Today’s Headlines

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • BBnet3000

    It’s global Bike to Work Day. Where’s last year’s bike counts? That sorry-ass report summarizing the cycling increase during the JSK years wasn’t meant to take the place of them was it?

  • Jesse

    Dear Editors of AMNY: I’m sorry a career in journalism didn’t work out for you.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Re the 2 crashes article:
    Midwood: I’m familiar with that intersection, it’s well lit, timed, and there’s no excuse for running a red there. The Accord driver will (and should) have the book thrown at him.

    Bronx River Pkwy: that’s a highway with no pedestrian access. it escapes me why people think they can make it across a highway. The driver’s not at fault here.

  • qrt145

    Spring is in the air! After a couple of weeks of flashing signs in Central Park telling cyclists to stop at red lights, stay on the bike lane, and obey the speed limit, it looks like the NYPD has started stopping cyclists.

  • Vision Zero!

  • Elizabeth F
  • BBnet3000

    I’d love to see them ticketing people who don’t yield go peds, but assume that’s not what’s happening. These lights should all be converted to HAWKS at least on the car free side.

  • Will the Mayor say anything about the cyclist’s death or the destruction near Lincoln Center?

    Spoiler alert: Of course not.

  • Simon Phearson

    I’m so glad our advocates pushed hard for a lower speed limit in Central Park. The NYPD didn’t have enough reasons to pull bullshit stings before.

  • Jeff

    I think people are missing the point over the Bronx River Parkway crash. It’s not a question of whether the pedestrian was right or wrong or whether the driver was right or wrong. It’s a question of whether the infrastructure is meeting the needs of those who need to use it. If people need to cross this highway, why is there no safe accommodation for them to do so? The whole point of Swedish-style Vision Zero is that we should design infrastructure according to how people actually behave, not in spite of how they behave, or for how we think they *should* behave.

  • In both Central Park and Prospect Park many of the crosswalks and signals do not correspond to where pedestrians are most likely to cross, since they were set up merely to manage car traffic. There’s no light at the GAP entrance to Prospect Park for example, nor is there one at the Bartel Pritchard Square end. And yet somehow people on foot and people on bikes are able to successfully navigate those spaces without paint or traffic control devices telling them what to do. (Not that the cops shouldn’t stop people who are riding too fast for the conditions at major crossings, of course!)

    It’s just another way that allowing cars to dominate a space, even for a short amount of time, leads the NYPD and city leaders to abandon all critical thinking.

  • fdtutf
  • djx

    I’ve got zero problem with police ticketing cyclists who don’t yield to pedestrians. But that requires too much discretion of the part of NYPD. InNstead, they frequently go out, set up at a light in a park and ticket based on the light. Full stop. I know a guy who got a ticket in the park on a cold November morning, with no pedestrian within a 100 feet.

    They think this approach sends a message about safety. No, it sends a message about the letter of the law and the incapacity of NYPD to do deal with complexity and show common sense.

  • reasonableexplanation

    I’m not sure I agree with you there; look at the location:
    https://goo.gl/maps/VnYDNiHUvY32

    Though shitty, Boston rd is… you know, a road that crosses the highway right by where the guy was hit. No idea why the guy didn’t cross there.

  • Simon Phearson

    Obviously, it’s more reasonable to assume the guy was crossing at precisely the point where an obviously safer alternative was easily available than to surmise that the description the Daily News gave of the location (“southbound lane near the Bronx Park at Boston Road”) was less than precise.

    Just another one of those suicidal pedestrians, I guess!

  • vnm

    NY1 is reporting that one of the drivers in the Midwood crash is being charged by police for operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs.
    http://www.ny1.com/nyc/brooklyn/news/2016/05/10/brooklyn-driver-charged-after-running-down-bicyclist-in-crosswalk.html

  • reasonableexplanation

    Yup, ran a red and was DUI. Sounds like a real winner.

