Today’s Headlines

  • More on the ‘Prime-Time’ Debut of Select Bus Service (NYT)
  • Secure Bike Parking Still a Rarity in NYC Commercial Buildings (NYT)
  • How Rising Oil Prices Are Affecting New Jersey Life (Star-Ledger)
  • Teenagers Not Cruising Around Much This Summer (NYT)
  • McCain’s Anti-Amtrak Stance May Come Back to Bite Him (Boston Globe)
  • Daniel Garodnick Calls for Bigger Federal Role in Infrastructure Investment (Sun)
  • FedEx Eyes Site in Astoria’s ‘Asthma Alley’ for New Distribution Center (MTR)
  • Delays at WTC Site Keep Cortlandt Street Station Shuttered (AMNY)
  • British Cycling Group Proposes Adapting Rules of the Road for Cyclists (BBC)
  • From the UK/bikes article:

    “Mr Geffen said residential areas should have 20mph speed limits”

    NYC, consider:

  • You can set speed limits to 4 MPH if you want but it won’t matter because there’s no enforcement.

  • Memo to any voters in the northeast or far west who might be thinking of voting for John McCain (NYT):

    In 2000, when he was chairman of the Senate Science, Commerce and Transportation committee, McCain killed $10 billion in capital funding for Amtrak. He denounced Amtrak as a symbol of government waste, claiming, “There’s only two parts of the country that can support a viable rail system – the Northeast and the far West.”

    Clearly people who live in the northeast and far west are not McCain’s target constituents. We should take our votes elsewhere.

  • Josh, and all speed limit reduction cynics:

    Would you support or oppose a reduction of speed limits on city streets?

    I understand everyone’s cynicism. Yeah, the speed limit itself is only part of the picture, and enforcement is lousy.

    *But the official speed limit still needs to come down.*

    NYC’s default speed limit for its internal streets needs to come down, and I hope that even the most hardened cynics in the livable streets movement support that idea.

  • rlb

    Steps can be taken to lower the speed limit that require no enforcement whatsoever.
    It’s been said before, but the timing of lights on the avenues sets the average speed on those streets. Some are faster than others, and all are too fast.
    Another possibility that I wish the city would give some consideration to is a rougher surface for sidestreets. You see very little speeding on cobblestone streets because it’s uncomfortable to drive down fast. No enforcement, slower streets, safer streets.
    Many possibilities.

  • I’m harping, but I won’t stop:

    rlb, absolutely.

    But there’s also enough information out there about public safety to support the idea that 30mph is inappropriate as the officially permitted speed on local streets.

  • rlb, I would hope rougher side streets would be combined with smooth bike lanes or else they will discourage cyclists from using those streets. It’s tough to ride a bike over a cobblestone or brick surface.

  • Mark #3, is there a reason why any rational person interested in a basic livable streets agenda, including energy independence, environmental health, and human rights would ever vote for McCain? Among other things, he supports continuing the war in Iraq, he’s anti-Amtrak, and he voted no on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

  • Urbanis, I assume that Streetsbloggers are diverse enough that some might be keeping their options open. If that’s the case, I want to nudge them in the right direction. Obama gets points for not hopping on the gas tax holiday bandwagon and being pictured on a bike. But neither candidate has been as explicit as I would like about issues like walkable communities, mass transit, and rebuilding the national passenger rail grid. I want to hear them utter the words “peak oil” and “livable streets” into a microphone. Repeatedly.

  • DDart, with your many posts in mind I brought up lowering speed limits to some livable street like people, one brought up the point that we cant give the cops anything more to do, they aren’t going to enforce it. The way I see it, they are asking for payraise on what they are already not doing. I think lowered speed limits would save lives and make this city sooo much nicer, but I believe changing street design, and mandating blame on the car driver in “accidents” will be easier to do than getting the speed limit reduced and enforced.

