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Janette Sadik Khan

Transportation Nation

New York Announcing Bike Share Program Today

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bikeshare users in Washington, DC (Photo: Tara Bahrampour)

New York City's transportation chief, Janette Sadik-Khan, will announce the selection of a vendor to run its 10,000-bike bike share system today. The city has been promising it would make the announcement in  summer, 2011 -- which, by the calendar, if not convention, ends next week.

A pair of articles in this weekend's NY Times signal the impending announcement will arrive under the most favorable PR conditions possible, a stark change from previous press coverage of bike share.

Saturday's Times reported that the city council -- which has no official role in the selection process or approval of the selection -- would be holding city-sanctioned hearings on bike share. And on Sunday, columnist Frank Bruni penned a front-page Sunday Review article titled "Bicycle Visionary" with a huge graphic that said "thank you," and went on to detail all the ways in which he thought transportation chief Janette Sadik-Khan, backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, had made life better in New York City.

You cannot make this stuff up.

(For more on the goddess/zealot split in thinking about Sadik-Khan, see my Marketplace story from last winter here)

Both Sadik-Khan and the Mayor were roiled by several tough profiles last spring, and a lawsuit with some juice behind it asking for the removal of a bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect West.  New York Magazine wrote a lengthy feature giving significant voice to bike lane critics, and a Times profile in March led with an anecdote in which former Rep. Anthony Weiner promised to rip out all the big lanes when he was elected Mayor.

(Did I just tell you, you cannot make this stuff up?)

But the lawsuit was dismissed, bike lanes' popularity continues to rise to landslide levels, a relatively mild summer has fueled an increase in bike riding, and now Frank Bruni goes for a spin with Sadik-Khan and it seems nothing could be more fun than a ride with the transpo commish on one of the city's new bike lanes.

Not only that, but Boston's launch of its Hubway bike share  seems to have gone off without a hitch, and Capitol Bikeshare in Washington is already looking to expand because of demand.

Officials confirm an announcement for New York City is coming very, very soon.   The bike share itself is expected to launch mid-2012.  Keep an eye on this space.

 

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WNYC News

Summer Streets Begins Along Park Avenue

Friday, August 05, 2011

On August 6, 13 and 20, New Yorkers will have access to about seven-miles of Park Avenue, without cars, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park.

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WNYC News

Subpoenas Withdrawn in Brooklyn Bike Lane Case

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

All subpoenas in the lawsuit against Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West bike lane have been withdrawn and the lawsuit is now awaiting judicial action. No new court dates have been set.

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Transportation Nation

Brooklyn Bike Lane Case: All Subpoenas Withdrawn

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Prospect Park West bike lane in Brooklyn (photo by Kate Hinds)

All subpoenas in the lawsuit against Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane have been withdrawn, and the lawsuit is now awaiting judicial action.   No new court dates have been set.

Justice Bert Bunyan could issue a ruling on discovery -- or on the Article 78 merits of the case -- at any time.

That was the outcome of a court hearing in Brooklyn State Supreme Court Wednesday, which focused on the subpoenas Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety attorney Jim Walden had issued to officials including NYC Department of Transportation head Janette Sadik-Khan and New York City Council member Brad Lander.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim the city manipulated data and didn't seek adequate community input before install the 2-way protected bike lane along a 1.1-mile stretch of roadway along Brooklyn's Prospect Park.

But the city notes  the local community board requested the lane, repeatedly approved it, and says the bike lane is  a proven success.  The city says automobile speeding has dwindled dramatically,  and that bike riding on the sidewalk has diminished to almost nothing.

Last week the city requested a temporary restraining to block subpoenas to "non-parties" in the case -- including Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman and Transportation Alternatives chief Paul Steely White. Walden withdrew those subpoenas last week.

After today's hearing, Walden withdrew all the other ones, and agreed not to issue any further subpoenas without judicial approval.

Karen Selvin, assistant corporation counsel with the NYC Law Department, said in an emailed statement: "We are pleased with today's developments, which will go a long way toward ending the harassing theater that has surrounded this case. We look forward to the judge's decision and are confident that we will prevail on this important New York City project."

