Today’s Headlines

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Larry Littlefield

    “How about enforcement?  DOT is leaving that to the Police Department — which has 6,000 fewer cops than in 2001 and could not possibly make a dent in the ranks of bicycle kamikazes.”

    We really can’t expect the police to do much for us.  After all, in March 2007, according to the Census of Governments, New York City only had 565 police officers per 100,000 residents, while the U.S. as a whole had 207.

    How about this, then?  Allow automated enforcement of alternate side of the street my mounting cameras on the sweepers, as some have suggested.  Allow more red light cameras and speed cameras as well.

    And allow the Brownies to issue tickets for moving violations as well as parking, re-assigning them to traffic enforcement, traffic control, parades, etc.  That will make events like Summer Streets A LOT cheaper in terms of overtime, and allow a lot more bike and speed enforcement..

    Then re-assign all the cops on those duties to dealing with criminals.

      Why not?  The state legislature, the unions, and perhaps the tabloids, that’s why not.

  • J

    I expect crapy coverage of anything sustainable from the Post, but Gothamist and Felix Salmon should know better.

  • Anonymous

    About Misconception #2: Mark my words. I could turn out to be wrong, but I’m going to say “mark my words” anyway. Remember reading this: once bike share is up and running, NYC is going to see a significant drop in overall pedestrian injuries, even if you hear about an occasional bikeshare-on-ped crash. The number of bikes on the road will tame drivers, and that will lead to safer pedestrians. Again, I could end up being wrong about that, but I am placing my bet. I hope the city, TA, Streetsblog, etc., keep track of the relevant numbers as the months go by.

  • fj

    Research on what traveling underground in subways does to kids would likely be of similar value as . . .

    “New Bruce Appelyard Research:
    Driving Kids Everywhere Kills Their Sense of Place (Atlantic Cities)

  • Rhubarbpie

    I think the Gothamist story (which makes the same point as the Metro New York story today, is fair: it will cost a lot of money to take a bike for a longer trip. And, from my point of view, it will cost a lot of money to take a bike for a short trip, given the $9.95 day pass fee (or the other schemes). Seems designed for a certain income level, let’s put it that way. Maybe there will some push-back on the prices — I hope so. (The Metro story points out that the prices are double Boston’s bike share prices.) Let’s hope the project works out, but I’ll be curious about who will be riding the bikes once data are available.

  • Anonymous

    I am encouraged by the proposal for sharrows for Ashland Place, particularly if a bike lane linking it to the Bergen and Dean Street lanes can be incorporated into the redesigned 4th Avenue. It makes a nice low traffic link to the Manhattan Bridge.

  • carma

    im deeply dissapointed at bike share.  why?  because even in 2013, im not going to see it in my part of queens.  thats how dissapointed i am.

  • Brooklyn Feels Great

    “Queens Feeling Slighted” could be the default headline for something like 90% of the news coming out of Queens in a given week.

    Queens is the Cleveland of New York City. 

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bike Share

    So the articles about 4 hour rides are absurd, but more troubling is the use of the term “rent”  These bikes are a membership sharing organization, sort of like a library.  Once a member, you can “check out” bikes as frequently as you like but there are late fees.  The late fees are set so that people return the book/bike so that others may use it.

    I will obviously be an annual member, and the fees are set up to encourage annual membership.  I am currently a fair weather bike commuter and the bike share will open up biking to work when the weather is supposed to be bad in only one direction.  This will save me a lot of subway fare.

  • Brick

    @51dab7e187360270c97a6c36f63be77d:disqus , it seems to me like the shorter passes are more geared towards the tourist crowd, with yearly memberships meant to draw in workers from midtown and the financial district. 

    I’m still not sure how practical the system will be for commuters unless they’re already local (less than 4-5 miles) from their job.

    DOT’s website also mentions that subsidized memberships are available for as low as $60/ year in quarterly payments.

