Today’s Headlines

  • Cops Threaten Even Greater Slowdown in Response to Tix Fix Discipline Plan (Post)
  • At Manhattan Bridge, News Sees “Two-Wheeled Army Run Amok,” “Fear Getting Out Of Our Cars”
  • Cuozzo: New Jersey Is Trying To Take Control of Port Authority, Get Ready for a Fight (Post)
  • Ravitch Back at MTA? “No Way In Hell,” He Says (Post)
  • Second Derailment of Week Snarls NJ Transit; Good Thing No One Built Second Tunnel (Transpo Nation)
  • Cars as Weapons: Verizon Uses Company Vehicles to Hit and Intimidate Strikers (Star-Ledger)
  • HopStop Adds Carbon Emissions Count to Trip Directions (Gothamist)
  • How Traffic Engineer Gary Toth Lost Faith in “Wider, Straighter, Faster” Roads (New Atlantis)
  • Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie Persuaded Ten Orioles to Bike to Work, Doesn’t Like NYC Streets (Spacing)
  • Scary Questions: What Would Le Corbusier Drive? (ArchPaper)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • The Truth

    So the police are finally being held accountable for performing their job correctly (in response to the discovery that they were breaking the law – essentially stealing from taxpayers while putting everybody in danger).

    and what do they do – refuse to do their job, and put us all in more danger.

    I say any officer observed failing to enforce the law should be fired.  Immediately.  They can do the job – or they won’t have a job.  Stop indulging their fascist dreams already!

  • Anonymous

    Am I wrong in thinking that (prior to the rerouting for construction) pedestrian/bicycle traffic on the Manhattan bridge was configured so that pedestrians had both lanes on the south side and cyclists had both lanes on the north side of the bridge, as opposed to the News editorial statement “…two lanes of the bridge are dedicated to people rather than to vehicles: one on the north side, one on the south side…”Someone should make sure that they know the rules, and are themselves following them, before they rail against others for breaking them.

  • Larry Littlefield

    On the Manhattan Bridge, I ride to work all winter long, and all winter long the bicycle lanes of the Manhattan Bridge are full of pedestrians.  Usually Chinese.  They are probably there because of the bicycle traffic — other people nearby make them feel safter from crime.  Or perhaps it is just a more direct route.  And now that the two sides have been flipped, there are still pedestrians on the side nominally reserved for bicycles.

    Somehow, it never crossed my mind to complain about this, because there is enough room for everyone.  What kind of people are these?

  • Driver

    The Truth, part of the problem is that traffic court appearances can be several months or sometimes  a year or two after the traffic stop.  By punishing cops for having poor recollections or misplaced notes, it is creating an incentive for cops to make up the details when necessary rather than face disciplinary action for honest mistakes. 

  • The Truth

    @SB_Driver:disqus – that is typical rationalization, typical of people who want to give cops carte blanche with no supervision or limits to their abuses.

    Law enforcement officers should always maintain adequate details whenever they intend to prosecute a civilian for any offense.  The idea we should just take their word, because their cops, is what makes this so damaging.

    It is NOT an honest mistake to fail to keep proper notes.  It is unprofessional (at best).  The scenario you describe is indeed true – cops go into court all the time right now, and have for years, and fabricate stories to punish people or let them go, based on what they think of the individual being persecuted (not prosecuted).

    The way the new system is being set up, they will be punished whether they win or lose the case if their membook entries are not up to par.  As they should be, and as they should always have been!

  • Driver

    Cars as Weapons: Verizon Uses Company Vehicles to Hit and Intimidate Strikers

    Man uses daughter as human barricade in game of chicken might be a more appropriate headline.  I don’t disagree with the principle behind it, but that guy should have stood in front of that truck himself, not put his daughters life at risk by ordering her to stand there.

  • Mark Walker

    Re the News editorial’s “we fear getting out of our cars”: There’s windshield perspective in a nutshell.

  • Driver

     Sounds more like hyperbole to me. 

  • The Truth

    Driver – Can you elaborate?  How is allowing cops to make up whatever story they want on the stand acceptable to you?  What part of seeking to ensure that their testimony is fact-based do you consider “hyperbole”?

    It really sounds like you’re just an apologist for cops who want to abuse their authority with no accountability… unless of course you actually have something of substance to say otherwise.

  • The Truth

    Driver – Can you elaborate?  How is allowing cops to make up whatever story they want on the stand acceptable to you?  What part of seeking to ensure that their testimony is fact-based do you consider “hyperbole”?

    It really sounds like you’re just an apologist for cops who want to abuse their authority with no accountability… unless of course you actually have something of substance to say otherwise.

  • Bolwerk

    The cops should be fired. And before they ever fixed any tickets some should have been laid off. There are too many cops in New York City, and  too many of them are abusive. If the cops not doing  anything useful can’t be put to use stopping the rampant traffic violations in NYC, they should be axed.

    Sadly, they won’t be fired. They don’t have much political opposition even brave enough to say out loud they should  be fired.  Even anti-union rightwingers, with a hard-on for firing almost any public servant, don’t like the idea of laying off police.

  • Kaja

    > And before they ever fixed any tickets some should have been laid off. 
    I believe the Feds re-hire any cops Bloomberg lays off, via Homeland Security provisions. America post-9/11 is unwilling to reduce the size of any police forces; the security state has incorporated them, alongside defense, automotive, oil, and healthcare, as one of the industries symbiotically grafted onto Congress’s provisioning power.

  • Driver

    The Truth, sorry for the confusion.  My hyperbole comment was in reference to the “we fear getting out of our cars” line that Mark Walker referenced. 

    Back to the original discussion, in no way do I find it acceptable for cops to make up whatever they want on the stand.  I’m sure it is done sometimes, but it is completely wrong and disgraceful. 
    I’m not entirely sure exactly how cops operate in traffic court, I have never been there myself.  I’m sure they must use some notes, but also rely in part on personal recollection of whatever incident is in question.  If for whatever reason they are missing notes, or something is unclear or incomplete, or they don’t specifically recall a particular incident (It happens, cops are people too), my understanding is that they say that in court, and the case is dismissed.  The point I was trying to make is if cops are penalized for being honest when their case is incomplete or their memory is unclear, it creates an incentive for them to lie or make up details.   I’m not saying it’s right. 
    One other thing.  Just because a cop has something written does not guarantee it is fact based.  With a force the size of NYC’s there are always going to be a bunch of bad apples and shady characters. 

  • The Truth

    I don’t think there will be any incentive for them to lie or make up details if they are punished when testimony doesn’t match, or isn’t supported, by the memo book.  If IAB hears them make some statement, but there’s nothing in the memo book, they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do.  

    As you said, these cases often take some time.  And they write so many different tickets, any clear testimony based on “memories” they have that they didn’t write down SHOULD be suspect.You’re right they could lie in the memo book… but that would be a deliberate decision from the beginning, but that is unrelated to any change made now that the NYPD is monitoring their record keeping and performance in court.  My sense is that testimony will now be more fact based because of the strong incentive to keep proper records.  I really believe that many officers have kept sloppy notes, and then ad libbed an authoritative story on the stand, figuring “I wrote the ticket, so he must have been guilty.  I’m sure this story is close enough.”