Eric Ulrich Flip-Flops on Woodhaven Boulevard Redesign

After coming out strong for Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard, City Council Member Eric Ulrich has done a 180.

Eric Ulrich
Eric Ulrich

“The plan that they proposed, it stinks,” Ulrich told the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, according to the Queens Chronicle. “I don’t think it’s good. I think we have to go back to the drawing board.”

The Woodhaven redesign, which calls for dedicated bus lanes and pedestrian safety infrastructure, enjoys widespread support from elected officials — a roster that once included Eric Ulrich. In April 2014 Ulrich and Joan Byron co-authored an op-ed for the Daily News that called for “world-class” bus rapid transit on Woodhaven, with dedicated lanes and signal priority:

Taking this opportunity to incorporate even more advanced Bus Rapid Transit features will benefit not only those who ride the Q52/Q53, but everyone who drives, walks or rides on this congested and dangerous artery.

Later that year Ulrich told Streetsblog that something has to be done on Woodhaven to prevent traffic deaths and injuries, because “whatever we’re doing now obviously isn’t working.”

So what happened?

Well, the Woodhaven Residents Block Association, which Ulrich was addressing, has been raising a stink about the project for all the usual reasons — that it will slow down traffic and divert motorists to side streets.

According to the Queens Chronicle, Ulrich said he became disillusioned with the plan in part because it would eliminate left turns at Woodhaven Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue. But the left-turn ban helps achieve two goals Ulrich said he supported: faster buses and fewer injuries. It lets buses proceed without waiting for left-turning drivers, and it prevents conflicts between turning drivers and people crossing the street.

At the intersection with Jamaica, 38 traffic crashes resulted in 52 injuries and two fatalities from July 2012 to December 2014, according to Transportation Alternatives.

TA found that more people lost their lives on Woodhaven from 2011 to 2013 than on any other Queens street. A major benefit of the Woodhaven SBS will be physical improvements, like pedestrian islands, to prevent injuries and save lives.

Instead of helping his constituents understand how the redesign will improve transit and pedestrian safety, Ulrich is folding under the pressure and pointing fingers at DOT. Per the Chronicle:

“Now they’re under attack in all the newspapers and they’re coming to me and I said, ‘Why are you calling me? I told you about these things a year ago and you didn’t listen to me,’” he said. “It doesn’t happen from the top down, it has to happen from the bottom up. I think they’re starting to realize that now, which is why they delayed the implementation of the SBS.”

Back to that op-ed, which lauded DOT and plugged an upcoming workshop:

DOT’s planners have learned to listen to local concerns, problem-solve alongside stakeholders, and come up with customized solutions that respect each neighborhood’s unique challenges and character.

Years’ of engagement with residents, community boards and elected officials in the Congested Corridors Study has laid the foundation for the bold approach that the agencies now need to bring to bus planning. The April 23 workshop is an opportunity for everyone who cares about safety, mobility, and our community’s quality of life to demand the world-class Bus Rapid Transit system we need.

Back then, Ulrich said it was “imperative” to “improve [bus] speed, safety and the riding experience.” But now it seems what he’s really interested in is preserving the status quo.

  • Emmily_Litella

    So unsurprising, nobody even bothered to pass comment in the first 8 hours of life of this post.

  • nadda fethan
  • I’ve seen this before. People are all for improving safety and transit right up until the moment they think it will cost them even a dime (of parking or travel time), then its like, nope I wanna kill people so I can get somewhere 1.5 seconds faster.

  • VBarbour

    It’s more likely now that people are actually aware of what the proposal is, and how, other than making it quicker for bus commuter, of which I am one, there is little to like about this plan. It places residents on community side-streets in danger, relocates and eliminates stops to gain “valuable minutes”, and is a total waste of scarce resources. I applaud the rolling tide of local representatives who now are adding their voices to those of outside advocates who support this current scheme. Maybe now we can have an open discussion about how to implement a plan that works for most people, not just bus commuters.

  • BBnet3000

    Death by a thousand cuts. Oh well. Looks like Repogle really was hired to implement bus bulbs and off-board fare payment on a handful of routes (ie things that should be in place systemwide). So much for De Blasio’s 20 BRT routes.

