Friday, October 26, 2012

Mayor says motorists are less important in his kingdom

Bloomberg said those who cycle, use mass transit or walk are
 "more important" than motorists who clog New York City roads
Mayor Michael Bloomberg says mass transit, cyclists '
more important' than drivers who clog roads -

Mass transit riders, cyclists and pedestrians are "more important" than motorists, who clog up the roads, Mayor Bloomberg said today.

Speaking at a transportation conference at New York University, Bloomberg said people often forget streets weren't made for cars.

"The streets were there to transport people," he said. "They are not for cars ... One of the original ways was walking."

Mass transit is the only way to stop the economy-crushing gridlock that plagues urban centers, he said.

"Cyclists and pedestrians and bus riders are as important, if not, I would argue more important, than automobile riders," he said.

Dan Brinzac
Bloomberg said those who cycle, use mass transit or walk are "more important" than motorists who clog New York City roads.
Nothing can be done to stop truck traffic - which delivers most goods into the city - but mass transit can help ease congestion, he said.

"Mass transit is the only way to work ourselves out of congestion," he said.

Bloomberg told the roomful of transportation wonks at the Designing Cities conference - hosted by city Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan - that New York was remarkably safe.

"You can walk through this city if you're a woman during the daytime in any neighborhood in the city and not have to look over your shoulder," he said.

At night there's only a handful to avoid, he said.

"If it wasn't for iPhones and iPads our crime rate would be dramatically lower," he said.

He joked, "They (crooks) take iPhone 5's but they don't take Galaxy 3s."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Armstrong Stripped of His 7 Tour de France Titles

Read ====>Armstrong Stripped of His 7 Tour de France Titles -
“We’ve come too far in the fight against doping to go back to the past,” Pat McQuaid, the president of the cycling union, said in a news conference on Monday in Switzerland. “Something like this must never happen again.”
He added that Armstrong, the sport’s biggest star for more than a decade, “has no place in cycling.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

In search for the bike path on Church Avenue

Many riders down Ocean Parkway work their way down through Prospect Park that provides the most direct route to the Ocean Pkwy greenway.  But if you are unfamiliar with the territory it can be quite confusing as you exit from the path onto the Church Avenue/Ocean Parkway intersection.  Following the path works only as far as getting to the other side of Church.  Then what?  Here is where the Parks Department and Department of Transportation need to work together to provide improved and logical signage for a seamless route to the southbound bike path on the west mall.  The following photos illustrate the obstacles that riders face to continue on a safe and enjoyable journey.
Path from Prospect Park opens onto busy Church Avenue.
Looks like the path continues down the east mall but...

...riders confront No Bicycling sign.  Now what???
View from the east mall.
What cyclists see after they cross Church Avenue.
You need sharp eyes to find the sign across the way.
 No signs on this side to direct cyclists to cross here.
Sign looks pretty visible,  Not!
Can the bike path sign be any more confusing? Walk? Where? Why?

Bike smart even if you do have the right of way.
Crossing eight lanes of traffic to get to the other side.
Cyclist attempts to cross over on north side of Church Avenue.  
Cars often get caught in the crosswalk to avoid setting off red light camera
View from the west mall.  Don't expect any consideration from drivers.
Heading towards Prospect Park across Church Avenue.
The 30 mph limit ends upon entering
 the entrance to the Prospect Expressway.
For many it ended  many blocks  earlier.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Brooklyn bicyclist fined $1,555 for running red lights with headphones

 Bicyclist Daniel Greer, 24, was fined over $1,500 on a traffic stop for crossing three red lights on September 7, 2012.
Bicyclist Daniel Greer, 24, was finedover $1,500
on a traffic stop for crossing
 three red lights on September 7, 2012


Brooklyn bicyclist fined $1,555 during a single traffic stop - NY Daily News

An avid cyclist says he’s the one being taken for a ride after cops slapped him with a whopping $1,555 in fines for a single traffic stop in Brooklyn last month.
Bushwick artist Daniel Greer, 24, who admittedly went through three red lights while wearing headphones, said he did not at first realize he was being pulled over near Lorimer and Grand Sts. on his bike ride home from his photography assistant gig on Sept. 7.
He was hit with four tickets and pleaded guilty because he thought the fines would be in the $700 to $900 range, he said.
So Greer answered the summonses by mail, checking off “guilty” to the offenses cited during the Williamsburg stop.
But he said he was stunned to get a Sept. 28 notice asking for about one-tenth of his annual income.
The red-light tickets worked out to cost between $190 and $940 because he was considered a repeat offender after running the first one.
“I know what I did was wrong and I understand that’s the penalty, I just think it’s astronomical,” Greer said. “I guess (the amount) just seemed a little excessive to me.”
He had considered fighting the tickets but copped to the traffic violations partly because he was going to be out of town and and was required to respond to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles within 15 days.
Police said Greer earned the multiple tickets he received.
“The individual committed several violations and was cited accordingly,” an NYPD spokeswoman said.
But cycling advocate and attorney Steve Vaccaro said he disagrees with the practice of doling out multiple tickets unless the rider is doing “a lot of very different and distinct things wrong.”
While issuing multiple tickets is allowed, it can be frowned upon by traffic court judges, he said.
Judges sometimes “contest traffic tickets or throw out summonses they consider to be for a single course of action,” Vaccaro said. “They call it double-dipping.”
With Joe Kemp

