Today’s Headlines

  • Judge Finds Probable Cause for Criminal Case Against Chris Christie (NYT)
  • New NJ Transit Chief Steven Santoro Has His Work Cut Out for Him (AP 1, 2; 2AS)
  • NTSB Releases Preliminary Report on Hoboken Crash (@2AvSagas, Post, AMNY, News)
  • Presidential Infrastructure Forum in NYC Makes News Mostly Because Trump Snubbed It (Politico, News)
  • Brooklyn Cyclist Who Was Run Over by a Semi Driver Wrote a Memoir About It (Bklyn Paper)
  • Off-Duty FDNY Firefighter Drives Drunk, Hits Car, Leaves Scene, Is Arrested (News)
  • Man Stopped for DWI in Crown Heights Tries to Flee Scene With Cops in Car (DNA)
  • Widow of Thomas Violante, Pedestrian Killed on Hylan Boulevard, Sues Driver (Advance)
  • Thanks to Motorists, It’s a Particularly Bad Time of Year to Be a Deer (Advance)
  • Bloomberg Checks Out the Detroit Citi Bike Plant
  • Robin Williams Was a Decent and Personable Guy With an Amazing Bike Collection (WSJ)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    On Navy Street this morning they were finally replacing this guard rail, but it’s still on the wrong side of the bike lane!

    http://i.imgur.com/bcCO7vs.jpg

  • HamTech87

    The guard rail is to protect the motorists, their vehicle, and the City’s property (in this case a fence).

    Sadly, the engineers never even consider the need to protect vulnerable street users like pedestrians and cyclists. It is all about making sure the poor driver doesn’t get harmed.

  • ezzi386

    I don’t know if it’s meant to be tongue and cheek, but when you post every negative article that can be found about drivers and driving, and post it with tags like “Thanks to Motorists it’s a bad time to be a deer”, you come off as anti-car nuts, not an objective transportation news source.

  • Brad Aaron

    There is no such thing as “an objective transportation news source,” but thanks for reading.

  • ezzi386

    Hey Brad,
    I know, and I agree, but isn’t objectivity at least the objective here?

  • Simon Phearson

    “Anti-car.” Why do people use this label, like cars are some kind of protected class that we should be protective of?

    No one’s “anti-car.” We’re: anti-car pollution. We’re: anti-traffic violence. We’re: anti-unsustainable urban planning policy. But not “anti-car,” because that’s a silly thing to say. It just so happens that building transportation networks around facilitating car use is bad for everyone, including drivers.

    I mean, if you could take off the windshield-colored glasses for a moment and observe – the deer-striking problem is just one aspect of the myriad problems caused by the way our highway network cuts across and through natural habitats. But instead of thinking of this like an infrastructural problem that can be solved with better planning, we treat it like a personal-protection issue – the linked story being representative of this approach. We have this highway network where drivers routinely and predictably are hitting deer, but the best we can do is… to tell them to drive more carefully. Doesn’t it seem like there could be a better solution than simply pushing the risk onto each and every driver?

  • Simon Phearson

    Yeah, someone should really ask the cars for their perspective, so both sides can be represented.

  • ezzi386

    Great example of what I mean, but even I’m not crazy enough expect objectivity in the comments.

  • Joe R.

    I don’t think all that many regular readers, or even the reporters here, are “anti-car” in the sense that they loathe cars and think they should all disappear from the face of the earth. It’s more a case of using the best tool for the job. You wouldn’t use a sledgehammer to install a screw but a sledgehammer is a great tool if you’re breaking up concrete. Along the same lines of thinking, cars, indeed motor vehicles in general, are a very poor tool to base urban transportation on. Sure, there are niche uses for motor vehicles in cities but it’s a fallacy to think one can design an urban transportation system with motor vehicles as the dominant mode. That’s exactly what we tried to do in the second half of the 20th century. It failed miserably.

