Today’s Headlines

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Ian Turner

    Samuelsen drives to work. So do a lot of TWU members, on and off the job. Next question?

  • City Room’s spoof is really funny. So is the first comment. They both describe Bloomberg’s way of thinking perfectly. The desirability of the livable streets goal is irrelevant here. It’s as humorless as complaining about Politically Correct Bedtime Stories on the grounds that unions and civil rights are a good goal.

  • Larry Littlefield

    It doesn’t make sense to interview the head of the TWU without asking about the 20/50 pension plan, and what transit workers have a right to do in retailiation against those who make them work more than 20 years.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    Mr. Samuelson’s office is on the far, far west side and he has substantial Albany responsibilities as well. I think their hesitance presently derives much more from the fact that Toussaint did support Congestion Pricing and his faction lost the election to Samuelsen. He has shown himself, by this interview as open to engaging with you guys and I have high hopes of further engagement. It remains to be seen how welcome an ally he would make. Or if the other stakeholders can be seduced into the strategy of taking the MTA deficit off his families table.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Since the number of uncounted, non-Manhattan bicycle riders was the subject of a data dispute, I decided to keep track of how many I saw riding from Windsor Terrace to and from the Mets game yesterday, including those on the street where I was or riding across it in view.

    Riding from 10:00 am to 11:20, a low traffic time of day, I rode across the park and took (plus a couple of waggles) Bedford, Willoughby, Myrtle, Gates, Forest, Eliot, the LIE Service Road, and 108th Street.

    I saw 29 in 13 miles / 80 minutes, with 22 in Brooklyn (lots in Bed Stuy), just 2 in Queens until Corona, where I saw 5. There were also many bicycles locked up on local commercial streets, implying some workers used them to commute.

    I headed over to Little India on 74th Street & Roosevelt after the game. Riding 3.4 miles from 4:00 to 4:30, I took 34th Avenue and 73rd Street, and saw 16 bicycle riders in 30 minutes.

    I headed home at about 5:15, spending another hour. There were 9 in the 4.2 miles and 30 minutes to the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge over Newtown Creek, which I got to on 41st Avenue, Woodside, 58th Street, and Grand.

    There were 34 more in the 5.1 miles and 40 mintues to Prospect Park, where I stopped counting. I took Grand, Leonard, Tompkins, Brooklyn, and Eastern Parkway.

    Total 88 in 180 minutes, or about one every two minutes, on a very cold windy day. I saw very few “hipsters,” and lots of Amigos and Brothers. I doubt more than a handful, all in the last section were traveling to/from Manhattan.

  • The TWU is “still” debating congestion pricing? Really!? I don’t recall them hardly discussing, debating or supporting congestion pricing the first time around. As far as I could tell the TWU was mostly non-existent on the issue when it really mattered. I never understood that. Now look: The transit system doesn’t have any money and TWU workers are getting laid off left and right.

    Niccolo: If you can point to something here on the Internets that shows Roger Touissant vocally and publicly supporting congestion pricing when it really mattered, I’d be happy to be enlightened. But as best I can tell the TWU under Touissant didn’t do a thing on congestion pricing making them, in my eyes, the dumbest, most self-destructive union in New York state.

    It’s gonna be tough for those TWU workers to make their car payments now that they don’t have a job. But, hey, enjoy those free East River bridges and your solidarity with the working class motorist, you geniuses.

  • MtotheI

    why is the jury taking so long in the pogan trial?! wtf. if a jury can’t convict a former nypd member (after he said himself that he lied in the police report stating that he was knocked down, and when a video clearly shows an assault) within one hour or one day, something isn’t right.

  • Kaja

    Predicting Pogan gets off.

  • The City Room column this morning reminded me of how I often mock people with closed-minded views about transportation, especially when I’m in different cities:

    “You came here on a BICYCLE?!?”

    “Well, you know, I considered a pogo stick, but it just didn’t seem too practical. And I wish I could afford a horse, but it’s really the cost of boarding that gets you.”

  • Larry–thanks for the report on commuters you saw during your trip. Entirely anecdotal, but very interesting.

    Pogan: what went wrong is that the Judge allowed tons of completely irrelevant and prejudicial information about Long’s history into evidence, and some of it apparently stuck with one or more jurors. Hope the right thinking jurors hold out for a conviction or at least force a deadlock.

    It was clear error for the Judge to allow into evidence information regarding Long’s driving behavior, drug use, and other prior bad acts, when there is no evidence that he was driving, using drugs, or doing any of those other bad things in connection with Pogan’s assault on him.