  • Philip McManus

    Dear Friends,
    It’s wrong to steal from commuters to give to other commuters. Everyone should be treated equally. Everyone needs to follow the law for one another’s safety. Jaywalking, reckless driving and cycling is equally dangerous. The city is stealing from the outer boroughs and using the money to pay for inner borough improvements. $32 billion dollars are being spent on railway expansion in the inner borough. Why? Elitism, class warfare and the Manhattan real estate industry. It’s wrong that Manhattan gets billions of dollars in funding and services while the outer boroughs are treated as second class. A tale of two cities. We support all commuters and more transit options. Why did they take away the QueensRail from Queens and expand the 7 train in Manhattan? Why ticket and punish Queens and create more gridlock when we have a railway waiting for 66 years to reunite Queens and the region. Give us more faster and safer transportation options with more railways, longer bus routes, less transfers, more trains, buses, ferries and open our roadways to all commuters. Stop separating, dividing and isolating commuters and communities with longer travel times, tolls and fares. Please join our movement. Give people faster and safer options that help everyone improve their lives.

    “One for all, and all for one.”

    Philip McManus

    Queens Public Transit Committee
    Faster and safer transportation will create more social, economic, recreational, and environmental opportunities.

    Rockaway Beach Rail Line
    Queens Public Transit
    Rockaway Beach Branch

    Rockaway Beach Line

    Rockaway Branch Line blog
    Rockaway Branch Line Mission Statement
    Queens Public Transit

  • Larry Littlefield

    What a load of bull. Guess where all the money that get spent in the outer boroughs comes from? Guess where many people from the outer boroughs spend part of their day?

    “Jaywalking, reckless driving and cycling is equally dangerous.”

    Really? So you’d just as soon I bump into you while driving may car, instead of bumping into you while walking or riding my bicycle? Those walking only put themselves at risk. The same is true of bicycles, except for those riding at a very high rate of speed.

    I’d be in favor of connecting the Rockaway Branch into the IND. The opposition is from member of Generation Greed and their no-nothing representatives. Generation Greed also de-funded — the United States — to grab everything it had promised itself but refused to pay for. That’s the real divide.

  • bolwerk

    Obviously all money for improvements in NYC comes from the Galtian titans in flyover states, who are forced to pay gasoline taxes that support the operation of the NYC subway.

  • Andrew

    It’s wrong to steal from commuters to give to other commuters.

    Asking drivers to drive responsibly is not stealing from commuters. Providing pedestrians with safe places to walk is not stealing from commuters. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

    Everyone should be treated equally.

    By that argument, Woodhaven Boulevard (along with most other city streets) has far too much space devoted to motor vehicles. Are you sure that’s the argument you want to make?

    Everyone needs to follow the law for one another’s safety.

    So I’m sure you wouldn’t have any objection to strict speed limit enforcement, strict red light enforcement, strict stop sign enforcement, strict yield-to-pedestrian enforcement. Is that right?

    A pedestrian who causes his or her own death is already subject to the death penalty. That’s why motorists are responsible for more pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries than pedestrians. And that’s why enforcement needs to be targeted to motorists who choose to break the law.

    Jaywalking, reckless driving and cycling is equally dangerous.

    Um, no they are not, not by a long shot. Try again.

    The city is stealing from the outer boroughs and using the money to pay for inner borough improvements.


    $32 billion dollars are being spent on railway expansion in the inner borough. Why? Elitism, class warfare and the Manhattan real estate industry.

    Oh, you’re complaining that the city borrowed from future increases in tax revenues to promote the dense development on the Far West Side that will generate those tax revenues? It’s called an investment. In addition to the increased transit service (now directly reachable from that “outer borough” known as Queens), once the development is built up we’ll see a boost in residential and commercial space. Or did you not realize that this city is a bit short on residential and commercial space?

    It’s wrong that Manhattan gets billions of dollars in funding and services while the outer boroughs are treated as second class. A tale of two cities.

    The city’s tax coffers are not walled off by borough. If a new development in Manhattan ultimately increases the city’s tax revenues, that means more money available for services in Queens.

    We support all commuters and more transit options.

    No, you support motorists who have no interest in taking the safety of others into account. And you pretend to support more transit options by proposing an option that, even if it made sense to built (it doesn’t), would be many years off.

