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Focus on making streets safer for all

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Time’s Up! Environmental Group has been advocating for safer streets for over two decades. We support efforts to make public spaces safer for all: pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. However, the crackdown targeting cycling announced by the NYPD will divert resources needed to address the real danger in our streets — speeding cars and red light-running motorists who kill people.

Over 200 pedestrians and cyclists killed by motor vehicles in New York City every year. Our concern is that this “ticketing blitz” which singles out cyclists will simply discourage bicycle usage.

The police do not have an encouraging track record. Hundreds of cyclists have filed civil complaints and successfully sued the NYPD over unlawful enforcement since 2004, including a lawsuit settled just a few months ago costing taxpayers nearly $1 million. Scores of police officers are issuing summonses without being properly trained on traffic laws pertaining to cyclists. Will Commissioner Kelly create yet another waste of taxpayer dollars with a new flood of cyclists fighting false tickets in traffic court?

Already, measures are being implemented which succeed in making streets safer for all, at little expense to taxpayers. Low-cost improvements in street design implemented by the Department of Transportation over the past three and a half years have made city streets safer, including a 40 percent decrease in crashes and reduced car speeds on streets with protected bike lanes. Grassroots efforts from bicycle advocacy groups, and cycling-friendly infrastructure has resulted in doubling the number of cyclists in the city since 2006. Studies show that safer streets for cyclists are safer streets for all.

If the NYPD is serious about making our streets safer it must reconsider its enforcement campaign targeting one class of commuter and announce a sensible strategy focusing limited resources on the most dangerous street users, no matter what means of transportation they choose. The NYPD would be well served to enforce current traffic laws such as those prohibiting cars from using bike lanes for parking. Every day, I ride to work along Jay Street, where I am forced to zig and zag out of the bike lanes, occupied by double-parked, cars forcing me to merge into fast-moving traffic.

Instead of singling out cyclists, the NYPD needs to shift its perspective and recognize that safer streets for all start with safer streets for the most vulnerable users: cyclists and pedestrians. The NYPD should join the rest of New Yorkers in encouraging cycling as a means to a greener and safer city for all.

Benjamin Shepard is a volunteer with Times Up! Environmental Group and co-author of the forthcoming work “The Beach Beneath the Streets: Contesting New York City’s Public Spaces” (SUNY Press).

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Resident from of PPW says:
Its time to ticket the bicycle "terrorists". Just because a person rides a bicycle does not give them the permission to flaunt the laws. If traffic lights, laws etc... apply to automobiles, trains and buses why cant the people who ride on two wheels follow the law also? Next on the agenda, it is time to register and purchase liability insurance for the bicycles.
Jan. 14, 2011, 8:34 am
lolcat from Park Slope says:
How about this:

Only cops on bicycles can give other cyclists tickets. Additionally, they should make more cops ride bikes.

(bike cops can also give cars tickets)
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:43 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
You can't ticket me! I'm special! I'm on a bike!

Time to pay up for all the special treatment you've been given.
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:47 am
Dave from Reality says:
Resident from of PPW, the article argues against *singling out* cyclists, and I agree with that argument. "Traffic lights, laws etc" DO apply to cyclists. I suppose what you really mean is that cyclists often break those laws. Well let me tell you, motorists break those laws just as much. With the limited perspective of a car occupant or pedestrian, one might perceive that cyclists' violations, being more visibly obvious, are more numerous. But from my perspective on a bike seat, passing and being passed by dozens and dozens of motorists for about an hour each day, I can tell you that their violations, including texting while driving (yes, while #$% moving), speeding, and FAILING TO YIELD TO PEDS IN CROSSWALKS, are ubiquitous. Naturally those violations are more much, much more dangerous to people and property (think--they can injure people IN cars, unlike bikes) than cyclists' violations. Therefore the article is right; if the goal is improved safety for all, then singling out bikes, especially when the cops appear not to know the relevant laws well, as has already been documented multiple times, is a WASTE of police resources.
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:47 am
Howard from Kensington says:
I'd like to see enforcement of laws prohibiting cars lingering in pedestrian and bike crosswalks while waiting for traffic lights to change. Such blockage discourages bicyclists from taking the lights seriously, and endangers anyone who's trying to cross the street while they have legal right to do so.
Jan. 14, 2011, 9:49 am
Gary from PPW says:
It is time to drop the "terrorists" from the discussion. Stop demonizing the "other" and act like an adult.
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:06 am
Benjamin Shepard from Carroll Gardeens says:
When will the NYPD start ticketing cars parked alone Jay Street? They use the lane as a texting and double parking zone.
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:26 am
Steve from Park Slope says:
Great, balanced piece. Thanks for writing it!
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:28 pm
chuck from new jersey says:
people on bikes don't kill people, people in cars do...............
Jan. 14, 2011, 12:47 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
Thank you, Ben. Great job!