    It was less than a month ago that the highest court in New York State decided People v. Caban,, which allows, for the first time, evidence of a driver’s license suspension to be introduced into evidence in the driver’s criminal prosecution. But the court was very careful to point out that it allowed evidence of the suspension in because it reflected prior driving conduct by the driver that was very similar to the driving conduct at issue in the trial. In other words, you can’t allow in evidence of a criminal defendant’s prior bad acts unless they are very closely related to the acts for which the defendant is being tried.

    In the case of Long, he’s not even a criminal defendant! He’s the victim and a witness! The only conduct of Long’s that is at all relevant to the subject of the trial–Pogan’s assault and false charging of Long–is the conduct that Pogan observed the night he assaulted Long. By allowing in irrelevant prejudicial evidence about Long’s past that was not known to Pogan and therefore could not possibly have had any bearing on Pogan’s conduct that night, the Judge has turned what should be a jury trial into a popularity contest between Pogan and Long.

    This is like back in the dark ages of American courtrooms, when defense counsel was permitted to cross-examine a rape victim who testified against the rapist about her entire sexual history prior to the rape, to show that “she asked for it.”

    If Pogan is acquitted, I hope the DA’s office will appeal.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Larry–thanks for the report on commuters you saw during your trip. Entirely anecdotal, but very interesting.”

    If other people do 49 other similar rides on different routes, you have something useful.

    It’s interesting to see the difference between private sector information preferences and government preferences, now that I’m in the private sector.

    The major government statistical agencies want data that is both comprehensive and accurate — we’re still waiting for 2007 Census of Governments Finance data, because lots of tiny special district governments are unwilling to report their finances, for example.

    In the private sector, it doesn’t have to include everything and it doesn’t have to be as good, but they want it NOW…before the market moves.

  • Jason A

    “Riding from 10:00 am to 11:20, a low traffic time of day, I rode across the park and took (plus a couple of waggles) Bedford, Willoughby, Myrtle, Gates, Forest, Eliot, the LIE Service Road, and 108th Street.”

    Oof. Eliot and the LIE Service Road? How was that? That looks rough…

    I’ve been doing Fresh Pond – Flushing/Grand – 69th – Roosevelt. Your route looks more direct, but Eliot (in particular) looks really harrowing… If you recommend it, I’ll give it a try.

  • J:Lai

    Larry, I think that would be an awesome idea. Maybe someone knows how to set up a web page or mobile application where people can enter in data about these informal surveys.
    If it could capture time of day, date, number of riders observed, and location (maybe just by county, although linking to a google-maps route would be incredible), it could potentially provide some very meaningful data.

  • Pogan trial:

    “the husband of Juror No. 9 called in to say she was sick with a fever and strep throat”

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/sick_bike_push_juror_puts_brakes_hcrGr50u5zFbmNrUjUUgxJ?CMP=OTC-rss&FEEDNAME=#ixzz0mVkzbtZI

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Oof. Eliot and the LIE Service Road? How was that? That looks rough.”

    Both are recommended by dotted lines on the NYC bike map.

    Eliot is fine, except for the part between the cemeteries, where there is no room for motor vehicles to pass. Since there are no pedestrians, bikes should be allowed on the sidewalk there.

    The LIE service road is unpleasant and, at the 108th Street interchange, scary. They need to come up with an alternative.

    One thought — there were many more bicycle riders in places where there were bike lanes. I think a painted bike lane is an outdoor advertizing message more than a piece of infrastructure, as it points out to people who don’t read and don’t generally think for themselves “hey you can do this.” A whole hunk of Queens bounded by Roosevelt Ave, Flushing Park, Brooklyn and the cemetaries has no painted bike lanes.

  • P

    Larry, maybe it was just a poor choice of words- but a dotted line on the bike map does not imply that it is a recommended route just that it is a proposed future route. In fact, using those routes frequently puts you on overly wide streets that can accommodate a 5′ bike lane but are currently speedways (I’m looking at you Prospect Park West!)

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    @Jeff:

    Today CNN had a great story on a doctor who uses computerized records to do his work making him faster and more efficient. At the beginning of the story he arrived for work on his bicycle, and the CNN kind of looked at a loss for words what to day (even though it was surely a set up)

    Reporter: “Well this is a different way to get to work.”

    Doctor/Rider: “Different?!” (seeming surprised by her choice of words, then he said with a smile) “Better!”

  • Mike

    Larry, P is correct here. Dotted lines are definitely NOT recommendations. Check the key.

  • TKO

    I just find that this site is once again seemingly anti union. Why the headline:

    Why in God’s Name Is the TWU Still Debating Congestion Pricing?

