Today’s Headlines

  • Cuomo “Optimistic” About Potentially Disastrous Uber Bill (NYT)
  • Is TWU Chief John Samuelsen in Cuomo’s Pocket? His Predecessor Thinks So (Voice)
  • MTA CFO’s Testimony on Declining Bus Ridership Is Really Depressing (News)
  • Ydanis: Expand Citi Bike With Public Funds (Crain’s)
  • Subway Service Is Far Worse When You’re in a Wheelchair (NYT)
  • Removing Trash Cans From Subway Stations Didn’t Stop People From Littering (AMNYNY1)
  • There’s No Valid Reason to Raise the Speed Limit on Ocean Parkway (NYT)
  • DOT to Install Neckdowns and Median Islands at Intersections in Bayside (QNS)
  • New Yorkers Are Plagued by Unhealthy Traffic Noise, Says Interactive Map (Gothamist)
  • Is Trump Dumb Enough to Poison the Air His Own Family Breathes? Signs Point to Yes (WNYC)
  • If Cuomo Is So Smitten With Antique Transport, He Should Try It More Often (Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Vooch

    Rather than subsidizing Citibike expansion – why not use the same funds to build more PBLs ?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “One of the major reasons, we believe, is competition. Essentially the subway has improved over the last 20 or so years,” said chief financial officer Michael Chubak, when asked about the years-long decline in bus ridership.”

    Then why has subway ridership started to fall?

  • g

    “in” a wheelchair.
    it’s probably also bad if you’re an inanimate object 🙂

  • djx

    I don’t agree that transportation advocates should be pitting two good things like that against each other, at least as visions. If it comes to that in negotiations over budget, OK, but early on, no.

  • Brad Aaron

    Fixed. Thanks.

  • I think this is a good idea, but DOT is not budget-constrained on PBLs. Repeatedly, they refuse various sites as being inappropriate for their LOS goals on the vehicular side. I don’t agree with this, but that’s the argument that has to be won each and every time. (Also, they need communities to proactively request the infrastructure, since they’re always afraid that a proposal will lead to a tabloid backlash if they put something bold in front of the wrong pro-auto people)

  • Vooch

    good point, but …. 🙂

  • ohnonononono

    “Communities” =/= “cranks appointed to community boards”

  • sbauman

    Approximately 58% of NYC residents live more than 4 miles from where they work. Let’s consider 4 miles the practical threshold for people commuting to work. These people require subways. The 11% of NYC residents who live within 1 mile of their work place will probably walk. 27% of NYC residents who should be able to bike to work because they live between 1 and 4 miles from their work place. (The remaining 4% work outside NYC.) NYC requires commercial buildings to provide secure bicycle parking. Thus, using one’s own bicycle is practical.

    Approximately 75% of NYC residents live within 1/2 mile of a subway stop. Walking is the quickest travel mode for this short distance. Another 20% live between 1/2 and 2 miles from a subway stop. Bicycling is the quickest way to travel this short distance. However, secure bicycle parking isn’t available at subway stations. This is bike share’s niche market.

  • 1) It suffices if block associations, citywide advocacy groups and/or elected officials raise the discussion too
    2) I’m not telling you how it should be, I’m telling you what I see
    3) I’m on a community board, with a lot of good people who have done a lot of hard work for safe streets. Show some respect

  • Vooch

    Great approach

    to solve the last mile challenge install copious bike racks at subway stations

    lets start with the subway stations for erstwhile L train commuters

  • ahwr

    >Approximately 58% of NYC residents live more than 4 miles from where they work.

    Can you let me know what the source of this is?

    Thanks in advance.

  • sbauman

    The LEHD census data gives the census block for the home and work location combinations as well as the number of jobs for each combination. The TIGER census data gives the geographic shapes for all census blocks. It’s merely a question of calculating the travel distances between the geographic centers of the home and work census blocks and weighting it by the number of jobs.

    There are some problems using the LEHD data. I prefer to limit myself to private industry jobs because there is less of a problem in the work place census block.

  • bolwerk

    IIRC, subway ridership only fell trivially. Buses are actually hemorrhaging riders.

    That said, my first reaction to that was, have they noticed how slow the subway is? It’s sometimes as slow as buses in other cities.

    And is there evidence that buses have slowed down or something? ‘Cause really the MTA buses have been on a downward trajectory since the 1990s, except for a bump probably caused my the introduction of Metrocard.

  • Jonathan R

    bike share’s niche market

    I would have to disagree with you. There are cheaper ways for the city to provide bicycles to residents for use riding between home and the nearest subway station. The city could buy off-the-shelf bicycles and locks, and run a theft-insurance plan. That way everyone rides his or her own bike to the station, locks it up there, and rides it home at night. No pesky rebalancing or maintenance fleets needed, as with bike share.

  • sbauman

    One problem of using a personal bike for the short commute between home and subway is parking. It’s not as great as automobile parking because a bicycle occupies much less space.

    It still perpetuates the inefficiency of using the conveyance a ridiculously short period of time. The two mile bike trip takes 15 minutes. A personal bike used solely for transportation between home and subway would be used only 2% of the day. It would be parked 42% of the time at the subway station. Parking raises to 98%, if its owner does not bring the bike into his home.

