Today’s Headlines

  • PPW Reports: The News Celebrates Safety Gains, Post Boosts Data-Doubting Opponents
  • Brooklyn Spoke and Tom Vanderbilt Slap Down NBBL Illogic
  • Cuomo Open To Replacing “Onerous” Payroll Tax, Hasn’t Met With Walder Yet (Post)
  • Russianoff and White: Cuomo Must Stop Raiding Dedicated Transit Funds (News)
  • E-Z-Pass Lanes on Henry Hudson Go Gate-Free, First Step to End of Tollbooths (Post)
  • Marty Golden to Rep State Senate on Powerful MTA Capital Program Review Board (NewsLI)
  • MetroNorth Wants 500 More Parking Spaces, Not TOD, at White Plains Station (LoHud)
  • Post Continues Its Attack With Letters Blasting Sadik-Khan for Snow Response, Defending Ray Kelly
  • Two Drivers Hit, Kill Cyclist Riding on the BQE (Bklyn Paper)
  • Upper Manhattan Added to Mayor’s Street Hail Livery Cab Plan (DNAinfo)
  • Rodriguez Bill on Alternate Side Parking Has 33 Co-Sponsors and Backing From Two BPs (Queens Chron)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Khon

    What in the world was a cyclist doing on the BQE?

  • Larry Littlefield

    1) Listening to Steisel’s questions, I couldn’t help but think his goal was some kind of EIS lawsuit. Real before and after data do not suit his purposes as much as data free projections based on “reasonable worst case.”

    2) In any event, DOT’s data was flawed in that it counted each person as being worth the same as every other person. An adjustment needs to be made for it. And not everyone counts as “people.”

    3) It is not unexpected that those with long careers in NYC government to believe that someone cut a deal and made up the numbers afterward. After all, that’s the way things were done when they were in charge. (I know because I worked for the city at the time).

    4) It appears that the opponents have come up with something absolutely critical DOT failed to consider and diclose. While the total number of parking spaces is either about the same or greater thanks to the elimination of bus service (a win for them), the number of “No Parking” spaces reserved for those with various kinds placards may have fallen by two or three. DOT’s response, that those with placards are allowed park at any space, merely confirms their ignorance on point two above.

    As for the New York Post…

    In 2008 Mayor Bloomberg, the UFT and the state legislature cut a deal to allow NYC teachers, who already had a better retirement deal than most, to retire years earlier, with those with seniority not kicking in another dime (but future-hired teachers having their take home pay cut by 5 percent — so far — for their entire careers and retiring later). You many not recall that deal, because it was not announced and barely even disclosed. As a result $billions have been permanently, irrevocably shifted from teachers in the classroom to ex-teachers in Florida. The schools will be devastated just as they were devastated in the 1970s by the same pension deal, then cut by Lindsay.

    But there was another part of that deal that was shouted from the hilltops as a triumph for education reform. Bloomberg made it the centerpiece of his national push on education in an election year. Then union-head Randi Weingarten said it was so wonderful that the whole deal was a “win for children.” In exchange for that financially devastating retroactive pension enhancement, the UFT agreed to allow the Department of Education to pay bonuses to teachers in improving schools. That was the huge deal, not the pension enhancement (that somehow cuts in pay and benefit for and layoffs of future teachers have nothing to do with).

    Well, the Times, News and Post are reporting that bonus program — what New York City children got in exchange for the re-destruction of the school system — has been shelved. The Post article is attached. Note the detailed discussion of its link to the 2008 pension deal, and the effect of that deal overall.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/school_bonus_plan_bomb_h8icWvBZU6dwtPSvFt2rIO

    It’s not there. In any of them. And it isn’t because they “forgot.”

  • Doug

    Disclaimer: I don’t know anything about the configuration of the BQE there, so the next remark may not make sense in the context.

    Having accidentally gotten on highways twice now (once riding up a ramp and walking back down, once riding all the way up a ramp and then going straight on to the offramp), I wouldn’t be surprised if he started going up the ramp and by the time he realize he was on the highway it was too late to turn around. He then figured at 4 am he could just ride to the next exit without a problem.