    Some of us here even like cars. I regularly follow developments on the EV front. I love the technology. At the same time however I realize large numbers of cars, even EVs, really have no place in dense urban areas. It’s just the wrong tool for the job. This doesn’t make me anti-car, nor does it make this site anti-car. I’m not even against individual motorized transportation in cities, but I feel that such transportation should take the form of e-bikes for most people, and something no larger than an electric microcar (i.e. 3 feet wide and maybe 8 feet long) for most of the rest. 2 or 3 ton behemoths powered by ICEs carrying just the driver largely don’t belong in cities at all. They cause a disproportionate number of problems. When more than a small percentage of the population uses them, they don’t even function all that great as transportation.

  • Simon Phearson

    The only one who’s nutty here is the one who thinks drivers constitute a class of people whose interests deserve particular consideration. Drivers are, in fact, just people, like pedestrians and cyclists. They drive because they choose to, or because we heavily incentivize them to do so, but they don’t in themselves deserve any more special consideration than any other person who chooses to get around in any particular way.

    I mean, that’s just the thing. We keep seeing it, again and again. Bike lanes are treated as an amenity that are “awarded” to cyclists, who are deemed unworthy of the privilege of safe transportation because some of them break laws. Not just smart road design, akin to building sidewalks anywhere that you’re likely to have people who want to walk places. People who want safer streets are “advocates,” while those who want streets dedicated to driving and parking are “neighbors,” when there’s no reason in the world why we shouldn’t design streets so that people don’t routinely die or get injured on them.

    The only people interested in dividing up the population between “drivers” and “everyone else,” and calling for some kind of even-handedness in divvying up media attention or public resources between the two groups, are specifically those people who benefit from this zero-sum way of thinking and the politics it produces – namely, drivers. For the rest of us, the perspective you’ve described as “anti-car” is really just the perspective that views the car as one mode of transportation amongst many, and as the most inefficient and enduringly expensive one, at that.

  • vnm

    Two kittens are either saved by, or killed by, the MTA, and it’s front page news in the tabloids. Millions of animals are killed very day by motorists and it’s never discussed.

  • kevd

    I’m pretty damn anti-car (well, anti the overuse and subsidization of private automobiles) and I took issue with that one.

    Deer get hit because their predators have been removed from the ecosystem, and they are severly over populated.

  • Brad Aaron

    The goal, or my goal anyway, is to be frank about the realities of traffic violence, and all costs associated with it, which nearly 100 percent of media outlets ignore or brush off.

    Driver-deer collisions are one of those costs. I happen to sympathize with the deer, who are just doing their thing and aren’t familiar with the rules of the road. But as the Advance article says, people also die from those crashes. And of course there are the attendant costs in property damage, emergency response, etc.

    Some on this board have heard this before from me, but I used to drive everywhere, all the time. For years. The inevitability of running over animals — I’ve struck and killed several deer myself — is one of the reasons I don’t do that anymore.

    The broader point is those crashes, thousands and thousands of them, are a consequence of our broken car-based transportation system. It’s another facet of auto dependency and poor design that we accept as a fact of life. We don’t have to, and we shouldn’t.

  • Brad Aaron

    Deer get hit because we drive vehicles and hit them.

  • Kevin Love

    Not to mention that each of those “distracted” pedestrians probably has more situational awareness than a perfectly normal child.

    Consider, for example, the iconic WWII photograph “Wait for Me, Daddy!” In October 1940, this was seen as representing the tragedy of families separated by war.

    Today, that child would be victim-blamed and deemed worth of being crushed and killed by a car driver. See:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wait_for_Me,_Daddy

  • kevd

    dumb headlines like that are exactly why nobody outside of our little clique will ever take this site, or its mission seriously.

  • Brad Aaron

    Right. I don’t hate cars. I grew up immersed in car culture and as a small child was known for being able to name practically every make and model on the road.

    What I hate is that we use them so irresponsibly, and that they make otherwise rational people crazy.

  • Brad Aaron

    In the absence of cars there are no car-deer collisions. That’s an objective fact.

    In other countries highways are built with underpasses that allow animals to cross. Even in the Florida Keys there are fences and signage to preserve the Key Deer population. So it’s also a fact that design is a factor.

    Stupid, asinine ideas that pop up on Streetsblog have a way of becoming policy. Ridicule from people who think something must be dumb because they don’t personally agree with it comes with the territory.

  • kevd

    Deers are killed on Highways, on state routes, on local roads – literally on every road in the North East that isn’t densely urban. And no, they can’t all be redesigned with underpasses for bambi.

