Letters to the editor, Jan. 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Another view of the new 20th Street

To the Editor:

I was surprised to read the letter describing chaos and danger on 20th Street due to the street redesign (“You don’t have to drive to hate 20th Street,” T&V, Jan. 17). I’ve never witnessed any of this. But if you are interested in street chaos, I recommend the intersection of 14th St and 1st Ave. There you can witness hundreds, perhaps thousands of pedestrians an hour, in crosswalks, dodging aggressive drivers. Personally I’ve witnessed two people get hit (one pedestrian, one bicyclist, fortunately no serious injuries).

On 20th Street, I see a street redesign, which citywide, will prioritize public space for pedestrians, bicyclists and mass transit riders. I support bike lanes, bus lanes, expanded pedestrian space and light rail in this city.

Try this: dare to look at our streets with fresh eyes. Look at the cars passing on First Ave. See how many TLC license plates pass by. Stunning. Second, count how many cars, including the “For Hire” vehicles, which have only one person, the driver, in the car. Think about the public space, our streets, filled with this inefficient and dangerous form of transportation for so many individuals in individual cars. Then, look around and see how much space is devoted to parked cars.

Does this make sense? The majority of New Yorkers do not own cars. Yet our streets are filled with cars. Imagine dragging your sofa outside and parking it on the sidewalk for only your use. Of course this is ridiculous – the sidewalks are public space. So are the streets – now take another look at the public space filled with parked cars.

Public space in this city should be redesigned for all people. Cars are the most wasteful, inefficient form of transportation in this city. Think about street safety. Think about pollution. Think about making a beautiful, safe and healthier city.

 Let’s prioritize mass transportation, such as light rail for our busy streets.  Let’s make bike paths safe for all bicyclists: 8-year-olds to 88-year-olds. Making a better city takes vision.

Mary Garvey, ST

Get a load of this (or many loads)

In response to Billy Sternberg’s letter (“This price hike won’t wash,” T&V, Jan. 24) about the price increase, in my building I suspect the increases went into effect on New Year’s Day. I did wash on 1/3, 1/11, 1/18 and today 1/25, for all of which the washer was $3 (up from $2.90) and the dryer $2.15 (from $2.10).

Our COLAs can’t keep up!

Ed Frumkin, ST

13 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Jan. 31

  1. Oh, Mary, you recite the TransAlt lobbyists’ agitprop so beautifully! Or did you just copy and paste it from their website?

    One, it’s not about a few parking spots. Nice try. Two, no, parking your car down the block is not akin to putting your sofa in the street. By the way, what do you call it when Citibike, a private for-profit enterprise, serving less than 1% of NYC population, plops a 60 foot station down on “the public’s” space?

    The fact is the whole re-design was unnecessary, as there were zero, repeat zero, serious injuries or deaths involving bikes reported there over the last several years. Not to mention likely illegal, as there was no community consultation by the DOT as required by NYC law.

    • One, this reply is unnecessarily condescending to safe streets activists, only SOME of whom are in TransAlt / Families For Safe Streets. (Wow, I guess volunteering to advocate to save lives is a BAD thing, who’d have thought) Changes like these have broad, majority support from the public. They have naysayers too. Not everything is unanimously decided.

      Second, Citibike serves more than 1% of the population with over 100k subscribers (closer to 5% of its service area), but your car serves 0.0000001% of the population (and four cars where a dock would be… well, do the math, but it’s not good). I hear a lot about how Citibike does nothing for people who aren’t able-bodied and thus we shouldn’t have it; my compromise suggestion is that we give Citibike 2-4 spaces on every block, and then all the non-able-bodied residents get their own handicapped spaces, and after that the rest of it can be parking for people who prefer driving. I am sure this would be outrageous to those who have gamed the system and figured out how to claim parking is needed for the handicapped, but then park on the street without actually being handicapped… but this is only 10% of the neighborhood according to the Census, so I think the other 90% would prefer the priority be given to those who need it + a small carve out for a sustainable, space-saving public transit option for everyone else.

      Third, DOT did give community presentations on this. I presume you were home relaxing and having a nice dinner while I was essentially working a second job attending community presentations like these. I am sorry you couldn’t make it. Maybe next time.

      Fourth, if you would share your car with me I’m sure my opinions on the matter could be flipped around. I’m easy like that. And then you double the efficiency of your car!

