Today’s Headlines

  • Driver Kills Lakhranee Sookram, 67, Crossing White Plains Road in the Bronx to Catch Bus (News)
  • “Case Closed,” NYPD Tells Victim of Sidewalk-Jumping Motorist (Atlantic Cities)
  • If TLC, NYPD, and the DA Won’t Act, It’s Up to Passengers to Withhold Tips From Reckless Cabbies (IVM)
  • Cyclist Injures Two in Chinatown (News)
  • Driver Flips SUV Onto Hutch Parkway Bike Path; Crash Investigated as Homicide (WNBC, Post)
  • With His History as MTA Chair, Lhota Walks a Fine Line on Campaign Trail (NYT, 2nd Avenue Sagas)
  • Newly-Revived City Club Claims Midtown East Infrastructure Fund Is “Zoning for Dollars” (NYT)
  • In Queens BP Race, Vallone and Katz Hedge on Support for QueensWay vs. Rail (News)
  • Brownsville’s Efforts to Improve Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Get Attention in City Limits
  • Dante de Blasio: “Transportation Infrastructure! It’s a Lot More Exciting Than It Sounds” (Post)
  • NYPD’s Bike Ticket Blitz Goes Multi-Modal (Gothamist)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • I agree and completely sympathize with you. I’m just saying it’s hard to make common cause with peds when they are coming to see us as The Enemy along with cars. Let’s be less of a menace to them and more of an example of how to chill out, be safe, and enjoy the ride.

  • Joe R.

    To be sure, it’s only a minority of cyclists who ride in such a manner as to piss pedestrians off, but they usually do so in places where they’re highly visible to lots of people, and so the scofflaw cyclist stereotype persists.

    On another note, we shouldn’t base enforcement on the number of complaints at community meetings. People are illogical as far as picking what to complain about. Often, they focus on stuff which is at best annoying, while ignoring the things which are downright harmful. Why for example aren’t community boards in this city full of people complaining about the miserable air quality from motor vehicles, or better yet the sheer volume of traffic which makes many streets nearly impossible to safely cross? To me these seem like clear and present threats to health. Statistics back me up on this. The police should politely say to those who complain about bikes “Sorry, we sympathize that bikes may sometimes be annoying, but the statistics say they’re a minor threat, and we don’t plan to devote much, if any, resources to policing cyclists. We suggest you reach out to your local cycling advocacy organizations and local restaurants to solve these issues.”

    Yes, this may be seen as passing the buck, but in the end bikes shouldn’t be a police matter. Statistically, they’re about as dangerous as lightning strikes.

  • Joe R.

    To be sure, it’s only a minority of cyclists who ride in such a manner as to piss pedestrians off, but they usually do so in places where they’re highly visible to lots of people, and so the scofflaw cyclist stereotype persists.

    On another note, we shouldn’t base enforcement on the number of complaints at community meetings. People are illogical as far as picking what to complain about. Often, they focus on stuff which is at best annoying, while ignoring the things which are downright harmful. Why for example aren’t community boards in this city full of people complaining about the miserable air quality from motor vehicles, or better yet the sheer volume of traffic which makes many streets nearly impossible to safely cross? To me these seem like clear and present threats to health. Statistics back me up on this. The police should politely say to those who complain about bikes “Sorry, we sympathize that bikes may sometimes be annoying, but the statistics say they’re a minor threat, and we don’t plan to devote much, if any, resources to policing cyclists. We suggest you reach out to your local cycling advocacy organizations and local restaurants to solve these issues.”

    Yes, this may be seen as passing the buck, but in the end bikes shouldn’t be a police matter. Statistically, they’re about as dangerous as lightning strikes.

  • Joe R.

    To be sure, it’s only a minority of cyclists who ride in such a manner as to piss pedestrians off, but they usually do so in places where they’re highly visible to lots of people, and so the scofflaw cyclist stereotype persists.

    On another note, we shouldn’t base enforcement on the number of complaints at community meetings. People are illogical as far as picking what to complain about. Often, they focus on stuff which is at best annoying, while ignoring the things which are downright harmful. Why for example aren’t community boards in this city full of people complaining about the miserable air quality from motor vehicles, or better yet the sheer volume of traffic which makes many streets nearly impossible to safely cross? To me these seem like clear and present threats to health. Statistics back me up on this. The police should politely say to those who complain about bikes “Sorry, we sympathize that bikes may sometimes be annoying, but the statistics say they’re a minor threat, and we don’t plan to devote much, if any, resources to policing cyclists. We suggest you reach out to your local cycling advocacy organizations and local restaurants to solve these issues.”

