Today’s Headlines

  • Bus Driver Charged With Misdemeanor Failure-to-Yield for Injuring Pedestrian (NewsBklyn Paper)
  • Three Council Members Intro Bill to Let Bus Drivers Strike People in Crosswalks (Legistar)
  • In His Take on the Collision, Pete Donohue Barely Mentions the Girl Whose Leg Was Crushed (News)
  • TWU Prez Samuelsen to Bus Operators: Drive Carefully (TWU)
  • NYC Would Be a Shell of Its Current Self Without the MTA Capital Program (MTR)
  • Dana Lerner: There Needs to Be a New York City Road Test for Cabbies (NYPress)
  • How Come Chuck Schumer Never Leaps Into Action to Double Funding for Ped/Bike Safety? (AMNY)
  • Denis Hamill Turns a Traffic Ticket Into a Column (News)
  • New Luxe Amenity in Alphabet City: A Subway Shuttle (Post)
  • Who Will Be the Next Port Authority Chief? (Capital)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Kevin Love

    Wow!

    I thought that there might be a wee tad of an exaggeration in the headline, “Three Council Members Intro Bill to Let Bus Drivers Strike People in Crosswalks.”

    But no. The bill would exempt MTA bus drivers from the law that applies to… err… everyone else. Talk about being above the law.

    That is really, really disturbing.

  • Kevin Love

    Next in the category of “really, profoundly disturbing” is TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen’s remarks in which he whitewashes serious crimes of violence committed by union members.

    “The incidents this past Friday and several weeks ago in which two Bus Operators were arrested for ‘failure to yield’ and ‘failure to exercise due care’ are both heartbreaking tragedies. But they were accidents, not the result of ‘criminal’ reckless driving.”

    Oh? How do you know that, Mr. Samuelsen? Were you there? Did you investigate these incidents? Interview witnesses? NYPD did just that and seem to have come to a different conclusion.

    And just what was the nature of these “accidents”? Did a meteorite come out of the sky and throw the bus into the victims? Or did the bus driver commit the sort of acts of criminal negligence that the people of New York see every day… and this time their luck ran out.

    But wait, it gets worse! Mr. Samuelsen writes:

    “Now we must respond appropriately, recognizing that we are being disgracefully and unfairly scapegoated and targeted. It is imperative that we immediately move to defend our livelihoods and protect ourselves against these attacks. Therefore, we MUST Yield/Stop ‘when a pedestrian or bicyclist has the right of way.'”

    Huh??? WTF??? Being required to follow the law and yield right of way to people in crosswalks is being “unfairly scapegoated and targeted?”

    Statements like this not only destroy the credibility of Mr. Samuelsen and the TWU but also stir up considerable animosity against bus drivers. After all, they voted for this arrogant, entitled, criminal enabler who seems to believe that he is above the law. Laws to protect our safety.

  • Bobberooni

    I think TWU Prez Samuelsen is taking the right tack here. Safety should always come before on-time performance. That is a lesson that Metro-North has learned the past few years as well.

  • Bobberooni

    I wonder if any Google-style self-driving car technology could be used to warn of pedestrians and other hazards in the road. Not to drive the bus, just to sound an alarm. This could really save lives.

  • Tyson White

    The girl had the light and was crossing legally. What warning does she need?

  • Bobberooni

    No, to warn the BUS DRIVER! (*** face palm ***)

  • Bobberooni

    To be fair… I don’t have a job where a sincere attempt to perform it well could result in criminal prosecution. The unfortunate reality is accidents will always happen, but we should be intelligent in finding ways to prevent them. Ratcheting up penalties for accidents will only go so far in saving lives. On the other hand, a bill that simply exempts MTA drivers from the law doesn’t seem like the right approach either.

  • Tyson White

    Ooops! my bad! 🙂
    It wasn’t clear from your comment. I thought you were referring to the silly “talking buses” idea suggest by some…
    But seriously, I doubt it would help. He would basically ignore it because it would sound off every second when the coast is clear. It would be annoying. All this high-tech stuff isn’t a substitute for just plain looking!

  • Bobberooni

    You never know, it might help. We don’t know how many false positives the technology is likely to produce. I think it’s certainly worth investigating any possibility that current or near-future technologies could help make our streets safer.

  • But he’s doing it begrudgingly, and trying to make the general public furious over delays in service. It’s a ploy, which is what these kinds of people do for a living.

