Today’s Headlines

  • Big Three Are Back in DC, Asking for Help and Promising to Restructure (NPR, NYT)
  • Regulators Who Denied Climate Change Science Helped Make Detroit Less Competitive (Grist)
  • Confronting Fare Beaters Is a Tricky Task for Bus Drivers (NYT)
  • Cop Charged for Assaulting Pedestrian in Fit of Road Rage on Queens Boulevard (NYT)
  • Biden Talks Up Rail Investment at Governors’ Meeting (Yglesias)
  • Prospect Park Road Diet Discussed at CB7 Meeting Yesterday (Bklyn Paper)
  • News Celebrates Brooklyn’s Low Gas Prices
  • Early Observations of the Bronx Hub Redesign (Mott Haven’t You Heard)
  • Hawaii Moves to Implement Electric Car Network (NYT)
  • Can a Wal-Mart Be Reclaimed By Going Mixed-Use? (Where via Streetsblog.net)
  • Larry Littlefield

    Listening to Bloomberg News while riding home last night, I heard an auto industry analyst say it would be a big mistake for Congress to impose fuel efficiency standards on the Detroit 3.

    The reason? Gas prices are low again, and people are already starting to shift to bigger, fuel inefficient cars, so putting a mandate on the Detroit 3 would put them at a competitive disadvantage until gas prices went up again.

    Again, what is leading to disaster is the values of the majority of a generation or two, not some technical policy issues. Our pols are mouthing those values, but will not be lining up to take responsibility for the consequences.

    The reason I’m listening to Bloomberg News these days is because Peak Debt happend sooner than Peak Oil, with the consequences the doomsayers gave the latter.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Speaking of peak debt, in light of the recent discussion of retail at the GWB Bus Terminal, some might be interested in some opinions on the future of retailing from a San Diego-based real estate analyst.

    http://www.sdbj.com/industry_article.asp?aID=06967945.75858602.1711710.58246102.73677.374&aID2=131661

    “Amid the economic and real estate collapse, there is now a clear decline in retailing, one that will be felt well beyond the upcoming holiday shopping season. It is a decline that will be fed by a drop in disposable income, which will in turn lead to a greater awareness of the meaning of being green. If goods are more precious, then we are certainly moving toward the end of the throwaway society. Presumably, this means that merchandise will be made better, because it will be made to last.”

  • Marty Barfowitz

    OK, so let me see if I’ve got this straight: A ‘roid raging NYPD officer nearly kills a pedestrian on Queens Blvd — first with his car and then with his fists. The Times points out that it’s the second time in recent months that NYPD officers have been caught in violent road rage incidents. And then the Times give us this as the big take-away:

    The Queens Boulevard episode provided yet more grist for the road’s dangerous reputation.

    Huh?

    Wake the F up, Times Metro desk editors. This isn’t a “Boulevard of Death” story. This is yet another story about out-of-control NYPD entitlement and car culture.

  • Rhywun

    I just don’t understand the big deal about removing traffic from Prospect Park. Would it kill people to drive around it instead of roaring through it and lowering the quality of the park for everybody?

  • ddartley

    And now the crazy cop is in court, costing the City money.

    Once again, it would seem that hiring violent scum to be cops and/or condoning thuggish culture among police turns out to be unwise fiscal policy…

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Once again, it would seem that hiring violent scum to be cops and/or condoning thuggish culture among police turns out to be unwise fiscal policy.”

    Then again, if you enrich the pensions causing your labor costs to soar, and then cut the pay for new hires to $25K, perhaps those are the only people who are going to show up.

    This is not an isolated incident, and is related to the union/political class policy of somehow combining high labor costs and taxes with low pay for those on the job, by directing a large share of the money to those who don’t work.

  • J

    I think this new Prospect Park strategy is genius. Removing one lane is not a big enough change to really make a stink over, but it will make it much much easier to walk, jog, and bike in the park. Plus it will dramatically slow cars down, removing much of the impetus to drive in the park in the first place. Fewer cars in the park results in fewer people who will care if you close it completely to cars.

    The city didn’t become car friendly overnight. A narrowed sidewalk here, a two-way street made one-way there. It happened gradually, and the reverse will happen gradually as well. Driving hours have slowly been reduced for years, and while it seems like were almost at the goal, the last bit is symbolic, and people appear to be ready to fight for it. The tide, though, is overwhelming and the gradual changes are irresistible.

  • “As a motorist—and more so, as a police officer—the defendant should have known better than to allegedly take matters into his own hands and elevate a minor traffic dispute into a felonious assault.” — Queens district attorney

    Nearly hitting a pedestrian, who responded by tapping the car, is a minor traffic dispute? Never mind that such a collision could result in instant death, and frequently does. But getting out of the car to pummel him, that’s bad policing and worse motoristing! He should have called some other police, to arrest that Infiniti-touching vagrant, or just crushed him with his luxury vehicle instead of taking matters into his own “hands”. Thank goodness the DA’s office has lept into action to pursue this disturbingly non-mechanized, felonious roadway violence.

  • Actually, way back in the late 90s I suggested going to one-lane in Prospect Park many times when I was the head of the Brooklyn T.A. chapter and wrote many letters to elected officials. Although a car-free drive still should be the ultimate goal, at least I believe almost all road users could be accommodated safely with a plan taking one lane out of commission.

  • da

    Re: incremental approach to Prospect Park

    Another small step would be to close the 3rd St. entrance entirely. It’s already closed weekday mornings, because only East Drive is open then. And in the evenings, cars entering off PPW could just as easily enter at GAP. The only drivers at all inconvenienced would be those coming up 3rd St., and they could just turn right onto PPW and go around (or not even come up 3rd St. in the first place).

  • Any volunteers willing to drive their cars in the single traffic lane at about 3 MPH for a few days, to make all the drivers crazy and ensure that they’ll then avoid the park at all costs?

  • Streetsman

    Re: Rhywun

    Yeah how many of the residents around Washington Square Park regret that it was closed to traffic in 1959? What a bonehead mistake that was! 😉

  • J. Mork

    Eric — will you be supplying bullet proof vests?

  • J. Mork — yes, plus ear plugs for the honking and cursing and sunglasses to diminish the effects of the flipped birds.

    But after three or four days of this, I think they’ll all have given up and left the park to the pedestrians, cyclists, rollerbladers, dogwalkers, and nature.

  • Regarding the cop that assaulted the pedestrian on Queens Blvd –

    So if the cop stayed in his car and intentionally run the guy over instead, what would he had been charged? Failing to yield to a pedestrian?

    $140 fine. Pay the cashier in the hall. NEXT!

    I’m probably not far from being wrong on this.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    As much as I would like to buy into Larry’s lowest common denominator labor supply as a function of poorly considered inter-generational pension transactions this particular asshole was driving an Infinity, not the vehicle of choice for new hire cops. I would think that would more likely be the Q 64 in this particular case.

  • Brooklyn

    I doubt that we’ll see a road diet for Prospect Park. You won’t get rid of the Williamsburg-Borough Park expressway that easily.

  • Rhywun

    @Streetsman:

    Quite. I bet these roads were originally more like bridal paths to begin with, and in the rah-rah rush forward into the Automobile Age they were converted for use by cars (like most any other surface) without a second thought given to the fact that they’re in *parkland*. Getting that space back for its original purpose sure has taken a long time.