Today’s Headlines

  • Niou Takes Silver’s Seat; Alcantara, De La Rosa, Sanders, Carroll Win; Markey Out (NYT, Politico, DNA)
  • L Shutdown: City Plans Delancey Bikeway, Bike Parking (WSJ); MTA to Study Car-Free 14th St. (News)
  • City Council Set to Close Right of Way Law Loophole Ignored by de Blasio and DOT (AMNY)
  • Vision Zero: If You’re Lecturing Children, You’re Doing It Wrong (NYT, Advance)
  • Flatbush Motorcyclist “Trying to Beat the Light” Severely Injures Teen Walking With Classmates (Post)
  • Driver Critically Injures 12-Year-Old Boy Riding Bike in Borough Park; NYPD, DNA: “Accident”
  • Locals Say DOT Isn’t Doing Enough to Slow Motorists on Deadly 21st Street in Astoria (DNA)
  • More on AECOM’s Proposal for a Subway to Red Hook and 45K New Homes (NewsAMNY, Post)
  • Most of the Planned BQX Route Would Be Prone to Flooding (Voice)
  • Connecticut to Buy 60 New Coaches for Metro-North New Haven Line, Revive Bar Cars (NYT)
  • Here’s What Happens When You Contact 311 (Gotham Gazette)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Some would also presumably use the Pulaski/QB bridge (the latter is in need of separating bike/ped traffic as well).

  • Joe R.

    It may have been we just had a particularly bad example. I doubt don’t there were other families on public assistance who got along just fine for years. Truth is for the most part it wasn’t polite conversation to start asking about people’s sources of income, so we didn’t know and didn’t care. This one mother actually bragged about the fact they were on public assistance, and that they were giving her daughter an apartment because she was pregnant.

    If one family can cause a lot of problems does preventing concentration of poverty do enough? And what demographic mix do you consider concentrated poverty?

    Hard to say but things work out better for everyone if poverty is more spread out. The poor get more positive role models and those better off get the satisfaction of helping someone. Of course, I’m sure the poor also experience some denigration courtesy of those better off. No arrangement is going to be perfect.

    Some people are just unpleasant to live near, poverty is by no means a requirement for that.

    Yeah, poverty isn’t a requirement for problem neighbors. I know that all too well. Until he finally sold the house last year, our next door neighbor (who moved to another house) rented out his house. The final tenants were great people. We knew them for 18 years. The ones right before them weren’t. The place got infested with roaches so heavily so crawled across the driveway and into the house. Thankfully were kept on it before we got an infestation ourselves.

    I can see how smoking and yelling would make you move out if the landlord is powerless or unwilling to stop it. Ugh, especially the smoking. NYC doubtless has very strong tenant protection laws partially out of fear of increasing the homeless population. It’s one reason I’m happy to live in a detached house. Still no guarantee I can’t be affected by problem neighbors, but it lessens the chances compared to a multifamily dwelling.

  • Joe R.

    Agreed on the speed. I’d personally go with 20 to 25 mph. That’s not so fast as to create major speed differentials given that some cyclists ride at those speeds. It also makes longer trips feasible. One selling point of e-bikes, other than their hill-climbing ability, is the fact they make 10+ mile each way bike commutes feasible for anyone who can ride a bike, provided they top out somewhere north of 20 mph. 20 to 25 mph also makes it possible to safely take the lane in many situations. 15 mph doesn’t. As with any bike, human or electric, common sense will dictate that you moderate your speed as conditions become more crowded.

  • AMH

    The WSJ article also notes

  • Komanoff

    What actual numbers, Steve? You have at least as much data as I. I’m simply trying to scope the problem/solution. If you’re interested in my contention (in Crain’s last month) that Move NY tolling would cut vehicle volumes on the ERB’s by 25 percent, I’ll gladly walk you through the numbers in my BTA spreadsheet.

  • djx

    I’m not trolling – I’m denouncing and mocking your offensive statements.

    “All it took was one welfare family right under us to turn the building into a roach motel.”

  • Flakker

    I’ve said it before: the ad money spent on begging drivers to change their behavior (much less pedestrians) is a complete waste that sends the message that miscreants don’t face prosecution, a message backed up by reality.

  • Flakker

    It’s not New York residents so much as subway riders, who are not, unlike Acela riders, part of the political class in this city.

