Today’s Headlines

  • Chris Ward Will Leave Port Authority a Week After Jay Walder’s Last Day at MTA (NYT)
  • Cuomo: Transit Expertise Not a Requirement to Run Nation’s Biggest Transit System (Transpo Nation)
  • MTA Board to Walder: You’re the Best (NY1)
  • Norman Brown: Walder Leaving Too Soon, Could Have Done Better on Labor Relations (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Watch Lew Fidler Explain Why Basic Bike Safety Projects Should Be Singled Out for CB Review (BK Pol)
  • City-Backed Smartphone-Based Parking Availability App Coming to Arthur Avenue (NY1)
  • DOT Adds Audible Walk Signals to Help Visually Impaired Pedestrians Cross the Street (News)
  • Bay Ridge Car Dealerships Park Their Inventory All Over the Sidewalk (Bklyn Paper)
  • Asked About NYC Bike Lanes, Jim Walden Trots Out His Tea Party Math (Crain’s)
  • The Herbert London School of Street Design Isn’t Based on Facts (City Journal)
  • Beautification of Downtown Brooklyn Continues (Brownstoner)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • I like that Crains gave the last word to viewpoints that are more informed than Walden’s.  (Note: If the link above to the article takes you to a “subscription required” page, try Googling the article’s headline, “On Walden pond, bike lanes sink.”)

  • Robber Baron

    The relevant quote from the Crain’s article:

    “Bike lanes and infrastructure must be one part, although a small part,
    of moving toward more sustainable transportation alternatives. We are
    spending too much time dealing with a form of transportation that is
    appropriate for only a small number of people, and ignoring larger and
    more important parts of the sustainability puzzle. And, we are spending a
    lot of money building lanes that few people use when we are making
    really tough choices about cutting education and social-benefit programs
    that give access to food, health care, and job training.”

    Who will think of the poor people who aren’t getting proper schooling, health care, and nutrition because of all those damn bike lanes?  Jim Walden really truly cares.

  • Joe

    If you value your sanity you will avoid the City Journal link.

  • Paul

    it’s not surprising that Herb London is biased against bikers.  he has a history of this sort of behavior:

  • Paul

    it’s not surprising that Herb London is biased against bikers.  he has a history of this sort of behavior:

  • If you heed Joe’s warning below and want to avoid the infuriating drivel in the City Journal piece, but are still curious as to how bad it is, here’s the comment I posted at that site.  It put me into my old form:  caps locking all over the place, rebutting fallacies with mere personal experience information (of course that’s all Herbert London relied on), etc.:

    This is riddled through and through with statements
    that are thoroughly untrue! 


    One by one, here are JUST the ones I know of; I’m
    sure there are more:


    1. “The bike paths, or so the thinking went, would
    encourage more people to ride bicycles to work, thus lessening traffic.”  This
    was NOT the thinking.  NYC knew full well that overwhelmingly, bike commuters
    are people who would otherwise take transit, not drive.  The main thinking
    behind the bike lanes was safety.


    2. “Car congestion is intense wherever bike lanes
    or pedestrian plazas exist.”  “Wherever?”  Are you completely crazy, or just a
    liar?  That is complete and total fabrication.  Times Square and Herald Square
    may be congested (as they always were).  In many places across the city with
    bike lanes/ped plazas, the same thing applies; in others, car congestion simply
    is NOT intense.  In fact, just for starters, look at Broadway BETWEEN Times
    Square and Herald Square–both areas and the space between have both bike lanes
    and ped plaza–and there is NO traffic congestion, even during rush hour.  And
    there are dozens of other counterexamples.


    3. “In reducing space for cars, the bicycle lanes
    have caused even worse traffic delays than before.”  Made up.  It is unfortunate
    that someone as educated as London subscribes to the utterly debunked mob-myth
    that car traffic follows the same physics as water falling.  Water when it’s
    path is blocked, goes down the nearest path of less resistance.  TRAFFIC DOES
    NOT DO THAT.  Morons have to stop propagating that myth.


