Today’s Headlines

  • Straphangers Say Subway Delays Are Upending Their Lives (News, Gothamist)
  • TransAlt and Bike NY: Better Bike Infrastructure Can Help NYC Weather Tough Transit Times (News)
  • The MTA Really Comes in Handy for Cuomo’s Budgetary Shell Games (News)
  • Last Week’s Penn Derailment Happened at an Interlocking Everyone Knew Needed to Get Fixed (NYT)
  • Today Marks the Start of Penn Station’s “Summer of Hell” (NYT, News, PostAMNYBklyn Paper)
  • Gelinas: Things Will Get Worse at Penn Before They Get Better (Post)
  • Daily News Bemoans Our Silly Regional Transit Turf Wars
  • Tow Truck Driver Kills Donna Hahl, 70, in Queens Village, Arrested for Breaking Right of Way Law (Gothamist)
  • Bus Driver Hits and Kills Woman in Brooklyn, Police Investigating It as Suicide (News)
  • There’s a Development Surge Around the Second Avenue Subway (NYT)
  • Greenway Segment in Red Hook Will Be Closed for Weeks to Make Way for Car Race (Bklyn Paper)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    Speaking of transit turf wars, notice the big pushback against Cuomo holding that the MTA can no longer afford projects like the LIRR third track because that money should go to fix the subway?

    But no one is saying do both, but don’t add a fourth lane to the Van Wyck or the second span of the Tappan Zee.

  • Joe R.

    Totally agree about getting education through middle school online. It’s amazing in this day and age that kids still physically go to school. It’s a massive waste of resources transporting them there. And then you have kids arriving at school tired from a long trip, and thus not is a state conducive to learning.

    TransAlt needs to flesh out the bike plan a bit. As I’ve mentioned many times, if cycling is going to partially take up the slack for the subway, it needs to be both safer and a heck of a lot faster. Going 8 or 10 miles stop-and-go on local streets just doesn’t cut it. Besides making the trip take 2 or 3 times as long as it needs to, that type of riding is very stressful, which means less people will do it in the long run. So let’s start building a citiwide network of non-stop bike highways to supplement what we do on local streets.

  • Vooch

    Agreed – it’s a crisis, so temporary measures should be to reallocate 1 motor lane on the BQE, FDR, and Henry Hudson Parkway for express commuter cycling.

    This is a dirt cheap solution which could be implemented in a matter of months using jersey barriers and baily bridges

  • djx

    “Getting pre-K to grade 8 education online, to facilitate computer-aided homeschooling co-operatives, is another needed adaptation in the wake of Generation Greed.”

    “Totally agree about getting education through middle school online. It’s amazing in this day and age that kids still physically go to school. ”

    THIS IS INSANE. You’re suggesting little and middle-sized kids should be spending more time online? W T F.

    Yes, educational resources should be online to help parents if they want to home-school, but the concept of having kids primarily online is crazy from a developmental standpoint.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Unfortunately we’re beyond that. The amount of resources the existing system is going to suck up to NOT educate children is just going to be too great. We’re beyond worrying about developmentally appropriate, and just trying to figure out how to get SOMETHING.

    And one of the usual ways they adjust for it is to slash starting pay to make up for soaring retirement costs and out of classroom assignments. Right now class sizes are well over 25 with a student to instructional worker just north of 8 and one year in retirement for each year worked for those who don’t depart early in their careers. And it’s going to get worse.

  • walks bikes drives

    It always amazes me when people who are nowhere near the education field have fixes for education. Homeschooling can be helpful for some kids, and I have even contemplated it for my own child. But in my classroom, I can do things that no homeschooling program could ever do with kids. There is no valid substitute for classroom instruction for the vast majority of students.

  • Joe R.

    I guess it depends on what your school experience was like. I would have been really happy to have spent at least grade school online. I don’t remember a single pleasant thing about my grade school experience. I think high school and perhaps part of middle school is where you need to get out into the world for your own development. The early grades are mostly spent learning the basics.

