Wednesday’s Headlines — It’s Gonna Be a Scorcher Edition

You’re going to look very hot on your bike today.

But not as hot as our primary election coverage, which continues today with a Democratic matchup of Julia Salazar against incumbent Martin Dilan in Williamsburg and Bushwick. Prior coverage is archived here or you could click the Election 2018 tab above.

Now, to the newsroom!

  • The Post did a wan re-write of Gothamist and Streetsblog’s coverage of the Ninth Street Bike Lane Blocker, but added in a tiny bit of news: Liz Plosser’s “sweet Subaru” has finally been towed. (NYP)
  • As NYC Transit boss Andy Byford ponders how to fix the bus system, the Times offers one cheat sheet: A story about a Staten Island bus that takes three hours to go from one end to the other. (NYT)
  • And staying on the bus beat, the Times op-ed pages offer author Zachary R. Wood’s Nietzschean recollection of taking the school bus every day. (NYT)
  • On Monday, Streetsblog gave you four takeaways from the City Council’s speed camera bill. A day later, the Staten Island Advance came up with 11. (SILive)
  • In other speed camera news, the Daily News focused its coverage on crash victims teary Council testimony, while amNY focused on expansion.
  • Coverage is also starting to come in on GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro’s MTA plan. (amNY; Gotham Gazette) And the Post editorial board, of course, loves it because the Republican candidate “takes on labor.” (NYP)
  • Confused about how to ride a bike in New York City? Thrillist takes time out from its normal coverage of the best burgers in the city to address this crucial transportation issue. (Thrillist)
  • The New Yorker’s Alexandra Lange made me cry with this story about how imprisoned we make our kids because of how dangerous our roads are.
  • NY1 looks at the dollar van industry, which the MTA is hoping to starve with better bus service.
  • The Brooklyn Paper got the godmother of Luz Gonzalez, who was run down by a sidewalk driver in Bushwick, to condemn the mayor. (BP)
  • Cornell University’s in-house mag offers a deep dive into Citi Bike’s “Bike Angels” program, which, natch, was partly created by…Cornell grads! (Cornell Chronicle)
  • And, finally, Friend of Streetsblog and Streetfilm auteur Clarence Eckerson sent over gorgeous before-and-after videos of the 20th Avenue bike lane in Queens. The problem? The “before” video looks a lot better than the “after” video, thanks to the failure of the city to maintain the path. “It’s a hell hole of a ride now,” Eckerson told Streetsblog.

National headlines at StreetsblogUSA.

  • ItsEasyBeingGreen

    Update on the Pier 57 construction on the Hudson River Greenway: It looks like the permanent path will replicate the horrible S-curves at the Chelsea Piers driveway entrance and the Cruise Terminal entrance, with a new driveway crossing the bike path twice.

  • We’d already have significantly better bus service if the dollar vans had been eradicated instead of tolerated.

    These sleazy pirates have been essentially stealing public money by siphoning fares that would otherwise have gone towards the real bus lines. And they have been depressing ridership numbers that would have justified the creation of new lines. As an added bonus, they have been putting their riders in danger, while terrorising all other street users.

    Due to the longstanding indulgence shown to the (often unlicenced) operators of dollar vans, these dangerous deathtraps have become entrenched. At this point, the MTA cannot itself do battle against them. We need a change in the law, by which that illegitimate shadow operation is explicitly prohibited. And we need unrelenting enforcement.

    Then we’ll see rapid expansion of bus services.

  • qrt145

    Interesting that the Thrillist biking guide says “Stay away from well-traveled bike lanes”. In other words, nobody goes goes there anymore; it’s too crowded…

  • they’re cheaper, more reliable and oftentimes have better routes than the bus services

    they exist because the bus services are so shitty, not the other way around

  • That is indeed why dollar vans came into existence. However, they exacerbate the problem by foreclosing the solutions.

  • or you can do like nairobi and formalize the informal industry

  • If you mean launching an MTA van fleet, with professional standards of maintenance and operation as provided by TWU members, then I am for that.