For his part, Jim Walden said that he agreed to go back to the judge before issuing any subpoenas as a show of good faith. "Obviously, we're always going to accommodate a request from the court." But Walden said he believed that the judge will ultimately grant discovery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Brooklyn Borough President Gets Involved in Bike Lane Suit, and DC Metro Gets Hip to Social Media

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

He said, she said in the Prospect Park West bike lane case: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said that NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan told him the lane was temporary. (New York Post)

"That's not true," says Sadik-Khan on NY1, where she also talks about traffic in Midtown, pedestrian plazas, and crash data.

DC's Metro has launched a major social media initiative to "keep information flowing." (Washington Post)

Chinese airlines are benefiting from delays on the Shanghai-to-Beijing high-speed rail line. (Wall Street Journal)

A terrorist attack on NYC's subways would cripple the city "in ways worse than 9/11." (Associated Press)

Behold the BiPod: a hybrid electric flying car. (Fast Company)

Parking meter rates above 96th Street in Manhattan have climbed. (DNA Info)

Automakers say the Obama Administration's fuel efficiency standards are too high. (Marketplace)

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Transportation Nation

NYC DOT Says New Sensor System Will Help Move Midtown Traffic

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mayor Bloomberg and NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration Victor Mendez unveil Midtown Moving at the city's Traffic Control Center in Queens. (Photo by Jim O'Grady)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Midtown traffic jams can now be eased with the touch of a button. That's what New York City officials promised as they introduced new traffic cameras, E-Z Pass readers and microwave motion sensors to 23 Manhattan intersections.

Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan unveiled the new system at the city's Traffic Control Center in Queens, where information gathered by the sensors is wirelessly transmitted. Mayor Bloomberg explained that traffic engineers can use it to spot congestion choke points and then: "They can sit there and touch buttons to turn a light green quicker, leave it on green quicker, leave it off green quicker, whatever the case may be."

The system is called Midtown in Motion. It covers about 110 square blocks, from Second to Sixth Avenues and from 42nd to 57th streets. The area is equally famous as a global business center and a grid that acts on weekdays like a glue trap for traffic.  Sadik-Khan even cracked that to reach certain locations in Midtown during rush hour "you have to be born there."

Mayor Bloomberg said chronic traffic congestion costs the city's economy $13 billion a year for things like extra time needed to make deliveries.

That's a problem the Mayor previously tried to solve through congestion pricing, which was supposed to reduce the number of vehicles on the streets and ease traffic jams by assessing motorists a fee for entering parts of Manhattan during peak times.  But the program failed to gain support in New York State's legislature.  "Who knows whether the legislature is ever going to approve congestion pricing," Mayor Bloomberg said today, before noting that the traffic flow system that just went online could be used for congestion pricing, should its political fortunes reverse.

He said the new technology will give engineers the ability to respond quickly to "crashes, construction, special events like the UN General Assembly and times when congestion saturates the network, causing backups that block cross streets and crosswalks." Previously, traffic signals only could be set to preset signal patterns based on the time of day.

The program also involves the installation of new turn lanes at 53 intersections. Mayor Bloomberg said if Midtown in Motion is successful, the system will be spread by 2013 to the rest of New York's 12,500 signalized intersections, half of which are already digitized and integrated with the traffic management center.

The real-time traffic flow information will also be made available to motorists and to app developers for use on mobile devices. The project cost $1.6 million, with $600,000 coming from the Federal Highway Administration.

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Transportation Nation

Janette Sadik-Khan Subpoenaed in Brooklyn Bike Lane Suit

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sign on Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane (Kate Hinds)

Opponents suing New York City over a bike lane on Brooklyn's Prospect Park West have made good on their threat to issue subpoenas, and they want a host of city officials - including New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Brooklyn City Council member Brad Lander -- to appear in court.

Jim Walden, the attorney representing Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety, sent out an email on Monday that read: "The City is trying to avoid litigation on a technicality, which is based on a lie. After having told the public and various elected officials the bike lane was a trial project, the City now makes the incredible claim the lane was permanent all along, and that our suit was filed too late. The City is desperately trying to avoid litigating the merits of our suit because it cannot justify its misuse of data and failure to conduct a proper safety study."

The New York City Law Department confirmed the  today that the DOT commissioner had been subpoenaed, along with four other people at the agency: Jon Orcutt, Christopher Hrones, Ryan Russo, and Josh Benson.

