Today’s Headlines

  • The State Senate Is One Seat Away From Flipping to the GOP (Crain’s)
  • Jay Walder on the 2nd Ave Subway and Maintaining the MTA’s System (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Video: Dov Hikind Rages Against Pedestrian Safety in Borough Park (Gothamist)
  • More Hysteria About Ped Refuges From Marcia Kramer and the Post
  • DA Vance Is Looking For Witnesses to Fatal West Side Hit-and-Run (News, DNAInfo)
  • Witness Testimony Begins in Trial of DWI Driver Who Killed Pregnant Woman in Midtown (DNAInfo)
  • Walder Promises to Minimize Impact of Subway Construction on 2nd Ave Businesses (NY1)
  • NIMBYs Demand Justification For 2nd Ave Subway Entrance in Front of Their Building (Post)
  • New Research From Australia: Drivers, Not Cyclists, Cause Most Risk for Cyclists (Bike Radar)
  • Sensationalism 101: Compare News Coverage of Street Sign Story to NY1

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • The Fort Hamilton Parkway story is insane.

    First off, I make the obligatory mention of how the ambulances could get through much more easily if there were no private cars tying up traffic.

    Second, neither EMTs or paramedics are qualified to pronounce someone dead. If an “ambulance technician” said that someone died in the ambulance, he or she wasn’t doing their job: start CPR and continue until reaching the hospital.

  • Lancerman

    The City Council is adding more roadblocks to improvements and traffic calming:

    http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/12/happy_medians_maybe_not_but_at.html

  • To put it bluntly, until there’s some death certificate and explanation procured, I’m going to say that Dov Hikind is full of sh*t. The comments on that SI Live article are just as bad.

  • Shemp
  • Larry Littlefield

    I guess one comment on the street sign issue is that an equal increase in the ability to read the signs could be accomplished by a reduction in the speed limit.

  • Casual Observer

    Marcia Kramer’s HYSTERIA?? Are you serious?

    Quote:
    Driver: “He (the EMT professional) couldn’t save the patient.

    Kramer: “Do you think those three or four minutes could have made a difference?”

    Driver: “Ah, I believe so”

    Would your response be “hysterical” and flippant if it were your loved one who died?

  • The Australian study found motorists at fault 87% of the time, but instead of recommending motorist education, they recommend cyclist education? Great, let’s call the safety campaign “Look out for dangerous illegal motorists or you’ll be sorry!”

  • Joe R.

    The story about pedestrian islands and amubulances has to use the dumbest logic I’ve ever read. First off, it there weren’t so many private cars, many of which are likely being used where other modes would work as well, tying up traffic then the ambulance wouldn’t have been delayed. Second, if you’re in such poor shape that seconds or minutes make the difference between life or death, chances are good you’re days or weeks away from death anyway even if they “save” you by rushing you to the hospital in time. Besides, how is an ambulance driver qualified to judge whether or not a patient may have lived had he gotten to the hospital sooner? Even MDs often can’t answer that question. So many variables with the human body, it’s impossible to know whether doing this or that in time would have had any meaningful results.

  • J. Mork

    CO — The idea that something besides other motor vehicles are slowing ambulances down is hysteria, yes.

  • Casual Observer

    Joe R. callously writes:
    “if you’re in such poor shape that seconds or minutes make the difference between life or death, chances are good you’re days or weeks away from death anyway even if they “save” you by rushing you to the hospital in time. Besides, how is an ambulance driver qualified to judge whether or not a patient may have lived had he gotten to the hospital sooner?”

    -Joe, Are you a medical professional qualified to make such blatantly arrogant statements?
    -Have you ever had anyone in your family near death only to recover completely?
    -Have you never heard of anyone in an accident or shot and near death, but rushed to hospital and recovered to lead a productive life for decades?
    -Are you aware that EMT drivers are licensed paramedics and have saved thousands – thousands – of lives?
    – Finally, why are you so flippant and callous about saving a sick person’s life?

  • Joe R.

