Today’s Headlines

  • Jay Walder Discusses the MTA Budget With Ben Kabak
  • Richard Florida: Build Bike Lanes to Attract Creative Class (News)
  • Speeder Kills Upper West Side Nurse In Hit-And-Run, May Face Manslaughter Charges (News 12)
  • One Block From Nov. 16 Fatal Crash, Hit-And-Run Leaves Pedestrian in Critical Condition (News)
  • McGuinness Blvd. Hit-And-Run Victim‘s Mother Fights City For Safety Fixes, Information (Bklyn Paper)
  • Meet the Bike Commuters of City Hall (City Room)
  • Roosevelt Island Tram Reopens Tomorrow (News)
  • Silver-Sponsored Battery Park City Pedestrian Bridge Gets $20M in Funding (Downtown Express)
  • New Round of PlaNYC Public Forums Begins (Post)
  • Budget Sweeps Threaten New York’s Cap-And-Trade System, Too (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Much as it is nice to see positive feedback from a scholar like Richard Florida, I think his arguments play right into the hands of the bike lane opposition. The opposition complains that bike lanes are elitist, and that they ignore the concerns of regular working class people who drive cars.

    This opposition, as we know from many articles on Streetsblog, is incorrect. Lots of those drivers are upper class suburban residents who choose not to take commuter rail. Many bike lane riders are poor and working class, and use the bike lanes as a safe alternative to having an expensive car. And the percentage of households without cars in NYC — and inner ring suburbs like Yonkers — is enormous.

  • Hmm. Maybe if we really want police and DAs to press charges against killer drivers, we should be encouraging drivers to flee the scene when they hit someone. Seems like only then that police and DAs give a shit.

  • Larry Littlefield

    One might say that the use of the extra Social Security payroll tax dollars to pay for other things over the past 27 years since the 1983 deal to “Save Social Security” was the biggest sweep of all.

    I don’t recall anyone saying that the regressive payroll tax was being increased (and benefits for younger generations cut) to offset income tax cuts and pay for more health care spending on older generations of seniors. But as we face the same deal recurring, with higher taxes and more benefit cuts to “Save Social Security,” that is what happened in reality.

    Transportation is just one example of the same values in action.

    People want mass transit, so the payroll tax is to “save the MTA” and three bond issues are to “build the Second Avenue Subway.” People want Social Security, so they agreed to a regressive payroll tax increase to ensure it would be there when they retire. Then they stop paying attention and…

  • D Wanstedt

    Did bike lane haters pay Richard Florida to write that piece in the Daily News? It’s a slow pitch down the middle for the haters: “New York has to build bike lanes so the precious artists and hipsters have a better ride to the cafe after their hard day writing blog posts about graffiti.”

  • Suzanne

    Also about the Florida piece:

    “Part of it is the ham-handedness of the Bloomberg administration’s well-intentioned approach. The administration should have done more community outreach before it started building new lanes…”

    WTFBBQ??! No outreach?? Not only was there massive outreach, many if not most of these projects were initiated at the *request* of the communities!

    And then there was that hoary chestnut about “bikers should respect others if they want others (ie. drivers) to respect them” with nothing about how the dangerous conditions contribute to this kind of lawlessness. How about suggesting that we need bike lanes because they would create the kind of conditions that encourage safe cycling?

    It certainly does make one think he was on the AAA’s payroll…

  • Shemp

    Who the hell is Richard Florida? Has he even been here? Very Canadian to assume if there’s conflict it must be a process failure. How many new bikes lanes do they have in Toronto?

  • You can go to Wikipedia to look for his name or “Creative Class”. Or you can check out some of the critiques, like this one:

    http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_ruse_of_the_creative_class

  • Barb

    Don’t blame Canada for Richard Florida, he’s from Newark, NJ.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Who the hell is Richard Florida?”

    The opposite of Joel Kotkin.

    Florida argues those who live in cities are the special people, and cities are on the way up.

    Kotkin argues that those who live in suburbs are the special people, and older cities are doomed.

    They argue, and get quoted.

  • Larry wins the thread.

  • Joe R.

    Richard Florida ignores one big reason why NYC is behind many other cities as far as bicycle commuting goes, namely that it’s much larger, and you have to cross bridges to reach the CBD in Manhattan. Even as an avid ( recreational ) cyclist, I just couldn’t see myself commuting by bike from Flushing to Manhattan, assuming of course I worked in Manhattan like many outer borough residents do. The round trip of perhaps 25 miles on potholed, heavily-trafficked roads would just be too much to endure every day in terms of both time and energy. The only thing I can see which might make a commute like this practical would be if I could take elevated bike lanes for 95% of the journey. 12 miles under such conditions would probably take me around 40 minutes, even potentially under 30 minutes on a velomobile. It would take at least an hour on regular streets. Moreover, it would be a lot more pleasant on non-stop elevated cycle paths without the energy wasted constantly changing speeds due to traffic, road conditions, etc.

    In my opinion, we’ll know NYC has arrived as a bike commuting city when someone in the far flung reaches of the outer boroughs seriously considers cycling as their means to get to work or school. Without massive infrastructure investment, that’s just not going to happen. Incidentally, such investment would cater also to those who commute within the outer boroughs. This is potentially the market where we can replace the most auto drivers with cyclists. It’s great the city is doing what it can to promote cycling within Manhattan. However, this is mostly taking trips away from mass transit or walking. We can do so much more, but for that to happen we need to break with convention.

