Today’s Headlines

  • Quinn and Greenfield Not Backing Down From Defense of Scofflaw Parkers (News)
  • Speeding Driver Leaves Bronx Two-Year-Old in Critical Condition (News)
  • Westchester League of Women Voters: Build Tappan Zee Transit Now (LoHud)
  • Flatiron Pedestrians Warn of Speeding Buses, Request Turn Lane (DNAinfo)
  • Transportation Alternatives on Cuomo Infrastructure Plan: “Where’s The Beef?” (City/State)
  • Harlem Middle Schoolers Learn Bike Safety, Take to Central Park (News)
  • After 50 Years, New Cars Will Improve Ride on C Train (WSJ)
  • Popular “Poetry In Motion” Program Returning to Subways (Gothamist)
  • Meet NYC’s Latest Celebri-Biker (NYMag)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Killer Cars

    Last line of the Quinn/Greenfield Op-ed couldn’t be more honest and revealing about whom they represent: ”
    Today we’ll vote to override the mayor’s veto, and make life a little easier for drivers in all five boroughs.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Joe Jonas Learned to Navigate New York by Watching the Bike Messengers.”

    That’s like learning to drive by watching the cab drivers.

  • Rhubarbpie

    Quinn and Greenfield make a decent argument: the stickers don’t do what the mayor claims they do. And while I think it’s very fair to argue that the speaker and the council overall have a windshield mentality and typically defend motorists, I wonder if it’s politically wise to pick this battle, even in the very limited way you’ve done here. Otherwise, we just seem like scolds who don’t have political perspective. 

    An analysis of how aggressively Quinn and team fought for lower speed limits, speeding enforcement and better design to keep walkers and bicyclists safe is how I judge them. Making life a little easier for jerky drivers who violate the parking laws (not primarily a safety concern, though it can be on occasion), not so much.

  • Voter

    The juxtaposition of your first two headlines says a lot about the speaker’s priorities.

    I wish we could expect more out of Chris Quinn, but it’s not surprising. Two-year-olds don’t vote.

  • Killer Cars

    Rhubarbpie,

    If it were up to me the city would slap stickers on all private cars just for being in New York City (two stickers for Jersey plates).

    I don’t know what Bloomberg said that they’re responding to (and if they’re reporting it accurately) but if he did say that “without these stickers, the city could not properly clean the streets” then they may have proven him wrong.   Though I suspect that this was a straw man because they didn’t quote or link to him.  (I could be wrong; I don’t follow this stuff THAT closely).

    However, even assuming that they are responding to an actual Bloomberg statement and even assuming that  “street cleanliness” accurately measures what it purports to, I’m still not convinced.  Is “street cleanliness” really the only thing we should be looking at?  What about costs?  What if, during the 8-year period, street cleanliness didn’t improve, but costs went down due to fewer towing or less need for repeat cleanings on days when no one moved?  For me (and I would think also for the mayor) that would be a good enough reason to keep the program in place. 

    You’re right also that illegal parking is not strictly a safety issue, but it is still a nuisance caused by selfish car owners.  I am primarily concerned with the dangers that cars create, but I and this blog are also concerned with the many other problems they cause: the large amount of space they consume, the noise they create, the smells, the unsightliness, the big concrete parking garages we make to accommodate them, and the extra damage their weight does to the street — just to name a few.  So just because this doesn’t directly implicate safety doesn’t mean it’s not of concern to the livable streets crowd.

    Ultimately, what bothers me about this is that it reflect the very American attitude that driving is a completely normal activity that everyone should be able to do with minimal burden.  I know that the politics around statements like that are tricky but it shouldn’t be so tricky in New York City where motorists are in the minority.  In New York we should view car dominance as a failure of democracy but we don’t because we are still all essentially Americans and we have a hard time viewing the streets any other way.  Given how few people in New York actually drive it is remarkable how few people even question the role of cars on our local streets.  We live in a city with limited public space but fantastic mass transit — that would be even better with fewer cars on the road and more dedicated funding.  Why don’t we have the courage to acknowledge that cramming cars onto our streets is just plain selfish on the part of the people who drive them?  What makes them so special that they can take up so much of our limited space?

    Of course I would be more thoughtful about this before I banned all cars from the city.  But I do get annoyed when people (especially politicians) treat car ownership / etiquette as just a lifestyle choice as opposed to something that benefits the person inside the car at the expense of everyone outside the car.  That concept should be an easy sell in New York city and yet it’s not.

  • Bolwerk

    New Yorkers are all too familiar with the impossible-to-remove parking
    stickers that the Department of Sanitation pastes on cars that are not
    moved properly on street cleaning days. Remnants of these neon stickers
    often persist on car windows for months, despite vigorous efforts to
    scrape them off. They add insult to the injury of a fine that can cost
    as much as $65.

    New Yorkers are familiar with the parking stickers? Nay, it’s suburban drivers who park illegally who are probably MUCH more familiar with them.

