Today’s Headlines

  • Turning Driver Kills Carol Carboni, 52, on Mobility Scooter on Nostrand Ave; No Charges (Post, News)
  • NYPD Tickets Driver Who Cut Off Casino Bus Before Its Driver Crashed Into Building (AP, News)
  • Citizens Budget Commission: Uber’s Growth Threatens MTA Funding Source (Politico)
  • Crain’s Runs the Numbers on Street Safety in NYC, with a Special Call-Out on Bike Injuries
  • Police Seek Hudson River Greenway Cyclist Who Left After Hitting Toddler (Gothamist, WCBS)
  • Bronx Democrats Plan to Oust DA Robert Johnson, Replace Him With New Candidate (Post 1, 2)
  • Senator David Carlucci’s Plan to Keep Tappan Zee Tolls Low Relies on Toll Evaders (LoHud)
  • Borelli Announces Funding for New Road Beneath Outerbridge Crossing (Advance)
  • Citi Bike on Staten Island? Eventually, de Blasio Says (Advance, DNA)
  • 56-Unit Condo Building With 150 Parking Spaces to Replace 550-Car UES Garage (YIMBY)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • BBnet3000

    Does Crains still think that Vision Zero in New York includes any improvements for safer cycling? Fooled me once, shame on you, fooled me 10 times…

  • Matthias

    People do need to treat the shared path as such, and slow down. Interesting though that the cyclist is expected to be charged with failure to exercise due care, yet I rarely hear this in stories about more serious vehicular collisions.

  • Simon Phearson

    I feel like you buried the lede on the TPZ toll story, since one element of his plan to keep tolls low is to explicitly subsidize local bridge users. Whoever said drivers pay their own way?

  • Bobberooni

    I ride that path daily. The biker’s excuse was lame. “I didn’t expect to see her right in the middle of the path.” Sorry, one must ALWAYS slow WAY down for toddlers. They have no common sense and are prone to dash across the path, especially if their parents are on the other side. The biker is 50 yrs old, maybe even has her own kids. She should know better. Slow to a crawl and wave “hi” to the parents. Better safe than sorry.

    Some days, the Hudson river bike path is so full of people out with their BBQ that you can’t go faster than a brisk jogging speed. C’est la vie.

    You want a place to let it out “full throttle”? Try NJ Route 9W, or the Putnam Branch bike path.

  • Albert

    Even when riding on the street, anytime I see kids or dogs anywhere near the curb I slow way down.

  • Bobberooni

    I dunno… tolls are already low on the TZB, and no one has yet suggested they be increased. For example, the regular toll on the TZB is lower than the carpool toll on the GWB. So why should there be a discount?

  • Simon Phearson

    I won’t debate that a busy mixed-use trail is not the place to go “full throttle” (although at this point we only have the say-so of a witness that the cyclist was going at an unsafe speed), but the recommendation that cyclists do their “full throttle” riding essentially outside the city, on trails that are simply not convenient for anything but a weekend trip, is facile to the point of being non-serious.

    Exercise cycling exists, and exercising cyclists live throughout the city. They’re going to look for places where they can push themselves that are convenient to where they live and relatively safe and efficient for cycling. That’s just a demand that exists and will continue to exist. Essentially banning them from any car-free space – rather than structuring car-free space so that it can be compatible with both pedestrian and cyclist uses – is not a solution, unless you view forcing those cyclists to accept the risks of riding in traffic on busy arterial streets to be a “solution.”

    When advocates pushed to cut the speed limit in Central Park to 20 mph, they effectively destroyed the one place in this entire city where pedestrians and exercising cyclists could have been accommodated simultaneously, both safe from car traffic. I wouldn’t be surprised if a result of their actions will be more cases like the story on Hudson River Greenway, as cyclists look for places to ride fast that aren’t ticket traps.

  • nanter

    Have we *ever* seen a driver get charged with failure to exercise due care after maiming or killing pedestrians or cyclists?

  • Joe R.

