crowded, but no one is delayed entry because the park is too full.

    Parking is very different. There is far less street space than demand for parking at the current price ($0). As a result, the available slots are rationed based on random luck and who has the most free time to search for a spot. This is extremely inefficient, and this is my single biggest problem with free on-street parking.

  • qrt145

    I agree 100% with you, but I was trying to parody some of the reactions one hears whenever parking prices get discussed. Some people really seem to think of free parking as a fundamental right. And the spot in front of their house belongs only to them, of course (although that may not be so common in the UWS).

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