    Most of early childhood development other than learning is done playing with other children. Most of this is done outside of school. In fact, I used to hate the forced interaction in grade school with a passion, as well as just about all the activities the teachers chose.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Again, I’m not talking about fixes, I’m talking about survival. Not making improvements — adjusting to collapse.

    I’m talking about the soaring cost of what you do in the classroom, nearly none of which is going to you if you were recently hired.

    I guess people didn’t believe me about the transit system five, ten, 15 years ago either. But we’re talking about adaptations now despite much higher taxes/fares/etc.

  • Joe R.

    Homeschooling is great for just about everyone through at least grade school. The idea is to learn the basics well. You can best do that in a comfortable, familiar environment. Schools are often just the opposite. I remember classrooms which were too hot or too cold to really concentrate on learning. Some kids get bullied. Most get made fun of at one point or another. And a lot of the school day is spent on BS which has nothing to do with learning. I’m pretty sure my development wasn’t helped much by having to write “I must not talk in class.” a few hundred times every single week. No, I didn’t talk in class, but the idiot teachers thought “group punishment” was a great idea. I really hope that concept fell out of vogue. Punishing children for something they didn’t even do is great at giving them a sense of powerlessness, hopelessness, and apathy, which is exactly what it did to me.

    You’re right if we’re talking high school and some enrichment activities in middle school. At some point a child outgrows what they can do at home. And I think early teens is also the age where regular interaction with your peers starts to be somewhat important.

  • djx

    “I guess it depends on what your school experience was like.”

    No, it depends on what the science shows. There may be outliers, like you, but the concept of kids primarily learning online is terrible, from a scientific/educational/developmental standpoint.

    “Unfortunately we’re beyond that. The amount of resources the existing system is going to suck up to NOT educate children is just going to be too great. We’re beyond worrying about developmentally appropriate, and just trying to figure out how to get SOMETHING.”

    Dude, your proposal is basically to fuck up our future population even worse. That’s horrendous. Scholars and educators have looked at the issue of screen time, and while it’s debatable what the effect of a limited amount of screen time is for kids, the consensus is that large amounts of screen time are destructive to developing brains. That’s it.

  • Vooch

    the prussian educational model adopted in the US is horrific

  • djx

    “Homeschooling is great for just about everyone through at least grade school. ”

    Do you actually think that most parents in NYC have the time to home school their kids?

    WOW.

  • walks bikes drives

    Larry, you have a tendency to talk about a lot of things as if you are an expert on all those things. Sometimes, you are right on point. In this case, you are not even close. And please don’t point me to some blog post of yours to back up what you are saying using your own words. That really gets annoying after a while.

  • Joe R.

    Have the studies ever bothered looking at the type of screen time? Sure, I don’t doubt playing Angry Birds for hours is destructive to developing brains. I’m also equally sure there are ways to use online education exclusively such that the end result is just as good as physically going to an excellent school, perhaps even better. We’re not going to get good at using online education if we dismiss it offhand.

    Most learning isn’t done in school anyway. My mother’s father was more well-read and adept at learning than many college graduates, despite having to drop out of school in sixth grade to start working.

    On the flip side, I’m mostly NOT impressed with the job brick-and-mortar schools are doing despite spending a few times as much per pupil as when I was in school. However bad my grade school experience was on an emotional level, at least I got a good, solid foundation upon which to continue learning. When I read illiterate posts online from people in high school I kind of lean in the direction that online learning, even if it’s no better, can’t be any worse than what these kids are getting now.

  • djx

    “And I think early teens is also the age where regular interaction with your peers starts to be somewhat important.”

    “Starts to be”???!!!

    Regular interaction with peers is a fundamental part of kindergarten (and pre-school), and an important part of education throughout primary school.

  • djx

    “Have the studies ever bothered looking at the type of screen time?”

    No, they had kids look at a test pattern for 8 hours a day and based on that said screen time should be limited.

    The developmental affects of screen is a massive field of study, with some well-designed research.

