Today’s Headlines

  • Albany Puts Off a Budget Deal for Two Months (Politico)
  • Yesterday’s NJ Transit Derailment Still Wreaking Havoc Today (NYTAMNY)
  • De Blasio: Woodhaven SBS Proceeding This Spring (TL)
  • 60 Percent of NYC Drivers Told the Health Department They Break the Speed Limit (Gothamist)
  • These Are the 5 Parts of NYC Where Distracted Driving Is Most Rampant (Crain’s)
  • Clergy Want a Sit-Down With Trottenberg About Making Intersections By Schools Safer (News)
  • Nicole Gelinas Rips the Today Show’s Lazy Reporting on Pedestrian Deaths (City Journal)
  • MTA Approves $477 Million L Train Repair Contract (NYTAMNY)
  • NYU Tracks 40 Years of Changes in Subway Ridership (WNYC)
  • How Should the MTA Reduce Subway Litter? (WNYC)
  • A Big Scoop From April 1… (MTR)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Vooch

    School safety can be improved simply by closing the roadway in front of every school to motor traffic from 0700 to 1700 every school day.

    The street in front of schools should be opened for children and closed to hulking death machines.

    This is already done in the case of certain schools. Let’s do it for all.

  • stairbob

    BREAKING: 40 of NYC drivers have no idea what the speed limit is.

  • sbauman

    What about people who live or work on the same block that contains a school?

  • Why does a clergy group insist on meeting with the DOT commissioner about something that is almost always handled by community representatives & deputy borough commissioners? That is where they lost me. It sounds like the current administration isn’t giving them the photo ops that they felt accustomed to.

    It goes without saying that de Blasio is often graceless in these situations. I’m far more concerned that he ran on a platform of Vision Zero and yet he hasn’t been as committed to traffic reform as that platform would have suggested. (And, for that matter, Trottenberg has been passable but often makes unforced errors in being a transportation advocate instead of a driving advocate)

  • Guest

    I had the experience of being stonewalled on basic safety issues by a DOT Borough Commissioner for a few years. Finally elevating the issue and directing communication and public pressure to the Commissioner ultimately broke through the issue. They may be following a similar path.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Again, compared with many other issues I wouldn’t blast DeBlasio for not trying to improve traffic safety. There is a difference between not doing everything you want and not doing anything.

    He’s caught between the political/union class interest group backbone of New York’s retrograde Democratic Party, a somewhat naive idea of “community planning,” fiscal problems inherited from Generation Greed policies, and a desire to make things better — to help his career. It could be worse, and generally is.

  • Vooch

    they need to suffer the brutal horrid unimaginable indignity of walking 50 feet during school hours.

    as for businesses in the streets affected, we already know that economic activity skyrockets whenever humans are able to safely use streets.

    note – taxpayer provided free car storage is already verboten in front of most schools, so this is most certainly not an issue

  • Yeah, I agree. I wouldn’t classify my criticisms as “blast” level but I wouldn’t give him a free pass either. His Catch-22 is the exact sort of thing that political leaders are supposed to have the skill and integrity to navigate, above and beyond their peers who don’t get elected. But I know it’s also not easy & doesn’t set up instant gratification. (Though, on some things, he’s had more than a moment to navigate)

  • Larry Littlefield

    I worry more about going backward, except in cases that really don’t work. Look 20 years ahead at this rate and things could be very different.

  • c2check

    I’m happy to see groups of clergy banding together to advocate for safer streets. I think protecting vulnerable street users and promoting equitable modes of transport for everyone is a moral responsibility. Many faith leaders have overlooked this topic—and often actively work against when they fight for free abundant parking, or even double parking, for services. They could be a great ally.

  • djx

    Wait, so now I can’t even drive near to my house if I want to move something. I get not storing my car there, but I can’t even drive up to unload? Ditto cabs. Or access-a-vans. Or if there’s a business on the same street, too bad for them.

    Because some or a lot of drivers are bad, and there is little enforcement or traffic calming, we just ban cars 10 hours a day wholesale. W T F

  • Vooch

    it’s for the children

    Get a dolly to move your stuff

    move your stuff after 1700 or when there is no school.

    stop being a crybaby

    why are drivers such lazy crybabies ?

    why do drivers think it’s impossible to walk all of 100′ ?

    Businesses thrive when streets are safe.

  • Going backward is a very real danger. ::glances at White House::

  • djx

    “why are drivers such lazy crybabies ?

    why do drivers think it’s impossible to walk all of 100′ ?

    Businesses thrive when streets are safe.”