  • The repaving of Prospect Park was handled so horrifically poorly from a pedestrian and bike perspective. Underreported story.

  • reasonableexplanation

    There is no situation where it’s not suicidal to try and cross a highway on foot. Look, there’s a fine line between jaywalking/crossing mid block and this.

    As for safer alternative: look at the map again: there’s a river extending N/S along the 2.5mile long west side of the parkway, and the only places a road crosses it, the road crosses the highway too. In addition there are 4 pedestrian only over/underpasses along this same 2.5 mile stretch. Meaning this guy was at the most a 12 minute walk from the nearest dedicated pedestrian path (this is even if you don’t count the actual roads).

    This is hardly a case of the infrastructure not meeting the needs of a pedestrian. Don’t you agree?

  • It’s mostly annoying that they didn’t use the opportunity to drastically rethink pavement markings, crossings, etc. There were little tweaks, but nothing significant now that cars are out. It’s almost as if cars could return at any moment.

  • fdtutf

    Meaning this guy was at the most a 12 minute walk from the nearest dedicated pedestrian path (this is even if you don’t count the actual roads).

    Meaning this guy was facing a 24-minute extension of his trip.

    Meanwhile, motorists complain about road changes that add 2-3 minutes to their trips.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Look at the map again please.

    This is a large park, and has a river going N/S. To get a 24min extension of trip time he would have to have been going E/W directly Unless this guy was in a swimming mood he would need to take the pedestrian paths or the road whether the parkway was there or not on account of the river. In such a case going off path would have lengthened his time or had no effect, not shortened it.

    The only remaining option is that he was going to/from an area between the highway and the river (part of Bronx Park, which is closed at night), at 11pm.


    But let’s also get to the core issue; your assertion that a 12 min walk is too far… How often would you build under/overpasses here, and would it be worth it? If you lived a 12min walk away from a subway station, would you consider yourself to be in a transit desert?

  • Joe R.

    Are they ever going to remove those stupid traffic lights from the part of the park which is now closed permanently to motor vehicles? I thought a good part of the reason for advocates wanting to get rid of motor vehicles was precisely so those traffic lights could go. Why aren’t they pushing the Parks Department hard to get rid of them?

  • Joe R.

    They should be gotten rid of entirely on the car free side. There’s no other place on the planet where you have traffic signals where there are bikes and pedestrians only.

  • Pavement markings, road materials (e.g., something softer for the running lanes), the angle of the bank of the road around certain curves, amount of space and separation between running and biking lanes, the fact that signals are still timed for cars. It was a lazy job by Parks and DOT and one they won’t have a chance to correct for years now.

  • Simon Phearson

    There is no situation where it’s not suicidal to try and cross a highway on foot. Look, there’s a fine line between jaywalking/crossing mid block and this.

    What we know is that he tried to cross the highway. What we don’t know is what you’d asserted, which is that he could have avoided crossing the highway by taking an extremely convenient, much safer alternative.

    As for safer alternative: look at the map again: there’s a river extending N/S along the 2.5mile long west side of the parkway, and the only places a road crosses it, the road crosses the highway too. In addition there are 4 pedestrian only over/underpasses along this same 2.5 mile stretch. Meaning this guy was at the most a 12 minute walk from the nearest dedicated pedestrian path (this is even if you don’t count the actual roads).

    Given that people cross dangerous streets in order to avoid much less significant inconveniences, it doesn’t surprise me at all to imagine that some pedestrians might chance the highway rather than wander half an hour out of their way to cross safely.

    But what’s bizarre to me about this is that you attempt to answer the question, “Is the pedestrian infrastructure here adequate?” not by asking “What are pedestrians doing here?” but “How tolerable an inconvenience are we imposing on pedestrians who want to cross the highway?” Which is the wrong way to ask the question – we evaluate infrastructure based on how well it serves the people using it, not on whether we feel like we’ve done enough to serve the people we happen to care about.