    The fact that you’re even asking the question shows you’re talking out of your ass.

    “I’m also equally sure there are ways to use online education exclusively such that the end result is just as good as physically going to an excellent school,”

    Not for primary school. No way. I don’t think you have a clue what good elementary education is about. Please just stop.

  • sbauman

    Going 8 or 10 miles stop-and-go on local streets just doesn’t cut it.

    Only 13% of people who work and live within NYC travel between 8 and 10 miles from home to work. The bicycle might not be the best solution for them, except for seasoned cyclists.

    11% live within 1 mile of where they work. They should probably be walking.

    30% travel between 1 and 4 miles between home and work. This is cycling’s sweet spot. Average Citibike travel time is 21 minutes for trips in this distance range. It’s faster than walking. It’s also faster than bus or subway, when walking distance to/from bus/subway and waiting time for bus/subway are included.

    If e-bikes become legal, they will extend the range beyond 4 miles.

  • Joe R.

    The usual reason given is both parents have to work. However, let’s look at the extra expenses. Often, they pay for daycare, own an extra car they otherwise wouldn’t need if only one parent worked, and probably eat out a lot more often because they’re too tired to cook. Besides that, the taxes on the second income are at the marginal rate which the first income puts them in. In NYC that’s usually 25% or 28% federal, about 9% state/local, and 7.65% FICA. So they see less than 60% of that second income BEFORE even counting the extra expenses I mentioned.

    On a macroeconomic level if enough second earners dropped out of the work force demand for labor (and hence wages) would rise, flipping the equation further in the direction of one parent (not necessarily the father) working. I think whoever has greater earning potential should be the one working.

    Finally, since you’re worried about development, most studies I’ve seen show children are better off (or at least not worse off) when one parent is home all the time:

    https://www.thespruce.com/research-stay-at-home-moms-4047911

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2296567/Scientific-proof-stay-home-mothers-benefit-children-So-coalition-Budget-tax-break-working-mothers.html

    https://ifstudies.org/blog/what-the-mounting-evidence-on-working-moms-really-shows

    (Note: I’m kind of annoyed the assumption is always that the mother should be the stay-at-home parent but the studies mostly assume this to be the case).

  • Larry Littlefield

    Fine. Can you point me to something other than one of my blog posts that shows the trend in NYC public education spending per student over 20 years, adjusted for inflation, and how much of that is going to teacher compensation?

    And how that compares with other places?

    Orignal data here.

    https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/school-finances.html

    While you are at it perhaps you can point me to some other compilation of the latest transit finance data from the National Transit Database too.

    I think what you will find is the reason I take the trouble to compile this information and provide it to the public is that thousands of people are paid to NOT provide this information to the public.

  • djx

    “own an extra car they otherwise wouldn’t need if only one parent worked,”

    You’re saying you think many families in NYC have an EXTRA car (that is, two cars) because both parents work. YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT?

    “Often, they pay for daycare,”

    Once kindergarten starts (or pre-school in some cases) the daycare you’re talking about is called “public school” (plus a bit of aftershool coverage paid out of pocket.

  • Joe R.

    E-bikes are the game changer here. If we finally legalize them, they’ll enable 10 or 15 mile each way bike commutes but only if we have the infrastructure where they can run non-stop for most of the trip. Ditto for velomobiles.

    Citibike may be faster than bus or subway on regular city streets but that’s like saying a tortoise is faster than a slug. 6 or 7 or 8 mph average speeds belong in third-world countries. We can and should aim to do a lot better than that.

  • qrt145

    There was a piece in the Times about “How much tourism is too much?” which touches a bit on transportation infrastructure and other issues which could be of interest to Streetsblog readers: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/nyregion/how-much-tourism-is-too-much.html

  • Joe R.

