Today’s Headlines

  • Momentum for Gateway Tunnel: Someone’s in Charge, Federal Funding Expected (WSJ, Politico)
  • The Constant Stress of Walking While Black in NYC (LitHub)
  • Demonstrating in the Street That Black Lives Matter? Bratton Doesn’t Want to Hear It (Gothamist)
  • Pokémon Go, Curing America’s Obesity Epidemic One Rattata at a Time… (NYTNews)
  • …and Giving the Nation a Terrifying New Distracted Driving Threat (Jalopnik, AMNY)
  • How Bed Stuy Restoration Introduced Bed Stuy Residents to Bike-Share (AMNY)
  • Vacca Blames Bronx CB 10 for Dangerous Conditions Where Driver Killed Giovanni Nin (Bx Times)
  • UberPOOL Tries to Compete on Price With the Subway (AMNY)
  • 2nd Ave Sagas: Select Bus Service Is Good, But NYC Can Do Better
  • Don’t Believe the Driverless Car Hype (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Kevin Love

    Bratton is, once again, totally clueless. Here is a hint: The strategy of, “Ask nicely, and whatever you do, never be uppity and offend the majority group” has worked for minorities approximately zero percent of the time.

  • Daniel S Dunnam

    Re: Driverless car hype. I’m pretty sure I DO believe that self-driving cars will be better drivers than their human overlords. Perhaps not as soon as some believe, but I welcome the transition, that’s for sure. Looking in peoples windows as I ride and walk around and seeing as much phone usage as I do, I am eager to get to a point where they can just focus on their hand held pocket computers and their car will focus on the driving part.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m intrigued but concerned. Sure it will be great on highways and suburban arterials with no cyclists and pedestrians. But I worry about what will happen in a mixed traffic format.

    For example, to avoid a potentially deadly or crippling crash with another hard motor vehicle, will the software direct the car to swerve into some nice soft pedestrians and/or cyclists? That is a feature drivers may want.

  • Joe R.

    It seems to me all the issues with self-driven cars happened because a human driver did something they weren’t supposed to do and the self-driving car didn’t always deal with correctly, assuming it was possible to deal with it at all. This is simply telling me we have to get human drivers off the roads altogether once self-driving cars are viable from a software and hardware standpoint. A mix of human and autonomous cars negates any safety benefit autonomous cars may provide.

  • Joe R.

    I think the idea here is the autonomous car will never be going so fast in an urban environment that it can’t avoid a crash with another motor vehicle simply by stopping or slowing. All the crashes I’ve seen where a driver made the decision to hit a soft target because they couldn’t avoid a hard one were caused precisely by driving at an excessive speed for the conditions.

  • bolwerk

    There was that hoopla a few months ago (maybe a year ago?) about how self-driving cars will occasionally need to choose to kill their occupants instead of doing wider damage. Well, it was Slate or Vox clickbait, so take it with however grains of salt you need.

    I’m not sure I’d be too concerned. As is, we’ve chosen to tolerate more death than we needed to back when we relied on trams and trains. That was a decision that was made when our overlords forced us into the automobile era.

    I think the inevitable plus side to driverless cars is normative: owning, operating, and controlling a car is going to go from necessary, and therefore a symbol of status in many cases, to wasteful. This will promote social norms friendly to transit – which is what driverless cars will be.

  • bolwerk

    Heh, totally. Bratton is a racist old kook who thinks in crude stereotypes (which probably include fried chicken and watermelon, though he never says that).

  • bolwerk

    (“Thug” is what racists say on TV because the n-word isn’t socially acceptable.)

  • qrt145

    I’m not convinced that driverless cars would necessarily be more like transit than like personal cars. Sure, one use case for driverless cars is to share them, basically as driverless taxis. But have you seen how people who have personal cars actually use them? They are not just for transportation; they are also movable storage facilities. Using shared cars is an annoyance to someone who is used to having this storage space. This is especially annoying when dealing with child seats, as I can tell from personal experience. (You could outfit some driverless cars with child seats, but this raises other issues that I won’t get into for now.)

  • st4rchy

    Fernando Mateo’s NYPD detective niece commits multiple moving violations on camera, gets promotion. Press terms law-breaking driving “gaffes.”

    “Det. Nancy Sola, a 12-year veteran assigned to the mayor’s security
    detail, was recently promoted to second grade detective despite the
    potentially career-derailing speed bump she hit in February 2014 when
    she blew through stop signs and was speeding with the mayor beside her
    in the passenger seat.

    “As it turned out, Sola is also the niece of politically influential taxi driver advocate Fernando Mateo, who recently reportedly admitted he raised $18,000 for de Blasio’s 2017 re-election campaign, but instead allowed a female friend to claim she raised the money in hopes of getting a job with the administration.”

    https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20160711/civic-center/detective-who-drove-mayor-through-stop-signs-is-promoted-despite-gaffe

    See also http://nypost.com/2016/07/11/cop-gets-promoted-despite-breaking-the-law-with-de-blasio/

  • Larry Littlefield

    Between stuff like this, the scandal at the top, lower disability benefits for new hires to make up for all the pension disability fraud committed by Generation Greed, and protesters blaming everyone in blue for a few bad apples, you end up with a very cynical rank and file officer.