    Ultimately, you’re suggesting one of two things – either he was, indeed, suicidal, or he deserves to have died for failing to take advantage of what pedestrian infrastructure there was over this highway.

  • Jeff

    Is simply not ramming expressways through urban parks an option?

  • reasonableexplanation

    Nice sentiment. But we’re here now aren’t we? How many deaths per year would we have on a road like this if it was a surface street where cars and peds mixed daily instead of a limited access highway with over/underpasses?

  • reasonableexplanation

    we don’t know…that he could have avoided crossing the highway by taking an extremely convenient, much safer alternative.

    Why don’t we know this? Look at the map and note all of the safer, convenient crossings.

    it doesn’t surprise me at all to imagine that some pedestrians might chance the highway

    I don’t see your point. Sometimes people do extremely risky, dangerous things for no good reason. Due to ignorance or otherwise.

    The fact is, this guy tried to cross the highway.

    ….okay? Sometimes people cross the tracks in a subway station, despite there being a starcase connecting the the two sides. Doesn’t mean the infrastructure is unsound. Sometimes people make terrible decisions.

    Ultimately, you’re suggesting one of two things – either he was, indeed, suicidal, or he deserves to have died for failing to take advantage of what pedestrian infrastructure there was over this highway.

    Given that the guy was walking along the median beforehand, maybe he was suicidal, but without further info it’s hard to say. As for the ‘deserves’ part, going back to the subway example above; if someone was struck and killed by a train while crossing the tracks between platforms in a station; would they have ‘deserved’ it? No. But would it be their fault alone? Absolutely.

  • Jonathan R

    Google is misleading as it doesn’t show the zoo boundaries. Looking at open street map

    http://www.openstreetmap.org/search?query=40.853946%2C-73.874199#map=16/40.8528/-73.8758

    you can see the zoo fence, which follows the west side of the parkway from Pelham Pkwy south to the IRT tracks.

    The only destination west of the parkway is the zoo parking lot, which I don’t think is open at 11 pm. And there’s a tunnel under the parkway that leads right to the zoo parking lot. I’ve been there and speak from experience.

  • Simon Phearson

    If we were talking about a subway station where it took half an hour to get from one platform to another, where the two platforms are separated by a single rail line, and we saw lots of people getting killed or injured by trying to cross the “short” way, we’d absolutely have a failure of infrastructure and design.

    Dangerous, non-prescribed uses don’t in themselves indicate a failure of design, no. But here we’re talking about a large park, with residential and recreational ares on either side. People walking need to cross, and whether they have enough places to do so isn’t something we determine by deciding arbitrarily what level of inconvenience people living nearby or using the park should accept. We do that by observing what they do. (It’s the same way we ought to determine where to put protected bike infrastructure – where are the cyclists going?)

  • Vooch

    easiest way to reduce capacity crunch on subways is build protected bike lanes and complete streets . if even a 20% of shorter trip subway riders can be converted to active transportation, the reduction in marginal loading on subway system is yuge.

    simple examples are the Manhattan lines north of 60th ( IRT Broadway, IRT Lex, and IND ) the cost of building protected bike lanes on every avenue from 33rd to 133rd ( 10 avenues 5 miles each or total of 50 PBL miles ) would be $25 million.

    Surely a PBL on every avenue from 33rd to 134th would convert 20% of convert subway riders going from Harlem, Moringside Heights, UWS, and UES to Midtown. 20% of subway riders from these areas is close to 100,000 subway trips.

    what other infrastructure project costs $25 million and generates mobility for 100,000 trips ?

    $25 million barely buys a elevator upgrade for a subway station.

    the least expensive way to reduce the capacity crunch on Subway is building PBLs

  • reasonableexplanation

    If we were talking about a subway station where it took half an hour…

    That’s exactly my point; in the subway you lose at most 5min to go around the correct way, and yet… people still do it! I’ve seen it myself a whole bunch of times, while I’ve only seen someone attempting to cross a highway once in my ~300k miles of driving. This contradicts your point of ‘if people do it, it must be a failure of infrastructure.’ Rather, it points to the explanation that some people are unreasonably reckless regardless of convenience.