The city's attorney, Mark Muschenheim, said in a statement that "an evidentiary hearing is not warranted in this type of case. We will move to quash the subpoena, and are confident that our motion will be granted. Moreover, the documents filed with the court provide ample information for a decision to be made on the lawsuit's merits, and we believe that after a review of this record the court will support the City's actions."

The statement went on to say there's a chance the judge in the case, Justice Bert Bunyan, will forbid testimony.

Walden had previously sought a delay in court proceedings so he could receive and review documents from additional Freedom of Information Law requests. The justice in the case denied Walden's request. The next date in the court case is July 20.

 

 

 

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WNYC News

City Poised to Select Vendor for Bike Share System

Monday, July 11, 2011

WNYC

The city is in the final stages of its selection process to find a vendor to run the proposed 10,000-bike system bike share program — an announcement that could come as soon as this month, sources tell WNYC. 

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Transportation Nation

New York Expected To Select Bike Share Vendor By Next Month

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bikeshare users in Washington, DC (Photo: Tara Bahrampour)

New York's bike share program is expected to advance this summer when the city announces its selection of a vendor to run New York's proposed 10,000-bike system. Sources say that the city is in the final stages of the selection program. An announcement could come as soon as this month.

The DOT won't comment, other than to refer reporters to its website, which projects the announcement will come in the summer of 2011.

The full program is slated to be up and running in the spring of 2012. Officials have said a pilot program to test the bikes could be in place as early as this fall.

Under the proposed bike share program, first reported by Transportation Nation last November,  those paying annual or daily membership fees could pick up a bike in one of any number of locations, and drop it off at any other station. City officials expect the system will augment the city's subway system, which is particularly poor at serving riders on the far west and far east sides of Manhattan. Bike share will also allow riders traveling from east to west, who are now constrained to walk or use snail-like crosstown buses, to scoot across town.

New York's is projected to be North America's largest system. The second largest will be Montreal's, with 5,000 bikes, and then Mexico City's, which is looking to expand its 1,300-bike system to nearly 4,000.  Washington, DC, Denver, and Minneapolis all have active bike shares, as do European cities including London, Paris, and Barcelona.

Bike shares have not been without problems. Early systems, like Paris's, were plagued with theft and vandalism, though operators say updated GPS technology has greatly reduced bike losses.

And government officials from cities with established bike shares, like Angel Lopez Rodriguez, Director of Mobility for Barcelona, acknowledge they underestimated the logistical challenges of making sure bikes are evenly distributed around the city.  Lopez Rodriguez says that bike share stations in the hills tend to empty quickly, while those in the flatter, downhill part of Barcelona fill up so users can't find a place to dock their bikes.

But Lopez Rodriguez says he considers his program a success because it's hiking the number of Barcelona residents who regularly bike to 20 percent.

Some bikeshares, like Washington, DC's, offer riders rewards points for returning bikes to the station they checked them out from.

A much-bruited about article in the NY Times also raised questions about the financing of New York's system. But bike-share analysts say New York's system won't be like Paris's or Barcelona's, which are funded by advertising companies, or even like Montreal's, which closes up for the winter.

Instead, they point to Washington, DC's Capital Bikeshare, which has been endorsed by the US Secretary of Transportation, is largely funded through federal clean-air grants, and has some 15,000 members and more than 50,000 casual users.   Alison Cohen, President of Alta Bicycle Share, which operates the DC systems, says the usage levels are surpassing expectations.

The DC program required an upfront investment of $6 million, with 80 percent of that coming from the federal government.

New York has pledged not to use any taxpayer funding for its program. The city's transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, has argued that New York's density and flatness will ensure the financial success of its bike share program.

 

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Transportation Nation

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Anthony Weiner and the Politics of...Bike Lanes?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

FROM THE ARCHIVES -- I wrote this two years ago, as Anthony Weiner's political career was unraveling (but before he'd resigned.) But as he's making moves to get into the race again, seemed like a good time to surface it.  

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Volt Dealers Grab Tax Break For Themselves, & Bike Lawbreakers in CA City Get Choice: Ticket -- or Traffic School

Friday, June 03, 2011

President Obama visits a Chrysler plant in Toledo today to talk about the industry's recovery. (Detroit Free Press)

Laura D'Andrea Tyson writes in the New York Times "the eroding quality of infrastructure is making the United States a less attractive place to do business."

