Today’s Headlines

  • Genielle Laboriel, 21, Killed by Mini-Bus Driver While Skateboarding in Melrose (WCBS, DNA, News)
  • MTA’s 20-Year Capital Needs Assessment Makes Some Big Asks (2nd Avenue Sagas, Next City, Post)
  • De Blasio Brings PPW Opponent Norm Steisel on Board to Help Form Administration (Post)
  • Cy Vance Wants NYPD to Slow Down on Charges Against Motor Bike Attackers (DNA, Post)
  • People Trip Over Bike-Share Stations and Sue the City for Damages (News, Post, DNA)
  • Lhota: Madison Avenue Only Needs Bus Lanes During Rush Hour (News)
  • Harlem CB 10 May Not Be Into Traffic Calming or Bus Lanes, But Board Chair Wants Bike-Share (News)
  • UWS CB Requests Honorary Sign for Crash Victim Ariel Russo (WPIX); But Safer Streets? Not So Fast
  • Village Voice Looks at MTA’s New Catastrophe Insurance (via 2nd Avenue Sagas)
  • State Senator Greg Ball Thinks More Public-Private Partnerships Will Stall TZB Toll Hike (AP)
  • With Power Outages, Derailments, and Staff Turnover, It’s Been a Rough Year for Metro-North (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Concerned Streetsvoter

    If Norman Steisel is advising Bill de Blasio on anything more than where to buy a late-night donut, I may start thinking about road-widening Joe Lhota in November.

  • Bolwerk

    TZB is a spectacle of carhead irrationality. They aren’t satisfied that the financials aren’t there to make a bridge replacement economically viable. They can’t raise or even justify raising costs costs on the only people they care about not affronting, drivers. Yet they can’t be satisfied that there is a perfectly good bridge there already.

    Of course, supporters of such projects are the people who accuse transit and safe street advocates of take! take! take! hur!!11!! socialism! Just imagine if transit activists were that indifferent to costs. We’d get nowhere, but the fact that these people approach crazy tinpot dictator levels of fiscal irresponsibility/delusion barely registers in the press or halls of power.

  • Anonymous

    Re: 3 trip & fall claims on Citibike stations: Take it from a PI lawyer: Given the number of slip and trip claims the City receives each year based on various sidewalk defects, these three claims (which as far as I can tell have not even made it into the stage of becoming lawsuits) represent a pedestrian safety record for the “hazardous” & “defective” Citibike stations that is comparable to the 8 crashes per 3.2 million trip roadway safety record for users of the Citibike program.

  • I’m guessing Simone Weichselbaum got the Citi Bike story wrong, which is not that surprising. (No one is complaining about how heavy the bikes are now, right?)

    As much as it’s a great sign that the only “controversy” left about bike sharing is that there aren’t enough stations, three spread-out stations in Harlem are pretty much useless as long as there’s no network to connect to on the Upper East and Upper West side. The system has to grow out from the core for it to work.

  • Steve O’Neill

    There are other candidates too. I just looked at the Green Party candidate, but he doesn’t have transportation on his radar.

    Any other possibilities? I mean, if de Blasio’s going to win by a 50-point margin it might be nice for a few voters to give him a message from another angle.

  • Bolwerk

    Anyone have ideas for a good write-in campaign?

    Throwing some out there: JSK or Albanese

    I still think Lhota is worse for streets and transport than de Blasio, but it’s true that is not saying much.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    I usually register Green or Working Families — have for years — but these folks too often don’t think about transpo much at all. Disappointing.

  • Steve O’Neill

    I used to register Green, but their candidates tend towards uninspiring (in my opinion). Plus they don’t have primaries, so you miss out on that too.

    @bolwerk I might write in JSK. That’s a pretty good idea.

  • Anonymous

    I’d say Working Families is pretty much hostile to good transportation policy. It’s too principled and therefore icky, since they consider themselves to be pragmatists.

  • Anonymous

    I’d say the problem with the Greens is that they’re the Everybody Gets Candy party–hence the uninspiring leadership. Everybody knows we can’t all get candy, so when someone says we can, you know they’re not going to be effective.

  • Mark Walker

    This would be a good time for Lhota to pivot on livable streets issues. I’ve always had a bad feeling about de Blasio. I was willing to swallow it and pull the lever, but if he’s in bed with the PPW NIMBYs, I need an alternative. I’d rather have a guy who’s unlikely to continue progressing on
    livable streets policies than one who would actively roll them back.

  • Concerned Streetsvoter

    I think the better strategy is to call de Blasio out on this. Email his campaign, tweet at him, post on his Facebook, call him up, buutonhole him at events: Norman Steisel is not what de Blasio voters signed up for!

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    Slightly OT, but, while we might not all be able to have candy, there’s actually a lot more out there for the sharing than certain corporate (and other) overlords would like the rest of us to think there is.