    Why did they take away the QueensRail from Queens and expand the 7 train in Manhatt an?

    Nobody took away the QueensRail from anyone, because you and your pal just coined the stupid name QueensRail within the past year or so. The Long Island Rail Road closed the Rockaway Beach Branch half a century ago (many decades before Hudson Yards planning began) due to exceedingly low ridership.

    Why ticket and punish Queens and create more gridlock


    when we have a railway waiting for 66 years to reunite Queens and the region.

    No, we don’t have a railway. We have part of a right-of-way.

    If there were extremely heavy ridership coming out of the Rockaways on the A train, and if there were lots of spare capacity on an east-west line across northern Queens, then perhaps building a new rail line on that right-of-way would be worth considering. But in fact the Rockaway A stations are among the quietest in the entire system and both east-west lines in northern Queens – the Queens Blvd. line and the LIRR Main Line – struggle to handle their already heavy loads. The best way to transport people between the Rockaways and Manhattan is on the existing A line.

    Most of the Woodhaven Blvd. buses serve an entirely different market. A sizable market, to be sure, but not one large enough for heavy rail to make sense. Buses can serve the market for medium- and short-distance riders with frequent service that brings them close to their destinations or to transfer points to other services rather than with infrequent service several blocks to the east.

    And let’s not forget about the serious safety problems on Woodhaven. There is absolutely no way to solve those problems without asking motorists to slow down and to respect the needs of pedestrians.

    Building a new rail line on the old LIRR Rockaway Beach alignment is a very expensive solution to a problem that doesn’t exist – and at the same time it fails to solve the problems that do exist.

    You know quite well that no new rail line is going to be built on the LIRR Rockaway Beach ROW. You know quite well that, even if there were actual demand for such a service, nothing could possibly be in service for many many years. You know quite well that the LIRR Rockaway Beach ROW is merely a distraction.

    Give us more faster and safer transportation options with more railways, longer bus routes, less transfers, more trains, buses, ferries and open our roadways to all commuters.

    And a pony. We want a pony.

    Stop separating, dividing and isolating commuters and communities with longer travel times, tolls and fares.

    Not just any pony, but a free pony.

    Please join our movement. Give people faster and safer options that help everyone improve their lives.

    Sorry, I’m not going to join your movement to preserve the dangerous and dysfunctional status quo on Woodhaven.

  • Andrew

    It places residents on community side-streets in danger


  • Andrew
  • Philip McManus

    The Queens Public Transit Committee supports all commuters while you divide and steal from people who are force to drive. It’s obvious your sensationalizing accident to push your agenda.
    Transportation Alternatives is all about bike supremacy. That’s why they don’t support the QueensRail. You might win today but your ideas are wrong and utopian. The next Mayor will get rid of the bike lanes and the lower speed limits and hold all commuters responsible for their actions.

  • Philip McManus

    Your right about greed. That’s why they steal our funding and services. They call it reallocation. They will reallocate until we have nothing. I advocate for law and order. People should not jaywalk or drive or cycle recklessly. Vision Zero is failing because they will not enforce the laws equally.

  • Philip McManus

    Outer borough and suburban commuters are unfairly demonize and punished while the inner borough commuter reaps the rewards on our backs. The inner borough commuter doesn’t need a car while others are forced to drive and get stuck on overcrowded buses and trains. The Federal government does subsidize our transit system too.

  • Philip McManus

    Thank you VBarbour. I’m a commuter who uses whatever mode of transportation available that will help me get around faster and safer. The Queens Public Transit Committee supports all commuters. Select Bus Service will take away bus stops and mostly ticket bus riders unfairly and reduce bus frequently with longer buses. The City is lying, manipulating and dividing commuters and scapegoating people who drive. Thank you for seeing the truth about this plan. We’re not getting better service from the City. The City is actually taking away our services with more gridlock and less capacity. Why do we need SBS? Give us the QueensRail and longer and frequent buses now without the gridlock, tickets, accidents and the isolation. Join our next rally for more buses, trains, ferries, open roadways and the QueensRail.

  • fdtutf

    Vision Zero is failing because they will not enforce the laws equally.