  • Glenn

    Queens? What about Staten Island and the Bronx – are they getting any bike share locations. Staten Island could have almost a separate system Spring up based around the ferry in St. George and then spreading out along the SIRT.

    Eventually, some of the best places for bike share will be at the last station of a train station in Queens (Ditmars Blvd, Main Street, etc) to extend out the reach of the transit system. As bike share captures more of the “last mile” to connect people from transit to their homes, I think many people will reconsider a first or second car.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Eventually, some of the best places for bike share will be at the last station of a train station in Queens (Ditmars Blvd, Main Street, etc) to extend out the reach of the transit system.”

    I think if you had bike garages there, people would ride their own bikes to those locations, possibly using Bikeshare on the other end of their train ride. 

  • Bostonian

    The problem with building bike share stations at the last station of certain lines is that you’d also then need stations at commuting destinations.  In more suburban-style, less dense locations that makes no sense.  What are you going to do?  Build a two-dock bike station an put it on a cul de sac?  Larry is correct in saying that secure bike parking options are better options in such places.

    At the end of the Red Line in Cambridge, MA there is a giant bike locker so that people who bike to the station leave their own bikes and then continue on via T to downtown Boston.  Now that Hubway is all over Boston, I’m sure a lot of people ride to Alewife, take the T, get off at Park Street, pick up a bike share bike and continue to work.

  • J

    @51dab7e187360270c97a6c36f63be77d:disqus I think the problem is one of perspective. This is a transit system, and should be talked about as such. It’s not a bike rental. It’s not for recreation. Just like on the DC Metro or BART, when you take a longer ride, you pay more. But seriously, $95 for unlimited 45 minute rides each year is dirt cheap. When you look at the yearly price, NYC’s system is WAY cheaper than Montreal or Boston since both systems shut down for 4 months.
    Yes, the $10 daily price is steep, and is almost exclusively designed for tourists, who will gladly pay it. Basically, if you plan to use the system more than 10 days per year, it makes financial sense to get a yearly pass. The yearly pass is even cheaper than a one-month metrocard.

  • Anonymous

    @twitter-93223785:disqus Not sure if you’re joking about the Appleyard study.  If my suburban children’s experience is any indicator, traveling in a car vs. subway is totally different.  First of all, the kids get lots of exercise using the subway, from going up and down steps to walking to and from stations.  This contrasts with a car in the ‘burbs, where you pull up to your destinations and your home.  

    Second, my kids navigate when in the subways.  They figure out the route using the map, determine the ways to and around the stations and platforms, and are active and ALIVE.  In the car, they just sit back and zone out.

    Third, I compare the kids I know in the ‘burbs with the ones in the city.  The city kids are in much better shape, don’t complain when they have to walk 1/2 a mile, and are far more independent.

  • J

    Despite all the griping about pricing and safety, bikeshare is happening. The real test will be when people start to use it, and I can’t imagine anything but a resounding success. The folks who think it’s to pricey can simply not use it, but I imagine that tons of people will vote with their pedals and wallets and go for the sheer convenience. Danger from bikeshare users may lead to better enforcement of cyclists in general, which is not such a bad thing. However, let’s not forget that these bikes are pretty clunky and slow. In Montreal, it is quite rare to see someone blasting by on a Bixi (same bike), but it is pretty common to see people going quite fast on road bikes.

  • I agree with Bostonian. My son lives in Queens about 10 blocks from the N train where Bike Share could be a great alternative to taking the bus or walking it. Problem is, unless there are more bike stations sprinkled throughout the area what does a commuter do with the bike once they arrive home? Pay extra to keep it overnight? And what about weekends? Increased bicycle parking near subways so that commuters can use their own bikes, take the subway, and then use Bike Share once they arrive in Brooklyn or Manhattan is probably a more workable solution for now.