    Right, and when I was young nearly 100% of that interaction was playing with other kids after school or on weekends, or with my siblings. The primary purpose of school is to teach academics. Only in modern times have we extended that function to include “socialization”. I personally see lots of problems with that. For one thing, most teachers don’t have much background in psychology, psychiatry, or childhood development. They’re not really equipped to function as social directors for large groups of children. For another, the type of forced socialization often done in the early grades may well cause more harm than good. Kids like to choose their playmates. And some just happen to prefer mostly being by themselves. Teachers will try to pair kids off who otherwise want to have nothing to do with each other. They’ll also be quick to say those who might prefer to be alone most of the time have “issues”. Don’t even get me started on forcing children to play “team sports”. I get it that exercise should be a part of classroom instruction. I also think there should be a choice between team and solitary activities.

    It’s funny how schools seemed to work a lot better when they focused exclusively on academics and physical education.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I ride nine miles, and I can’t do it every day. Need a break after three days in a row.

    The other sweet spot is biking to another subway line after yours shuts down for a few years, a la half the Manhattan Bridge.

  • Joe R.

    In my area two cars per family seems pretty common. It may not be in places with alternate side parking. Once you get out of NYC two cars are the rule if both parents are working.

    That bit of afterschool coverage is pretty expensive from what I’ve read. Moreover, employers push people to work long days. If we’re talking “career” parents, you might be needing 6 or 7 hours of afterschool care.

  • Joe R.

    It moot whether I’m right or wrong. As Larry mentioned, we’re probably at the point where we’re probably not going to have much choice in the matter. Also, as much as I hate to say it, the way we’re going thanks to our idiot leaders it probably won’t matter much anyway. We just need to get the kids smart enough to follow orders but not ask why when we pack them up to go off to the next conflict. Or if they don’t do that, all we need to do is turn them into good corporate drones.

  • Vooch

    Bet these people wish they had Robert Moses to build them a riverfront freeway like the FDR

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PLzNM_rzDSme6P4gvpkVIVGEo1ta2TFMeS&v=m4RSUnLJD2U

  • I’d say that ten miles is the perfect biking distance for a commute. It takes a slowpoke legal rider like me slightly more than an hour; it would take a hotshot less time. An hour’s commute is perfectly reasonable.

    Ten miles can seem like a long haul in the winter. But, of course, in the summer it’s not enough! I have been taking a long 20-mile route home instead of the normal 10-mile route, just out of the pleasure of riding (and to help me in my goal of getting to 1000 miles in July for the fifth straight year).

  • sbauman

    they’ll [ebikes] enable 10 or 15 mile each way bike commutes

    That’s 10% of the journeys to work.

    You should to define the problem and the solution parameters before proposing a solution. How many people will this help and by how much? How long should the journey to work take? Only after these parameters are defined, then the search for a solution should be undertaken.

    Be careful for what you wish. The reason traffic signals became necessary is that high speed cars could not negotiate a right of way at intersections. It wasn’t a safety consideration. Cars would entangle intersections and were unable to get unclogged.

    Traffic signals halved the average speed. The solution was to permit cars to drive faster. Pedestrian and cyclist deaths were collateral damage.

    Also, further distances made possible by faster cruising speeds would encourage sprawl. The compact city alternative is the slow lane.

  • sbauman

    My touring experience was that my body stopped rebelling after the third day. The third day was the hardest. It became easier after that.

  • djx

    “Don’t think teacher’s unions, plus everyone else who benefits from the status quo with schooling, aren’t funding most of the research you allude to.”

    Dude, there is massive pressure from a variety of sources to bring technology into classrooms. And good research going on about the effects of it – positive and negative – and how to do it well and badly.

    You’re completely ignorant of not just the content of that debate, but even that that debate is happening. The fact that you think you can speak authoritatively about elementary education is profoundly ignorant.

    [Link to article] “Scientists discover how to ‘upload knowledge to your brain’ ”

    You apparently have zero understanding of what happens in elementary school.

  • djx

    “Don’t think teacher’s unions, plus everyone else who benefits from the status quo with schooling, aren’t funding most of the research you allude to.”

    So if I have it right: Not only do you not know the content of research on screen time and kids, but you didn’t even know this was a field of research at all. And yet you do know that teachers unions key funders in this area.