  • AnoNYC

    What was the BX CB 10 plan for East Tremont Ave that James Vacca says they rejected? It needs a road diet and calming throughout in the East Bronx.

  • Kevin Love

    As has been well documented here, that “few” is rather a large number in NYPD.

  • bolwerk

    To the extent that’s true, people can adapt. When it comes down to it, renting a large storage space is probably much cheaper than owning a car. :-p

    I don’t think car ownership is going to disappear though. There will still be heavy users or professionals who need them. But it will drop because the primary practical benefits of a car won’t require car ownership anymore.

  • WalkingNPR

    Individual car ownership is already a bum deal financially. People do it anyway.

    I’m not optimistic people will be any more willing to share autonomous vehicles than they are now. The crowd that doesn’t want to have to deal with the unwashed masses by sitting on a train or bus isn’t going to use any old autonomous vehicle. And I’m sure the auto industry will still make sure there are status symbol vehicles to be had within the autonomous market. The crowd that keeps a car parked in the city for weeks at a time just so that it’s there for the exact moment they want to make that one particular car trip is already not rational about their car ownership, why would that change? Autonomous vehicles are just more vehicles.

  • notsurprised

    Does Streetsblog not allow twitter embeds in comments?

  • Jeff

    To quote some guy on Facebook:

    The expression is not “a few bad apples are really annoying” or “one bad apple makes the others look bad.” It’s “one bad apple SPOILS the bunch.” That’s why farmers get rid of bad apples. They don’t defend bad apples. They don’t give bad apples promotions. They don’t let bad apples take early retirement with full pensions. They throw them out to protect the good ones. If police departments want the respect of the public, they have to earn it by showing us they actually care about their product. Until then, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume the whole barrel is spoiled, and the farmer doesn’t care.

  • bolwerk

    It’s a burn deal, but a necessary one in many cases. At this point, perhaps most Americans don’t have the luxury to pass up the opportunity to keep the same approximate mobility at a fraction of the cost. Monthly auto transportation costs are in the middle three figures. In a country where perhaps 40%-50% of the population can’t afford an emergency thousand dollar expense, it’s just a no-brainer that many would be compelled to quarter their transportation costs if they could without much sacrifice.

    BTW, I’m not very convinced driverless cars are on the horizon. I’d still guess they’re some decades away, at least from the standpoint of being autonomous. But I don’t think there is much need to worry if I’m wrong about any of this. There isn’t a reason to think they’ll be worse than the current system. I think the question is not whether people will own fewer cars, but how many fewer?

  • bxcyclist21

    I live in Bronx CB10 area and have seen them always take the side of drivers over pedestrians and cyclists. A few years ago, they reversed a residential street to allow cars coming off Pelham Parkway to use it as a shortcut into the Pelham Bay area instead of using an adjacent street which is much better equipped to handle the traffic since there were stop signs at lights at the end of it. The angry drivers didn’t want to spend 30 seconds more waiting by Pelham Bay Park Station, which has much few houses and foot traffic.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Not sure I agree, relative to police forces elsewhere — or the NYPD in the past.

    I think the worst thing about it, relative to other places, is the high staffing levels (2.8 times the U.S. average relative to population) and high pension costs.

    Which urban police forces would you identify as superior?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Almost no one changes, but they do due and are replaced by other people. So your best shot at change is a generational shift — for everything.

    That’s why advertisers target the young. Not because they have more to spend, but because those of us who are older have for the most part already made up our minds.

    Basically, the generational shift is in favor of transit/walking/biking. The goal should be to keep that going rather than trying to get older people to change. A minority of people my age could be an overall majority in 50 years.

  • WalkingNPR

    Oh, I agree with you there. That’s already happening, (though the naysayers say that’s just because we’re, as a generation, poorer and/or delaying marriage and kids) regardless of autonomous vehicles.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The naysayers also say that it’s OK to pay younger generations less, take away their federal old age benefits, and tax them more because they have “time to adjust.”

    But when you try to adjust by not driving they are mad you get in their way.

  • Vooch
  • Flakker

    Well that, and personal cowardice, which is a problem a machine wouldn’t have.

  • rao

    Just today I noticed that almost every. single. time. I looked into a car window the driver was looking down at a device.

  • Kevin Love

    In my opinion, the urban police force in London, England is better. Which does not mean they are perfect there, just not as bad.

    Dutch police forces tend to do a good job with cyclists. Because they almost all are themselves.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Police in the UK and the Netherlands face much lower rates of violent crime, and a population that is far less likely to be armed, than those in the U.S.

    Any U.S. examples?

  • Kevin Love

    Well, I wonder why there is less violent crime in the UK and NL? Could it be that there is less social inequality in these places?

    Perhaps the police there consider themselves to be part of the people, instead of part of a wealthy ruling class that has contempt for the lives of us lowly serfs.