Today’s Headlines

  • City’s Vision Zero Anti-Speeding Ad Begins Airing Today (News)
  • Karen Koslowitz Wants to Water Down Turn Restrictions in Woodhaven SBS Plan (Q Chron)
  • Daily News Impressed By Cy Vance’s Prosecution of Deadly Driver Danny Lin
  • Right of Way Remembers Clara Heyworth, Killed 4 Years Ago By Drunk, Unlicensed Driver
  • Three Brooklyn Church Members Killed in Upstate Van Crash (News)
  • Trash-Hauling Company Fires Two Workers Who Told City Council About Poor Conditions (CapNY)
  • Four Assembly GOP Leaders Get New Chevys Courtesy of NY Taxpayers (News)
  • Study Confirms Link Between Neighborhood Wealth and Street Tree Coverage (WSJ)
  • Still No Re-opening Date for Brooklyn Bridge Park Ped Bridge (NYT)
  • Scenes From NYC’s Biggest Bike Tour (AMNY)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Bolwerk

    No love for Dean Skelos? Supposedly he’s surrendering to the feds this morning.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Does that count as news?

    Meanwhile, only Generation Greed votes, and only Generation Greed serves in the legislature.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/nyc-voter-turnout-stinks-blog-entry-1.2207074

    Note that even among Generation Greed the turnout is less than 40 percent. I guess its non-greedy members stay home.

    And note the big dropoff to those at 50 to 59, the back end of the Baby Boom and Gen-X, Generation Apathy. “We’re screwed anyway, so let’s just worry about own our lives.” We’ll find out how well that works when we retire into poverty — with our kids even worse off.

    Getting back to Skelos, it’s another case of Capone on tax evasion. Is his crowd what keeps the LIRR ripoffs in place? That would be the greater crime.

  • urbanresidue

    I don’t think the street tree disparity is quite as innocent as they describe:

    “The inequality exists mainly because for most of the 20th century, the city planted trees on a per-request basis. These requests mainly came from higher-income residents, who tend to be more aware of such opportunities, says Lindsay Campbell, a research social scientist with the local branch of the U.S. Forest Service. ‘It was this unintended consequence.’ ”

    In my experience, until quite recently requests from less affluent areas were often ignored or rejected by the City. It wasn’t just that more affluent residents were more aware of the ability to make a request, they also had the power and influence to get the City to actually respond to their requests.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Another cost from the past: the trust fund to de-commission Indian Point when it closes is massively in the red, and it isn’t alone.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-03/radioactive-and-short-on-cash

    “Nuclear operators like PG&E are supposed to lay up enough money to cover the costs, similar to how corporations fund pensions. Turns out, most haven’t.”

    At least the costs haven’t been retroactively increased too.

    “Among the underfunded plants are FirstEnergy Corp.’s Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, site of the 1979 partial meltdown, and Entergy Corp.’s Indian Point, about 35 miles north of New York City. The plants are on track to meet their required funding levels, said Michael Dusaniwskyj, an NRC economist. It’s fine to have less money now because the funds will grow through investments, he said.”

    Sure, with interest rates around zero and stocks set to decline from massive overpricing.

    To the extent there is any overlap between anti-nuclear and pro-transit, note that once again the money was taken off the top and we’re already left with the burden. You can rail against whoever and whatever today, but it doesn’t change the past. And until the past is acknowledged, they’ll keep taking more.

  • Maggie

    Perfect day yesterday for the Five Boro Bike Tour! I kept thinking how at least 32,000 people were willing to pay $100 each for the opportunity to ride bikes on car-free streets in NYC – and I’ve got no idea how many people were turned away after the ride reached its hard cap on participants. Such incredible public value.

    This is probably another dream-on idea, but logistically I wonder if it could work to set up several points on the course where riders could start/finish, rather than a single giant collection point in lower Manhattan. Might ease some of the natural congestion of the ride. I would’ve just jumped in at Central Park, but didnt want to lose the once-a-year chance to ride on a car-free Sixth Ave.

    Also I wish the course covered more of the Bronx.

  • Maggie

    Larry, I’m a little sheepish but I get confused sometimes what you’re arguing for. Austerity? No new debt? Better oversight on budgeting?

  • Joe R.

