Today’s Headlines

  • Woman, 50, Killed by SUV Driver in East New York; No Arrests (WNBC)
  • Sandy Fallout Could Last Years for MTA (NYT, WNYC, Post)
  • The Story of a Staten Island MTA Crew That Barely Escaped Sandy (WSJ)
  • Rachel Weinberger and AAA’s Robert Sinclair Talk Transit, Truck Traffic, Bike Lanes on WNYC
  • Driver Smashes Parked Car in Oakland Gardens, Post Doesn’t Mention Any Arrests or Tickets
  • SI GOP Council Candidate Wants Longer Left Turn Lanes on Hylan Boulevard (Advance)
  • DCP Talks About Widening Richmond Terrace to Include Bikeways and Wider Sidewalks (Advance)
  • News Picks Up Story on Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Study Nearing Completion
  • Atlantic Cities Looks Back at the Old Penn Station

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • J

    The AAA guy, Robert Sinclair, has really softened his views related to bikes and transportation in general. He basically endorsed the Sam Schwartz “Move NY” plan, which advocates for bridge tolls and new bike/ped bridges. This is a good sign of how much the conversation has shifted recently.

  • Bolwerk

    I don’t really feel like slogging through an audio stream. Is there an AAA transcript anywhere? @J’s comment got me curious.

    There is no question that the best conditions for cyclists, peds, and transit are also fairly optimal conditions for sensible drivers. I’m not one to say drivers should count more than peds or cyclists or transit users, but it’s in drivers’ interest to be able to move reliably from point A to point B just as it is in our interest to not deal with a toxic environment of congestion, fumes, and stressed out drivers.

    Of course, the reality of that is drivers would not move as fast as they imagine they should be going, but they would also move faster and more reliably than they presently do. Even selfish drivers should be able to understand that.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, reality (and data) often gets supplanted by gut feel.

    So although a driver may on average take less time for the same trip, seeing a biker having a more convenient ride, would lead the driver to blame the bike lane (or whatever other improvements they may be) on the times they are stuck in traffic.

  • Anonymous

    I generally agree, but I don’t know if moving faster should be the aim. The point I think, is to have traffic go at a consistent slower but steadier pace that will get people where they are going at least as quickly if not more safely. It’s the feeling of being stuck when dead stopped that makes people crazy, so what’s the point of going fast if all you are doing is speeding to the next traffic jam?

  • Bolwerk

    I don’t disagree with you. My comment about “faster” was only about reliably getting to where you’re going. Idling in traffic is bad for them and us, and bad for the environment. Also, my comment about “optimal” for drivers was obviously assuming we allow drivers at all under the circumstances – I for one think there should be more car-free streets.

    To put it abruptly: if they’re going to be there, it’s better they move cautiously away ASAP than speed to the next jam. It’s better even for them.

  • Anonymous

    When you say “optimal conditions” I take that to include street features such as bike lanes and ped plazas that drivers often see as obstacles. They don’t realize that they function as regulators that may slow traffic slightly at a specific point or corridor but help to keep it moving at a smooth steady rate downstream. As we are finding, average speeds are the same or even a bit faster, and the street ambiance is healthier and safer, not so bi-polar.

  • Joe R.

    I agree here. I’ve always felt that predictable trip times are more important than faster, but unreliable trip times. Most people would prefer a commute which averages 32 minutes ± 2 minutes over one which averages 28 minutes ± 15 minutes. In the first case, you need to leave 34 minutes ahead to account for a worst-case scenario. In the second case, you must allow 43 minutes but on average you’ll get there 15 minutes early. Unless you have a job where you go on the clock whenever you arrive, those 15 minutes are pretty much wasted time.

    If we want consistent trip times, the first thing we must do is get rid of as many traffic signals as possible. Traffic signals are notorious for creating high variability in trip times despite driver’s perceptions to the contrary. In order to get rid of traffic signals, in general speeds must be kept to about 20 mph or less. We also need to daylight intersections so they can operate purely on line-of-sight. Raised crosswalks and/or curb extensions make sense also in that they drive the point home that pedestrians may cross here. Yes, this will require readjustment of driver’s perceptions but in the end even they will see the benefit of mostly staying in motion at 20 mph, instead of having alternating periods of 0 mph and 40 mph. Pedestrians will be safer because motorists can now focus on them, instead of looking up at the traffic signal. Cyclists will benefit by no longer having to deal with red lights. I totally agree with your basic premise that the best conditions for cyclists, pedestrians, and transit are also fairly optimal for motorists. If you need to go faster than 20 mph, then take the highway.