    Your us or them attitude is perverse. Your simplistic view on who is in cars, is dopey. I watch an access-a-van load people on my street every day within the hours you say. I watch all kinds of people using cars and vans (including taxis) every day in my neighborhood. But I’m a cry baby for pointing out multiple legit use cases for cars on roads.

    “Think of the children, please, won’t somebody think of the children” is sometimes used as satire of simplistic thinking about problems. It fits here.

    “I move furniture and all sorts of stuff on my ordinary bike”

    THIS is part of the problem. Your are a fit medium-aged man and you pull that out to show what the public in general should do? Pfft.

    I’ve lived with a bike as a my principal means of transportation for a number of years on two continents, but I hope I’m not quite as arrogant as you about it.

  • djx

    “stop being a crybaby.”

    Stop being a zealot.

  • Possibly. And BDB is graceless with potential allies, no doubt.

    But I’m not going to call anyone an “ally” unless they’re around through the thick and thin for a little while. Partnering on individual projects is still good, but we also need to communicate it’s not acceptable to then turn around and defeat a bike lane on the next block over because of parking concerns.

    And really, this is about political influence and the fact that “pastors” aren’t just performers in a weekly spiritual live-reading. They are the political heads of communities. They have a constituency. They have local power. They feel entitled to time with the mayor the way that REBNY and lobbyists feel entitled. They also feel entitled to demonstrate influence as a way of maintaining a grip on their power. I think BDB should just invite them in and get it over with but… look, we all know the mayor’s strong suit is not answering questions on-the-spot, and we know lots of people want the privilege of giving the mayor of NYC a hostile grilling until he coughs up something they want, and maybe all of this just doesn’t fit together for a change. This op-ed is one part of the dance… it’s an escalation of tactics among tribes, not a cry for help. I maybe accept it a little bit more than my original response indicates, but… all the positioning on both sides is stupid. And while the media isn’t really a “side”, it comes back to the question: what is the role of journalists in covering politics? Does it include moderation of tone & reluctant horn-tooting to make sure that faith in institutions (if not individuals, particularly) is maintained where it is appropriate? Or do we just get every last bit of political gossip without regard to the public’s impressions of politics in general (with now a good portion of voters in the US just completely disgusted with everyone)?

    Also brings up a good question: where does this clergy group stand with MMV or Letitia James or Stringer? Or Cuomo or other local upstate electeds? Anyone playing ball with them or vice versa?

  • Vooch

    If you lived on 2 continents then surely you realize that cars are not allowed in many places.

    this attitude that cars somehow MUST be able to access every millimeter of roadway every moment of every day is perverse.

    My proposal is to protect the children during school hours.

  • Wilfried84

    If they have the clout to get a meeting with the Commissioner, why not use it? And if they’re promoting the same cause we are, why aren’t they simply a useful, and potentially effective and persuasive, ally?

  • They’re not promoting the same cause that we are. They are promoting the cause of making their adjacent space livable. Not *public space*.

    Actually, in a way, that’s against our cause. They are claiming public space is space that they control. They just happen to agree that an uncontrolled, unintentional traffic sewer is a poor use of space.

  • qrt145

    It’s not all or nothing.

    In my experience, even in the most pedestrianized streets, moving trucks and deliveries are allowed. You may need to request a special permit or only do it at certain hours, though.

    Not sure about taxis, but paratransit would have to be allowed too.

  • qrt145

    The paratransit argument is not a red herring unless you set up a system that lets those vans through through. Otherwise the city will get sued.

    Speaking of red herrings, what’s with that .000001%? Access-a-Ride are roughly 0.2% of transit trips in NYC. A small minority, but not negligible.

  • Joe R.

    Apropos of nothing but I’ve always been annoyed at the privileges given to spiritual heads. They feel they should get the mayor’s ear solely because of their positions. I don’t doubt that they have some influence locally, but that’s where it should remain. If they have any other concerns, petition them just like you or I have to do. Supposedly this country was founded on the principal of separation of church and state. With the Republican party especially, it seems like the church is running the show nowadays.

    And churches, synagogues, temples, mosques should all have to pay property and other taxes just like anyone else using the same land would. I don’t see any valid reason to grant them an exemption. They’re basically in business selling a service. Those who partake of these services pay via their donations.

    BTW, I have nothing against religions even though I’m personally a nonbeliever. My real problem is with organized religions. Throughout history they’ve wielded a disproportionate amount of power. Any organization with that amount of power invariably abuses it.

  • AMH

    What’s going on with all the derailments at Penn?

  • c2check

    I think there’s often a benefit to having a single voice to get people organized and speak on their behalf, whether it’s an organization like TA, AARP, a pastor, or even a city council member. The head of the organization represents its members, what they stand for, what they believe, etc whether it’s a religious conviction or something else.