    Yes, this may be seen as passing the buck, but in the end bikes shouldn’t be a police matter. Statistically, they’re about as dangerous as lightning strikes.

  • Joe R.

    One thing I think we’re doing wrong in the cycling community is when attempts at self-policing end up chastising people who aren’t necessarily part of the problem. We can all agree I think on what constitutes reckless, unacceptable behavior which should be ostracized. The gray area is illegal but safe behavior. I see far too many arguments in the cycling community get nasty over this. You have one side which obeys laws to the letter, and insists anyone who doesn’t do the same is contributing to the problem. You have the other side who might ignore the letter of the law, but not the spirit of it. We can debate forever exactly what type of cyclist behavior results in people complaining at community board meetings, but in the end you hit on a grain of truth. A lot of this complaining is just smoke-and-mirrors rationalization of bicycle hatred. A segment of the population for whatever reason feels bicycles don’t belong on the streets. They grasp at whatever straw they can to justify their position.

    What we need to do is to stop fighting with each other while calling out the bike haters. We need to bring statistics to the table which show bikes aren’t a major threat. We also need to better articulate why we sometimes take liberties with traffic laws, just as pedestrians will jaywalk for both convenience and safety. Finally, we need to be crystal clear that taking such liberties should never be done if it puts others in danger.

    The very definition of insanity is repeating the same thing while expecting different results. We know policing doesn’t affect cyclist behavior. At best, it changes cyclist behavior only when the police are around. At worst it discourages cycling. We also know the reason policing is largely unsuccessful is because traffic laws are largely designed for motor vehicles, not people on foot or on bikes. We’ve tacitly acknowledged this for pedestrians by simply not enforcing jaywalking laws. We have yet to reach a similar level of understanding for cyclists. And I submit the reason has nothing to do with cyclist behavior, cyclist numbers relative to the population, or people complaining at community meetings. Rather, it’s due to a failure to stick together, combined with an epic failure by major cycling advocacy organizations to articulate the issues. When all we hear coming from major cycling advocacy organizations is follow the laws and wear a helmet, we know we have a major problem.

  • Anonymous

    “Pedestrians always have the right of way” is a myth. Yes, it’s true that drivers are not allowed to strike a pedestrian on purpose just because the pedestrian didn’t have the right of way, but other than that, pedestrians are supposed to yield to vehicles under many different conditions. To give an example, from Section 1152 (a) of the VTL: “Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.”

  • Bolwerk

    You’re getting hung up on minutiae? Ok:

    • Re “ignored almost all the points i’ve taken the time to make”: that would probably mean one of five things. Most likely either I agree with them or don’t have an opinion. More rarely I don’t know enough to comment, don’t have the time, or don’t see the point in the position or pursuing it. If there is something you want me to comment on that I didn’t, feel free to ask me.

    • Re your Reagan/Randroid “sarcasm”: it was rather misplaced, given that I was basically making the case that everybody should be treated the same way. Reagan and Rand are popular with authoritarians precisely because they extoll the preservation and propagation of unearned privileges for certain classes of people at the expense of other people. Also, capitalize the ‘L’ in Libertarian or the ter’rists win!

    • Re going from arguing five to six figures: you know, you accused me of quoting you selectively (I didn’t, see below), and then you turned around and did the same to me, right? I variously used the phrases “high five figures” and “almost six figures.” I don’t see a meaningful change in terminology. Some teachers, in fact, do make six figures, and I posted the salary schedule above. It’s a stretch to say teacher compensation puts teachers in anything short of the middle class level of wages, and it would be what I would describe as “upper middle class” by end of career.

    • Re 1955: I quoted enough of the text to make it easy to refer to what paragraph I was responding to. It’s all there for anyone who wants to refer to what you said in more detail. I didn’t consider the “1955” part relevant, but if you want to explain why it is, be my guest.

    • Re re-framing: I haven’t done that once. I’ve stuck to the point that pensions either are a right or they’re not. Either teachers deserve them or they don’t, but if they deserve them, then everyone does. You can’t have it both ways without pretending teachers are a special class of person more deserving of a pension.

