Today’s Headlines

  • Marty Markowitz and Marcia Kramer Team Up for Error-Riddled Anti-Bike Lane Screed on CBS2
  • Markowitz Defends Car-Dominated Status Quo on PPW Some More (WNYC)
  • Sadik-Khan Responds: "I’m Bringing Balance to the Streets" (City Room)
  • Voters: Bloomberg Failing on Transit. But Are the Voters Doing Any Better? (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Military Driver Cordoning Off Streets for Nuke Summit Kills Cyclist in Central D.C. (GGW)
  • The Automobile Era: Past Its Peak (Planetizen)
  • DWI Mom Who Killed Leandra Rosado Asks Judge for Leniency (News)
  • Service Cuts Coming Early for G Train Riders (AMNY)
  • MTA Saved a Chunk of Change By Renegotiating Vendor Contracts (NYT, AMNY)
  • 76th Precinct Prepares to Clip Bikes in Carroll Gardens (Bklyn Paper)
  • Coney Island Bike Path Stalled Thanks to NY State Enviro Bureaucracy (Your Nabe)
  • Taxi Turns Into Fireball on Ninth Ave (News)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • The cyclist killed yesterday in a crash with a “security vehicle” in D.C. was Constance Holden, a reporter for Science magazine, according to David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington (Ben, thanks for linking to GGW, above).

    I never met Constance, but I read hundreds of her articles in Science in the 1970s and 1980s, when I was a subscriber. I feel that I knew her.

    The obit on the Science mag Web site (thanks for link, David) provides a glimpse of the quality of this latest victim of U.S. “security”-mania.

  • Hey Marcia Kramer, don’t let facts get in the way of your biases. The Prospect Park West plan will convert one travel lane into a buffered bike path, not two lanes. And Prospect Park West is decidedly not “already congested.” Quite the opposite; its excess capacity is the prime reason that dangerous speeding is commonplace.

    And Marty Markowitz’s contention that the Prospect Park West bike path will “interrupt access of pedestrians to the park during peak usage in summer and on weekends” is plain hooey. What interrupts pedestrian access to the park is three lanes worth of speeding traffic.

    Hats off to Janette Sadik-Khan and the Department of Transportation for responding to the community’s call for traffic calming and a protected bike path on Prospect Park West — a plan that has widespread support in Park Slope.

  • Everything Will Be Just Fine

    Nice to hear that Craig Hammerman the CB6 rep calling Marty Markowitz out of step on this issue and that the bike lane has merit.

  • ME

    Also: Transportation’s Bicycle Policy Hits Potholes
    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/04/14/us/politics/AP-US-LaHood-Bikes.html?_r=1

    “At a recent House hearing, Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, suggested jokingly to a Transportation Department official that one explanation for the new policy is that the secretary’s thinking has been clouded by drugs.”

  • Pete

    re: the 76th precinct clipping bikes in Carroll Gardens.

    If this story is accurate, and the NYPD at the 76 is actually going through the process of tagging bikes with notices prior to removal, they should be commended for their actions, and strongly, by the bike community (e.g. us, TA, anyone else).

    Derelict bikes littering the streets of NYC are a pain, and they do ruin it for the rest of us. This sounds like a reasonable, sane policy approach by the NYPD.

    Here’s hoping that’s actually how it plays out!

  • Larry Littlefield

    “If this story is accurate, and the NYPD at the 76 is actually going through the process of tagging bikes with notices prior to removal, they should be commended for their actions, and strongly, by the bike community (e.g. us, TA, anyone else).”

    Absolutely, but I’d add this to the list of duties that sworn officers with all that Police Academy training are too expensive to have to do.

  • What Larry said. DoT should be doing this, and should auction off what it collects once a month. Eliminate the eyesore, clear pedestrians’ ROW, maximize available bike parking, and turn a profit. Big win all around.

  • Moser

    Actually, Sanitation much better geared to do this than DOT (hauling stuff around and disposing of it in various ways).

  • Larry & BO: I doubt a city agency would be able to make a profit on this. You need one person with an electric grinder (to remove the lock) and one person to load the bike onto a stake-bed truck. Then you need a pickup truck and driver to tote around the grinder (because it’s the city and city employees wouldn’t deign to use a bakfiets-mounted grinder), and a driver for the stake-bed truck. And you need another two employees for the warehouse where the bikes are brought. So at $100,000 each including benefits, that makes $600,000 in personnel costs alone every year. If they sold the bikes for $20 each, that means they have to find 30,000 abandoned bicycles on the streets every year. There are 6,000 miles of streets in New York. If you assume that only half the streets ever have a locked, abandoned bike, then that’s 3,000 miles, and 10 bikes per year per mile. Seems kind of high.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m not talking about a profit. I’m talking about a smaller loss, relative to having police officers do the work.

    The police cost $156,000 each — more if you’re talking about overtime in the year before they are eligible to retire — and that is going up and up.