Huntington Beach has become the first city in California to offer traffic school for bicyclists who break the law. (Los Angeles Times)

Ocean City, Maryland, is trying to lure tourists with the promise of free gas. (WAMU)

Ocean City (photo by Notyourbroom/Wikimedia Commons)

Some Chevy Volt dealers are taking the $7,500 tax rebate for themselves, then selling the cars "used." (The Takeaway)

The DOT fined Continental Airlines and US Airways for violating price advertising rules. (Los Angeles Times)

Long Island City (Queens) will get bike lanes this summer. (New York Daily News)

NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan talked about pothole repair before the City Council. (New York Daily News)

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Transportation Nation

NYC DOT To Cyclists: Don't Be Jerks

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation)  In the great tradition of leveraging public shame to correct behavior (as in this classic 1970s anti-littering commercial), the New York City Department of Transportation has rolled out an ad campaign it's calling "Don't Be A Jerk." The message: bicyclists, you need to clean up your act.

The city has called upon several celebrities (like the orange-shod chef, Mario Batali, seen below cycling against the traffic) to demonstrate bad biking behaviors.

“As our streets have become safer and as more New Yorkers take to two wheels, bike riders need to adopt a street code,” said NYC DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “A nice way to put it is that we all simply need to look out for one another. To put it a little more bluntly, don’t be a jerk. It’s a simple, direct message with a wink for bicyclists to follow the rules and help make our streets safer for everyone on them.”

The ads are timed to coincide with Bike Month (not to mention coverage of the NYPD's ticketing of bicyclists) and will air on local television stations through the end of June.

Been ticketed while riding a bike? Let TN know.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NY Tells Bikers "Don't Be A Jerk", and Demand for Used Cars Is Up...And So Are Prices

Monday, May 09, 2011

Demand for used cars is up -- and so are the prices. (NPR)

Transportation officials are planning a number of security upgrades along Los Angeles County's network of rail lines over the next year, including a chemical-detection system and scores of new video surveillance cameras. (Los Angeles Times)

The NYPD said two episodes of subway tunnel trespassing this weekend weren't terror-related, but they warn the city's subway system is so big it's possible for intruders to enter blocked areas. (AP)

The NTSB begins a two-day forum on truck and bus crashes today; watch the live webcast here.

A new report says Philadelphia has twice as many bike commuters as any other large city. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Nicole Gelinas op-ed in Sunday's Star-Ledger: Xanadu isn't infrastructure, unless you're a teenager.

NYC unveiled its "Don't Be a Jerk" bike safety campaign. Watch the video below to see the DOT chief experience what must be a moment of catharsis (her cameo is at :15).

Been wondering what Viennese bike rap looks like? Your wait is over.

The US Post Office issues "Go Green" stamps; out of each sheet of 16, five are transportation related: “Share rides,” “Choose to walk,” “Ride a bike,” “Use public transportation,” and “Maintain tire pressure.” (Alt Transport)

Oh, if only: imaginary instructions for an Ikea-made car. A Djiloriann, no less. Click the link for visual. (College Humor via Curbed)

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--the Northeast reaps nearly $800 million in Florida's rejected high-speed rail funds -- but will the trains really be high speed? (link)

--NY Senator Schumer: Xanadu money should have gone to ARC tunnel (link)

--consensus has been reached on NY's Central Park bike ticketing (link)

--San Francisco will charge your electric car for free through 2013 (link)

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Transportation Nation

NYC Dept of Transportation Says Biking Is Up And Streets Are Safer

Monday, May 02, 2011

(New York, NY - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) Biking continues to go up in New York as driving and transit ridership stays nearly flat, according to a report being released today by the New York City Department of Transportation. The report found that bicycle commuting into Manhattan increased by 13 percent in 2010. During that same period, subway and bus ridership dropped by a little bit over 2 percent, while car traffic rose slightly.

