Today’s Headlines

  • 9 Months After Jack Koval Was Struck and Killed, NYPD Admits Driver Was Off-Duty Cop (Gothamist)
  • Man Who Drove Drunk and Killed MTA Bus Driver Sentenced to Up to 25 Years in Prison (NYTAP)
  • Bike Snob Eviscerates Last Night’s Zombie Bikelash Segment on CBS2
  • The Franklin Avenue Subway Station Is Literally Crumbling (Gothamist)
  • Medallion Owners Sue City for Allowing Ride-Hailing Apps to Compete (News)
  • Here’s Amtrak’s Track Repair/Closure Schedule at Penn Station This Summer (NYT, AMNY)
  • More Coverage of City Council’s Hit-and-Run Bills (Post, News, AMNY)
  • TransAlt’s Paul White and Brooklyn CB2 District Manager Rob Perris Talk Traffic Safety With Bklyn Paper
  • Bodega Owners Tell Vice Their Fears About Going 15 Months Without L Train Foot Traffic
  • Get Ready for More Scaffolding Sheds Squeezing Sidewalks (Crain’s)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • APJH

    The falling concrete incident was not at the Franklin Ave. C station–it was at the 2/3/4/5 station (also Franklin Ave.).

  • fixed, thanks

  • Jesse

    Anyone else read that Randall O’Toole piece in the USA stack and kind of agree with him? I don’t think he really wants good BRT. I think he would prefer something where the bus right of way is still encroached upon by private cars. But gold-standard Bogota-style BRT is cheaper and more flexible than streetcars. It really is something U.S. cities should use more. Even with all the bells and whistles of Bogota’s system — two center-running lanes physically separated from auto traffic by concrete barriers, physical boarding platforms to allow pay before boarding, double-articulated buses throughout the system — it’s still much more cost-effective and functional than a comparable light rail.

  • Vooch

    the sinister road lobby always pushes for buses over rail AT FIRST then when real BRT is proposed they unleash the anti’s to stop BRT

    they been doing this since the 1930s

    O’Toole is simply following the old playbook

  • Komanoff

    Bike Snob misses the mark when he shrugs off a 1 mph drop in CBD average speeds from roughly 9 mph in 2010 to 8 mph in 2015.

    The difference works out to around 48,000 additional hours in traffic on a typical weekday, based on roughly 3.5 million vehicle miles traveled (per 24h) in the CBD. It’s a rise from 389,000 hours at 9 mph, to 437,5000 at 8 mph.

    The 1 mph drop in speeds is significant because the baseline speed is so low. If the 1 mph drop in speed was from 19 mph to 18 mph, the rise in travel time would be just 10,000 hours per day (184,400 hours rising to 194,400), vs. 48,000 above.

    This may be counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Small differences in average speeds are hard to translate into meaningful terms. But when baselines are small, those small decrements (or increments do matter).

    It probably makes more sense to characterize the speed drop as a duration lengthening. Using the actual DOT numbers — 9.35 mph dropping to 8.22 mph — the average vehicle trip in the CBD is taking nearly 14 percent longer.

  • c2check

    Perhaps—although it still doesn’t make sense for the CBS reporter to put the blame squarely on bike lanes and/or cyclists. Especially considering that vehicle travel times dropped slightly on streets like 8th Ave after PBLs were installed.

  • Jesse

    If only there were some way to regulate the CBD so the supply of available road space remained relatively constant despite the increased demand. I guess maybe if we start letting people drive in bike lanes and on the sidewalks at least during rush hours? I don’t know. Society hasn’t really come up with any mechanism for efficiently allocating finite resources according to demand so I’m just spit-balling here.

  • Elizabeth F

    Good point. But the core problem with the article remains —- that people noticed a speed drop and immediately attributed it to bike lanes, with absolutely zero evidence.

  • Elizabeth F

    By the same token, you could let pedestrians walk all over the road at rush-hour (peak demand).

  • Jesse

    That’s absurd. Where would the cars go?!