    And while the eight city employees to remove a bicycle may contain a shred of truth, particularly at DOT as it used to be and still may be, it might take quite a few officers too.

  • TKO

    Hooray! Finally those old rusty hulks will be gone! Just like the hatred of cars that are left and not moved bike riders need to do the same. Some bike parking have no room thanks to them. It’s about time.

  • Larry, BicyclesOnly was the optimistic one who anticipated a profit.

    Streetsbloggers: ever tried calling 311 and having Sanitation come and pick up an abandoned bicycle?

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    There is no labor cheap enogh, especially in terms of retiree benefits, either :+1 or @ension, to satisfy arry Littlefield. Do it yourself Larry.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Perhpas the problem is that by not really paying for it labor has been made to seem cheaper that it actually is.

    Using some assumptions that are pretty reasonable for a conservative group (on the expected future rate of return), the NYC teacher’s retirement system is now only 46% funded, one of the worst of the 59 largest teacher retirement plans, compared with 77% for the rest of the state.

    http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20100413/FREE/100419962

    “New York state has been more conscientious than most about making required contributions into the fund,” said Josh Barro, one of the report’s authors.

    “New York City has shirked its responsibilities to a significant extent,” Mr. Barro said. “By making promises of benefits without depositing money needed to cover them, it is effectively borrowing.”

    So what should we do to make up the $36 billion? Double the property tax? Eliminate high school? Slash the pay and pensions of future teachers by 40%, and borrow against that future savings? Cut the police department (the Post says cut the schools to spare the police department)? Shut down the subways?

    Meanwhile, the state is considering a “pension incentive” to allow existing state workers to retire at 55 instead of 62, soon after passing a Tier V for new state workers. I didn’t hear you objecting to Tier V Prince. In fact, I only saw ME objecting to Tier V.

  • kaja

    Niccolo’s right in the end, which is why all the real solutions don’t involve choosing who gets to do the job at a loss, but rather chopping all the pensions out of government entirely.

    Pensions should be explicitly prohibited in our next constitution; possibly, all state debt.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Pensions should be explicitly prohibited in our next constitution; possibly, all state debt.”

    Unless they add the all important (and lawyers, help me with the phrasing here) “and we’re not kidding” clause, that would probably work as well as our existing constitutional restrictions.

    There is, by the way, a clause in the U.S. Constitution that says the federal government will guarantee each state a republican form of government. Could someone ask the feds to take action against New York State on that one? And would the Supreme Court hold that we don’t have a real republic because most people just can’t be bothered?

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I guess any sort of alliance with labor unions is not real high on your agenda. Apparently we should look elsewhere for “blue-green” coalitions.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I guess any sort of alliance with labor unions is not real high on your agenda. Apparently we should look elsewhere for “blue-green” coalitions.”

    The public employee labor unions have greatly, and permanently disappointed me. The latest round of unfunded pension enhancements “costing nothing” followed by wage and benefit cuts for future employees was the last straw. And I’m not alone.

    Although the TWU didn’t get the 20/50 pension or sign off an a screw the newbie contract. Yet.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Re: Larry and his pension “analysis”, when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I came by my views honestly, over a long period of time, with an open mind.

    When you have people who are already privileged in some sense, who have a deal that others don’t get (and in fact couldn’t get — not everyone could have that many years in retirement except at a much lower standard of living, which anyone could choose on their own by saving) and then they grab MORE (after making claims that are untrue about the cost) and others are harmed, it is unjust. Whether executive pay or public employee pensions.

    The real alliance, if you look at what has happened and not what is said, is “black black” — the monopoly public employee unions and the de facto monopoly de facto union of top executives and corporate board members.

    Here’s an “analysis.” Since everyone’s taxes pay for those pensions anyway, how about right now allowing everyone to join the public employee pension system, retroactively, with the deal those recently about to retire and retired imposed on the rest of us?

    Ie. for anyone with a graduate degree, pay 3% of your salary for your first ten years worked (we’ll call it a re-opener, based on the lingo), and become immediately eligible to retire at 55 after 25 years worked with non-contributory health insurance, based on the last year’s pay with all kinds of opportunities to spike it.

    And for anyone with an occupation with a greater or equal on the job injury rate than police and fire, 20 and out at the last year’s pay with overtime, and a big pension increase if a doctor will say you have any one of a growing number of things wrong with you. With no contribution.

    Other retire at 57, except manual trades similar to transit and sanitation who also get 25/55.

    Then just increase taxes and cut public services until there is enough money to pay for it. And when the working, businesses and even the retirees themselves flee the state, increase taxes and cut public services some more to offset the shrinking tax base. Just keep doing it.

    The public employee unions are either in favor of that, or they are not in favor of “workers.” Why not give everyone an equal unlimited claim? What’s the difference between a teacher pension fund that is 46% funded and one that is 2% funded. Screwed anyway.