Today’s Headlines

  • Yankee Stadium Parking Operator Agrees to Build Hotel at Site of Largest Garage (News, Post)
  • Right On Cue, Tabloid Editorials Twist Hunter Bike/Ped Crash Study (News, Post)
  • Taxi Industry Lobbying Wins Defectors From Livery Bill: Vito Lopez and Bill DeBlasio (Post, CapTon)
  • Cab Companies Sent $30,000 to Cuomo Over The Summer (News)
  • DOT Won’t Narrow Lanes From Highway Width on Deadly Adam Clayton Powell Blvd (DNAinfo)
  • CB 6 Committee Unanimously Endorses Baruch Plan for Pedestrianized 25th Street (DNAinfo)
  • Homeless Find Broadway Plazas Safest Place to Spend the Night (DNAinfo)
  • Suffolk County Exec: MTA Should Declare State of Emergency to Scrap Union Contracts (Newsday)
  • Tougher Texting Law Leads to 43 Percent Increase in Tickets (LoHud)
  • Poll Shows Mega-Support for Completing East Side Greenway With UN Land Deal (Crain’s)
  • More Coverage of Yesterday’s Labor-Led Lockbox Rally (NY1, AMNY)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Pedestrian

    I’m sorry, folks, but the Post and Daily News editorials are exactly why
    I don’t think you can let Nancy Gruskin off the hook.  Instead of
    saying, “We still have work to do, but these numbers are encouraging –
    there are more cyclists on the road today and fewer injuries than there
    were four years ago,” she called the figures “alarming.”  Instead of
    noting that neighborhoods with separated bike lanes and high levels or
    ridership saw the fewest injuries, and instead and standing with the DOT
    in their efforts to install more traffic calming measures, she warns of
    the looming specter of bike share. All of this is tasty fodder for lazy, agenda-driven editorial writers, who’d complain about paying taxes if Janette Sadik-Khan suddenly gave them each a million bucks from her own pocket.

    Gruskin needs to understand that the Post and
    Daily News writers couldn’t care less about biking, delivery guys, bike
    share, or any of that.  They rail against pedestrian islands, public
    plazas, play streets for kids, and even speed bumps.  They are against this DOT no matter what it does.  By using careless words like “alarming” and by not issuing statements that tease out the meaning of a study she initiated, she’s hurting her cause to make pedestrians safer by giving ammo to the people who hate JSK and the DOT, even when the subject has nothing to do with bicycles.

  • Anonymous

    The story about Adam Clayton Powell Blvd is alarming. I’d like to know who the blockhead is who thinks that narrowing the lanes would “ruin the look of the street”. Seriously, do they think that having a de facto speedway in the middle of our neighborhood (I live there) is a thing of beauty?

    The boulevard has huge excess capacity. I have never ever seen any congestion there. They could eliminate one lane and it would still have excess capacity. I have seen cabs drive there at 65 mph (I know because I had the bad fortune of being in one and could see the speedometer).

    My suggestion would be to first add parking protected bike lanes, and if that doesn’t calm it enough, widen the median until you only have two narrow lanes left for motor vehicle traffic. Then synchronize the lights for a more reasonable speed of travel.

  • Pedestrian et al.: the tabs are against Bloomberg. DOT is his most obvious incarnation, and the one that has no high-status workforce, like cops or smoke-eaters, to share the blame.

  • Jeremy

    @f41594481f23b99efd7a3b4b6a4f8fdc:disqus But the numbers *are* pretty alarming.  In NYC, pedestrians are sent to the hospital off the bumpers of cars at 18 times the rate that they get sent to the hospital off the front wheel of a bicycle.  I’d like to know the exact statistics for relative volumes of car/bicycle traffic throughout the city to say for sure, but I’d be surprised if bike injuries to peds didn’t actually overindex the rate for cars.

    In any event, it’s clearly a message that we need to take intersection safety much more seriously when it comes to cyclists and pedestrians.  That means more effort put towards cyclists stopping at red lights, as well as pedestrians *not* blindly walking out into the path of a cyclist with a green.  Headlight enforcement for cyclists wouldn’t be a terrible thing either.

  • Jeremy

    @f41594481f23b99efd7a3b4b6a4f8fdc:disqus But the numbers *are* pretty alarming.  In NYC, pedestrians are sent to the hospital off the bumpers of cars at 18 times the rate that they get sent to the hospital off the front wheel of a bicycle.  I’d like to know the exact statistics for relative volumes of car/bicycle traffic throughout the city to say for sure, but I’d be surprised if bike injuries to peds didn’t actually overindex the rate for cars.

