Wednesday’s Headlines: Never Satisfied Edition

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg recently biked to the Citi Bike expansion press conference (note that the bike lane was blocked by trucks). Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg recently biked to the Citi Bike expansion press conference (note that the bike lane was blocked by trucks). Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

No, we’re not satisfied. We’re never satisfied. Sure, Citi Bike and the Department of Transportation announced on Tuesday that the bike-share system would expand deeper into Queens and Brooklyn, fill out all of Manhattan, and finally get to about half of the Bronx … by 2023. That’s 10 years after Citi Bike launched.

And what of Bay Ridge? And Riverdale? And where’s the protected bike lane network that will match this expanded Citi Bike footprint, with 40,000 bikes? Does the expansion zone truly improve Citi Bike’s reach to lower-income communities and transit deserts? And will the NYPD do a better job punishing reckless drivers? So, yes, Streetsblog asked those questions, and others, at Tuesday’s press conference in the Bronx. And, frankly, we’re not satisfied with the answers.

And you, dear reader, wouldn’t want it any other way. Until Vision Zero lives up to its surname, we’ll keep comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. Sorry, but at Streetsblog, have only one speed: on.

Here’s how the rest of the press corps covered the Citi Bike launch:

  • The New York Times — yes, the Times! — focused on the long-overdue expansion into the Bronx with some solid coverage, though the Gray Lady fell for the oldest trick in the press office playbook: taking the staged photo of the officials arriving to the presser on Citi Bikes (our photo, above, was taken a block later, when DOT’s nice green lane turns into a regular painted lane filled, of course, with double-parked cars and trucks).
  • The Wall Street Journal also focused on the Bronx.
  • Curbed followed our headline from the day before, referring to the rollout as “slow.”
  • CBs2 ran a error-filled retrograde segment that said the expansion would be dangerous because, you know, cyclists are always killing people (hey, CBS2, 1980 called and it wants its tabloid sensationalism back).
  • Gothamist also didn’t run the photo-op picture — and also focused on how slow the Citi Bike expansion will be. (Never satisfied!)
  • The Daily News played it straight, but Clayton Guse also showed he’s never satisfied, by highlighting Trottenberg’s claim that it would cost $400-$500 million to bring Citi Bike to the entire city. Seems like a fair price for a mode of transportation that is far more popular than the mayor’s ferry system.
  • Vin Barone in amNY also played it straight (but his shooter didn’t fall for the photo-op either).

Here’s the rest of yesterday’s news:

  • There was a terrible crash on Park Slope’s gruesome Fifth Avenue, when a speeding truck driver severely injured a Citi Bike rider as he attempted to make a left turn from behind another truck. Fifth Avenue is a deathtrap: It’s too narrow, there are too many trucks making deliveries and, for some reason, the city insists on allowing on-street car storage. (Brooklyn Paper)
  • Gov. Cuomo is grumbling about the MTA reorganization that he controls. (NYDN)
  • Like Streetsblog, the Post’s David Meyer jumped all over the story of two bros harassing a female cyclist. But Meyer didn’t do a two-fer like his former colleague Julianne Cuba, who also penned a second-day piece on the daily hassles female cyclists face in the city — a must-read for Mayor de Blasio, who will certainly be asked about the cycling gender gap at today’s 11 a.m. avail.
  • Like Streetsblog a few months ago, WNYC explored the twisted psychology that makes pedestrians fear cyclists more than drivers — who kill and injured tens of thousands of people every year and cause nearly all of the 225,000 or so crashes.
  • And, finally, all aboard this 102-year-old subway train on Saturday! (amNY)
  • 8FH

    I’m not ready to blame the driver in the park-slope crash. I saw the video, and it didn’t look like they were speeding, plus they stopped on a dime after the citibiker crossed into opposing traffic and they collided.

    On the other hand, 5th ave is a disaster, with rampant double parking of trucks and cars, bad sharrows and door zone bike lanes and poor sight lines.

    Though it looks like the citi-biker caused the crash by crossing into oncoming traffic without looking, the city still could have prevented it by removing a parking lane to put in proper bike lanes, banning daytime deliveries, and dealing with the double parking problem. If just biking on 5th weren’t a death-defying stunt, then cyclists would be less likely to add other death-defying stunts.