  • Tyson White

    Sounds like the app for walkers to help them from being distracted. Or the many new apps meant to help drivers be safe!

    I have an idea: Dedicated bus lanes (like SBS). This reduces conflicts with traffic. Makes the drivers job less stressful so he can focus more on avoiding collisions rather than battling with speeding SUV’s every time he wants to merge back into traffic.

  • Bobberooni

    I agree, I wish he would put safety first without irony.

    It’s been a tough pill for us to swallow in Metro-North land. The trains are now all 10 minutes slower for a trip to GCT. That is the price we now pay for safety.

  • Kevin Love

    Except that these are not accidents and definitely not a sincere attempt at good job performance.

    For example, I am a professional Accountant. If I took as reckless and negligent an approach to tax laws as every day I see bus drivers treat traffic laws then I would be going to jail. And rightfully so.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    I just read the bill to be introduced to the City Council, regarding bus drivers exempt from yielding to peds and bikes. It is complete balls. All it will do is deflect liability from the bus driver to the person who has legal right to cross the street, and may actually create a paradox within the law:

    1. Given a bus is turning on a green and a person is crossing with the walk signal on, if the person has legal way and the driver has legal right to ignore yielding, now what?

    2. Given a bus is pulling out of a bus stop and a cyclist is proceeding straight on the street, who has priority?

    What the MTA should be doing is implement the “talking buses” initiative. I don’t know why so many people think it’s dumb, all it is is an automated announcement saying something like “Bus Turning” on the external speakers. This is a simple step which can pay big dividends in safety, that can be implemented now. Nassau County buses already have this in place for a couple of years, they have automated announcements that use GPS to notify passengers of the next stop, and I’ve seen a couple of buses with touch-n-go payment. C’mon, MTA! ::face palm::

  • Kevin Love

    The reason why I think “talking buses” are in appropriate is:

    1) It is noise pollution.

    2) There are much better ways of achieving safety through infrastructure. See the explanation and video at:

    https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/riding-around-the-bus-stop/

  • Bolwerk

    Here is an actually useful law that I’m amazed gets no discussion from anyone: end the policy of buses pulling over to the curb. Instead, bulb out the curb to the bus’ door and let the bus stop in its usual lane. Traffic behind goes around or waits.

    Advantages? Buses go a little faster, and there is no confusion about who yields. Safety improves. Crowding on sidewalks can be relieved.

    There is a small capital cost, but I can’t see a long-run disadvantage. It might even increase parking a little, if parking can be allowed behind the curb (okay, maybe that’s a disadvantage – though it won’t be perceived as such by politicians, and is probably worth accepting).

  • For Schumer it is “too early to point fingers”, but not too early to throw our money at the problem? How about we wait for the investigation to complete before allocating tens of millions of dollars to be spent on more so-called safety improvements that are similar to what this track crossing already had?

    The railroad crossing had undergone a number of upgrades in recent years to reduce the risk of accidents, including the installation of brighter LED lights, “Do Not Stop on the Tracks” warning signs and new traffic
    signal control equipment. But a 2009 plan to install a third set of flashing lights 100 to 200 feet up the road to give motorists coming around the bend a few seconds’ extra warning was never carried out, for reasons state and railroad officials were unable to explain.

    http://7online.com/news/ntsb-metro-north-thank-first-responders-call-wreck-terrible-tragedy/503064/

    Perhaps we have to do something other than adding ever more and brighter blinking lights to keep large single person automobiles and their explosive fuel tanks out of the paths of properly operated trains carrying hundreds of passengers.

  • c2check

    I agree. A study I read even showed that this improved car speeds (on 2-lane roads specifically, because buses often have to cross the line a little to pull out of tight spots).

    Curb extensions can cost like $30k each, though (perhaps more if there are issues with utilities under the street).
    I would propose dedicating revenue from safety cameras to such safety improvements.

  • AnoNYC

    Proximity sensors, the technology already exists too.

  • AnoNYC

    What’s also really disturbing to me is the fact that three council members are introducing it.

    Perfect example of dysfunctional American politics. So much for the people.

  • Andres Dee

    Can we get one of our allies to introduce a “friendly amendment” to the “buses have rights over bicyclers and pededestrians” bill? Extend it to give buses rights over cars. See how fast the bill goes to the oubliette.

  • Andres Dee

    Wait ’til we learn that for self driving cars to succeed, we need to reconfigure how our streets are used…and not in a way that’s cyclist & walker-friendly.