Today’s Headlines

  • Cuomo Is Still Playing Games With Subway Riders (NYT)
  • MTA to Award Contract for MetroCard Replacement (News)
  • De Blasio’s Congestion Plan: New Delivery Rules, More Cops (NYT, AMNY, NY1, WNYCPost)
  • Mayor’s Hands-Off Traffic Policy Will Kneecap Efforts to Speed Bus Travel (PoliticoNews)
  • Meet Some of the Delivery Workers de Blasio Is Going to War On (Reclaim); More: Slate
  • Killer Livery Driver Runs Over Man and Flees Scene in North Corona (News, Post)
  • It Shouldn’t Be This Easy to Wreak Havoc With a Motor Vehicle (News)
  • Teenager Kills Self, Injures Passenger in Cross Bronx Expressway Crash (News)
  • Trial Begins for NYPD Cop Who Shot Another Motorist to Death (NYT)
  • The Times Did a Nice Feature on Highway Teardowns
  • Damn E-Bikes (DNA, News)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    No matter how many more cops we have that the U.S. average, and no matter how low our crime rate falls relative to that average, and despite the fact that non-disabled cops hired before 2010 get to retire with disability pensions after 20 years of work on the “presumption” they deserve it, to do anything for the serfs they still say they need more cops.

    And they still pension spike by running up overtime. Sure, hire more cops we’ll have less overtime. Well, we paid for more cops. What happened? Sometimes it seems as if there is someone in blue at every intersection.

  • Vooch

    Meanwhile – Citibike ridership remains steady in October. During past years ridership tended to drop 50% by late October versus Sept. peaks. This shows how ordinary and practical cycling has become.

    Note – Citbike to private bike ratio is about 1:4. This suggests that even in late October, 350 000 weekday cycling trips happen.

    latent demand for cycling in NYC is yuge.

  • Maggie

    I don’t get why the metric the mayor is focused on optimizing is vehicle speed through Midtown, rather than the streets capacity in numbers of people. This seems completely, completely backwards.

    It would be nice if for every international conference de Blasio jets off to to tout NYC as a forward-thinking city, he took a single trip by bike through the city he governs. I don’t think that’s a heavy ask. It is embarrassing to watch at this point. He needs to do better. A simple bike ride on our streets would give him valuable perspective he just doesn’t have right now.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    Interesting that the rumored vendor for the Metrocard replacement is also a big defense contractor, Pretty sure all of the trip information they collect on each person’s movements through the new system will be going straight to the NSA/Intelligence Community and maybe NYPD.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I was in Schenectady over the weekend, and it seems like the Governor is taking the same approach to transportation there — visible amenity over practical usefulness.

    An ugly but functional 1950is train station is being replaced by a new one made to look like the 1910 original. I can’t object to the $23 million price tag.

    But it’s still four trains per day, and they are still unreliable, because Amtrak trains and intermodal freight traveling east-west across Upstate are still stuck behind bulk rail freight traveling 20 miles per hour.

    What they really need is a third high-track, and perhaps a fourth. There were once six New York Central tracks across this corridor, with two high-speed freight tracks on the West Shore line. Now there are just two tracks for everything — and just one freight track running north-south on the west side of the Hudson.

    The private railroads and then Conrail tore out, rather than renewing, that infrastructure because NY has special extra-high property taxes on railroads relative to other property. The two main rail lines in the state are still taxable.

  • Reader

    I’d settle for him walking or taking the bus.

  • c2check

    I agree, although it’s been an unusually pleasant October

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    Or have him stand on 1 corner anywhere in the city for a half and hour and observe the constant threats to public safety that automobile users demonstrate.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    (they’re already the vendor for the current Metrocard)

  • Jeff

    How much should I read into this:

    Mr. Lhota said another potential advantage was that fare readers could be installed by the back doors on buses to “allow for all-door boarding.”

  • Larry Littlefield

    It seems that in Michigan, the cost of health care associated with motor vehicle crashes is absorbed by auto insurers, not health insurers — and that cost is going through the roof.

    Imagine if Medicare and Medicaid recovered these costs from motor vehicles — for as along as the costs continued. Health insurance would be cheaper, and taxes would be lower, but auto insurance (and perhaps fees on autos to recover injuries caused by the uninsured) would be greater. And the move to install anti-crash safety controls in motor vehicles would happen a lot faster.

  • Lincoln

    SDY has 6 TPD in each direction, but I don’t disagree with your points.

