Today’s Headlines

  • How Much Does Motor Vehicle Registration Fraud Cost New York? (Crain’s)
  • These Queens Voters Are Paying Closer Attention to Albany (Voice)
  • Port Authority Has Better Ways to Spend $1.7B Than a PATH Extension to Newark Airport (MTR)
  • RPA: During the L Shutdown, Let’s Show the Full Potential of NYC Streets (Crain’s)
  • Constantinides: Steinway Street Needs a Town Square (DNA)
  • The Perpetual Struggle to Keep NYC Streets and Sidewalks Clean (NYT)
  • Two Drivers Critically Injured a Man By Lehman High School Last Month (BxTimes)
  • Pedestrian Injuries Spiked in Rego Park and Forest Hills in January (DNA)
  • FDNY Puts Ambulance Operators on Restricted Duty for Antics Behind the Wheel (Post)
  • Last Week Was a Nightmare for Riders at the 168th Street 1 Station (DNA)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    As I commented on the article, the biggest hit from out of state registration is the higher insurance cost for those who follow the rules. Basically, the scofflaws aren’t covering their share of all the insurance fraud here.

    Given the sort of people they are, our state legislators identify with the fraudsters, not the suckers. Those exploiting the system are not about to allow a constitutional convention attended by ordinary citizens. Neither will they do anything about this.

  • gregwtmtno

    I know it’ll never happen, but I wish New York culture could change to make littering unacceptable. There are many major cities on this planet that don’t put up with litter all over the place. There are many great things about New York, but this isn’t one of them.

  • Larry Littlefield

    In much of the developing world, littering is par for the course. And that’s where many New Yorkers come from.

    It has always been that way. Three was lots of litter in New York 100 years ago. Immigrants learn NOT to litter here. But then move on and are replaced by new immigrants.

  • adrian

    I’ve seen people throw fast food they were done with directly out of their car windows in to the street. They don’t even bother looking for a trash can. It’s disgusting and those people are frankly disgusting. There’s no excuse for that behavior.

  • bolwerk

    I don’t even think littering is the direct problem. New York institutions haven’t learned to pick up garbage, I guess because everybody is too good to do it. That’s what you need to do, rather than assume people are going to stop littering.

    There is a political problem: waste-makers have more pull in the Council and in Albany than voters. No business needs to use any kind of packaging that doesn’t get redeemed for a little bounty. It’s not soda cans and bottles you see everywhere, afterall.

  • bolwerk

    A sane price for that PATH extension would probably be something like $300 million with direct terminal access. It was $500M a decade ago. Now it’s $1.7B?

    Let’s not explain that.

  • I have seen the same thing. And, in response to @disqus_wlgcE8xXNg:disqus, these are not immigrants (as I can tell when they yell back at me in their New York accents after I have shouted my denunciation of them in my New York accent).

    Furthermore, Washington also has plenty of immigrants, and you don’t see littering on a New York scale down there.

    Littering is an expression of a particularly New York brand of assholedom — just as is the aggression shown by drivers, another thing which is largely absent in the neighbouring cities of Philadelphia and Washington.

  • HamTech87

    I hate those stations where the only exit is a deep elevator. Wish it weren’t cost prohibitive to drill new escalator tunnels to the platform.

  • The 191st St IRT station is 15 stories deep. That’s a long escalator ride.

  • HamTech87

    Thanks. I imagine 168th is not as deep, but perhaps it is? How deep are stations like DC’s Dupont Circle or Rosslyn? I was hunting for depth info but couldn’t find.

  • Joe R.

    We could start with some enforcement. As much as I loathe the police enforcing petty laws, this is one case where I would welcome it. Also, we need to go back to the ban on selling food or eating on the subways. In a perfect world, we could allow it but unfortunately NYers have proven time and again they’re slobs. Since they can’t be depended upon to put their empty food containers or leftover food in trash receptacles then we just can’t allow eating on public transit.

  • Joe R.

    Sadly, NYers have a well-deserved worldwide reputation as a bunch of pigs. This is definitely one facet of my city I’m not proud of.

  • 191st is the deepest station in the system; it seems to me that the 181st and 168th stations’ elevators travel a shorter distance. But even that is probably 10 stories. Maybe at 168th St they could build a new mezzanine in the hospital basement. Similarly, a new building on the corner of Wadsworth and 181st St (replacing the bank on the SE corner, say) could have a basement mezzanine that could link up to escalators from the 181st downtown platform.

  • Fool

    I currently in Kyiv.

    It is not a long escalator ride in Kyiv! These things haul.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, the pooper scooper law worked. I remember what the sidewalks were like before it.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, the pooper scooper law worked. I remember what the sidewalks were like before it.

