Today’s Headlines

  • Is Cuomo Capable of the Essential But Unflashy Task of Getting Subways to Run on Time? (NYT)
  • Myron Magnet’s Muttonchops Quiver With Rage About Bike Lanes — NYC Must Be Doing Something Right (WSJ)
  • Hank Sheinkopf: Thousands of New Parking Placards “an Election Year Gift to Interest Groups” (Post)
  • Police Responding to Call Seriously Injure Cyclist in East Williamsburg, Blame Victim (News, DNA)
  • Nicole Gelinas Has Some Ideas for Handling Penn Station’s Track Shrinkage This Summer (Post)
  • Hmm… State Senator Todd Kaminsky Calls for New Layer of Bureaucracy to Manage Penn (News)
  • DOT Will Stripe a Bike Lane on Classon Avenue, Where Lauren Davis Was Struck and Killed (Bklyn Paper)
  • Here’s Why Second Avenue Subway Stations Sound Better Than the Rest of the System (WNYC)
  • Maybe Buttons Will Persuade More Straphangers to Courteously Give Up Their Seats (Post, NYT, AMNY)
  • If You Lock Your Bike in Forest Hills or Rego Park, It’s Time to Brush Up With Hal (DNA)
  • Tensions Rise When Traffic Peaks on the Hudson River Greenway (Gothamist)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    I met Magnet years ago, when he came over the City Planning to get some data during the Giuliani Administration. He struck me as that rarest of creatures, the honest conservative. But his rant strikes me as indicative of where conservatism has gone — away from principle, toward tribalism.

    First of all the installation of bike infrastructure, bike maps, etc., started under Giuliani, but that aside, why would an old time conservative object to bicycle transportation?

    Self-reliant individuals moving under their own power, at no public cost save for a share of the street they help to pay for in property taxes, engaging in social activity only informally and voluntarily as part of groups of cyclists moving along the same route, not under state-directed auspices. Using a means of travel that preserves health and thus reduces the social cost of health care. The Republican problem with this is…

    People like us, vs. people like them. Resources for people like them are government waste, where as resources for people like us are essential services. Applies to taxes, and apparently to space on the street. Magnet doesn’t bike (and having met him once back in the day, I assume he never did), and therefore there should be no facilities of biking.

    So it would appear he is in fact more a man of a particular generation than a particular ideology. A generation that is now cashing in on senior benefits more extensive than younger generations will ever see, because Generation Greed was unwilling to pay their full cost.

    So you don’t want the workers and delivery people proving you with services to travel by bike. Certainly not by subsidized mass transit. So what do you want? Them to crawl and lick the road clean as they go?

  • AMH

    Any info on the water main break on Second Avenue near 83 St? News search turns up nothing.

  • Ken Dodd

    “Police Responding to Call Seriously Injure Cyclist in East Williamsburg, Blame Victim”
    I’m no fan of the NYPD but come on, that headline seems more than a little presumptuous. If it’s true that the cyclist was riding the wrong way then it hardly seems fair to bash the cops for “victim blaming” at this point. Whichever way you slice it, riding against traffic is inherently more dangerous than riding with traffic, for the simple reason that other road users are less likely to see you coming. For example, if you’re a driver pulling out at an intersection, you’re looking towards the direction the cross traffic is coming from. You’re not looking upstream. I find myself riding the wrong way on rare occasions, and when I do I’m always hyper vigilant about the fact that people aren’t necessarily looking out for me. This is especially true for pedestrians who look the correct way when crossing. You have to proceed very gingerly.

  • Pat

    Magnet: 98% of (Citi Bike trips are) less than 45 minutes!!!!

    Uh yah, that’s the time limit for annual passes.

  • HamTech87

    Got to hand it to Gelinas. Unlike what one would expect from a typical ideologically-oriented commentator (in her case, right-wing), she rejects privatization of Penn Station based on… history. I don’t always agree with her, but got to respect that she writes evidence-based columns.

  • sbauman

    Bike share should be the first solution where the first/last mile to/from the subway is between 0.5 and 2.0 miles. Walking is quicker, up to half a mile; buses should be quicker for distances greater than 2 miles.

    Queens is the borough with the most people that fall within bike share’s sweet spot distance. They represent 32% of the borough’s population. The percentages for Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island are 2.6%, 17.4%, 14.3% and 43.0%, respectively.

    Where is bike share expanding? Manhattan and Brooklyn. Motivate (bike share’s parent) and local politicians are to blame for diverting bike share away from this natural market.

    The reported rise in bicycle thefts in the Rego Park/Forest Hills area indicates that these local residents are not as blind as Motivate and the local politicians. The reported theft areas are close to the 71st Ave, 67th Ave and 63rd Dr stops on the Queens Blv subway line.

