Today’s Headlines

  • Why Are NYC Streets Constantly Cut Up? (NYT)
  • Livery Cab Driver Kills Pedestrian on Staten Island Expressway Service Road (Post)
  • Driver Hits Delivery Cyclist in Amsterdam Ave Bike Lane Near 83rd Street (WSR)
  • More Coverage of City Hall’s Push to Reform Commercial Trash Carting, Featuring Norm Steisel (Politico)
  • Karen Overton: DSNY’s Abandoned Bike Policy Update Doesn’t Go Far Enough (AMNY)
  • People Choose Dollar Vans Where They Provide Faster, More Reliable Service Than Buses (Economist)
  • What Happens When You Alert the MTA to a Hot Car (WNYC)
  • 6 Advocates and Experts Design Fantasy Subway Maps for Wired
  • Distracted Driving Has Attained “Way of Life” Status in New Jersey (NYT)
  • The Times Made a Streetfilm About Why We Need a Wider Walk/Bike Path on the Brooklyn Bridge

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Tyler

    I don’t mind the general idea of “streets always being cut up,” when it makes sense. In my neighborhood there are about 10 streets that were recently beautifully milled and resurfaced AT GREAT EXPENSE…. Then, within about six months, about half of these had large trenches and holes dug into them for PLANNED water and sewer maintenance. The result is a bunch of crappy patches that have developed into sink holes of various sizes and crazy humps. These were pristine surfaces on residential streets that have the same or worse conditions than before the first milling machine passed by.

    (1) If everyone has to apply for permits from the DOT, why doesn’t the DOT bother to check with the other City agencies — “Hey, are you planning on doing any maintenance work on X or Y streets in the next 1 or 2 years?”

    (2) Why aren’t the permit applicants required to fix the road PROPERLY when they are done? (I’m not talking about a homeowner who had to dig up a little patch of road for a water pipe… I’m talking about trenches that run the entire length of streets)

  • Joe R.

    Exact same thing happens by me all the time. A street will be in crappy shape for ages. When it finally gets repaved, it’s all but guaranteed it’ll be dug up and patched to death within 6 months even though no utility work was done there for the last 20 years. Sometimes I think car repair places pay off the city to do this on purpose so the roads are always in poor condition.

    And when major work is done, like digging trenches or opening big holes, we should stipulate the entire street has to be reconstructed when the work is done. Not patched, but rebuilt down to the concrete subroadbed under strict NYC supervision. Same thing when sidewalks are broken. If you break up someone’s sidewalk, you should have to replace the entire thing at your expense, not just put down one mismatched square.

    If we do all these things we might see some planning where if someone is opening up a street for, say, sewer work, you’ll get other entities to do their repairs or upgrades while the street is opened up. We might also see some plans to make utilities accessible without needed to break up streets.

    There’s really no excuse for the status quo. Other places have as many underground utilities as NYC but they manage to keep them in repair without having streets perpetually in third world condition.

  • Tyler

    And these patches perform so well when plows scrape over them. Imagine if we actually had harsh winters in NYC and we had the frequency of snow plowing in any city just to the north?

  • Joe R.

    Funny you mentioned that because my brother told me some of the highways he drives on went to sh*t literally overnight a few years ago after a heavy snow. On my own block I see places where the plow scraped the asphalt right off. For that and a multitude of other reasons NYC needs to go with concrete streets.

  • kevd

    Flatbush avenue near church has been cut up and refilled about 5 times in the past 18 months.
    I think its a Keynsian work project. Maybe there are bottles filled with dollar bills under the roads?

  • kevd

    No Joe, New York is the oldest city on the planet!
    And the ONLY city in the world with underground utilities, don’t you know that?

  • Kevin Love

    In the rest of the world, utilities and the local equivalent of the DOT have figured out how to communicate with each other. So that brand-new streets don’t get ripped up again.

    But, of course, this requires them to give a care. There are other places where the attitude is different from, “Good enough for the likes of you peasants.” See:

  • Joe R.

    The “before” pictures look better than many NYC streets AFTER they have been resurfaced.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Between 5th and 6th Ave in the right lane southbound on Flatbush there is a huge sunken trench in the road. A lot of people bike this stretch from Ashland, and have to go around illegally stopped cars in that lane. It’s really pretty hazardous.

