Today’s Headlines

  • Nicole Gelinas, John Petro, Roger Toussaint Help Kick Off Times “Debate” on MTA Finances
  • NIMBYs Oppose CB-Supported Traffic Calming in Harlem, Call Up Simone Weichselbaum (News)
  • 5,000 Bike Parking Spaces, Pedestrian Plazas in Cards for Dumbo After Watchtower Deal (WSJ)
  • CM Julissa Ferreras Wants Willets Point Developers to Pay for New $70 Million Highway Ramps (Crain’s)
  • Police Arrest More Motor Bikers in Washington Heights Attack (DNA, News)
  • DOT Installs 248 Speed Humps So Far This Year, Far Outpacing Last Year (News)
  • DNA Profiles Queens Commuters Who Bike to the Subway, a Perfect Use for Bike-Share
  • Bill to Loosen Bus Lane Right Turn Rules Goes to City Council Committee on Thursday (Advance)
  • DOT Has Put in E-ZPass Transponders to Monitor Traffic Flow on Hylan Boulevard (Advance)
  • This Small Development Site Is Next to a Major Subway Hub, But City Requires Parking (Brownstoner)
  • Jimmy Vacca Wants NYPD Traffic Agents on Pelham Parkway, Poses for Amazing Bronx Times Photo

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • “Nicole Gelinas, John Petro, Roger Toussaint Help Kick Off Times ”Debate” on MTA Finances”

    No offense to John or Nicole, but this is truly one of the worst Times’ faux-debates on transit. They couldn’t find more than two people conversant in the issues and had to rely on some guy from California to speak in platitudes about transit subsidies. Get off it.

  • carma

    that last mile/first mile is the most frustrating part of the commute living in the outer parts of queens. i havent used my own bike to commute to the train yet, for the fear of being stolen. i dont have a cheap beater bike to rely on so i end up usually just walking instead of waiting for the often packed unreliable bus.

  • Mean Streets!

    Is Simone a pathetic reporter, or what? Let me guess. Gersh Kuntzman is her editor.

  • Gersh Kuntzman

    That’s just mean. Got any specifics about the story that need to be considered? Thanks.

  • Kevin Love

    Good article on Queen’s commuters. The bicycle is a vital piece of transportation technology for the “last mile” of getting to and from transit stations.

    One concern of mine is that the photograph showed someone commuting in suit and tie with a bicycle that is profoundly unsuitable for that purpose. In particular, there were no fenders on the bike. A wet road would result in his nice clothes being showered with filth. Not good.

    People that are commuting in suit and tie really would be well advised to get a bicycle that comes with fenders, internal hub gears and full chaincase. This keeps their clothes clean, particularly when the roads are wet. Here is a description of a good commuter bicycle:

  • Kevin Love

    There are cheap beater bikes available to provide basic transportation at low cost. One example is the “Beater Bike,” designed to do just that.

    I note that their bikes come with fenders, chainguards, front and rear cargo racks and a kickstand. Brand new for only $300 single speed or $400 three-speed. See:

    I don’t work for them or any other bicycle enterprise. I simply approve of high-quality basic transportation for low cost.

  • Anonymous

    Other than (i) misspelling “complimented” as “complemented,” (ii) referring to CB10’s and CB11’s support for the redesign in the past tense (“originally backed”), and (iii) failing to mention if any parking spaces were “lost” or if people were injured in crashes prior to the redesign, I thought the story was good enough for this kind of thing (NIMBY’s unite to stop change).

  • Jonathan R

    Perhaps Mr. Rosin has chosen his bicycle to be less attractive to thieves. As a fellow Queens commuter, I applaud his consistency in riding through the winter. Kudos also to Transportation Alternatives and Mr. Beadle for encouraging bicycling on its own terms and not as a fad from Toronto or Utrecht to be slavishly duplicated.

  • Bolwerk

    There are two here? I’m not sure I am counting one.

    The NY Times always had a strange carhead/Libertardian bent. Last year they published an op-ed saying everyone without a job should get a license and drive to the Dakotas to work the oil boom, and more than once they’ve had dingbats from Reason proposing ideas like replacing SIRT with a highway.

  • Reader

    Well, the lack of statistics or facts related to pre- and post-installation speeding, injuries, and fatalities would be a start. The lack of any thorough look at the community board process that resulted in the project’s approval would be another.

    So instead of “journalism,” we get the typical Gersh-ian hodgepodge of “he said, she said” praise and complaints for a project that is already causing drivers to do a very radical thing indeed: obey the speed limit.

    There are lots of good transportation reporters and writers, some of them at the Daily News. Simone is not one of them.

    Please be part of the solution, not an exploiter of “controversy” to generate page views. Lives are literally in the balance.