    @Casual Observer,

    No, I haven’t heard of any cases where getting to a hospital a few minutes earlier would have made the difference between leading decades of productive life versus dying, and that’s all we’re talking about here-a few minutes delay at most, not hours. There’s even a study to back me up on this:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2253638/

    When you factor in the number of people killed by speeding emergency vehicles, I seriously think there might be a net loss of lives, not a net gain. Also, one needs to consider what led that patient in the speeding ambulance to require being rushed to the hospital in the first place. Were they an innocent victim of an accident, or a bystander hit by a stray bullet? If so, then by all means take all measures to save them. On the other hand, if they somehow caused their own condition by poor lifestyle choices, then why should others be put at risk by a speeding ambulance just so they can possibly be saved. I know in most cases emergency responders are unaware of the reasons the patient needs help. Even if they were, it’s not up to them to make a value judgement. I’m just throwing this out as something to think about. Sure, I absolutely feel for that heart attack victim being rushed to a hospital. By the same token, if he/she put themselves in this position by years of abusing their body, I seriously question why healthy, productive bystanders should risk being run down by the ambulance they’re in. And yes, my father was exactly in this position. He had a heart attack bought on by a poor lifestyle. He waited over a day before deciding to call an ambulance. At that point it wouldn’t have mattered if they had gotten him to the hospital in 2 seconds or 2 days. He was beyond medical help. I wonder how many people being rushed to hospitals made a similar decision to delay seeking medical help by hours or even days? And in this context we should worry about taking 2 minutes longer to get them to the hospital?

    Also, I’m not flippant about saving a sick person’s life, especially when that person can lead decades of productive life afterwards. What I’m flippant of is some idiot politician trying to gain brownie points by making uninformed comments. Even if hypothetically one or two patients a year die because of supposed delays caused by these pedestrian islands, I tend to think more lives than that might be saved by these islands. Every single day I read about yet another person hit by a motor vehicle. Every single day nationally over 100 die as a result of motor vehicle accidents. Why we just quietly accept this carnage is beyond me. If the cause were anything else, you would have politicians all over it. Why the free pass for motor vehicles?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Interesting survey.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ontheblock/detail?entry_id=78107

    Americans were asked other than the place they live now, what city would they most like to live in and least like to live in? New York ranked number one on both lists.

    I can’t help but think that those who don’t like transit, drive everywhere, don’t like bicycle riders and bicycle infrastructure and object to pedestrian projects would, if they didn’t happen to live here, rank New York as the place they would least like to live. If I wanted to organize my life around automobile travel, I would certainly choose to live elsewhere if I could.

  • Hey, while we’re talking about pedestrian islands, let’s get rid of all of ’em. Let’s start with Park Avenue in Manhattan. I bet the trees in that center median could fall and kill someone. Or a car might have hit the raised median and killed a driver.

    And think of all the space that would be opened up for more cars. We could even make the center island an emergency lane!

  • Casual Observer

    Joe, if you honestly believe that minutes, even seconds, don’t count in emergency situations, then you have a lot to learn.

    Frankly, I don’t have the time to educate you. But don’t fret. Life will.

  • Joe R.

    @Casual Observer,

    A lot of what is being discussed here was already discussed:

    http://www.streetsblog.org/2010/11/05/marcia-kramer-exposes-the-threat-of-pedestrian-refuges/

    Look at comment #17:

    “And as a physician, I can tell you that there are very few medical emergencies where a minute or two makes a difference. It certainly DOES make a difference if the ambulance violates traffic laws and were to crash into pedestrians or other cars.”

    Here we have what I said earlier coming from a doctor. Even allowing that seconds or minutes count in emergencies despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, if you have to place other people’s lives at risk to save those seconds, as emergency vehicles frequently do, what are you gaining? Kill one person, usually healthy and productive, to save another who might be beyond saving anyway?

    What is really happening here is politicians are getting desperate. They’re coming out with any excuse at all to avoid implementing any measures which benefit pedestrians or cyclists at the expense of motorists. Blocking emergency vehicles is just the latest one. Let’s play to public sympathies that maybe your loved one won’t get to the hospital in time because of those evil pedestrian islands. In truth, I think the only “emergency vehicle” which Dov Hikind doesn’t want blocked is the one he travels around in. Anyone really concerned about keeping roads clear for emergency vehicles would seek measures which actively penalize private car ownership and use, including limiting on-street parking and also the times during which personal vehicles can be used.

  • Marcia Kramer’s Eyebrow

    Thank goodness we have Marcia Kramer (who is an expert in transportation) on the beat.