Today’s Headlines

  • Bloomberg: Parents and Kids, Not NYPD, Responsible for Street Safety (News)
  • NYPD Entrusts Kids’ Lives to Part-Time Workers Who Earn Little and Buy Their Own Uniforms (Post)
  • More Coverage of Scott Stringer’s Strange Presser From DNA and Gothamist
  • TransNat Notes Cluster of Child Deaths in East Harlem
  • Where Was Cy Vance the Day Amar Diarrassouba Died? (Epoch Times)
  • Pols Renew Call to Toughen Hit-and-Run Law After Deadly Williamsburg Crash (Post)
  • Related: NYPD Will Reconstruct Collision (NYT); Suspect a Convicted Killer Recently Caught DWI (DNA)
  • Citing Traffic, South Bronx Coalition Files Suit to Stop Fresh Direct Move (NYT)
  • Gelinas: Existing Subways Can’t Absorb Planned Midtown East Upzoning (City & State)
  • MTA Team Cracks Down on Farebeaters (News)
  • Bloomberg Keeps Festivals on Side Streets to Keep Crosstown Traffic Flowing (DNA)
  • Manhattan Rivals Los Angeles in Work Commute Times (WNYC)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • krstrois

    Would love to invite the mayor to come walk cross Atlantic Ave or McGuinness Blvd with me and my four year old son. Or a walk to Sutton Place from Lex and 57th with my 90 year old great aunt. You wouldn’t even need NYPD or crossing guards if you built the streets properly to begin with. Just such utter bs from him this morning. 

  • Parent

    Where did the mayor eat before he made that idiotic comment? Milk Burger?

  • carma

    im glad they are cracking down on deadbeat farebeaters.
    there are certainly a bunch that evade given the lack of enforcement.

    however, lets also consider the problem with overcrowded buslines where even getting on the bus is a problem.  the new buses have a two step hump in the back and nobody wants to move back.  waiting for a bus for up to half hour.  people lose patience and hop on in the back.  most of these folks take a bus to the train where they will be paying anyways.

    the whole payment system for boarding buses is outdated.  actually, the whole metrocard is outdated.  we need to have an RFID system where you simply tap at any door and board at any door.

    in the long run it saves on maintenance on those silly metrocard magnetic machines.

  • Anonymous

    I have to admit that I’m mostly furious the NYPD is reconstructing that crash on Kent. One the one hand: yay! They’re taking a vehicular homicide seriously. On the other: why why why this one and not the hundreds of others that happen each year–almost all of them instantly dismissed with “no criminality suspected”? The difference in treatment is outrageous. I mean, how many crashes will go un- or underinvestigated over the next few months while the city’s tiny squad of “accident” investigators devotes its resources to this one terrible event?

  • Anonymous

    @dporpentine:disqus Yah, they don’t seem to be in a hurry to reconstruct the scene where that poor Japanese student was killed in Queens.  All witnesses say no lights or sirens.  Police say otherwise but won’t share the surveillance.  

    Is the police’s natural instinct to lie and cover up?  I mean sh-t.  Just fess up when you mess up.  

  • Larry Littlefield

    If you know the facts, if you know the numbers, it can be frustrating when a single incident suddenly attracts public attention.  This one incident does not mean the streets are any more or less dangerous than they were.  In reality the overall issue is what it was, and was what it is.

    On a numbers basis, the one person killed by a cyclist a few year ago does not mean bicycles are an equal threat compared with motor vehicles.  But on a public perception basis, as manipulated by the media and the pols, that was the worst traffic incident until this one.

  • KillMoto

    Note to Cy Vance: Nearly Every NYC Crime Involvs a Car, too

  • Joe R.

    @dporpentine:disqus Look at the religious/ethnic backgrounds of the couple killed on Kent Avenue. Now do the same for many of those in important positions in city government. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

  • Joe R.

    And by the way, despite their religious/ethnic background, had the couple killed on Kent Avenue been on bikes instead of a car, there wouldn’t have been any investigation.

  • Joe R.

    And by the way, despite their religious/ethnic background, had the couple killed on Kent Avenue been on bikes instead of a car, there wouldn’t have been any investigation.

  • Joe R.

    And by the way, despite their religious/ethnic background, had the couple killed on Kent Avenue been on bikes instead of a car, there wouldn’t have been any investigation.