    I think he’s mostly just venting because when you look at the magnitude of the problems on the local, state, and federal level total collapse is pretty much inevitable at this stage unless we could somehow magically void a lot these shady contracts from the past.

    I guess on the plus side maybe when the subway shuts down for good we can pour concrete in between the rails and create the world’s biggest, greatest totally grade-separated bike highway system. The way the subways are running lately it might turn out this would offer most people faster travel times than now.

  • Bolwerk

    It’s a worthy Today’s Headline in that people here who aren’t aware would probably be interested.

  • Mike

    I’ve never understood the bike tour. It’s the bike equivalent of voluntarily choosing to drive in a traffic jam. It also makes my part of Brooklyn very hard to bike around for normal leisure rides.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Joe’s right I’m just venting, because I’ve been arguing against the selling out of our future for 20 years and watching it happen.

    What I’m arguing for is some truth about that, no more grabbing by those who have already grabbed, and a realistic assessment of what our situation is going forward.

    What we are getting is propaganda “balanced” by silence about our realities, who created them and why.

  • Jeff

    It’s great for people who don’t feel comfortable mixing with auto traffic. But yes, I myself share your sentiments.

  • Maggie

    I like the chance to bike the streets without cars. Very quiet, just some conversation and the wheels spinning. Also getting to ride the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. But I agree about the congestion, especially for the later starts.

  • Joe R.

    Totally agree. Also, the start time is way too early for late risers like me, and the helmet requirement would make it a nonstarter for me regardless. That said, the popularity of this event just underscores the need for more places to ride without cars. It would great if a lane on all NYC highways could be permanently given over to bikes, for example.

  • Mike

    Biking carless streets is doable every week — ride around Hasidic neighborhoods on Saturdays before sunset. It’s fantastic.

  • qrt145

    Nobody goes there; it’s too crowded!

    For many people, being in a crowd is the point.

  • Komanoff

    So then do a workaround. It’s one Sunday, and you know the date eons in advance.

    Calling the 5BBT the bike equivalent of driving in a traffic jam is a cute phrase that misses the point. You’re outdoors and with other exuberant people, not indoors and in opposition to them.

    No one can measure it, but I’m convinced that the 5BBT has played a big part in getting people to ride here on an everyday basis. That aside, maybe you should try it next year.

  • There’s also a lot of value in what happens once the tour is over and riders head home. I saw tons of people with numbers and 5BBT helmet covers all over Brooklyn Sunday afternoon. It was probably the same story all over Manhattan. That certainly contributes to regular bike traffic and has a tremendous positive effect!

  • Ian Turner
  • sbauman

    Which part of Brooklyn does the Five Boro Bike Tour (5BBT) impact for normal leisure rides?

    Half the Brooklyn route skims the East River. There are no continuous streets between the 5BBT route and the river. Almost all residential and leisure areas between the 5BBT route and the river were built after the 5BBT started.

    The other half of the Brooklyn route is on the BQE. That should have zero impact on normal leisure bike rides in Brooklyn because bicycles are not permitted on these roadways.

    One consequence of those 5BBT bicycle traffic jams is demonstrating bicycling’s potential in solving the urban mobility problem. The 5BBT’s people moving statistics are staggering. The 5BBT serves as a yearly reminder that low cost urban mobility solutions exist. Most 5BBT participants also have a lot of fun despite those traffic jams.

  • com63

    The secret is to just skip the start and the first mile or so of the route. Just wait on a side street and join as the tour comes up sixth ave. You’ll have open riding nearly the entire way. Obviously this doesn’t work if everyone does it, but most people haven’t figured it out.

  • sbauman

    “This is probably another dream-on idea, but logistically I wonder if it could work to set up several points on the course where riders could start/finish, rather than a single giant collection point in lower Manhattan. Might ease some of the natural congestion of the ride. I would’ve just jumped in at Central Park, but didnt want to lose the once-a-year chance to ride on a car-free Sixth Ave.”

    These issues have been discussed by the ride’s organizers for over 30 years. The reluctant conclusion has always been the logistics would be too difficult and the inconvenience to civilians (non-participants) too great to adopt the changes you suggest.

    “Also I wish the course covered more of the Bronx.”

    You missed your chance. The 1977 5BBT entered the Bronx on the Willis Ave Bridge and exited on the Throggs Neck Bridge.