In the end, action speaks louder than words, and let's see what actions the NYPD takes as this campaign goes on. So far it isn't encouraging - they seem to be doing exactly what you're worried about:http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/01/12/does-nypd-understand-the-nypd-bike-crackdown/

http://www.thelmagazine.com/TheMeasure/archives/2011/01/11/nypds-increased-bike-law-enforcement-going-as-badly-as-everyone-expected

http://www.streetsblog.org/2011/01/10/a-tale-of-intimidation-from-the-nypd-bike-crackdown/

We have every right to hold law enforcement to be just as accountable as the rest of us.
Jan. 14, 2011, 2:21 pm
Luke from williamsburg says:
"Next on the agenda, it is time to register and purchase liability insurance for the bicycles."

Sounds great. I'd love to be able to insure my bicycles against theft, too. Some of you need to actually try cycling before knocking it.

PS, please stop jaywalking, and look up from your phone before entering the roadway.
Jan. 14, 2011, 4:15 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"Next on the agenda, it is time to register and purchase liability insurance for the bicycles."

And uniforms for commercial bikers.

Luke js from williamsburg? Really???
Jan. 14, 2011, 5:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
There is an article on the NY Post talking about that.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/sticking_it_to_bikers_QkNdSzrRAbj6rrmCtW4zoM
Jan. 14, 2011, 5:36 pm
J.J. Hunsecker from Kensington says:
I thought of Tal Barzilai when I read that! Some guys fantasize about the Sports Illustrated supermodels, but licensing bikes is Tal's wet dream come to life! Too bad for him it'll never happen.
Jan. 14, 2011, 6:36 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
J. J., as much as you hate it, there is a call for this by a lot of other politicians and residents. I have only heard excuses to be against it rather than reasons. The only people who are against this are those who don't want to be held responsible, accountable, or even liable for their actions. Since cyclists tend to always flee the scene of an accident, those stickers will help catch them. Also, I hear that cyclists want the rights to the road, so they should pay fees just like us drivers do already.
Jan. 14, 2011, 6:45 pm
SP from Bed Stuy says:
I commute by bike everyday into lower Manhattan. I hate to say it, but the truth is I am in favor of this ticket blitz and wish it would be a little more severe.

Every time a hipster on a fixie he can't control blows through a a red light, he terrorizes pedestrians and as such poisons public opinion against the rest of us cyclists. I feel that bikes are a viable form of public transportation in NYC and as such should be treated as vehicles. This includes obeying traffic laws.

When I am riding in the bike lane on Bedford, I assume that the cars next to me will obey traffic laws and as such won't veer into my lane and kill me. yet cyclist coming over from the Williamsburg Bridge routinely surprise motorists by jumping into traffic out of nowhere rather than waiting for the light. It is dangerous, pisses people off, and again makes matters worse for someone like me who just wants to use my bike as a form of transportation and not an adrenaline rush at the expense of everyone around me. .
Jan. 14, 2011, 8:20 pm
Jay from Pslope says:
hehehe I hope a bunch of cyclists don't try to "resist" getting tickets This should be fun to watch.
Jan. 14, 2011, 10:17 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
Tal, politicians who talk up the licensing and registration of bikes are just cynical headline-grabbers looking to rile up suckers like you. That twerp Ulrich in Queens got his PR pop, but he will backpedal (yup, pun intended) once he's made to realize how impossibly expensive and pointless it is to create such an infrastructure. Just a few days ago that NJ legislator floated the idea, it didn't work, and now she says, "just kidding."

