The Oriental Boulevard "Speedway." Source: Google Maps

THE COMMUTE: Two weeks ago I reported on a 25-minute Brighton delay northbound at around noon on December 13. I stated that the delay apparently resulted from a work train used to pick up trash from the tracks. In the comments, reader Andrew stated he was on a northbound Q at around the same time, which was stuck for one or two minutes due to a signal problem.

Although I never received a response to the email I sent to the NYCT President, I did receive a response to the email I submitted through the MTA website on December 16. The automated reply I immediately received stated that a response would take up to 15 business days or three weeks. Therefore, I was surprised to receive a response only two business days later on December 20. The response, which was nine paragraphs long, was all boilerplate except for three sentences relating to the specific delay.

“We can report that the delay you experienced on the B and Q lines was due to signal problems at the Prospect Park station” and “We have forwarded your e-mail to supervision in our Department of Subways for review. They will continue their efforts to minimize the effects of delays in the future and ensure that customers are properly informed in the event of a delay or service change.”

No mention was made of why the passengers on the B train, delayed for 25 minutes, were not informed of any signal problems, or why the motorman also seemed not to be aware of the cause of the delay. Only that: “Our policy requires staff to make clear, audible public address announcements regarding the nature of the delay and/or service diversion and what alternative services are available.”

If signal problems were really the true cause of the delay will never be known. However, the MTA does deserve credit for promptly responding and for attaching a name and title to the response, rather than simply responding – “Sincerely. Customer Service.” They could, however, make it easier to send a complaint by providing a direct link on their home page for complaints. Instead you have to go to “MTA Home” at http://mta.info/. Then, in the upper right hand corner, you have to click on FAQs / Contact Us. Then you click on “E-Mail.” It only takes a few minutes, so the next time you encounter a problem, you may find out the reason if you ask and it will also help the MTA provide better service.

Red Light Cameras

This week, The Bay News reports on a bill in the Assembly in Albany, which would legalize red light cameras to catch speeders. The Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA) supports the legislation and, if passed, is ready to petition Albany to install the cameras along Oriental Boulevard to curb speeding, although Community Board 15 voted to reject cameras for the district earlier this year.

Speeding and illegal passing in the zebra stripes are a problem on Oriental Boulevard and also on Shore Boulevard, but this proposal will not solve the problem. It will, however, raise tons of money for the City.

Here are the problems: When police officers give speeding tickets, they use discretion. Rarely does anyone receive a speeding ticket for driving less than 10 miles over the speed limit since speed limits are always 10 to 15 percent lower than the speed actually deemed safe to drive during normal driving conditions to allow a cushion.

Who among us hasn’t unintentionally found himself driving at 32 or 33 mph in a 30 mile per hour zone before slowing down? These cameras will allow no leeway. According to The Bay News, “Under the law, speeding motorists would be fined $50 for driving up to 10 miles-per-hour over the speed limit, $75 for going 10–30-miles-per-hour over the speed limit, and $150 for driving faster than that.”

There is no mention of leeway. That’s a $50 fine for every occurrence passing a sensor at 32 mph. Also, we do not know how often the cameras will be calibrated or how accurate they will be. If your speedometer says 30 mph, and the camera says 32, how do you prove your case in a court of law? How many innocent drivers will be ticketed? What will happen is that, within the first week, daily drivers will learn the location of the sensors and slow down to below 30 when passing them, and speed up after. Those not willing to do that will likely switch to Shore Boulevard, which will not have any sensors, and speed there instead. If traffic becomes too heavy on Shore Boulevard, some cars will switch to Hampton Avenue to move faster.

The real speeders causing problems on Oriental Boulevard will be smart enough to avoid tickets, while unsuspecting motorists straying a few miles over the speed limit will account for the bulk of the $50 fines. There are better ways to catch speeders, like regular unannounced enforcement. Instead, the only time there is enforcement is after there is a rash of accidents or, God forbid, another fatality. Too much of an emphasis is placed on ticketing at expired parking meters and not enough on ticketing speeders and reckless drivers. Kingsborough Community College also needs to do more.