    That much is true, as the Human League said. Vision Zero is failing because the laws are not enforced strongly enough against motorists who violate them, as it’s motorists who cause virtually all pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries.

  • Philip McManus

    Andrew your in denial. People who drive will avoid gridlock and drive wherever they can. Residential streets are getting more dangerous because our Mayor lowered the speed limit on Cross Bay and Woodhaven, Queens Boulevard. Remember these roadways were design to go faster. It’s not logical and people are organizing against this baloney. I take buses and see how traffic is getting worse not better. Everyone is being played by the baloney. Transportation Alternatives is all about bike only commuters. We support all commuters. We need more capacity including more longer buses and the QueensRail now. The City and Transportation Alternatives agenda is not logical. People are dying because of Vision Zero.

  • Philip McManus

    Improving faster and safer transportation should not take away from anyone’s time or money. We could save more people with more transportation options. Most people drive because they don’t have transit options. We need more faster and safer trains, buses, ferries, open roadways and the QueensRail. What would happen if people stopped driving in NYC and the region? Total transit and economic breakdown. We need to increase capacity and transit options not take away bus stops, buses, trains and ferries. Nobody wants to kill people for 1.5 seconds. That’s silly. We need to unite and expand our transit system with more trains, buses and ferries across the region. We also need to enforce the law fairly to all commuters. We also need practical and logical laws. Who gets the most tickets? Drivers, walkers or cyclist? That’s why people are dying. Reckless can be anyone.

  • Philip McManus

    Dear Dan,

    How many cyclist think the same way? That’s why they run red lights and beat the traffic by being reckless and terrorizing people who walk. My wife was knocked down by a cyclist who got too close. She was in pain for weeks. Do people who ride bikes get tickets for failing to yield to people who walk? Do you think it’s right for people who ride bikes to run red lights and not have insurance when they hit people who walk?
    Let’s be fair and reasonable. Join us and fight for more trains so people can leave their cars at home. We support all commuters not just people who ride trains. Give us more transit option. Give us back our train and our ferry. The QueensRail and the Queens Rockaway Ferry and so much more.

  • Philip McManus

    Your obviously bias against people who drive. Any reasonable person would admit that jaywalking and reckless bike riding kills people too. They make mistakes when they walk and ride into moving vehicles. The same thing happens when people walk into cyclist. Who wrong? It’s not always the drivers fault. Is it the trains fault when they hit a person who drives or walks in front of a train? You might have the right of way but it might kill you anyway. Always wait for bigger objects to stop. I bet you more people are getting hit at crosswalk more than ever. Do you know why? People who walk are overconfident and becoming less cautious. You know that jaywalking is rarely enforced. Have you ever gotten a ticket? For what? Driving, walking or riding a bike? Let’s be fair and safer. Tell the Truth and shame the Devil. People will always make mistakes and people will always die. It’s inherently dangerous to travel, that why we make laws to protect people. Laws must be practical, reasonable, fair and logical.

  • Joe R.

    The very term jaywalking only came about when we decided to give cars dominance on our roads. Pedestrians and cyclists should have right-of-way over all motor traffic all the time with the exception of emergency vehicles and public transit. The very laws which make jaywalking a crime only exist because we have so many motor vehicles on the roads that we need to give them dominance over everything else just so they don’t grind to a halt. The answer is to get rid of unnecessary motor vehicles, not give jaywalking tickets.

  • Joe R.

    Those traffic lights the cyclists run wouldn’t even have needed to exist if we didn’t have such insane volumes of motor traffic. The lights are to keep cars from colliding with each other. As far as I’m concerned pedestrians and cyclists should be free to ignore them. The solution is to reduce traffic volumes so you can get rid of most traffic signals. If you do that cyclists won’t run red lights because they would never encounter any.

  • Joe R.

    The answer is to bollard off residential streets at one end so motor traffic can’t use them as through streets. Problem solved.

  • Kevin Love

    That is what is done on virtually every residential street in The Netherlands. See:

  • Frank Kotter

    Mr. McManus, you initial comments were intriguing and I began to do some background reading until I just saw your last comment. Andrew brought up some fairly solid rebuttals to your critique and you just responded with honesty which betrayed your initially concealed position; you are using mass transit as a smokescreen to attempt to show those promoting multi modal transportation options as elitist. But in reality your driving factor is to preserve the hegemony of the private automobile as a mode of transport. You mention the ‘stealing’ (who is being divisive here) of funding from (car) commuters from the outer burrows and the and call for the equal treatment of all and to do away with the unfair actions against motorists.