    OK.

  • Joe R.

    Anything which enables faster long commutes will also benefit shorter commutes. That’s why we need to get more bike routes free of traffic signals. A 4 mile bike trip at an average speed of 6 mph takes 40 minutes. If we get that speed up to only 12 mph, which is still not blazingly fast, we cut 40 minutes off the round trip.

    Also, trips to work aren’t the be all and end all. Recreational trips tend to be longer. Why not enable people to see their friends in other boroughs by bike or e-bike?

    Also, further distances made possible by faster cruising speeds would encourage sprawl. The compact city alternative is the slow lane.

    Why does it always have to be an either/or proposition? I would think you would want faster average travel speeds regardless of travel distance. That’s why we built the subway. NYC isn’t a compact city. That’s why some of the things I propose, which maybe wouldn’t make sense in Amsterdam, make lots of sense in NYC. NYC is not only huge geographically, but the streets are too congested. They’re also optimized for cars, to the detriment of cyclists and pedestrians. Hence the need for a bike analogue to car highways.

  • JudenChino

    Are you below the hill or above the hill in Windsor Terrace?

  • Joe R.

    I’ve found when I do 140 miles a week or more my body starts to rebel. It doesn’t matter much how I distribute those miles. I could do 3 40 mile days (with a day of rest in between) and a 20 mile day, or 7 20-mile days. Either way, I start to feel it after a few weeks of this. 100 miles a week seems mostly doable on a semi-continual basis (i.e. December through February mostly off). That typically results in 4,000 miles a year.

    Last few years on account of my job and taking care of my mother I’ve been off. Only 1,000 miles in 2014 and 2015. Less than 800 miles last year. Less than 100 miles so far this year (major back issues which kept me off the bike completely for over 5 months). I hope to eventually get back to 3K or 4K but who knows when?

  • Vooch

    dude,

    my family’s neighbor in the Alps is a Mom with 2 kids (3&5) cycles her kids to school everyday

    6 miles drop off
    6 miles return home ( works from home )
    6 miles to pick up
    6 miles bring kids home

    that’s 24 miles every day, lugging 2 kids in a cargo bike on a gravel bike path along the river.

  • Joe R.

    I’ve read tons of stuff of about charter schools and the push back these have gotten from teacher’s unions. I’m no fan of charter schools, but the basic premise here is anything which threaten’s the unionized teacher’s hold on education is going to try to be discredited.

    FYI, here’s exactly what I’m talking about:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/education/01virtual.html

    You apparently have zero understanding of what happens in elementary school.

    No, I have a different opinion of what schools should do. As schools have tried to take over more of the functions parents and extended families should be doing, they’ve become worse at their primary goal of educating. I not only want education to go back to the basics (and if we can do that without physical schools so much the better) but I want parents to start going back to being parents. I personally feel the last election especially was a referendum of a how the schools have failed to produce independent, thinking adults who can wisely choose their leaders. It’s pretty apparent what we’re doing now isn’t working.

    Dude, there is massive pressure from a variety of sources to bring technology into classrooms.

    That’s a separate issue from using technology to get rid of the classroom entirely. We should be doing both at this point. Maybe online learning in its present state of development will only work well for 15% of students. The way I see (and the number of patents issued to Americans bears this out) one area the schools are failing at big-time is educating those who are above average. This was a problem even when I was in school but it’s gotten worse. I was bored stiff through most of my early schooling. I also didn’t enjoy interacting with most of my peers for the same reason. Suppose bright children have access to a curriculum which lets them proceed at their own pace instead of dealing with hours of tedium in a regular classroom? It’s even better on another level. Bright kids are always the subject of ridicule in a regular classroom among their peers. I’m pretty sure that kind of “social interaction” doesn’t help their development.

    The bottom line is “classrooms” are a one-size-fits-all solution which frankly doesn’t work well for those who are very far ahead of their peers. It may not work all that well for those who are very far behind, either. I think if we start online schooling for the group most likely to benefit from it (and least likely to be hurt by it), we’ll gain knowledge to decide whether it merits application to the general school population.