  • Vooch

    komanoff,

    Finally after agreeing on so much else, I disagree with the maths that translate into 48,000 hours of ‘lost time’

    I’d argue that the entire premise of the calculation of lost time is a false question, leading to false answers.

    Maybe we should calculate how many lives and hospital visits are saved when drivers are slowed down. I bet we’d arrive at the answer that a 1 MPH decrease is highly desireable.

    ?

  • Vooch

    the cars would go to NJ where they can roam free and happy.

    Jesse – you original question is indeed a fascinating one. It’s a profound deep philosophical question. I’m struggling with finding a answer. Maybe some genius PhD type can figure out a simple method for allocating stuff based upon individual marginal utility. I’m guessing maybe there might be a solution in the price mechanism, but someone really brilliant should answer.

  • Komanoff

    Seems that you don’t disagree with my math, you disagree with the premise behind it.

    Do you disagree that 48,000 additional daily hours (oops, vehicle-hours) spent sitting in traffic are of no consequence? Obviously, I think they are.

    More important, I disagree with your premise crediting the 1 mph slowing of traffic with considerably fewer traffic injuries and deaths, though I admit I haven’t done any modeling or estimating on that. Have you?

  • Ken Dodd

    Drunk driver kills MTA bus driver – 25 years in jail. Drunk driver kills someone who isn’t part of a well connected public service union – not even half that. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with a drunken sh!tbag driver going to jail for 25 years, personally I’d send down every drunk driver for that on their 2nd offense regardless of whether or not they hurt someone. But you have to wonder about the inconsistency in sentencing.

    Meanwhile, I remember when the TWU was putting up posters around Manhattan talking about the driver who “murdered” William Pena. Strong words indeed from an organization which maintains that bus drivers are special and should not be held accountable for killing pedestrians.

  • Joe R.

    It’s hard to make the safety argument here. Slower average speeds don’t necessarily mean people are driving slower in between the times when they’re stopped.

    Then there’s the pollution issue. Cars idling or moving slower put out way more pollution per mile than cars moving steadily at medium speeds. It may be that more people are dying overall as a result of the slower speeds.

  • Vooch

    we need to solve this over a few pitchers of beer at the white horse

    🙂

  • Jesse

    Yeah seems like something for the eggheads. Not armchair urbanists like us.

  • Joe R.

    There may not be a way to match the space to the demand but there is a way to match the demand to the available road space. You price the road space according to how many vehicles are currently using it. If relatively few vehicles are using it, then the price is low to reflect the incremental congestion each vehicle causes. If the roads are starting to get crowded enough that free-flow breaks down the price goes way up to discourage additional users. Those who are willing to pay the higher prices will be those users who lose the most when free-flow breaks down. That would be mostly commercial users.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Shows it all. And they aren’t really called on it.

    So off duty police officers are also allowed to run people over.

    Would the TWU’s exemption from traffic laws for its members have applied to off duty transit workers as well formally, or just informally?

    And what if a TWU member ran over another TWU member?

  • Vooch

    Loaded up my cart at Zabar’a the other day, they stopped me at the door, wanted something called ‘money’ before I could take the stuff home.

    they seemed to have abundance of supply.

    wonder if BdB should hire Eli Zabar to solve the shortage of roadspace.

  • Vooch

    good points BUT until we have PROOF, we should be happy that hulking death machines are often trapped.

    🙂

  • Kevin Love

    Wow! Look at all the time that would be saved with a car-free Island of Manhattan!

  • Kevin Love

    I heard a rumor that in exotic far-off cities like “London” or “Stockholm” they have come up with a bizarre idea called “free markets.”

    But that sort of thing will never work in the USA. We believe in socialism for car drivers. Capitalism and free markets will only ever work in Europe.