    Also, I don’t see what’s wrong with a little insult here.  The injury is actually to the people of the city who have to contend with the scofflaws. The harm they do is still underpriced ($65), and maybe the difficulty of removing the stickers will help de-incentivize their anti-social behavior.

    If you aren’t rich, white Manhattan dweller, or a suburbanite, Quinn doesn’t think much of you.

  • carma

    @14a8960ffa19c6b0ffff4264aba1f641:disqus 

    Heh, lets not go psycho ballistic on cars and the owners.  Okay, i get the message. you hate cars.  you hate people who own them.  and although nyc residents usually dont own cars.  its not that car owners are a SMALL minority. they are a minority, but not misiscule by any means.

    dont forget, in many parts of brooklyn and queens.  having a car is almost a must as there are many parts inaccessible to public transportation, and trekking around with bicycle doesnt cut it for some folks.

    boy, im glad you dont run the city.

  • Rhubarbpie

    @Killer Cars: Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

    @14a8960ffa19c6b0ffff4264aba1f641:disqus uinn and Greenfield were responding to this comment by the mayor:  “Stickers are an enforcement tool that have shown that they keep our
    streets clean, and if you take them away there’s no reason to believe
    that we won’t go back to the dirty streets that we had before.” (See http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2012/01/5110906/bloomberg-opposes-sticker-ban-encourages-developers-get-while-marke.)

    My recollection is that the fines are a money-maker for the city, based on a study I saw a few years ago. Fines brought in about six times what fees did (this was before a slight increase in some meter fees), and it was a significant amount of dough. (Can’t give you a citation since it was an internal city report I had access to — sorry.) Of course, ultimately, if there were fewer vehicles on the streets, the city would save money — no disagreement there.

    My main concern is how we (who want folks to think differently about cars, and stop using them as much so we can take back our public space) can win. Defending the stickers seems unnecessarily antagonistic, although I’ll grant that whatever we do will be regarded as antagonistic. I also think the safety question is the most potent, because who can be against keeping people safe? (Don’t answer that one!)

  • kevd

    I always thought the stickers to be a bit obnoxious…..
    I’m not sure the government should be engaged in defacing people’s property – even if for a higher purpose.
    Just make the fine higher, and people will still move their cars just as promptly, and begrudgingly.

    If there were fewer disgusting literers in NYC we wouldn’t have the streets cleaned, and cars moved, 1/2 as much. Just take your crap to the garbage can, people. It isn’t hard.

    Yes Quinn is a pathetic panderer to motorists on this issue, but that doesn’t mean property defacement by the city of NY is a good policy.

  • Killer Cars

    carma,

    HATE cars is absolutely right.  But I don’t hate the people who own them.

    Not everyone can ride a bike but a lot more people can than do.  And the fact that some people need cars to get around is another problem in itself.  

    And I’m pretty sure I’d be a one-term mayor.

  • Joe R.

    @14a8960ffa19c6b0ffff4264aba1f641:disqus You might actually have some luck with your approach if you stick only to keeping car commuters from outside of city limits off city streets. This would certainly have broad support among NYC residents who have had it with these idiots congesting our roads, taking our parking spaces, and (frequently) cleaning out the contents of their cars on somebody’s lawn. I’d say eliminating out-of-city car commuters would cut traffic volumes in half, easily. Politically, it would be a slam dunk as well.

  • Driver

    Joe, for out of city commuters who travel at very early or very late hours, car commuting is often the only realistic option.  Someone who needs to be somewhere at 6 am can not  rely on mass transit to get them in the city.  Even people who live in the city cannot always rely on mass transit to get them where they need to go in the early am or late pm hours.

  • Ian Turner

    Joe: That would be unconstitutional (denies equal protection under the law). Trust me, lots of exclusive wealthy communities would be jumping on that were it legally possible.

  • Hilda

    If we could get a sticker for “I parked in a bike lane” then maybe the sanitation sticker could be retired.  

  • Joe R.

    @7c177865bd107a919938355fe93de93a:disqus Well, you could instead charge a high fee to enter city limits during certain times. That’s operationally the same as the proposed congestion tax, except it applies to NYC proper, not just the Manhattan CBD.

    @SB_Driver:disqus My above proposal to Ian addresses the issue of off-hour commuting. Keep the entry charge low or zero during off-peak hours, but make it prohibitively high during peak hours. Off-peak car commuters really aren’t a problem. It’s the ones who drive to 9-to-5 jobs (and who usually have other options) who are. I’m willing to make exceptions for those who physically can’t use public transit. 

  • Michael

    @Driver: All MetroNorth, NJT and LIRR lines have trains arriving in NYC before 6 ( LLIR even trains which arrive around 4!) and there are outbound trains late night.   Not to speak of the service in the city which runs around the clock.  So maybe not as convenient but you cannot say it wouldn’t work….

  • Andrew

    “New Yorkers who park illegally are rightly issued fines. Those fines serve as ample deterrent from repeat offenses.”
    I don’t think they do.