Today’s Headlines

  • Congestion Pricing Is More Popular in NYC Than Cuomo’s Handling of the MTA (SoP)
  • More on the Riders Alliance Commute Horror Stories Contest From AMNY and WCBS
  • Jeff Dinowitz Admits His Constituents Are Not Apoplectic Over Pricing Like He Is (Press)
  • Amtrak Threatens to Ban NJ Transit for Lack of Positive Train Control (AP)
  • NTSB: Lax Safety Protocol Led to Death of LIRR Foreman (Post)
  • City Does Nothing as Brooklynites Pave Yards and Cut Up Curbs for Parking (Post)
  • DOT Won’t Talk to Parents About Fourth Avenue Sidewalk Incursions (BK Paper)
  • Note to Riverdale: DOT Can Take Street Design Decisions Away From Bronx CB 8 (Press)
  • Leonia Adjusting Cut-Through Traffic Ban to Appease Businesses (WNYC)
  • Challengers to Jeff Klein and Other Turncoat Dems Get WFP Endorsements (Politico)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Those people in Brooklyn have transferred parking from public land to their own private property — and I’m supposed to be upset about this?

  • reasonableexplanation

    Seriously, I see no issue with a homeowner paving over their front lawn to park their car on it; if it’s their land, it’s their choice.

    I kind of don’t get the argument that this takes away parking from a neighborhood: a curb cut takes up less space than if the same car was parked parallel…what’s the issue?

  • qrt145

    I think it’s seen as unfair because once you have a curb cut you basically “own” that stretch of the curb 24/7, whereas without it anyone could park in that spot as soon whenever it’s empty. A curb cut may not take a full parking spot, but they add up.

    Also, the fact that you have certain freedoms to modify your private property does not automatically entitle you to modify the public sidewalk or to claim that no one can park there anymore.

  • qrt145

    “Congestion Pricing Is More Popular in NYC Than Cuomo’s Handling of the MTA”

    Not exactly a ringing endorsement. I suspect that syphilis is more popular that Cuomo’s handling of the MTA!

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    aesthetically speaking it is awful; one is now surrounded by automobiles when walking on the sidewalk. Their machinations will frequently leave a part of the car on the sidewalk as well.

  • Simon Phearson

    You’re overlooking that they’re effectively claiming – and the police are apparently enforcing – an easement over public property. Granted, public property to which only other drivers are entitled, but it’s an appropriation of public space in any event.

  • bolwerk

    What qrt said. A parallel space can be used by any driver, and everyone at least in theory has the same right to the space.

    Besides that, driveways aren’t exactly lacking in safety implications.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Moreover, while a residential parking space doesn’t have the turnover of a commercial space, that’s still a risk to pedestrians walking on the sidewalk.

    Plus they are still claiming the public land — what can the public do in front of their curb cut where the on-street parking once was.

    And the vehicles parked on the street shield the sidewalk from the vehicles moving down its center. When my children were little, I wouldn’t let them play on the sidewalk during alternate side.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Whenever a motorhead asks me if I ride my bike on the sidewalk, I ask if they drive their motor vehicle on the sidewalk.

    When they say no, I ask if they ever park off the street, and if so how do they get there? Fly?

  • bolwerk

    It’s a pretty bogus equivalency. I can’t see a damn thing wrong with riding a bike on a sidewalk. I very often do, if it’s an empty sidewalk near a full boulevard.

    It’s the type of thing cyclists should be allowed to use good judgment on.

  • bolwerk

    With all the kvetching from driver populists about CP, it’s easy to forget that the biggest beneficiaries of CP might very well be drivers.

  • Guest

    It does increase parking supply and makes the parking more reliable for those who claimed the access (they get two spots – the driveway and the curb space that blocks it). What that does is induces more traffic while making the neighborhood less walkable.

    It also comes with horrible environmental impacts. We talk about adding green roofs – which are complicated and quite expensive – while paving over massive acreage of existing yards to create more parking. This contributes to sewage overflow.

    All to benefit people who are effectively stealing from the public. They’re not free to do this with their property – it clearly violates zoning. The Department of Buildings simply refuses to perform its enforcement responsibilities.

  • reasonableexplanation

    Fair points, with the exception of the green/sewage overflow part:

    Anyone can choose to pave their front (or back) yard even if they don’t park their car there, that’s entirely separate.

  • Simon Phearson

    I was living in Chicago with a car when they implemented their notorious parking concession. In conjunction with that, they metered several blocks of a street in my neighborhood along a well-traveled commercial corridor. Parking opened up overnight, and I experienced no appreciable difference in getting parking myself. (Granted, I hardly ever drove and so rarely moved my car.) It definitely made my limited use of the car easier.

  • stairbob

    “Oh? How do you buy gasoline in NYC, then?”

  • Ah. If the cars are poking over the edge of the former lawn and onto the public sidewalk, then that’s bad.

  • Joe R.

    I might be OK with this if as a condition to letting people pave over their lawns for parking we also banned curbside parking on that particular street (perhaps convert the former parking lane to a bioswale). This would at least keep the parking supply more or less the same. As it stands now, we’re actually increasing the parking supply, which can only result in more car ownership and car use.