I oppose registration because it'll discourage cycling. I oppose registration because bikes are a viable form of public transportation in NYC and public transportation doesn't require it. I oppose registration because there are traffic laws already on the books that aren't enforced. Bikes and their riders should be treated as vehicles. I oppose registration because it's another attempt at government bureaucracy and control from the likes of you, and that's never good.

Finally, I personally don't oppose registration because I want to break laws. Like SP, I'm OK with stepped-up enforcement for the same reason -- there are cyclists who are a menace, and they deserve punishment for it. And yeah, they make it bad for the rest of us. But I want to see the same enforcement for cars that maim and kill, too, and what they get away with lately is just outrageous:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/plows_bmw_onto_sidewalk_doesn_lift_rzid2W4APVbJD6TR7g7GMK

Be honest, the balance of what's most dangerous on the roads is cars and will always be. Let's all see how this little NYPD experiment goes before advocating for ridiculous stuff that'll never happen.
Jan. 15, 2011, 1:45 am
nancy from coney says:
you bleeding hearts boo hooing bike riders make it dangersous 4 us car drivers zigzaging all around us causing us 2 be adjusting 2 not hitting u u guys have bike lanes and dont stay in them what else do fo you guys want 2 take over the streets all 2gether stay in your lanes and stop your crying when i was a kid we had no bike lanes we had 2 ride with the flow of traffic and you never heard of anyone getting hurt or killed; its about time you boohooers got tickets 4 the way you ride get over yourselves your suppose 2 be nyers why do you need special priviledges ticket them all you have my blessing go get them nypd
Jan. 15, 2011, 1:45 pm
Alejandro from Fort Greene says:
The streets, in their current form, are designed for cars, and, consequently, so are the laws. We cannot expect for bicyclists to follow motor vehicle laws. Bicycles AREN'T motor vehicles.

We need to update the streets and the laws. Then we can have a fair system of accountability for bikers.

Walking and biking came before driving, and they'll be here after it. (Make no mistake, one day our society will come to terms with our inability to sustain our driving addiction, and just because we won't all be around to see it, doesn't excuse our responsibilities to future generations.)

My rights to exercise (we are one of the more obese boroughs), get to work, breathe clean air, etc. seem more important than a right to drive. (Easy Rider wasn't that good of a movie.)

Of course, there are exceptions---people who can't walk or bike, people who don't have access to public transportation---but the rest of us can and should walk, take the bus, bike, run, and ride the subway.
Jan. 16, 2011, 11:31 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Peter, I find it an irony that you as a cyclist want the same right to the road as those in other vehicles should, but don't want to pay for them like they do. This won't cost anything extra as you tend to believe that. All it will invovle is the DMV just doing what they do with cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles to include bicycles. I do know that they will be pricey, but welcome to my world where nothing is free. If it will get the rogue cyclists off the road, that good riddance to bad rubish.
Jan. 16, 2011, 5:05 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
Which is it Tal: that I'm against licensing because I'm a cheap bastard who won't pay for my right to use the road? Or is the argument that I should be for it because it actually won't cost taxpayers much if any money?

Your last post indicates that you don't know the answer yourself. I'd suggest that you present some for this grand scheme of yours:

- Have you or anyone legitimate done a study on what is involved in implementing such a registration program?
- Has it been published in any traffic, transportation or policy journals?
- Have you or anyone started a website or blog?
- Has it been shared with any city or state legislators?
- Has anyone notable endorsed it?
- Is there anything third-party and non-political you'd contribute?