  2. I guess our local city councilman was “home relaxing and having a nice dinner” during that DOT presentation as well, because he’s on the record saying the reconstruction took him by surprise, too!

    Or could it be (minutes are published) that it occurred after the work was already underway?

    • Thoughtful, if regurgitating well worn talking points put out by a registered lobbying organization could be considered that.

      Or, we could put aside the rhetoric, and try a fact-based analysis. Take a look at Crashmapper.org, a database of all recorded crashes resulting in injuries, and you can zero in 20th St, east of 1st Avenue. You’ll notice there has been exactly one injury to a cyclist going back to 2011. One. In eight years. How many bicycle trips do you think have occurred on that stretch in that time? Safe enough?

  3. The expression “motorists own the road” means exactly that. Motorists pay for the roads. When bicyclists have to register their bikes and have license plates so they can be ticketed for running red lights then we can talk about equity. Until then cyclists, especially CitiBikes are nothing more than scofflaw freeloaders.

    • This is entirely untrue and a purposeful misinterpretation of every issue that is pulled into this comment.

      All of us pay taxes (which gives public space public ownership and shared usage, regardless of “who pays more”), general taxes fund street repairs in the city, bicyclists pay as much in general taxes as motorists do, motorist-specific DMV fees contribute meaningless amounts to road maintenance (they mostly pay for the operations of the DMV agency that tracks registrations and licenses), bicyclists get ticketed for running red lights all the time and pay substantially more on average than the drivers who get automated $50 tickets, and there is no functional gain to making bicycles mount a vehicle-sized license plate other than to increase the burden of being a cyclist in a city where drivers feel free to hit-and-run dead cyclists all the time… turn on the TV today and check the news. Guess we should start licensing those drivers too, eh?

      Also, your rationale here would suggest that you have a dim view of transit users sharing the road with individual motorists. The typical bus fare does not fully fund the cost of operating the bus that the rider is using (that is much more directly subsidized out of motorist fees and general taxes), so it absolutely contributes zero to the street ownership and maintenance. So are they not permitted to be using the bus (on a roadway that isn’t theirs) unless they are a motorist who owns a car that is fully licensed and registered? Doesn’t a bus eat up the roadway way more than a bicycle does?

      Your politics are based around a delusion of supremacy and entitlement. You should run for office and air these opinions out if you think you can do better… see how far it gets you.

      • LOL…more fake news.

        According to: Report of the Finance Division on the
        Fiscal 2018 Preliminary Budget and the
        Fiscal 2017 Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report for the
        Department of Transportation
        March 28, 2017:
        The city will spend(has spent at this time) $265,194,000 for Roadway Repair, Maintenance & Inspection. Income from parking meters alone was almost $210,000,000 of the total revenue of $368,000,000 the DOT is projected to raise in the preliminary FY 2018 budget. This figure does NOT include taxes on car sales, registration fees, parking tickets, moving violations, tax on gas, excise taxes etc,. All funds raised on the backs of motorists. The state of NY and the feds chipped in another $160,000,000 in revenue to the city DOT all of which comes from those registration fees on motor vehicles and taxes on car sales and gasoline. That’s total revenue of $528,000,000 from motorists to pay less than $266,000,000 in expenses for roadway repair/maintenance, a surplus of $262,000,000 or almost double expenses. So given these figures it is clear the city doesn’t need a penny of income taxes etc from non drivers to pay for road repair/maintenance since it is making a hefty profit off of drivers. Add into this the supposed one million dollars a day raised from this congestion fees which cyclists don’t share either. No wonder people claim that the city subsidizes Citibike by not charging them a single dime for prime real estate paid for by motor vehicle owners. Pay your fair share then you can bitch. P.S. most of your bitching is fake news too.

        • Wait: because bicycles don’t use gasoline and bicycles don’t park on the curbside and bicycles don’t cause traffic congestion the way double-parked cars and trucks do, you think we should be banned from the roads or denied safe infrastructure until we pay into the pot?

          I’ll entertain this: how much do you think each cyclist should pay for “driving privileges” to make up for this? What would be fair?

  4. I don’t know, you’re the genius, you tell me. The real money would come from ticketing scofflaw riders.

    Nice try at deflecting from your own bogus statements. I’m not biting.

    As far as I’m concerned it would be OK to tow every double parked car or truck. I’m not defending them or any motor vehicle driver that is a scofflaw. You of course are trying to make that every single driver and it’s not.

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