Today’s Headlines

  • Former Parking Lot May Turn Into East Side Esplanade (Post, City Room)
  • MTA to Study Downtown Brooklyn Connection for G Train (Bklyn Paper)
  • Port Authority Greenlights PayPass Pilot (NY1)
  • Make 125th Street a Historic District, Says Rezoning Foe (City Room)
  • NYLCV: Ferry System Would Work, "If Done Right" (Gotham Gazette)
  • 75-Year-Old 2nd Ave Subway Drawing Unearthed (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • State Sen. Eric Adams Called Out for "Empty" Grandstanding (NYT)
  • LIRR Has Trouble Handling Major Service Disruptions (AMNY)
  • Neighborhood Groups Want Tour Buses Off Bleecker Street (Villager)
  • Dubious Praise for Skywalks: "They Keep You Out of the Way of Cars" (Sun)
  • Biofuels Hot in U.S., Not in Europe (Grist)
  • Larry Littlefield

    What about the connection from the B/D/F/V at Broadway/Lafayette to the uptown 6 at Bleeker? That would benefit far more Brooklynites that the G connection.

    It was in the 2000 to 2004 capital plan, designed and ready for bid. It was cut when other projects overran, and the debacle at 2 Broadway was paid for out of the engineering budget. It was supposedly put back in the 2005 to 2009 capital plan. A similar plan at Jay/Lawerence is under construction, but there is no construction there. Where is it!

    We are going back to politicians paying for studies, looking like heros, getting in the newspaper — with no results, and with no one called on it. How about studying the Second Avenue Subway again, along with the G? Cheaper than building it, and the money saved could be used for early retirement, or interest on all the MTA debts.

  • The “Skywalks” article in the Sun is full of factual errors and misunderstandings. It’s thought-provoking. But McIlheran is clearly a right-wing asshole, as confirmed by other blogs from his hometown. I don’t know whether it’s worth the effort to respond to an article with as many ad hominems as that one, but I’m worried that some people will actually be misled into thinking that skywalks are appropriate for New York.

  • Jonathan

    Well, I’m not a card-carrying environmentalist like Marcia Bystryn, but this statement really got me:

    the next time you are heading between waterfront neighborhoods like Astoria, Queens and Red Hook, Brooklyn…

    The next time? The first and only time, rather.

    To create sustainable ferry service, it seems to me that it should connect people’s homes with their jobs, à la Bystryn’s Far Rockaway plan. I wonder, however, whether Far Rockaway’s poverty has much to do with its poor access to the CBD. There are lots of poor neighborhoods with excellent access by subway to work. Brownsville, for instance, is in the 10th CD, which boasts a median household income of $36,533 and a mean commute time of 42.7 minutes, this despite the fact that the A train takes only 18 minutes to whisk you from Broadway Junction to Broadway-Nassau.

  • Spud Spudly

    The tour bus situation on Bleecker is totally out of control. Residents should put up some kind of barricade (even though the City would promptly dismantle it). I counted an average of one loud, smelly doubledecker bus every ten minutes the last time I was there, and this was a Sunday afternoon. It’s outrageous that the City has no authority to tell tour operators what routes they may travel.

  • I agree it is important to keep articulating the larger problem with pedestrian bridges. They are routinely suggested by people in our workshops, by people that are usually easily dissuaded.

    I agree it is important to keep articulating the larger problem with pedestrian bridges. They are routinely suggested by people in our workshops, by people that are usually easily dissuaded.

    The point of cities and transportation and pedestrian planning is to facilitate getting people to places people want to be in, not just moving us around unencumbered. Skywalks simply detract life from the downtowns and destinations they are supposed to bring us to.

    I recently threw together the below argument to stop a pedestrian bridge in Buenos Aires from being built. I came by the partially constructed bridge with city officials and they literally told the construction crew to stop working. Extremely satisfying!

    A Case Against Pedestrian Bridges

    Separating pedestrian and automobile access is an old and failed model for downtown development. No longer should our streets and downtowns be designed out of fear of the automobile where the goal is to move traffic through as fast as possible and pedestrians are forced to the interiors of buildings or to overhead walkways.

    Pedestrian bridges send a strong message that pedestrians are less important than cars and that they should be forced to go out of their way to accommodate the speed and capacity goals of roadways. When a pedestrian or driver even sees a pedestrian overpass they understand that an engaging safe and friendly pedestrian environment is not a priority.

    Conversely, when a driver or pedestrian see people walking on sidewalks, it sends a strong message about the safety and comfort of that environment. They are more likely to get out of their car and/or feel comfortable walking further in and contributing further to downtown social, cultural and economic life. Independently, pedestrian bridges can sometimes be justified, but when looked at in the context of greater goals for downtown they represent a major step in the wrong direction.

    When downtown, cars should go slow enough to accommodate and respect pedestrians and provide for a better experience for drivers and passengers. Likewise, the design of a roadways should adapt to the community and to much greater pedestrian activity. In this way, a downtown should benefit from having a street come into it and the street should be designed to support the downtown community.

