Today’s Headlines

  • Homicide Charge for Driver Who Killed Jake McDonaugh (News, City Room)
  • Walder Makes His Case for TWU Concessions (Post)
  • NJTransit Board Approves Fare Hike/Service Cut Combo (WNYC)
  • Ex-Cop Patrick Pogan Defends Critical Mass Assault: Just Following Orders (Post)
  • Time to Give Cyclists a Traffic Lane on the Willy-B? (Bklyn Paper)
  • Paris Mayor Unveils Next Step to Make the Seine a Place for People, Not Cars (AFP)
  • Stringer, Squadron, Chin Want Red Light Cam at Delancey and Essex (Lo Down)
  • Cops Can Now Prevent Towing of Un-Marked Cars With a Phone Call (News)
  • John Petro to Markowitz: More Bike Lanes Actually Means Less Traffic (HuffPo)
  • Cartoon Reflects Reality on PPW Better Than Marcia Kramer’s Reporting (Bklyn Paper)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Ian Turner

    Quite likely that Pogan was following orders. He should be tried anyhow.

  • I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Jay Walder is playing a bad hand very, very well.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Before I arrived at the MTA, an arbitrator awarded our largest union 11 percent raises over three years. Our employees work extremely hard and deserve to be well compensated — but that compensation comes with the responsibility to maximize productivity and eliminate waste.”

    “It’s time for labor to address outdated work rules, limited employee availability and rising pension and medical costs.”

    Well, I like what Walder is saying, because it gets away from the “lower pay for lower quality work” idea you usually get in a budget crisis, which has made public service the miserable hellhole it often is. I don’t see transit workers as overpaid at all, given the work they do.

    But there are some rules that could be eased, and they could contribute more to their pensions and health insurance — not just the workers but the retirees. That’s better than cutting pay or service — or a screw the newbie contract.

    Let’s see what the TWU says.

  • Lola

    Pogan’s trial is happening today (Thurs 4/15) and is open to the public.

    111 Center Street, 7th Floor, Part 42. New York Supreme Court, Criminal Term, Judge M Wiley. Docket 06416-2008.

    Bring ID and leave your cell phone downstairs.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Pedestrians chastise cyclists for clipping them or careening by at high speeds near the foot of the bridge. Cyclists criticized pedestrians for walking too slowly. Both sides accuse the other of occupying the wrong lanes.”

    Attitudes are the problem, and not just among those in Escalades.

    The other day, my wife and I were riding on the Brooklyn Bridge when her tire went flat. So we started walking over the bridge with the bicycles, in the pedestrian lane, side by side while talking. When a pedestrian came toward us one of us would stop and move behind to let them go by.

    A woman caught up with us from behind where we hadn’t seen her, walked around us and yelled at us for being rude (for walking on the pedestrian side of the bridge). I said we weren’t being rude, we were walking because of a flat. She gave us the finger and stalked ahead.

    No livable streets improvement is going to solve her problem, which probably started before she got the bridge and continues indefinately.

  • JayinPortland

    Words matter –

    “It was the second serious accident of the day involving a cyclist in Brooklyn.”

    ‘Accident’?

    No. An unlicensed driver speeding through a red light and killing somebody is not a “whoopsy”. Christ, even NYPD agreed there for a change, so what’s the Times’ problem?

  • “Attitudes are the problem, and not just among those in Escalades.”

    Amen to that. I stopped using the Brookyn Bridge long ago during rush hours because of stupidity from both cyclists and peds. Although, I was more inclined to be forgiving to the pedestrians on the Brookyn Bridge, many of whom are tourists walking across a national treasure.

    I don’t know what to make of the scene on the Williamsburg Bridge. It’s decidedly not a national treasure, and the people walking across aren’t tourists. Since the weather got warmer and the north lane was closed, moronic behavior has gone up about 1000%, coming from (some; well, many) cyclists who haul ass as if the bridge were a dedicated bike roadway (which it ain’t), and from pedestrians, who often veer from one side of the walkway to another without looking behind them (in which case, it doesn’t matter how slow a cyclist is going, someone is going to get hit), talking on cellphones, and are generally unaware of what the hell they are doing.

  • I am sick of this attitude that some cyclists have towards pedestrians on bridge crossings, and other shared zones throughout the city. I cross the Williamsburg Bridge twice a day, every day of my life, and do so all throughout the year, rain or shine (just so you know which side of the fence I’m coming from). Nothing brings me more joy than seeing pedestrians lolly-gagging around the bike/ped-path, getting fresh air, enjoying their city, without a care in the world, like people should be doing! In order to accommodate them, I ride my bike slower and give them the right-of-way regardless of how “moronic” they may be, and do everything in my power to not cry about the three minutes of my life this takes up every day.