    And of course paving over front lawns has secondary issues, like burdening our sewer system more.

  • I do see that these homeowners are in effect seizing a bit of public space by means of the curb cuts. But they are ceding a greater amount of space back to the public by virtue of not storing their cars on the street, are they not?

    And wouldn’t we want a society in which car owners were required to store their cars on their own property, or else in some other off-street property which they rent, rather than on the street?

    Finally, if the aggregate effect of this practice is to reduce the number of parking spots available in the neighbourhood, is this not a good thing? If providing parking induces demand, then surely removing parking must squelch demand, creating an incentive not to drive around there. And this would in turn tend to push people to use other means of transport, such as the nearby D and N trains, the local bus routes, or the old stand-by, the trusty bicycle (it’s pretty dang flat around there; makes for good riding).

  • Communities are free to allow it if they choose. Jersey City allows sidewalk riding by adults at “walking speed”.

    But for New York City a blanket prohibition is appropriate. (Even still, we do have a handful of locations where bike lanes use the sidewalk.)

  • Guest

    I see what you’re saying in technical terms, but there’s so much less incentive to replace a yard with concrete if it’s not a parking space. And when homeowners do decide to have a paved patio or something, it’s often with pavers that are permeable.

    Allowing these illegal parking spaces is a HUGE incentive for the environmental destruction, not a separate issue.

  • Simon Phearson

    I do see that these homeowners are in effect seizing a bit of public space by means of the curb cuts.

    This ought to be the end of the analysis, then, especially for one so obsessed with following the law as yourself.

    But they are ceding a greater amount of space back to the public by virtue of not storing their cars on the street, are they not?

    They’re not ceding anything. They still retain the right to park their car on the street, wherever they like. They just now also claim an exclusive easement on a particular bit of public property. There’s nothing stopping any of these car-hogs from parking on the street and reserving their pavement-lot for those “driving visitors” I’m always hearing about.

    And wouldn’t we want a society in which car owners were required to store their cars on their own property, or else in some other off-street property which they rent, rather than on the street?

    Sure, but this is a red herring, because that’s not the alternative that is being posed here. If everyone stores their cars on their own property but requires virtually the same amount of street space to access their own property, then we haven’t really improved on the status quo. Internalizing the cost of parking is about reducing car ownership to the equilibrium it would reach without public subsidy.

    Finally, if the aggregate effect of this practice is to reduce the number of parking spots available in the neighbourhood, is this not a good thing?

    It is so strange to me that lines of reasoning you regularly follow in some conversations have virtually no application in other conversations where they would have comparable effect. To wit:

    You frequently complain that scofflaw cycling is strategically counter-productive, insofar as it undermines any political consensus necessary to build out and maintain good cycling infrastructure. But here you are talking about scofflaw behavior by private property owners, behavior that similarly would undermine political consensus necessary to build out and maintain good cycling infrastructure, since parking shortages are a notorious rationale cited for opposing such things. But while you censure the former, you praise the latter. Why is that?

  • AnoNYC

    Dump the IDC. Can’t wait to vote against Klein.

    And streets in some parts of Riverdale look third world without sidewalks.

  • AnoNYC

    I don’t see how that reduces parking on the street. The residents now have an off street and on street spot (for a second vehicle) when they feel like it.

    Making it tougher to park (no off street spot) makes it less likely to have a car.

  • AnoNYC

    On my block people park in their driveway and often a second at the curb cut (sometime the tenant, my block is attached rowhouses, 2-3 units).

    Chances are there wouldn’t be a second vehicle without the off street spot due to parking difficulty.

  • Well, I guess you’re right.

    My first reaction was simply that getting cars off the street and on to private property is a good thing. But after thinking about it, I can see that that doesn’t really hold up in this case.

    (Though I must admit that I don’t see the connection between what these Brooklyn people are doing and cycling infrastructure. Do you mean just the idea that it won’t help reduce on-street parking?)

  • Right, good point. I can see that.

  • HamTech87

    Riverdale Assembly Member Jeff Dinowitz: “I avoid Manhattan like the plague,” he said. “I don’t like going there. I don’t like being there. Honestly, the idea of paying $11.52 to be in Manhattan? Please, I should be paid to be in Manhattan. That’s how much I don’t like going there.” If only there was a way to get from Riverdale to Manhattan without driving a car?

  • HamTech87

    Just read Rachel May’s issues statement. The I-81 “community grid” is something she supports. Sounds like a great challenger to the IDC’s Valesky, and campaign contributions made upstate go a bit further. http://www.rachelmay.org/issues

  • Fool

    Chop off one head, and Cuomo will simply promote another.

  • reasonableexplanation

    That’s kind of deliberately taking some nuance out:

    Crossing the sidewalk to get into a driveway is…literally the only way to pull into a driveway, and exactly how it’s meant to be used.

    I think the closest thing to an apples to apples would be say, biking the last half block to your destination on a one way street on the sidewalk instead of salmoning on the street; technically illegal, but I’m sure if asked, most would say reasonable.

    I was going to come up with a similarly commonly illegal/yet harmless and understandable situation with a car, but I honestly can’t. Cars live by a stricter code of conduct, and that’s the way it should be.