  • bolwerk

    If it means on the bus, it’s a great idea. Probably won’t happen because it’s deemed more important to stop evasion than to move people – even if not moving people drives away ridership.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    yeah but when you pay through a MVM it could be anyone who uses that card, it’s especially anonymous when you are using cash. With a system linked to ApplePay or your credit/debit card then know exactly where and when you are traveling.

  • kevd

    yeah, what it that non-drop by late october really shows is that the weather has been nice.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I was thinking of the road west. Yes there are two TPD to the north.

  • bolwerk

    I’d love, but also hate, to see a good accounting of what ~30k+ cops are doing that’s so important that 150 of them can’t be spared to deal with an actual problem.

  • bolwerk

    Other global urban leaders must seriously laugh at how provincial NYC leadership is. Bike lanes are parking spots for cops, the subway moves like molasses, there’s no surface rail at all, pedestrian plazas get denounced as socialist plots, even bus lanes can’t be fully dedicated to buses.

    On the bright side, actually optimizing vehicle speed probably at least means fewer vehicles. But on the not-so-bright-side, fewer vehicles leads to motorhead pearl clutching, so it probably won’t happen either.

  • Larry Littlefield

    What seems to be needed is some PSAs to convince people that if they can to outside during winter otherwise, they can bike during winter.

  • kevd

    I ride much of the winter.
    Standing for 5 minutes in 25 degree weather is a hell of a lot easier than riding for 35 minutes.

    dry weather down to 35 degrees is easy for me. some people get cold easier though.

  • Vooch

    in europe one can pay cash for a international train ticket with no if,?if one travels within the schengen area no passport control on board.

    plus no Amtrack conductors trained to treat passengers like the enemy

    this systems works because mass motoring is not as subsidized. In the late 1960s the euros decided to stop lavish subsidies for mass motoring

  • Vooch

    my observation is I‘m good to 25 degrees, then I need to wear triple layers of gloves.

  • Vooch

    it’s a union mentality,

  • kevd

    you’ll still be able to buy a card with cash and refill with cash
    you’ll be no less anonymous than now if you choose to be.

  • bolwerk

    Except it’s not any better when police aren’t unionized.

  • Vooch

    any examples ?

  • William Lawson

    Not sure how much CitiBike is going to grow after it’s been revealed that their handlebars are some of the most disgusting, least hygienic surfaces in New York

  • Driver

    “His plan, which takes effect in January, includes new restrictions along
    11 crosstown streets in Manhattan, limiting deliveries to one side from
    6 a.m. to 7 p.m.”
    It will not be limiting deliveries, it will be limiting loading zones. Removing loading zones is not going to change the need of businesses and buildings in Manhattan.

    “Queens (Roosevelt Avenue, from Broadway to 108th Street).”
    Who is using Roosevelt Avenue as a commuting thoroughfare other that the riders on the 7 train and perhaps cyclists?

    “During the pilot, businesses will be able to receive deliveries from 10
    a.m. to 4 p.m. and during the evening and overnight hours. “But why on
    earth should deliveries be made at the exact time that most New Yorkers
    are trying to get to and from work?” de Blasio said.”
    It sounds like he is in favor of encouraging people to drive to work in Manhattan. The question should be why would anyone drive to Manhattan during the morning rush other than to make deliveries or service buildings and equipment?

  • Toddster

    Same way subway ridership grew. Most people don’t care, and if they do, they can wash their hands at their destination.

    That being said, that article is also reporting that the 6 train subway pole is cleaner than the reporter’s own laptop, which was deemed “clean enough to eat off of.” Either their data or reporting is flawed or they swiped the 6 train right after cleaning.

  • William Lawson

    Actually I think the subway poles are designed in such a way that germs don’t live on them for long.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I don’t think there are many places with 2.8 times as many active officers relative to population as the U.S. average, far more retired officers than active officers, and police unions telling us they won’t protect us unless they get even more officers/money/overtime.

    The only place that comes close in terms of employment is DC, but the DC police evidently have a lot of federal responsibilities.

  • sbauman

    I don’t get why the metric the mayor is focused on optimizing is vehicle speed through Midtown,

    Some measure is needed to quantify vehicular congestion. Vehicle miles per houror its inverse equivelent (minutes per mile) is accepted. This is the measure that is used to measure the effectiveness of congestion pricing. It can also be used to measure the effective of delivery restrictions.

  • bolwerk

    Sure. Throw a dart at a map of the United States. You’re likely to hit a county with policing habits more grotesque than New York’s.