If you can answer those, I promise to respond with an open mind rather than snarky comebacks.
Jan. 16, 2011, 10:16 pm
nancy from coney says:
if all you bikers want 2 use the road like us driver you should all have 2 pay up 2 use the road like us drivers
if i have to pay car insurance register and get inspections on a car there should be something like that in place 4 bikers. think of the money that will go 2 the city for bring down the prices of things and taxes. hey maybe we arent all tree huggers like you guys are or fitness ladidah people we want 2 drive instead of pedal its a hell of alot faster and i dont appreciate eating bugs. you cant use a bike in all weather but i can use a car
Jan. 16, 2011, 10:52 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Peter, you tend to miss what I said entirely. You keep forgetting that the DMV is the one the maintains the roads the most, so those of us with motor vehicles are the ones paying the most for those roads, but I can understand that, because we do use them. What is not understood is that we have to pay to maintain transit that we don't use, which should be the riders themselves. The same is for the bike lanes. Overall, we drivers do NOT get a free ride to use the roads, we pay out of penny and pocket for this. Just because we are not always paying it right there, doesn't mean that we aren't paying for it at all. Our fees go towards the roads, and you guys should do the same with licensing and registration fees that would be given to bicycles. Why do you guys deserve a free ride when others vehicles don't? I doubt you will answer that.
Jan. 17, 2011, 9:34 pm
Mike says:
Tal has lost all credibility with his ridiculous statement that the DMV maintains the roads.

In reality, the DMV has no such function. Some road maintenance comes out of driver fees, but as much or more comes out of general taxes.

Do some research before you post things that just aren't true.
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:50 am
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
The thing is, there's plenty of smart people with legitimate concerns about public safety on the streets of NYC, whether bike-related or not. They deserve to be heard.

Tal just isn't one of them. He's all "us versus them" combined with vehement anger and willful ignorance. Ask for proof to back up his notions, and all he does is talk out of his horse's posterior. I've decided there's nothing constructive or useful about these posts anymore, so I'll be using my energies in more positive ways.
Jan. 18, 2011, 2:47 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I am not surprised that you Streetsbloggers attack me like that, which is very uncalled for. It might be true that my taxes don't go for local roads, but they do for those that are state and national. Believe it or not, the majority of the funding mass transit does come from drivers, not the riders that use them. We pay for almost three-quarters of that just to keep your fares low. While your fares stay constant most of the time, we drivers continue to see constant increase in tolls, gas prices, and other fees all the time, so we do pay a lot more than you do. Maybe I should be allowed to take money out of your wallet when you walk out of the subway to call it even since it's my money that is being used to subsidize it. Go back to Streetsblog if you can't stand the heat otherwise known as the truth.
Jan. 18, 2011, 5:57 pm
Mike says:
"the majority of the funding mass transit does come from drivers, not the riders that use them. We pay for almost three-quarters of that just to keep your fares low."

Citation please for your "almost three quarters"? As far as I can tell, it's a lie. Wikipedia says that fares pay for more than half the cost of the MTA, and most of the rest doesn't come from "drivers", but from general taxes.

And you know what? Drivers SHOULD subsidize mass transit. If it weren't for mass transit, they'd be stuck in traffic all the time -- not just part of the time.

And as a non-driver, a large portion of my taxes go to pay for road construction and maintenance. So you're already taking money out of my wallet.