    Integrating pedestrians and automobiles needs to be done through careful planning. When pedestrians and vehicles need to share a street, there is a necessary amount of pedestrian and vehicular friction. This friction is evident in the greatest downtowns in the world with the highest property values and highest use. It should in fact be an indicator of success if a downtown had more pedestrian and vehicular friction, as this would indicate that pedestrians and vehicles want to be downtown, not move through it and leave it as fast as possible.

  • Yes, the political button-pushing is over the top in “Skywalks.” I wonder if Sun readers will be won over by thoughts of driving unimpeded by pedestrians and walking unimpeded by beggars (and bike “messengers,” for good measure!), or maybe get riled up at the idea of someone from Minneapolis presuming to tell New York, the city with the most pedestrians walking the longest distances in this country by far, what is the best way to get from “parking” to your destination. A privately owned and policed, climate controlled mall of course! Vom.

  • Jason A

    Larry is right. That G connection – while a great idea – is never going to be built. Anyone who proposes these pie in the sky proposals should be called out for their BS.

    The system is currently held together with chewing gum and band aids – to say nothing of the big bill that’s about to come due. Without a new major funding source, or a dramatic turnaround in support from Albany, I have serious reservations about any of the current capital projects being finished – much less a new pedestrian tunnel downtown.

    Are the politicians really that stupid, or do they just think that little of us?

  • I wonder, however, whether Far Rockaway’s poverty has much to do with its poor access to the CBD.

    I wonder that too. I also wonder whether running a Far Rockaway to Penn Station super-express LIRR train that costs only $2.50 would be cheaper and more effective for the government than running these ferries.

  • Ian D

    What about the connection from the B/D/F/V at Broadway/Lafayette to the uptown 6 at Bleeker? That would benefit far more Brooklynites that the G connection.

    Larry – that plan is a go. Starting this year, MTA is going to start a construction project to rehabilitate the Broadway/Lafayette station to include disabled access and escalators as well as an underground passageway to connect the uptown-6 with the other lines.

    When presented to the Community Board last summer, the construction was supposed to start in Feb ’08 (like, now) and run for 40 months. It’s quite a large project – the uptown-6 platform has to be shifted southwards in order to enable the connection.

    We also asked for a connection to the Prince St. station for Broadway line connections, but MTA didn’t like the price tag on that one.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Larry – that plan is a go.)

    That’s good news.

    (The construction was supposed to start in Feb ’08 (like, now) and run for 40 months.)

    That’s the bad news. It’s been cut once, and it can be cut again. It will probably be done under several contracts. Let’s just hope the IND station rehab isn’t number one, as that station was already rehabbed not too long ago. They may never get to the connection.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Are the politicians really that stupid, or do they just think that little of us?)

    The ones who hold their jobs because the powers that be don’t allow any one to run against them, or report on it when someone does, really are that stupid.

    The powers that be (Silver, Bruno, etc) think that little of us.

  • Eric

    Hey Streetsblog, what’s with the inclusion of the Times story on Eric Adams? Isn’t it a bit unfair to include a story that has nothing to do with Livable Streets just to take a shot at someone? I was one among many who worked hard to see that the 9th Street bike lanes in Park Slope came to fruition, and Sen. Adams’s letter to the DOT certainly didn’t help matters, but let’s not hold a grudge.

    Better to try to build bridges (and bike lanes!) than to stick a thumb in someone’s eye.

  • Spud Spudly

    That Bleecker stop used to be my regular stop every day to get to work and I can’t count how many times people asked me for directions on how to connect with the uptown 6. I even saw a guy once walk across all four tracks to get to the uptown side.

  • jmc

    Why is the Port Authority testing PayPass when they already adopted a smart-card system on the PATH trains??

  • Jeffrey Hyman

    Larry writes, “A similar plan [for a station connection] at Jay/Lawerence is under construction, but there is no construction there.” You don’t use that station or walk down Willoughby Street, do you? It’s in an early stage, but the project is most certainly underway. I believe that the contractor has taken over more space than was left for passengers, but maybe it just feels that way.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Bad writing on my part:

    “A similar plan [for a station connection] at Jay/Lawerence is under construction, but there is no construction (at Bleeker and Lafayette) there.”

  • Stacy

    Agree with Spud Spudly. There are far too many diesel burning tour busses stinking up Bleecker Street. These tour companies should not be allowed regular routes on streets where the intersections are too small to navigate their busses in a single turn, like the turn from Bleecker onto LaGuardia Place.

    To make matters worse, some of these tour busses, like Les Quebeçoise, aren’t even registered in the US. What kind of insurance do they have if they hit someone when they ride up on the sidewalk or back up into the crosswalk?

  • jmc

    Stacy: They have insurance that covers their operations in the US, much like we have car insurance that will work when we drive into Canada (which, given the abysmal state of the NY->Montreal train line, is sadly the most rational way to go).