    This begs the question: how unsafe is the road that cars can’t avoid an (essentially) stopped obstacle such as a road crew, a disabled vehicle, or a bicycle.

    As a side note, every time it snows now (like this morning, in Boston), I realize just how much discretionary driving there is: traffic volume is down 90%, mass transit use skyrockets.

  • JK

    “I think it’s clear that the bike lane should be a permanent part of Prospect Park West,” Councilman Brad Lander (D-Park Slope)

    Hope to see a whole post on this today. Councilman Lander is going up against Markowitz and probably Chuck Schumer on this. His support for the PPW lane should be encouraged. His rational and innovative approach — actually surveying PPW area residents and Brooklynites, and looking at crash data — is a refreshing change from the from the gut, reveling in ignorance, approach of many NYC electeds.

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/brooklyn/2011/01/21/2011-01-21_city_touts_prospect_park_bike_lane_stats.html#ixzz1BgHRYFhF

  • So what we have is a couple dozen vehemently anti-biking, anti-bicyclist, anti-bike lane incredibly selfish NIMBY millionaires who are willing to do just about anything to undo a project that has made Prospect Park West safer, slowed down speeders, encouraged more cycling (especially among young children) and been embraced by the vast majority of the neighborhood.

    They should be ashamed.

  • molly

    A cyclist is killed on the BQE and The Brooklyn Paper needs to point out that “local commuters were incovenienced…”? Sickening.

  • Big thanks to everyone who heeded the call and came to the Old Reformed Church for the DOT presentation last night. Supporters were the clear majority last night and represented a great cross-section of the community. It’s inspiring to be among so many people so dedicated to making their neighborhood safer for everyone.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Supporters were the clear majority last night and represented a great cross-section of the community.”

    They didn’t post a majority of the questions, however. I had my hand up practically the whole time but was not called on, keeping my perfect record in place.

    But that’s OK, because my question was about clearing snow from the bike lane, and as of this morning it had been cleared.

  • Moocow

    I cant believe I was in the same room as Larry, and failed to identify him!
    I don’t remember the split on the questions, but felt the DOT presentation was so strong, the NIMBYs didn’t ask much that wasn’t previously and obviously covered.
    That woman who is NBBL, Reminds me of a sibling who loses an argument, then rebutts with “You’re a liar”. She was disputing professional traffic count surveyors, vs a video camera in someone’s apt. (which was in a different location than the DOT count) I don’t question that surveyors could never be wrong (but doubt it), let me see yours tapes NBBL. 12 hours? On what, actual tape or was it laid down on a card? And who watched 12 hours of footage, even fast forwarding at a speed where you could see a cyclist passing? Somehow I don’t think it was these NIMBYs sitting with popcorn and a notepad…

  • Bill from Brooklyn

    As I sat in the church last night and listened first to the presentation and then to the questions (unfortunately, I was in the row in front of the obnoxious gentleman who was demanding raw data), I truly tried to figure what are the real underlying reasons that people are opposed to this bike lane. Do they really believe the bike lane will reduce property values? Is there a material difference in parking? Do they truly perceive the driving experience on PPW to have denigrated? Are some people that scared of cyclist in the lanes? etc. etc.

    The PPW bike lane on so many levels is such a clear cut win, I wish there was a way to have the various opponents honestly and in good faith articulate what underlies their opposition. Virtually none of it makes sense to me. The only objection that I accept is being made in good faith by some people is that from their perspective they do not like the new aesthetic of PPW – that it is not as grand looking or something to that effect. I may disagree with that and think that the overall gain is worth the perceived diminution in the aesthetic, but I can at least believe that some people honestly believe that objection. Other than that, I have a hard time understanding the underlying objections to this project, beyond the often knee-jerk opposition to bike lanes as trivial and unimportant compared to the “real” world of cars.

  • Bill (no 10), I disagree about the esthetic objections; that’s hogwash. The only objection that makes sense is that there are fewer parking spaces now. That’s something that has a measurable impact on the people who use it.