Please drop this ridiculous argument, learn to justify your statements with facts, or else confine yourself to commenting on your local Pleasantville newspaper's website. Your misinformation isn't welcome here, and you're not part of this community.
Jan. 19, 2011, 12:33 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I don't tell you where to comment, so stop saying that towards me. You had your say, so let me have mine. Overall, we drivers have been nickled and dimed for decades, and they keep on going up even more than your fares do, and the same is for tolls and gas prices. Many of the tolls, taxes, and fees we pay for go to subsidizing your transit. We don't get a free ride here, and neither should your kind. This goes back to the Animal Farms reference of cyclists trying to be those special animals. It's attitudes like yours that is the reason why Streetsblog has made so many enemies, and the attacks on opposing politicians, community boards, other groups, and individuals really need to stop or they will see you as nothing but a bully pulpit.
Jan. 19, 2011, 7:33 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
Mike, don't bother w/Tal. There's no such thing as reasonable debate with a raving loon.
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:31 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Peter, where I come from, we don't use name calling, because it's not only wrong on all levels, but shows that you can't do a fair debate with attacking the person.
Jan. 19, 2011, 9:48 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
I know Tal, since you never call anyone names or equate them with dangerous radicals or Hamas terrorists or put one label on everyone who disagrees with you when ignorance makes your straw-man arguments fail. But that's OK, I understand. Mental illness is a serious disease that needs compassion, and I've done too much on my part to increase the hate. Peace out. Ohm.
Jan. 20, 2011, 8:48 am
Elly from park Slope says:
Bikes can take the high road here. They and their cavalier attitude about being on the road can just as easily cause accidents. they must be respectful of what the roads were designed for...cars. there needs to be mutual respect if they want so much of the road space.
Jan. 21, 2011, 11:38 am
Elly from park Slope says:
Sorry ...Bikes Can't take the high road.
Jan. 21, 2011, 11:39 am
Mike says:
Actually, the roads were designed for horses.
Jan. 21, 2011, 3:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Nobody will argue that roads were not originally made for cars, but they were using them for the last century and even earlier than that. Just to let you know, the car wasn't originally an American idea, it was first started in Germany when Nicholas Otto made the internal combustion engine hence the name automobile. Most of the present day streets and even highways follow old trails. BTW, in this country, the government cannot create a society, just react to one, which is why they built highways such as parkways and later on interstates, which was coppied after the autobahn in Germany. Overall, the car isn't going anywhere no matter how much you despise so just like the WNBA, it's here to stay.
Jan. 21, 2011, 6:38 pm
Mike says:
Amazing incoherence. We shouldn't have bike lanes because of the WNBA?

And Tal, your hatred of bikes is leading to gaping inconsistencies. If "the government cannot create a society, just react to one", then by your logic, given the rapidly increasing bicycle use in New York, the government has to create bike lanes and bike paths. After all, they had no choice but to create highways when auto use increased, right?
Jan. 21, 2011, 7:48 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, you misread that entirely. The reason I said that part of the WNBA is because there are many naysayers to it, and the same implies for you wanting cars off the road. I said that because I know that car culture will never go away, and definitely not in the near future, and the same thing is true about the WNBA. As for the government reacting, cyclists are a still a very small minority according to the US Census Bureau, while the use of cars is still on the very top. There is even more construction for vehicular infrastructure in other countries as well, and I suggest you read the National Geographic article on the Golden Quadrilateral over in India as part of a new highway system. BTW, cars use the road 24 hours a day, 7 days, a week, and 365 days a year more than bicycles do, so their fundings are more needed and do outweigh on just that alone.
Jan. 21, 2011, 9:36 pm
Mike says:
OK, so by your logic, most people in NYC don't drive -- they're pedestrians -- so why do we need car lanes or highways at all?

And up in Pleasantville, most people drive, so why do they need sidewalks at all?
Jan. 21, 2011, 9:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, you are aware that NYC is not just Manhattan. There is also Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. In much of the outer boroughs, a car is needed to get around where this is not the case in Manhattan. There are plenty of neighborhoods that aren't served much by transit, so enough with this Manhattan-centric talk. This is the reason why Bloomberg is despised throughout the rest of the city.
Jan. 22, 2011, 4:44 pm
Mike says:
Who said anything Manhattan-centric? Most people in Brooklyn don't drive, so why do we need highways? And most people in Pleasantville don't walk, so why do they need sidewalks?
Jan. 22, 2011, 6:47 pm
J.J. Hunsecker from Kensington says:
And finally, why is some crazed moron from Pleasantville so obsessed with telling NYC people how to live?
Jan. 22, 2011, 7:53 pm
Mike says:
An excellent, excellent question.
Jan. 22, 2011, 8:41 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I can ask a similar question back.