    Until motorist are actually paying for the massive roads they need (exponentially more expensive in NYC due to the price of space) in the way of the taxes on fuel than you have not a leg to stand on in your claims of ‘stealing’. You are already getting a massive subsidy. Actions taken to limit the use of automobiles in NYC? They don’t exist. If NYC were to introduce a congestion fee (like London) then you may start to have a point.

    I gotta admit. You had me for a second…..

  • Frank Kotter

    You’re listing the ticketing rates as a way to issue causation for traffic fatalities? Can you explain that one to me?

    Start again Mr. McManus and please, if you wish to discover why people are dying (and multitudes more severely injured) on the streets of NYC, please actually investigate causation and not a failing attempt at enforcement.

  • Philip McManus

    Baloney. Before cars you had horses and carriages. People ealked into horse and carriages too. Enforcing Jaywalking is only fair and reasonable. We need to protect everyone. People are dying because there walking into moving traffic. Cars are bigger and faster than a person walking. People will never give up there cars unless you can provide a better transportation option. Do you think we should force people into terrible transit options? That’s why my group supports the QueensRail. If you had a choice would you choose a train track or a bike trail? Which is better for millions of commuters. We have gridlock because we don’t have enough transportation options. Join the Queens Public Transit Committee at Faster and safer transportation with equal funding and services for commuters will create more time, freedom, safety, prosperity and opportunities. Vision Zero is separating people and money with longer and more expensive commuting. Vision Zero is killing us.

  • Philip McManus

    Reallocating services and using the excuse of low ridership is a lie and ploy to steal more of our services and funding. The truth hurts. It’s ok for elitist to take away the QueensRail for safety, pollution, it’s too expensive, it’s too noisy, we need more bike trails, or we don’t have enough ridership. These same old excuses were used to take our train away 66 years ago. It’s all baloney. You can use that excuse of low ridership for any transit option. How much is low ridership? Is it because reallocating (stealing) services is causing people to abandoned public transit in the outer boroughs. Isn’t it funny that Manhattan never gets reallocated? Vision Zero is causing more gridlock, accidents and tickets with less traffic lanes and slower speed limits not to mention it’s choking and separating poor communities with less transportation options and opportunities.

    Could you restate your position? I didn’t understand most of it, “preserve the hegemony of the private automobile as a mode of transport.”?

    I’m a commuter who see through the bunk. This is about tickets, taxes and separating people for more bike lanes. Share the road and bring back the QueensRail and more transit options. Which is needed more train tracks or bike lanes and trails? We support all commuters, we disagree with enforcing the rules for only one group of commuters. Let’s stop punishing and dividing people. We need more transit options like the QueensRail and more buses, trains, ferries, open roadways and railways.

  • Philip McManus


  • Joe R.

    Most people killed by cars were crossing in the crosswalk with the walk signal. Let that sink in before being in a big hurry to ticket jaywalkers to supposedly protect them. A better solution is to just slow down cars and require them to yield right-of-way to pedestrians all the time. Why should I have to wait to cross a street just because hordes of people insist on driving?

    Do you think we should force people into terrible transit options?

    People have a choice. We’re not forcing them into anything. There are myriad reasons for making driving more expensive and more difficult which have nothing at all to do with trying to force people to use other transit options. The people who drive congest streets, slow down buses, force the city to install traffic signals which slow down everyone, endanger people, pollute, and so forth. Given all these negatives, yes, I’m all for disincentives to driving. You speak of having more transit options and I agree. However, so long as we continue to make it easy for people to drive those options will never appear because the potential ridership will refuse to leave their cars. We have to use a carrot-stick approach. The stick is to make driving slower, more expensive, and less convenient via fees and restrictions on where cars can drive or park. The carrot is to use the fees from the drivers to expand more public transit.

    If you had a choice would you choose a train track or a bike trail?

