Today’s Headlines

  • Bharara Turns Up the Heat on Cuomo (News, Post, Politico 1, 2)
  • Driver of Stolen SUV Kills Woman on Canarsie Sidewalk, Flees Scene (News, Post)
  • Wrong-Way Driver Kills Woman, Injures Two Kids in Car in Woodlawn Heights (News, Post)
  • Bratton Never Talks This Tough About Drivers Who Kill People (Post)
  • How Do People on Waverly, St. James, and Other Clinton Hill One-Way Streets Survive? (DNA)
  • Kids Take Precedence Over Cars at the East Harlem Street Games (News)
  • John Tierney: Make Broadway a Pedestrian Street From Union Square to Columbus Circle (Post)
  • Bike Month Starts With Prayers for Safety (News)
  • Owners of Downtown Arcades Will Be Allowed to Use Them for Retail (NYT)
  • The Millennium Hilton Hotel Uses Its “Bonus Plaza” as a Parking Lot (Urban Residue)
  • Bob Dylan Really Did Write a Protest Song With Jane Jacobs Against Robert Moses (Gothamist)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • BBnet3000

    The NYT article about the Water Street arcades repeatedly says “discredited zoning theory”. I’m not sure exactly what they are referring to, and worse, I’m not quite sure if the author knows what they mean.

  • HamTech87

    There’s a Westchester County story at Streetsblog USA that should be of interest here. TOD happening around MetroNorth stations, but no mention of the enormous parking lots being built with them. No surprise to see former EDC head and parking lover Seth Pinsky part of the wave.

    Westchester’s last 15 years of downtown residential developments have failed to create vibrant on-street pedestrian and commercial revivals. All the new residents hop on the MetroNorth for work, and jump in their conveniently-located cars for everything else. There is so much cheap parking that some residents store extra cars under tarps in these lots. The Peapod and Fresh Direct trucks keep these residents safe even from the local grocery store. The buildings feel more like Batman’s mansion, and the parking structures are the BatCave, allowing residents to rocket to the nearest mall.

  • JudenChino

    I know Market Urbanism and other “smart growth” groups support the repurposing of the FiDi Arcades. I usually agree with them but on this issue I disagree strongly. I work in FiDi. It’s a pedestrian disaster. Water St is way too fast. And the interior streets are festooned w/ unnecessary street parking and not enough loading zones. The results are narrow streets, blocked with double parked cars and livery trucks frequently parked on the sidewalk. Also, there’s a lot of construction going on, which also take up a lot of sidewalks.

    My point is, I like the arcades. I appreciate the limited amount of “Breathing Space” they provide to us. They’re not, to me, “useless space.”

    If the City wants to properly “monetize” this space. Then they should properly monetize the road space and get rid of freaking free street parking for HPD, State Comptroller et al, and eliminate all weekday daytime parking spaces in FiDi and have it all be loading zones (or security wardens). There’s tons of parking garages here. If the City wants to give away parking to HPD et al. then put it in a parking garage and save the valuable and truly limited road side spaces for deliveries.

    Otherwise, the notion that we’ll have more retail at the expense of pedestrian space is frankly insulting. I’m sure those little kiosks will need to make deliveries too?

  • Vooch

    pedestrian zone the arcade steeets

  • Vooch

    Pedestrian Zone for Broadway from Union Square to Columbus Circle is long overdue. The success of the expanded pedestrian zones in Union Square, Madison Square, Herald Square, Times Square, and Columbus Circle validates the concept. It is time to link all these Human spaces.

  • HamTech87

    Can’t we get 3 feet on either side of the center islands for bike lanes?

  • Kevin Love

    Now the helmet crazies have gone too far. Wearing their hats in church? That’s just plain rude.

  • reasonableexplanation

    You may be surprised, but i totally agree. It’s a good place to have a totally separate bike route, instead of the one we have now where you mix with turning cars. Broadway’s not part of the grid, so you won’t be affecting connectivity much, and since the cross-streets will still be accessible by car/truck (and the blocks are short), delivery and accessibility wouldn’t be too much of an issue. It would create a great way to walk/bike through the city.

  • JamesR

    I’m pretty sure that those parking lots are necessary for the units to be marketable. Metro North is no substitute for the NYC subway, even with all of the latter’s flaws, and these developments are typically small islands of walkabiity within a sea of pedestrian hostility. Having spent some time around some of these developments in Westchester, what’s missing is even the slightest sense of the sense of possibility and “spark” that comes from urban life. The new developments feel sterile and deadening – lacking any notion of the sheer sense of ever-present possibility that comes from urban life in a place like NYC. They’re like a frozen TV dinner version of urbanism.

  • Simon Phearson

    Ha, you’ve basically described the waterfront in LIC.

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    I work on Wall Street too, let’s get all motor vehicles public and private out of here! I understand that deliveries must be made but the streets are so clogged now that most of the services like Fedex, UPS, etc. end up leaving their trucks in one location and then deliver on foot throughout the district. So a few central delivery parking areas would handle that.

    Oh, and to the increasing number of full time residents: sidewalks and pedestrian plazas are more welcoming without your canine’s deposits.