    Not some other words? While the bus drivers being laid off is so matter-of-factly headlined?

    The TWU really gets a bum rap from you folks.

  • Larry, I think that would be an awesome idea. Maybe someone knows how to set up a web page or mobile application where people can enter in data about these informal surveys.

    If it could capture time of day, date, number of riders observed, and location (maybe just by county, although linking to a google-maps route would be incredible), it could potentially provide some very meaningful data.

    Time for me to jump on one of my hobby horses: no percentages!

    Informal surveys are great for testing the kind of existential questions that Larry is asking: are there cyclists riding in the outer boroughs who don’t cross the screenlines? Do black and latino Brooklynites ride bicycles?

    In order to answer prevalence questions, which can be expressed as “what percentage…” (of Queens residents bike? of cyclists live in Queens? of black people cycle? etc.) you need to have a representative sample.

    So, yes, a website, but just keep in mind what such a site can do and what it can’t.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I personally judge Mr. Toussaint a little late in the CP game by my standards but Local 100 and the other MTA unions along with the State AFL CIO did hold as large a rally as they could in the run up to the legislation up at Hunter College, I forget the date, I think TSTC and the straphangers were there. I didn’t think they did enough given the stakes but I didn’t think the Building Trades did enough either, but the Building Trades played out their hand under the supportive tutelage of Mr. Bloomberg. At the time I tried to get Gary Labarbera, head os the Building Trades to sit for an interview on this blog but they felt it was a Daniel in the Lion’s Den situation, something Mr. Samuelsen happily overcame for puposes of this interview.

    Personally I want to see them working harder now on Lockboxing (my own verb) and bus lane enforcement. However, I also understand that while all this is going down they have to defend themselves from MTA legislative attempts on their contract and make the MTA live up to the terms of the agreement. The Building Trades on the other hand go arm in arm with their millionaire employers when they lobby City Hall, Albany and Capital Hill.

    The only point I was trying to make was tha Toussaint favored (albeit tepidly) congestion pricing and Samuelsen just defeated his troops in the election, it will take his time to turn the ship, find trustworthy allies and focus on legislative issues.

    Personally, I think they are much more focused on the funding politics than they are on winning 20/50 pensions, something all reasonable people abandoned year’s ago though Mr. Littlefield apparently knows better.

    The sneers unionists read on this blog are really pretty mild colpared to a normal general membership meeting, still there are some people who hold out hopes for more, not less engagement between labor and commuter. I hope some of them read this fine blog.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Personally, I think they are much more focused on the funding politics than they are on winning 20/50 pensions, something all reasonable people abandoned year’s ago though Mr. Littlefield apparently knows better.”

    I know it passed the state legislature, with ZERO no votes, several times, the last just half a decade ago.

    I know that the promise of 20/50 was a rallying cry for New Directions, and helped it take the union.

    I know that the last time 20/50 passed, that I know of, Pataki vetoed it (after having let a number of similar deals through), and there was a strike a few months later.

    I know that the UFT got the equivalent of 20/50 for them, 25/55, in a political deal at the expense of the schools and its future members. As the school system goes into rapid decline as a result, expect the TWU to feel cheated that the transit system is also being destroyed, by debts, and they didn’t get to do as much damage.

  • MtotheI

    verdict in.

    guilty of falsifying a police report
    NOT GUILTY OF ASSAULT

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Being a 220 pound guy, I cannot fathom how a 260 pound person can be found NOT GUILTY of assault when using their body as a battering ram against someone in as vulnerable position as riding a bicycle. (Perhaps they should have put each juror on a bike and then had someone run at them so they could sense how scary that is.)

    Heck, sometimes I have to tip-toe walking down the street around seniors and children so I don’t bump into them.

    The only saving grace is that we was convicted of the more serious charge so he could possibly go to jail for longer than the assault charge.

  • kaja

    Do I get half on my call?

    It’s clearly a mistrial, and I’m just happy that sonofabitch is off the streets (assuming he gets jail time).

    Still: Malcolm X was fifty years ahead of his time. Chickens are on the horizon.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    The legislature passed 20/50.knowing full well that Pataki would veto it. The bill was a gift to Willie James in his run to retain power against New Directions. Holding 25/55 will be hard enough for Local 100 regardless of the teacher’s deals. The 20/50 became rope a dope for Willie and was something 100 had on the table during the strike but that was just bargaining strategy instead of the Jihad Larry paints it. Apparently as long as MTA workers retain and bargain over pensions there will be no point or value in any political alliance or discourse with unions on the MTA.