    • Re “public sector workers who we need to do things for us”: my butcher and barber do things for me. So do peons working in slave-like conditions picking your produce. Why should they not get a pension? Some people who aren’t in the service of the state perform socially useful functions too.

    • Re can’t tell if you’re making an “each to his own” argument, or the complete opposite: if you read anything I said you would have figured out, neither. I’m talking about the basic fairness of distributing and redistributing scarce public resources. I personally think everyone should have a dignified pension, though that position stems from a proposition about fairness you dismissed as an “offensive strawman.”

  • Bolwerk

    To clarify qrt145: if you’re at a crosswalk, and a car is coming, it has to yield to you if it doesn’t have a light. moocow is practically right, though not legally.

  • Anonymous

    How about a “vote up” and “vote down” button in the back of the cab? Like blog posts? Let the crowd manage a cabbie’s reputation.

    One vote per meter-reset, to keep people from stuffing the ballot box.

  • Anonymous

    Lhota opposed installing a Verrazano Bridge bicycle and pedestrian path last December. Lhota said on WNYC “The bridge cannot support a path.” which he concluded with “Cyclists are just going to have to get over it.”

    Unfortunately Joe, this just ain’t so. The bridge has been engineered for two paths, outboard of the upper roadway, under the cables, as on the GWB.

    Lhota may have been quoting Triboro Bridge and Tunnel (MTA B&T) engineers, but they were misinforming him. This has been the TBTA story since before the VNB was opened in 1964, and has the cover of plausible denyability, since there was never a word written about the bridge including or excluding the paths until a year before it opened. And that word in 1963 was simply that no path would be included. This denyability ended in 1997.

    NYC Dept of City Planning studied cyclists and pedestrians across the VNB in 1997. DCP hired Ammann and Whitney – the VNB’s original engineers – to perform a structural analysis and cost estimate. Ammann & Whitney determined that the VNB has both the capacity and the space for two paths, one on each side of the upper level, without impacting any of the motor lanes. A&W estimated that the cost of two paths would be $26 million in 1997, and about $35 to $50 million today.

    Upon the release of the DCP VNB Report with the Ammann & Whitney engineering analysis, there was no further cover for the argument that the bridge cannot support the paths. That was 16 years ago.

    I had assumed in December 2012, that Joe Lhota didn’t have the engineering knowledge to argue with TBTA engineers. But the Times’ article emphasized how Lhota knew about engineering and technical problems, calling top mangers before news of problems reached them. They said, He has his sources. If Lhota has engineering skills and good sources, he should have known about the 1997 DCB VNB Report, and know that the bridge can carry a bike and pedestrian path. He should also know that prefabricated path decks can be installed quickly and at low cost.

    Two questions:

    We need to know how Lhota, as mayor, will deal with the next catastrophic emergency that closes the Staten Island Ferry, the subways and buses, and leaves Staten Island cut off from the rest of the city. On 9/11, the 2003 Blackout, the Ferry Crash and Superstorm Sandy, the NYC DOTs East River Bridges moved millions on foot and bike between Manhattan and 3 Boroughs, but in each of these disasters, the MTA Police banned any and all foot and bicycle traffic trying to enter and leave Staten Island. There is no MTA Emergency Plan for moving non-motorized traffic across several critical bridges. Will Lhota demand the MTA join with the rest of the region’s transportation providers in joining in the non-motorized access plan. He failed to while he was in charge of the MTA.

    Second question is what does Lhota really think about protecting pedestrians from motor traffic and including bicycles as a real transportation mode. As mayor, he should be controlling the DOT and the Police Departments. DOT has been doing good things for peds and bikes, but the NYPD has been ineffective as best and counterproductive and dangerous at worst.

    For 50 years, I have been crossing the Verrazano by bike, during special events, some 65 times. We should be able to ride, run and walk across the VNB any time, any day. We have to be able to to do this.

    Lhota was right, “Cyclists are just going to have to get over it.”, very soon.

  • Andrew

    I was nearly hit by a cab driver on Tuesday, while crossing in the crosswalk where the driver was facing a stop sign. I wasn’t inside the cab, so how do I get to vote? Perhaps a second “vote down” button on the hood (which I hit several times to get the driver’s attention – would have been nice if those had been downvotes).