Read more:

An Island of Tranquillity in Prospect Park

The newly recreated Music Island, seen from the shoreline of the lake in Prospect Park.
An Island of Tranquillity Is Reclaimed in Prospect Park -

“I claim this land in the name of the Prospect Park Alliance,” its president, Emily Lloyd, declared after setting foot for the first time on Music Island.

How the city looks and feels — and why it got that way.

David W. Dunlap/The New York Times
Recreated ornamental railing along the esplanade.
In place of a helmet, Ms. Lloyd wore a soft straw hat. She didn’t plant a flag. Her troops consisted only of two landscape architects and a colleague from public relations. Still, the authority of her claim is not likely to be challenged.

For one thing, Music Island, about one-quarter of an acre in extent, is in Prospect Park, rising along the southeastern shore of the lake. For another, almost no one knows that Music Island even exists. Once again.

The first Music Island was a feature of the 19th-century park design by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. It occupied a small cove that was bordered by a formal esplanade of carved granite posts and iron railings.

Musicians would row out to the island and play concerts for parkgoers. Romantic? Yes. Audible? Barely. Concerts were abandoned and the island was given over to ornamental plantings of red flowers.

In 1959, it was bulldozed into oblivion to accommodate the new Kate Wollman Memorial Rink. The cove in which it sat was filled with hundreds of pilings. The elegant shoreline esplanade was chopped to pieces and dumped into the cove as fill. On top, a 12-inch concrete-and-rebar slab was set on which the rink was built.

Tear Drop Island nearby was spared. But the channel grew so choked by a hard-packed weed called phragmites that land and island fused. “You could walk out to it,” said Christian Zimmerman, the vice president of the alliance for design and construction. “And sometimes, people did.”

By 2000, Wollman Rink was reaching the end of its days. It was clear that it would have to be reconstructed or replaced.

Tupper Thomas, Ms. Lloyd’s predecessor as alliance president, raised the notion of reviving the formal Olmsted and Vaux shoreline. By 2009, it was official: Music Island would be recreated — as a nature preserve, not a concert venue — under a redevelopment plan known as Lakeside. The centerpiece of Lakeside, a year-round recreational center with two rinks, is now under construction, though the project’s budget has ballooned and its timeline has grown. Wollman Rink was demolished in 2011. Lakeside is not expected to open until the 2013 skating season.

For now, the esplanade is closed to the public, and Music Island can be seen only through a chain-link construction fence. However, beginning Oct. 20, the esplanade will be open Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., permitting a much better view.

Motorcyclists want free parking at muni meters

 Queens Councilman Peter Vallone, above, and State Assemblyman Michael DenDekker, not pictured, held a press conference in support of motorcycle parking legislation at Queens Borough Hall
Motorcyclists -- including some Queens politicans -- are revving mad over ‘unfair’ parking tickets  - NY Daily News

Rebel without a parking ticket?
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), an avid Harley-Davidson rider, is pushing for legislation that would make motorcycle parking free throughout the five boroughs.
“We get tickets a lot,” Vallone said of motorcylists in front of Queens Borough Hall on Thursday. “That is unfair.”
The Councilman, flanked by state Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights) and fellow riders, said the biggest issue facing bikers are muni-meters.
“There is no way for a motorcycle rider to affix a muni-meter (receipt) to their bike in a way that it won’t blow away and it won’t be stolen,” Vallone said.
DenDekker, a fellow motorcyclist, said after 34 years of riding he received his first $65 parking fine last week, due to what he sees as a faulty system.
“I received a ticket for failure to display a muni-meter receipt,” he said. “I did not buy one because I didn’t have any place to put it. There’s no place on my motorcycle that I can attach this little piece of paper.”

Monday, October 8, 2012

City red-light camera intersections have shorter yellows

Read===>City red-light cameras take advantage of short yellow lights to increase ticket revenue -

Last Updated: 6:27 AM, October 8, 2012
Posted: 1:17 AM, October 8, 2012
It’s roadway robbery.