Source: NYC Dept of Transportation

Source: NYC Dept of Transportation

The report, the department's third annual Sustainable Streets Index, showed other biking trends pointed upward. Commuting by bike in New York City is up 262% in the past ten years, and bicyclists now make up a third of the evening rush hour traffic along major bike routes in Brooklyn and Manhattan. On top of that, more than half a million adult New Yorkers ride bicycles at least several times a month.

The report comes after several other reports, including reports out of NYU and Rutgers, say cycling is only a small percentage of commuters. But the NYC DOT says that is based on older data gathered by the US census, and that census data is an inexact measure of bike commuting because it only measures "primary" methods of commutes.  The DOT says its methods are more accurate because they measure actual bicycle riders, consistent with national traffic management measures.

Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said a big part of that growth came from cyclists using bike lanes. "I think if you build it they will come," she said about lanes. "They'll come if you build a safe, effective network that connects neighborhoods where people want to bike."

Critics say bike lanes take up too much road space and makes it harder for cars to navigate the city. But the report says in addition to bike lanes, expect the installation of traffic-calming features like pedestrian malls, street-narrowing, and removing through-lanes for turning bays. Sadik-Kahn said all of those changes have reduced deaths and injuries from crashes.

Other findings:

Traffic speeds in Midtown Manhattan improved by six percent between the fall of 2008 and the fall of 2009, and then leveled off in 2010.

Ridership on crosstown buses dropped 5 percent--except on 34th Street, which has dedicated lanes and countdown clocks.

January is the fastest month for overall traffic speed in New York. December is the slowest.

After the city began a pilot program that allowed businesses to take late-hour and early morning deliveries, delivery companies saw vehicle travel times improve 130% compared to evening and midday travel speeds. Sadik-Khan said the program will be made permanent and expanded.

New parking meters in Park Slope that raise prices during times of high demand reduced parking duration by 20 percent, enabling more drivers to find metered spaces and reducing overall traffic volumes on the neighborhood's main commercial avenues.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Bin Laden's Death Drops Oil Prices, Boston Prepares for Bike Share

Monday, May 02, 2011

Oil prices fall on news of Osama bin Laden's death. (Marketplace)

Washington's Metro transit system is stepping up security as a precaution. (AP)

More coverage of the NYC DOT's "Sustainable Streets Index" report in the Wall Street Journal.

A Boston Globe editorial lauds the city's biking efforts, but says "the city must also work to cultivate the good habits, among bicyclists as well as motorists, that will allow both types of vehicles to coexist." The Globe also looks at DC's Capital Bikeshare program -- and wonders if its success can be replicated in Boston.

Chrysler posts its first profit since going through bankruptcy two years ago. (New York Times)

Ray LaHood kicks off Bike Safety Month and urges people to be "Roll Models."

New York City's Five Boro Bike Tour took place yesterday. (WNYC)

Five Boro Bike Tour (photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

--NYC DOT says biking is up, streets are safer (link)

--The increase in gas prices drove bus ridership up as well (link)

--you can now take the train to the track in NY again (link)

--the federal government told NJ it absolutely positively had to repay ARC tunnel money (link)


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Transportation Nation

NY's East Side may get Bike Lanes to 57th Street -- A Diminished Plan

Thursday, April 28, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  Once, NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan spoke with elation of a planned protected bikeway all the way from New York's Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan up to Harlem.  "With this one project alone which will go from lower Manhattan all the way to 125street  on First and Second Avenues, we will be putting in 160 blocks of protected bike lanes which will nearly double the citywide total in just one year," she told  WNYC's Brian Lehrer.

But first Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith -- maybe -- put the kibosh on the plan (listen to the audio and judge for yourself) above 34th street.  The official word was there wasn't time to build the lanes in 2010 because of construction schedules.  Then, later in the year, the commissioner cast doubt on whether the protected lanes would be extended in 2011.

Now comes a plan from NYC with protected bike lanes for another 15 blocks on First Avenue, and then so-called "shared bike lanes" -- not segregated from traffic, up to the East 50s.  The diminished plan comes amidst protest by a loud but significant and influential minority of New Yorkers (polls show about a third don't like the miles of  lanes installed by the city) including editorializing against the lanes in the city's boisterous tabloids, The New York Post and The New York Daily News, and a lawsuit backed by the the former city transportation director, now a private citizen living along one of the lanes (and her husband, the U.S. Senator, Charles Schumer.)

