Today’s Headlines

  • Within Hours, Two People Trying to Cross Hylan Blvd Killed in Separate Crashes (Advance, News, WCBS)
  • In Wired, Hsi-Pei Liao Says We Need to Take Traffic Violence Seriously
  • De Blasio, Labor Allies Blast TWU for Doing Cuomo’s Bidding on MTA Funding (AMNYNewsObserver)
  • More Coverage of Ydanis Rodriguez’s Transportation Agenda (Politico, News, Post, AMNY)
  • Toll Reform? Good Luck in Albany, de Blasio Tells Rodriguez (Politico, Observer, WCBS)
  • The U.S. Supreme Court Isn’t Going to Help Up the Ante for Toll Reform (Advance)
  • Police Car Chase After Bronx Shooting Leads to Injured Bystanders (News, DNA, WPIX, WNBC)
  • Suffolk County Lawmakers Go After Red Light Cameras (WCBS)
  • The Post Writes Two Stories About Emergency Response Times Without Blaming Bike Lanes
  • Great Long Read From Adam Sternbergh About Times Square’s Past and Present (NY Mag)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Jonathan R

    Bronx car chase: Ordinarily I pass by East 167 and Intervale every afternoon a little after the time the chase wound down. This is scary. Has NYPD issued any guidelines on what we should do when there’s a police chase in progress? Maybe they could use that cursed amber alert system to tell everyone to get out of the street.

    As long as the police just keep using our streets for this stuff, we will be intimidated into not taking advantage of our streets.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    maybe the NYPD can follow their own safety guidelines instead of playing French Connection. The entire city is networked with cameras and prowl cars, so made for TV chases should be obsolete.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    Suffolk County lawmakers go after red light cameras because Suffolk County drivers seem to be confused by traffic lights (red means stop, yellow means slow down and green means go) and seem bewildered as to why driving through a red light would result in a traffic ticket. In addition the turning arrow seems to be a major stumbling point for Suffolk County drivers. So the CBS story’s headline should read Idiot Drivers of Suffolk County Pandered to By Idiot Suffolk County Lawmakers.

  • J

    re: Congestion Pricing/MoveNY. De Blasio is once again showing his utter lack of leadership.

  • Jeff

    Are you sure that yellow is supposed to mean “slow down”? I was under the impression that it meant, “Stop if your speed and distance from the intersection allow”.

  • What drives me bonkers is when drivers come out and whine about cyclists not following the traffic laws. Then I go and watch not one, not two, but three cars run a red light. And I’m only counting the cars who entered while the signal was red, not those who sped up to enter on the yellow. Insane. But cyclists are the problem don’t worry.

  • Frank Dell

    No, Jeff. Yellow means speed up like hell.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    I’m not sure why the Suffolk County lawmakers, or any lawmakers for that matter simply do not sell these red light (and speed cameras) as a way to protect motorists from one another. Many motorists think they are protected by driving larger and larger cartrucks, and thus feel safer, but they are not. Speeding motorists, and red light running motorists kill more motorists than they kill pedestrians and cyclists. If motorists understood that there is no getting away with their daily moving violations, then perhaps, they wouldn’t be so dangerous, and then not only other motorists be safer, but pedestrians and cyclists and houses and telephone poles, small animals …would be safer as well.

  • They do, but somehow people are good enough at convincing themselves that running red lights isn’t dangerous, but getting a red light ticket, now that would be just tragic.

  • com63

    One of the quotes talks about orange lights. Not sure what that is.

  • Joe R.

    This line of thinking makes even less sense when you consider most cyclists pass red lights at 10 mph or less, while motorists might be going upwards of 50 mph. The cyclist can easily stop if something unexpected crosses in front of them. Good luck stopping a car going 50 mph if the same thing happens.

  • ahwr

    If the intersection has an all red phase (typical) and the car enters the intersection a half second after the light turns red but clears it before cross traffic gets a green then the only way there’s a crash is if someone else cheats too. Is running the light in that manner how crashes occur? Or do crashes happen when the driver enters the intersection a few seconds after the light turns red when cross traffic already has a green?

    Posters here ask that the police to differentiate between a cyclist or pedestrian technically breaking the law and doing something dangerous. Wouldn’t it be good if the same was done for motorists? Scrap the $50 fine if the driver clears the intersection before anyone else is allowed to proceed and triple it if they enter it late enough to be risking a crash.

    I don’t expect that, so as someone who can’t bring myself to cheat the way I see others able to I’ll continue to enjoy motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians get hit with fines for technical violations that aren’t necessarily targeting dangerous behavior.

  • So, first of all, the all red phase exists to reduce the chances of accidents specifically because of this. If drivers could follow the rules, then we could have higher throughput in our intersections.

    Also, pedestrian’s cheat all the time, so they can get hit.

    Also, drivers who enter on red, might leave a wide intersection on green. Drivers who are waiting for a green will wait, but again, pedestrians may walk on the walk signal.

    Also, left turning drivers are forced to sit in the intersection longer, or may even assume a driver is going to stop. This is a *very* common crash.

    Third, a cyclist who runs a red, endangers only his own life. A driver who does so endangers everyone else. This is the distinction. I don’t give a damn if you want to risk your life running reds carelessly, not wearing a helmet, or skydiving for all I care, but the moment you endanger me or my family, now I have something to say about it. You have every right in my mind to endanger your own life, but not to endanger others. Drivers do not grasp this fundamental difference in risk.

  • Depends I guess. Many places flashing yellow indicates slow down and proceed with caution. Probably he just mis-spoke however.