    The same infrastructure could serve the needs of both utility cyclists and exercise cyclists if done right. Unfortunately, NYC has few places where a cyclist can ride for any length of time without encountering traffic signals, stop signs, crossing pedestrians, double-parked cars, etc. I’ve been arguing that it needs this type of infrastructure. It would give recreational cyclists a safe place to ride to their capabilities. It would also give utility cyclists a mostly nonstop, much faster trip. The obvious question is how to fit this into an already crowded city. I’ve offered ideas on that multiple times. As a nearly 100% recreational cyclist the need for this infrastructure is real. As things stand now I need to go out after 10PM to have conditions which are even semi-suitable for the type of riding I like to do. Decent, nonstop infrastructure would also get more people doing utility cycling. The sad part is even a visionary like JSK never had any plans for such a network. I think far too many people, even those running local DOTs, think it’s perfectly fine to mix cyclists and pedestrians. They also think unless you’re in a motor vehicle, speed isn’t important. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Flakker

    Not to mention, there’s nothing wrong with cracking down on toll evaders. They’re yet another example of the seemingly unlimited sense of entitlement of New York-area motorists.

  • Joe R.

    I wonder what would have happened if the child had been hit by a car in the street? The police almost never charge drivers with failure to exercise due care. And there certainly wouldn’t be any calls for the driver to pay the injured party’s medical bills. I have a gut feeling if a motor vehicle were involved, the child’s parents would be charged with negligence for letting the child wander into the street unattended. Because a bike was involved, you have a set of double standards.

    Sure, the cyclist absolutely should have operated carefully around a child that young, but I honestly feel the parents deserve a little blame here for not keeping an eye on the child. Back when I was kid, if I started wandering towards the street, I was instantly yanked away by my parents, giving a good scolding, sometimes even given a spanking. Kids don’t know any better but their parents do.

  • Jeff

    It’s just acknowledging the reality of the situation as it currently exists. If you want to push yourself as an individual rider, Central Park and Prospect Park are appropriate. If you want to do full-on “road biking” with a team and all, then yeah, get out to 9W. Getting swarmed by a team in Central Park on my leisurely morning ride is absolutely terrifying, even as someone who does go out to 9W almost every weekend. SHOULD people be able to train like this somewhere in the city? I don’t know, maybe. But right now they can’t (while being respectful of other road users). So they shouldn’t.

  • Simon Phearson

    Central Park really isn’t a place to push yourself as an individual rider. The speed limit is too low, the stoplights too many, and the hours too short to avoid other park users.

    I actually wasn’t even thinking of paceline training. I can’t imagine why you would want to do that any place other than 9W or something similar.

    The point of my objection is that advocates are throwing fast cyclists under the bus (literally). Sure, the “reality” is that our car-free spaces have been inadequately designed to accommodate the variety of demands we have for car-free spaces. But part of the reason that is and probably will remain the case is that advocates don’t really take fast cycling as an activity that matters (it’s like vehicular cycling in that respect).

  • Joe R.

    Central Park doesn’t even seem suitable for an individual rider pushing themselves between the 20 mph speed limit, plus the ridiculous fact they didn’t remove the traffic signals from the part which was made permanently car-free. I’m convinced NYC is just brain dead when it comes to cycling. We might talk a good line about getting more people on bikes, but then we give them infrastructure which requires jumping through all sorts of hoops. Really, there’s nowhere else on the planet where you have traffic signals in a space with just pedestrians and cyclists as you do in Central Park.

  • Jeff

    I don’t think those advocating for cycling as a mode of transportation really care about this type of recreational cycling one way or another. It’s certainly an activity I, personally, and many fellow advocates, enjoy and partake in, but it just seems kind of like separate issue altogether, aside from maybe the fact that they happen to use the same type of vehicle. We also don’t particularly advocate one way or another for better kayak launch points, another recreational activity vaguely related to human-powered transport. I don’t think groups like TA need to advocate for road biking any more than a group like AAA needs to advocate for NASCAR.

  • Joe R.

    The comparison of recreational cycling with NASCAR really isn’t accurate. The fact is the same things which enable recreational cycling will make cycling for transportation better. Non-stop paths free of pedestrians where you can ride at whatever speed you want certainly seems like it would benefit people cycling for transportation.

    Comparing NASCAR to track cycling may be more accurate. A velodrome for track cycling certainly won’t benefit anyone except those who enjoy track cycling. But those who enjoy any type of road cycling can be accommodating with infrastructure which makes transportation cycling better. It’s definitely not an either/or case here.

  • st4rchy

    Here’s some low-hanging fruit for you, Streetsblog. Red light cameras attack veterans!

  • com63

    350 car parking spaces being converted into 1,800+ bike parking spaces should have been the headline.

  • st4rchy

    I think that as cyclists we do a lot more for cycling, for pedestrian safety, and for liveable streets when we distinguish between fast road cycling and transport cycling and when we admit that pedestrians are more vulnerable road users and always deserve the right of way and some consideration. That said, that portion of Riverside and the Greenway is very poorly designed.