  • jrab

    dporpentine, I suspect that the multiple deaths have something to do with the press attention, as well as the emergency birth.

    The eminent Charles Komanoff’s 2012 S’blog piece on the Washington Square crash of 1992 makes several relevant points, among them the long-term drop in pedestrian casualties.

  • swifty

    Regarding safety, years ago it was the thing to declare places nuclear free zones. 

    Now that “twenty’s plenty” slow zones are catching on . . .

    It is about time people start wising up and start making their neighborhoods car-free zones.

    Safe communities, soaring property values, on the critical path to the world’s first carbon-free neighborhoods, quiet except for happy children and other types of people, . . . possibilities endless.

  • New Yorker

    @dporpentine:disqus Look at how the Orthodox community responded after the vehicular manslaughter of Nachman and Raizy Glauber and their unborn baby. Look at these images:

    http://www.vosizneias.com/125453/2013/03/03/brooklyn-ny-shock-grief-and-mourning-as-williamsburg-couple-is-laid-to-rest-photos

    There are *thousands* of people in the streets carrying the coffins through the streets. 

    OK? So, that gets results. That gets response from NYPD and City Hall. We can criticize that and complain: Why don’t other motor vehicle fatalities get similar attention? 

    Or we can take note and learn a lesson: When hundreds of New Yorkers take to the streets in unity and demand action and carry the victims coffins through their neighborhood streets, NYPD and City Hall pays attention and responds… big-time. 

  • Anonymous

    @d67e39e2fa05206b3e6316d2709d2686:disqus I wish it were the case that quantity of aggrieved community members equaled degree of response. But compare this:
    http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120616/east-flatbush/upset-residents-hold-vigil-for-shantel-davis-protest-67th-precinct
    There are clear differences here in the kind of crime these people are protesting, but I think it’s worth noting that the level of protest in this case wasn’t too shabby–and yet I think this is a case that’s mostly been forgotten by the white press and even at the time didn’t really rally anyone outside the community.

    The number of people who died played a role in making this a bigger deal (as @85211970d034887d032f8c319f70adbb:disqus suggests) . And the fact of the baby initially surviving. And the gross injustice of it all–the Glaubers were clearly as innocent as can possibly be imagined. 

    But the more I’ve thought about it today, the more I think the thing that allows everyone to see the Glaubers’ innocence was that they were in a *car*.

    I mean, criminy–even on Streetsblog, Mathieu Lefevre can get sideswiped by a crane truck at night and so-called activists will withhold their judgment about his status as a victim until they’ve been assured that he had a light on. 

    Bizarrely, we seem to have decided that being in a car is the state of innocence. While at some level being on a bike or on the sidewalk makes you automatically suspect. It’s so topsy-turvy it’s almost unimaginable.  

  • dporpentine,  You have to consider operator deaths vs. passenger deaths.
    In the case of a pedestrian or cyclist or driver death, the deceased was in control and made a bad choice. (yes one can choose to avoid dangerous streets or intersections,, I grew up in Midwood and learnt quickly where the trucks were, which streets had bus routes and where the crazy drivers were always about Coney Island Ave & Ocean Parkway come to mind.)

    In this scenario, the deceased were PASSENGERS. They had zero control over their fate (it was entrusted to a professional operator). If a City Bus was hit by a truck and 3 people died (and the truck operator ran off) there would be a similiar outcry.

    I was once a 3rd grader that walked two blocks to the B6 bus stop with my neighbor that was 3 years older than me. My dad told me to never assume someone else is right – “if they jump off of a bridge, are you going to do that to?” comes to mind.

    I only crossed Bay Parkway when I was sure I wasnt going to get hit, not because my freinds’ older brother yakov thought it was safe enough.

  • dporpentine,  You have to consider operator deaths vs. passenger deaths.
    In the case of a pedestrian or cyclist or driver death, the deceased was in control and made a bad choice. (yes one can choose to avoid dangerous streets or intersections,, I grew up in Midwood and learnt quickly where the trucks were, which streets had bus routes and where the crazy drivers were always about Coney Island Ave & Ocean Parkway come to mind.)

    In this scenario, the deceased were PASSENGERS. They had zero control over their fate (it was entrusted to a professional operator). If a City Bus was hit by a truck and 3 people died (and the truck operator ran off) there would be a similiar outcry.

