Today’s Headlines

  • Sales of New Single-Family Homes Drop to an All-Time Low (Observer)
  • Vornado’s Promises to Improve Penn Station Help Win Approval for Midtown Tower (NYT)
  • Rejoice: Seatless Subways Are Off the Table (News)
  • Brooklyn Paper Comes to the Defense of Ghost Bikes
  • Post Gets Excited About Brooklyn Resident’s BQE Tunnel Proposal
  • Scooter Riders Seem to Think It’s Reasonable to Motor in the Bike Lane (Transpo Nation)
  • Council Looks to Ban Big Rigs From Parking on Residential Streets (CBS2)
  • LIRR Riders Still Feeling Aftershock of Equipment Failure (News)
  • Beijing Is Building a Great Wall of Cars (The Hindu via @tomvanderbilt)
  • Everything That’s Wrong With NY State Transpo and Planning Policy in 143 Words (Rochester NBC)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • TKO

    Not only does the scooter rider find it ok to ride in the bike lane, his explanation makes no sense on top of it! He has plenty of road to ride why not use it instead of the bike lane.

    Had it happen to me at a traffic light the other day. Scooter rider went right up to the front of the light through the bike lane, then proceeded into the crosswalk to wait for the light to change in front of me.

    Such fun.

  • kaja

    That scooter driver was a total jackass, and yes, that’s a logical fallacy. Surely you’ve noticed by now that most humans don’t cleve to such strictures.

    I have considered getting a motorbike, though.

    Some jackass on a bike this morning drafted me down the Manhattan Bridge, then attacked while I was moving left to pass, and yelled at /me/ “whoa, buddy, stay on your side!” — that he was doing the same thing I was, except unsafely, seemed not to occur to him. (He proceeded to pass a long column of cyclists, cutting really close to a pedestrian [who shouldn’t have been there] with four tiny children.)

    The problem is idiots and jackasses, and they come on all forms of transportation; cars, scooters, bikes, and feet.

  • The Vornado building near Penn Station will be a blight on the skyline. It reminds me of the ugly, boxy condos near Madison Square Park that make the skyline there much uglier than it was when Metropolitan Life stood out above the older buildings. I don’t know why they can’t build buildings as attractive as those of the early twentieth century, instead of building faceless boxes.

    The saddest part of the Times article is this quote:

    Christine C. Quinn, the Council speaker, said the project was about jobs and signaled that “New York City is moving forward and moving out of this recession.”

    Anything for economic growth, no matter how ugly. This will blight the skyline permanently, but we will build it because of a recession that is lasting a few years. And in reality, construction will not even begin until the recession is over, as the article says:

    Despite the vote Wednesday, construction of the new tower is unlikely to start for at least several years. Vornado has said it will not go forward with the $3 billion tower without a major corporate tenant.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I can’t comment on the aesthetics, but I can say that density at the transit hub is what makes New York New York.

    Charles, I think you have an issue with the 1961 zoning resolution. It downzoned large parts of the city, but provided developers with a 40 percent (of the lot) tower option in the CBD at unlimited height, compared with the required setbacks of the prior zoning. The goal was to allow large floorplates for open floor offices.

    It appears that for $100 million, this developer got more than 40 percent of the lot.

  • Pete

    Disclaimer: I am a member of the NYMSTF (the organization Jesse Erlbaum is part of in that scooter video).

    I won’t defend that scooter driver (yes, he was a jackass, and he makes my life harder), but I will make the point that it’s just as important for motorcyclists and scooter riders to filter up to the front at a red light as it is for bicyclists – simply put, the visibility that comes from being up in front is just as important for scooters as it is for bicyclists. Note that the rider fears/complaints were the same as they are for bicyclists (dooring, cabbies, SUV’s, jaywalkers).

    “Filtering” (as it’s called) isn’t just legal in most parts of the world, it’s required by law. An Irish rider recently informed me that when taking your motorcycle road test in Ireland, if you don’t work your way up to the front at a red light, you fail your road test.