  • AMH

    It’s also our bizarre trash-collection practices. I’ve never seen another city that piles plastic garbage bags on the sidewalk, making pedestrians squeeze around foul-smelling mountains that attract litter with a gravitational pull proportional to their own mass while spilling trash out of their rips and tears.

  • bolwerk

    Yes, too much waste in too small a space with too much packaging, poor pickup polices, ceaseless diffusion of responsibility, unresponsive institutions, misguided profit motives trumping experimenting with new policies, blah blah. Our litter problems resemble most of our problems, all of which someone explains away because we’re fundamentally Evil.

    “New Yorkers litter a lot” seems to be an extension of the “New Yorkers can’t behave” meme. Sorry for the kvetchers, but behaviorally New Yorkers aren’t that different from people in other cities.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    Can you convince vendors to stop generating so much trash in the first place? NYC is the only place in the world I’ve ever been served a cup of coffee in a paper bag. That’s just … honestly.

  • AnoNYC

    And how about dumpsters on every street like in many western European cities rather than trash bags in front of every dwelling or business.

  • behaviorally New Yorkers aren’t that different from people in other cities.

    I believed that until I began riding my bike in other cities.

    In Philadelphia, when I put my hand up, palm out, in the “Stop” signal (to cars that are turning left across my path, or to cars that are coming the opposite direction as I turned left in front of them), the drivers come to a complete stop. That does not happen in New York.

    In Washington, when I cross four-lane streets at unsignalised locations, all the cars going in both directions stop, without my making any signal. That has never happened in New York, and it will never happen here.

    What’s more, the obnoxious practice of stopping ahead of the stop line is non-existent in those other big cities, as is the act of beginning to roll before the light turns green. (That is, except when these things are done by drivers who are visiting from the New York City area.)

    Even the bicyclists behave differently, with very little wrong-way riding and red-light-running. This is especially true in Washington, where the sight of multiple bicyclists waiting at a red light is commonplace.

    The sad truth is that, in many respects, we New Yorkers behave worse than people in other big cities do. And littering is but another manifestation of this embarrassing phenomenon.

  • Guest

    Last time I was out for a ride with my son on the bike seat, there was a car about half a block behind me when I signaled a left turn. As I started to make the turn, he sped up and tried to pass me on the left side. Then when I yelled at him, he stopped, got out of the car, and screamed at me for putting my son at risk by having him in the road.

    This was a quiet, residential street.

    New York would be great, if it weren’t for all the New Yorkers…

  • bolwerk

    Are you kidding? Principal Skinner, is that you? No, we don’t. Philadelphia drivers are every bit as horrifically incompetent as New York drivers, and especially clueless when it comes to dealing with pedestrians. If there is a special quality to Washington drivers, besides generic incompetence, it’s road rage at a fever pitch.

    New York’s idiot government is clueless at traffic management, inflicting too many masses of cars on too small a space. It is much the same as with waste. Small changes people can adjust to pretty easily would fix both problems, and for the few people who don’t respond to the carrot there is always the stick of pricing/fining such behavior at a high enough rate to finance cleaning up after them.

  • Philadelphia drivers are every bit as horrifically incompetent as New York drivers, and especially clueless when it comes to dealing with pedestrians.

    Not true. I have repeatedly witnessed Philly drivers stopping at stop signs that New York drivers would have rolled right through. What’s more, they do it even when no pedestrians are present at the intersection. It’s just the norm, part of the culture — just as ignoring these laws is part of the culture here.

    And the sight of Philadelphia drivers coming to a complete halt at my “stop” hand signal made a profound impression. In general, I found that, when riding a bike in the Philly streets, one feels none of the constant aggression that we in New York have regrettably come to expect.

    If there is a special quality to Washington drivers, besides generic incompetence, it’s road rage at a fever pitch.

    Spectacularly incorrect, so much so that this comment seems to come from Evil Spock’s mirror universe. By New York standards, Washington drivers are downright polite.

    But you are right when you say that the fixes for both driver misconduct and littering are relatively straighforward. The keys are to prioritise enforcement so as to create a disincentive to engage in the bad acts in the first place, and to impose penalties harsh enough to discourage reoffence.

    The first problem with this approach is there is that the people charged with enforcing these laws aren’t willing to do it, considering such work to be beneath them. And because the police department has, in the style of a military junta, completely superseded the civilian government in the area of policy, there is no one who can require the police to focus less on mosty-imaginary “terrorism” and more on the actual mundane acts of driver intimidation that terrorise New Yorkers on a daily basis.

    The other problem is that reasonable legislation and adequate enforcement would lead to nonstop rounds of denunciation on the part of the idiot media, which are dedicated to upholding the windshield perspective.

    Until we get a public administration which is willing to stand up to the police and to say to them “we are in charge and you work for us, not the other way around”, there will be no way even to begin addressing the serious problem of driver misconduct and the related issue of littering.