City intersections with red-light “gotcha’’ cameras routinely cut short the time that motorists have to make it through yellow lights, running up the number of tickets issued and milking drivers already getting clobbered by record gas prices and skyrocketing tolls, The Post has learned.

Based on recent random surveys, AAA New York has found that intersections with cameras have yellow lights that are shorter by as much as 15 percent compared to the city standard.

“They’re not giving people ample time to get through intersections,” said AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair. “This is supposed to be about safety, not just raising revenue, and that’s what it’s become.”

The city Department of Transportation says the standard time it sets its yellow lights at is about a second for every 10 mph of the speed limit, or three seconds for the typical 30-mph intersection.

But the AAA engineers found that the city’s yellow lights at intersections with cameras were coming in as low as 2.53 seconds. The short timing was clear as day during a recent series of random reviews observed by The Post.

AAA is “in favor of red-light cameras,” Sinclair insisted. “But it must be fair. People lose respect for these programs if they view them as revenue enhancers. You can’t have respect for this program if you’re setting it up to be unfair and you’re just reaching into people’s pockets.”

Sunday, October 7, 2012

When the car became the transportation alternative

Ocean Parkway bike path, 1896. The city widened the path after 10,000 cyclists jammed the opening celebration in 1895. (NY Public Library
On June 15, 1894, thanks to the efforts of Albert H. Angel, of the Good Roads Association, and other sports enthusiasts, Ocean Parkway became the home of the country’s first bike path. More than 60 “wheelman clubs” from the New York and New Jersey area, as well as bicycle police, were on hand for the opening ceremony. Since racing was still a concern, cyclists were limited to speeds of 12 miles per hour on the bike path and 10 miles per hour on the parkway. Until 1908, there were several tracks for horse racing along the parkway, but these disappeared once open betting was banned. Equestrian culture on Ocean Parkway came to an end when the bridle path on the eastern roadway was removed during restoration in the 1970s.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Damaged Woods

Here is a sample of the many damaged benches that sit along the east mall below Avenue O.
Broken benches and discarded splintered wood litter the path.  From Avenue O north the benches are new and we hope will not be vandalized or defaced with graffiti.
Repair work is sporadic and I have only seen one carpenter in a single truck along the entire length of Ocean Parkway.  Not surprising when there is only one two-man team responsible for all of the boardwalk repair.

'Lunch Atop A Skyscraper'

lunch atop skyscraper new yorkSelect==>'Lunch Atop A Skyscraper,' Famous New York City Photograph, Turns 80 (PHOTO)

As 1 World Trade Center rises to pierce the sky this story and video is a reminder of the spirit of the working men and women who built our city that challenged the heavens.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Met Foods Supermarket in Brighton Closes Its Doors

Read here====>Brighton Seniors Distraught As Met Foods Supermarket Closes Its Doors

After 30 years in business, Brighton Beach’s Met Foods supermarket is closing its doors in just two more weeks, leaving neighborhood seniors distressed about future food-shopping endeavors.

The supermarket, located at at 100-120 Brighton Beach Avenue, is being replaced by a modern two-story office and retail complex. Rather than housing a different convenience store, the new complex will be open to a variety of vendors that will be able to sublet office-sized space, with retail on the ground floor.

But Brighton Beach locals are unenthusiastic about the change. Many Met Foods customers are worried about the inconvenience that this close will cause on the elderly population residing in the community.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Good News! Mall improvments will resume soon

Broken pavement is a serious problem.
The rehab can't come soon enough but it will take time.
Good news! Council Member David Greenfield has informed us that the rehabilitation of the Ocean Parkway malls will resume by the end of the year.  The areas that are scheduled for repair and improvement include the east and west mall from south of Avenue O.  We don't know the timeline or the locations that will be addressed first. As you know the mall sections between Avenue V and Avenue X are extremely hazardous for pedestrians and bicyclists and require immediate attention.
However, the east pedestrian mall in Councilman Michael Nelson's 48th district south of Avenue Y will not be done this fiscal year.  Funding has to be allocated in the budget for FY 2014 which means work could not begin until late next year.  His district includes Gravesend and Brighton and conditions of the pathway and the benches are deteriorating.  We don't know why these funds have never been included into capital improvement dollars like the rest of the Ocean Parkway malls. Please contact Mr. Nelson's office at 212-788-7360 at and remind him to include funding for mall renovation in the next city budget.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Trashing Ocean Parkway revisited

Everyone loves to give and receive flowers for the holidays. But these vendors on Avenue S and Ocean Parkway chose to move their trash to the malls for someone else to clean up their mess.  I walked over to one in charge and told him to clean up his garbage before he left.