    Of course, the safety improvements make up for the lack of parking in my opinion. As for why folks feel that the city should be committed to providing an entitlement to already quite entitled people, Larry has continued to provide very good answers to that question.

    By the way, when are we going to hear some positive words from Marty about how the loading zones at Ninth Street make it easier for his constituents to drive to the park and barbeque?

  • I think comment #2 is Larry’s best comment ever. And I think it answers Bill’s questions.

  • Bill from Brooklyn

    Jonathan, in the long run with the change in the bus route, how many spots were actually lost, if any? Is it a sufficient number to be actually perceived. And yes the hubris of the entitled who may have placards would in their eyes constitute a real objection to the small number of No Parking spots lost. But the opposition is somewhat larger than that small (though powerful) group and I am still struggling with the true underlying objection (there may in fact not be any). However, I do believe that some people truly believe that PPW doesn’t look as grand and beautiful and that is there real objection – I disagree, but a few of them at least have convinced themselves that they believe it.

    So what are the odds on when they will file a lawsuit?

    Being naive for a minute, it still amazes me how many people still can’t comprehend that bikes can be used for other than recreational purposes.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I think comment #2 is Larry’s best comment ever.”

    It isn’t an original stroke of genius. The New York State school aid formula counted New York City children as less than a full child each for many years, in order to reduce the city’s share of state school aid.

    And of course under the constitution, slaves were counted as less than one person in the census.

    I think they’ve learned from that experience, and most of us count as one.

    Members of the executive class and the political class count as more than one. For he executive class, I believe it is weighted by campaign contributions. For the political class I wasn’t sure, but I believe a 50 to 1 ratio was asserted recently.

  • Does the BQE have signs stating that no cycles are allowed?

  • Re: BQE, check out p. 28 of Donald Westlake’s The Road to Ruin. Here is a link.

  • Net-zero mobility is an accelerating moving target

    The PiCycle: Electric Bike w/Smartphone Sync Up http://bit.ly/eAYYkT #eco #green # http://picycle.com/

  • Driver

    Does the BQE have signs stating that no cycles are allowed?

    No. Common sense should tell you that they are not allowed.

  • Driver, common sense and the law are very different. If bicycles are allowed, than I dont understand why everyone is blaming the victim.

  • Driver

    Jass, bikes are not allowed on expressways or parkways.
    4-12

    (o) Use of roadways.

    (1) Pedestrians, horses, bicycles and limited use vehicles prohibited. In

    order to provide for the maximum safe use of the expressways, drives, highways,

    interstate routes, bridges and thruways set forth in §4-07 subdivision (i) of these

    rules and to preserve life and limb thereon, the use of such highways by

    pedestrians, riders of horses and operators of limited use vehicles and bicycles is

    prohibited, unless signs permit such use.
    There are not signs saying bikes aren’t allowed, it is generally understood.
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/trafrule.pdf

  • Joe R.

    Regarding the cyclist on the BQE, some roads aren’t clearly marked that they’re merging onto an expressway. The same thing actually happened to me once, many years ago. I can’t for the life of me remember the spot, but I do remember I was VERY fortunate the way things turned out. I was right behind a large van which was accelerating rather slowly. Also, the on ramp was a downhill. Between the downgrade and drafting the van, I managed to keep pace with traffic. A quick cursory glance at my speedo showed 58 mph by the time I was about 1/4 mile from the entrance ( and yes, I was accelerating for all I was worth ). I may even have picked up a few mph more by the time I exited the highway at the next exit ( about a mile after I got on ), however I was keeping my eyes on the road, not my speedometer. It was actually kind of fun while it lasted but also terrifying. I was in my top 52-12 gear at a ridiculous cadence ( maybe 180 RPM ). My primary concern was hitting a pothole, given that it would almost certainly be fatal at that speed. If the crash didn’t kill me, the cars behind me likely would. Finally, the next exit came. Once I no longer had the van to draft, my speed dropped like I was in a sand pit. The exit ramp was actually pretty dicey given that a few cars traveling MUCH faster than me passed by. Sadly, the cyclist today wasn’t so fortunate.