  • bolwerk

    I’m in Philly every week. My routine usually includes several walks from Queen Village to Center City, varying the route. This is not an exaggeration: every fucking time, someone blithely tries to kill me. At least once.

    By New York standards, Washington drivers are downright polite.

    Not surprising. Politeness is sublimated contempt.

    I’m there every few weeks too (nearby now, in fact). Probably because many are suburbanites who deal with the worst traffic in the country besides maybe LA, Washington area drivers usually seethe with road rage. Insofar as you can say Washington proper is less “dangerous” than New York or Philly, it’s only true in places where there is less automobile traffic. In places where there is full congestion, they seriously are as bad or worse (nothing gets a driver’s blood boiling more than waiting for other people) than Philly or New York.

    All the problems you blame on New Yorkers are environmental. Problems with New York, yes, but not with people, especially people without cars. Stop signs are a perfect example, in fact. New York does something many other cities do not regarding stop signs: it allows people to park to the corner (every parking space is precious!), so drivers have to crawl into the crosswalk to get a view around parked vehicles, stopping only when they can see. So of course New Yorkers ignore stop signs; they’re trained to from the moment they start driving.

  • I’m in Philly every week. My routine usually includes several walks from Queen Village to Center City, varying the route. This is not an exaggeration: every fucking time, someone blithely tries to kill me. At least once

    Well, try riding the bike lane on Torresdale Avenue out towards Northeast. Or even the lane on congested Aramingo Avenue starting in Fishtown. Torresdale is reminiscent of a Brooklyn avenue, perhaps Sutter or Pitkin. And Aramingo reminds me of something out of Nassau County, such as Old Country Road. But the major difference in both cases is that the drivers show a lot more respect to bicyclists.

    The presence of a bike lane on both of those streets helps, of course. But I have ridden up and down the length of Broad Street, from Cheltenham Avenue at the northern city limits, through Erie, Allegheny, and Lehigh Avenues in gritty North Philly, around City Hall and through the Center City tourist hub, past Snyder Avenue in South Philly, and all the way down to Pattison Avenue and the ballparks. And even on that street which most resembles a wide Manhattan avenue, and which is untamed by any bike lane, I experienced a degree of decency on the part of drivers that is entirely foreign to me as a New Yorker. If you ever doubt the efficacy of hand signals (not just the “stop” signal that I mentioned earlier, but also the palm-facing-backwards signal requesting that drivers slow down and accommodate my need to move left), then ride in Philly, and notice how nice it is when drivers actually pay attention to these signals.

    By New York standards, Washington drivers are downright polite.

    Not surprising. Politeness is sublimated contempt.

    I am not interested in drivers’ emotions; I am interested only in their behaviour. I don’t mind if they have contempt for me as a cyclist (side note: it’s mutual); I just want them to behave civilly towards me (and that, too, will be mutual).

    Insofar as you can say Washington proper is less “dangerous” than New York or Philly, it’s only true in places where there is less automobile traffic. In places where there is full congestion, they seriously are as bad or worse […] than Philly or New York.

    I would not consider 16th St. NW in the vicinity of Dupont Circle to be a road that lacks congestion. But that’s where I experienced drivers stopping of their own accord when I attempted to cross the street at an unsignalised crossing. The same thing happened on super-wide Wisconsin Avenue up in Bethesda. This is when I knew that it was not my imagination, that there is indeed something about this place that is different to what I am used to in my hometown.

    Each person can judge matters based only on his/her own experience, which will vary. But I cannot fathom how anyone can say that drivers in Washington behave worse than our drivers.

    I hope that, in your next visits to our neighbouring cities of Philly and Washington, you get to ride around them in order to see whether you think that the general level of driver aggression there seriously compares to that which exists here in New York.

  • bolwerk

    I don’t at all doubt people respond differently to a given stimulus in different cities. I personally respond differently to a given stimulus in different cities I visit! Put a Washingtonian in New York road traffic for a few weeks and I bet you’ll see New York driver behavior.

    Skill level, moral reasoning, and typical motivations? Not so different between New York, DC, Philly. Between a New Yorker and Parisian, only the first one might differ (American driver education is quite bad). Once you get big groups of people all doing the same “bad” things, you can’t blame moral deficiency and bad life choices. No, New Yorkers are not pigs and they don’t want to kill you more than Washingtonians. Phenomena exist that lead to the outcomes you’re talking about, and those phenomena can be understood and adjusted.

    I am not interested in drivers’ emotions

    You should be, for your own safety. Their emotional state compounds how dangerous they are.

    Also, at least per 100k people, drivers kill more people and pedestrians in DC than in Manhattan. (I don’t even want to check Philly.)

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