  • BrandonWC

    Correction Officer Brandished Gun During Parking Dispute, Police Say (Times)

  • Nathan Rosenquist

    As a bike route, it’s desperately needed. Like many here I commute from Brooklyn to midtown Manhattan and once you hit pavement on the Manhattan side it’s pretty much “pick your poison” as far as getting up to midtown. You can go a few miles out of your way to get to the West Side Highway (Possible from the Brooklyn or Williamsburg Bridges, damn near impossible from the Manhattan Bridge) in order to wind up fighting through potholes and highway drivers on 30th St. You can go a few miles out of your way in the other direction in order to endure the broken-every-other-block joke that is the “East River Bike Path” (And have fun figuring out how to climb into midtown once you get into the 30s). Or you can dodge pedestrians, aggressive drivers, potholes and garbage juice for 40-odd blocks in the 1st Ave or 6th Ave bikes lanes, both of which make it explicitly clear that YOU are an afterthought and provide little protection in a relatively harrowing environment. Broadway, however, has fallen into disuse by motorists due to the successful plazas. It already has a south-bound bike lane, and it’s trajectory runs very much between the east river bridges and midtown. It is quite obviously an ideal bike commuter route and is currently going to waste.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Straphanger Stabbed After Fight Over Subway Seat In Manhattan (NBC):

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Fight-Over-Subway-Seat-Lands-3-Men-in-Hospital-NYPD-377693881.html

    Two sides of the same, depressing coin.

  • rao

    And why is no one even talking about your eminently reasonable suggestions as the city prepares to hand yet more public space over to private interests?

    The answer is that Carl Weisbrod–a real estate guy through and through–serves the only city “planning” commission in the world that does not regularly engage in comprehensive planning. It mostly just tinkers with zoning, except where the mayor’s office has pushed specific goals like affordable housing. This is not an abstract problem–it is a huge hole in the city’s governance structure. Compared with other cities, New York has markedly less capacity or willingness to assess the consequences of a development decision other than the immediate financial ones and some very narrow environmental criteria. If anyone wonders why this city is becoming more unlivable by the day despite record levels of private investment, that is one of the major, albeit unspoken, reasons.

  • J_12

    at least you get a nice view from the LIC waterfront.

  • Andres Dee

    “Discredited” or not: Developers have reaped the benefits of extra height and square footage in exchange for plazas. If they can’t maintain the plazas, then they should be given a choice: Mothball the bonus space they earned (and at the tops of their buildings). Cede them to the city, or keep them running, but give 75% of their revenues (not profits) to the city, who, I’m sure, can find a use for them.

    Do people gather in the arcades? Do they duck under them? Do they smoke there? Would they make for nice bike parking? Then, how discredited are they?

  • SSkate
  • HamTech87

    There are some developers who are willing to build a lot less parking, but are running up against the gov’t mandated parking minimums — and lenders who are only know parking (and single-use).

    Driving is not the only alternative to a subway. Bee-Line Bus ridership in Westchester’s urban areas dwarfs that of MetroNorth, and yet its bus corridors still have very high parking minimums. There is vast potential to increase frequencies and spans, although the County gov’t doesn’t make the connection to mobility. Also, MetroNorth has done a pretty good job of increasing frequency on nights and weekends. 2x an hour ain’t bad for US regional rail.

  • HamTech87

    Edited.

  • HamTech87

    The views from these Westchester downtown towers are often incredible, and to the horizon. White Plains and New Rochelle buildings have nothing blocking them. Yonkers has gorgeous Palisades views on one side, and the new daylighted Saw Mill River park on the other.

  • AnoNYC

    Overdue!

  • JamesR

    It really does boggle the mind how the city’s dominant FIRE industries are like an open geyser of money, yet so little of it is captured to serve the public good in any meaningful way.

  • Joe R.

    There’s something very wrong when you have developers putting up new luxury apartment buildings where the primary client is overseas investors. You have 50 story buildings full of vacant apartments in a city with an acute housing shortage. Moreover, it seems luxury apartments are all that’s being built these days.

    We do need a more rational assessment of these projects. The fact a developer can make a profit isn’t necessarily grounds for approving a project if that project doesn’t also simultaneously serve a real need. I think a huge part of the problem here is the very idea of real estate as some sort of investment. Traditionally, that wasn’t the case. Real estate was something you bought to live in. It did appreciate but in step with everything else. Hence it was a good hedge against inflation when you sold it but nothing more. Somewhere along the line people got the bright idea to start using real estate as a commodity. They bought and rented single family homes. This reduced the supply, increasing price. They enlarged some small percentage of these homes, further driving up prices. They started building luxury apartment towers where the main goal wasn’t to attract tenants who actually lived there, but people who wanted a place to park their cash. REITs were born of this.

    It’s time to take steps to fix this ugly trend. I think NYC’s high cost of housing isn’t solely due to supply and demand. Supply has been artificially constrained by those seeking to use real estate as an investment. It isn’t, at least not for those who aren’t physically living there. I find it amazing how NYC had nearly as many people back in the 1940s as it does now, and yet many people were able to get by on one salary. A large part of the difference is how we looked at real estate back then.