  • djx

    “I’ve read tons of stuff of about charter schools and the push back these have gotten from teacher’s unions. ”

    What does that have to do with your assuming that research finding that screen times hurts cognitive development? It appears your reasoning is that if you have some idea about education and you hear that their is resistance to it, it must be the unions working against your brilliance? Dang.

    “Suppose bright children have access to a curriculum which lets them proceed at their own pace instead of dealing with hours of tedium in a regular classroom?”

    I have a friend who works at an educational technology company – using technology to supplement classroom education in math – at the student’s own pace, whether advanced or behind or average. It works great and the teachers at schools it in being used in (including in a few public schools in New York City – despite the fact that the teachers belong to “GASP” the unions!!!!!)

    But that is not the same as replacing in-person tuition, it’s improving it. And it’s not for little children – it’s for middle school. You cannot have kids, especially elementary age kids, in front of screens for even more hours a day. It will destroy them.

  • Joe R.

    Wait until we have technology capable of replacing teachers and classrooms. That’s when you’ll have real push back. What you’re talking about sounds great but it’s hardly a threat to teachers. AI may well be capable of giving the type of in-person tuition you’re talking about. Not now, but in a generation or less.

    You cannot have kids, especially elementary age kids, in front of screens for even more hours a day. It will destroy them.

    Why are you assuming screens will always be the way people interact with technology? Even now VR is making serious inroads. Imagine a kid learning at home in a virtual classroom with a virtual AI teacher who can offer one-to-one teaching? And imagine that such VR is virtually indistinguishable from reality. I wouldn’t hedge my bets that such technology won’t exist in a generation or less.

    While on the subject of screens, the problem here if we still assume screens for online learning is the amount of screen time outside of school. 5 or 6 hours of school screen time probably equals the amount of time kids spend on their phones or TVs the rest of the day. Maybe we don’t give them phones, and perhaps don’t let them watch TV on school days. That means no more screen time than they’re getting now. Moreover, it’s subjectively better screen time.

    Honestly, I’m not disagreeing with you about the issue of screen time. Frankly, if I had kids they wouldn’t get phones until they could pay for them, and they wouldn’t watch TV at all on school nights. That’s regardless of whether or not they went to online schools. I personally wouldn’t want my children exposed to the commercial cesspool which TV has become. I can’t think of much good which comes from exposing young minds to a constant barrage of ads exhorting them to buy stuff they don’t need.

    Come to think of it, I’m less than thrilled with the effect screens are having on adults. I’m tired of seeing people absorbed in their gadgets to the extent of all else. Yeah, I often post a lot here on some days, but then there are times I hardly post for days or weeks. It’s easy to get sucked into the online world but I prefer the real one most of the time.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Again, that doesn’t matter. What matters is the need for $2 billion more per year in the pension fund, in 2016, plus future pension increases. Over and done with.

    The longer we wait to face this, the worse it will be. The meter keeps running.

    Just wait a few years. Or just look at what is already happening in Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.

  • sbauman

    That’s why we need to get more bike routes free of traffic signals. A 4 mile bike trip at an average speed of 6 mph takes 40 minutes. If we get that speed up to only 12 mph, which is still not blazingly fast, we cut 40 minutes off the round trip.

    A 12 mph overall speed with traffic lights implies a 24 mph cruising speed. That’s close enough to the speed limit. The same dynamics that work against the pedestrian vs. car vis-a-vis sight distances work for pedestrian vs. bike at that speed.

    Morover, a bike traveling at 24 mph has a lot less maneuverability as one traveling 12 mph. It’s not as easy to avoid a collision by turning.

    These two factors will make traffic signals necessary with the result of reduced overall speed.

    OTOH, vehicles and bikes traveling at 12 mph or less can negotiate the right of way at an intersection, have more reaction time to avoid collisions and are more maneuverable. Traffic signals are not required, if 12 mph is the maximum speed. I would expect to see traffic signals, stop signs, etc. removed if a 12-15 mph speed limit could be effectively enforced.

