Today’s Headlines

  • WSJ: Cuomo Has a Plan to “Overhaul” Penn Station
  • Tri-State: New York Needs a Cohesive Vision for Transportation Investment, Not a Grab Bag
  • More on Cuomo’s LI Transpo Event: NYTWNYC, 2AS; LI Republicans Unimpressed (Newsday)
  • The Deterioration of Subway Service Continues Apace (Gothamist)
  • De Blasio Signs Law to Increase Civil Penalties for Hit-and-Run Drivers (@JimmyVanBramer)
  • Rafael Salamanca and George Alvarez Are Running for Open Bronx Council Seat (DNA, Politico)
  • Rafael Espinal and Eric Adams Want Changes to East New York Rezoning Plan (Crain’s 1, 2)
  • MTA Completes Rehab of Grasmere Staten Island Railway Stop (DNA)
  • Group Proposes Streetcar for Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront (News)
  • Bed-Stuy Parking Lot to Be Replaced by Housing for Homeless, With Bike Storage (YIMBY via DNA)
  • What Bill Bratton Thinks About as NYPD Fails to Enforce Street Safety Laws (Post)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • AMH
  • HamTech87

    re: Streetcar. It was hard to read the graphics in the Daily News article, and nothing came up in a Google search.

    Does this proposal have the streetcar/tram in a dedicated right-of-way? The picture makes it not seem so, unless cars will be restricted from the streetcars street network. If not, let’s not bother blowing $2B on something that will be a painfully slow ride.

    Could restrictions on motor vehicles, coupled with more frequent bus service, do the trick here? Or perhaps if demand is expected to be huge, we should just put TZ Bridge cost restrictions on it and build a subway.

    Whatever happens, please don’t let the proponents trot out the argument that this investment is needed to attract development, since the only thing stopping thousands more apartments from being built in these neighborhoods is the zoning.

  • Shemp

    Even if this is best use of $2B, street design would be key in order to not displace the greenway segments planned along much of the route (and present in paint on Kent now)

  • bolwerk

    Proponents seem to be arguing that it is because of development that the investment is needed. This is a dumb place for development anyway, but the crop of New Yorkers who actually remember the ancient history that is Hurricane Sandy must have been decimated by now. When this was last hashed, the proposal was for a largely mixed traffic tram.

    If you’re gonna do waterfront trams, why not use the bridges and bring people to Manhattan from near the waterfronts? Don’t run along the waterfront, take people from the waterfront to places. It still meets this group’s goals, most of them anyway, but does something that buses and subways can’t really do. This would be especially useful across the QB, which actually has some of the busiest East River crossings and little prospect for relief.

  • kevd

    I have a really easy way to figure out where Light Rail with dedicated Rights of Way is needed most:

    But, moving a lot of poorer, browner people isn’t is cool as spending $2B on light rail near fancy new developments on the East River, I guess.

  • bolwerk

    Aw, well, they could start with the second busiest route in the city and still ignore the needs of the maximum number of poor/brown people. The M15 hardly runs predominantly through skid row.

    However, light rail arguably doesn’t make much sense there unless the SAS is not expected to poach much of its ridership.

  • BBnet3000

    Penn Station can be fixed by consolidating all concourse-level space into a single concourse and removing the Theatre at MSG and any nelow-grade offices.

    Moynihan is a waste of time that will only make reaching east side subways less convenient for Amtrak riders. Oh, but it will be pretty, which is what matters to the MAS.

  • bolwerk

    Maybe. They probably think the Calatrava organic turd is pretty.

    And compared to the 1950s modernist aesthetic many government planners favor, it probably is.

  • HamTech87

    Shouldn’t there be a means test on whether a few billion will add to ridership?

  • Alexander Vucelic

    $2 billion would pay for 2,000 miles of protected bike lanes in NYC. Two Thousand Miles. what would have greater benefit: 2,000 miles of protected bike lanes or a few miles of trolley ?

  • kevd

    While the M15 starts in East harlem, and runs through Chinatown it does run mostly through well off areas. The SAS is so far away (in time, that is…) that it probably WOULD make sense to upgrade to LR on the M15 – much more so than than a circumferential Brooklyn Queens waterfront route, anyway.

  • bolwerk

    Wouldn’t that depend on the lanes, the user profiles, and the “trolley” service? Railstitute the
    Bx12, per kevd’s suggestion, and you give a lot of people a better ride and probably cut MTA costs in the long run too.

    The options aren’t mutually exclusive anyway. We should have both, though I don’t think this waterfront proposal is the right place to start introducing trams to NYC.

  • bolwerk

    I guess, but I prefer to see LRT started in the boroughs. The Bx12 would be as good a place as any to start. Spurs into Manhattan, the hardest place to put support infrastructure like shops and storage, can be built later.

  • kevd

    “I don’t think this waterfront proposal is the right place to start introducing trams to NYC.”
    Because the commutation patterns envisioned by the project do not currently exist and won’t instantly materialize – which is a great way to ensure that ridership is below projections and no future light rail is ever built in NYC…. Better to simply invest those $$ where existing ridership is currently underserved.

  • kevd

    The M15 wouldn’t be my #1 priority either, or even in the top five.
    Utica Ave (B46) might be a good place to start – BdB already as expressed interest in rail there…. I’m less familiar with the Bronx so I won’t chime in on the Bx12.

  • bolwerk

    Definitely that too, but I don’t think I even believe the projections to begin with. It’s a largely residential area with little need I can discern for commuting. I sort of see a logic in circulating from the waterfront, but less in just running transit along the waterfront.

    A corridor that long in mixed use traffic seems potentially troublesome.

  • Toddster

    The E train under 8th Avenue is currently the most direct route to Midtown East from Penn Station (vs taking the 123 and transferring). I don’t see how moving Amtrak across 8th Ave will not make it any more/less inconvenient to get to the east side.