    Why not both? NYC is as much in need of high-quality, non-stop, grade-separated bike routes as it is in need of more rail. Cycling can work as a form of urban rapid transit if we design a bike network where a person can do most of their trip on non-stop bike highways, instead of being stuck on surface streets where they need to stop for red lights every two blocks. Diversifying our transportation system is the best option going forward. Rail is part of that. So is cycling. So are buses. Each serves different types of trips.

  • I’m sorry, why the attack on cyclists? You complain about cyclists who hit and hurt people who are the vast minority of injuries, drivers kill more than cyclists injure.

    And then you want us to be reasonable. Honestly, if you want to be fair and reasonable, you could start by not referring to “cyclists, they, who terrorize people who walk”.

  • Why do people drive? Because there are enormous economic incentives to do so. And what’s with this claim that improving transit takes time from nobody and is free (no money).

    Reckless can be anyone, but it doesn’t change the fact that drivers are the ones operating dangerous equipment. Reckless drivers are a vastly bigger danger than reckless anyone. Cyclists don’t kill 30,000 Americans every year, cars do.

    And yes, plenty of people do CHOOSE to risk killing someone for 1.5 seconds, they do it every day, of course nobody thinks of it this way, but it doesn’t change the fact that’s what they’re doing every time they pass a cyclist unsafely.

  • Joe R.

    What would happen if people stopped driving in NYC and the region?

    It depends upon whom you’re referring to. If drivers of delivery trucks, emergency vehicles, paratransit, construction vehicles, sanitation trucks, and other essential service vehicle stopping driving, yes, it would be disastrous. If all the hordes in private automobiles stopped driving tomorrow, the city would still function fine and be a much nicer place to live. Buses would make their rounds much faster. Actually, every motor vehicle could get around faster. Most of the traffic lights could go. Cyclists would be free of them, and also free of being run down because some driver thought a text message couldn’t wait until the next red light. Pedestrians could cross more easily, with less fear of being bullied out of the way. I’m not seeing any negatives if private autos disappeared from NYC tomorrow.

  • Philip McManus

    It’s common sense. Cars are made to go faster and carry people and cargo. What’s your point? We need more transportation options not less. We all know that TA is promoting cycling over trains. QueensWay vs QueensRail. It’s all baloney. That’s why bike only people don’t support the railway option. They want a bike trail.

  • Philip McManus

    That’s never going to happen. Sooner or later people will get organized and stop Vision Zero. It’s excessive and extreme. Build more transportation options before taking away traffic lanes and bus stops. We can’t fit on our subways now. Imagine getting rid of all personal vehicles. It would take hours for the rush to subside. It’s utopian, progressive, slavery and fantasy. Sorry but it’s true. Help us reopen our railways for trains. Support the QueensRail.

  • Philip McManus

    You’re missing my point. We need to enforce and educate and give alternatives to all commuters. We need to reopen an old train track to give commuters another fast and safe options. You want to divide and punish people who don’t have options. These are the same people also say we don’t need a new railway because ridership is too low. Ridership is low in some areas because service is terrible and unreliable. It’s obvious you don’t care want happens when people are stuck in gridlock and transit hell. People are dying from poverty, crime, unemployment, never ending commutes that causes stress and death. A higher rate of heart attack and disease doesn’t get front page attention. How many people die because of lower incomes and longer emergency response times? Where is most of the violent crime? Low income and separated communities. We want to help with faster and safer transportation. We support sharing our roadways, railways and waterways. People will see the truth when they realize TA is taking away their time, freedom, safety, prosperity and opportunities. It’s wrong to steal people’s lives and freedom.

  • Philip McManus

    I said it already. Cyclist are dying and hurting others too. Enforce the law fairly before it’s too late. Cyclist are denying this fact. Stop at the red light and the stops signs or people will die. Basic common sense. We need all modes of transportation and everyone needs to follow the rules.

  • Philip McManus

    Can a cyclist pass a motorist or pedestrian recklessly? Do they get a ticket? Cyclist choose to run red lights and hit people who walk in crosswalk too but they usually leave the scene before being held accountable. That’s what happened to my wife. How many people who died by car were jaywalking? How many cyclist died for reckless riding? How many people died by cyclist? I bet you it will increase. Let’s follow the law.