    I hope the cyclist recovers soon.

  • gershed!

    hey, CBS2, 1980 called and it wants its tabloid sensationalism back

    Are you effing serious? The headlines you’ve been running and you’re calling out CBS2? Pick up the phone, Gersh it’s Kettle calling…

  • gershed!

    There is absolutely no way to tell from the video that the truck was speeding. Given the traffic, double parking and signal timing it is very hard for anyone to go faster than 25mph except in the rare instances. Of course telling the truth wouldn’t fit Gersh’s narrative (or MO).

    The video shows a cyclist weaving from the curb parking lane, from behind another box truck and across the double yellow. Visibility for yourself and of the other people sharing the road is key to safety, and the cyclist simply didn’t do this. A box turn would have been much, much safer.

    5th Av is a shitshow. The curb regulations should be almost entirely loading 6 days a week. left turns should be banned except for a few intersections. More street seats and bike parking corrals should be installed. Local trips and stops will always be on 5th Av, but through trips should really go to 4th Ave when that lane is completed.

  • Larry Littlefield

    So the MTA needs to crack down on the TWU.

    To free up even more money for the LIRR, the UFT, and the construction union pension funds, to benefit construction companies and developers.

    Meanwhile the evidence suggests a $billion from congestion pricing has already been offset by a reduction in other city and state funds. And all future congestion pricing money will be borrowed against, and gone in five years.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’m not one to always stick with the us against then narrative either. Even with a protected bike lane, one still has to be careful when turning left.

    It is unfortunate, however, that motor vehicles can cause your death if you make a mistake. And if you don’t.

  • Simon Phearson

    Yeah – while I’m adamantly opposed to any suggestion that cyclists should pull box turns every time they want to turn left, this guy’s… technique… was incredibly reckless. Not the right way to pull the maneuver. If you want to cross a double yellow to pass a traffic lane obstruction, you need to start in the center-left of the lane and get a clear view of oncoming traffic.

  • 8FH

    Absolutely. A boneheaded move shouldn’t be a death sentence.

    edit: as an aside, I take 4th Ave and 3rd Ave because 5th is such a nightmare. I cannot understand why the city recommends using it in its current state.

  • 8FH

    Mostly agree, except deliveries should be required to be done at night or in the early morning. There’s not enough room for people going to the shops, people passing through and all the delivery activity at the same time, even if you restrict parking.

  • sbauman

    There is absolutely no way to tell from the video that the truck was speeding.

    The truck was going about 40 mph.

    Here’s how to tell from the video.

    1. Download the video into a movie editor.
    2. Analyze the video frame by frame.
    3. Find a known distance in the video.
    4. Note the time for the truck to cross that distance.

    In this case the known distance is the (north-south) width of the crosswalk across 5th Ave at Warren St. That distance is approximately 14.5 ft. It’s determined by using the measurement tool on Google Maps in the satellite mode.

    The truck first appears at the northern edge of the crosswalk in the frame that’s 6.806 seconds from the start of the video – as per the video editor.

    The truck appears over the southern edge of the crosswalk in the frame that’s 7.040 seconds from the start of the video – as per the video editor.

    Thus the truck traversed 14.5 ft in 0.234 seconds for a speed of 62 ft/sec or 42 mph.

  • walks bikes drives

    Yeah, from the video, I put 100% fault on the cyclist. That looked like about the dumbest thing he could possibly have done.

  • walks bikes drives

    I understand your calculation. I am only looking at it from the video player, but I am having trouble seeing the end of the crosswalk where the truck passes because of the angle of view based on the location of the camera and the awning seems to block the other side of the crosswalk. I can see the front of the truck entering a crosswalk, but I can’t make it out as it leaves the crosswalk.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The truck stopped from 40 mph in that distance?

  • Joe R.

    I agree. That’s something I wouldn’t have done even when I first started riding. You don’t just dart out into traffic like that.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Leaving aside the ethics for a moment, what makes practical sense in the United States as it is?

    Fair mindedness that builds credibility?

    Or one-sidedness, even is deceit is required, because it’s tribe against tribe?

    The one-sidedness seems to be the style these days. In NYC, and DC.

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