Thursday’s Headlines: One Week ‘Til Your Date with Destiny

Gersh Kuntzman and friend, Halloween 2011.
Gersh Kuntzman and friend, Halloween 2011.

If you haven’t got your ticket to our editor’s exciting panel discussion next Thursday night at the Museum of the City of New York, you really have to ask yourself what you’re waiting for. The panel, “Whose Streets? Reclaiming NYC for Cyclists,” is a juggernaut: Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez and advocates Helen Ho, Judi Desire and Adam Mansky will participate is a spirited discussion moderated by that most immoderate of people, Gersh Kuntzman of Streetsblog.

Order tickets here — just $10 with the promo code BIKE1.

After you order, read Wednesday’s news:

  • You can drink all the Haterade you want over David Meyer’s cherry-breaking New York Post story slamming cyclists for “distracted” biking, but Meyer put his Streetsblog training to work in the bottom half of the story, reminding readers that better bike infrastructure helps everyone. Hat tip to Jon Orcutt for doing what he does … always.
  • This whole Cuomo-LaGuardia-AirTrain thing isn’t working. (amNY)
  • Transit-hungry borough residents? Meet “The Triboro” (City Limits)
  • In case you needed more evidence that many community boards in this city make decisions based on virtually no information and in support of the city’s car-owning minority, Riverdale’s community board does not want the city to improve bus service because it might inconvenience some drivers and illegal parkers. (Riverdale Press)
  • Less than a week after the city announced new rules aimed at reducing congestion by app-based cabbies, Lyft changed its own rules about how its drivers can operate in the city. Did the city not see that coming? (Crain’s)
  • The Department of Transportation pre-empted, by mere minutes, our story about how half the lights were out on the Manhattan Bridge bike path for more than a month (it’s 311 case number 1014625). Just as we were about to hit “publish,” we checked one more time to make sure the lights were still — out as they were through all of May and until earlier this week. But Friend of Streetsblog Darren Goldner hopped on his Huffy and confirmed: The lights are on! So, thank you, DOT. It only took six weeks, but now we know how many agencies it takes to screw in a light bulb.
  • Let’s have a High Line for Staten Island. (NY1)
  • We love the ol’ pool noodle trick — even in San Francisco. (SFGate)
  • And finally, oh damn it to hell — the Times barely covers local issues, but you tell us how you’ll not lose six hours watching all the Democratic candidates for president answer the Times’s questions. Make sure you stick with it until question 17 — when Jay Inslee talks about his bike! Hat tip to literally everyone at the Gray Lady. (NY Times)
  • Joe R.

    So now we can have “How many DOT employees does it take to change a light bulb” to go along with “How many MTA employees does it take to change a light bulb”?

  • SSkate

    Oh, wow, 311 complaint #1014625. I tweeted to 311 on May 16 that the Manhattan Bridge bikepath lights were mostly dark and got a response that someone had filed # 1014625 a week earlier. Also some BS comment that streetlights are maintained by different contractors in each borough, and WTFK knows when they’ll work on it. I was mostly puzzled trying to figure out which “borough” an East River bridge might be!?

    Meanwhile, what about the East River Greenway lighting below the Brooklyn Bridge? That’s been f’ed up for even longer.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The MTA isn’t ready to handle additional riders expected to take the LaGuardia AirTrain coming in 2022, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer.”

    Somehow I don’t think that’s what the problem will be. Unless, of course, they get rid of all the buses. Or the AirTrain is also free with a transfer to the subway.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Have you worked for the government? Changing the lightbulb, one minute. The paperwork to get approval to change the light bulb and get it inspected? Two years.

    They have to figure out which other budget to cut first.

  • Ian Turner

    If the airtrain is built, I would expect them to get rid of all the buses. And when it is out of service, the replacement bus service will take you only to College Point.

  • Larry Littlefield

    In that case I only hope that at some point in the future, it will be named after Governor Cuomo, and an announcement will play on every ride indicating that whereas before it was built it cost X to get to Midtown Manhattan in Y minutes, it now costs X-plus to get to Manhattan in Y-plus minutes.

  • I was mostly puzzled trying to figure out which “borough” an East River bridge might be!?

    Manhattan extends all the way to the coastlines of Brooklyn and Queens. The East River is entirely in Manhattan; so I assume that this means that all of the East River crossings would count as being in Manhattan.

    By the way, I believe that this was one of the reasons that the city of Brooklyn had to join New York City. Piers on the Brooklyn coastline were actually in New York and not Brooklyn.