    In any event, it’s clearly a message that we need to take intersection safety much more seriously when it comes to cyclists and pedestrians.  That means more effort put towards cyclists stopping at red lights, as well as pedestrians *not* blindly walking out into the path of a cyclist with a green.  Headlight enforcement for cyclists wouldn’t be a terrible thing either.

  • Jeremy

    @f41594481f23b99efd7a3b4b6a4f8fdc:disqus But the numbers *are* pretty alarming.  In NYC, pedestrians are sent to the hospital off the bumpers of cars at 18 times the rate that they get sent to the hospital off the front wheel of a bicycle.  I’d like to know the exact statistics for relative volumes of car/bicycle traffic throughout the city to say for sure, but I’d be surprised if bike injuries to peds didn’t actually overindex the rate for cars.

    In any event, it’s clearly a message that we need to take intersection safety much more seriously when it comes to cyclists and pedestrians.  That means more effort put towards cyclists stopping at red lights, as well as pedestrians *not* blindly walking out into the path of a cyclist with a green.  Headlight enforcement for cyclists wouldn’t be a terrible thing either.

  • Jeremy

    @f41594481f23b99efd7a3b4b6a4f8fdc:disqus But the numbers *are* pretty alarming.  In NYC, pedestrians are sent to the hospital off the bumpers of cars at 18 times the rate that they get sent to the hospital off the front wheel of a bicycle.  I’d like to know the exact statistics for relative volumes of car/bicycle traffic throughout the city to say for sure, but I’d be surprised if bike injuries to peds didn’t actually overindex the rate for cars.

    In any event, it’s clearly a message that we need to take intersection safety much more seriously when it comes to cyclists and pedestrians.  That means more effort put towards cyclists stopping at red lights, as well as pedestrians *not* blindly walking out into the path of a cyclist with a green.  Headlight enforcement for cyclists wouldn’t be a terrible thing either.

  • Jeremy

    @f41594481f23b99efd7a3b4b6a4f8fdc:disqus But the numbers *are* pretty alarming.  In NYC, pedestrians are sent to the hospital off the bumpers of cars at 18 times the rate that they get sent to the hospital off the front wheel of a bicycle.  I’d like to know the exact statistics for relative volumes of car/bicycle traffic throughout the city to say for sure, but I’d be surprised if bike injuries to peds didn’t actually overindex the rate for cars.

    In any event, it’s clearly a message that we need to take intersection safety much more seriously when it comes to cyclists and pedestrians.  That means more effort put towards cyclists stopping at red lights, as well as pedestrians *not* blindly walking out into the path of a cyclist with a green.  Headlight enforcement for cyclists wouldn’t be a terrible thing either.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The hotel would need to be approved by the city and Bronx Parking’s private bondholders. The city is “open to feasible ideas” that revitalize the South Bronx, said Economic Development Corp. spokesman Kyle Sklerov.”

    I didn’t hear anything about the Yankees, and they weren’t quoted.  I wonder if they have decided they don’t need the additional spaces, or if they will sue to force the city to give them even more money.

  • Pedestrian

    Jeremy, I don’t disagree.  One accident or injury is one too many and safety must be taken seriously, no matter the mode of transport.  I also agree with your suggestions about enforcement.

    I’d be surprised, however, if anyone found that bike-on-ped injuries overindexed the rate for cars.  Fatalities are a good barometer in this case: there have been zero bike-on-ped fatalities since 2009, but hundreds and hundreds of car-related deaths in the same period.  It is simply not possible that there are dozens of unreported bike-related pedestrian deaths that would level the index or tip it against cyclists.

    My quibble is with Gruskin’s rhetoric and the ways in which her alignment with Tony Aiello, the Post, and other tabloids actually undermines her foundations of making sure no pedestrian is killed again.  It’s stretch to look at the stats — over 50% growth in bike commuting over the past few years coupled with a 15% reduction in injuries — and say that they are alarming.  But you can be sure the media will la all latch onto the next time they want to stop DOT from installing future traffic calming measures.  Getting ink in the Post or airtime on CBS2 is counterproductive if her foundation’s goal is safer streets for pedestrians.