    Fellow Cyclists: If you are really that convinced that your ability to operate a private vehicle in the public right of way is more important than the ability of human beings to enjoy their city, then you may as well just add two more wheels and a motor to your vehicle and call it a day.

  • Jeff: I am comig from the same place you are: I bike every day, no matter the weather. I applied the “moronic” adjective to both cyclists and peds. I mostly agree with you, and I try to go at a very reasonable pace to accomodate peds. I don’t think the bike/ped path is a public park though: it is avenue for comuters. Pedestrians need to be aware of where they are, and cyclists have to slow down to accommodate people strolling on the bridge.

  • That’s why I think the re-striping of the Willy B is such a good idea. The North Path will become a commuter thoroughfare where we can efficiently leverage our vehicles to get to where we need to go, and the South Path will become a public park where people on foot can mill about and enjoy the scenery. Everybody’s happy!

    Except for Marty Markowitz. I’m sure he would rather we “balance out” the ped/bike deck by converting it to motor vehicle use.

  • Kaja

    I quit using the Brooklyn Bridge almost entirely when I nearly killed a four-year-old child, whose mother wasn’t watching him, who sprinted in front of my bike as I was accelerating down the hill belling and whistling. DIsc brakes saved his life; it would not have been my fault.

    I really wish I could use the Brooklyn. It’s beautiful and convenient. I sometimes use it late at night now — but then, I’m apparently the only cyclist with any goddamn lights, and I sometimes won’t see some jerk coming down the hill toward me at high speed. (Invariably that jerk yells at me.)

    The Brooklyn Bridge is amateur hour for bike crew.

  • “I don’t see transit workers as overpaid at all, given the work they do.”

    But you also understand why Walder can’t say that himself, even if that’s what he happens to believe.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (“I don’t see transit workers as overpaid at all, given the work they do.” But you also understand why Walder can’t say that himself, even if that’s what he happens to believe.)

    Apparently he also can’t talk about one aspect of the MTA debacle.

    He mentioned worker productivity impediments and sick leave abuse, health and pension costs, contractor costs, and funding cuts by Albany.

    He did not mention the current and past debt burden of the sharp cut in the discount-adjusted fare over the past 15 years.

    The TWU doesn’t bring it up either, the way union leader “Red Mike” Quill did after WWII. He helped push through the first fare increase, from five cents to ten cents (the history of “save the fare” nonsense followed by massive increases goes way back). Back then, however, the transit workers were probably not better off than the average rider the way they are now.

  • Ian Turner

    Worth every penny of $900,000.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    “I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Jay Walder is playing a bad hand very, very well.”

    Repeating it doesn’t make it right. He doesn’t have a bad hand, he has a great hand, he’ll make his cuts appear to be parsimonious and when the business cycle picks back up he’ll be in a position to appear magnanimous and increase service, perhaps even reward the employees. Hectoring labor in the media is not a strategy destined for negotiation success. Practitioners call it posturing. All it does is build up the value of the rules in the minds of the people you must negotiate it with, the union members, making agreement less likely. Agreements are not negotiated in the media. Certainly not the Post. The Laws and Sausages rule applies to real negotiations.

    If on the other hand, your strategy is to bludgeon the legislature with complaints about labor cost with the hope of legislating your way around rules then you are still faced with the problem of actually valuing the rule and asking the legislature to side with the MTA in place of the union. Value from any rule changes will not come to the MTA immediately in any event, it will take time, the deficit is immediate. If you think that is a winning hand then the Post is not a bad place to do it.

    Does the MTA really need the support of the Manhattan Institute, Rupert Murdoch and the Post editors in a strategy of lowering labor costs?

    I hope this has all been cleared with the Cuomo Administration.

  • Niccolo, there’s very little the Manhattan Institute and Walder have in common. The Manhattan Institute people believe in something like slave labor: workers should be paid very little, on principle. Walder does not: so far his complaints about costs have been about overstaffing and managerial costs, which makes sense in light of his foreign background. It’s not anti-labor to be used to the costs of doing transit in London, which are already sky-high, and then get shocked that they’re 3 times higher in New York. Walder’s sin seems to be that he hasn’t completely assimilated to budget-busting peculiarities like conductors punching tickets, two employees per subway train, one-bid contracts, and FRA compliance.

    Beyond frustration, it could also be a play for lowering costs. If Walder succeeds in his attempts to reduce New York subway capital construction costs to first-world levels, it’ll make it politically easier to fund necessary extensions. At $50,000/rider, which is what SAS is heading toward, transit is an expensive luxury; at $8,000/rider, in line with rest-of-first-world costs, transit is a cost-effective investment.