    The net effect between slow speed and no traffic control devices vs. high speed with traffic control devices on average speed is negligible. Unfortunately, automobile manufacturers realized that higher cruising speeds sell cars. Therefore, speed limits were raised to the detriment of pedestrians and cyclists. It was also to the detriment of drivers because they did not achieve any reduction in total trip time, due to the increased cruising speeds.

    Also, trips to work aren’t the be all and end all. Recreational trips tend to be longer.

    I chose the journey to work because there is good data available for it. The LEHD census data lists home and work locations by census block pairs, based on the W4 forms.

    Data for recreational trips is derived from sampling. I distrust it the sampling methodology because it relies on the subjects remembering and recording all their movements. Also, because of the fewer subjects, origin and destinations are limited to census tracts.

    Given, these limitations, the average trip length that isn’t classified as traveling between home and work tends to be between 2 and 3 miles. Check out NYMTC’s 2010/2011 Regional Household Travel Survey (RHTS) before you make assumptions regarding recreational trip length.

    I would think you would want faster average travel speeds regardless of travel distance. .

    I want convenience. That does not necessarily translate to higher average travel speeds. What I can find within a 10 minute walk is more convenient that what I can find within a 10 minute car ride or a 10 minute bike ride propelled at car speed.

    That’s why we built the subway. NYC isn’t a compact city. That’s why some of the things I propose, which maybe wouldn’t make sense in Amsterdam, make lots of sense in NYC. NYC is not only huge geographically, but the streets are too congested.

    You’re confusing compactness with geographic agglomeration. NYC is composed of individual neighborhoods. Most of these are compact. Most high demand services are within a 10 minute walking distance. Those congested streets make NYC safe for pedestrians. Cities that are built for the automobile have cars traveling 40 to 50 mph along their streets. These cities have 2 to 3 times the per capita pedestrian kill rate.

    What you’re proposing in essence is to create the post WWII sprawl but using bicycles instead of automobiles. You are proposing to increase bicycle speeds to those approaching automobiles to overcome the obvious travel time problem. It’s not the automobiles that millennials are rejecting. It’s the life style.

    Another problem with that vision is that it’s possible to create bicycle traffic jams. I’ve had experience creating some during the 1980 subway strike and for 40 years helping with the Five Boro Bike Tour. That will limit your speed, even with a network of bike only grade separated highways.

    I hope to see a future where bicycles participate in the city dynamic, not where bicycles try to create an alternate universe.

  • Joe R.

    A 12 mph overall speed with traffic lights implies a 24 mph cruising speed. That’s close enough to the speed limit. The same dynamics that work against the pedestrian vs. car vis-a-vis sight distances work for pedestrian vs. bike at that speed.

    I’m talking here about letting the same cyclist who might cruise at 12 or 13 mph but only average 6 mph on city streets average close to their cruising speed by virtue of being able to make most of the trip non-stop. By definition this means no intersections on the non-stop part of the bike route, and hence no real limit on cruising speed beyond the obvious human power limitation. Most cyclists will end up riding in the 12 to 15 mph band. Some might go 20 mph. A handful might go 25 mph. Dutch cycling infrastructure handles such a range of speeds with no issues.

    I would expect to see traffic signals, stop signs, etc. removed if a 12-15 mph speed limit could be effectively enforced.

    Increase that to ~20 mph if you increase lines of sight by not allowing parking close to an intersection. This makes things better for bicycle travel in that you no longer have traffic signals or stop signs but cyclists still have to deal with all the other things on urban streets which slow them down. That’s why regardless of what we do on local streets I would still want a network of bike highways.

    I want convenience. That does not necessarily translate to higher average travel speeds. What I can find within a 10 minute walk is more convenient that what I can find within a 10 minute car ride or a 10 minute bike ride propelled at car speed.