  • com63

    I think drivers in such a situation almost always pay the injured party’s medical bills. That is what liability insurance is for. It just doesn’t make the news.

  • st4rchy

    There was a time when I wold have agreed with you, but I have since come around to seeing that my own desire to ride fast is simply not supportable any longer in this environment, and that just like a driver, a cyclist must also hold back, yield, and operate with due care in crowded environments that always include the more vulnerable. If you are going to live a long ride from 9W such that it is only a
    weekend possibility, you have made that decision, just as you have made a
    decision not to live in a place where you can drive a car at 70+
    MPH. Most of New York City is not convenient for lots of popular sports. You can surf every day if you live in the Rockaways.

  • Simon Phearson

    This is like saying that people choosing to live in New York have chosen not to drive, at all, or to jog. No, it’s preposterous – particularly when we live in a city that regularly accommodates drivers at speeds well beyond anything achievable by a human on a bike.

    We’re not talking about anything that requires special facilities, like NASCAR racing, or conducive natural geography, like surfing. We’re talking about an activity that you can do on just about every street in the city. It’s as natural for someone who enjoys biking for exercise to be accommodated in a car free space, like a park, as it is to accommodate someone who enjoys running for exercise. Would you run for exercise down Eight Avenue? No. You wouldn’t bike for exercise there, either. But it makes perfect sense to try to build our riverside greenways and parks to accommodate that kind of activity, and it could be done easily, if we just put some thought to it.

    And this isn’t just about loops in the park. This is about building bike infrastructure that serves people going any distance, at any level of fitness. If you build all of our infrastructure so that it can only accommodate cyclists at 12-15 mph, you are essentially pushing people who need to make better time on their commutes (because they have farther to go) off those routes.

    If you think that telling a Queens-dweller that they just can’t bike fast anywhere is going to stop them, you’re mistaken. If they can’t use a park, they’ll use the street – and take on the attendant risks. That’s not a fair or smart imposition.

  • Simon Phearson

    The distinction between transport cycling and fast cycling is not as clean as you make it out to be. The farther a cyclist has to go, the more they need to be able to do so at higher speeds, if the trip is to be manageable. When you design everything so that they’re stuck going 12 mph, tops, you’re taking away cycling as an option for longer trips. Why would you want to do that, when our neighborhoods remain as far apart as they are?

    Also, pedestrians do not always “deserve” the right of way (and do not in fact have it) and are not especially vulnerable vis-a-vis cyclists (how exactly is a cyclist getting the better of a collision with a pedestrian?). We can acknowledge that cyclists should use reasonable care when using mixed spaces where pedestrian traffic is likely without elevating them to an unnecessarily sacrosanct status.

  • Kevin Love

    No criminality suspected!

  • ahwr

    But it makes perfect sense to try to build our riverside greenways and
    parks to accommodate that kind of activity, and it could be done easily,
    if we just put some thought to it.

    Put some thought into it and take space away from slower users, right? What redesign do you propose for the riverside greenways that accommodates faster cycling without taking away space from people who want to sit or walk? Or bike at a more leisurely pace so they don’t reach their destination sweaty and tired?

  • Simon Phearson

    Separate paths for bike and foot traffic. It isn’t rocket science.

  • ahwr

    Is it wide enough for two people walking side by side to pass two people walking the other way? And for cyclists to do the same? And for a bench so someone can sit? And a little room in front of the bench for a toddler to play? And then still enough room for a fifth cyclist who wants to speed by? There’s limited space, and you can’t accommodate every use. It isn’t rocket science, it’s politics. Your use (that of the speeding cyclist) is more space intensive and appeals to fewer users. It shouldn’t be the top priority in a park. It’s better suited to existing transportation corridors. If for whatever reason space is not re-appropriated from general traffic lanes to dedicated high speed bike facilities the response should never be to remove precious park land to expand transportation facilities.

  • Simon Phearson

    Yeah, I get it. For whatever reason, you’d rather cyclists die in traffic than build park facilities that accommodate existing demand for varying uses. Is there a reason I should take you seriously?

  • ahwr

    If you don’t know how to ride safely in the street then you can and should slow down and ride in the park. But kicking out people who want to walk, or who can’t ride as fast as you want to go, or who want to sit on a bench, or who want to look out at the river, or rip out mature trees to widen the path to let some cyclists ride faster should not be an acceptable solution.