    Vanshnookenraggen proposed a simple solution: shut down Hewes and Lorimer stops on the JMZ, open a Broadway stop above the G with a transfer. Since this is elevated I assume it could be done without disrupting service. Result is faster JMZ trains (those stops are already skipped by the express anyway) and value is added by the permanent transfer. Obviously people closer to those stops than B’way lose some in this deal but they may be sold on the permanent benefits.

  • Flakker


  • Joe R.

    And who appointed you to the high position of minister of censorship deciding what is and isn’t offensive? You know what I find offensive here? The fact one can’t even candidly discuss certain subjects nowadays without some self-righteous know it all coming in and passing judgement. You don’t know me. You don’t know what I’ve seen in my life. And yet you feel compelled to denounce me and mock me.

    Go back to your politically correct la la land instead of sticking your two cents where it doesn’t belong. Thankfully a few other people have actually engaged me in intelligent discourse, which was really my intent here. When Trump becomes President I’ll be laughing thinking people like you finally got the government they truly deserve.

  • Flakker

    Indeed, I’m reading “Death and Life” now and one of her key pieces of data at the beginning is that people who were moved to housing projects after their slum was cleared (in the 50s, I suppose) continued to hang out in the old neighborhood and enjoy the street life there. Their physical displacement disrupted their social lives tremendously.

  • Flakker

    only if they can somehow then be legally barred from voting against more housing construction

  • Vooch


  • sbauman

    Not many cyclists can go 15 mph on a sustained basis. I envision that e-bikes will be regulated with bicycles and crowded into the bicycles’ limited road space.

    The e-bikers will become annoyed with the slow moving bicycles and eventually demand their removal from the e-bikers’ path.

    It would be history repeating itself, when the League of American Wheelmen morphed into the Good Roads Association which then morphed into the AAA.

  • Joe R.

    Any good bike infrastructure should have room for safe passing. In the Netherlands you have 60 kph velomobiles and 10 kph child cyclists coexisting just fine on the same bike infrastructure.

    My guess is someone on an e-bike may well just choose a motor vehicle travel lane if they’re stuck on a bike path with no room for passing. Or perhaps the e-bike movement will eventually encourage most riders except the fastest ones to have electric assist. That would normalize the speeds on bike paths to ~20mph.

  • sbauman

    I’d personally go with 20 to 25 mph.

    What happened to last year’s “20 is plenty” slogan? A pedestrian or more likely a pedal cyclist hit by and e-bike at 25 mph will suffer far more injury than one hit at 15 mph.

    One selling point of e-bikes, other than their hill-climbing ability, is the fact they make 10+ mile each way bike commutes feasible for anyone who can ride a bike,

    You’re confusing range with speed. The travel time for a 10 mile trip @ 25 mph is 24 minutes vs. 40 minutes @ 15 mph. The door-to-door commute time for those living more than 10 miles from work is much greater than 40 minutes.

    Incidentally, the average travel distance (as the crow flies) for people living and working in NYC is 5.4 miles.

    You also make a heck of a lot more lights at 20 to 25 mph than you do at 15 mph.

    Traffic lights would not be required if all vehicles were limited to 15 mph. Let’s assume a 50% green cycle. That 15 mph with no traffic lights is equivalent to 30 mph with traffic lights. Any NYC traffic commissioner, who increased average midtown vehicle speed to what it was before automobiles were introduced, would be hailed as a genius.

    As with any bike, human or electric, common sense will dictate that you moderate your speed as conditions become more crowded.

    Common sense does not apply to car ownership or driving. That’s why Vision Zero engineering solutions are required to keep vehicle speed safe for all.

  • sbauman

    What actual numbers

    How many of the 8-9am 28K Canarsie Tunnel riders will bike over the Manhattan Bridge?

    I’m simply trying to scope the problem/solution. If you’re interested in my contention (in Crain’s last month) that Move NY tolling would cut vehicle volumes on the ERB’s by 25 percent,

    I’m not so sure. Compare the 8-9 am peak hour figures for the 3 Brooklyn Bridges vs. the Battery Tunnel. Inbound it’s: 4K for the BB; 3.3K for the MB and WB; and 3.0K for the Battery Tunnel. At two lanes the Battery Tunnel has the least capacity – i.e. it’s the most crowded.

  • Joe R.