    I was once a 3rd grader that walked two blocks to the B6 bus stop with my neighbor that was 3 years older than me. My dad told me to never assume someone else is right – “if they jump off of a bridge, are you going to do that to?” comes to mind.

    I only crossed Bay Parkway when I was sure I wasnt going to get hit, not because my freinds’ older brother yakov thought it was safe enough.

  • Also when Gidone Busch was shot by the NYPD for wielding a hammer (he was mentally disturbed) there were protests all over Boro Park. The local elected Officials were unanimous in demanding justice.

  • Morris Zapp

    @facebook-502866805:disqus What is wrong with you?

  • Morris Zapp, while trying not to be callous – those are the facts. 
    When I ride my Windsor Knight road bike from Teaneck to Coney Island ( I do), I control my fate and I am aware of stupid drivers. 

    Passengers are not…simple as that.

  • Morris Zapp, you are clearly not from the middle class of people that did not abandon the city in the 1960’s and 1970’s. 
    My mother was born in the Bronx and never left NYC – I was born in brooklyn.

    She was terrified of speeding car at the intersection of Avenue J and Ocean Avenue and would walk 1 block up to Avenue I and Ocean Ave where there was a school with a crossing guard and a longer light. 

    People make these choices all the time and cars are a fact of life in the outer boroughs – if you don’t think so, try living in Midwood and having a job in Jamaica or Forest Hills? Take a subway through manhattan on a 90-120 minute trip that doesnt start or end too close to your destination?

    Nearly all of those inter-bourough trips will be made by drivers. If you dont believe me, do go out and watch the BQE, Jackie Robinson or the Belt at rush hour. 

    Your ignorance to how middle class people actually live in this city is appalling, Morris Zapp. 

  • Anonymous

    @facebook-502866805:disqus How repellent. Other people you presumably consider to have been in charge of their fate:
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/02/25/curb-jumping-drivers-kill-women-in-manhattan-and-brooklyn-no-charges/
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/02/14/cy-vance-driver-who-jumped-the-curb-and-hit-senior-not-reckless/
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2012/08/23/70-year-old-man-crushed-killed-by-security-truck-in-financial-district/
    I could go on and on like this.

    I won’t even bother listing cyclists, since you already know they could’ve just saved themselves, magically, by being “aware of stupid drivers.”

  • Anonymous

    @facebook-502866805:disqus As always, I recommend contacting the various victims’ families and telling them that their loved ones died because they failed to be sufficiently aware. If you can’t imagine doing that, you might want to rethink your position.

  • dporpentine, I am not a cop and it is not my job to contact families. It is my job however, to make the streets safer. 
    I spend my days designing safer intersections and streets that give users a safer choice than what they were previously accustomed to.

    From an transportation planning perspective, unless we (authorities) can control the user movements, they are considered in self control.

    We can almost totally centrally control rail (safest mode), control through professional operators (buses) or control through street design – where the users have more unpredictability and can (and do) break the rules by parking on sidewalks, jumping lights, biking against traffic, jaywalking on 8th avenue, ect.

    It is sad and upsetting that anyone has to die while using our transportation network.

    But as a transportation planner, I can only control movements so much – A rail accident would have the largest outcry, followed by professionally operated vehicles !!!

    You don’t seem to get that the DMV and TLC approved the livery driver as a professional. Someone that is expected to know and follow the rules, with repercussions for non-compliance.

    It is harder to get angry and protest the authorities when a single independent driver causes a death.

    Putting your life in the hands of a state-sanctioned professional and then dying is a different case than the 3 you posed.

    Sorry, But I am glad you arent designing or planning transportation projects.

  • dporpentine 
    “I won’t even bother listing cyclists, since you already know they could’ve just saved themselves, magically, by being “aware of stupid drivers.”

    Yes, most cyclist deaths are the result of poor street design. NOT MALICIOUS DRIVERS.

    Get that through your head. My client answers to voters. The majority of whom, have drivers licences. Even in Manhattan. They own cars to shop in Paramus or drive their kids occasionally. If you dont think so, start knocking on doors on the UES and UWS and Harlem and Washington heights, ect.

    When I plan my cycling route, I avoid all arterials with more than 1 lane in each direction. I just dont take multi lane roads. Simple as that.