  • Geck

    The Bergen Street bike lane between 5th and 4th Avenues has a bad patch about every 15 feet (one for each brownstone on the block), from soon after it was repaved. Predictably, many cyclists ride outside the lane to avoid them. I complained to DOT and was told it was fine.

  • Flakker

    Re: The fantasy maps: The differences between the kind of people at TransitCenter and the kind of people who work at NYU Rudin Center and the Riders Alliance are apparent in their goals.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Driver who killed Matthew Brenner banned from driving in New York following civil suit. NYPD completely dropped the ball.

  • c2check

    Time to start building New New York, Futurama-style
    (also similar to Chicago Wacker Drive 100 years ago):

    »raise all the buildings 15 feet
    »install precast concrete utilities trenches
    »install utilities inside
    »cover with removable arched concrete roadbed
    »reduce vehicle volumes to avoid unnecessary damage

    It’ll be great

  • A disappointing stretch of recently-repaved street is on Johnson Avenue near the Brooklyn/Queens border at Flushing Avenue.

    Johnson Avenue is a straight-line between Williamsburg and Ridgewood. It has plenty of trucks during middays; but it is pretty good during morning and evening commute times. And it has a long stretch with no parking. So it’s a very useful bike route; it beats Grand Street, despite the presence on Grand of a bike lane. Just last summer Johnson Avenue received a much-needed repaving for its entire length.

    But at Johnson’s eastern end, starting at about Scott Avenue, there is this weird accretion of dried concrete, pebbles, sand, and gravel on the right edge of the eastbound side of this two-way street. This condition continues past Johnson’s end at Flushing Avenue, and then for a few blocks onto Cypress Avenue.

    I can only guess that this is not down to anything that the DOT did wrong, but that it is the result of actions on the part of some of the private companies that line the street. Still, it’s the DOT’s responsibility to maintain the street. I have put in a 311 complaint; let’s see if that does anything.

  • bolwerk

    Almost nothing of interest there at all. All of them look like games of Connect The Dots designed by people who wouldn’t step onto a transit service. Does TransitCenter even like subways? One guy is talking about poop. Poop! The poor quality of our advocates. 🙁

    Except that TRX is popular, there seems to be no attention paid to existing ROWs. RBB, North Shore? I guess both are being targeted for permanent mutilation.

    And what the hell is going on with that loop on Staten Island?

  • Flakker

    I disagree. The NYU Rudin center and Sarah Kaufman show that they don’t care and that their “expertise” is worthless. “Well actually, Staten Island…” [trails off and looks at phone] “…APPS!”
    Riders Alliance is somewhat better but has no vision other than improving existing service. TransitCenter people are actually trying to implement system expansions that would connect Staten Island, and other currently unconnected areas. Transit enthusiasts, not useless academics or special interest think tankers.

  • N_Gorski

    That’s all new since Saturday–or at least much worse than it was. I noticed it last night when I was coming home from Williamsburg, and it’s awful–especially since it appears to be concrete and will harden if it rains in the next few days. (It’s almost always private trucks responsible for this, and DOT almost never does anything about it.)

    Thanks for calling in to 311–I plan on doing the same after documenting it with my phone on my evening commute.

  • bolwerk

    The first TransitCenter guy wasn’t as stupid as the second one. It was the second one that had the Tourette’s outburst about poop.

    I don’t necessarily have a huge problem with some of those extensions, but both the SIRT extension to Manhattan and that L expansion are not exactly top priorities. They are acceptable on geographic equity grounds, especially if land use can be changed to accommodate some more density. But the L extension also creates problems – a busy, overcrowded line gets more passengers and even when the L is not busy the travel time to Manhattan would be kind of obscene for the new riders.

  • AnoNYC

    Wow, I really need to move out of the United States.

  • van_vlissingen

    It seems reasonable for when they rip up the street to move most (if not all) of these services into pre-cast utility trenches.

  • Kevin Love

    Or maybe the “give a care” attitude needs to move in.

  • AMH

    I can’t understand why they’re not doing that when they tear up entire streets for utility replacement and reconstruction. (Lower Broadway, Chambers St, etc.)

  • AMH

    From the NYT distracted driving story, a surprisingly good statement from the AAA: “Your car is your space, but what people need to understand is that your space is a moving vehicle that interacts with other people’s safety. This is not about banning someone from drinking coffee. This is about figuring out a way to ensure that people are safe behind the wheel.”