  • Mrbadexample

    Regarding the anti-bike stance reinforced by yesterday’s News and Post misreading of the bicycling/ped accident stats. This is nothing surprising, and I would bet there’s not a single person in their editorial or reporting departments traveling by bicycle (the TIMES actually has a few reporters/editor types who commute to their office by bike).
     
    We need to spin the bike story differently, and this week (with the UN in session) is exhibit A. Wouldn’t it be cool if Paul Steely White or one of our other biking advocates had thrown a presser last week in which they said “traffic in the city will be gridlocked next week, and subways will be jammed up from people who can’t get to work by car or bus. Therefore, we strongly recommend that people who live or work in Manhattan and have to commute into midtown look into the possibility of biking to work”? Then, instead of cyclists being the villains (which is the status quo viewpoint), we’d be looked on as the heroes—the folks who put up with some discomfort in order to ease congestion on the streets and rails. I say this having come upstairs to my office on 1st Avenue and 34th street, where all the major avenues (and of course 33 and 34th streets) are parking lots. This isn’t just about inconvenience—emergency vehicles can’t get to and from the hospitals along 1st Avenue. This would be a great way for cyclists to change the perception of us as the good guys.
     
    Just sayin.

  • Jeremy

    @f41594481f23b99efd7a3b4b6a4f8fdc:disqus I hear you, and totally agree that cars overindex bicycles when it comes to pedestrian deaths.  Killing someone is *far* worse than sending them to the hospital, and reducing those accidents is obviously the priority. 

    That being said, I really think professional/semi-pro cycling advocates have to take responsibility and not just try and deflect the significance of this injury overindexing.  They can play a really supportive role in bringing the cyclist pedestrian injury rate down to the car rate.  Spinning the press about how terrible cars are instead of substantive pro-pedestrian activism will ultimately fracture the cycling movement further from pedestrian views.  I’m more alarmed with their rhetoric, which seeks to minimize the significance of pedestrian safety, rather than Gruskin’s approach, which can be most rationally interpreted as maximizing it.

  • wkgreen

    While I think that the report has real and useful information in it, the report itself seems to have an agenda, one that is written to inflame a mindless press intent on destroying anything having to do with any accommodation to cyclists. What I don’t understand is where it says right up front in
    the Summary and Conclusions:

     

    “Several important findings
    have emerged from this study. First and foremost, the incidence of pedestrians involved in accidents with
    cyclists who needed to receive medical
    treatment at a hospital far exceeds previous estimates. Earlier research, based on a sample of
    hospitals nationwide, estimated that there were approximately 1,000 pedestrians hit by a
    cyclist each year in the United States
    who needed to obtain medical treatment at a hospital.”

     

    That starting point is dishonest. What earlier research are they talking about? How
    did it go wrong? And most of all, why would anyone assume that the number of incidences
    of bicycle on pedestrian accidents involving a trip to the hospital (in and out
    patient) in a nation of 300 million would be as low as 1,000? There is no other
    mention or comparison to any earlier studies given, no way to align apples to
    apples and oranges to oranges. This is a real flaw and underlines a major bias of the report writers. Further, there
    is no analysis of the number of cyclists to the number of accidents so that the
    good news contained in the report, that the number of injury causing accidents is
    down slightly in the face of a huge increase in cyclists and improved public accommodation
    for them over the period is buried in numbers but never even mentioned in the summary.

     

    Of course the press treats this paragraph as if the situation is so
    much worse than what we thought it was. 
    But then any honest thought in the effort to prevent ceding the
    slightest amount of street space from precious automobiles has been
    non-existent and the starting point for assumptions that supposedly went awry
    with the report was pulled from little more than thin air.

  • carma

    larry, a hotel in the current lot would be a great boom for the area.  while we certainly shouldnt be taking all the spaces away, a good unused portion removed for a hotel would be an excellent idea.  the only thing wrong with this is, outside of yankee stadium and a few close by bars, there really is nothing else to enjoy in the south bronx.  and having a hotel in the area should also have complimented attractions to the area other than baseball.

  • Daphna

    Does anyone know what happened last night at Community Board 11?  The Transportation Committee of CB11 met in early September and was covered by Noah in a September 7th article.  The subject was protected bike lanes on 1st and 2nd Avenues between East 96th and 125th Streets.  In particular, the DOT wanted to put in a protected lane from 100th – 125th Street on 2nd Avenue.  This plan got the okay from the Transportation Committee by a narrow vote.  What happened last night at the full Board meeting of CB11???