  • Kevin Love

    I suspect that people who live in Toronto or Utrecht would be quite surprised to learn that cycle transportation in their cities is a “fad.”

    Whenever I have been to either of those places, their citizens seemed to regard bicycles as basic, common-sense transportation to get to work, shopping, church, visiting friends or wherever else they were going.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps he was just using a bike that he already had. Most bikes people have collecting dust in their homes are un-accessorized mountain bikes like that one. Dutch-style bikes are still pretty rare, and comparatively expensive. Perhaps this gentleman one day will decide that he likes bicycling enough to buy one, but for now, I say keep riding the mountain bike! Also, perhaps he doesn’t ride when it rains anyway.

    I guess what I really want to say is, we should try not to judge other people’s rides, especially when we have nearly zero information about why they do what they do.

  • Gersh Kuntzman

    I’m not sure how presenting both sides of a two-month-old traffic calming experiment is a “Gershian hodgepodge.” Again, I think that’s unfair. The city made its case and some residents disagree with it. The story presents the case that speeding was a problem before the changes.

    Here’s a link to the story, in case anyone has lost the thread:

  • krstrois

    Ha, I remember that op/ed. Written by a dude Ayn Rand.

    I don’t think it’s strange at all that they like cars, though. They primarily champion the status quo from a perspective that is supposedly center-left, but is actually center-right. The paper is also very suburban, in mind-set, across the board and staffed by middle class white people for whom romance is a memory of driving fast down a highway or having sex in the back of a car. Americans get libertarian really quickly when transported back to age 18 by some sense-memory. Anyhoo, I think this is a depressing problem, how much of American cultural identity IS the car.

    I’m sure the Auto section ad sales are stronger than most of the other sections . . . so there’s that, too.

  • Kevin Love

    My concern is that people will give commuting by bike a try, but find that it is unpleasant or dirty because they are not using the right tool for the job. So they give up. What a wasted opportunity!

    Dutch-style city bikes manufactured to a high quality standard can be purchased quite cheaply. I referred to Beater Bikes above. Another alternative, manufactured right here in New York City, is the Worksman “Dutchie” bike, sold for $339. See:

    I would recommend springing for the extra $90 to buy the three-speed option.

    The cost of less than four months of MTA passes buys basic transportation for a lifetime. I call that insanely cheap.

  • Reader

    In a city as big as New York’s there is always going to be a small group of people who oppose change. But is it news? How wrong does the Daily News have to be about every controversial street change — PPW, Citi Bike, ped plazas — before you move on and start reporting facts, not opinions?

    And I see that you have no response to the piece’s lack of substantive facts, data, or before-and-after safety stats. “The city made its case and some residents disagree with it” is lazy reporting and a mere deflection of valid criticism. It’s a “view from nowhere” that makes it seem as if the work of traffic engineers and professionals is no more valid than the opinion of a small group of critics who didn’t pay attention to the public process and who probably don’t understand the data. So, “he said, she said.” One might as well report on a health study in the same way: “The doctors made their case and some patients disagree with it.” Oh, really? Who cares?

    A lot of people are tired of the tabloid treatment of these issues. More streets would be safer today if the Daily News and the Post hadn’t amplified these minor criticisms into “both sides have a point” controversies.

  • Kevin Love

    Gersh, one of my problems with this article is the “both sides” that you mention.

    I suspect that if Simone had done a proper job of investigation she would have found overwhelming support for the improvements. As written, the article gives a false and misleading impression that there is some sort of equivalence between “both sides.”

    Also, I am deeply, deeply offended by the way Simone used the word “traffic” to mean car traffic only. Pedestrian and cycle traffic is just that, traffic. Offensive and exclusionary language has no place in modern journalism.

  • Kevin Love

    How is it libertarian to take the use of a multi-billion dollar federal government benefit like our highway system? That looks like the purest form of socialism to me.

  • Bolwerk

    @disqus_ggY8CnVn5H:disqus: there is nothing socialist about it – the workers are not in charge. If you ask me, it’s a feudal-capitalist hybrid, where people are given a set of privileges and obligations, but instead of production these facilitate consumption. Anyway, American Libertarians stole the term from Proudhon, so they technically aren’t small-L libertarian either.

    @krstrois:disqus: you probably nailed it! I understand them liking cars, but they like cars so much they dispense with journalistic integrity, often with all the sanctimonious, do-good earnestness of a TED Talk.

    There is another thing: once that (older) generation’s schooling stopped either in their late teens or early 20s, they mostly stopped exercising their brains, and spent their entire lives protecting their own feudal demesnes in the ‘burbs, consuming and watching TV. Now they live with decades of calcified expectations that just don’t apply anymore.

  • Anonymous

    Much cheaper than my Batavus! Damn. But yah, that’s all you really need are some good fenders, chain cover and a back rack (with bungies). Only other thing I’d like to see on those worksmancycles are rear wheel locks.