    Bike share increases the bike use somewhat. Citibike’s 12,000 bikes provide 60,000 individual trips. This means each bike is used 5 times per day. One fifth the bikes and on fifth the bike parking space are required to provide the same service that using a personal bike would require.

    I would expect each shared bike within 2 miles of a subway station would be used between two and three times each day. This would reduce the amount of public space needed to park the bikes, when they are not used. The space created by not parking personal bikes could be used for public amenities like benches, trees, etc.

    There is a cost that should be associated with using public space to park vehicles. When such occupancy costs are included, the question of whether personal vs. shared bicycles is cheaper for the city becomes less clear.

    The amount of rebalancing required is related to the number of bikes and parking space available to meet existing demand. As you noted no rebalancing is required, when each bike is used only once per day. Much more rebalancing is required, when each bike is used five times per day. Figuring out the optimum bike usage should be an interesting intellectual problem, especially when the occupancy costs are included.

    Bikes need maintenance, whether they are shared or personal. Citibike has done a reasonable job of maintaining its fleet.

    I’ve been a fixture at Summer Streets as a bike mechanic. My conclusion from that experience is: New Yorkers cannot be trusted to keep their bikes in decent running condition or even a safe riding condition.

  • Thank you for the informative response.

    Our spitballed usage numbers agree at about one round trip per day per bicycle, which creates a space-filling shoal of bicycles parked at the transit station during the day.

    I assume that these people riding back and forth would otherwise take the bus. So whatever incentives are developed to promote bicycling in NYC’s more suburban areas will end up cannibalizing bus ridership.

    Subsidized bike share in these neighborhoods then can fairly be described as the city paying residents not to take the bus. Why is this a benefit?

  • sbauman

    I assume that these people riding back and forth would otherwise take the bus. So whatever incentives are developed to promote bicycling in NYC’s more suburban areas will end up cannibalizing bus ridership.

    Subsidized bike share in these neighborhoods then can fairly be described as the city paying residents not to take the bus. Why is this a benefit?

    1. From the user’s perspective, bike trips within a 2 mile radius are quicker than buses. This is total time, which includes walks to/from bus stop, waiting time for bus, as well as travel time within the bus.

    2. Buses cost $200 per hour in direct operating costs. Each MTA/NYCT bus racks up an additional $20,000 per year in liability claims. Those objecting to bike share expansion on the basis of its cost to the city, need examine the cost to the city of the existing alternatives. The fare currently provides 60% of operating costs. Government subsidies make up the remaining 40%. Thus far, bike share has received $0 in government subsidies. Bike share even reimburses NYC for lost parking meter revenue for its station placement.

    3. Buses are the principal traffic congestion source around many subway stations. The amount of bus scheduled bus trips around terminal stations is staggering. Over 4000 buses per day are scheduled to stop within 1/4 mile of 4 subway stops. Three of these 4 are in what you describe as a “more suburban setting.” Over 300 or more buses per hour are scheduled to stop within 1/4 mile of a subway stop 40 times per day. 17 times per day that subway stop is one of those “suburban settings.” That’s one bus stopping every 12 seconds.

    4. Buses still emit a lot of pollution, despite using what the MTA calls “Clean Technology.” If one were to create a heat map of where buses stop, the results would coincide with asthma hot spots.

    I suggest these reasons are sufficient to try to reduce the need for bus service in these congested areas. To repeat the numbers, 25% of NYC residents live beyond walking distance of a subway stop. However, 20% live within bike share’s sweet spot – 0.5 to 2.0 miles. Providing bike share in this area will attack 80% of the problem.

    Inducing more people to ride bikes to the subway will provide: with quicker access; less subsidy cost and congestion around subway stations when bus service is pared down to meet reduced demand; and health benefits for those who ride even those who don’t.

  • ahwr

    Thank you. In the RHTS median bird’s flight distance for work trips was 1.6 miles for Manhattan residents, 4.1 miles for the rest of the city.

    https://www.nymtc.org/DATA-AND-MODELING/Travel-Surveys/2010-11-Travel-Survey

    Genuinely curious which you think would be more accurate.

    The 11% of NYC residents who live within 1 mile of their work place will probably walk. 27% of NYC residents who should be able to bike to work because they live between 1 and 4 miles from their work place.

    There’s the potential for this, but in less walkable and bikeable areas of the city short trips can be rather unpleasant outside of a car. At a half mile along an arterial I’ll generally prefer to bike than to walk. It’s either less time next to a stressful street, or I can make up for the time delay of taking a quieter route.

    NYC requires commercial buildings to provide secure bicycle parking. Thus, using one’s own bicycle is practical.

    I’ve often stopped biking in the winter. I get out of the habit of maintaining my bike, and when there are finally a few nice days it just doesn’t seem worth it to get my bike ready when I’ll only use it for a day or two. Call me lazy if you wish, but bike share offers the convenience of a bike that’s ready to ride. It keeps me biking in the winter. At this point I mostly use my own bikes for longer recreational rides only. That it’s practical to use one’s own bike doesn’t mean that bikeshare isn’t more convenient, to the point that it might get a few more people to bike instead of transit/drive/take a different trip.

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