Today’s Headlines

  • Terrible Loss of Life on NYC Streets Over the Weekend (News, AMNY, Gothamist)
  • Cab Driver Who Killed Luisa Rosario, 88, Charged With Failure to Yield (Post, Gothamist)
  • The Cabbie Had Been Working for 16 Hours Straight (News)
  • Someone Tell Vacca and NYPD None of the Victims Were Killed By Someone on an E-Bike (NBCNews)
  • De Blasio: “The Car Has Been a Little Too Sacred” (Gothamist)
  • The Daily News Wants Homicide Charge for Hit-and-Run Bus Driver Who Killed Carol Bell
  • Move NY Has Big Fans at the Staten Island Advance
  • MTA Construction Honcho Pegs 2nd Ave Subway Phase 2 Cost at $6 Billion (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Talks Heat Up Between NY and NJ About How to Build Trans-Hudson Rail Tunnel (Politico)
  • Vance Has $800 Million to Give Away — Will Any of It Go Toward Safer Streets? (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Joe R.

    The power assist cuts out above 20 mph. If you want to go faster than that on what’s considered a legal e-bike, it needs to be 100% human power. The things the delivery people use strictly speaking likely wouldn’t meet the requirements of the e-bike law. They would most likely be considered class B or C electric mopeds.

    For what it’s worth here, my overriding point is NYC alone bans e-bikes. Other cities allow them. If they cause all sorts of carnage, we would have heard about it by now. The main impetus for NYC banning e-bikes is their reckless operation by delivery people. That should have been dealt with for what it was—an enforcement issue. Same thing if regular cyclists ride the things recklessly.

  • Andrew

    The blinking red duration is determined by the time to cross the street at the speed of a slow walker (I don’t, off the top of my head, know the exact speed used). So if it takes a slow walker 20 seconds to cross a street, the white man will turn into a blinking red hand (with countdown clock, if equipped) for 20 seconds before changed to a solid red hand.

    At most crosswalks with pedestrian refuges, the blinking red hand phase is timed for the full crossing, not just halfway. (96th and 72nd may be exceptions – I’m not sure – but virtually every other crosswalk along the divided Broadway is as I described.)

    Yet there’s a mismatch with the law, which technically doesn’t allow a pedestrian to step off the sidewalk or the refuge on the blinking red hand.

    So if I want to be fully law-abiding, and I reach the intersection just after the red hand has started to blink, I have to wait until the solid white hand has come on again, cross halfway, and then (assuming the red hand is blinking) do the same wait all over again. Even if I know quite well that I walk faster than a slow walker and can get fully across the intersection in time.

  • Andrew

    To answer my own question: 3.5 feet per second.

    Mind you, average New Yorkers walk at about 5 feet per second (and most can presumably pick up the pace to get across the street even faster if need be). So that 20 second slow-walker crossing would take a typical New Yorker only 14 seconds to cross, or less if necessary.

  • walks bikes drives

    Half the time, when I cross Broadway at 96, the red hand has already started blinking before I reach the refuge. But this is also because the pedestrian phase is about 35 seconds, I think, with 10 seconds of walk and 25 seconds of count down. Which is innane for a major intersection. But either way, you are taking about the white cross vs red hand. I was talking about the overall timing of the entire period, which is based on the timing of the green light for traffic.

  • Andrew

    I don’t think most drivers realize that a green signal means they must to yield to pedestrians if turning. Instead they view yielding as a courtesy which can be withdrawn if they are in a hurry.

    I’ve started to think that you’re probably right. A lot of motorists seem to think that “yield to pedestrians” means “the pedestrians really have no business being there, but you should be nice and try to avoid hitting them if it isn’t too much trouble” – NOT “the pedestrians are crossing exactly as they are supposed to cross, and you must wait for them.”

    A good place to start would be T-intersections where the only legal move on a green signal is a turn against a crosswalk. These green signals should be removed altogether and replaced with flashing yellow turn signals.

    Not exactly the same scenario, but that’s exactly what was done at the corner of 95th and Amsterdam, where traffic in either direction on 95th is required to turn north onto Amsterdam: https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7933055,-73.970679,3a,75y,304.76h,83.35t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sz0bbkljDrH1Wslh51AXG2g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

  • Joe R.

    I’ve noted in Manhattan most people walk even faster than 5 feet per second. My pace of ~4.5 mph ( 6.6 ft/sec) seems to be about average there.

  • Andrew

    I typically cover a bit over a mile in 20 minutes – i.e., slightly over 3 mph – and I walk somewhat faster than average. But that includes stopping for cross traffic, for oblivious tourists, etc. – my walking speed while in motion is considerably faster. Whether above or below 4.5 mph I can’t say.

  • Joe R.

    20 minutes a mile sounds about right. That’s what it seems to take me in Manhattan (as opposed to 13 to 14 minutes/mile in eastern Queens). I know I can’t maintain my usual walking speed for more than a block or two at a time for all the reasons you say.