  • You said it already, but repeating it doesn’t make it true. Vehicles kill 30,000 people every year. If every cyclist in the country started following the rules to a T, 30,000 people would still die every year in motor vehicle accidents. Cyclists aren’t the problem.

  • You”re now accusing me saying of things I have never said. You’re just going all nutty here. I don’t know what your problem is buddy, but it isn’t me.

  • I never said that cyclists shouldn’t follow the law. I simply said that motor vehicles are causing the deaths of 30,000 Americans every year, cyclists are not. You seem to have an axe to grind, I’m sorry about your wife, but your beliefs seem entirely unjustified and motivated by emotion here.

  • Philip McManus

    You’re denying the fact that cyclist, pedestrians and motorists are all responsible for their safety and others.
    Running red lights are dangerous but you always blame the guy who drives. It’s wrong and it’s divisive and it’s discriminating against commuters. We are all people who need to follow the rules. It’s time we stop scapegoating and find real solutions. Vision Zero will lower some fatalities initially but sadly watch how it will go up when you force more commuters with gridlock and longer travel times without fair enforcement.

  • Joe R.

    You keep harping on QueensRail as if it’ll take all the cars off the road. At best it’ll serve a few thousand people per day who currently drive. The roads will still be crowded, you’ll still have way too many private automobiles delaying everything else. If you want to really get lots of drivers off the roads, it’ll take a combination of a lot more subway lines, much better bus service, and much better biking options. Biking isn’t the only answer but right now we could get a lot of bang for the buck installing bike highways. Per mile they’ll cost far less than any form of rail. They won’t serve everyone but for every person they do serve it’ll cost much less than rail. Long term we can still build more rail. Even there, the bike network will help by making that rail more accessible via bike and ride.

  • I never blame the person with a green light. But you’re making up statistics here. But quite frankly, I’m not worried about getting hit by a bike running a red light, or a pedestrian, I am worried about getting hit by a car. Only one of those things is probably going to kill me.

    And I’m not discriminating or being divisive, I’m being based in reality. Again, cyclists may run red lights, but so do drivers, and drivers aren’t punished more than cyclists, how many drivers get speeding tickets? You’re making up an enemy in cyclists to justify what? I don’t really know.

    I’m not scapegoating, I”m identifying the actual thing killing people.

  • Philip McManus

    Dear Dan,

    Take it easy buddy. I was wondering how long you and friends would take to start calling people who disagree nutty. Thank you for calling me names. It’s ok I’m used to people who support bike lanes.

  • Joe R.

    Cyclists and pedestrians not obeying red lights rarely injure others, almost never kill others. More importantly, you’re acting as if the cyclists and pedestrians who choose to pass red lights are idiots who just dart out into the street. Both have a vested self-interest making sure it’s clear. A car can easily kill a cyclist or pedestrian. Contrary to what you think, cyclists don’t want to hit pedestrians either because they can be just as badly hurt. Open your eyes. All the f-ing traffic lights we put in to keep cars from colliding with each other would make life a living hell for cyclists and pedestrians if they were obeyed to a T. It would take two or three times as long to get anywhere. Try riding a bike and stopping for every red light. The way the lights are timed, you’re often stopping every 2 blocks and sitting there for 45 seconds. On some roads you’ll be waiting at every block for a signal if you’re on foot. There’s no reason people not in cars should wait at red lights if nothing is coming. It serves no safety or other purpose.

  • I frequently post here expressing my opinion that bicyclists ought to follow the law. I practice this and I preach it.

    Furthermore, I am aware that bicyclsts who break the law can cause harm. I know someone who, like your wife, was hit by a scofflaw bicyclist, in that person’s case a wrong-way rider. And I myself have twice been hit and knocked off my bike by wrong-way riders, one of whom was also crossing an intersection on a red light.

    Nevertheless, your attempt to equate the problems caused by bicyclists and those caused by drivers is absurd. The figures for deaths caused by cars has been cited to you many times; your unwillingness to acknowledge this is simply indefensible.

    Bicycles can, in some rare circumstances, pose a danger. By contrast, automobiles create danger by their nature. Not only is a car that is being operated illegally more dangerous than a bicycle that is being operated illegally, but a car that is being operated legally is far more dangerous than a bicycle that is being operated illegally.

