Today’s Headlines

  • So, There’s a Vacancy in the NY State Assembly 65th District (NYT, PoliticoNews, PostCrain’s)
  • The Silver Verdict as a Judgment of Albany’s Everyday Criminality (NewsNYT)
  • Will the Conviction Change How Albany Operates? (WSJ, Politico)
  • Q44 Select Bus Service Launched on Sunday (DNA)
  • De Blasio: Community Board Votes Against Housing Plan Are “Not the Final Word” (News)
  • Most Queens Council Members Undecided on Housing and Zoning Proposals (QChron)
  • De Blasio Made It a Personal Mission to Resurface the FDR Drive (NYT)
  • Nassau County Is About to Cut Bus Service and Raise Fares, Again (MTR)
  • A Bike-Yield Law for NYC — The Debate Continues (DNA, Bklyn Paper), Now With Polling! (Bklyn Paper)
  • Bus Company Whose Driver Committed Fatal Hit-and-Run Operating Illegally in Manhattan (Post)
  • Which Company Will Profit From EDC’s Ferry Subsidies? (Crain’s)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Mayor Pet Peeve

    If only the mayor took the train or went for a walk every now and then. He might see how terrible the subways are or despair at how much pedestrians get bullied by motorists. Only then might we see real sweeping change that makes things better for the majority of New Yorkers.

  • KeNYC2030

    It would be nice to hear de Blasio affirm that community board votes are not the final word when it comes to life-saving proposals by his Department of Transportation.

  • BBnet3000

    The City Council would be more useful I think.

  • BBnet3000

    EDC is very good at handing wagonloads of taxpayer money to wealthy private entities (such as the ferry operators in this new scheme) for minimal benefit to the general public, including with 1960s style urban renewal that directly dispossesses small landowners, small business owners, and tenants (the NY Times building, Columbia University expansion).

    Their saving grace is that they’ve built the only high quality bike infrastructure in the city (Hudson River Greenway, Queens Plaza North).

  • bolwerk

    That saving grace surely earns them a few years of credit towards their deserved fate of an eternity in everlasting hellfire.

    Caveat: the credit should not be applied until they are nearing the end of their sentence.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    as of noon 81% in favour of Idaho/Paris stop in poll – vote early and often.

    curious – this used to be called a ‘Hollywood Stop’ when performed by drivers back in the day.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    maybe even Bratton and Trottenberg also use transport like regular New Yorkers

  • Joe R.

    I’m sure if it passes it’ll eventually be called the New York stop. You’ll even have some people claiming NYC invented the idea.

  • Alex

    Can we now have congestion pricing? Silver was arguably the single road-block, no pun intended, to a positive vote last time. Move New York is a superior plan and it’s time to push very very hard.
    Azi had done some excellent reporting on this back when it was live: http://observer.com/2008/04/congestion-pricing-not-without-sheldon-silver/

  • ahwr

    Idaho actually makes you stop at reds, not the same thing. The proposed NYC says you don’t have to stop. So call it the New York Nonstop.

  • Alex

    I’m a bit confused. I thought it was stop signs turn to yield and stop lights to stop signs. It makes sense, though it wouldn’t change much about biking in Manhattan. I still support it as an obviously bike positive legislation.
    Would certainly like for bikes to be allowed to follow pedestrian phases and to be able to execute turns on red lights after yielding to pedestrians.

  • ahwr

    stop signs turn to yield and stop lights to stop signs.

    In Idaho. The proposed NYC law is different.

    http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2523134&GUID=E0B32FA4-C25A-4D70-A553-FECECD520AF2&Options=ID|Text|&Search=

    Resolution calling upon the State Legislature to pass, and for the Governor to sign, legislation to allow bicycles to treat stop signs and red lights as yield signs

    Maybe they’ll change it to match the Idaho law.

    Would certainly like for bikes to be allowed to follow pedestrian phases

    Pedestrian crossing phases are very short. When there is a LPI in one direction pedestrians in the other direction effectively get an extra 3 seconds of crossing time. You take that away if you let cyclists treat a LPI as a green. If they treat it as a stop sign that issue goes away. Remember there are likely to be cars stopped at the light at this point, visibility is minimal. Actually stopping might not be necessary, but slowing down considerably to check for cross traffic – pedestrians – still is.

    execute turns on red lights after yielding to pedestrians.