Why is a group of people with such big egos and special agendas trying to demand certain people here who post something that doesn't agree with them to not comment here because they feel that it hurts their personal, selfish goals that they feel that a non-believer can ruin?
Jan. 23, 2011, 11:45 am
Mike says:
Wow, that's some tortured logic. Look, we don't come post on the Pleasantville Press website and harass you. Just leave us and our city alone, and let us run it the way we want. The one with the big ego, who can't stand to be quiet, and is bizarrely personally offended whenever anyone wants to get around town without two tons of steel, is you.
Jan. 23, 2011, 12:58 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I have no problems with those that wish to disagree with me, it's those that have made personal attacks at me, which happen to be you. I can still remember at an Atlantic Yards hearing where one of the supporters of the projects attacked me just because I wasn't from Brooklyn and thinks just for that I don't get to have a say when in fact my taxes will also pay for it being from the state. I have not harrassed anyone here, just stated my view that I am entitled to here. The moderation staff has no problems with me being here, just you and your friends do. I can be nice to a zillion people before anyone has shown that to me. If you don't like what I am saying, then just simply don't read my comments like a mature adult to which you are not. There is no rule here saying that only those living in Brooklyn can comment here, so knock it off. What is your beef anyway? I am not forcing you on what to like or demanding censorship on those that don't agree with me, so why are you acting so hostile on this? Is agreeing to have crackdowns on cyclists a crime according to you? I guess to you Streetsbloggers, it is.
Jan. 23, 2011, 1:29 pm
Mike says:
My god, the logic, it's so tortured.
Jan. 23, 2011, 4:34 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, if you really believe that I am wasting my time here, then why are you giving me the time of day? Were you just bored or has it been a slow day for you? This isn't the only place where your kind has attacked, there is also the City Room and Crains NY where you do the same thing, which is making personal attacks on those that disagree with you. When I went to hearings on congestion pricing, I know that your fellow Streetsbloggers attacked me just for not being from the city, which was also highly uncalled for. I betcha if I was on your side, you wouldn't care where I am from, but because I am not, you have to resort to such personal attacks. Making fun of someone because of where they are from is the reason why Streetsblog has made so enemies in the past, and I can never forgive them for that stereotypical image of a Westchester driver, which I find very insulting. BTW, I drive a 2002 Honda Civic, which hardly produces any emissions. On a side note, don't play the innocent with me, because that too doesn't work on the Israelis and we can see through all of that just like we did on Hamas and their supporters.
Jan. 23, 2011, 4:51 pm
Mike says:
Goodness golly gee. The Israelis? Hamas? A 2002 Honda Civic? And who said anything about Streetsblog except you? This thread is so hilariously awful.
Jan. 23, 2011, 7:11 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I know you post over on Streetsblog, so don't lie about that, because I look at it a lot as if I am playing big brother on you guys, but even with all those members, you are still a minority compared to the rest of the city. As a person who has taken philosophy, sometimes what is wrong to some can be right to others. You may see the crackdown as something bad, but the rest may see it as something good. The same thing can be implied with congestion pricing where some may see it as a good thing but others may see it as a bad idea. The reason I stated what car I drive was just to debunk that I don't drive a gas guzzler, which is probably what you are assuming. On a side note, I have seen what your kind does on Streetsblog, and some members such as garyg and City Hall Maven were personally attack and threatened bans just for stating their opinions. Just like the WNBA, I am not forcing anything and anyone no matter how much you believe that.
Jan. 23, 2011, 8:36 pm
J.J. Hunsecker says:
Mike, it's best assume the doctors haven't found the right mix of meds yet for poor old Tal. The endless obsessions with hamas=bikers, licensing schemes, the WNBA is here to stay, and especially equating Streetsblog with the Communist Party in the McCarthy era. It would all be funny if it weren't so sad. But he's right, let him run his mouth. No matter what you say, Tal think's he's credible.
Jan. 23, 2011, 10:53 pm
Mike says:
"Just like the WNBA, I am not forcing anything and anyone no matter how much you believe that."