    These stops are hardly where the demand for bike share would be greatest. The demand is greatest at the subway terminals at Jamaica and Flushing.

    Here are the statistics around the 3 stations that have experienced increased bicycle theft. The number of people whose closest station is 71st, 67th and 63rd are 24K, 42K and 46K, respectively. The percentage of these who are within bike share’s sweet spot are 32%, 20% and 26%, respectively.

    Providing bike share in these areas should eliminate the bike theft problem, in addition to many other benefits.

  • His taxi trip used to whisk him to midtown in just 15 minutes, which is good, but a lot of Citi Bike in trips in midtown are less 10 minutes, which is bad. You can’t argue with that kind of logic.

  • Ken Dodd

    “Walking is quicker, up to half a mile”

    I wasn’t sure whether you’re stating this as “how things should be” as opposed to “how things are.” Because it’s not accurate – biking is much quicker than walking, regardless of the distance.

  • AMH

    Not necessarily–checking out and returning a bike takes time, even with a key. I also don’t use my personal bike for most short trips because of the hassle of getting it out of my apartment isn’t worth it. It all depends on where the bikeshare stations are too–if you have to walk a block or two, ride a few blocks, and walk another block, you may as well walk the whole way.

  • AMH

    IF it’s true. IF. Remember that this is all according to the NYPD.

  • Ken Dodd

    Exactly, and this “IF” also applies to the idea that the NYPD are victim blaming, which is what the headline implies. So it might have been prudent for them to hold off on the snark until the facts are established.

  • Ken Dodd

    I’m basing my statement on the presumption that a) you have a station relatively close to you and b) you have planned ahead using one of the numerous bikeshare apps which tell you which stations have bikes and which have spaces. Which everyone should do before embarking on a CitiBike ride anyway.

  • Jesse

    You can tell that WSJ article was published just for the lulz. It wasn’t even behind a pay wall.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Actually, I think bicycles that are owned, not bike share, is the best solution for Queens.

    Bike share works when the bikes are used multiple times per day for trips in all directions. Not once in the morning and once in the afternoon, for trips to and from the train.

    Most Queens housing beyond 1/2 mile from the subway has more room for people to lock up their own bicycles. The problem is parking on the other end. We could use some big bike parking garages, as in Amsterdam.

    Queens politicians seeking Citibike subsidies are pursuing the wrong thing. They should be pursuing those parking garages, and trying to get health insurance companies to subsidize the provision of individually-owned bicycles the way they subsidize health club memberships. Someone should pursue that.

  • Vooch

    Bike racks at every subway station in Queens & Brooklyn

    cheap and effective last mile solution

  • Vooch

    The facts are clear. Our Heros in Blue ‘fib’ quite a bit when it comes to traffic violence.

  • Vooch

    It is a paradox, that conservatives believe mass motoring represents freedom. Shows you the power of the highway lobby.

  • Vooch

    Problem – Hudson Greenway Overcrowding ?

    Solution – reallocate one motor lane of 12th Ave. for cycling all summer from the Battery to 57th street.

  • Conservatives believe in the status quo, whatever that is or was. So any change to that status quo (from lots of cars to lots of bikes) = “not conservatism.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    Not with regard to the estate tax, apparently. It is the only concern new conservatism has for the future, and future generations. Passing on enough to exempt one’s own progeny from generational consequences.

    No change is un-American.

  • Joe R.

    Buses aren’t quicker than bikes over any distance. Sorry, but they aren’t. Maybe in theory they could be with enforced bus lanes and signal preemption but for now we’re stuck with average bus speeds mostly in the middle single digits. A pensioner on a clunker bike can ride faster than that.

    Add in the waiting time and buses fare even worse compared to bikes. I normally walk 3 miles to downtown Flushing the rare times I go there because it’s just as fast, or not much slower, than the bus. There’s no scenario where the bus would be faster than cycling. Even if it comes immediately when I reach the bus stop, total travel time is still close to 20 minutes best case. Biking takes me 10 to 12 minutes. However, without a safe place to park my bike in downtown Flushing it’s not a viable option.

  • crazytrainmatt

    The problem is that the greenway is the only safe, continuous bike route in Manhattan, but the west side is fairly inconvenient to many destinations.

    Fixing the gaps in the PBLs on the avenues and protecting the mixing zones would relieve a lot of pressure on the west side path and attract a lot of new riders unwilling to go all the way to the river and back. There is a lot of low-hanging fruit (e.g. CPW and better connections to the park drive, the remaining short 2nd ave gaps in midtown), and fixing the worst spots of the east side greenway.

  • Kevin Love

    I have been known to ride a bike from one bikeshare station to another one a not-so-whopping two blocks away.

    If it wasn’t for the hassle of locking up and worries about theft, I would probably use the same distance for the bike vs. walk decision break point.

