Today’s Headlines

  • Is the Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar Dead or Just Hibernating? (Voice)
  • Better Scheduling Could Go a Long Way to Improve Subway Reliability (CityLab)
  • After Subway Listening Tour, Will Pols Hold Cuomo’s MTA Accountable? (News, WNYC, MTR)
  • The Daily News Serves Up Another Subway Opinion That Could Have Come From Cuomo’s Press Shop
  • Richard Ravitch: Today’s NYC Business Leaders Don’t Value Transit Like They Should (Bond Buyer)
  • Metro-North Will Keep Hourly Frequency at Two Bronx Stations — Not Good Enough (Prog RR)
  • NYT: MTA Has to Do Better for Disabled Riders
  • Hit-and-Run Driver Critically Injures Man in East New York (News)
  • Can’t Say It Enough — Helmet Laws Don’t Make Cycling Safer (Gothamist)
  • The Queens Boulevard Bike Lane Has Arrived in Rego Park (QChron)
  • Andrew Cuomo Got National Republicans to Pay Attention to Transit (News)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • reasonableexplanation

    Regarding the proposed helmet law. As long as you’re only affecting yourself, you should be free to take as many risks as you like, no need to get the government involved. Same reason it bothers me when NYC parks department people chase you out of the water at the beach once the lifeguards are gone. I’d like to swim at my own risk please.

    Having said that I wear a helmet when I bike, wear a seatbelt when I drive (and force all my passengers to belt up as well), and wear a helmet and full leathers when I motorcycle.

    But I’m opposed to laws making any of that mandatory.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m fine with making the laws mandatory as long as people in motor vehicles also have to wear helmets, and it is rigorously enforced.

    After all, the best drivers in the world wear helmets when they are working.

    As a result of bicycling, sometimes when I get in my car without a helmet it feels strange.

  • reasonableexplanation

    That doesn’t really make sense, as normal cars have seatbelts, airbags, and collapsible steering wheels. They do a fine job protecting the occupants in the majority of crashes. In fact, As long as you’re wearing your seatbelt, many horrible crashes (even at high speeds) end with nothing more than bruising.

    Helmets are used in racing, where many cars are track cars (lacking these safety features), the driver is restrained using a 5 point harness, and often has a neck stabilizer as well.

    A helmet while biking is the bare minimum that does the most good, akin to the seatbelt in a car.

  • JarekFA

    No one who actually cares about bike safety proposes a mandatory bike helmet law. It’s so dishonest. These pols are the worst.

  • aarrrrrimapirate

    Regarding the streetcar…it isn’t dead at all (unfortunately), test pits are being dug along the whole proposed route to check out the utility situations underground. With all the complexity of the utility infrastructure, hopefully the cost of rebuilding/rerouting pipes and conduits is the nail in the coffin for the project.

  • reasonableexplanation

    That’s the case for most safety rules really. Do you think the pols who mandated motorcycle helmets care about motorcyclists?

  • bolwerk

    Yes, that is how less litigious socities function.

  • Vooch

    It’s far more dangerous to be in a car. So mandate helmet wearing inside cars ! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9f480adeafbdf90f342fefd05c03d35c433129782afe97cd92066e2a9c60fe43.jpg

  • Vooch

    that’s not what the statistics show. Helmet laws inside cars would save far more lives https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9f480adeafbdf90f342fefd05c03d35c433129782afe97cd92066e2a9c60fe43.jpg

  • bolwerk

    FFS, they could and should address the subway capacity crisis and put the streetcars over the several rail-free bridges linking Queens and Brooklyn and The Bronx to Manhattan pronto. They’re willing to build streetcars, but can’t put them where where they’re most needed? Because it would take precious, precious car lanes?

    That can be a good base for future lines when the capacity crisis is over.

  • Vooch
  • bolwerk

    At peak load times light rail probably could carry more people than the car lanes by a factor of closer to ten.

  • Vooch

    true – check the attachment for East River examples

  • reasonableexplanation

    Probably not. The only time you’re likely to get a head injury in a car is if you are not wearing a seatbelt, or you have an unsecured load in your car (like another unbelted person). In other circumstances the airbags will do a fine job, or you know, you hit a tree at 60mph and nothing will help you.

    About half of all motor vehicle occupants who died were not wearing a seatbelt. Given how ubiquitous seatbelt use is this is extremely disproportional.

    Helmet in bike is analogous to seatbelt in car in terms of safety benefits. Helmet in car is more analogous to knee and elbow pads for a bike.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Meanwhile, we could be heading for electric buses. They could implement BRT on the corridor and you are much of the way to a streetcar without those costs.