    Unless you’re talking about riding on a velodrome racing cyclists need a lot of space. That’s not something that can necessarily be accommodated in a city without great impacts on others by reducing the park land available for recreation that does not require as much space.

  • Simon Phearson

    It’s possible to ride “safely” on the street, but that’s always going to be only relatively so. There’s always going to be the risk of inattentive drivers, scofflaw drivers, incompetent drivers, etc. Pushing fast cyclists out of car-free spaces places them at that risk, which as I said, is an unfair and unnecessary imposition.

    I am not talking about pushing slower users out of car-free spaces to accommodate fast cycling. A place like Central Park could easily accommodate fast cycling; all it would need is some tweaks to the road design, removal of stop lights, physical separation of walking/running paths from cycling paths, and earlier hours. There are probably places along the riverfronts where you could do the same. It really doesn’t require that much space, and whatever we would build would be able to accommodate fast and slow cycling.

    I don’t understand, in the end, why the recreational desires of some users outweigh the recreational desires of others. In your view, even the slightest change to a design that stands to put a pedestrian one or two feet farther away from the riverfront, or that might involve taking down a single tree, is unacceptable to accommodate a group of cyclists who otherwise would be forced to contend with the city’s streets. This reflects an extreme anti-cycling bias that’s simply absurd. That’s not how we think about what infrastructure to build, where, for any other transportation or recreation need or desire.

  • Joe R.

    Central Park should be open 24/7. Not just to accommodate fast cyclists, but to allow anyone who might happen to enjoy being in a park at 3AM to do so. Besides removing the stoplights, you’ll probably also need to grade separate the few busiest crossings, as well as those near the bottoms of any hills. Given the volume of users, this certainly is feasible despite the cost. Moreover, the grade separated crossings really benefit all users, not just fast cyclists.

    That said, any cycling infrastructure the city builds in the five boroughs should be usable at a minimum of 20 mph, better yet 25 mph or 30 mph. Infrastructure designed for higher speeds is safer for any cyclist at any speed. Such designs imply wider lanes, ample room for passing, good pavement, wide curves, and minimal/no need to stop. Those things only make the cycling experience better for everyone.

  • ahwr

    I am not talking about pushing slower users out of car-free spaces to accommodate fast cycling.

    Go back to where this thread started. A toddler was hit by a reckless cyclist on a path where pedestrians have priority. You’re worried about inattentive drivers ruining your ride? No consideration for inattentive cyclists ruining a walk of someone who goes to a park for a stroll? You claimed the path should be redesigned, with dedicated space for cyclists. That it would be easy if we just put some thought into it. It’s not wide enough for that. For this section that means spending tens of millions to extend into the water to widen the path (I’m basing this ballpark cost on the published estimates for filling the gap in the east river path in the vicinity of the UN), tear down a line of mature trees, significant excavation to flatten the terrain where those trees sit, and construction of concrete retaining walls to keep everything above it intact to widen the path, or to significantly narrow the space available for other users. With the existing footprint if there’s room for two fast cyclists to pass each other without slowing down (one north one south), then there won’t be room for a bench with a toddler playing in front of it and still have room for two people to walk next to each other in each direction. You are either talking about taking away from other recreational users in the immediate vicinity, or think given the extensive backlog of capital projects in the city’s parks that a significant share of the budget should be dedicated to accommodating fast cyclists along this stretch of the Hudson river, in which case you are effectively taking away from the recreational uses of some city residents elsewhere in five boros.

    I don’t understand, in the end, why the recreational desires of some users outweigh the recreational desires of others.

    The main issue I have is that park space allocations should always be biased to the needs of those who live or work nearby. That fulfilling a role of neighborhood park is more important than the role of regional destination. A recreational cyclist who wants miles of space necessarily is asking for a great deal of space far from their home. Their desired use should be subordinate to that of those who live or work along the proposed cycle corridor. I see this as a natural extension of the fight for livable streets. That public space should be biased to those who live in the immediate vicinity, not those coming from miles away who want to travel through as fast as possible.

    The central park loop is a far more appropriate place for recreational cycling than the narrow parts of the waterfront paths that this thread started on. Having walked around the park a lot (and ridden the loop) though I do think some cyclists don’t appreciate the utility of some of the at grade pedestrian crossings of the loop, or the costs of grade separating them (there are of course other priorities in the city’s underfunded parks), but there is likely significant room to improve conditions for recreational cyclists there.