    The ride organizers and the Bronx Borough President’s Office would both like the 5BBT course to cover more in the Bronx. The logistic problem is interfering with traffic to Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are playing a Sunday afternoon game at the Stadium every other year.

  • Mike

    I don’t know the date eons in advance. The bike tour isn’t really on my radar until the moment I see it taking over where I’m used to riding by myself. I’ll grant that it doesn’t suck nearly as much as the marathon, but it’s a pain in the ass.

  • Simon Phearson

    I’m not sure I understand why some are eager to shame regular cyclists who grouse a bit over something like the 5BBT.

    You’re right, it’s just one day, it’s important outreach, etc. But the imposition is real. I basically scrapped my ride yesterday because it would’ve run along many of the same streets the 5BBT takes in the outer boroughs and I had no idea when they would start “officially” closing the streets. (I know they’re posted closed at 7:45, but every barricade-manner takes a different view.) But that was the route I would’ve taken precisely *because* there aren’t really any “workarounds” that wouldn’t have put me on unfamiliar, less bike-friendly streets.

    And I’m not sure that 5BBT is something that’s likely to get that many more people on the streets than there already are. A lot of these cyclists do not otherwise bike in the city because they feel unsafe doing so. It’s such a silly canard, really. Sure, it’s fun, it’s casual, and it’d be great if our city accommodated those types of riders. But a whole lot more effort, preparation and risk goes into diving into Manhattan’s rush hour than anything you have to handle to do the 5BBT. If they’re not already cycling around town, the 5BBT isn’t going to inspire them to do so.

    So, basically – it’s fun, it’s cool, it’s just one day, it’s no big deal. All true. But those of us inconvenienced by it aren’t morally obligated to celebrate it. You can keep your little vacation from reality.

  • Simon Phearson

    Yeah, I don’t know where he gets the idea that people outside those actually doing it know about it. I knew it was coming, but I had not idea it was actually yesterday until I talked with someone on Saturday who was going to do it.

    And then figuring out the route and timing – that was a real homework assignment. The website was non-specific (though I could guess at which streets would be used), and I had to find a city website for any information on the timing of closures.

  • Komanoff

    I agree, it’s tough enough remembering that Election Day is the first Tues after the first Monday in Nov, and Thanksgiving is the fourth Thurs in Nov too. Now they expect us to remember that the 5BBT has been held on the first Sunday in May since 1979? Krikey! And where did I park my car?

  • Mike

    Without looking, do you know when Arbor Day, Flag Day, and National Aviation Day are all celebrated?

  • Simon Phearson

    That it’s held regularly on the same day every year is not something I would have known if you hadn’t sarcastically noted it to me as though it ought to be common knowledge. Which it isn’t.

  • AnoNYC

    One Million Trees was a good start but the city seriously needs to put greater efforts into greening our communities. We need to compete with global cities like Singapore (which happens to be WELL ahead of us).

  • Maggie

    Helpful to know this background – thank you! I won’t hold my breath on the “evil empire”, but it would be great to see the Yankees program around the ride, like the Red Sox do for the Boston marathon.

  • Jonathan R

    Mr. Komanoff,

    I think you are confusing the minority of people who have the inclination and resources to participate in all-day recreational bicycling events with the population at large of New York City bicyclists, many of whom don’t have the disposable income or time to take part in 5BBT.

    Bicycling is for everyone, not just folks who enjoy it recreationally.

  • Komanoff

    I thought any NY’er who, as I do, frets over possible inconvenience from huge once-a-year occurrences like the Marathon, 5BBT, Israel Day Parade, Puerto Rican Day Parade, would know that they’re always slotted to same weekend day. But, as Traffic sang (yes, Traffic, in “Empty Pages,” 1970), “But there are always exceptions”!

  • D’BlahZero

    Please be sure to include TD® in all references to the TD5BBT.

  • ohnonononono

    NY has a big Orthodox community relative to other cities, sure, but this “Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods” = really only 2 areas of Brooklyn…

  • Mike

    Sure, though you can also choose to ride at times when the streets are basically empty pretty much everywhere. 5:30am on Sunday works great.

  • Joe R.

    After about midnight in my neighborhood works just fine. 3 AM is even better. It’s dead as a door nail that time of night. Hardly any cars, just about no pedestrians.