  • Daphna

    Like qrt145, I am very disappointed that narrowing the lanes on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard is not an option being pursued by the DOT.  12′ lanes reduced to 10′ is reasonable and should absolutely be done.  Professional road engineers should be making these decisions, not a small group of clueless neighborhood residents who sit at card tables for one evening and offer their uninformed opinions.

    Designing a road to promote lower speeds is more effective than police enforcement, which locals want instead.  I find that people like the idea of speed bumps, police enforcement or traffic lights, but do not understand the value and effectiveness of narrowing a travel lane to promote slower driving speeds and greater safety for all road users.

  • Joe R.

    Regarding Nancy Gruskin, I can excuse her for her stance given the way her husband died.  You can hardly expect her to be unbiased on the subject of bicycles, in much the same way I’m hardly unbiased on the subject of prescription drugs, which I suspect played a major role in my father’s death.  What is disgusting is the way the tabloids latch on to her every word, use her as a poster child for their radical stance regarding cyclists.  Maybe someone needs to make Nancy Gruskin realize she’s being used, plain and simple, even get her really, really angry about it.  It’s amazing with all the real news which should be front and center, the NY tabloids continue to distract readers with nonsense about bikes.

    On another note, 500 injuries a year from any cause in a city as large as NY is astoundingly low.  My take on the report would be that although any injury is one too many, there is a statistical noise floor below which diverting resources towards further reduction will accomplish little or nothing. I personally think we might already be there.  Less than one pedestrian death annually makes getting killed by bicycle less likely than dying from a falling tree limb or lightning.  Same thing in my opinion with ~500 injuries.  You start having increased “enforcement”, whatever that means, it’s likely you’ll have more people injured while police are chasing down cyclists than you will prevent injuries, especially since the system of laws/infrastructure we have is largely designed not for safety, but to speed auto traffic along.  You’ll probably even have several cyclists per year killed at the hands of police who might misinterpet their actions as going for a weapon (I’m honestly surprised that didn’t happen during the bike crackdown earlier this year).   Police contact with the general public should be minimized for obvious reasons.  That means you mainly want the police dealing with known major threats to the public like rapists or murderers.  Traffic safety on public streets is best done by narrowing traffic lanes, getting rid of traffic lights in favor of roundabouts, in general getting ALL users into the habit of looking out for each other, rather than depending upon laws/traffic control devices to keep them safe.  The latter system largely doesn’t work, indeed can never work, because it’s totally unforgiving of the mistakes human beings are likely to make.  You need self-enforcing infrastructure which forces users to operate in such a manner that they can recover from their inevitable mistakes without dire consequences.

  • Joe R.

    I agree with Daphna here regarding having laypeople involved in traffic engineering decisions.  “Input” from community boards is what got us into this mess in the first place.  I absolutely cringe when I hear clueless politicians say “we need a traffic light here” for “safety”.  Maybe [url=http://www.bikewalk.org/pdfs/trafficcontrol_backtobasics.pdf]this[/url] should be required reading for all community board members.

  • Pedidriver

    Nancy Gruskin should be careful about how she’s being used. Gruskin is rapidly emerging as the key spokesperson for those who would like to maintain the dangerous, dirty, and dysfunctional cars-first status quo on NYC streets. Nancy needs to understand that she is doing great harm to the cause that she claims to profess. The tabloids and politicos are using Gruskin to maintain the car-oriented streets that we know for a fact hurt and kill more New Yorkers.

  • dporpentine

    @a8067d2548f86a409fa610a8a93387e6:disqus and @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus I don’t think Nancy Gruskin is in any way being used. She seems to me to be deliberately courting opportunities to attack bikes and only bikes, with just enough of the “all street users” language thrown in so that she can be respectable. A new Sean Sweeney.

  • It seems utterly absurd to even compare bicycle-ped injuries with auto-ped injuries.  If you get hit by a bicycle (and I have), the most likely outcome is feeling shaken, and maybe scrapes and bruises.  If you go to the hospital, it’s likely to be for a few stitches, or just to be safe and get yourself checked out.

    Getting hit by a car, on the other hand, you’re lucky if you don’t die.

    It’s still not nice to get hit by a bike, of course (and there will always be the odd case where somebody gets knocked over a tall cliff by a bicycle, or a very frail person gets hit by lance armstrong in a fast mountain descent and dies), but it’s simply not in the same category as getting hit by a car.  Cars are hugely dangerous; bikes, well, not so much.