Today’s Headlines

  • Teen Driver Hits and Kills Queens Man, Passes Breathalyzer, Case Closed (News)
  • DOT Dumps Company Charged With Modernizing NYC’s Traffic Signal System (Post)
  • Car With NYPD Placard Blocks FDNY From Fire Hydrant as Blaze Injures Four Kids (Post)
  • The Subway Ceiling Collapse Wake Up Call: We Need to Fund Transit Infrastructure (NYFI)
  • Study: Cyclists Cause Fewer Than 10 Percent of Bike/Car Collisions (TreeHugger)
  • Can a Constitutional Convention Fix Albany? (NYT)
  • DOT Ramps Up Its Ped Countdown Timer Pilot Program (NY1)
  • Brooklyn CB1 Presses City to Keep Its Promises on Taming Truck Traffic in North Brooklyn (MTR)
  • NYC Reps Weiner and McMahon: Cash for Clunkers "a Great Program" (Bklyn Eagle)
  • Confronting the Tragic Fixation on Easy Parking (Sustainable Savannah via
  • Moser

    There’s another screed about “killing Times Sq” by Cuozzo of the Post. Of course, if that guy liked the changes, you’d have to wonder.

  • A Post photographer trying to take a picture of the placard was forced to move away by cops.

    Score another round for the Blue Wall of Silence! What does Deputy Inspector Alles have to say about that?

  • Larry Littlefield

    RE: the failed traffic signal upgrade project. So much for the idea that Bloomberg and his staff could solve that problem at the MTA. ATS, CBTC, the Bus Info system and now this — all delayed, with cost over-runs, or failing to work.

    Moreover, the contractors almost always get paid to go away after failing. Like public employees who don’t work, the rules, interpretations and court cases have all been set up to protect them, not the public. At least with the bus information system projects, NYCT didn’t pay for what we didn’t get. I consider that a major contracting victory.

    Kind of makes it seem unexpected that Metrocard and EZ Pass actually worked. Apparently, this sort of thing is not easy.

  • jj

    Can someone explain why something as basic as ped countdowns needs a pilot? Why does NYC need to test something that every other city has?

    Whats wrong with saying “if it works in w,x,y,z, itll work here”.

  • OK, we all know that crime-scene investigation techniques are not nearly as sophisticated as depicted on CSI:Wherever or other escapist television fare, but does NYPD even attempt to determine if a car that mowed down a pedestrian was traveling in excess of the speed limit?

    If a driver kills someone while speeding, why isn’t that a crime? Imagine if the “rule of two” were applied to other crimes: I could shoot you, and so long as I wasn’t also in possession of stolen goods, tough luck making it stick.

  • David_K

    Regarding the “rule of two” — and the civic and moral imperative of the police to determine whether this rule has been violated when a motorist runs someone over: in a addition to assessing whether the driver was speeding, the police need to determine whether the driver was talking on a cell phone. This should be standard operating procedure for any incident where someone is injured or killed.

  • In other news, the bixi bike share folks had some trouble parking curbside yesterday .. :

  • re: the fire hydrant blocking, placard bearing car:

    I’ve heard that usually FDNY will actually smash through car windows to get to a blocked hydrant. Did they not do that this time? If not, why not? Professional courtesy?

  • The driver who killed a man in Queens says that he didn’t see his victim. How is that an excuse? I suppose it means that he was driving so fast that he didn’t have time to react when he saw his victim. If that’s the case, then a charge of negligence or recklessness seems in order. On the other hand, if he was driving carefully and still didn’t notice the pedestrian in time, then that seems indicative of a cognitive deficiency that should warrant immediate and permanent revocation of his driving privileges.

  • > Why does NYC need to test something that every other city has?

    By this logic, we should also gut our downtown with superhighways and parking garages, and pave soho. More information may not always be a good thing; it’s not a given that this is a good idea.

    And anyway, if I were an executive manager, I’d prefer my department heads could cite science for every line-item project. JSK running a trial program only means when it comes time for the request, she’ll be able to articulate precisely why it’s /worth/ it.

  • jj

    Kaja, how is it not a given that this is a good idea. In theory, its a good idea. I cant even think of any opposition to it. Why not call up DC, Boston, Baltimore, LA, San Fran ect and ask for their data?

    Dont use the highways as a red herring. Pedestrian countdowns are akin to bollards, subway countdowns or street trees, not razing buildings for a new street.

  • Just pointing out your needlessly loose logic: “If every other city has it, why shouldn’t we” is an awful justificaiton.

    As to whether it’s a good idea, I can’t comment, precisely because I haven’t seen any studies. Maybe in another life I’d be an expert in pedestrian traffic control devices. The mayor and his deputies aren’t experts either, and thus scientific management demands some evidence.

  • jj

    Kaja, I understand that theyre not experts, but why spend money on a study that has been done countless times? Its like requiring a pilot every time a new crosswalk is to be painted because this street may be different from that other street.

    And this goes for all transportation inovations. How many cities right now are doing studies and pilots on sharrows? Why cant we communicate from one city to another to avoid this waste of resources?

    Look at the subway countdowns. Theyre all over Europe, theyve been in DC for many, many years….but NYC needs to run a pilot and testing phase because it may not work. We need to stop drawing arbitrary lines. Why is one study good for the NYC metro area…but not for the east coast?

  • vnm

    ddartley #8, I once saw that on Law & Order or NYPD Blue or one of those shows. Not sure if they do it in real life though. If not, they should.

  • JJ is totally right. The persistent belief that New Yorkers and this city operate in some kind of alternate universe of psychotic pedestrians is just silly. I grew up here so I understand that some people like to cling to the idea that being a New Yorker means taking a psychotic approach to street crossing. But those behaviors are just the result of decades of poor street design not brain damage.

  • IsaacB

    I find ped countdown timers offensive. Way too much street design in the US seems geared towards “optimizing” the flow of cars while “controlling” the flow of walkers. Next stop after countdowns are the lights that only change for peds if they press a button, if you can find it, if it’s not broken or vandalized, if you have no physical issues that keep you from pressing it. At the same time, no limits on cars turning across you at crosswalks or ignoring you as you stand in a non-signalized walk. I say keep those countdowns out of NYC. They’re not our friends.

  • jj

    Issac, pedestrian countdowns have nothing to do with helping cars.

    All it does is replace the flashing red hand with a clock. With a flashing hand, you have no idea how long its been flashing and how many flashes are left. The clock lets you make an informed decision on whether to cross or not. In DC, theres always a timer, even during the walk phase. As such, from half a block away, I see I have 22 seconds left and can speed up or slow down so I dont waste time or effort.

  • Omri

    Pedestrian countdown timers almost got my wife killed. We were visiting Amsterdam, where they also have them. Except in Holland, the timers count during the RED light, and tell you how long before the next green when you can cross. She caught a glimpse of a timer, and took off, and was almost run over by a trolley.

    Scariest split second of my life.

    The Dutch have the right idea on this (TDHTRIOT). Timers in America are another way of telling those without cars that they are second class citizens.

  • I agree with Isaac. I’ve been to a city with countdown timers for cars as well as pedestrians, and it makes a big difference. The focus on timers for pedestrians while ignoring cars is patronizing and unfair.

  • Countdown timers for cars arent a good idea…cars tend to accelerate as soon as it hits zero, regardless of whos in the crosswalk.