Today’s Headlines

  • Forget Michael Cohen, This Is a Story — City Council Wants to Legalize E-Scooter Fleets (News)
  • Rafael Espinal and Ydanis Rodriguez Make the Case for Scooters (News)
  • De Blasio on L Train Shutdown: Trust Me, I Got This. Remind Me, When Does It Start? (News, Post)
  • CityLab Finds the Silver Lining in the L Train Crisis
  • Tough Crowd at Andy Byford’s First “Fast Forward” Town Hall (AMNY)
  • MTA Tweaks Staten Island Express Bus Overhaul During First Week of Service (Advance)
  • TransitCenter: A Broken Down Electric Bus Isn’t Cutting Any Carbon Emissions
  • WTF — Cops Brandishing Stun Guns Broke Up a Weekend Block Party Near Yankee Stadium (News)
  • 120 People Rode the Fifth Annual “Bike East” Between East New York and Jamaica Bay (Bklyn Paper)
  • Not All Road Ragers Drive Cars (Gothamist)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    Hey Byford, people want “creative solutions.”

    How about borrowing $80 billion — $40 billion for “Fast Forward,” including $12 billion in extra costs to bail out the multi-employer pension plans

    https://larrylittlefield.wordpress.com/2018/08/15/an-open-secret-mta-capital-costs-have-soared-to-pay-for-underfunded-metro-new-york-construction-union-pensions/

    $20 billion for awarding a 20/50 pension to the TWU retroactively.

    And $20 billion for the first 10 years of interest, so no one will have to pay it until everyone in Generation Greed has a chance to move away?

    In other words, since no one is coming out and admitting what has been done, who benefited, and how and for whom things will be worse indefinitely as a result (and not just at the MTA), doesn’t “fairness” require we keep doing it?

    It sounds like the one plan Cuomo, Cynthia Nixon and Bill DeBlasio could get behind.

    After all Pataki and Giuliani, Spitzer and Bloomberg, were able to work together to steal our future in the past, despite other disagreements. And the legislature? Just have their campaign contributors take them out for a steak dinner, and they’ll vote to do ANYTHING to the serfs.

  • Anonobus

    DeBlasio does seem out of touch on the magnitude of the L Train closure, but he has now officially said more about this than Cuomo who actually controls the MTA.

    The Governor can give personal rides with baked goods for a handful of displaced LIRR commuters during the “summer of hell” but is radio silent for 1.5 yr disruption for almost half a million L Train riders? #CuomosMTA

  • Larry Littlefield

    Cuomo and the state control the rails.
    DeBlasio and the city control the streets.
    But neither can control the financial disaster they were left with, and then added to in order to seek popularity. And neither can tell the truth about it, because doing so would offend the interests/people they need to seek their next office.
    It’s as simple as that.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Changing the law to permit e-scooters is a good chance to permit throttle e-bikes as well.

  • Anonobus

    Cuomo controls the LIRR and QMT which haven’t been included in any of the plans. He also controls the buses. Why aren’t there more? Why aren’t they all electric?

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m not sure how the LIRR could help here.
    Unless the buses don’t get a larger share of the ROW, they are going to take 45 minutes to get across the bridge.

  • Joe R.

    I picture both Cuomo and DeBlasio looking like a deer caught in the headlights when the shutdown actually occurs. As both don’t use mass transit, they have no idea how much this shutdown will make a general mess of things.

    I’m trying to think of a play on words for this indifference/incompetence using the governor’s and mayor’s last names but I’m lost for DeBlasio. Back when Cuomo’s father was governor and Dinkins was mayor my favorite line to use was Mayor Stinkins and Governor Coma. We have Governor Coma the Second but I can’t think of anything catchy for the mayor.

  • Joe R.

    I don’t know why NYC doesn’t have an all-electric bus fleet at this point. For that matter why not an all-electric fleet, period, including sanitation trucks? Bloomberg was touting us as “The Green Apple”. That should be more than just an empty slogan.

  • Joe R.

    This is a very surprising but very welcome development. If we legalize e-scooters, which by definition have throttles, it’s only a matter of time before we have to legalize e-bikes with throttles. A big argument would be that there is no significant difference in terms of weight or speed between an e-scooter plus rider or an e-bike plus rider. Therefore, the law must treat them the same.

  • Simon Phearson

    I, for one, would love to see a Streetsblog-exclusive update on the Skillman/43rd bike lanes, which were much celebrated here after so much shaming of Van Bramer.

    What had been, before, a speedy and mild-stress ride in a doorzone lane on Skillman is now a total death slalom, as drivers continue to park wherever they want and truck traffic frequently blocks the bit that runs by the warehouses. Plus! For a (hopefully) limited time, it all empties out into the scraped-up part by the railyard, so the first thing you get to deal with, after parked cars, backing-up truck drivers, road signs, and then a mixed zone, is a big pile of gravel right where you have to go. Before, of course, you get into the improvised (shall we say) traffic pattern that Skillman devolved into once they removed any semblance of a bike lane.