    If ridership justifies it, tracks could be added later — there and elsewhere. It would just become a question that expense vs. the lower rolling resistance and smoother ride of rails.

    Batteries might even make the overhead electric wires unneeded, while AV technology makes signaling unneeded.

    Breakthroughs are around the corner, if politicians like DeBlasio and Trump don’t kill them before the market makes them happen.

  • Vooch

    1,000s times more people get head injuries inside cars than cyclists

    it’s not even close statistically.

    So if one argues in favour of bike helmet laws, one should also argue in favor for car helmet laws – ESPECIALLY for children

  • reasonableexplanation

    Read what I wrote please, don’t ignore it.

  • Joe R.

    Helmet in bike is analogous to seatbelt in car in terms of safety benefits. Helmet in car is more analogous to knee and elbow pads for a bike.

    Actually it’s more like “Helmet in bike is analogous to helmet in car in terms of safety benefits. Seatbelt in car is more analogous to knee and elbow pads for a bike.”

    A seatbelt in a car protects against the most common types of collision injuries. Knee and elbow pads protect against the most common types of cycling injuries. Head injuries are relatively rare for both cyclists and motor vehicle occupants, even those in motor vehicles not wearing a seatbelt.

    Incidentally, I did sustain a head injury in a car collision while belted in. I was in the back seat and my head hit one of the gas pillars for the rear hatch. Fortunately it just required stitches.

  • Joe R.

    Just posted my comments to both bills on the Senate web site. Hopefully they’ll appear after going through moderation.

    If these bills pass (not likely) and are actually enforced I’ll be selling off my bikes and bike paraphernalia. I’ll also be suing the city for any health issues as a result of not riding.

  • Joe R.

    A combination of batteries and on-the-fly inductive charging could well make overhead wires unnecessary. That’s just as well given that they’re costly, prone to storm damage, and unsightly.

    Yeah, let’s hope Trump doesn’t kill stuff like this.

  • Vooch

    despite seatbelts and airbags and cushy bits Tens of thousands of people inside cars suffer head injuries every single year.

    if you want to protect people demand helmets inside cars.

  • Vooch

    privatize the streetcar – if it’s such a great idea, let Goldman & Blackstone pay for it

  • reasonableexplanation

    Take off your cognitive blinders

    Helmets for bikers are for a relatively common and survivable injury; head hitting the ground. You and others have rightly pointed out that that won’t help you if a car runs you over.

    Seatbelts/airbags in cars are for a relatively common and survivable injury; head going through the windshield, then the ground in medium speed accidents. You and others have should understand that neither that nor a helmet would help you if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt, or if you get t-boned by a garbage truck at 60mph.

    Anyway, given your views on helmet laws, do you feel that seatbelt use should be optional as well? (I do, even though I’ll continue to always wear one)

  • Vooch

    I wore seatbelts in cars long before it was mandatory. Cars are really dangerous.

    BTW – I wear a bike helmet about 80% of the time.

  • Joe R.

    Helmets for bikers are for a relatively common and survivable injury; head hitting the ground.

    Citation for that, please? Last I checked, skinned elbows and knees dwarf head injuries in terms of bicycle crash injuries. After that you have broken wrist and arm bones. Note that non-crash injuries dwarf crash injuries. They include saddle sores, groin pain, neck and back pain, muscular strain, pulled ligaments, tingling hands and feet, and a host of other things. Head injuries tend to require hospital admissions, whereas many of the other types of injuries don’t. That means physicians see them more often. It might be easy in their position to conclude head injuries are common in bicycle crashes simply because for every head injury they see maybe there are 100 other injuries the person treats at home.

    Many cyclists have gone their entire lives without suffering even a minor head injury. To say it’s common just to promote helmet use is disingenuous. With all the people cycling in the world, if head injury were common the emergency rooms would be overloaded with head trauma patients from cycling crashes.

    The bottom line is cyclists should do whatever makes them comfortable and then keep it their own business. If you want to wear a helmet because you’ve convinced yourself it makes you safer, who am I to question it? Just don’t go around telling people to wear helmets. That’s nobody’s business. Cycling advocacy organizations especially have no business advocating helmets. That puts them in a conflict of interest with helmet manufacturers who perhaps might also be among their major donors.

    Anyway, given your views on helmet laws, do you feel that seatbelt use should be optional as well?