  • Glenn

    I think there’s easily a way to branch out bike share stations around a more low density suburban area. Just have a bike share location every 3-5 blocks radiating out from the station. In Astoria for instance, have the big stations near the train station at Ditmars & 31st. Then have bike stations every few blocks all along Ditmars, every few blocks on 21st Ave, near Astoria Park (even in Astoria Park), Every few blocks on Steinway, and so on. You would get much faster travel times even if you had to walk the last 2-3 blocks.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The real test will be when people start to use it, and I can’t imagine anything but a resounding success.”

    The only problem I see is timing.  It’s opening for business in July, not April, so there will be fewer months of warm weather to temp the curious this year.  Kind of like the Prospect Park West bike lane a couple of years back.

    And like the Prospect Park West bike lane, that will set the stage for another round of backlash-while-you-can this winter.  Look!  No one is using it!  Assuming there is no rollback before the first phase is fully rolled out next spring it will only last a winter, but it is nothing to look forward to.

    The good news?  Citi and Mastercard are paying for the equipment.  Good luck to the next Mayor coming up with the money to pay them back if they get rid of it.

  • Bostonian

    Larry, Boston’s system opened at the end of July 2011 and then closed down for the winter, as had always been planned.  So there was a short window for it to prove itself. Membership goals were met a month or two ahead of what was expected and ridership levels were through the roof.

    I think bike share will be the thing that breaks the bikelash once and for all, regardless of the weather.

  • Albert

    Bike share starts in July, just in time for Summer Streets.

  • Joe R.

    @d8d46f16f380afef59ca318522397233:disqus I share your disappointment regarding bike share. Ironically, I think bike share would make more sense in places like where we live (I’m roughly two miles from you) than the denser areas which already have a plethora of other transportation options. To get around many parts of Queens, your only options are infrequent bus service requiring several transfers and often a bit of walking, driving, cycling, or walking (not a serious option if you’re going more than maybe a mile or two). The reason I don’t do errand cycling is a lack of safe places to park my bike. Bike share could change that part of the equation radically. If you put bike share stations here on maybe a 5 or 6 block grid (i.e. you’ll need to walk at most 3 blocks on either end of your journey), I think it would be a hit, perhaps more so than in Manhattan. For outer borough bike share bikes however I would design something fairly fast (you need the speed a lot more here given the greater distances), use airless tires to cut down on maintenance, and use an 8 or 11-speed internally geared rear hub (the Shimano Alfine 11 would be perfect for this). And of course have more reasonable rates (i.e. maybe the same as bus/subway fare for one day use). I’ve said it before but it bears repeating-in the outer boroughs I feel bikes have way more potential to replace car trips than anywhere else in the city.

  • IanM

    I didn’t expect to use bike-share for “all-day jaunts”, but 30 minutes still seems like a disappointingly short window. That may cover most commutes or trips in much smaller cities like DC or Portland, but much less so in New York. It’s too bad they didn’t tailor the pricing system to the much larger scale of this city. 45 minutes would probably be reasonable.

    I’m still interested to see how this plays out and may use it occasionally, but don’t relish the idea of having those fees breathing down my neck so soon. Too bad, I was really hoping I could start using this instead of lugging my own bike up and down 4 flights of stair every time I need to use it.

  • Joe R.

    @Uptowner13:disqus Speed is a red herring when one talks of bicycle safety. Most of the time, even a fast cyclist is going slower than the surrounding motor traffic. Few cyclists, me included, can exceed the 30 mph speed limit for any length of time. If you ask me, the least safe cyclists are the ones who started cycling recently who haven’t any road sense or clues as to bike handling. Ironically, they’re usually the ones who are going the slowest. That said, I’m not worried that a flood of inexperienced bike share users are going to cause mass carnage on the streets. If anything, they might finally help tame motor traffic and make it better for everyone. When the outer boroughs start begging for bike share stations, then we’ll know cycling as a serious mode of transport has finally arrived in NYC.

  • Joe R.

    @882bd325981e4522753c11cc1cd06be6:disqus Agreed on the 30 minute window. Even on my titanium Airborne, which is probably about as fast as road bikes get, I’ll only cover 8 to 8.5 miles in 30 minutes under typical Eastern Queens traffic conditions. That won’t get me even halfway across the city. On these clunker Citi-bikes with typical Manhattan conditions, I’d probably be lucky to do 5 miles in 30 minutes, allowing a minute or two extra to return the bike to the station.