    Actually, you can avoid the need for traffic lights if you limit vehicle speeds to about 20 mph. Most 30 kph (18.6 mph) zones overseas do away with traffic signals and stop signs. The only key is you need good lines of sight at intersections (but you need that at 15 mph anyway). I’m fully onboard getting rid of traffic signals in NYC but I doubt all that many others are. Net result is we’ll be stuck with them for now, and you’ll make a lot more lights on a bike at 20 to 25 mph than you will at 15 mph.

    On the range/speed thing, the issue is the number of people willing to bike increases dramatically when the trip takes 30 minutes or less. I’m not sure if the same numbers hold with e-bikes, or if longer trips would be tolerable, but if not then a faster e-bike gives you a larger commuting radius in those 30 minutes.

  • sbauman

    On the range/speed thing, the issue is the number of people willing to bike increases dramatically when the trip takes 30 minutes or less.

    For 12% of people who live and work in NYC , the travel distance is under 1 mile. They will most likely walk to work.

    For 31% of the people who live and work in NYC, the straight line travel distance is between 1 and 4 miles. The Citibike trip speed is 7.5 mph or 8 min/mile. That comes to a maximum trip length of 32 minutes. N.B. the Citibike speed is faster than a taxi.

    These figures are based on the US Census LEHD 2014 data for private sector jobs.

  • sbauman

    Any good bike infrastructure should have room for safe passing. In the Netherlands you have 60 kph velomobiles and 10 kph child cyclists coexisting just fine on the same bike infrastructure.

    The bike infrastructure we are likely to get in NYC will not fit your definition of “good.” Our infrastructure will be most likely resemble the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade or Central Park’s lower loop. That’s why the e-bikes speed must be closer to the 10 kph child rather than an elite cyclist.

    Incidentally, it only takes about ~100 watts to maintain 15 mph on a level road. That’s about what the average cyclist can put out on a continual basis.

    My assertion that 15 mph on a continual basis wasn’t far off. So long as e-bikes are relegated to bicycle status, they should have pedal cycle characteristics.

    BTW, add a 5 mph headwind from your calculator link. That 100 watt speed is reduced to 12.25 mph. Add a 0.5% grade and it’s down to 10.99 mph.

  • van_vlissingen

    I have to agree with Steve here. In spite of almost zero bike infrastructure in Northeast Queens, I know I can ride much faster for longer distances. In Manhattan if you have two slower riders riding abreast, the existing protected lanes will not facilitate passing

  • Joe R.

    The federal regulations consider an e-bike a regular bicycle if the motor is rated at 750 watts or less and the top speed is 20 mph or less. States are allowed to exceed these numbers for e-bikes if they wish but not to go lower. I think the numbers are reasonable. You shouldn’t be using choke points like the paths over bridges as the basis for e-bike regulations. There are plenty of streets in NYC where an e-bike going even 25 mph is just fine. On crowded paths with no room for passing e-bike users will have to slow down just like faster cyclists already do.

    Also note that even with your preferred 15 mph top speed the issue of e-bikes being faster than regular cyclists would still exist. With up 750 watts of power the e-bike will be capable of going 15 mph all the time, even up a 10% gradient which might reduce a regular cyclist’s speed to 3 or 4 mph. The only way to fix that is to severely limit motor power, but then you’ve essentially eliminated the only reason for using an e-bike in the first place.

  • Joe R.

    We’re talking here about potential bike use if the L train is shut down. That may well mean a lot of the former train riders would need to go 5 to 10 miles.

    I take those Citibike speed numbers with a huge grain of salt because they also include the time to dock and undock the bikes. Point of fact, the Citibike site itself ( ) has the following qualifier:

    Milage estimates are calculated using an assumed speed of 7.456 miles per hour, up to two hours. Trips over two hours max-out at 14.9 miles.

    It seems they don’t even really know how long the trips are. They’re just assuming an average speed of 7.5 mph and using the trip time to calculate distance. It’s a pity the bikes don’t have odometers which upload the mileage every time a trip is taken. Or they could use the start and end points, and assume the shortest possible route, in their calculations. Either way would give us numbers which are closer to the real-world numbers.

  • Joe R.

    All this is certainly true but as I mentioned to Steve it doesn’t make sense to base e-bike regulations on worst case scenarios of the most narrow paths at peak times. If need be you can even ban e-bikes from these paths at peak times. In most of NYC most of the time e-bikes with speeds in the 20 to 25 mph range can coexist just fine with regular bikes. The higher speeds actually make it feasible to take the traffic lane in the many cases where you don’t have any bike infrastructure.