Truly amazing logic. Stellar. I give up. You win. Cars everywhere! Congestion on our streets! Honking, speeding, death! Now I understand! I see the light! We need more of all these things! More, I say!
Jan. 24, 2011, 12:01 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Perhaps, I need to debunk some more things you don't know about me. I am currently working at a recycling center for my job. I graduated from my college with a degree in an environmental science. The reason I mentioned the car I drive was to prove that I don't drive a gas guzzler as you believe I do, and I am against SUVs and Hummers myself. Al Gore also supports the environment, but he is not going to get rid of the car culture, because he knows that it just won't happen or is not part of the solution. Instead, he is trying to help make them more eco-friendly by finding and alternative fuel source that is also renewable. Even your idle to the environment, who I also support a lot, isn't trying to get rid of cars either, and he will probably disagree with you on getting them off the road. I wouldn't be surprised if he was against congestion pricing in seeing that it was nothing but a regressive tax.
Jan. 25, 2011, 5:46 pm
Mike says:
Cars can never be eco-friendly in dense cities, even if they run on unicorn poop and pixie dust. The problem isn't the gas consumption; it's the poor use of public space, the bullying behavior, and the safety problems.
Jan. 25, 2011, 9:23 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
There is already places in dense cities for public spaces and they are called parks. I don't know why so many take the ones they already have for granted just to place them on major thoroughfares, which is a bad idea in the long run. Most people didn't want Times Square pedestrianized nor do they want a busway on 34th Street. For the same reason I am against events such as summer streets or even Park(ing) Day, because they take up space on roads that are used constantly by vehicular traffic. The concept of roads was to allow for transportation, while squares and plazas were for meeting, and this predates all cars. BTW, Barrack Obama yesterday stated in his State of the Union address last night that he to wants to find alternative energy for cars that is also renewable and good for the environment, but I guess even that will make you feel unhappy.
Jan. 26, 2011, 12:42 pm
Mike says:
Tal, in the SAME POST:

"Most people didn't want Times SQUARE pedestrianized"

and

"SQUARES and plazas were for meeting"

Amazing, people. Amazing.
Jan. 26, 2011, 12:45 pm
J. J. Hunsecker from Kensington says:
But he's very smart! Can't you see? Tal keeps telling you...he graduated from his college with a degree in an environmental science and studied philosophy. What other proof do you need that Tal is well-educated and knows the issues?
Jan. 26, 2011, 1:22 pm
College boy says:
Would that be Clown College or Hamburger University?
Jan. 26, 2011, 4:09 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
College boy, I went to Dowling College over in Oakdale, which is located in Suffolk County over in LI.
Jan. 26, 2011, 8:08 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, you missed what I just said about the opposition to pedestrianzing Times Square. The big reason was because it's a major thoroughfare, so vehicular traffic is needed. Another reason is because Bryant Park is about a block away. Why isn't that you can't just walk a few blocks west over to that? Are you people that lazy and need this almost every block? Even I can walk those blocks over, and I probably weigh more. BTW, a number of southbound buses that used to run down Broadway in Times Square were eventually discontinued because the MTA thought that 7th Avenue had enough buses on it already, and traffic on there got worse from those relocated lines. How is that for helping with transportation when a number of lines had to be stopped just to avoid congestion? Please don't answer by getting rid of cars, because that won't help the solution, especially when traffic cannot just magically disappear the next day, it can only be relocated somewhere else. On a side note, the Huffington Post also agrees that pedestrianizing Times Square was a bad idea, and they are liberal to the core.
Jan. 26, 2011, 8:15 pm
Mike says:
Wow, so much misinformation right there, it's mind-blowing.

The new Times Square is a far, far better use of public space than the old one. Have you noticed that pretty much everyone seems to like it? No one is out protesting against it. Except you, writing blog comments about it. You tell 'em!
Jan. 26, 2011, 11:29 pm
Peter Engel from Stuy Town says:
"Here's one sure sign that you're dealing with idiots -- when they tell you their educational credentials without being asked."