    Back on topic, yes, the party registration thing is definitely something I’m rethinking now that I see transportation as a much broader issue than I used to.

    As for DiBlasio, yes, I think it’s a good idea to ask/demand how working with Norm S. is compatible with Vision Zero.

  • Eddie

    Jim Walden was a contributor to de Blasio’s campaign, and I think he even held a fundraiser for him.

  • Bolwerk

    Lhota is pursuing automobile expansionism. That may not be worse than rolling back PPW, but it’s not exactly better either.

    Anyway, I don’t think PPW is going anywhere. The major concern with de Blasio is probably that progress stops, which is usaully what electing a “progressive” really means.

  • Michael Klatsky

    Lhota is a guy with transportation experience. He also is considered loyal to the governor.

    I am realistic and do not what another Elliot Spitzer as leader – before his scandal, he was blocked by the legislature and Senate because he could not play well with others.

    DiBlasio so far has made it clear that he does not want to work well with the state and suggests we pretend they don’t exist as far as collaboration and shared goals are concerned.

    Lhota has a long record of being a pragmatist that gets things done within our political framework, through compromise and give and take.

  • Anonymous

    Lhota . . . is considered loyal to the governor.


  • Bolwerk

    I don’t loyalty to the governor. Andy Cuomo might be the biggest enemy to good transportation in NYS politics in the past 20 years, and that’s taking Sheldon Silver’s selfish obstructionism into account. Not that I buy your narrative, and I don’t know what you think Lhota’s accomplishments are,* but given the choice between implementing terrible policies that will be injuring my grandchildren and a guy who will be too inept to really do anything, I think I’d rather have the latter.

    * I’m hearing this a lot: Lhota is very accomplished, knows what to do, and gets stuff done. I heard the same thing about George W. Bush, and it wasn’t true then either. It’s GOP cult of competence agitprop. Giuliani did it too. Nobody should fall for it.

  • Michael Klatsky

    While the governor is pursuing the TZB, which will bankrupt the thruway authority and destroy the Hudson valley with the auto centric sprawl that will be required to generate the toll revenue for the bridge, he is still the head of NYC. The state controls most of the federal transportation funding that is released to local municipalities and directs the policy for all transportation in the State.

    See death of congestion pricing at the State level for example.

    The reality is that Di Blasio considers transportation to be a non-issue.

  • Bolwerk

    Both Lhota and de Blasio are horrible for transportation. If Lhota is more competent, it’s reason to be afraid because his transportation proposals are worse, even if he has more experience (still <1 year) in transportation.

  • Bolwerk

    Well, get everyone else to do it, and maybe I will too.

    I was just gonna vote for the best man for the job: me!

  • Anonymous

    This is a dumb idea. Both guys are bad on transportation in practice. At least DeBlasio gives it lip service as far as his transportation plans go (and the “plans” are very bike friendly).

    Since they are most likely a wash on transportation, vote for them on other issues. Don’t throw away your vote by writing in someone. What is the point of doing that?

  • Bolwerk

    Good point, at least if the election is close. Right now, it’s not seeming very close, so I don’t know if there is anything terribly wrong with voting a principled third person on transportation issues.

  • Bolwerk

    Did anyone ever believe that Vision Zero line of BS? De Blasio is not doing it, and I bet he’s not even open to it. He was either pandering or is naive enough to believe he can do it without stepping on his other ideals/delusions, like his toll opposition and seeming opposition to CP.

    I hope he beats Lhota, but I wouldn’t be naive about this. He’s just not that into safe streets.

  • Steve O’Neill

    If I were able to get everyone to do it, it might not be such a good idea. (Assuming that “everyone” is enough for de Blasio to lose but not enough for JSK to win.)

    Concerned Streetsvoter is right about calling out de Blasio, of course. But at some point it’s time to stop calling and start voting.

    On the third hand, as I read elsewhere this morning, there’s not much sense in getting worked up about anonymously sourced Post articles.

  • Anonymous

    (No one is complaining about how heavy the bikes are now, right?)

    Well she still is: “their plans to install at least three docking stations uptown featuring the clunky blue two-wheelers.”

    Like, they can’t help themselves can they. Is it because she’s the faux hipster reporter, we’re supposed to be cool with this cynicism?

    Anyone notice Citibike selling discounted membership on Gilt? That’s usually for struggling Spa’s and Mani/Pedi places trying to inject $$$ into their cash flow now, instead of waiting for receivables. I hope that isn’t a sign that Citibike’s financials are poor.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone know why? BdB is progressive. But he has been taking Walden/Steisel money. But why? They’re like neocons. Is it just the Park Slope connection?

  • Bolwerk

    I would treat it as a pact. Vote JSK (or someone) if de Blasio is way ahead, and vote de Blasio if it’s close.

  • Joe R.