  • Anonymous

    My main complaint is that the reporter didn’t try to find out the real reason behind the opposition. When people say traffic calming is “ugly” and that the old layout was “historic”, they usually mean that they lost free parking. Was that the case here, or was there something else?

    As to this being “forced on them”, there was the standard community board process, which the articles does mention in passing. What else do these people want, the DOT commissioner to visit each resident in person for tea and to discuss the traffic calming project? A referendum whenever the DOT does anything to the street?

  • Kevin Love

    A rear wheel lock would be a good option. But the options that they have are quite intriguing. For example, a 36 tooth front sprocket to gear down their basic three or seven speed bikes. Or a springer front fork. Or a mirror.

    Of course, one can always buy a rear wheel lock from Dutch Bike Bits and add it on. See:

  • Joe R.

    It probably makes more sense for someone who has to wear a suit and tie to just change into them at work. I say this even if you’re taking the subway instead of riding. A suit and tie is hot and uncomfortable, especially in warmer weather. It’s better if you only wear when you’re actually on the job.

    The choice of commuter bicycle is influenced by a lot of things. If you have a longish commute, a heavy, upright bike might just be too slow. Fenders can be added to virtually any bike, even racing bikes. I haven’t heard of add-on chain guards for racing bikes but I’m sure someone makes them. I personally think the best thing to have on a commuter bike before anything else is airless tires. Flat tires are the biggest cause of both delays when commuting, and people just getting turned off by riding. Airless tires prevent all that. The better ones use high-rebound elastomer which rides and rolls about as well as pneumatic tires. Unfortunately, I can’t yet get tires made with this elastomer in the size I need ( 700c x 20 ) for my bike, but they are available in the 26″ size commonly used on mountain bikes and hybrids. I’m using Daytona TT airless tires ( ) on my bike. I finally wore out my last set after 10,000 miles. They don’t ride or roll nearly as well as tires made with high-rebound elastomer, but they’re perfectly acceptable given the alternative of getting flats.

  • Morris Zapp

    This is one of the most incisive critiques of Serious Liberal Journalism I’ve ever seen.

  • Joe R.

    I think any commuter bike should have at least seven speeds. Three speeds just isn’t enough unless you rarely stop, don’t have hills, and don’t have heavy winds. The more gears you have the more likely you’ll find one which lets you maintain a comfortable cadence. Three speed gearboxes have too big a jump between gears, and too small an overall gear range. Ideally, you want a low enough gear so you can pedal at a comfortable speed up the steepest hill you regularly encounter, and a high enough gear so you can still pedal at a normal cadence if you have a strong tailwind or are going downhill. Usually these two things dictate a gearing range of 300% or more between lowest and highest gear. Most seven or eight speed internal hubs have a range this large, along with acceptable jumps between gears. The 14-speed Rohloff hub is even better if you can afford it. It offers a 13.5% jump between gears and a 526% overall range.

  • Joe R.

    We really need bike lockers in or near subway stations. Before I worked at home I used to take a bus to the Continental Avenue subway station. I would rather have taken my bike, but there were no safe parking options. I even would have been willing to pay a small fee to use a bike locker or other form of bike storage where the bike was locked up away from the elements. Maybe NYC should build some of the underground bike parking systems seen in places like Japan. Bike theft is rampant here. People shouldn’t be forced to ride a piece of junk just to ensure that their bike isn’t stolen.

  • Kevin Love

    A seven-speed internal gear hub is also an option for the Worksman “Dutchie”. I rather like their business model of offering an inexpensive entry-level Dutch-style city bike with an extensive internet menu of options.

    Three-speed hubs are dirt cheap. $90 vs. $279 for the 7-speed on the Worksman site.

    My recommendation for someone starting off who is not wealthy would be to get the three-speed. If they have hills on their travels, gear it down with the 36 tooth sprocket option to make it easy going up hill and then coast down the hill on the other side.

    After a while, they will gain enough experience to know what they want and are willing to invest the money in a “use it for the rest of my life” bike. That’s when they get the Gazelle, Pashley or Batavus bike with 8 gears and all the other good stuff.

    Then the Worksman bike can be a spare or used by visiting guests.

  • Mean Streets!

    Gersh: Your story never even informs us why “some residents disagree with it.” Your reporter couldn’t come back with a single quote describing a concrete reason for their opposition? It would seem that this is a pretty essential piece of the story. Why are they opposed? Simone never tells us. If I were her editor I’d have sent her back uptown to get that information. But, then again, I would be trying to provide readers with actual public service journalism. I wouldn’t just be trying to generate pageviews on the “Mean Streets” beat.

  • Mean Streets!

    Thank you. This is an outstanding response to Gersh and Simone’s tired, cynical bullshit.