    Cars are the problem. Automobiles used as delivery vehicles, as transport for workers who use tools and machinery, and as emergency vehicles are unobjectionable. But the private automobile is incompatible with an urban setting; and the rein which our society has given to cars has been a profound error which is in great need of being corrected.

    The corrective involves policies which get people out of their cars. This necessarily involves creating better bike infrastructure and more mass transit options. It also involves improving the performance of existing mass transit modes, for example, creating bus lanes so that buses are not stuck in traffic in such a way that robs them of their utility.

    Additionally, the correction of these historical errors involves imposing limitations on the operation of cars that should have been enacted long ago, such as congestion pricing and low speed limits. Then there are solution enabled by automation. Here I mean not only red-light cameras, but also speed governors in vehicle that would not allow operation of the car above the locally mandated speed limit. (This of course would have an override button to account for emergencies such as getting to a hospital; but this button would alert the police at the same time so as to ensure that it is used only for true emergencies.)

    Sensible urban policy does not accommodate driving and car ownership; it identifies these things as destructive behaviour and de-incentivises them. The fact that your supposed “public transit” organisation opposes bus lanes and treats driving as a legitimate option for daily commuting demonstrates what a sham it is. (Alas, it also demonstrates that I am wasting my time arguing with a troll.)

  • Philip McManus

    Dear Joe,
    Your right. They hurt themselves most of the time. It’s about saving lives. I can’t be silent anymore.

  • Joe R.

    Very well thought out reply even if it will likely go over the head of the intended recipient. I touched on GPS controlled speed governers myself in another post. I’ll even be OK with disabling them on highways, as well as getting rid of legislated speed limits on highways altogether in favor of a properly set limit at the 85th or 95th percentile. However, lower speeds on urban surface streets should be non-negotiable. The highways should be for fast driving. You didn’t mention it but I also favor acceleration limits on urban surface streets. I’ve noted a lot of reckless driving just couldn’t happen if cars couldn’t accelerate really quickly into gaps in traffic. Acceleration on urban streets should be governed by GPS to no more than that of a city bus. That will put cars, bikes, and buses on a more or less equal footing.

  • Joe R.

    How come the statistics don’t bear this out? Most of the dead cyclists and pedestrians weren’t passing red lights. The majority of pedestrians killed in NYC were crossing in the crosswalk with the walk signal. Exactly how would crackdowns on jaywalking help there? It’s also worth noting that in cases where the pedestrian or cyclist is dead, you only have the word of the driver. The driver will say the other party ran a red light. The police will usually take them at their word. I’ll bet even in the cases where the cause of death was supposedly caused by cyclists or pedestrians not obeying a red light, you’ll find the driver gave false information to save their skin. No driver will admit they ran a red light and killed someone.


Ulrich Back on Board With Woodhaven SBS After DOT Waters Down Turn Bans

DOT has halved the number of left-turn restrictions and cut about a mile of bus lanes from its plan to enhance bus service on Woodhaven Boulevard. The changes will dampen the expected improvements in bus speeds and pedestrian safety but have won over Council Member Eric Ulrich, who’s back on board supporting Woodhaven Select Bus Service. Most of the street […]

First Look: Woodhaven BRT Could Set New Standard for NYC Busways

NYC DOT and the MTA have developed three design concepts for Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard in southeast Queens, and two of them go further than previous SBS routes to keep cars from slowing down buses [PDF]. All of the options include some measures to shorten crossing distances for pedestrians […]

A 90-Second Appeal to Fix Woodhaven Boulevard With BRT

The BRT for NYC coalition recently released this short video that succinctly makes the case for change on Woodhaven Boulevard in southeast Queens. If you haven’t personally experienced Woodhaven as a pedestrian or bus rider, it’s a good introduction to what’s at stake as NYC DOT and the MTA move forward with a project to […]
The new center roadway bus lane and SBS station on Woodhaven Boulevard just south of Jamaica Avenue. Photo: David Meyer

Select Bus Service Launches on Woodhaven Boulevard

Select Bus Service is live on Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens. As of Sunday, the SBS package - off-board fare collection, camera-enforced bus lanes, and other transit-priority treatments - is speeding trips for tens of thousands of people who ride the Q52 and Q53 each day.