The MBNA should focus instead on:

  1. Moving the bicycle lane from Oriental Boulevard to the dual sidewalk on Shore Boulevard.
  2. Removal of the zebra stripes on Oriental Boulevard.
  3. Reducing alternate side parking (ASP) from four days a week to two days a week to provide more parking spaces and less of a reason for students to speed to obtain a parking space. If neighborhoods more dense than Manhattan Beach can keep their streets clean with two day a week ASP regulations, and parts of Sheepshead Bay can have clean streets without any ASP regulations, there is no reason why Manhattan Beach needs ASP for four days a week.

Let us hope the MBNA changes their mind and that this bill does not pass the Assembly and Senate but, if it does, and you suddenly find yourself with a stack of $50 speeding tickets, just remember who asked for the cameras.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

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  • Frustrated commuter

    I have a complaint that I’m sure will have many agreeing with me. Ever since the B train has resumed express service it is a nightmare getting a Q connection at Kings Highway in the evenings when getting home from the city. One has to wait at least 15 -20 minutes on average in the freezing temperatures. Inevitably the Q trains arrive in clusters (2 to 3 all at once) and are re-routed to the express stops only, making for an unpleasant and frustrating commute every evening! Can something be done to make sure that this situation is better managed so that we who live on the local stops are not penalized for living there!! We need more Q trains – the population has grown considerably and there is a huge number of folks getting off at Ave. U and Neck Road who need better service! 

    • Allan Rosen

      Use the e-mail link and tell the MTA the next time this happens. Say this is a regular occurrence and tell them the exact time you waited. If the locals are late, they should not be routed to the express track to make up time during the evening hours when people are trying to get home. If no one says anything to them, they may think they are taking the correct action to help northbound commuters on the following trip. Tell them how long you have to wait an that this is just unacceptable.

      • Andrew

        I agree with all of this, but one thing to be careful of: when you’re waiting for a train, time often seems to pass faster than it actually does.  So, Frustrated commuter, if “15-20 minutes” is based on how it feels, double check next time with a watch.

        The most useful sort of email has exact times: “On December 27, I got off the B at 7:23 but the Q didn’t arrive until 7:41, and it made express stops,” or something like that.

        Remember that the Q is coming from Astoria now, with a longer and more complex route than it had when you were relying on the Q in 2009, so it may have reliability problems at the north end that need to be addressed.

    • JR

      what does this have to do with MB red light cameras?

      • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

         It’s got to do with the MTA delays at the start of the article.

    • Anonymous

      Don’t you know by now the MTA never allows passengers on the Brighton Line to make timely connections from a local train to an express train going in either direction? It’s been that way for years and never will change. It’s not allowed.

  • http://www.brucebrodinsky.com Bruce B

    I say, put the cameras in. Sure, every law enforcement attempt has its flaws, but that’s no reason to discard them. It will cut down speeding quite decently. And why do we assume leeway on speed limits? That’s exactly the reason speeding (and going thru lights) starts. One guy here posted it’s ok to go through the light .2 seconds after it turns red. Well, .2 seconds became .5, became 1.0, became 3. The solution is stricter enforcement, not workarounds to avoid enforcement.

    • Allan Rosen

      We assume leeway because the speed limit is always lower than the safe driving speed for optimal road conditions. That means sometimes it is safe to drive over the speed limit while other times it can be dangerous even if you are going slower than the speed limit. Once I was driving on I-95 during a severe blizzard. I was doing 30 and was stopped by a police officer telling me I should slow down to 20 because of the road conditions.

      You cannot legislate common sense. Radar guns are also not 100% accurate which is another reason tree is leeway. The Belt Parkway was designed to be safe at 60 mph so the limit was set at 55 mph until the City lowered all the highway limits to 50 and some to only 45 like portions of h BQE.

      • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

        I’m not advocating for or against the cameras because you gave plenty to think about in your article but I’ll add that there’s an inherent buffer in your speed as it’s displayed on your speedometer. You can check with an accurate GPS device that speedometer speeds are on average 2-3mph higher than your actual speed. When you’re going 32/33 you’re actually going 30.

        • Guest

          Do you have any sort of source for this information?

          • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

            Not really, all I can offer is this WSJ Q&A which explains the discrepancy in displayed and actual speed and why you should favor GPS:

            http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123119286106955181.html

            There’s also errors in the needle mechanism that displays the speed.

