Today’s Headlines

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Grynbaum went to DC to gloat and is shocked that JSK is not hiding under a rock, licking her wounds. The only wound-licking I see going on is by Cassidy, in-between snarls.

  • gecko

    re: At Bike Summit, JSK Is the Big Draw (NYT, Transpo Nation)

    It seems this situation has been taking on international appeal.

    Please tweet this:

    NYC Transportation Chief Defends #BikeLanes http://nyti.ms/fDmc8j Sadik-Khan, NYC, & civilization will win! Please tweet this!

  • That Daily News pro bike editorial does NYC cyclists far more harm than good.

  • NBBL “pro bono” suit: notice that only Jim Walden’s name appears on the court papers? I guess Gibson Dunn isn’t following the customary practice of allowing junior lawyers to handle significant responsibility on the case, for training purposes. After all, they might make a mistake–and you can’t screw up with “paying” clients like Chuck Schumer, his family and friends. (Not that they’re paying in cash for this “pro bono” representation.)

    I guess the other explanation that Walden’s name only appears on the papers is that it can be demoralizing for junior lawyers to be involved in a “pro bono” case where the merits are marginal at best and the tactical nature of the suit is transparent.

  • gecko

    smoke stacked

    75 percent of NPR ‘clean energy’ panel has cashed polluter paychecks
    http://www.grist.org/article/2011-03-09-75-of-npr-clean-energy-panel-has-cashed-polluter-paychecks

    You don’t have to been on Big Oil’s payroll to be on National Public Radio’s (NPR) clean energy panel, but it sure helps!

    Kind of makes you wonder about the so-called advocacy as well.

  • Lack of fenders dissuaded me from biking today, but, number of non-emergecy vehicles I saw flagrantly running red lights during my bike commute home last night: 1.

  • dporpentine

    So at this point can we just conclude that the Fare Hike Four simply didn’t see any way to game the congestion pricing system and enrich themselves?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Trade deficit up suddenly, with imported oil a big part of the story.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-trade-gap-widens-unexpected-151-2011-03-10

    Too bad I’m paid in a currency shared with people who refuse to do anything about this.

    “The surge in imports in January obscured the fact that exports rose to record levels in January. Exports rose 2.7% to $167.7 billion in January.
    Last year, President Barack Obama set a goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015 and exports are so far exceeding this pace.”

    “But the U.S. consumer appetite for imported goods shows no signs of abating. Imports rose 5.2% to $214.1 billion in January. This is the largest increase in almost 18 years. Imports are on pace to set a new record by sometime this summer, economists said.”

    Americans are the hardest working, most creative people on the planet. But we’re still not capable of earning enough to pay for what we spend, and the resources we use.

  • I found Leah Casner’s opinion piece in the Daily News to be extremely unhelpful. She writes of going the wrong way down one-way streets, running red lights (“I’ve blithely whisked by drivers sitting at lights…”) and getting yelled at for riding on the sidewalk.

    I understand her larger points – that cyclists are damned if we do, damned if we don’t and that staying safe on streets designed for cars means having to break the rules every now and then – but I’m not sure she makes the best case, especially during this frenzied week.

    It’s one thing when Andrea Peyser pens an irrational screed against bike lanes since hopefully most reasonable people see through her garbage, but it’s another thing when a seemingly intelligent person rationalizes exactly the kind of behavior that paints all cyclists as scofflaws with no regard for the law or public good.

  • kevd

    The Economist and New Yorker pieces are great for looking at reader vs. author points of view.
    The convoluted, economically ignorant Cassidy piece has about a 100% pro-bike lane response, while the well thought out response in the Economist has about an 80% “Bikers, need to pay too!” response.

    Maybe they need to trade readerships? Or better yet, writers? Perhaps Cassidy could relocate to London in the process?

    I’ve always appreciated the Economist’s traditional Atlantacist liberal stance on issues. It is consistent, well thought out and not full of hypocrisy. Sure, they were dead wrong about Iraq, but so were all our “liberal” Senators.

  • kevd

    Wow. Moderating comments now, eh?

    Perhaps James Surowiecky *(NY economics columnist) could pen a competent analysis of bike lanes and road and traffic pricing of NY City streets in response to Cassidy. He’s like Anthony Lane to Cassidy’s David Denby. You know, the one who is actually worth reading.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “I’ve always appreciated the Economist’s traditional Atlantacist liberal stance on issues. It is consistent, well thought out and not full of hypocrisy. Sure, they were dead wrong about Iraq, but so were all our “liberal” Senators.”

    And despite this, and despite their up front, not hidden, pro free-market, anti-government bias, they grabbed a barf bag and endorsed John Kerry (without saying a single good thing about him) in 2004 on fiscal/generational equity grounds. Or should I say, unendorsed Bush.

  • kevd

    * I think I grabbed a barf bag when I endorsed John Kerry, too *

    yuk, yuk, yuk

  • david

    I agree with the other posts. Leah Casner’s arguments are really tired and the kind I hope are going out of style. To paraphrase: I do what I want on a bike because the rules are against me. I don’t buy it. This approach and the behavior that goes with it doesn’t help promote bicycling, doesn’t increase safety, and it supplies the anti-bike crowd with an armful of ammunition that’s hard to dispute.

