Today’s Headlines

  • TZB Transit Task Force Summary Proposes Queue-Jumping, I-287 Median Bus Station (LoHud)
  • City Has Issued Fewer Parking Tickets This Year; Post Outraged the Number’s Not Lower
  • Bed-Stuy and Clinton Hill CBs Split on Slow Zone (DNA)
  • Couple Drives Off Elevated Bruckner Expressway; Three Suffer Minor Injuries (WCBS, Gothamist)
  • Replacing Bluestone at Plaza by Brooklyn Borough Hall to Cost City $11 Million (Bklyn Paper)
  • Reynoso’s Zoning Ideas “Just in the Idea Stage,” Staff Says (Gothamist, Bklyn Paper)
  • Times Ledger Covers Push to Convert Queens Motor Parkway Into Greenway
  • It’s Official: Joseph Giulietti Takes Over as President of Metro-North (WCBS)
  • MTA Extends Proposed Far West Side Bus Route; Residents Want More Frequent Service (DNA)
  • NYC Isn’t the Only Place in the Region With Snowed-In Bus Stops; It’s Worse in NJ (WCBS)
  • Red Hook’s Abandoned Trolleys, Damaged by Sandy, Donated to Connecticut Museum (DNA, News)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Bolwerk

    Trolleys are part of our history, and it’d be nice if they could find room for at least one heritage streetcar line in Brooklyn. But as far as transportation planning goes, modern LRVs would probably be considerably more useful and cost-effective. Trolleys have basically the same drawbacks as buses without the advantages.

  • I’m looking for some help with our local city engineering department for a meeting tonight. Does anyone have a good method of combating the opinion that “bike lanes cause people on bikes to zone out and not pay attention to their surroundings?” More details here if you want them:

  • afk

    Would they have considerable ridership as a tourist attraction, and still provide a decent service to residents looking to get around?

    If not would they really be worth the added expense of a specialized vehicle?

    In Kew Gardens along queens blvd they have one of the old red subway cars set up, I think it’s right by boro hall. I’d rather just a few trolleys like that, even replicas, scattered along old routes ideally as a mini museum.

  • Aunt Bike

    And from the Staten Island Advance….”Hylan Boulevard speed camera is in illegal location (with photos)”.

    Hylan Boulevard, as even the drivers on Staten Island will tell you, is a speedway and made the list of most dangerous roads in the tri-state area twice. It’s still dangerous.

  • nona

    I’d suggest being polite, but frankly that is ridiculous logic. Shouldn’t we then remove all road striping so that drivers don’t zone out?

    Center and edge lines on rural highways make clear delineation where motorists should be, and help reduce crashes as a result. Bike lanes provide a clear understanding where each mode should be on urban streets. Including them can help reduce travel speeds, which is likely a goal of the street redesign. Sharrows will just keep the lanes wider and encourage faster driving.

    Sharrows can be good for wayfinding and for connector segments of mixed traffic in between lanes. As a standalone facility they’re confusing (for all modes) and are certainly not a substitute for separated lanes.

  • Komanoff

    My helpful (I imagined) 4-sentence comment to your blogspot disappeared as I was trying to select my “profile.” Let me know if you can capture my lost text so I can resubmit.

  • I don’t see anything from my end, sorry. Thanks though!

  • Joe R.

    I’m glad to hear the proposed Queens Motor Parkway extension is gaining wider exposure but there also needs to be long term maintenance plans. The pavement needs to be redone in spots. More importantly, based on my attempted QMP ride on February 1 it appears nobody is responsible for snow removal. As things stand now in a bad winter the QMP could be unusable for 3 months of the year.

  • HamTech87

    Snow removal is a problem with most trails in the NY area. As Streetsblog has pointed out, when a trail is treated as “recreation” instead of “transportation,” it becomes a “nice to have” instead of a “need.”

  • afk

    The thing is, from the LIE overpass to the tennis courts at alley pond this is wide enough for one car to fit through. I know, because I’ve seen parks department vehicles driving along it. And once, nypd squad car. No reason they cant run a pickup truck with a plow to clear it.

  • Joe R.

    A squad car on call making a short cut through the park from Francis Lewis Boulevand to Peck Avenue nearly ran me off the path one night.

  • Michael Klatsky

    The West Shore is Back!

  • Kevin Love

    If the bike lane is safe enough that a cyclist can zone out, then it is safe enough for a child to ride to school.

  • Kevin Love

    One key advantage of streetcars is public health. The fine particles in diesel pollution are a key cause of cancer and other lung diseases.

  • Aunt Bike

    Don’t know if your meeting is tonight or last night, but if I’m not too late, you can..

    1) ask to have “zone out” defined,

    2) state that they aren’t any more likely to make cyclists “zone out” than the typical street is likely to make car drivers do so, and

    3) make a point that bike lanes don’t put people in a trance but rather allow them to ride with a reasonable expectation of safety.

    Also, point out that bike lanes are as much about calming the car traffic as they are about safety for cyclists, and that sharrows merely alert drivers to watch out for others, which considering the number of drivers “zoning out” and the number of cyclists killed in this city, may not be strong enough medicine.

    I’ll have to admit, the “zone out” criticism is a new one to me. It’s rather fascinating the excuses people come up with to oppose safety measures. I do observe that all you have to do to get uncaring people to suddenly become concerned about street safety is to actually do something about street safety…suddenly, a false sense of security or exposure to car traffic becomes a huge issue, those red light cameras are going to cause collisions, those painted lines in the roadway are going to confuse the drivers.

  • qrt145

    There is _some_ truth to the zoning out argument; it’s risk compensation. It’s similar to the rationale behind many traffic calming interventions: by making driving difficult and seemingly more dangerous, you can actually make it safer because drivers pay more attention and drive more slowly and more carefully.

    That said, I see two differences that outweigh the above argument: 1) cyclists are vulnerable risk users and motorists are not; 2) the risks posed by motorists in urban settings mostly fall on other people, while risks posed by cyclists mostly fall on themselves.

  • Joe R.

    The “zoning out” argument is very true but it doesn’t apply to cyclists. Back in the 1950s when they were building the Interstate highway system it was realized that long, straight stretches of highway actually caused some drivers to fall asleep. As a result, engineers sometimes put in curves, even where the terrain didn’t dictate them ( ).

    There really is no analogue to lengthy highway driving for cyclists. For one thing, nobody except the most hard core cyclists will ride for a duration equivalent to a long highway trip. For another, even totally separate bike paths by necessity have lots of curves just to route them around roads or other obstacles. Finally, cyclists aren’t in a sound-deadened, climate-controlled box which tends to make falling asleep very easy. They’re also exerting physical effort. This tends to keep one awake.

    I think a better analogy is that safe bike lanes don’t cause cyclists to zone out, but rather permit them not to remain in the state of constant high-alertness which they must remain in when operating in proximity to motor vehicles. I certainly didn’t “zone out” the few times I rode the Belt Parkway Greenway. Rather, it was nice being able to just lay back and enjoy the ride rather than constantly looking around for motor vehicles.

    The closest I could say I might come to “zoning out” on a bike is when I’m on NY25 heading back towards the city after about midnight. It’s a mostly dead straight road. The traffic signals are on sensors, so at that time of night I sometimes ride the entire 6.3 stretch outside city limits without needing to stop or slow down. It was recently repaved which means I don’t even need to worry about watching out for potholes. Even so, I wouldn’t call it zoning out. It’s more like I have to devote very little mental energy to piloting the bike. As a result, my mind might wander a bit. And those 6.3 miles go by very fast in that state.

  • Thanks, folks, these are very helpful.