I can't see that Mark Twain or someone else didn't say this already, so I'm taking credit. Many thanks to you, Tal, for the inspiration.
Jan. 27, 2011, 12:58 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If you have been following CBS News about the pedestrian islands in the Borough Park area around the Ft Hamilton Pkwy, they were opposed greatly by the residents. It has been mentioned that traffic has actually gotten worse, while many emergency vehicles had a hard time getting through. Also, sanatation trucks found it hard and had to change their times to picking up the garbage a lot earlier than originally scheduled, so that they won't hold up any traffic. There were easier and cheaper ways to help the seniors cross, and that could have been done by fixing the timing on crosswalks, which wouldn't innoconvience anyone. However to the DOT, whatever makes sense, just won't work, which is why JSK is so much despised by most of the city. Many of them are calling for those pedestrian islands to be removed, not the other way around, and there were even a number of comments on the CBS 2 website that agree with me on that when it was covered.
Jan. 27, 2011, 11:01 pm
Mike says:
CBS2 is notoriously biased. Your citing it just shows that you're biased too. In this case, why do you want more people to die in traffic just so cars can move a little faster?
Jan. 27, 2011, 11:40 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
My guess is that when a news article doesn't agree with you, it has to be biased. I can easily where Streetsblog, TA, and Critical Mass has been known to be biased, and they numerous articles that have been questioned a lot, but got defensive rather than being answered. One of the comments suggested in fixing the timing of the crosswalk signals, and I agreed with that one. Tell me why that can't be done especially when it's cheaper, won't take long, and must importantly not make any innconviences for anyone else on the road. BTW, if you watched the video, there were nurses who were being interviewed on saying that patients who were trying to be rushed to the hospital in that area had only a slim chance of living, because they couldn't get there any sooner thanks to those pedestrian islands. The opposition to this was very much homegrown. Nobody was asking for more people in this traffic, they just thought that this wasn't the best way to do it and that there are better ways such as fixing the timing of the crosswalk signals to make the walk signal longer instead.
Jan. 28, 2011, 8:45 am
Mike says:
Streetsblog doesn't claim to be unbiased. TA and Critical Mass are not journalistic outlets. CBS2 claims to be unbiased, but a brief look at nearly any of their stories on these issues shows that to be false.

It's amazing how certain you are about so many things that you're totally wrong about. This is a waste of everyone's time.
Jan. 28, 2011, 2:10 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Mike, I take it you didn't even bother to read after the first two sentences. They were stated by residents and workers that live in that area and witnessed what went on. If that nurse was making up that story, then please show some evidence on why it wasn't the fault of the pedestrian island. Also, prove to me why they can't blame the pedestrian that made it hard for emergency vehicles to get through or even forced the sanitation and delivery trucks to change their times, because they didn't want to hold up traffic when that was hardly an issue before. So far, all you have done is dodge the entire issue, and a blanket statement doesn't answer it. Here's an interesting question. If CBS 2 said the exact opposite about that, would you be calling it biased then or would you say that they are right about it?
Jan. 28, 2011, 7:10 pm
Mike says:
Oh please. You can always find someone to say something crazy. Just because one person says it doesn't make it true. (Similarly, just because you say something on this thread doesn't make it true. In fact, things you say are much *less* likely to be true than things the average person says.)
Jan. 28, 2011, 7:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Just to let you know, Bloomberg is once again trying to implement congestion pricing. However, I think that the same results as before will happen. He will lose especially because many politicians, residents, and businesses in the outer boroughs and metro area will oppose this as they did before. I hope that Silver stops it again as he did before as well. Bloomberg will humiliate himself again with this!
Jan. 28, 2011, 8:04 pm
David Arnold from Brooklyn. says:
Love the quote: "Here's one sure sign that you're dealing with idiots -- when they tell you their educational credentials without being asked."

So true. Whenever less informed people are losing an argument, they resort to 'I HAVE A DEGREE IN THIS!' And then you check their background and, oh, wait....where's that degree?

And I grew up in the countryside of southern england where driving was a necessity, as the nearest town was too far to get to by cycling, and that was where most of us Hinton Admiral teens went to get saturday jobs.
When I moved, after graduating, to America, it was to Arizona, where not being able to drive is thought of as being mentally retarded. When I finally moved to New York, I expected, having heard of the terrile congestion, that it would be a place where your average person had heaps of cars, like Phoenix. It surprised me that, with the exception of a few New Yorkers, whose work took them out of the city to other places, the only people who could drive were me and a few other people from other states, where driving had been a necessity to get places, like my partner at one stage, who was from South Carolina.

Personally I prefer New York. It has an efficient subway system, it is reacheable through walking to get to various places, and most houses don't have space for a car. It shocks me that anybody in Manhattan or Brooklyn would ever bother to have one lesson.

On a side note, when I was back home in Eng., it is usually only countryside kids who learn to drive whilst still 17. City people there, like in New York, either don't drive, or do so only when they have a job that requires it when they're older and such.
April 16, 2011, 9:54 am

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