    So again, what’s your issue with the park here? Where on the map would you add an overpass and corresponding bridge over the river?

    I’m sorry but if you decide to cross the tracks or the highway like this, what happens next is on you, especially considering how well served this park is with pedestrian routes.

    You’re excusing this guy’s behavior, but I implore you, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation, don’t run across the highway; walk the extra 12 minutes instead. it’s not worth it.

  • Simon Phearson

    Rather, it points to the explanation that some people are unreasonably reckless regardless of convenience.

    But it does not follow from this that the correct way to determine whether infrastructure is adequate is to make some separate judgment about what’s “reasonably convenient” in the circumstances. The correct way to do this is to observe what people are doing.

    So again, what’s your issue with the park here? Where on the map would you add an overpass and corresponding bridge over the river?

    If people are crossing the highway because the pedestrian bridges and underpasses are too far away, I’d look to where they’re crossing and put one there. They are probably not trying to cross the river, but if they were taking a more dangerous route for lack of river options, I would try to determine where they’re coming from and place a bridge there. But, fundamentally, I reject that we even have the right location. You’ve picked up a vague reference from the Daily News and run with it.

    I’m sorry but if you decide to cross the tracks or the highway like this, what happens next is on you, especially considering how well served this park is with pedestrian routes.

    Right, he “deserved” it, just like I thought you were asserting. I’m not excusing his behavior, but I do recognize the possibility that his decisions were the consequence of decisions about design that overlook the interests of pedestrians and cyclists. Whenever infrastructure breaks down this way – when it fails to serve the interests of the people who must live with it – you will frequently find people acting in ways that can be described as “reckless.” To pretend that we don’t have to pay attention to reckless behavior, just because it’s reckless, when designing our streets and pedestrian infrastructure, is to guarantee more recklessness.

  • reasonableexplanation

    The correct way to do this is to observe what people are doing.

    Eh…okay. By that reasoning what’s the criteria for a problem to be declared? Again, subway parable, if X% of people using a given station cross the tracks and it’s not a problem, and a number less than X% out of people crossing the parkway decide to walk over, is it not a problem? If it geater than X, then by how much does it need to be greater to be considered an issue?

    If people are crossing the highway because the pedestrian bridges and underpasses are too far away…I reject that we even have the right location.

    THe news article mentioned Boston Rd. the nearest 2 roads (that would have been referenced had it been closer to them) are Pelham Pkwy (0.1 miles away) or E 180th st (0.9 miles away), which basically narrows us to a one mile stretch of road. Is there something wrong with this estimate?

    find people acting in ways that can be described as “reckless.”

    Why the scare quotes? Are you saying it’s not reckless?

    I’m having trouble finding the boundary of your reasoning; it seems to me you’re saying that any reckless behavior is a product of street design, and can’t be the sole fault of the street user. I disagree fundamentally.

  • Vooch

    sitting in a cab watching dozens of cyclists sailing blissfully past

    30 minutes to travel 50 blocks and $18

  • Joe R.

    Or if you’re going to put it through a park at least bury the f-ing thing. To this day I feel Robert Moses’ biggest mistake was not burying his highways. NYC would be a much better place if he had.

  • fdtutf

    (1) The map isn’t helpful. Your explanation refers to things that aren’t shown on the map.
    (2) I presume that since he crossed the highway there, he was wanting to get from one side of the highway to the other there. To go 12 minutes on one side and then cross would have required walking 12 minutes back after crossing. That’s 24 minutes.
    (3) I didn’t say anything about 12 minutes being too long (I was referring to 24 minutes), but it is an unreasonable length for a forced detour on foot.
    (4) I’d build under/overpasses where people need to cross. It sounds as if this is one of those locations.