  • qrt145

    I think Citi Bike decided to assume a speed and multiply it by trip time because that’s more likely to give a plausible estimate of distance for recreational trips (I don’t know the fraction those trips represent, but at least on weekends it must be significant). One such trip might look like this: 1) bike undocked at Central Park South & 7th Ave. 2) bike docked at Central Park South & 7th Ave 45 minutes later. Distance of zero? Probably not. Most likely, the user took a spin around the Central Park loop.

    I do agree that odometer info would be nice to have.

  • ahwr
  • sbauman

    The Citibike and taxi trip data is the time and location of when the trip started and the time and location of where the trip ended. This gives you the distance between the start and stop locations as well as the elapsed time.

    The Citibike data can be downloaded from their website. Anyone can verify the calculations. The trip speed is the straight line distance between the start and stop locations divided by elapsed time.

    The analysis categorized trip distances. The 7.5 mph figure was based on a weekday for trips greater than 2.0 miles. Trips between 1.0 and 2.0 miles averaged 7.8 mph. Trips under 1.0 miles averaged slightly lower speeds.

    I’m sure one can come up with examples that would lead to misleading speed calculations. However, such examples are rare and would be lost in the averaging over large numbers of rides.

  • Komanoff

    Thanks for the 8-9 am inbound figures. I hadn’t caught that. Still, the biggest reason by far for the predicted 25% drop is the financial disincentive of now having to pay ~$11 round-trip. Re-balancing the tolls is a distant second.

  • bolwerk

    When you demand to give away units, you’re demanding an upfront loss to taxpayers equivalent to several decades of what it costs to maintain the units.

  • Joe R.

    Interesting data, especially the analysis of 22 million Citibike rides. I would expect average speeds to go up with trip distance. That actually correlates with my personal experience. 8 to 10 mph average speeds for the longer trips in Manhattan sounds about right, also, giving the crowding, frequent need to at least slow down at red lights, etc. Probably that implies most of the riders go in the 12 to 15 mph range when they’re cruising. Again, about what one might expect with heavy bikes ridden by a cross section of the general population. The speeds in Portland or Washington are quite a bit slower. Interestingly, this meshes with my experience in college. Most of the students weren’t from NYC, and it seemed the average bike rider there was a lot slower than cyclists in NYC. It would be charitable to call the speeds most people rode there “jogging pace”. I guess the old adage that NYC invented the rush really is true.

  • Joe R.

    The only problem with this idea is that the housing projects are really the only viable affordable housing for many in this city. Gift them to present tenants and then what? Once those tenants leave or die they essentially become market rate housing. And those on a waiting list to get into a project are screwed.

    I fully agree NYCHA is a money pit, but the solution will be to find a way to operate it more efficiently. Perhaps the solution might be privatizing some things, or letting tenants do some work themselves, like painting. As I wrote previously, Hong Kong seems to have the public housing thing down pat. It might be a good idea for NYCHA executives to take a few trips there to see how it’s done.

  • Vooch

    the problem is 90 years of soviet style central planning has created a shortage of 500,000 housing units in NYC.

    continuing soviet style central planning will only result in continued shortages.

    increasing supply by adding the 200,000 NYCHA units to the market will only reduce prices.

    free stuff is never free

    Hong Kong ? You really believe that the corrupt, incompetant nepotism of NYC government culture can be transformed into the efficient Hong Kong culture ? For example – Hong Kong transit authority turns a profit

  • Vooch

    sunk cost

    look it up

  • bolwerk

    I know what a sunk cost is. What I want to know is why you would deliberately pee away a publicly owned asset. You’re suggesting doing it in a way that strongly risks an expensive future public sector bailout too.

  • Vooch

    since the NYCHA bleeds billions consistently it’s not a ‘public asset’ it’s a ‘public liability’.

    And most everyone here seems to agree that gifting the units to the existing tenants would transom a liability into a asset.

  • bolwerk

    Heh, appeal to the herd is not very convincing to me. I’m not terribly shy about being being right about stuff everyone else gets wrong. 😀

    Anyway, NYCHA is indeed not an asset. The real property (and improvements) NYCHA owns is the asset – actually, a massive portfolio of potentially salable or income-producing assets. They are encumbered (by liabilities) but still incredibly valuable. Giving them away is basically like giving away a goldmine because you don’t know how to use a digger.