    Would that include yielding to pedestrians crossing against the light? Turn on red outside of NYC makes it much harder to jaywalk.

    Always a push on streetsblog to make it legal for a cyclist to pass a red. Offering pedestrians the same accommodation never gets much attention. The bike yield law makes it harder to jaywalk and should be opposed until modified to allow pedestrians the right of way over cyclists when there is a conflicting movement and both face a red.

  • Nathan Rosenquist

    I didn’t know the bill proposed to treat red lights as yields, either. That worries me. I have no problem demoting lights to stop signs and stop signs to yields as it still forces road uses to look out for each other, but I know all too well that a 20-something on a bike will blow right into oncoming traffic on a 4-lane highway if you tell him he has the right of way. Pedestrians would be threatened for sure, but imagine the number of young cyclist fatalities.

  • Alex

    The description in the legistar link is apparently incorrect, though I wonder why they don’t correct it or introduce a new bill to correctly reflect the intention of the law, which is Idaho stop law.

  • Geck

    I read that was an early version that will be amended to treating reds as stop signs.

    The whole point of stopping and yielding is to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and vehicles and proceed when it is clear.

  • Alex

    “Would that include yielding to pedestrians crossing against the light?
    Turn on red outside of NYC makes it much harder to jaywalk.”

    Of course, in Vision Zero (and the general realm of common sense) the pedestrians always have the right of way. I’ve gone back and forth on whether Idaho Stop is a good idea for NYC because I can see it being applicable for side streets but not for major thoroughfares like 34th St. I think we’d have to have something about following stop lights at intersections with multi-directional traffic, or with over two lanes of one way traffic. There would also need to be certain signs up at streets with turning phases advising bikes to follow stop light.
    My main reason for supporting the law is because I think it would encourage a shift in enforcement priorities to more egregious violations.

  • kevd

    no one is telling anyone they have the right of way.
    in fact, treating a red as a yield very specifically indicates that they do not have the right of way.

  • Larry Littlefield

    If he doesn’t spend at least a couple of more years in “community consultation” on the housing issue, it would really show his criticisms of Bloomberg were utter hypocrisy.

    What was that timeline on the PPW bike lane again?

  • Larry Littlefield

    There are plenty of people here who seem to follow public policy quite closely, if only narrowly.

    This Silver conviction is strictly Capone on tax evasion. The real crimes are “legal.” So when are some of the people here going to run against against their incumbent state legislator? I did it.

    Your interest may be narrow. But if you download all the comparative public finance and employment data on my website, on state and local government employment by category per 100,000 residents and state and local government taxes and expenditures by type per $1,000 of personal income, for the U.S., NYC, every other county in NY and NJ, selected counties elsewhere, and every state, with data over 20 years or more, I guarantee you will soon know more than ANYONE serving the state legislature.

    They get their data at fundraisers.

  • Bobberooni

    Treating red lights as yields is lunacy. As a biker… rarely in NYC do I come across a situation where that would be safe. Allowing bikes to go through reds on T intersections could also be problematic, depending on pedestrian traffic and visibility — which is often blocked by a stopped truck.

    Why not start with a more measured approach:

    1. Legalize right on red after stop for bikes. That should not be too hard, because right on red for CARS is already legal in most of the country.

    2. Develop a consistent way to sign differences in traffic regulations for bikes and cars. Maybe “one way except bikes,” or “STOP, (Yield for bikes.)” Once we have appropriate signs, maybe try them out at a few intersections where they might be appropriate.

  • Alex

    One of the brilliant things about the discussion around the fall of Silver has been precisely what you bring up here: that the rampant corruption and dysfunction of government does not attract altruistic people to serve.
    If I follow public policy narrowly, it is indeed because of that distasteful rift between elected officials and their constituents.

  • Toddster

    It’s not lunacy to have the option to safely proceed through intersections

    after all traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) have cleared. And the law does not force you to either.