Commissioner Sadik-Khan once said the protected bike lanes were a necessary precondition for bike share in New York City, but the city is moving ahead with a bike share plan for some 10,000 bikes for 2012.

The new plan is being circulated for comment among community groups, and was first unveiled last night.  (Hat tip: Streetsblog.)

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Sales Decline as Gas Prices Climb, Budget Deal Spares DC Metro, and Big Wheel Vs. Big City Bus

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gasoline sales have fallen for five straight weeks, signaling that pump prices may have reached an economic tipping point. (Marketplace)

The former Port Authority of NY-NJ chair says he's turning his attention to the president’s goal of creating a nationwide high-speed rail network (Star-Ledger). (Although the president's plans just took a big hit.)

Detroit's City Council approved a bond sale that will fund the city's new light rail system. (AP via BusinessWeek)

The Congressional budget deal spares $150 million in federal money for DC's Metro. (Washington Post)

The New York City's Department of Transportation is dropping plans for a four-mile bike lane that would have run along Bay Ridge Parkway in Brooklyn. (NY Post)

Meanwhile, NY1 says that NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan is trying to rebuild good will, one intersection at a time.

One man decided to race a New York City bus on a Big Wheel bike for a mile down 42nd street to make a point about public transportation being slow. Guess who wins? (Video below, via Good.)

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: the budget deal has gutted high-speed rail funding. NYC is installing more countdown clocks at dangerous pedestrian intersections. And we mapped who got fined in NYC for not shoveling their sidewalks during snowstorms.

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TN Moving Stories: Cost of Driving Up, Budget Battle Threatens Transpo Reauthorization, and it's Yankees Vs. MTA in the "Great New York Subway Race"

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

At a Municipal Arts Society panel (hosted by TN's Andrea Bernstein), NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan talked about public plazas -- and Gridlock Sam talked about the backlash to current street changes. (Streetsblog)

The budget battle is endangering the Obama administration's transportation reauthorization plans. (Greenwire via New York Times)

The NY Daily News is reporting that an Inspector General probe found widespread misuse of police parking placards by lawmakers and other state officials, says Governor Cuomo will call for major changes in the way the parking passes are distributed.

AAA says the cost of driving rose 3.4% over last year. (USA Today)

San Francisco's Muni has a plan to bring riders more frequent service and faster trips on its busiest lines. But it will take nine years and cost $167 million - including at least $150 million the agency doesn't have. (San Francisco Chronicle)

The New York Yankees and the NY MTA are in a dispute about the "Great New York Subway Race." But it sounds like it was a misunderstanding and fans will hopefully see the epic battle between the B, D and 4 trains on the scoreboard soon.  (Article from NY Daily News; see video of the Subway Race below.)

March Madness fans broke Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority's light rail ridership record numbers with an estimated 148,000 basketball fans riding trains to and from the NCAA Final Four games during the four-day event. (Houston Chronicle)

Stanford University tops the League of American Bicyclist's list of bike-friendly university. (Kansas City Star)

Richard Branson has launched Virgin Oceanic, a deep-sea submarine project. (BoingBoing)

Actor Kevin Spacey rode a DC's bikeshare program bike. (DCist)

The 2011 NYC Cycling Map (pdf) is now available.

Top Transportation Nation stories we're following: New York's MTA is installing...subway communicator thingies on some station platforms. California applies for high-speed rail funds. And the DOT says that airline tarmac delays were down last month.

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Deputy Mayor: We're "Foursquare Behind" Transportation Commissioner Sadik-Khan

Thursday, March 24, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) Speaking on  WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show today, deputy mayor Howard Wolfson gave New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration's most full-throated endorsement in recent months of the city's policy of expanding bike lanes and pedestrian plazas.

"The Mayor is foursquare behind the commissioner," Wolfson said. "He believes this is the right thing. At the end of the day, when you take away all the overwrought rhetoric, it's about providing choices to New Yorkers."

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Wolfson was also asked to respond to anti-Prospect Park West bike lane attorney Jim Walden's charge, made yesterday on the Brian Lehrer Show, that the Quinnipiac poll showing 54 percent of New Yorkers think bike lanes are "a good thing" means "a very, very significant minority do not, and you can feel the pulse around the city and people are largely extraordinarily upset that the administration has been so fast and loose with the data, promised a robust study, and failed to deliver."