  • Andrew

    If the intersection has an all red phase (typical) and the car enters the intersection a half second after the light turns red but clears it before cross traffic gets a green then the only way there’s a crash is if someone else cheats too.

    That depends on the timing, the width of the intersection, the speed of the car. As a pedestrian, I often encounter a fresh walk signal before the last car has passed through my crosswalk.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    You are expected to ”
    Steady yellow lights signal that the light will turn red soon. So, you must either come to a safe stop before the crosswalk, or, if you can’t stop safely, proceed with caution through the intersection before the light turns red. Remember: You can still receive a traffic ticket if the light turns red while you drive through the intersection. A yellow light doesn’t necessarily mean “Hurry!” Generally you are expected to slow down and come to a stop. However most drivers (such like as you might be doing when you drive around your town) often interpret that as to mean speed up and go through. Stopping at a yellow light will get you hit from behind, slowing down as the yellow changes will prevent that from happening. I generally will slow down at a yellow light especially when I find myself driving around in Stony Brook, Port Jeff, Saint James as opposed to speeding up and risk running the light. I

  • ahwr

    >Remember: You can still receive a traffic ticket if the light turns red while you drive through the intersection.

    Really? I know some states require you to clear the intersection before the light turns red but I thought NY wasn’t one of them.

  • Joe R.

    Legally, I’m pretty sure that so long as you enter the intersection before the light turns red you’re good. In practice drivers seem to consider clearing the intersection before the cross street gets a green “good enough”.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    Well you continue to follow your own rules in your head on that. I’m sure as you go on through life with following your consistent policy of when you are presented with a yellow light “speeding up (as opposed to cautiously slowing down) to clear the intersection before the light turns red” you’ll be fine and never hit a pedestrian, another vehicle or a house or gas station or someone on a bicycle. Come to think of it in my entire 30 years of driving a car I have never, ever seen another driver jump a red about to turn green so there really is no reason to exercise caution. So let me change my green means go, yellow means slow down and red means stop, to green means go, yellow means speed up because pedestrians, other drivers never jump the red light because they know in some jurisdictions you can get a ticket for not clearing the intersection, and red means stop.

  • Joe R.

    Speeding up on yellow to “make the light” is just an unfortunate end result of NYC’s policy of grossly overusing traffic signals. You don’t see as much of this type of behavior elsewhere simply because in many other jurisdictions traffic lights are used far less, and an effort is actually made to synchronize traffic signals to a reasonable driving speed. Not so in NYC where some streets have traffic signals on every block, and they’re often not synchronized. My brother mentions a portion of his commute where it takes 6 minutes to go half a mile, mainly because you’re stopping at every single traffic light.

    NYC could go a long way towards eliminating this behavior by first getting rid of 90% to 95% of traffic signals, then synchronizing the remainder. Also, using sensors to ensure a light only goes red if something is actually crossing will help immensely. Cyclists will probably benefit from these changes even more than motorists.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    Or we could just ban cars.

  • Andrew

    I’m not sure where you get any of that from ahwr’s post.

    The law in New York is that the vehicle must not enter the intersection after the light has turned red. If you drive into the intersection while the light is still green or yellow and it turns red before you’ve fully cleared the intersection, you haven’t done anything wrong.

    None of that can possibly be construed as license do to all of the crazy/illegal/dangerous things that so many motorists do. Drivers run enough red lights as the law defines it that there’s no need to fabricate laws that don’t exist.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    I’m not sure you have ever driven a car, or had a formal driving instruction. This is not to insult you. Look, there are a lot of DMV rules that could be interpreted in such a way as to cause a maximum amount of chaos and mayhem. The idea of the yellow light is to induce caution in the driver. Drivers will SPEED UP at a yellow light and that is precisely not what you want to happen. Speed up to “clear the intersection”.

    Why Amber Time Matters…
    The purpose of the yellow interval is to warn approaching traffic of the
    imminent right-of-way change.
    Source: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

  • bolwerk

    I guess you’re technically right. It seems NYS and NYC care about conditions, not the traffic signal.

    N.Y. VAT. LAW § 1175 : NY Code – Section 1175: Obstructing traffic at intersection: “When vehicular traffic is stopped on the opposite side of an intersection, no person shall drive a vehicle into such intersection, except when making a turn unless there is adequate space on the opposite side of the intersection to accommodate the vehicle he is driving notwithstanding the indication of a traffic control signal which would permit him to proceed. ”

    NYC traffic rules 4-07(b)(2) “No operator shall enter an intersection and its crosswalks unless there is sufficient unobstructed space beyond the intersection and its crosswalks in the lane in which he/she is traveling to accommodate the vehicle, notwithstanding any traffic control signal indication to proceed.”

    If those laws were enforced strictly, crossing after the turn to red would be risky in any busy urban environment.

  • Andrew

    Excuse me, but I’m not sure what you’re babbling about. Am I correct or incorrect about the law? And, if I’m correct (which I am), what bearing does that have on the rest of your rant?

    I see drivers every day who blatantly run the red light per the New York definition. There’s no need to make up new laws in order to find blatant lawbreakers.

  • Mathew Smithburger

    I’m not saying we need to make up new laws. Just slow the fuck down when you see a yellow light and be careful. How about some common sense. This way you are not going to hit another car, a pedestrian or a cyclist. You strike me as someone who should slow down at yellow lights so I hope this will help you understand. I have a feeling that often common sense sounds to you like babble, like you are a dog sitting in front of a magician who just performed a card trick. In fact just stay off the road. Leave your car at home and take the bus.

  • Andrew

    What did any of that have to do with anything I wrote? Perhaps you’re confusing me for someone else?