  • Simon Phearson

    Of course I have concern for the way that our parks are designed to create conflicts between multiple uses. That’s why I’m arguing that they should be designed not to create those conflicts. Your moralizing on the inherent inferiority of cyclists to pedestrians isn’t a solution. Creating a car-free space that channels fast cycling away from places where pedestrians want to be and gather is.

    I’m not sure what the best solution at this particular spot is. But as long as it’s expected to be not just a multi-use path but a primary corridor for safe cycling (at least for transportation), an investment to segregate cycling traffic serves everyone – local residents, commuters, and exercisers of all types.

    You talk about being in favor of livable streets and parks serving local communities, but your rationales are so bizarrely parochial I’m convinced you can’t have thought them through. If neighborhoods shouldn’t be shaped to serve the needs of those coming from far afield, period, then there’s really no justification for bike infrastructure anywhere – in streets or in parks. If vulnerable road users should never have to sacrifice space for cycling, then it would be virtually impossible currently to bike between the boroughs. If we were to take your statements seriously on the Greenway, the best way we could address your concerns would be to cut off the Greenway periodically to prevent through bike traffic. This can’t be correct.

    Livable streets are the right goal to have in mind, and I agree that parks should generally prioritize serving local residents. But we have to think about those goals holistically, against our city’s approach to transportation infrastructure and livable streets. There is a tremendous amount of cycling pressure on the Hudson River Greenway because it provides a straight, relatively uninterrupted corridor to bike safely up and down the island. Wherever you have conditions like that, you’re going to attract fast cycling – both commuters with a long way to go, and exercise cyclists. Moralize about it if you like, but that’s just how humans work. So if you want to stop conflicts along the Greenway, you have to provide those cyclists an attractive alternative. Maybe that’s a cycletrack carved forcefully out of Riverside Drive. Maybe that’s a platform suspended over the water along the park.

    It’s certainly not ideal that our parks have become a de facto place to put effective bike infrastructure for commuting and cycling, but trying to push fast cycling out of the parks against a backdrop of no safe alternatives to go means very clearly putting cyclists in danger – which, in turn, means lower bike modeshare and undermining the very goals you claim to espouse.

  • Joe R.

    My educated guess is it would probably cost less to just put a viaduct for cycling above the existing path rather than widen the existing path by extending it over the water. Any time you do anything involving landfill in a river, costs are astronomical. On the other hand, the costs of a viaduct are well know. You can even put it mostly above where cars go if shading the path would be an issue. Once the viaduct is built, the existing path would be repurposed for peds only.

    Everyone wins with this solution. Cyclists end up with their own space free of pedestrians. They also avoid any conflicts with pedestrians crossing, and also avoid the traffic signals which exist in some parts of the greenway now. Pedestrians get more space. More importantly, they’re not sharing that space with speeding bikes.

    The major downside obviously is the cost. However, as the most heavily traveled bike trunk route in the US, the cost is easily justified given the number of users it has (and the number it would attract if improved in this manner). Long term you might even have this viaduct loop around lower Manhattan, then up along the East River, and connect with one or more of the bridges via flyover junctions. On the other end, you might extend the viaduct into the Bronx, perhaps have it connect to the trial going upstate. In theory a cyclist could go from lower Manhattan, perhaps eventually from Queens or Brooklyn, nonstop all the way upstate.

    Everyone benefits from this, not just fast recreational cyclists.

  • ahwr

    I didn’t mean land reclamation. The new midtown east river park is supposed to be supported on concrete piers sunk into the water. I think some of them already exist from a temporary highway project. Other places have floating paths, one is proposed for London at an outrageous cost.

    If this isn’t a park anymore, and you’re saying it’s a transportation corridor, then the parkland should go through the alienation process and be replaced. A transportation corridor should not have been run through the parks, more could have always been done to expand cycling by accommodating it on streets.

    Non stop upstate? You mean to Elmsford? There are some stop signs (treated as yield, even though often ignored) before you get there btw.

    Bike mode share? Where you have a lot of cyclists 90%+ of bike trips are less than 4.5 miles. You don’t need a non stop path from queens to westchester for that. You need surface streets in the outer boroughs with cycle tracks to accommodate short trips to education, to stores, and to train stations. Combination of replacing some street parking (not narrowing already crowded sidewalks) to add in bike corrals and creating a regulatory environment that isn’t hostile to private garages welcoming cyclists with secure storage (for a fee of course). And cycle tracks in Manhattan on the avenues and some cross streets. The short trips facilitated by those facilities would be the bread and butter of any mainstream cycling future in NYC.