    And if you hate lock-gluing vandals and bemoan the hassle of bike parking in NYC, realize you have it easy compared to scooters & motorcyclists. Everyone I know (myself included) has had their bike or scoot knocked over by a careless driver, generally to the tune of thousands of dollars in damage. We’ve been working with a number of community boards in the city to create dedicated parking as a way to further enable daylighting at corners, but at reduced cost to the DOT (painting lines is much cheaper than extending curbs).

  • @Pete
    “Filtering” may be legal in some parts of the world that’s not the case in New York State. You certainly wouldn’t drive on the left simply because that’s legal in some parts of the world. It’s this kind of riding that makes some of us wonder how many scooter and motorcycle riders actually hold valid NYS motorcycle licenses.

    Oh and Mr. Erlbaum is mistaken about Stonewall Place being the first dedicated motorcycle parking space. It may be the first curbside space but there’s been a fairly large dedicated Motocycle Parking space under the FDR, near Pier 11, for years. Previously there was also dedicated motorcycle parking in Madison Square, under the Grand Central Viaduct, and in the triangle formed by Thompson, Broome and Watts Streets.

  • Pete

    Stacy –

    The dedicated motorcycle space under the FDR was closed over a year ago. At this time, the spot in the West Village is the only dedicated motorcycle parking in NYC.

    As for filtering, this is true, and it’s one of the laws that need to be changed. I would say that most bicyclists on this forum would say the same thing about Idaho stops.

  • Everything has been closed under the FDR for over a year including the East River Bikeway. But my point wasn’t about the availability of dedicated motorcycle parking. My point was simply that Stonewall Place isn’t the first first. Obviously if motorcycle and scooter riders want more dedicated parking they need to continue to lobby DOT.

    As a former NYC motorcycle messenger I have to admit motorcycle and scooter riders really have to worst of both worlds. They require a special license in New York State and insurance. They’re subject to most of the same laws and parking regulations as are cars yet they get little more respect from drivers than cyclists. Even so, motorcycles, scooters, and other gas powered vehicles with two-digit horsepower ratings have no business in the bike lane.

  • Larry: I may have an issue with the 1961 zoning ordinance, but I have a much bigger issue with modernist architecture and the ideology that it symbolizes. I even wrote little book criticizing modernism, which you can find at http://www.preservenet.com/archtime/ArchTime.html

    Incidentally, this building will demolish the Hotel Pennsylvania, subject of the song PEnnsylvania 6-5000 by Glenn Miller. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PEnnsylvania_6-5000 and listen to the song at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGYKCjUoZIA

    The song is not as famous as Take the A Train, but still part of NY history.

  • Building tall buildings in Midtown is part of New York’s history, too.

  • Building great buildings is part of NY’s history, and building ugly buildings is part of NY’s history. This building is an example of the latter. Have you seen the pictures? It is just a glass box.

  • Yes, I have. It’s actually prettier than World Trade Center.

  • I agree that it is prettier than the World Trade Center was.

    Note that the WTC was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis – which became famous when the federal government demolished it in 1972 because it conditions in it were so bad. It was the first of many modernist housing projects to be demolished.

    Some people have never learned about the failures of modernism – neither the social failures nor the esthetic failures.

  • That the proposed building is prettier than the WTC was isn’t saying much.

    I’m starting to feel that there should be a requirement that a new building in NYC can only replace an older building if it both (1) maintains or improves the current utility of the space, and (2) is as or more beautiful than the building it is replacing.

    A building like the Chrysler makes my heart sing when I see it. This design? Meh. A world-class city deserves no less than world-class architecture. A rural environment can rely on the beauty of natural surroundings but a city requires beauty to reside in its buildings and streetscapes. And a beautiful built environment is an important, indeed essential, factor in creating a high quality of life for urban residents.

  • Urbanis, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?