    I personally always wear a seat belt (the research strongly shows their beneficial effects). For me it has few downsides other than a slight discomfort. However, others may feel differently, which is why I won’t tell others to wear selt belts, nor do I think it should be the law to wear one. Note also that a seat belt has a secondary beneficial effect for both passengers and the driver, even if no collision occurs. It keeps the passengers from hitting the driver in the vehicle starts skidding. It keeps the driver in place so he/she can control the vehicle if something happens.

  • Andrew

    Seatbelt use can prevent a motorist from losing control of his vehicle in a collision. As such, seatbelt use can help to save the lives of people other than the wearer’s. Also, since all modern cars are equipped with built-in seatbelts, requiring the use of seatbelts does not pose an inconvenience and cannot render someone unable to drive because her left his seatbelt at home.

    Requiring seatbelt use is beneficial to others and never (or almost never) stands in the way of driving a car.

  • Joe R.

    For some reason I had you pegged as someone who never uses a helmet.

    Yep, I started wearing seatbelts religiously in the early 1970s. I didn’t need much convincing after my mom had a collision.

  • bolwerk

    You don’t implement BRT and replace it with light rail when it gets popular. Implementing BRT is at least nearly as expensive as implementing light rail while operating it is even more expensive. Then you want to snowball that by switching, which will cost as much as just doing light rail in the first place? I thought you cared about stopping snowballing debt. 🙁

    There’s already a global market for off-the-shelf rail and bus vehicles that can use overhead wires. Over time using either is almost certainly cheaper than using batteries, which are heavy and have to be replaced occasionally. Obsessing with customized novelties literally nobody else uses is one of the things that drives costs up.

  • Larry Littlefield

    You ignore how the electric streetcar system was created in the first place.

    You had omnibuses.

    When ridership rose enough to justify it, tracks were laid.

    When ridership rose further, trolley wires were installed.

    Each increment of ridership paid for the increment of investment.

    You might as well say no more light rail: even if it means you can do much less of it, go right to heavy rail, and avoid the cost of the interim step.

  • bolwerk

    Overhead wires are fairly unintrusive and much quainter cities than New York use them. Granted, bus overhead wires are more intrusive than rail ones because you need grounding wires strung too.

    I’d really like to see numbers on the battery claim. Back of the envelope, each vehicle needs a battery (B) costing C. Figure replacing each vehicle’s battery every X few years. Ignoring discounting, you’re talking about something like B*C*(vehicle_life/X). That’s probably not cheaper than overhead wires, that only get cheaper per-vehicle as you add vehicles.

  • bolwerk

    Transit economics are clearly very different than they were in 1915. None of this stuff is going to turn an actual profit, so managing it viably means controlling the losses. That means picking the mode that fits the best in the first place, not adjusting upward as you gain riders so you snowball capital costs. Whatever you do, don’t do that.

    I’m not even sure that idea ever actually worked. I know the BMT proposed it, but I don’t know if they ever showed it to be efficacious. Ottawa installed BRT in the 1970s or 1980s, around the same time Calgary went with light rail, and now finds itself looking at the pain of replacing it with LRT. In the case of BQX, there no room for BRT on the route now, so building BRT requires doing an el or something. In that case, you really might as well go right ot heavy rail.

  • Vooch

    white helmet with red blinkee on at all times. the white reflects the red and is a powerful warning to NY drivers.

    Full disclosure in Bavaria;, I never wear a helmet, never felt the need to. About 10-15% of cyclists in Munich wear helmets.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Calgary went with light rail, and now finds itself looking at the pain of replacing it with LRT.”

    Here is where we have gone wrong. Why should that be a pain?

    Get one of those machines that scrapes up the asphalt.

    Drop track panels and bolt them together, an row and side to side.

    Put wood boards on the inside of the tracks to make a gap.

    Replace the asphalt and steamroller it flat, for motor vehicle traffic.

    Remove the boards. Run vehicles with batteries on the rails.

    Don’t want motor vehicles sharing the space? Only put the asphalt at intersections, and use gravel in between.

  • bolwerk

    (You misquoted me there. Ottawa is doing the replacement, not Calgary.)

    You ask why it should be a pain and then explain why it’s a pain. Building light rail from a busway is no easier than building light rail in the first place, and is probably harder in a greenfield scenario. If light rail is likely going to be efficacious, use it. Otherwise don’t.

  • djx

    “Helmets for bikers are for a relatively common and survivable injury;”

    What are you talking about? You’re saying head injuries are relatively common on bikes?

    No, they’re not. Or more precisely, injuries beyond scrapes, the same as people get on knees and elbows, are not common. They are very rare.