    Why is this hard to understand?

  • reasonableexplanation

    Okay, I’ve made a helpful map for you: red lines are separate pedestrian crossings. the blue line is a regular road.

  • fdtutf

    I generally assume that people do things for a reason.

    If this person was crossing the parkway at Boston Road, I assume he had a reason for doing so.

    If he did not elect to use a safer route, I assume there is a reason why he did not do so. Unless he was mentally disabled or mentally ill, he obviously would not deliberately have chosen to cross the parkway despite the availability of safer options nearby.

    One possibility is that he was unaware of the safer options. This might have to do with him being unfamiliar with the neighborhood, or with the typical DOT failure to provide a decent level of information for non-automobile users of the transportation system.

    What’s your explanation?

  • Mathew Smithburger

    Man killed on bike by driver, driving a car. But today man on bike receives a NYP BIKE red light ticket and during the ticketing process observes no less than three cars drive through the same red light. When we have achieved vision zero….we will have more than zero vision.

  • Simon Phearson

    By that reasoning what’s the criteria for a problem to be declared?

    I think a number of factors would feed into the analysis, including observed patterns of behavior, number of deaths/injuries, feasible alternatives and associated trade-offs, etc. I don’t think the question is reducible to a single metric that will apply equally regardless of the mode.

    Is there something wrong with this estimate?

    Yes, insofar as it assumes the Daily News reports anything accurately.

    I’m having trouble finding the boundary of your reasoning; it seems to me you’re saying that any reckless behavior is a product of street design, and can’t be the sole fault of the street user. I disagree fundamentally.

    Fortunately, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is what I, in fact, said, which is that we should expect to see reckless road behavior where infrastructure fails road users. Thus, we should not dismiss behavior as being merely “reckless” in any discussion about whether road infrastructure is adequate for the various users; that will factor out the key symptom that indicates the problem.

    For example, there are a number of places in this city where designers have tried to address the problem of pedestrians crossing streets at points where it’s dangerous to do so, by erecting barriers to pedestrian access. Pedestrians frequently climb these barriers – “recklessly” – anyway, in order to cross. This is indicative of an infrastructural failure, a failure to respect pedestrians or their needs as a class. This does not mean that every subway-leaper or highway-frogger is dealing with an infrastructural failure, but the mere fact that we can validly describe them all as “reckless” does not mean we don’t have to think about why they’re acting recklessly.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Have you noticed that unless the News or Post article has a quote indicating that the dead bicyclist was the blame, there is no comment field?

    Perhaps they are worried about what their commenters have been influenced to say.

  • Miles Bader

    The sad thing is that they’ll no doubt look at any negative comments on the story and make smug jokes about nutty bicyclists coming from streetsblog… ><

  • East Villager

    There’s too much white paint on the Prospect Park loop. Why do we need every few feet a sign showing that slow cyclists (how do you define slow? 7 mph? 15 mph?) ride two abreast to the left, and a single (presumably faster) cyclist to the right? These are raised stencils, and I feel the bumps every time I ride over them.

    Less is more. We aren’t idiots. If you want cyclists to pass on the right (which isn’t even clear from the stencils), a couple of signs in the park are enough.

  • Joe R.

    The best idea would be to do what the park’s original designer did, which is to use bridges at the crossings with heavier traffic. It doesn’t even need to be a bridge which forces pedestrians to climb. Keep the crossing at grade level, and have the road dip under it. At the less busy crossings you can have everyone negotiate the space. No need to have traffic signals at all. A park should be a respite from city streets, not more of the same.

  • Andrew

    Meanwhile, motorists complain about road changes that add 2-3 minutes to their trips.

    Motorists complain about road changes that they perceive to add 15-20 minutes to their trips but which actually add 0-2 minutes to their trips.

  • Vooch

    yes it was

  • fdtutf

    Good clarification, thank you.