    Yes, I am one of those people who has a bikeshare membership and also owns a private bike. The reason for this is 100% due to theft concerns.

  • Vooch

    Agreed that the PBL network needs to be filled in. This will take 3-5 years.

    However, I’ll argue that reallocating one lane of 12th Ave. during the Summer Months using Jersey barriers can be implemented by this Memorial day. It can be done as a temp. test.

  • Kevin Love

    The massive tax subsidies to car drivers mean that people like Magnet are not conservatives. The correct description of Magnet’s beliefs is “Socialism.”

  • BubbaJoe123

    Not necessarily true. One-way streets can make a bike trip from A to B require much more distance than walking, and red lights materially impact travel time as well.

  • sbauman

    I think bicycles that are owned, not bike share, is the best solution for Queens.

    The best solution for Queens and the rest of the City, is to extend the subway so that every resident lives within 1/2 mile of a station.

    Bike share works when the bikes are used multiple times per day for trips in all directions. Not once in the morning and once in the afternoon, for trips to and from the train.

    Paris’ Velib has 20,000 bicycles and 70,000 daily trips. That works out to 3.5 daily trips per bike. NYC has by far the highest bike turnover of any city with about 5 daily trips per bike. It’s got too few bikes for its volume. The penalty is a greater balancing effort to get the bikes to where they are needed.

    Most Queens housing beyond 1/2 mile from the subway has more room for people to lock up their own bicycles. The problem is parking on the other end. We could use some big bike parking garages, as in Amsterdam.

    Land values around subway stations is too valuable to be used for parking garages, bicycle or automobile. NYC has sold its municipal parking near Queens subway stations to developers. Most of the construction will be for housing because it provides more income per construction dollar than commercial space.

    Queens politicians seeking Citibike subsidies …

    Most Queens politicians are caught in a 1950’s time warp. They are trying to block changes that permit anything other than automobiles on the street. Their rationale is that public transit is so miserable that private cars are a necessity.

    There are a few renegades in Western Queens who want to expand Citibike and cycling. However, these areas are already well served by subways. It’s the badly served areas that need bike share.

  • Larry Littlefield

    An insult to socialists. I understand that some people object to redistributing income down. But you’d think that there would at least be consensus that the government shouldn’t intervene redistribute income up.

    Far from it.

  • Vooch

    bike parking near subway stations is trivial to install. The beauty of bikes is they take up very little room. Thousands of bikes can be stored in currently unused spaces. Elevated Subway stations have oddles of unused spaces around them.

  • sbauman

    The beauty of bikes is they take up very little room. Thousands of bikes can be stored in currently unused spaces.

    I wish bike parking were that easy.

    Consider an average bike. Its wheelbase is 40 inches. Add a 27 inch tire and that comes to 67 inches in length. That’s close to 6 feet. The handlebar width is 18 inches. Add an extra 3 inches on each side and the area a single bike 12 square feet.

    If the bike parking is self service, then an additional 3 feet behind to pull out the bike. That brings a self service parked bike footprint to 18 square feet. One thousand of them comes to 18,000 square feet or 0.4 acres. Show me any subway station in NYC that has 0.4 acres of empty, non-revenue producing space close by.

    If it’s valet parking, then two bikes can squeeze into the space of one. That still comes 9,000 square feet or 0.2 acres. Ground floor commercial rentals go for around $4/sq ft/month. That’s $36K/month rental for the space. The valet still has to be paid $15/hr for 24/7. That comes to an additional $10.8K/month. So, setting up a valet parking store for 1000 bikes, near a subway stop comes to $47,000 per month. Are you willing to pay $50/month for bike parking?

  • Vooch


    go to any commuter station in a civilized country and you will see bike storage in otherwise unused areas.

    They take up essentially zero space

  • Joe R.

    PBLs on the avenues aren’t going to offer anything close to what the greenway can. The real solution is to fix the east side greenway, and then have a non-stop elevated bike path roughly midway between the East and Hudson River greenways. That puts cyclists anywhere in Manhattan within about 1/2 a mile of good, non-stop bike infrastructure.

    I also suspect long term it may make sense to consider elevating the Hudson River greenway. It’s too crowded for its own good. It was primarily built with the thought it would be mostly recreational. Nobody anticipated today’s level of bike traffic.

  • Andrew

    You’re assuming that (a) the NYPD claim that the cyclist was riding the wrong way was in fact accurate, and that (b) the motorist wasn’t himself doing something wrong (e.g., driving in excess of the legal speed limit, failing to exercise due care, etc.).

    I’m not willing to make either of those assumptions. Perhaps the cyclist did something wrong; perhaps not. Perhaps the motorist did something wrong; perhaps not.