    4. “As for the pedestrian plazas . . . more often
    their chairs stand empty.”  A patent LIE.  I pass SIX of them every weekday at
    rush hour (and often also in the middle of the day) and they are mostly FULL. 
    And who gives a F what percentage of them are tourists?  (Not that London knows
    that data.)


    5. “most New Yorkers resent the usurpation of road
    space.”  Completely contradicted by actual opinion polls, that have been, you
    know, actually DONE.


    6. “at First Avenue, where both sides of the street
    have bicycle lanes”  An utter LIE.


    Also, how many bike commuters do you EXPECT to see
    as far downtown as Allen St. from 5:00 to 5:30?  You would have seen a lot more
    if you had watched from 5:30 to 6:00 or 6:00 to 6:30.  Or watched at a spot in
    one of the BUSINESS districts, you moron!


    1-6 above are only the claims that I know facts
    contradict.  There are other claims that I believe are false (e.g., that London
    retailers don’t like congestion pricing–I believe they are actually doing
    better because of it, because of better foot traffic), but I don’t have the
    facts in front of me to directly contradict them.


    It is a shame when someone with credentials as
    impressive as London’s pontificates publicly about something he knows little

  • Anonymous

    The problem with Herb London, “Lifelong NYer” type commenters, etc. is that any rational discussion of transportation has been undermined by the Culture Wars: cars are The American Way (even if they’re taxpayer subsidized on every level) and any kind of change is (bike lanes, market pricing, etc.) is Unamerican.  I loved the comment comparing traffic jams to bread lines under communism, which is a much more accurate and compelling metaphor than the normal water-pipe thinking.

  • dporpentine

    Isn’t it news someplace other than Streetsblog that a vice chancellor at CUNY and a former DOT commissioner was, in fact, a party to a suit against the city–and more specifically, against her own old office? And that the constantly quoted lawyer representing  that group apparently lied about that fact? Why does Walden’s every cough make for a Brooklyn Paper article, while this . . . ? (I mean, I know why, but it’s still kind of amazing.)

  •  I made a chart to reply to Jim Walden.

  • I made a chart to reply to Jim Walden.

  • Guest

    Mr. London says this:
    “Any EMT driver will tell you that if you have a heart attack at, say, 47th Street and Broadway, an ambulance or fire truck can’t get to you readily.”

    There is a firehouse at the northeast corner of 48th and 8th (this firehouse is called 54 and 4). 

    To get to a heart-attack victim at 47th and Broadway, the rescue vehicle driver would have to exit the firehouse, make a quick right turn onto 48th (which goes east), go one block, make a turn onto Broadway (the right lane is open to cars and trucks), go straight another block right up to the pedestrian plaza that begins at 47th, and stop, right where the victim is waiting. 

    I was curious, so I walked the route this morning about 9:45 (a little after rushhour(s)). Traffic on 48th was negligible, with a few cars stopped only at the red light and going straight through on green. Traffic on Broadway was non-existent. 

    I am no emergency-vehicle expert, but I can’t imagine why a fire truck or ambulance would take more than a couple of minutes, perhaps less, to make this trip. 

    If your victim was, say, at 46th or 45th, rescues could simply sprint or walk briskly through the pedestrian plaza, which would take maybe another half-minute, just as they must do when they must stop their vehicle anywhere short a victim, whether that’s because the victim is in a high-rise apartment, on the 3rd floor of Macy’s, or in an off-road area of a park.

    Just saying … 

  • We already know what happens if you have a heart attack and there’s gridlock: be thankful that courteous and nimble cyclists are more willing and able than drivers to move out of an ambulance’s way.  If only every major street had a separated bike lane emergency vehicles would have better chances of reaching the people they serve.

  • Station44025

    It’s likely someone requiring emergency services will have been hit by a car, though, so they should be right there on a road. I’m sure Macy’s retail sales would be better (and people in need of emergency services would be safer) if people were allowed to actually drive right into the store rather than being forced to walk by the zealots that run that place.

  • Anonymous


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