Today’s Headlines

  • MTA Unveils Fare Hike Details (NYT, News)
  • It’s Not Just Fares: Dozens of Small Cuts Will Hurt Ride Quality (WSJ)
  • And 202 Station Agent Layoffs Formally Approved (AMNY)
  • News: Don’t Blame MTA; Pin the Hike on Paterson, Silver, Sampson, and Skelos
  • Will Environmentalists Regroup Around a Carbon Fee Instead of a Carbon Cap? (The Nation)
  • Deal for Even Cheaper Parking Wins Flushing Commons Council Support (News)  
  • Amanda Burden Sees Street Life as Her Legacy (Urban Omnibus)
  • Slideshow: Times Square Street Mural One Week From Completion (WNYC
  • Child’s Ghost Bike Appears on UWS, But Is It Real? (West Side Spirit)
  • Portland Cyclist Calls NYC Traffic "Terror Mixed With Aggression," Praises Bike Lanes (Oregon Live)
  • DOT Surveyors Witness Three-Car Crash at Deathtrap Intersection of Utica and Avenue D (YourNabe

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Doug

    Loved reading the article about the Portland cyclist. I remember after a few months of going totally free on NY streets thinking that the biking was actively taking years off my life — the stress from riding on 6th avenue was going to make my hair go (more) gray.

    You could write a similar feeling of relief when you go to many other cities, especially Cambridge, MA.

  • Mike

    I find biking in Cambridge to be pretty hairy, actually — especially Mass Ave and Hampshire/Beacon.

  • Josef Szende

    The Wall Street Journal link isn’t working. Though I imagine that ride quality would go down if you were cut in a dozen places.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “When I accidentally steered us onto the nonexistent shoulder of fast-moving FDR Drive, Sal shot me the “We’re going to die!” look but honored our agreement not to freak out. With taxis bearing down on us at 50 mph we pedaled calmly until we found an off-ramp and then darted back into the shaded streets of the East Village.”

    Well, that’s nuts. And that reminds me, a couple of weeks ago, when heading out of town on the FDR Drive, I passed a cyclist riding northbound on the roadway, at a fast pace for exercise. I hope this isn’t a trend.

  • re: MTA Unveils Fare Hike Details (NYT, News)
    It’s Not Just Fares: Dozens of Small Cuts Will Hurt Ride Quality (WSJ)
    And 202 Station Agent Layoffs Formally Approved (AMNY)
    News: Don’t Blame MTA; Pin the Hike on Paterson, Silver, Sampson, and Skelos
    DOT Surveyors Witness Three-Car Crash at Deathtrap Intersection of Utica and Avenue D (YourNabe)

    Human-powered and hybrid human-electric transportation is about people taking control of their own lives instead of waiting for someone out there to take care of it for them.

    The lack of safety for people wanting to travel these ways allows automobiles to dominate and monopolize the streets in New York City.

    The city must make the streets safe so that people can travel in low-cost much more practical ways.

    This is what the rule of law is about.

  • The News editorial hit the nail right on the head: Blame Albany, not the MTA. Amazing to see something so sensible in the mainstream media.

  • It seems to me that our friend from Portland has merely experienced what we call the “culture” of this fine city. Cycling aside, I feel fairly confident that taking public transport feels more stressful in NYC compared to Portland, and the same can be said for grocery shopping, doing laundry, going to the dentist, and so on and so forth. Our culture is very live-let-live, every-man-for-himself, anonymous, fast-paced, etc. And for most aspects of city life, it works quite well, and is even something to be embraced (which I think the Portlander admits to). Unfortunately, when you take these same cultural traits that, for the most part, give our city its unique way of life, and apply it to private citizens operating two-ton machines at speeds of 30, 40, 50 MPH, within a finite amount of space, the result is often deadly.

  • Re: #7, I think that is what many of us who have lived and traveled overseas admire about European cities–that they manage to combine the cultural, professional, and community institutions, opportunities and amenities of a large city while maintaining an air of civility, tranquility, and beauty. At its heart, I think that’s what the struggle to reclaim our New York streets for people, not cars is all about–making this a place worth living in, not just driving through.

  • I find Burden and Benepe’s remarks hypocritical. Burden, for all her talk of “vibrant street life” and “quality design” has presided over massive increases in free parking in New York, while Benepe, who talks about this as “the most exciting era of park design in decades” fails to make Central and Prospect parks car-free, which is in his power.