    I do agree though that opening up the current Penn and getting rid of these transit fiefdoms would do wonders.

  • Alexander Vucelic


    just trying to illuminate the bargain basement costs of cycling infrastructure. 2,000 miles of protected bike lanes for NYC would utterly transform the mobility patterns of the city – reducing traffic congestion, improving safety, and increased property values most of all in transit deserts. It would also pump a few billion annually into the economy because people would save thousands annually in transport costs which they’d spend locally.

    The pathetic 80 miles of protected bike lanes currently in NYC have led to a sea change in behaviour. 10% of roadway traffic in CBD is now bikes. This suggests latent demand for cycling is huge.

    Protected bike lanes are dirt cheap

  • Menachem Goldstein

    I’m very eager to see how NYPD will find the resources to go after hoverboards when they are barely able to investigate 1% of hit and run cases. Priorities!

  • bolwerk

    I’m the last person to argue against more bike lanes, but I don’t really see transit and bike lanes as having much more than incidental overlap in purpose. Trams would have more of a commuter orientation and would largely be about improving and relieving already strained transit. Bikes have much more localized and recreational focuses.

    At least larger modern trams complement bikes better than buses or subways too. Buses aren’t spacious enough for bikes, and subways, while better, are grade-separated.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    whoa dude !

    bikes are perfect for commuting and transportation distances 1-4 miles Which just happen to be 80% of trips in NYC.

    all Transit Is good.

  • bolwerk

    I agree bike commuting could be expanded a lot, but it’s not for everyone. I’m a fair weather (spring/summer/fall really) cyclist myself.

    Plus the recreation thing was not a dig. That’s at least as important as getting to work, maybe more important unless you’re a fun-hating fascist.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    Fun hating leninist ?

  • I’d say that the sweet spot for a bikable commute is about 10 miles, or whatever distance the rider can cover in an hour.

    A bike commute of an hour would tend to compare pretty well to many people’s subway commutes, when these commutes are figured from door to door, including the waits for the trains and the walks to and from the stations. And a travel time of one hour compares favourably to many rush-hour driving commutes.

    It is obvious that a bike commute that is far in excess of an hour can be impractical due to the time it takes out of one’s day. (My own vommute is a few minutes longer than an hour, though not so much more as to be unacceptable.)

    But I think that a commute that is extremely short can, somewhat counter-intuitively, present a lesser inducement to ride. To go through the effort of getting dressed for riding might not be worth it if you’re going to go only a few miles.

    When I left home this morning in 25-degree weather, I had on seven layers of shirts, three pairs of socks, three pairs of gloves, and three scarves. (And shorts! My legs are the last things that get cold.) Once I get to work, I have to change into a shirt and pants; and then I have to change back when it is time to go home.

    Getting dressed and undressed takes time. Doing this a total of four times in a day would be a lot of hassle to go through for a ride that would last for mere minutes.

    So I think I’d actually be less likely to ride to work every day if my trip were three or four miles as opposed to the 11 miles that it actually is.

    This is why I believe that the ideal bike-commute distance is that distance which you can cover in an hour.

  • Alexander Vucelic


    like 10 miles to you is like 2 miles to the rest of humanity. You ride to Philly as a afternoon excursion 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Joe R.

    Perhaps but Ferdinand makes a good point about the time preparing for a ride working against shorter rides. I’m personally like that also. I can’t see the bother of bringing my bike out, dressing appropriately to ride, finding a place to chain it at the destination, and so forth if I’m only going 1 or 2 miles. Easier to just walk and avoid that hassle. I think the sweet spot for utility cycling tends to be in the 5 to 20 mile each way range. The shorter end of that is feasible for almost anyone in 30 minutes or less. The higher end is where even regular riders might start to consider the ride too long.

    A lot of this also has to do with the type of equipment and infrastructure available. In general terms, cycling is attractive to a lot of people if the trip takes 30 minutes or less each way. 30 minutes with a Citibike and present bike infrastructure in midtown might only get you 3 to 5 miles. The same 30 minutes with a velomobile on mostly non-stop bike infrastructure could get you 10 miles or more. So what Ferdinand mentioned about a 10 mile each way commute is certainly something which might work for the majority with better infrastructure plus a move towards more streamlined equipment. Even with “regular” bikes, 30 minutes non-stop is enough for an average rider to go 7 to 10 miles, depending upon their fitness level.

  • Joe R.

    We need something better than protected bike lanes, especially on crowded streets with traffic lights every 250 feet. Protected lanes don’t “protect” at intersections where most bike incidents occur. Nor do they do anything to speed up trips on slow NYC streets. Instead of 2,000 miles of protected bike lanes I’ll opt for a few hundred miles of non-stop bike infrastructure free of cars and pedestrians. I don’t care how it’s done, either. You could use viaducts, tunnels, underpasses/overpasses at major intersections on routes with few intersections, routing away from roads, etc. The key is that it must be non-stop, and the network should put everyone in NYC within a mile or less of such infrastructure. Protected lanes on busier streets can serve a last mile function. Less busy side streets can do the same without any bike infrastructure at all.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    BQE & FDR baby 🙂

  • Even cheaper would be reducing the number of motor vehicles in the area through proven means like charging for parking permits, pedestrianized areas, and diverters. Basically anything that makes it moronic to drive in the city.

    The protected bike lanes are a great hedge against increasing motor vehicle traffic volumes, but I think many commenters here do not support such an increase and would be willing to endorse tangible steps toward a reduction.

  • bolwerk

    Basically anything that makes it moronic to drive in the city.

    Nitpick: those things would make it less moronic to drive in the city by reducing traffic. I’d rather pay something to get where I’m going than to sit in traffic for free.