    Besides for the power that comes in many people speaking with a unified voice, there’s an efficiency aspect in that government officials can only meet directly with so many people, especially in a city like New York, so community leaders can play an important role.

    Your point still stands that this power can always be abused (take the NRA or some SuperPACs as such organizations, or community boards for that matter, and yes, many religious institutions as well).

  • Larry Littlefield

    “It seems like the church is running the show nowadays.”

    The best sermons used to get published in the newspaper, so people could think about non-material things.

    They’ve been replaced by the advertising industry. That annoys me.

    THIS is a depressing book.

  • Vooch

    of the 8,000 hours in a year, less than 1,500 would be covered by my proposal to protect children.

    Geez – the ‘system’ for the .0000375 (.1875x.0002) of cases in which paratransit might possibly be required on a block with school in session to pick up someone who is not in a wheelchair or even a walker that can be pushed 50′ ……is incredibly complicated and requires a 375 page manual and 37 layers of bureaucracy to manage. Let me propose that the access-a-ride driver go to front entry of school and tell the school cop he’s gotta pick up.

    drivers want the entire street exclusively to themselves. They refuse to share streets even 1/5 of the time.

  • Vooch

    Roads and highways should pay property taxes just like rail

  • Vooch

    it’s the driving zealot who wants exclusive use of a street in front of a school 100% of the time.

    My proposal would allow drivers exclusive use of the street 82% of the time.

    sharing is caring

  • Joe R.

    Yeah. 🙁 I don’t mind reading something spiritually uplifting rather than looking at ads. All this focus on buying the latest and greatest for its own sake really is sickening. The really sad part is this quest for materialism seems to have infected our religious institutions as well. Religious leaders are increasing marketing religion as just another product, and often tailoring that product to the whims of the “consumer”. In truth, it probably started before I was born. My mother remembered when masses were only given in Latin. Eventually they used English in a quest to keep their followers. Then you had rock-and-roll masses for the same reasons. At this point they might as well advertise in the papers also.

  • Joe R.

    From my vantage point it looks like all those decades of failing to keep our infrastructure in good repair are finally catching up with us. The PRR deserves major applause for building infrastructure which lasted well into the 21st century but it’s finally showing its age. Expect a lot more of this, more falling bridges, and so forth. Maybe we’ll finally stop building more than we can maintain when it gets really bad.

  • Kevin Love

    Meanwhile, in The Netherlands, 90% of secondary school aged children cycle to school. And yes, the attitude is that the streets are for people, not cars. See:

  • Joe R.

    I should point out at this juncture the idea that every street must be accessible to motor vehicles 24/7 could be considered another form of zealotry. Indeed, we would be better off as a city if large parts were inaccessible to most motor vehicles. We can certainly make some exceptions for paratransit, deliveries (although we might restrict those to off-peak times), construction, sanitation, basically any uses which just can’t be done without a motor vehicle. However, private cars used by able-bodied people don’t need to access every single block. The same way people might be expected to walk several blocks, even up to half a mile, to use transit, they should expect the same if they use private cars. If you want door-to-door service all the time then either walk or use a bicycle.

    To me the concept of making streets near schools off-limits during school hours has a lot of merit. There should be a two or three block exclusion zone around schools where all but essential vehicles are prohibited. That might finally curtail the ridiculous trend of parents driving their kids to schools they can easily walk to.

  • Vooch

    that’s impossible !

    dutch children must be dieing by the thousands if they ride dangerous bicycles on the streeeettttt


  • Wilfried84

    You’re reading way too much into who they are what they’re trying to do. How do they control that space? They have to go to the city because they don’t, and they’re pushing for a meeting because the city isn’t listening. How is this different from any other sort of citizen advocacy? Parents trying to change conditions in front of a school, homeowners in front of their homes, seniors in front of their senior center. They want to improve safety for kids going to school. This blog often writes about street safely around schools. How is that not our cause?

  • It’s different because I’m zooming out and looking at the long game. Clergy groups exist to advocate for their own causes. If they want to partner with street safety groups AS PART OF THEIR LONG TERM STRATEGY, that’s fine. But street safety groups often find themselves pitted against such groups when things like parking capacity are involved.

    If the proposal itself makes sense for street safety groups, that’s great! Support it! I never said not-to!

    And, yes, private organizations of all types typically overreach to attempt to get cities to give favorable use status to public property directly surrounding their private property. We have about a billion examples of this in NYC. Cities shouldn’t always refuse without cause, but the public should speak up when it hurts the community at-large.