Tuesday’s Headlines: Staten Island is NYC’s Bike Capital Edition

There will be more of this on Staten Island. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
There will be more of this on Staten Island. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Who’d’a thunk it? The Department of Transportation revealed on Monday that Staten Island — which doesn’t even have a street with a protected bike lane — will be the first borough to be completely served by bike share. Our own David Meyer posted a story that focused on that irony, while other outlets took a different approach.

Amy Plitt at Curbed suggested that a successful borough-wide program could help Lime and Jump bikes argue that it’s time for them to be able to operate more widely across the city where Citi Bike doesn’t have a monopoly. Vin Barone at amNY and Paul Berger at the Wall Street Journal played it straight. Meanwhile, Crain’s quoted SI Beep Jimmy Oddo saying something anathema to everything we hold dear (no, Mr. Borough President, cycling is not only for the “right” weather — it’s a form of transportation). The Times, which rarely covers issues important to people who get around on bikes, obviously skipped the news.

Funny thing is: The Staten Island Advance had actually broken the story weeks ago!

Here’s the rest of the news:

  • The Daily News’s Clayton Guse focused on a piece of non-news: Mayor de Blasio still hasn’t said what he plans to do with 14th Street now that the L-train repairs are about to start. The mayor said last week he would announce something soon.
  • The Daily News editorial board said what we’ve been saying for weeks: No congestion pricing exemptions for anyone.
  • For the 1,000th time, the NY Post accused Mayor de Blasio of hypocrisy for claiming to be an environmentalist, yet being driven in a big SUV to the gym. (Make it 1,001st — the editorial board also weighed in.)
  • Gothamist and Streetsblog covered the police intimidation of young cyclists over the weekend — and the mayor claiming he didn’t know anything about it.
  • Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams used his annual Earth Day bike ride to highlight dangerous cycling conditions in the borough’s poorer neighborhoods. Are you listening, DOT? (The legendary Todd Maisel provided photos and copy for Bklyner)
  • And in case you missed it, the State Department of Transportation is finally going to study putting in a barrier to protect cyclists on the notorious murderstrip on the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge between Howard Beach and Broad Channel (Queens Chronicle). Of course, the years of delay on this simple project received the predictable outrage on Twitter, with at least one cyclist pointing out that the bridge is named after a guy whose son, namesake and doppelgänger could actually do something about it, given that he’s a sitting state senator.

  • Sassojr

    From the NYDN article:

    “Having bravely been approved by Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature”

    Yes, they’re so brave that the true fees won’t be revealed until after the 2020 election. So brave that they punted all the responsibility to an unelected board that can’t be held responsible for its decisions.

    “Real congestion pricing means lower fees at non-peak times, so those entering the zone at 2 a.m. would only pay a tiny fee.”

    Real congestion pricing also exempts congestion reducing vehicles like motorcycles and scooters (see “model cities” London, Stockholm, Singapore).

    “The only drivers who should get a credit are users of the four tolled tunnels in the zone”

    This ensures that people will continue to crowd the 59th street bridge, more traffic on the QMT, and way more traffic through the Lincoln and Holland. GWB and Triboro will see less.

    “One city, one set of rules. It doesn’t get more principled than that.”

    Except if you live in NJ, then you don’t actually have to pay congestion pricing. Just pay your normal toll to PANYNJ and you’re good to go. No need to adjust your behavior, it’s everyone else’s problem.

    On another note, I can’t believe the audacity of NJ pols pretending that they are getting screwed when they actually have a pretty sweet deal. Less traffic in the city (if the flawed plan actually works) with no disincentive to drive.

  • The other thing that would be enormously beneficial to Rockaway-bound bicyclists would be to legalise riding on the Cross Bay Bridge between Broad Channel and the Rockaways. That bridge is run by the MTA, as is the other major bridge on which riding is senselessly banned, the Triboro.

  • crazytrainmatt

    The bike map says to use the east sidewalk on the cross bay bridge — do they require to walk your bike?

    And speaking of the MTA and bikes, don’t forget the Henry Hudson bridge!

  • TV watcher

    You see this one? Our fearless DOT commissioner never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Whenever she has a chance to set the record straight on things like induced demand, she basically gives in to the opposition. Spineless.

    http://transalt.org/bike-forecast/2019/21/april-22nd-2019

    —-

    On Friday, CBS New York aired an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Polly Trottenberg:

    …he asks her:

    “You make more bike lanes, more pedestrian plazas, does that add the congestion back?”

    Obviously the answer to that is “No,” for the same reason the answer to “If I stop eating meat and instead eat more vegetables, does that add the meat back?” is also “No.”

    Instead she answers, ““It’s interesting…,” giving Dave Carlin exactly what he wanted.
    —-

  • Yes, the MTA does require cyclists to walk their bikes on both the Triboro and Cross Bay bridges, as well as on the Henry Hudson Bridge, as you point out.

    While neither the City Council nor the DOT can change this MTA rule, someone in government (Public Advocate? Borough president?) could take the initiative to put some pressure on the MTA to correct its bad policy.

  • Larry Littlefield

    And the Marine Park — Gill Hodges bridge.

    Unfortunately they failed to add a second path when they rebuilt the bridge. Lots of people fish off the bridge, and lots of people ride over it, though that is technically illegal.

    They could have used that second path. As it is, they could merely require dismounting in the vicinity of fishermen and pedestrians. It’s a long walk — that’s why more people bike it than walk it.

  • It’s been a while, but I used to ride across Triboro to get to Randall’s. Every time it was so deserted, and nobody gave me shit.

  • There has lately been renewed attention to bicyclists on the Triboro. I have been told to dismount by cops, though never ticketed. And several times I have seen cops at the Randall’s Island landing of the crossing from 102nd Street giving warnings to cyclists.

    The unfortunate result is that I now avoid the Triboro. And so I visit the bike paradise of Randall’s Island a lot less, going there only by means of the new connector to the Bronx.

  • I haven’t noticed increased enforcement on that bridge. I hope they don’t start doing that! If they did, then the Rockaways would be effectively unreachable by bicycle.

  • Bryan K.

    totally out of the way (and I’m an Astoria resident so I share your frustrations regarding Triboro) but I do love that Hells Gate Connector.

  • Are you saying we can’t ride the 102nd st footbridge anymore?!

  • I’m sure the enforcement is not there every day. But for me it’s not worth the risk.

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