    In the broader discussion on this across the media, it sounds like people don’t understand what yield means. It sounds like most people are equating yield to “going slower, but still going.” Yield means relinquishing your right of way until its safe to proceed, which in New York, will often times mean coming to a full stop at busy intersections but being able to get a head start after the intersection has cleared. Although at some intersections, if there a no conflicts, cyclists will be able to go through without stopping.

    Yield does not mean you don’t ever have to stop.

    Maybe because yield signs are so rare people never got familiar with the concept. Could we need a broad city wide education campaign on what yield actually means, since many drivers currently think it means “honk as I speed down the block so pedestrians can get out of my way” and some cyclists think it means “squeeze through any gap in people or cars at all.”

  • Joe R.

    You’re thinking solely from a Manhattan CBD during business hours perspective. In the outer boroughs many intersections are virtually empty for most of the day. As I’ve said already, if there are places where yield on red really would be dangerous, then sign those intersections on a case-by-case basis, perhaps making it stop on red, or prohibiting running the red altogether. Based on my observations, those places would be few and far between, perhaps only places where viaducts block lines of sight.

  • Joe R.

    The wording to treat reds as stops may in practice result in them being treated as yields. Slowing to less than about 5 mph might be considered a “defacto stop”. The point of using the wording “stop”, as opposed to “yield”, is to ensure people don’t blow through red lights at 20 mph. It’s a shame we have to make laws more restrictive than needed because people in the US don’t understand the concept of yield but that’s the reality. I don’t think the police will be looking for a full, foot-down stop if the law passes. So long as you slow to walking speed, and appear to be checking for cross traffic, you’ll likely be OK. That’s what most cyclists do now anyway.

  • Joe R.

    I’ve thought that this proposed law should be amended to allow pedestrians to treat reds as yields also. It would have a lot more popular support if that were done. While we’re at it, we should probably legalize crossing midblock if there is no cross traffic.

  • Joe R.

    The process by which people come to power is why you mostly get corrupt people in power. It costs a huge amount of money to get into office under today’s system. That means the only people getting into office are either beholden to big campaign contributors, not the people they represent, or are rich. Being rich likely means you’re already well-versed in corruption since few honest people become wealthy. Either way, you get people in office who serve very narrow interests.

    Loads of ideas have been proposed to fix it. One of my favorite ideas is to just choose people at random for various legislative positions. You could of course decline to serve for any reason if you’re picked. In that case, you move on to the next person until you find someone who can serve. To make sure lack of finances doesn’t keep poor people from serving you offer a generous salary. And you stipulate that you can remove the person from this position at any time if they demonstrate corruption. I think this will result in a more representative cross section of the population serving in government. The nature of this system would also prevent lifetime politicians. It’s highly unlikely the same person would be picked twice, even for different positions.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Nonetheless, the political/union class is so used to ruling without opposition that even having someone on the ballot and trying to campaign against them with little money might be enough to make them more responsive.

    I did it though I’m sure people will agree I don’t exactly have that political personality. Because eventually I felt I had no real excuse not to. For what that was like read this.

    http://r8ny.com/2008/02/28/are-you-an-american-in-any-meaningful-sense/

    Again, reading the post linked here you can find all about how NY State and NYC governments compare. and, with some thought and study, know more than any state legislator or crony.

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/the-latest-public-finance-spreadsheets/

  • Larry Littlefield

    Any ideas would have to be approved by the existing legislators. If no one bothers to rise up and unseat them, they don’t matter. In fact given the extent to which they have sold out our future already, perhaps even unseating them doesn’t matter so much anymore. But at least I did my part back in 2004.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Rampant corruption and dysfunction of government does not attract altruistic people to serve. If I follow public policy narrowly, it is indeed because of that distasteful rift between elected officials and their constituents.”

    Back in the (original, actual) progressive era, there were many women who argued that women should NOT get the vote. Because being outside the corrupt electoral system allowed them to be honest brokers in non-electoral advocacy politics, which many were in their voluntary organizations. Women were the original practitioners of interest group politics.

    So, should we just eliminate elections for legislative offices, and allow these people to serve for life and appoint cronies to replace them? Because the fake elections we have clearly don’t do much good.

    Or should someone try, really try, to get rid of them?

    At least in the private sector I can choose not to buy the stock of companies with overpriced executives and crony directors, not work for them, and not buy their products.