    Yet another time you advocates have fucked things up for actual riders. Except now we’re legitimately running out of alternatives. There’s no easy way around Skillman. It’s not like the 20th Ave lane in Steinway, which you can avoid by taking 21st or Ditmars. Or the useless lane on Vernon, where you can take the sharrows or 21st, if you’re feeling lucky. No, in order to get around the shitshow that Skillman now is, you have to detour at least a mile out of your way through Astoria, or take Northern.

    Thanks a bunch.

  • redbike

    Yet another time you advocates have fucked things up for actual riders.

    Thanks. Piling on, but cutting Streetsblog the barest fraction of an inch of slack: same complaint is valid for Manhattan’s 8th Av “protected” “bike” lane between 33rd St and the mid-50’s. The good news (hence, the barest fraction of an inch of slack for Streetsblog) is that there’s been some coverage about 8th Av actually being a craptacular fail. Note: this is a 180° about-face compared to Streetsblog’s early-and-often initial coverage; our generated veneered advocates continue to regard one-way parking-protected bike lanes as the holy grail. Having only one tool in your tool box doesn’t make you an expert; it just means there are very few problems you can solve.

  • Simon Phearson

    The only Trottenberg-era protected bike lane I’ve seen that isn’t a mess of poor design and under-enforcement is the one on Shore Boulevard, along Astoria Park. The joggers there love it.

  • anonobus

    Affordable access to LIRR could allow some residents of East New York and points east to use the Atlantic Branch and avoid the crowds at Broadway Junction. LIRR use in Queens could help alleviate overcrowding on the 7,E,M lines.

  • Joe R.

    It’s not just bike lanes. The only tool in the Vision Zero tool kit seems to be reducing speed limits. I wrote about that extensively here:

    https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/08/21/vision-zero-network-hires-big-gun-to-focus-on-slowing-drivers-down-already/

    The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results. Protected bike lanes certainly have their place, which is mainly along a road next to a natural barrier like a park, cemetery, railway, etc. They don’t belong on streets where the bike lane is frequently intersected by motor traffic as they offer no protection in the one place it’s most needed—at intersections. In fact, there’s really no cheap, easy answer for putting decent bike lanes on streets like the Manhattan Avenues. I’ve suggested viaducts but that gets mostly tepid responses around here. NYC wouldn’t pay for it anyway. If we can’t do it with paint and flexible bollards, it doesn’t get done.

    Anyway, so long as DOT and advocates continue to be one-trick ponies all we’re going to get are more Skillman Avenues.

  • Joe R.

    What about the PPW lane? Functionally, that’s exactly where protected lanes should be, namely along the side of a street which has a long stretch with no motor traffic intersections.

  • kevd

    PPW was Sadiq Khan

  • Joe R.

    I hate to admit this but I usually don’t follow things across the pond. I actually thought she was mayor of London. I had no idea they were two different people.

  • kevd

    He is expanding their bike network beyond her wildest dreams.
    So, the confusion is understandable.
    It would be odd for London to elect an American mayor, however.

  • Simon Phearson

    “Edge roads” are great places for bike infrastructure, but advocates and DOT too often forget that they’re useless if they don’t connect cyclists to where they want to go. We have a growing number of miles of protected infrastructure… that just don’t go anywhere. They put them there because they’re easy to push through – minimal parking issues and traffic flow issues raised by CBs – and then they sit empty.

    Another issue with the lanes I encounter is that they have significant design flaws. The Vernon lane, for instance, has two significant gaps, ends at precisely where you’d expect cyclists to go, and has a confusing leg where cyclist flow is unclear. The 20th Ave lane dumps eastbound cyclists into a three-step zag and presents issues throughout for anyone not heading to the park. The Skillman lane right now has no solution for the truck traffic that will frequently block the lane by the warehouses. And then there are all the mixing zones and poorly-timed split phases all over the place.

    People attack me for implicitly endorsing VC, but the fact is you have to be a VC to use these lanes with confidence.

  • Joe R.

    The discontinuous and/or useless nature of bike lanes has been an ongoing problem for a long time now. If I use Google Maps to choose a route for me, I inevitably get a something with a gazillion turns I wouldn’t even remember. It’s also generally longer than the route I would choose on my own. Saying you added bike lane miles is meaningless if you have 5 blocks here, 10 blocks there, with no routes where people are actually going. Every major arterial should have a continuous, safe bike lane, regardless of how much it costs. If you need to put it on a viaduct, so be it. If you only need to have overpasses or underpasses at busier intersections, consider that a bonus.

    Even bike lanes which are mostly decent, like the one on Queens Boulevard, have puzzling design features like cyclists needing to cross to the opposite direction of traffic by Rego Park (and hit one or two extra light cycles doing so). It’s all so motorists aren’t inconvenienced.

    Yes, on most real-world trips you need to ride VC to be safe and also efficient. I know the ideal of advocates is 8-to-80 infrastructure but that’s an ideal, much like reaching zero in Vision Zero. In the real world, learning to ride VC will always be a necessary skill. The hope is that as time goes on, there will be fewer and fewer places where you need to use those skills.