  • JK

    Streetsblog should have mentioned that the thought provoking carbon tax piece in the Nation is by Streetsblog contributor Charles Komanoff. It’s short, cogent and informative. Read it.

  • TKO

    The woman from Oregon seemed to miss all the aggressive cyclists and those cyclists who flaunt the law. They make my ride worse then all the cars! Plus if you say something boy do they get testy!

  • Doug

    Not looking for much of an argument on Cambridge, but… when you have cars who patiently wait for you to pull out ahead of them, or who will sit in the lane waiting to make a turn so that bikers can pass (observing the law, amazing!), that’s stress-reducing. Compare it to riding in Boston where three-foot passing is a joke, or NY where bikers are just an obstacle to be steered around (poorly). Streets that are one or two lanes in each direction are never going to compare in danger to the aptly-described traffic sewers of midtown avenues.

    That’s not to say it couldn’t be better. I dream of a day when there are cycle tracks on every major street.

  • JayinPortland

    Ha, I guess it isn’t just pedestrians then. I always tell people it takes me about three days to adjust my ‘walking style’ back and forth between the local norms / customs, whenever I travel from Portland (where I live) to North Jersey (where I grew up).

    I remember meeting a friend in The Bronx last year up on Arthur Ave, and how odd it felt walking with him, crossing wherever and whenever you could.

    But no matter how “native” I’ve gone here in Oregon, I swear I’ll never understand people who wait at a crosswalk for a walk signal at like midnight here in my SE Portland neighborhood when there isn’t a headlight anywhere to be seen in any direction! That’s just odd, anti-urban and frankly kind of disturbing to see people act so bot-like…

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Streetsblog should have mentioned that the thought provoking carbon tax piece in the Nation is by Streetsblog contributor Charles Komanoff. It’s short, cogent and informative. Read it.”

    You talked me into it…but the link is broken.

  • Urbanis, I have no idea what European cities you’re talking about, but I’ve personally found Paris to be exactly like New York. Forget pretentious “airs of civility”; what makes European cities’ transportation systems tick is that their rail networks are reasonably fast and get people to where they want to go. Portland is a potemkin version of that; it may feel civilized to you, but its transit mode share is the same as Los Angeles’.

  • http://climateprogress.org/2010/07/29/nature-decline-ocean-phytoplankton-global-warming-boris-worm/

    Nature Stunner: “Global warming blamed for 40% decline in the ocean’s phytoplankton”

    No need to wait for loss of Arctic ice cap in 3 to 6 years, this is one of the “Pearl Harbor” events that should be driving us to immediately develop and move to transportation and systems 1% and less than transportation systems based on cars; and other extremely critical efforts.

  • Alon, I respectfully disagree about Paris–it has some fantastic public spaces to relax and watch life go by, whereas New York really doesn’t have anything resembling a “piazza” (the newly pedestrianized Times Square is about the closest). Also, the built environment is truly beautiful with many gorgeous neighborhoods to wander through, whereas New York has some spectacular buildings but fails in most places to come together as a beautiful place. I suspect some of that is due to New York ceding so much of its space to traffic, as on the avenues. And then there are differing cultural priorities–food is held to a much higher standard, the French have a much more balanced sense of work and leisure, mass transit is efficient and clean–all of that helps create, in my opinion, a civilized urban experience with a high quality of life.

  • Urbanis, I am with Alon here.

    Every city has a tourist center, which includes the major museums, the big parks, some restaurants of repute, and the opportunity to purchase the appropriate kitchy souvenir. Paris has a big tourist center, which encompasses most of the center of the city. But the average person living there doesn’t stroll up and down the Champs-Elysées every evening.

    It’s just my opinion, but New York has a particularly pleasant distribution of parks, vistas, and destinations spread out around the city. Not everything is in the tourist center; think of the Unisphere!

  • Urbanis: yes, Parisian mass transit is efficient – for a start, New York doesn’t have anything like the RER. But it’s not clean or pleasant. The trains are mostly not air-conditioned, for one. And nobody who’s transferred to the Métro at Chatelet-Les Halles or waited for an intercity train at Gare de Lyon will ever complain about Times Square or Penn Station.

    But away from the tourist neighborhoods, above ground, Paris feels like New York, except with dirtier streets. Jussieu comes off like SoHo plus an ugly modernist project (the university); the Opera comes off as a nicer version of Lincoln Center; the area in the east of the city near Vincennes could easily be the parts of Morningside Heights away from the Columbia campus.