    Two problems with that. One, regardless of how many things are close by, people can and often do want to go to other neighborhoods far across the city. Now many of those people drive. If we make bike travel safer and faster then a significant percentage might choose to bike. You might say the sweet spot for cycling is 1 to 4 miles. However, that’s under typical urban traffic conditions. I tend to think more in terms of time. I’ve read that a lot of people will choose to bike if the trip can be made in 30 minutes or less. A 6 mph average speed puts the sweet spot at 3 miles or less. A 12 mph average speed (easily possible with a network of nonstop bike infrastructure) puts it at 6 miles. E-bikes and faster riders could increase that radius to 10 miles or more.

    Second problem is most of these “convenient” neighborhoods tend to have unaffordable housing and very expensive local shopping. Great if you’re rich but not really applicable to average working people. The wet dream of urbanists to have everyone in these types of neighborhoods won’t come to pass unless we dramatically increase urban housing stock. I’m not seeing this happening any time soon.

    What you’re proposing in essence is to create the post WWII sprawl but using bicycles instead of automobiles. You are proposing to increase bicycle speeds to those approaching automobiles to overcome the obvious travel time problem.

    Not really. Even if I got everything I wished for, including heavy use of e-bikes and velomobiles, at best you’re talking average speeds of 30 mph but more likely closer to 20 mph. And except for e-bikes you still have that 30 minute barrier because the “engine” runs out of steam. So you’re talking “sprawl” over a 10 to 15 mile radius from the city center, which is essentially what NYC is right now.

    Post WWII car sprawl implies work trips of 50 miles or more, and houses spread up to 75 miles from the central city. I’m not seeing any scenario where what I suggest will result in that.

    It’s not the automobiles that millennials are rejecting. It’s the life style.

    Millenials are rejecting the notion that you have to hop in a car to do literally anything. I reject that notion as well.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I don’t know what you mean by above and below. I’m on the back side, but only barely, between 10th and 11th Avenues.

    Not nearly as bad as my hometown in Yonkers!

  • Vooch

    the prussian education model is a failure

  • djx

    “imagine that such VR is virtually indistinguishable from reality.”

    You remind me of how we used to “argue” in middle school.

  • Joe R.

    As an engineer I’m arguing using reasonable extrapolations of present technology, not fantasy stuff like warp drive.

    Lack of imagination, which sadly you seem to possess in abundance, has been holding back progress for the last two generations. Seriously. When I was a kid we were talking about moon bases by the 1970s, going to Mars a decade later, then Mars bases by the 1990s, perhaps manned trips to the outer planets by the 2000s or 2010s. And here on Earth we were seriously looking to apply spinoffs from this technology to make life better here. Instead we developed better ways to kill each other, and continued raping the Earth of resources, thereby stating conflicts which otherwise may not have needed to happen. And the resurgence of religious fundamentalism? Ugh.

    I read stuff now where people can’t see anything past what already exists and I want to vomit. If this is how the world is going to be, I’m happy I probably won’t be on it for more than another 50 years. Seriously, even simple, no-brainer things like using bikes for transportation (something I did over 30 years ago) or electrifying motor vehicles are “controversial”. I vividly recall one discussion where someone was seriously moaning that electrics wouldn’t have engine sounds. I was like WTF??? This is third grade level thinking. You need an f-ing noise to make you happy while you’re driving??? Stupid, unimaginative people have always been the biggest barrier to advancement. Sadly, it seems like there are more of them now than ever. You’re certainly far from stupid, but you might have benefited a little from an education which actually helped you to think out of the box more. Keep an open mind when you read things you might disagree with at first. You might not be a convert, but not dismissing something offhand at least shows you’re thinking about it a bit.

    P.S. I’m even willing to admit maybe I was partially wrong about online education after this discussion. I still think it’s mostly a good idea, but obviously there will be some people it hurts more than it helps. Unfortunately, at the same time we may have little choice in the matter for the reasons Larry mentioned. If that ends up being the case, then best we start doing more trials now so it can be made to work as well as possible.