    The effects of weight are frequently exaggerated. If we use this bicycle speed-power calculator ( ) and plug in some numbers, we find that a 50 pound bike on level ground is only 0.1 or 0.2 mph slower at any given power level than a 20 pound bike. A bigger factor is the aerodynamics of the bike. A bike with a more aerodynamic frame and rider position can make a difference of 5 mph or more. For that matter, just putting a disk wheel cover on my rear wheel adds more than 1 mph to my speed. Weight only matters going uphill. Even here, an extra 30 pounds might only mean taking a stiff 5% gradient at <1 mph slower. On the plus side a heavier bike means you'll being going faster coming down the hill.

    I've haven't ridden a Citibike yet, but as far as I can tell, the biggest problem is the limited number of gears, not the weight. The upright position will definitely slow the bike down more than the weight will.

  • Anonymous

    You are talking about cruising speeds, but weight does matter when it comes to accelerating the bike. Using my own bike, with a little 35-lbs passenger in the back or not, I can definitely tell the difference! And as you know well, red lights increase the need for acceleration. 🙂

    Also, aerodynamics are not worth 5 mph when going at low speeds. If you are going at 30 mph, aerodynamics are “everything”, but if you are going at 10 mph, not so much. I believe they actually *want* Citibike users to be in the 10-15 mph range, and they want them to have an upright posture and all that. Perhaps someone could start an alternative “high-speed bikeshare”.

    (OK, maybe I should talk about “airspeed” vs “ground speed”, because if you have a strong headwind, you can also feel the cost of poor aerodynamics while going slow.)

  • Anonymous
  • Joe R.

    I knew someone would mention acceleration but really the effects are pretty small. One of my flat out ~6 second 0 to 20 mph accelerations on my 18.4 pound titanium Airborne would take about a second longer if the bike weighed 50 pounds, all other things being equal. Even assuming a more sedate 15 second acceleration time, I’m only adding about 2.5 seconds per acceleration. You’ll need over 20 complete stops just to add a minute to your travel time. Also, you’re neglecting that a heavy bike will coast longer. A strategy I frequently employ to avoid stopping is to coast to red lights so I hit them at speed just as they flip back to green. A heavier bike means I can stop pedaling a few seconds earlier.

    Aerodynamics matter even at low speeds. At my power level (200 watts) there’s a 6.6 mph difference (23.6 mph versus 17.1 mph) in speed on a mountain bike versus a racing bike in the superman position according to the calculator. If we go with a more average 100 watt power level there’s a 5 mph difference ( 18.0 mph versus 13.0 mph) between these two types of bikes. 5 mph is a smaller absolute speed increase but it’s about the same percentage difference (38%) as for a more powerful rider. And as you noted, headwinds further increase the value of good aerodynamics. My Airborne has a more aero frame than my old Raleigh. I’m able to hold 17-18 mph riding into a 10 mph headwind. With the Raleigh I could only do 14-15 mph under the same conditions.

    Yeah, I was thinking of “high-speed bikeshare” for the outer boroughs where distances are greater, and the roads are more conducive to high speed riding. If I had the funds, I would bankroll a “rent a velomobile” service is Eastern Queens and Brooklyn. for what it’s worth I would be able to cruise at ~60 km/hr (37 mph) is a Milan SL velomobile. That would be perfect for keeping up with auto traffic around here!

  • Guest

    Lhota works well with others?
    Huh, what?!

    He barely spent any time at the MTA (and didn’t bother to give 2 weeks notice before quitting), and he was already getting into verbal fights with members of the Board at their public meetings.

    He clearly couldn’t control himself with that modicum of power. I’m afraid to see his Giuliani complex emerge in full force after assuming the powers of the Mayor of New York City!

  • Michael Klatsky

    I think he is just pandering to Staten island voters with rhetoric. I doubt he believes any of that. The guy lives in Brooklyn Heights

  • Anonymous

    Regarding Steisel’s presence in the di Blasio campaign, I think you’re all getting worked up over nothing. In Bill’s world, you gotta make deals with people you don’t like.

    Norm ain’t going to be DOT commissioner. He’ll probably get some consulting fees for helping them make the right hires. Maybe he’ll even get some special adviser job for his help, but to suggest this is all a smokescreen to roll back PPW or bike lanes seems like paranoia in the extremis.

  • Anonymous

    Steisel wants in and I guess Bill owes him. But Norm is also damaged goods and Bill knows that. The guy is just sniffing around for an in, that’s all. I really doubt anything major beyond “strategic adviser” for a few months will come out of it.

  • Anonymous

    Please point to these posts supporting your claim that multiple people posting on this thread think “this is all a smokescreen to roll back PPW or bike lanes.”

    Once you fail to do that, please continue to offer advice from on high about how hard life is for Reasonable People and Good Livable Streets Advocates when there are so many Irrational and Unrealistic People out there.