    This is what a risible anti-car agenda looks like.

  • Brad Aaron

    Let’s ignore this problem and it will go away.

  • Driver

    Here’s another objective fact. In the absence of deer there are no car-deer collisions. That fact in itself does not make an anti-deer position a rational one.

  • Miles Bader

    The fact that there’s a guard-rail here at all, in what appears to be a fairly urban location, suggests that people do not drive safely in this location (and it’s dead straight), and something more than just moving the rail should be done….

    [Around my house there’s a relatively large street, which for most of its length is just a normal street, with sidewalks, shops, homes, trees, etc.

    But in one particular location, that street curves (practically in front of my house TT), and there the street is bounded by a ridiculous combination of guard rails, massive physical lane dividers, huge reflective warning signs, blinking lights, etc. It’s truly silly, but I’m guessing they didn’t just put all that crap there for yucks.

    They’ve actually done quite a bit to try and calm traffic on this road in recent years, including halving the number of traffic lanes (the sidewalks were made much wider), and to my eyes, the curve appears just a normal curve, I’m not sure why people would drive particularly badly there… but apparently they do… ><]

  • Larry Littlefield

    A court finds Christie may have committed a crime by causing a traffic jam.

    But it’s no crime at all to destroy New Jersey’s transit system.

    Oh, right, when destroying the transit system they were all in on it, whereas the traffic jam was strictly Christie’s crowd.

    The number one rule in state politics seem to be if everybody (on the inside) is guilty, then no one is guilty.

  • bolwerk

    And evolutionarily speaking, car culture might be pretty good for deer – from the deer’s perspective anyway! Sure, a lot of them die in agony because they get hit by cars, but the wolves, foxes, and bobcats that prey on deer never really carved out a niche in suburbia. Plus suburban flora just happen to be fairly similar to the kind of woodland/field borderland deer thrive in.

  • kevd

    I think we both agree that as a country we should reduce the amount of land devoted to suburbs and exurbs. Abandoning sone exurban areas adding density to some suburbs so that they are more town or village like. That means few car trips, but won’t mean fewer deer (probably more, actually) unless some predators return to the ecosystems.
    Without wolves, bobcats and foxes, human hunters can do a decent job.

    Do foxes prey on deer? Growing up they were one of the few predators i ever saw, but not a 100th as much as I saw deer.

  • kevd

    Deer aren’t victims in the current system. They are beneficiaries. As evidences by their wild overpopulation.

  • Joe R.

    Same thing with squirrels, rats, pigeons and raccoons. At least in the city stray cat populations tend to keep the squirrel, rat, and pigeon populations in check. Cars seem to keep the raccoon populations from getting out of hand.

    No natural predators for deer thrive in typical urban or suburban ecosystems. We probably wouldn’t want them to anyway as they would be dangerous to humans.

  • bolwerk

    Hmm, perhaps you’re right. Wikipedia(tm) mentions ungulates as a rare prey for foxes, so they probably otherwise scavenge them. Deer may be beyond even bobcats. Perhaps the only native predator left in the northeast for deer is the coyote?

    I don’t even regard myself as “anti-car.” I am anti-sprawl and anti-car culture. I chortle at the motorheads who accuse me of being anti-car, since I probably have a better grip on making cars useful forms of transportation than they do.

  • bolwerk

    I’m not sure any of our native predators are dangerous to humans. Wolves maybe, if they’re starving, but they seem extinct this side of Appalachia. A bobcat could maybe take out a young child.

    The dangerous ones that would maybe fuck with you 4 realz live out west. Hogs are pretty dangerous in groups, but I don’t think they are doing too well around these parts either.

  • kevd

    I mean, I don’t particularly enjoy driving them (though occasionally it can be nice on a quiet country road) – I think gas should probably cost about $6/gallon, that cities, towns and suburbs shouldn’t be designed around them the way we have for the past 60 years. But sure. They’re a tool that has many useful purposes and that could be considerably less environmentally and personally destructive than they currently are and we’re gonna be stuck with ’em for a long long time, since it will take at least another 60 years or urban design to fix the mess we’ve made.

  • ahwr