Today’s Headlines

  • Margaret King, 81, Killed in Staten Island; Motorist Ticketed for Failure to Yield (Advance)
  • Judge: NYPD “Needlessly Delayed” Giving Lefevre Crash Documents to Family (Times, Gothamist)
  • Times Editorial on Traffic Fatality Spike: We Need Speed Cams, Street Redesigns, Enforcement
  • AAA: NYC Stop Lights With Red Light Cameras Have Shorter Yellows; Vacca “Troubled” (Post)
  • NYPD on Bikes: We’re Targeting Delivery Riders and Issuing Fewer Red Light Tickets (TransNat)
  • City Wanted Money for Cruiser Damage From Mother of Man Run Over, Killed by NYPD in Chase (News)
  • Toll Cheats Have Cost Thruway $35 Million Since 2007 (Democrat & Chronicle)
  • Video: Driver Backs Onto W’burg Sidewalk, Seriously Injuring Grandmother and Two Kids (News, NY1)
  • After Hit-and-Run Death of Terence Connor, Neighbors Want Fixes to Metropolitan Ave (Bklyn Paper)
  • Columnist: “Bereavement” for Car in the Shop for a Day; “I Had a Terrible Feeling of Loss” (Advance)
  • If Guy Molinari Can’t Have a Mega-Project, No One Can: “Nobody Is Talking About Traffic” (Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill.

We will be publishing lightly today and back on our regular schedule tomorrow. Happy Columbus Day.

  • J

    The editorial in the Times was the best opinion piece on street safety that I have ever seen in the New York media, hands down. It didn’t play to any stereotypes or stigmatize anyone. It didn’t rest on our laurels as better than other US cities, which have even worse records of street safety. It was simply a call for the actions that have been shown to work, and a reduction in deaths and injuries on our streets. Bravo!

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the sentiment of the NYT editorial, but its opening line seemed intellectually dishonest to me. “The streets of New York City have become a lot more dangerous in the last year”. Really? How can you say that without at least asking the obvious question of whether the difference is statistically significant and not a random fluctuation?

    Yes, we need to make the streets safer, we need speed cameras, and we need better engineering and better enforcement. I agree with all of that, but we would still need those things even if the rate had stayed the same or even decreased a bit, because we should strive to get it as close to zero as possible. But I can’t help but be annoyed whenever I see fallacious or at least grossly incomplete arguments even if they happen to be on my side. Yes, call me pedantic. I do know that good politics and good advocacy are not necessarily the same as good logic and good math, but the nerd in me can’t help it.

  • Anonymous

    I thought the selection of letters about the helmet debate printed by the NYT today was interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/opinion/bike-helmets-for-the-common-good.html

    They are all strongly pro-helmet;  one by a doctor, one personal anecdote, and one “don’t be selfish and make me feel bad when I kill you!”.Did they not receive any “anti-helmet” letters? Or did they choose to publish only pro-helmet to “balance out” the “anti-helmet” opinion piece that they are responding to?

  • The NY Times editorial was fairly sensible, insofar as it echoes points I made in a recent blogpost (http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.com/2012/10/do-as-you-like-motorists-and-dont-blame.html). But why on earth does it say that the key to reducing traffic deaths is to ticket more cyclists? Cyclists already attract 5 per cent of police tickets in NYC, while representing a far lower share of traffic. Not a single one of the 291 people who died in the year in question died after being struck by a cyclist. It makes no sense at all.

  • Anonymous

    The Times also wrote on Tamon Robinson:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/06/nyregion/woman-charged-for-damages-to-police-car-that-struck-tamon-robinson.html?ref=nyregion
    The most amazing part is this line:

    It described the manner of death as an “accident (struck by police vehicle during pursuit).”

    That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, even the coroner’s office labels “death-by-car” an accident.

  • Anonymous

    From the Times editorial mention of Red Light Cameras: “They would record the license plates of vehicles going faster than the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour. ”

    10mph over the 30mph NYC speed limit = 40mph.  
    People hit by motorists going 40mph have about an 85% chance of death.  http://humantransport.org/sidewalks/SpeedKills.htm

    Shouldn’t the cameras be set for the ACTUAL speed limit?

  • krstrois

    I liked Sadik-Khan’s strong response to the AAA “study.” 
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/pr2012/redlights.shtmlPeople really do see AAA as a kindly organization because they will send someone to rescue your car when you’re stranded. But as long as AAA advocates for zero impediments for cars, ever, it is an anti-walking, anti-cycling and anti-transit organization and its studies will always reflect that bias. I don’t listen when BP releases its positive spin on Gulf coast recovery either. I love boring the sh*t our of family with these stats at holidays, btws.

  • Joe R.

    @HamTech87:disqus For a bunch of legal and practical reasons you can’t set the speed cams to trip at exactly the speed limit. For starters, there can be errors in speed measurement. The first motorist who gets tripped when they’re only going 28 or 29 mph has grounds for a major lawsuit. Second, there are speedometer errors. The speedo might say you’re going 30 mph but you could be going a few mph faster or slower. For all these reasons even law enforcement typically gives a buffer of at least 5 mph before issuing a ticket. If we really want red light cameras to trip at 30 mph then we’ll have to lower the speed limit to 20 mph.

    An alternative to speed cams which I love personally would be to require all new cars to be limited to the speed limit using gps, at least on local streets where speeding causes the most issues (I personally don’t care if people drive at 150 mph on highways because this doesn’t endanger pedestrians or cyclists). You could also retrofit all older cars to do the same within a certain time frame (say 5 years). And the same technology could also limit acceleration rates to a sedate 2 or 3 mph per second on local streets to prevent the “stop-light grand prix”. Sad to say though, a proposal like this will go nowhere because motorists will cry bloody hell at anything which interferes with their ability to do whatever they want with their cars. Even something like making black box data available to law enforcement faces vehement, frothing at the mouth, opposition from a majority of motorists.

  • KillMoto

    @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus , Love the ideas & how you’ve articulated them.  I’m 100% on board, though that indeed puts you and I in an infinitesimal minority. 

    One thing I’d suggest – I would not advocate for retrofitting any private autos – but I would demand swift implementation on all professionally driven vehicles (garbage trucks, semis, taxis).

    I imagine that even if only taxi’s were so speed governed, their sheer number in relation to non-governed vehicles would cause all motorists to slow down.  After all, if you’re stuck behind taxis, 3 lanes wide and 10cars deep, all accelerating slowly and not exceeding the limit, there’s nothing an impatient motorist can do to get around them…