    But Larry interpreted you differently than I did. I thought you were referring to tactics. Larry’s right that not many pig pens have many hogs as NYC, but the history of that is too complicated to blame just the police union for it. Sure, they don’t mind more dues-paying members, but politicians have been swelling the ranks of urban police forces for a generation in the face of overall declining crime rates.

  • bolwerk

    I still find the hogs/sq. mile metric much starker. New York’s density should permit the same service level (*cough*) from fewer police vs., say, Los Angeles.

  • Ian Turner

    There are actually numerous measures of congestion.

    But, a better question is, why is the mayor focused on congestion and not on mobility.

  • Ian Turner

    Subway poles have everything living on them, including strep, e. coli, even plague and anthrax. Much of it is unknown.

  • AnoNYC


    Singapore bans additional cars to keep traffic from getting worse

  • sbauman

    The cited measures are extensions of those used for linear highways or specific intersections. Some are average speed but scaled differently to make easy comparisons between different locations. Others are difficult to apply to a large area.

    Let’s consider each of these measures.

    1. V/C is easy to calculate for a stretch of highway or an intersection. Volume is easy to measure because the area is limited. There are formulas for capacity. This metric breaks down when applied to a large area like Manhattan’s CBD. First, there are no formulas for evaluating capacity.

    Second, there are no easy ways to measure volume. A cordon count misses volumes that take place solely within the CBD. NYC is a case in point. Cordon counts have been decreasing for 30 years. The consensus is that congestion has gotten worse during this period.

    2. LOS based on V/C is just a different scaling for V/C.

    3. Time Travel Index is a merely a different scaling for the reciprocal of average speed. The baseline is 1 minute per mile (60 mph) for the freeway example. If the average speed were 30 mph, this translates to 2 min/mile and a time travel index of 2.0.

    4. Time Delay is also an average velocity measure with different scaling. It’s the measure that was used by TfL for evaluating London’s congestion charging. A baseline trip is established by for free flowing travel time over a particular route. Readings are then taken during congested periods by traveling over the same route. Rather than scaling the different times, like the time travel index, a difference or translation is taken. However, both the baseline and congested trip durations depend on the average velocity.

    5. Percent of Congested Travel is difficult to measure and loosely defined. The first problem is to define “congested” travel. Congestion is as difficult to define as obscenity. Justice Potter Stewart’s “I know it when I see it” definition for the latter applies equally to the former. Second, if we can’t accurately measure the volume within the CBD, measuring the vehicle miles traveled is even more difficult.

    Measuring average speed within the CBD was equally difficult until all taxis were equipped with GPS devices. Tracking taxis through their GPS readings made measuring average vehicle speed easy and accurate.

    why is the mayor focused on congestion and not on mobility.

    The question is more semantic than substantive. There’s limited mobility, if there’s congestion.

  • Vooch

    compared to a cab seat ?

  • William Lawson

    I can’t remember where I read about subway poles being designed to resist bacteria (i.e. bacteria doesn’t live as long as it would on them) but I definitely did. I think what’s important to remember is that most of the bacteria you find on subway poles is harmless – I should think it’s very very rare indeed to find anthrax.

  • AMH

    Not that it disproves your point, but it also shows how much warmer this October has been compared to past years. Nice, but scary.

  • AMH

    No surprise here–bacteria thrive on a porous surface much more readily than on bare metal. Those spongey grips are neither hygienic nor durable, and I suspect they’ll be replaced by something else eventually.

  • qrt145

    Agreed; I’m no germophobe but still find those grips disgusting because of how sticky they get. They need to come up with a better material.

  • Solution: wear gloves.

    I advocate the wearing of white baseball batting gloves.

  • AMH

    Good for signaling too!

  • AMH

    Bare metal is naturally bacteria-resistant. Bacteria need moisture and food, neither of which tend to be present on a stainless-steel subway pole. Some metals (e.g. copper, silver) are also naturally antimicrobial. I remember reading somewhere that NYCT was testing copper grip surfaces in subway cars, but I never saw any (another forgotten pilot I suppose).

  • Yes, indeed! That is precisely why I wear white.

    During the summer I primarily wear the baseball batting gloves that I mentioned, because finding white bicycle gloves is virtually impossible. I did, however, find some white dirtbike gloves from the company Fox; so I have a couple of pairs of those. (I was lucky to find the 2014 model with a white palm; it seems that all subsequent years’ models have black palms.)

    As it gets colder, I have a few different kinds of white work gloves that I picked up at one of those safety gear stores. Though I am thinking of buying a pair of green reflective winter gloves.