  • 8FH

    The thing about “distracted biking”: they we’re counting people with at least one headphone in, not people with their phones out. I don’t agree with having headphones in while you ride but this is not what people are saying it is, and isn’t necessarily against the law.

  • There was a meeting this week about the 8th avenue bike lanes getting extended, any info?

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    I remember walking the Manhattan Bridge about 10 years ago after a light snow and noting that only half of the walkway had been plowed, seemingly ending right in the middle from the Manhattan side. Thus I always thought the border was in the middle of the river (which of course is not a river, but a salt-water estuary).

  • vnm

    Yeah, driving with your windows up so you can’t hear the outside world and blasting your stereo is totally fine. Riding a bike with earbuds is a Huge Societal Problem.

  • BrandonWC
  • Vooch

    Every advocate should look at page 9 of the DOT presentation and REJOICE.

    The data on this page represents a sea change improvement in analysis.

  • Awesome, how did you find it? I looked for it but I could not.

  • HamTech87

    On Staten Island, let’s consider the broader implications of repurposing a rail line for a busway or bikeway. Here’s Cap’n Transit describing how it used to be possible to catch a train on SI to reach the Northeast Corridor without a multi-seat ride to Penn Station. And we wonder why all our highways are jammed with cars.

    (He talks about Light Rail, which was the proposed option before the busway or now a bikeway). https://capntransit.blogspot.com/2008/06/staten-island-why-light.html?m=0

  • AMH

    One earphone is definitely legal.

  • Looked it over and all the improvements are fantastic.

    I especially like that replacing the mixing zone with the offset treatment adds loading space – this will be crucial to expand the treatment city wide.

  • redbike

    Thanks for the link. (If I were looking for words to describe this, “reporting” and “journalism” come to mind; where won’t we find that? But that’s another story.)

    The proposal is great. But insufficient. The proposed treatment should extend south to 33rd St and north to the mid-50’s. Realize: this is a proposal. It won’t get better. It’ll only get worse.

  • BrandonWC

    It’s up on DOT’s Current Projects page: https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/about/current-projects.shtml

  • Larry Littlefield

    I guess they are trying to stop the busway.

  • Ironically, the fantastic separated bicycle lane makes it hard to expand this south – the concrete islands are in the way

  • Daphna

    It’s great that the sidewalk will finally be widened along the west side of 8th Avenue on that stretch (although only with tan pigment on the street). However, the DOT needs to switch to wider bike lanes. They keep using a width that is apparently in some design manual and is being used as the standard, but it is woefully too narrow. Bike lanes, especially ones that will be flanked by bollards rather than a painted buffer, NEED to be WIDER. It is 2019 not 1969. The volume of bicyclists is substantial.

  • redbike

    Yep, the existing 8th Av bike lane is a fantasy.

    Rip out the concrete islands. They’re a monument to failed planning … by planners who don’t use streets. They’re a concept that might work in Phoenix, or anywhere every square inch of space isn’t in contention.

    The width of 8th Av is non-negotiable — from one building’s façade to the opposite façade. Allocate that finite space — for which demand is extreme — first to people on foot, then, to people riding bicycles … and dead-last to concrete islands.

    The newly proposed plan appears to not-quite-double space allocated to people on foot — on only one side (west) of 8th Av, but actually narrows space allocated to people riding bikes to a mere 6 feet.

    I’m glad to see this proposal, but recognize it for what it is: an opening bid.

  • Daphna

    For those who did not pull up the presentation, the 9th pages shows:
    from 39th to 42nd Street on 8th Avenue
    Pedestrians represent 85% of road users and have only 30% of space, Motorists are 12% of the road users but have 70% of the space, and bicyclists are 3% of the road users and have 0% of the space.

  • Daphna

    It bothers me too that the space for bicyclists will be reduced from the current 11′ (which includes the gutter and buffer) to only 6′.

    Manhattan CB4 is supportive of street safety. This might pass both their Transportation Committee and full Board without being watered down.

  • Daphna

    There’s still a gap in the bike lane from 41st to 42nd where the lane disappears in the new plan. That is still a big problem. Hoping that CB4 asks the DOT to do better and come up with something connected for cyclists through there. But in general the plan is a huge improvement. Glad to see meter hours extended and narrower 10′ lanes instead of 11′ and 12′ and 13′ lanes. It is also great to see the curb extensions at the intersections on the east side of 8th Avenue.

  • Ian Turner

    Bike lane is still present on that block, just not painted green. Will likely be full of pedestrians.

  • qrt145

    But… but… how is NASA going to drive their rocket crawler-transporter on 8th Ave now that it’s being narrowed?

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