  • walks bikes drives

    Also to note, the countdown clocks are different. I dont believe they are timed particularly to walking pace as the traditional walk/don’t walk signals are, as they have a longer red duration since they are counting down. That’s why there is the discourse as to how to apply jaywalking laws.

  • Andrew

    No, they’re timed to walking pace. But the signals with countdown clocks probably comply with the new 3.5 ft/s standard, while the ones without are still programmed for the old 4 ft/s standard. So the blinking red hand time has gone up, and the white man time has gone down.

  • Jonathan R

    You are mistaken about pedal assist; on the pedal assist bikes I’ve owned, you still have to pedal harder to go faster. The assist matches your personal effort, it doesn’t take off on its own like a throttle.

  • fdtutf

    Outside of NYC, it is not uncommon for a signalized intersection to not have walk/don’t walk signals.

    Meanwhile, the accident I’m thinking of happened on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan. I can’t believe that the intersection in question (which I’m not personally familiar with) doesn’t have pedestrian signals.

  • walks bikes drives

    Yep, there are pedestrian signals there. There is even an incredibly good sandwich shop there on the corner as well. However, what they were trying to get across was that the turning driver had a green light. The direction the pedestrian was travelling also corresponded to a green light, meaning that, during the light cycle, she was travelling in the direction that would be controlled by the pedestrian signal with other than a constant, steady don’t walk symbol. What they needed to determine was whether she entered the intersection with the walk symbol illuminated, which gives her the undisputed right of way, or if she entered the intersection during another phase, such as the hand flashing, which, from a legal standpoint, gives the driver the right of way. Sad as it sounds, this is the law. By technicality, if the hand is flashing BEFORE you step off the sidewalk, you are required to wait for the next light phase in your favor. If you step off during the flashing phase, you are jaywalking and therefore do not have the right of way.

    Edit: that determination had been made, and quite quickly, I believe, because the driver was arrested at the scene, so say the news reports. But that has just added one “obstacle” to NYPD actually enforcing the law.

  • Matthias

    There is a brand-new traffic light at 5th Avenue and 124th Street where no pedestrian movement is permitted during the green phase, which is followed by a three-way pedestrian phase. This results in very little legal walk time (not unusual in itself) but removes any conflict with motor vehicles.

  • fdtutf

    I get all that as well as you do. What I don’t get is why the police don’t get it well enough to express themselves correctly. Again, pedestrians don’t have green lights.

    I suspect their way of wording this is simply another example of their windshield perspective.

  • walks bikes drives

    Again, I can’t believe I am defending the NYPD here, but I think it is actually clear what they are saying. When you grow up outside of NYC, the mantra is, over and over, to cross on the green, not on the red. This is even in just about every children’s book that talks about traffic safety, such as the Berenstain Bears. Saying that the pedestrian had a green light says a lot, but it stops short of saying whether they had the right of way because, when the quote is made, that had yet to be determined. Call it a windshield perspective to make an argument, but the simple truth of the matter is the traffic light is the primary control of the intersection, which is most definitely a car based structure. Subtract the windshields, and there is no intersection or traffic control device.

  • fdtutf

    Saying that the pedestrian had a green light says nothing because pedestrians don’t have green lights where there are walk signals, as there were in this case. The green light does not apply to the pedestrian and the police ought to know that and word their statements accordingly.

    I maintain that this is just windshield perspective talking once more.

    Call it a windshield perspective to make an argument, but the simple truth of the matter is the traffic light is the primary control of the intersection, which is most definitely a car based structure. Subtract the windshields, and there is no intersection or traffic control device.

    That’s very clear windshield perspective: Only cars matter.

    There were definitely intersections before there were cars, so “the intersection…is most definitely a car based structure” isn’t really true except in terms of the erroneous way in which cities are designed nowadays.

  • walks bikes drives

    Yes, there were intersections because there were streets. But then, it wasn’t cars and other motor vehicles, it was horses and horse drawn wagons. Pedestrians were killed back then too, by horses and horse drawn carriages (just ask Pierre Curie, husband and fellow Nobel Laureate to Marie Curie). However, not nearly to the same extent. But we live in a different world today. Let’s be honest. But when I am saying subtract the windshields, then we won’t have intersections, I’m not saying we won’t have cross streets with which to navigate, etc. Think of Stone Street in the financial district. It is closed to vehicular traffic, and is actually a big outdoor restaurant space. There are streets and alleys that cross it, but when you walk through there, do you consider them intersections?

  • fdtutf

    But we live in a different world today. Let’s be honest.

    I don’t accept the current state of the world as an inevitability.

    Think of Stone Street in the financial district. It is closed to vehicular traffic, and is actually a big outdoor restaurant space. There are streets and alleys that cross it, but when you walk through there, do you consider them intersections?

    Of course. What else would they be?