  • bolwerk

    I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of an actual conservative who objects to wealth redistribution. At times that redistribution is upward rather than downward and at other times it’s a concession to necessity for keeping the rabble quiet, but it’s always there.

    I’ve run across auto Utopian socialists now and then, but they’re usually of the authoritarian Marxist variety. Think the same kind of modernism favored by mid-20th century liberal reformists like Robert Moses, except with a thing for Stalinism or Maoism or something instead of capitalism.

  • bolwerk

    Well, hell, those aren’t even conservatives doing that. Those are neo-liberals. Very aggressive, dogmatic ones, as opposed to the gentler, more pragmatic neo-liberalism of Obama or H. Clinton.

    Doug G. is right. Once it’s smashing or deliberately destabilizing institutions, it’s just not conservative anymore.

  • Joe R.

    Very small footprint above ground. You can put as much as you want underground depending upon how wide and how deep you want to go.

  • Or to put it another way, commuter stations in Holland lack landscaping features and space for people to use nearby because those areas have been traditionally used for storage of personal bicycles.

  • Vooch


    because under our elevated subways in the outer boros there are tulips and gardens planted

  • sbauman

    Thank you very much for that link. Here’s another link to the company’s website that gives more technical information.

    The bottom line is initial and recurring cost. The website does not give any figures.

    However, there are some technical details, which may make this more difficult than a turnkey solution.

    First, the structure depth is at least 40 feet. If one goes down 40 feet in NYC, one is likely to encounter bedrock, water or both. It isn’t 40+ feet of sand, that’s encountered in Tokyo. The structure is designed to withstand the sand’s liquefaction during an earthquake. NYC’s most likely underground catastrophe is a water main break. A different and probably more expensive structure would be required because of the differences between NYC’s and Tokyo’s underground hazards.

    Second, the structure has a diameter of 28 feet. That’s a problem because sidewalks are seldom more then 20 feet wide. This means that the structure must be place at least partially within private property or the street. Neither is a particularly attractive solution. The ground under streets is crowded with electric, gas, steam, water, telephone, cable tv, and sewer lines to name a few. Buildings have structural members cannot be disturbed. Finding a location to shoe horn the 28 foot circle near an existing subway station will not be easy or inexpensive.

    Third, the capacity is 204 bicycles. Thus 5 structures would be required to store the hypothetical 1000 bikes. That comes to a little over 3000 square feet. My 1000 bike, valet parking, area estimate was 9000 square feet. The area reduction probably won’t justify the deployment complexities mentioned above.

    The reason I suggested that this was fertile ground for bike share is that the bikes don’t have to be stored at the subway station between the morning and evening rush hours. There is likely to be inexpensive, close by (within 1.5 miles) warehouse space to store the bulk of the bicycles. Trucks can be used to move bikes to/from this warehouse, as needed. The user will be none the wiser, so long as he finds and empty dock in the morning and a waiting bike in the evening.

  • Ken Dodd

    There’s footage of the collision on the NY Post today. The cyclist pulled out of an intersection the wrong way, right into the path of the cruiser.

  • Ken Dodd

    Any difference in distance from having to go an extra block to cycle in the right direction is completely negated by the fact that a cyclist travels, on average, about 5x the speed of a pedestrian. And traffic lights impact travel time for pedestrians in the same way they do for cyclists.

  • Ken Dodd

    True, but that does not negate the fact that cyclists routinely flout traffic laws “quite a bit” too. And I say this as a staunch defender of cyclists. Go watch the video posted on the NY Post today – the cyclist in this case pulled out of an intersection coming from the wrong direction and steered himself directly into the path of the cruiser, which had its lights flashing. Watching that footage you cannot help but wonder if such a poor error of judgment had alcohol as the cause.

  • Vooch


    cyclists do not kill & maim 50,000 New Yorkers every year; drivers do.

    If you are trying to equate the horrific and routine atrocities of drivers with cyclists; then you are channeling Robert Moses rather than Jane Jacobs.

    Sorry to be harsh, but 50,000 vs zero requires illumination.

  • Vooch

    I tend to see these types as all authoritarians – just different flavors:

    National Socialist
    International Socialist

    they agree on so many points.

  • Ken Dodd

    None of that negates the fact that cycling the wrong way and then pulling into an intersection into the path of an emergency vehicle is just plain stupid. The thing about cyclists is, sure they don’t maim or kill many other people, but many of them get THEMSELVES maimed or killed by acting stupidly. And again, I say this as a cyclist who doesn’t drive. I saw the video of the guy getting hit by the police car and it was his own fault, really it was. Anyone could have seen that cop car coming.

  • Vooch

    operators of hulking death machines driving too fast, not paying attention, and unable to control their machines

    streets are for people

    children should be able to play on NYC streets