  • Kevin Love

    Cost-effective if the drivers are paid Bogota wages. The advantage of light rail is that much more people can be put on a light rail vehicle and the vehicles can be expanded with modular sections. For example, in Ottawa, the new Confederation Line LRT vehicles carry 370 passengers. See:

  • Vooch

    zillions if not more hours

  • Vooch

    that’s impossible

    it could never work

    bet London will stop that insane scheme 6 months after they start.

  • Joe R.

    I was just thinking about this some more. While I really can’t argue with your numbers, in aggregate it’s likely more than offset by the time saved by people who are now able to bike who weren’t before. Many people who take bike trips now either walked or took public transit before. Cycling is 3 to 5 times faster than walking. It’s also almost always faster than public transit unless your origin and destination happen to lie near express subway stops. In Manhattan it’s probably even faster than driving if average CBD speeds are really only 8 mph. A cyclist in average shape can probably average 10 to 12 mph on a lot of typical trips. A strong cyclist can average much faster than that, particularly if they have a favorable route where they don’t need to stop much.

    Basically then I think we need to consider the overall picture for everyone traveling, not just street users in motor vehicles.

  • Joe R.

    If they were electric I wouldn’t care but when a trapped death machine is still spewing exhaust I think I’d rather in be in motion.

  • bolwerk

    No it’s not, because there is no such thing as a comparable light rail. The only sort of logical context for building that kind of bus service is when you can appropriate already existing lanes. In most cases, that’s the very context where streetcars make limited sense and private light rail ROWs would require a rebuild or new ROW.

    As for O’Toole, he doesn’t as usual explain his numbers, but as of 2014 Denver’s bus system cost 60%+ more per passenger-mile than its light rail service. O’Toole appears to be cherrypicking a single bus route, or a group of them, and generalizing based on that.

    And people gotta stop using Bogota as an example of good urban transit design. Nobody wants wants acres of concrete and pavement where a much lower footprint streetcar or metro would suffice.

  • Vooch

    The amount of pollution that modern hulking death machines spew when trapped is rather miniscule.

    I think tire dust is a bigger threat these days

  • Komanoff

    That’s beside the point … or beside *my* point, which was simply that Bike Snob was too cavalier about the implications of a 1 mph slowdown in vehicle speeds from the 9 mph baseline, period.

  • Kevin Love

    Source?

  • Kevin Love

    “Nobody”? Be careful with that, because BRT systems are under construction right now. An example is the “Rapidway” north of Toronto. It is already open with considerable expansion now under construction. See:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_7_Rapidway

    Note that when passenger volume warrants, there are plans to upgrade the Rapidway to LRT.

    There is no such thing as one technology that is always best. For lower passenger volumes, or where wages are low, BRT may be suitable.

  • bolwerk

    Yep, and that would seem to support my point. Look where RapidWay is being built. (Spoiler: not here, a corridor. where you occasionally see someone arguing BRT should replace a proposed streetcar.)

    Without a lane to appropriate, building something like that in a built up city requires going Robert Moses on a neighborhood. Depending what BRT even means, I won’t say it’s never appropriate, but how on many routes in NYC is there technical feasibility for so-called “gold standard” BRT? Ignoring elevated highways and Staten Island, and I can’t come up with much besides Woodhaven Boulevard.

  • Vooch

    https://www.dieselnet.com/standards/us/ld_t3.php

    compare with tier 1 standards

    in particularly smoggy days – modern cars actually clean the air. crazy but true

  • Kevin Love

    Actually, quite a few routes, once they have been made car-free.

  • Vooch

    Translation pre2004 model year allowed to
    emit 0.25 g/mile
    post 2004 model year less than 0.075
    after 2016 model year 0.050

    these are miniscule numbers

  • Vooch

    London estimates that 22% of bike trips would have otherwise been car trips

  • bolwerk

    Like? IIRC you don’t get “gold standard” BRT without limiting/prohibiting turns across the busway, limited intersections, physical separation, and signal prioritization. You can probably count on your hands the number of places that is doable in New York without appropriating an elevated highway (which may be a good idea, of course).

    But there are plenty of routes appropriate for Select Bus Service.

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