  • Larry Littlefield

    One thing the private sector tends to do better than the public sector is marketing.  I agree that the high charge for a one-day pass is appropriate, given the transaction costs of adding a rider.  However, I wonder if Alta will introduce “specials” for those looking to give it a try, in order to hook them.

    The firm, for example, might offer a $5.00 one week sign-up for those riding MetroNorth, NJT, the LIRR, the PATH or the ferries.  Or those working is such “beyond the subway” locatioins as the hospital complexes on the East Side.  They would then be in “the system,” and could be easily upgraded to one year with little in additional transaction costs.

  • fj

    Traffic gardens

    Why There’ No War Between Drivers and Cyclists in the Netherlands by Sarah Goodyear includes 2 videos

    Bicycle training in the Netherlands

  • fj

    re: J, “This is a transit system . . . ”

    Well worth repeating and, it’s early stage net zero transit to boot . . .

  • Anonymous

    I’m disappointing that all of queens isn’t going to be covered initially but I am delighted to see that LIC has been added to the short term plan, when this was proposed last year there were no locations outside of Brooklyn and Manhattan.  Hopefully this means expansion is planned more of Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island will be included.

    It makes sense to start in lower Manhattan and adjacent neighborhoods.  Once they expand too the Upper east and west sides it will be easy to continue to the Bronx.  Staten Island on the other hand might be a little difficult.  You won’t be able to ride directly to any of the other borough stations.  

  • Anonymous

    As transportation, bike share makes sense as a substitute for trips of 1-3 miles that would otherwise be made by cab, private car, bus, or long walk.  30 minutes seems like plenty of time for this type of use.  It’s not supposed to replace your daily subway trip from Brooklyn to Midtown – you should use your own bike if you don’t want to take the train.

    The pricing is high enough that it is probably more expensive than a cab ride, especially when multiple people are traveling, for users who do not hold annual membership.  Thus, it is targeted more toward residents than tourists, from a price perspective.  I think that is good, although I’m sure there are many tourists who are relatively price insensitive at this level and will use the service just for the experience.

    While increased biking makes a lot of sense for many parts of the outer boroughs, bike share needs to operate between transportation hubs or other places where users are fairly concentrated.  Building lots of small stations across a large area is just not efficient from the standpoint of matching supply with demand, nor from the standpoint of maintenance.  As others have pointed out, better bike parking near transit or shopping hubs would make the most sense.

  • J

    @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus Good point about experience and speed. As time goes by, though, the less experienced riders will become more experienced. I guess my point still stands, though, since we won’t be putting inexperienced cyclists on fast bikes, which would be much much worse.

  • Guest

    @882bd325981e4522753c11cc1cd06be6:disqus Time limit is 45 minutes for annual subscribers.

  • fj

    HamTech87, More concerned about Appleyard-like studies comparing subways to traveling above ground such as walking and cycling where the traveler is physically is using self-propulsion and is in control.

    On a personal basis, seems like navigating abilities have improved since moving from underground to cycling virtually everywhere; but, it is also likely that having direct control on where you’re going has dramatic effect; and actively moving oneself such as cycling, walking, running, skating, skiing, etc., greatly improves executive motor control.

    Also, induced negative psychological states and effects resulting from spending significant amounts of time daily underground, in windowless rooms, in extremely dense human packing, high noise environments, etc.

  • carma

    queens folks like me are so anxiously awaiting for the day bike share comes to our parts.

    while i have my own bike to trek around for local grocery trips.  it just doesnt cut it for me when i need to trek all the way on bike to jersey, with me bringing my bike along the subway and across my njtransit bus which i cant bring on the bus.  so if there were hubs along the subway station to a convenient locale near my house that would be the ideal situation for many folks here in queens where subways are not close to home.