  • AMH

    Ugh…that’s four new sets of bollards…

  • no, that would be duplicating the dysfunction, except you’ve replaced the word “bus” with the word “van”

    read the article i linked; formalizing means taking what works and improving it. the jitneys work, ergo.

  • The problems with buses don’t stem from any dysfunction. They stem entirely from factors beyond the control of the MTA, such as bad policy which allows for inefficient use of street space, and the lack of enforcement against incessant traffic violations.

    Today’s dollar vans deal with this problem by contributing to it — they speed and they blow stop signs and lights. MTA control would correct this.

    Private for-profit entities have no legitimate role in mass transit, which is by its nature a function to be provided by a public agency, be it the MTA, PATH, the DOT. Transit is a service, not a business. It costs money to operate; it should not be expected to generate profits for an owner. Private companies will always cut corners in order to maximise profits; while a public agency can spend what it takes to run the system properly.

    We got rid of the unaccountable private companies that used to half-assedly provide bus service in Queens. When I cane to Woodhaven thirty years ago, bus service on Woodhaven Boulevard was appalling. The Green Lines’ Q11 was ramshackle; and Triboro Coach’s Q53 didn’t even stop here.

    Now, under the MTA, we have deluxe bus treatment, with the Q11’s local service supplemented by the Q21 (another former Green Lines route that has been extended), and limited service provided by SBS on the Q53 and the newly-created Q52 (or was the Q52 a Triboro route, too? I am not sure).

    Whatever corner-cutting Green Lines and Triboro Coach were doing, the dirtbags who run the fly-by-night dollar van companies are doing tenfold.

    I want these goofballs out, and I want them replaced by the quality workmanship that is characteristic of the expert professionals who work for the MTA.

  • BrandonWC

    Just off the top of my head, the MTA’s reluctance to adopt a proof of payment system and all door boarding is entirely within its control and contributes to the sorry state of bus service.

  • Joe R.

    Don’t know if you ever had the “pleasure” of riding the Q65A (now the Q64) but add that one to your list. Along with the Q65. There were times I walked 3 miles to downtown Flushing instead of taking the Q65 and beat the bus (i.e. no buses passed me while I was walking there). The Q65A connected to the Forest Hills subway. I can’t say how many times that bus made me late. Late nights, forget it altogether. When I got out of the subway much past 10PM I just started walking home, figuring by the time the next bus shows up I’ll probably already be most of the way home. Now at least service is decent until around midnight. You even have service every 30 minutes between midnight and 6AM. Before I think it was every hour until 2AM, then the buses stopped until 6AM.

  • Andrew
  • AMH

    The MTA can’t make policy about street space or traffic enforcement, but I agree that those should be priorities. I’ve often wished we could roll DOT and MTA into something resembling TFL.

  • kevd

    Thank you for this: “the quality workmanship that is characteristic of the expert professionals who work for the MTA”.
    There were a few people on here who weren’t aware how detached from reality you tend to be.

  • That is a good point. There are indeed certain policy decisions on which the MTA could probably be doing better. But I assume that the agency would cite budgetary limitations preventing it from adopting the most advanced technology.

  • You are referring to London’s transit agency? What aspects of that agency would you like to see here?

    The MTA was created as a regional entity so that the subway and commuter rail could be under the same authority. It also removed the City from the management of the subway, on the theory that municipal control kept the fares too low, thereby starving the system of revenue.

    Unfortunately, fare hikes continue to be avoided for longer than they should be. Ideally, of course, we should have nearly full subsidisation by taxes with a very low or even nonexistent fare. But because that isn’t likely, we need the fare to keep up with expenses. The real killer is the weekly and monthly fares, which can reduce the per-ride charge to an unsustainably low level.

    Also, the creation of the MTA has placed the most important part of the City’s identity out of the City’s hands and into the State’s. This has always been a problem; only recently has it become stark with the governor’s outrageous disavowal of responsibility for the agency.

  • AMH

    What I think is most advantageous about TFL is its comprehensive nature which allows for holistic planning. Having separate agencies control buses, streets & bus stops, bridges, tunnels, trains, impedes progress on better bus service and regional rail, not to mention a rational fare structure.

  • kevd

    well, not you. I’m sure I was responding to Ferdinand….. damn machines.