    In my opinion, the second human-powered transport revolution will be mass adoption of both grade-separated cycling infrastructure, and also MUCH more aerodynamic machines which use this infrastructure to its maximum advantage. One day when society can no longer afford mechanized transport to the extent we do today, it will be considered normal to make 50 mile trips at average speeds of 40 mph under human power alone. The potential exists. We already have the machines. Now we just need to mass produce them, and also build appropriate infrastructure for them.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Even as an avid ( recreational ) cyclist, I just couldn’t see myself commuting by bike from Flushing to Manhattan, assuming of course I worked in Manhattan like many outer borough residents do.”

    Do you walk to the subway?

    In addition to serving those who work locally, bicycles have the potential to allow those living beyond walking distance to access the subway, commuter rail or ferries without a second wait for a bus.

  • Suzanne

    If there even is a bus.

    … Or a train, for that matter. But I forget, bike infrastructure is for wealthy, creative types.

  • MinNY

    Actually, Flushing to Manhattan isn’t too bad by bike. It’s 10 miles, and you have bike lanes nearly the entire route…they end in Manhattan. It’s those “potholed, heavily trafficked roads” like Second Avenue you have to worry about.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=flushing&daddr=6th+Ave%2FAvenue+of+the+Americas&geocode=FXAJbgIdhGWZ-yk_Y8BNBWDCiTEeKHS00STs-g%3BFY7obQIdzB6X-w&hl=en&mra=ltm&dirflg=b&sll=40.78065,-73.89965&sspn=0.207715,0.401001&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=13&lci=bike

  • Joe R.

    “Do you walk to the subway?

    In addition to serving those who work locally, bicycles have the potential to allow those living beyond walking distance to access the subway, commuter rail or ferries without a second wait for a bus.”

    There’s a bus to the subway. The bus stop is two blocks away ( Q64 ), the ride is about 15 minutes. During rush hours the wait is short or non-existent. In short, there would be nothing gained taking a bike to the subway. There wouldn’t be any safe place to park the bike near the subway anyhow. The whole bus-subway trip into midtown usually takes around 40 minutes with typical waiting times. I’d be hard-pressed to do that even with grade-separated bike lanes, never mind in normal traffic. Sure, cycling can indeed serve the market you mentioned in some cases, but the key is you need a safe place to put your bike at the subway station ( either that or expand bike share to the outer boroughs ).

    I really can’t agree much with that route google maps shows. I wouldn’t be originating in downtown Flushing for starters. Besides, Google maps seems to give out of the way routes with a gazillion confusing turns that I would never personally use for bike travel. I’m near Jewel Avenue and 164th Street. To go to Manhattan by bike, I would likely take Jewel Avenue to Queens Boulevard, then stay on Queens Boulevard until it hit the Queensboro Bridge. In fact, I almost always stick to main arterials ( Union Turnpike, LIE service road, Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Avenue/Jericho Turnpike, Queens Boulevard, Northern Boulevard, etc. ) even for my recreational riding. They’re usually smoother, and always faster, than the side streets google maps picks. But my point is that regardless of route, I’ll be hitting a lot more traffic during rush hours than I would care to deal with.

    Anyway, this is all academic. I’ve worked at home for years, don’t plan to ever have a commuting job again. I’m just thinking of a theoretical person living where I do, going into Manhattan every day. Bike commuting may be possible, but the bus-subway combo is faster/easier. When it becomes a toss-up, then we’ll know NYC has arrived as a bike commuting city. I really hope it happens in my lifetime.

  • Joe R.

    One thing I forgot to add to my previous post is that I could potentially see myself bike commuting into Manhattan if I had a night job. Under those conditions, I would easily beat public transit, especially when one considers the longer off-hour wait times. The Q64 bus for example only runs every 30 minutes after midnight. In fact, off-hours is one area where we could potentially greatly expand bike commuting even now.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “There’s a bus to the subway. The bus stop is two blocks away ( Q64 ), the ride is about 15 minutes. During rush hours the wait is short or non-existent. In short, there would be nothing gained taking a bike to the subway. There wouldn’t be any safe place to park the bike near the subway anyhow.”

    It’s hard to beat working at home, but bus service is not nearly that frequent or reliable for most people, and it’s being cut. And a bus ride doesn’t provide exercise, and isn’t as fun.

    NYC could use bike storage facilities at key rail terminals like they have in other countries.

  • Joe R.

    “NYC could use bike storage facilities at key rail terminals like they have in other countries.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, back when I used to work in Long Island City in the late 1980s, I wanted to take the bike to the subway to avoid the double fare which was in existence at the time. What kept me from doing so was exactly the lack of secure storage facilities at the subway station ( i.e. an enclosed bike locker ). I might even have been willing to pay a small monthly fee ( say $10 a month ) as it still would have saved money over paying double car fare.

    I’ll go so far as to say that one of the major things preventing larger adoption of cycling is the lack of bike parking. I would love to use my bike to run errands to stores too far to walk. But there’s no way I’m chaining it outside where it’ll be gone in 10 minutes. It would be nice if stores had indoor bike racks by the security guard where I could put my bike knowing it’ll still be there, without parts stolen off it, when I return. Hint to stores-some potential customers may wish to come by bike. How much does it cost to put up a small indoor rack capable of holding a few bicycles?

  • Rod King, the founder of a British slow-driving advocacy organization called 20’s Plenty for Us, took a walk on the Lower East Side not long ago, carrying a radar speed gun warily in one hand, and wearing a blue button-down shirt that had a twenty-miles-per-hour speed-limit sign stitched onto its front.

    http://www.newyorker.com/talk/2010/12/06/101206ta_talk_parker