    When we worked with Google for Bicycle routes basemapping in Bergen County, NJ, all multilane roads were removed from the bicycling layer on google maps. In some cases, a street is bike freindly for 90% of its route, but the major intersections where the street widens is marked on google maps as a place to avoid.

    Sorry, but vehicular cycling is the worst thing that ever befell the cycling community. Bikes arent cars and never will be. They are much closer to pedestrians in terms of speeds, armor and variety of movements.

    Dont ride on a major street with trucks and busses. Its just plain old stupid and you are taking your life into your hands. 

    Regardless of what the traffic law says about bikes having the same responsibilities and privileges as motorized vehicles.

  • I am in favor of an entirely seperated bike network, using bike lanes, paths, cycletracks, crossbikes and the like.

  • Joe R.

    @facebook-502866805:disqus The vast majority of vehicles on the road in the city during typical rush hours are suburban auto commuters. Granted, a small minority of city residents may have commutes like you describe, but most work in Manhattan and take the subway in from one of the outer boroughs.

    As a transportation planner there is one thing which can be done to make streets safer-namely take steps to reduce the insane volume of motor vehicles. That’s really the heart of the problem here. Everything else is a band-aid. When people are fighting for limited space, social conventions go right out the window. That’s why people in this city drive like sociopathic assholes. Eliminate curbside parking, narrow roads, charge fees to enter crowded areas (or just ban personal cars from these areas altogether), etc. These are all valid tools to combat the problem. Granted, some of these things need to be legislated but others don’t. What’s to stop you from just prohibiting parking within 75 feet of a corner on safety grounds because such parking can and does impede the lines of sight? That seems like a quick fix which would make intersections safer, and also reduce the supply of parking. And what about systematically getting rid of traffic lights once you improve lines of sight? Traffic lights greatly increase incidences of speeding, and they’re also inherently anti-bike and anti-pedestrian. These are tools in your toolbox which could be used. Once higher ups grasp the idea that fewer vehicles on the roads are better for everyone, maybe there will be support for congestion charges and/or outright banning of personal cars from certain areas. The fact is without as many cars on the road, a lot of trips which might be very inconvenient by public transit now would less so as buses could run faster. We might even get finally get political support to start building some sorely needed subway expansions in the outer boroughs.

  • Joe R., the vast majority of vehicles on the road in Manhattan at any given time are owned by Manhattanites and are parked.
    Sorry.

  • Joe R.

    @facebook-502866805:disqus “I am in favor of an entirely seperated bike network, using bike lanes, paths, cycletracks, crossbikes and the like.”

    Good, we’re on the same page here. I really think the city needs a comprehensive network of totally separate bike lanes, especially in the outer boroughs. We can leverage existing grade-separated railroads, els, and expressways for a lot of this, filling in the gaps with purpose built elevated structures where necessary. A grid of these roughly 2 miles square would put nearly everyone within a mile of a totally safe place to cycle. If we could do a 1 mile square grid, even better.

    BTW, I agree with you about vehicular cycling but unfortunately in many parts of the city multi-lane roads are the only option between certain destinations. I’ve used Google Maps on occasion to map out cycling routes. The end result typically requires torturous numbers of turns which I wouldn’t remember, and uses slow residential roads which often are in poor shape and/or have much steeper gradients than major arterials. Out here in Eastern Queens, where I live, all of the thru streets are multilane. Most of the others only go on for 10 or 15 blocks, if that, before encountering an expressway, railroad, super block, park, or cemetery.

    Nor argument we need better ways to get around by bike, but you can’t always fault someone for their choice of roads when the alternatives are often inconvenient and/or very confusing.

  • Joe R.,
    The problem with traffic in Manhattan is mostly due to Drivers from Northern NJ. 

    You are correct in that the CBD’s should prohibit passenger vehicles and only allow commercial, municipal and for hire vehicles.

    It would lower the costs of delivering goods to NYC businesses and make buses a viable complement/alternative to subway expansion( for better or for worse).

    It is a fairly common practice for municipalities to locate all fire hydrants at corners to maintain good sight lines as well as simplifying things. (but that is really expensive, but is being done where ever streets are being excavated.) 

    Also, now that a road diet has been recognized by AASHTO, we will begin to see a lot more applications of it in NYC. (depending on NYCDOT leadership, of course)

  • Joe R.

    @facebook-502866805:disqus “Joe R., the vast majority of vehicles on the road in Manhattan at any given time are owned by Manhattanites and are parked. Sorry.”