    I don’t see bicyclists running red lights or riding the wrong way as safety visionaries or pedestrian saviors, I see them as selfish people that unfairly soil my image and jeopardize everyone’s safety. Whether at red lights or on one-way streets, there’s someone legally coming the other way, that’s counting on an open corridor.

  • kevd

    I think the editorial board of the Economist would fall pretty much in the middle of the American economic spectrum. Maybe even a bit to the left. “Pro-business” Democrats, perhaps, most likely.
    That is more an indication of how far right this country has moved than anything else.

  • Bolwerk

    Winderful news about Kruger. Only one “amigo” left standing. Diaz will need to find some Republikans to be homophobic with.

    Where is Lipsky’s blog? I would normally google it, but I am on a phone and AT&T data service has a service quality analogous to a crosstown bus.

  • Stan

    RE the NY1 piece: the DOT and Lander need to work on their case for the bike lane causing a decrease in accidents. Walden’s argument that prior initiatives caused the reduction in accident rate between 2007 and 2009, while 2010 was a slight increase was compelling. In that context, the use of a three year average seems to hide more than it reveals, and isn’t likely to impress jurors.

  • Westchesterite

    Walden on NY1 is following the playbook of the Climate Change Deniers. He is focusing on a narrow datapoint and seemingly conspiratorial emails to cast aspersions on the entire pro-bike lane case.

    The Climate Change deniers capitalized on defensive emails among scientists at the University of East Anglia, and the Climate Change cause has been playing defense ever since.

    At least the CC deniers had a motive — profit for their industries. Not sure what Steisel and Weinshall’s motive is. Is speeding on PPW really that important to them that they are staking their reputations on this? Don’t they have anything better to do?

    The big winner here is Walden, who seems like a really cynical and Machiavellian guy. Look for this guy to become a US Attorney or other bigwig in the future, and remember how he got there.

  • Bolwerk

    Thanks, Ben. On a J train now. Slow as hell, “delayed because of train traffic head of us.” After being on a bus that’s slow as hell. Kruger going is especially satisfying today.

  • Stan

    @Westchesterite – I’m very pro bike lane. But if the DOT wants to use the argument that the PPW bike lane reduced accidents, it needs a better defense against Walden’s argument.

    Saying the datapoint was too narrow can be used both ways, which again undermines the DOT’s argument.

    You are right that Walden attacking DOT points would cause a juror to doubt the entire case. This is why the DOT should not be making points that it can’t convincingly defend.

  • Bill

    @ BicyclesOnly – FYI, Gibson Dunn’s name is on the pleadings in the litigation.

  • Pete

    @Stan – Walden’s argument was about *injuries*, not accidents.

    First, choosing an average over multiple years makes statistical sense – it irons out noise from aberrations in any given period. As the DOT said in their February presentation, they only have one period to choose from post-bike lane.

    Second, as mentioned previously, of the 5 injuries in 2010, 4 came from a single accident. That’s practically the definition of statistical noise and random variation.

    Third, there have been zero pedestrian injuries recorded since the bike lane went in.

    Fourth, they have yet to address the DOT’s data about speeding, or total travel time.

    NBBL is cherry-picking data frantically. If the best they can do is claim the DOT lied, when the DOT used consistent and commonly-accepted statistical methods to analyze the data, their argument is weak.

    I’d have a lot more respect for them if they’d just be honest: “We live on these blocks, we miss the old way, and we want to double-park our cars, to hell with bicyclists, pedestrians, and safety.”

  • Daphna

    What NBBL (aka Never Build a Bike Lane) seem to want is to be able to speed to red lights and wait longer at the lights, and to be able to double park. As total travel times have not increased on PPW, this means that the speeding by motorists previously just gave them more time to sit at red lights. NBBL seems to really want to do two illegal behaviors: drive above the speed limit and double park, and are upset that the new street design deters them from these illegal actions.

    What if instead of a street design that deters these illegal behaviors, there instead had been a ticketing blitz with radar, cameras, NYPD police and NYPD traffic agents ticketing everyone who double parked or was speeding — NBBL would have been equally upset but would not have had a bike lane to blame.

    As others have commented, I wish NBBL could be honest with themselves about what really bothers them.

  • Joe R.

    I’ll give Leah Casner credit for telling it like it is, even if she ends up receiving some flack for it. Now might not be the time for it, but eventually we do need to rewrite the traffic laws as they apply to bikes (or make enough grade-separated infrastructure so as to render the entire issue moot).

    As for NBBL, what they’re using as “data” isn’t over a long enough period to be statistically significant. Hopefully an expert from DOT will testify to that effect.

  • m to the i

    At the last public meeting, when DOT presented all of its ‘after’ data, they specifically mentioned that many of these accident and injury numbers were not statistically significant. They were pleased with the numbers but could not definitively say, at the time, that injuries and crashes were down. Having a larger sample size (multiple years) helps with statistical significance. What should really be compared are the average rates of the 3-5 years prior to the implementation of the bike lane and 3-5 years after the bike lane was put in. And I definitely would not include a one to two month period right after the lanes were put in because there is an adjustment period.

    What is clear is that injuries and crashes have not gone up in any statistically significant way as a result of changes to the street.

  • Moses Hurwitz

    Since the tenth and eleventh words in the Brooklyn Paper article are “Cobble Hill,” perhaps you might want to edit, “Draft Proposal From EDC Leads to Knee-Jerk DOT Bashing in Brooklyn Heights”