Wolfson said: (about a minute in) "If you had a political candidate who won by fifteen points in an election, you'd call it a landslide. And so fifteen points is a significant margin, especially considering some of the adverse press that bike lanes have gotten.  And you do have a minority of people who don't like bike lanes  -- and they're certainly entitled to that.  In this instance they've hired an outstanding attorney with a very, very prestigious law firm to engage in legal process and that's fine too, people are entitled to do that.

"We have thousands of lawsuits filed against the city every year.  If we let lawsuits or the threat of  lawsuits deter us from heeding the will of the people, the vast majority of the people, in making positive change, we'd never get anything done in the city...In this instance the DOT did nothing wrong and I am quite confident of the outcome of the legal process that the minority of people opposed to this bike lane have chosen to engage in."

(Note: Walden and his firm, Gibson Dunn and Crutcher, are working pro bono.)

Brian also Wolfson whether it's "a coordinated strategy from city hall to have the NYPD enforce" traffic laws for cyclists in Central Park and elsewhere.

Wolfson: (about 9 minutes in) "We have a strategy of providing greater transportation choices for New Yorkers, that certainly includes bike lanes, and we have a strategy of insuring our laws are obeyed on the roads."

You can listen to the interview below.

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NY City Hall Weighs in on Bike Lanes

Monday, March 21, 2011

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) None of the following will be new to our readers.  But it's interesting, in light of reporting that the New York City Mayor may not be backing Janette Sadik-Khan, that this memo comes today from Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, an extremely smart and experienced politico pro (former Schumer aide, former Hillary Clinton aide)  within the Bloomberg Administration, in response to a New York Magazine article (whose contents will also be no surprise to our regular readers, sniff.)

Would seem to indicate pretty strong support for JSK, which those familiar with the situation tell me is real, not manufactured.

UPDATE:  Howard emails me he's been tweeting on this issue for a while @howiewolf.t...Here are a few:

From March 18: Will those who say bike lanes are "imposed" note this? CB6 trans committee unanimously endorsed modifications for PPW bike lane last night

From March 18:  New Q Poll NYers support bike lanes by 15 points 54-39. Strong #s.

The City of New York

Office of the Mayor

New York, NY 10007

MEMORANDUM

To: Interested Parties

From:  Howard Wolfson

Subject: Bike Lanes

Date: March 21, 2011

In light of this week's New York magazine article about bike lanes I thought you might find the below useful.

  • The majority of New Yorkers support bike lanes. According to the most recent Quinnipiac poll, 54 percent of New York City voters say more bike lanes are good "because it's greener and healthier for people to ride their bicycles," while 39 percent say bike lanes are bad "because it leaves less room for cars which increases traffic."

  • Major bike lane installations have been approved by the local Community Board, including the bike lanes on Prospect Park West and Flushing Avenue in Brooklyn and on Columbus Avenue and Grand Street in Manhattan. In many cases, the project were specifically requested by the community board, including the four projects mentioned above.

  • Over the last four years, bike lane projects were presented to Community Boards at 94 public meetings. There have been over 40 individual committee and full community board votes and/or resolutions supporting bike projects.

  • Projects are constantly being changed post-installation, after the community provides input and data about the conditions on the street. For example:

o       The bike lane on Columbus Avenue was amended after installation to increase parking at the community’s request.

o       Bike lanes on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg and on Father Capodanno Blvd. in Staten Island were completely removed after listening to community input and making other network enhancements.

  • 255 miles of bike lanes have been added in the last four years. The City has 6,000 miles of streets.

  • Bike lanes improve safety. Though cycling in the city has more than doubled in the last four years, the number of fatal cycling crashes and serious injuries has declined due to the safer bike network.

  • When protected bike lanes are installed, injury crashes for all road users (drivers, pedestrians, cyclists), typically drop by 40 percent and by more than 50 percent in some locations.

  • From 2001 through 2005, four pedestrians were killed in bike-pedestrian accidents. From 2006 through 2010, while cycling in the city doubled, three pedestrians were killed in bike-pedestrian accidents.

  • 66 percent of the bike lanes installed have had no effects on parking or on the number of moving lanes.

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