    I’m talking about the vehicles which are in motion as those are the ones which kill people. In Manhattan about half of those are taxis, and most of the rest are either delivery vehicles or suburban auto commuters. In the outer boroughs by far suburban auto commuters dominate the expressways. I see lots of traffic on the LIE outbound but I don’t see much of it ever exiting before city limits.

    Car-owning Manhattanites are a peculiar breed. It seems most of them rarely use their cars, but just spend inordinate amounts of time moving them from one side of the street to the other due to alternate side rules. Maybe we need to convince these people that it’s better to just rent a car for the one a month drive in the country.

  • Joe R.,
    I personally know many Manhattan residents (for generations) that love having a car at hand to transport light-to-medium loads. Groceries, bottles of soda, boxes, things that are a pain to lug around, ect.

    Zipcar IS changing people’s minds, but I know many people that feel that they need that car for those inconvenient trips to Long Island, NJ, Outer Boroughs, ect and aren’t ready to give it up yet.

    I personally like that you also notice my vision of cycle routing – safe through routes that connect many destinations.

    Ironically, some of the best through-route safe cycling street streets are found in Eastern Bergen County, on Knickerbocker Road and 9W: http://goo.gl/maps/Zjeqo

    I have been trying to piece together the best routes that span many neighborhoods and note and propose design changes ( small path here, bridge over creek here or simply a path through a park that is currently fenced off.

    Sometimes the missing links are easy to fix with a short sidewalk through a garden apartment complex (common in Queens) and other times difficult, such as requiring a bridge/underpass over a road.

  • Joe R.

    @facebook-502866805:disqus You’re right that sometimes the missing links aren’t terribly difficult to fill in. If a park is in the way, for example, a bike path through the park is a no brainer. My only pet peeve about some cycling specific infrastructure being designed nowadays is that it seems to mainly cater to novice cyclists. By this I mean that there are often many sharp turns and other factors (i.e. shared space with pedestrians) which constrain speeds to point where I prefer to take my chances on a multilane road. It doesn’t have to be that way. For example, I’ve been on the Belt Parkway Greenway. I’d rate this an 8 out of 10. For much of the run I can ride as fast as I would like, with enough room to safely pass slower cyclists. I deducted 2 points because some bridges are much narrower than the rest of the path, there are a few sharp turns but only in two areas, and also because there’s a signalized crossing instead of a bridge over Flatbush Avenue (effectively interrupting what would otherwise be an 8 mile run without road crossings). But at least I consider the Belt Parkway Greenway useable, and in non-windy conditions I can cover the 8 miles in 30 minutes or less. That’s far better than other cycling infrastructure I’ve seen where it might take twice as long to do the same distance. Yes, bikes are closer to pedestrians than to motor vehicles, but we still need to realize that there’s a pretty wide speed range among cyclists. Any decent infrastructure should safely accommodate this. I’ll bet even hard core VC guys would prefer a safe and separated path over sharing the road, provided they could more or less safely maintain something like 22 mph.

  • Joe R.,
    What do think about the current state of the Ocean parkway Bike Path?

  • Joe R.

    @facebook-502866805:disqus Unfortunately, I’ve never been on it. I’ll check it out next time I visit a friend of mine who lives near there.

  • It’s North America’s first dedicated bike path. It has been used for generations but has many lights.

  • Anonymous

    @facebook-502866805:disqus In the name of not feeding trolls, I’ll ignore most of what you wrote to focus on this: 

    You don’t seem to get that the DMV and TLC approved the livery driver as a professional. 

    The livery driver was driving an unapproved vehicle.* That was almost certainly apparent to the Glaubers, since the car wouldn’t have had the necessary plates, etc. Are they now to be disregarded as sad casualties unworthy of regard? In your worldview, they clearly are. 

    *Doubt that? A reference: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/nyregion/expectant-couple-killed-on-way-to-hospital.html

  • Michael Klatsky

    How would they have known that? There is a reasonable expectation that a car service is legally run.

    And if you think that pedestrian and cyclist don’t make stupid, aggressive moves in front of or alongside fast moving cars or big trucks/buses with large blind spots, you aren’t from and aren’t currently living in ny or nj.

    I am by no means exucusing reckless drivers, we have thousands of those that we cannot easily control.