  • A lowered speed limit (to 20mph) would make my life on foot safer. Re enforcement, I’m surprised no one has mentioned signage. It is ridiculous to have any speed limit without posting it! Are drivers supposed to be clairvoyant, somehow pulling the speed limit out of thin air through some kind of telepathic link with the DOT? Put up some signs!

  • vnm

    In the section of McCain’s website called “reforming our transportation sector,” there is no mention of rail. There is only his clean-car challenge to automakers, his $300 million prize to design battery cars, and enforcing only existing gas mileage standards.

    HAHAHAHA. Reform? This guy is so far behind the times it is laughable.

  • Hey Mark,

    You know where they got signs? On the Henry Hudson Parkway. Know what the speed limit signs there say? 35mph. Maybe the most flagrantly and frequently violated speed limit in the country!

    So, Moocow, I have myself imagined what you’re saying about enforcement, and I believe you. And I don’t think that changing the speed limit on the books is going to suddenly slow down most motorists. But it would still be the law.

    I don’t see the prospect of poor enforcement as a reason not to make a sensible change to the law.

    It’s a starting point. I grant that reducing the speed limit on the books would be mostly symbolic, but I think the symbol would be an impressive, significant one.

  • gecko

    Since the Federal Express parcel (pun intended) of land is on the waterfront innovative ideas like bringing freight in and out by barge and or using the subway system after hours for delivery — or even using special freight cars during normal hours — could lower costs, truck counts, congestion, and emissions around the city.

  • gecko

    #14 gecko Oops! re: FedEx Eyes Site in Astoria’s ‘Asthma Alley’ for New Distribution Center (MTR)

  • Yeah but none of that is going to happen gecko. Tractor trailers are going to come from the shipping hub at Newark Airport to Queens over a 24 hour period. FedEx isn’t going to use the waterfront at all except to block it off from the public.

  • gecko

    #16 Heffron, Yeah, and the cold war rages on with the Soviet Union and South Africa remains racially segregated with Apartheid.

  • gecko

    #16 Heffron, If you look at a map including Newark Airport, Newark Bay, New York Harbor, Manhattan, and the East River a UPS Worldport-class sorting facility (accessible to all carriers and the US Mail) on Newark Bay can provide direct water access to New York City waterfronts eliminating the need for trucking.

    In the city, small electric pallet trucks and electric vehicles can deliver freight the final 2000 feet and customers can also pick up their packages if they choose.

    Freight going further into the boroughs can use other sensible methods of delivery.

    It is difficult to believe something like this has not been proposed and, now is the time to give it serious consideration.

  • gecko

    #18 gecko continued, Of course, water-borne freight vehicles can be adapted to carry passengers providing other potentially very nice travel options and cost reductions.

  • Gecko we’ve met with Steel Equities, the company purchasing the property and leasing it to FedEx and they were very clear about what they will and will not be doing. Green roofs, public access to the waterfront and entertaining renters other than FedEx are all things they will not be considering. The property they plan to build is as far removed from the bay as possible and as close to the road as they can get. Neither Steel nor FedEx are interested in creative approaches to shipping.

    Also FedEx Ground is a mainly freelance operation. The tractor trucks are driven by FedEx employees but the majority of the delivery vans are driven by independent contractors that own their van in the same way you’d buy a McDonalds franchise. I don’t think FedEx will be making any extensive changes to that system anytime soon, certainly not before 2010 when they plan to open the new depot.

    It’s certainly an attractive way to ship you’ve described, but I don’t see it happening in this spot and I know that Steel Eq and FedEx are not into community input on this matter.

  • gecko

    #20 Heffron, If other freight carriers like UPS, DHL, US Mail, etc., their customers and the public see the immediate benefit of the plan (or something similar) then Fedex will be at a distinct disadvantage.

    Further, Bloomberg, the city council, and other local groups capitalizing on on idea that it is the right thing to do, should have influence.

  • well that is a good point. the groups that I’m personally working with might not see it that way but it’s a good idea to shop around when the opportunity presents itself.