        • Allan Rosen

          I guess just like the overhead clearance signs which show one foot less than the actual clearance which is why so many truckers get stuck. They know the signs are wrong so they think they can clear and they are mistaken.

          The cameras would be okay if they allowed a big enough cushion. That’s also why I don’t like te red light cameras we do have. They only get you if you cross a second after. Sometimes, you have to slam on the brakes to stop in time even if you are below the speed limit, increasing the number of rear enders I don’t believe they even work if you just bypass the red light in the middle of the cycle.

          • Andrew

            Your two paragraphs contradict each other: if everybody knows that there’s a cushion, then everybody will take advantage of the cushion.

            There is no reason that anybody driving at the speed limit (or the appropriate lower speed in inclement weather) who is paying attention should have any difficulty stopping for a red light.  Obviously, if you’re speeding, then your stopping distance is longer, and if you’re not paying attention, you may not see the light change in time.  So, don’t speed and pay attention!

          • Allan Rosen

            You obviously have not driven on Woodhaven Blvd where you have to slam on the brakes to stop and then you bypass the crosswalk and have to backup. I’ve checked my speed and this happens if you are approaching the corner and traveling below the speed limit. The yellows are just too short. Not only does stopping short cause more accidents, it also wastes gas. The yellows should be long enough to allow you to smoothly coast to a stop or go through before it turns red.

          • Andrew

            I’ve never had that problem on Woodhaven.  If you think the timing is off somewhere, tell DOT so it can be fixed..

            When traffic is light, it’s easy to inadvertently speed on Woodhaven – it’s a very wide street.  I can’t speak to your personal experiences, but I think that most people who can’t stop in time on Woodhaven are speeding.

          • Allan Rosen

            I drove on Woodhaven every day for nine years and if you approach the corner at the wrong time, you cannot stop. Also the speed limit is 35 or 40 mph so the yellows need to be longer.

          • Andrew

            As I said, if there’s a problem with the timing somewhere, let DOT know.

            It’s pretty alarming that you drove on Woodhaven every day for nine years but don’t know if the speed limit is 35 or 40 mph.  And it suggests that maybe, just maybe, you might not have been observing the speed limit quite as meticulously as you claimed yesterday.
            (On almost all city streets, the speed limit is 30.  On a few it’s 35.  I don’t think it’s higher anywhere in the city.)

          • Allan Rosen

            You are assuming I don’t know what the speed limit is. Perhaps I should have been clearer. What I should have said is it is 40 for most of Cross Bay and 35 for a small portion of it and 35 for the entire Woodhaven. Are you happy now?

          • Andrew

            Pardon me for not reading your mind.

        • Animo916

           My speedometer is dead on accurate to the readings on my Garmin GPS!!

      • NSF

        Your recall of the blizzard stop seems to be much ado about nothing. You don’t say you got a ticket, just that the trooper stopped you. While the stop may have been an inconvenience, perhaps he was just trying to offer reasonable safety advice in a freakin’ blizzard.

        • Allan Rosen

          It wasn’t an inconvenience.  I actually appreciated being stopped so that he could offer safety advice.  And I did not receive a ticket. I only mentioned the incident to show how a sensible speed depends more on the actual conditions than on posted speed limits which are often too low. You can;t legislate common sense. IF everyone is doing 60 in a 50 mph zone, it really isn’t dangerous.  It’s when one person is doing 70 weaving in and out when everyone else is doing 50, that it becomes dangerous.  I have never seen anyone ticketed for doing that. 

          • Andrew

            What you say is basically correct for highway driving.

            It is most certainly NOT correct for city street driving, where you also have to watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists who aren’t protected by cages of steel.

          • Allan Rosen

            The key is visibility.  In addition to pedestrians and bicyclists, there is also the possibility of dogs, cats or squirrels coming out from between parked cars.

  • http://www.google.com/ F_a_b_a

    Wait what? How do red light cameras catch speeding cars? They catch cars running red lights. You want speeding cameras. For such affluent neighborhood Manhattan Beach sure does have plenty of morons on its board.
    Look MBNA, you only have one problem. You have all these not so bright, poor kids going through your neighborhood to get to school. You don’t like that, because you are not poor and your not so bright kids go to NYU because you can afford tuition. KCC is not going any place any time soon, so learn to live with it or you give yourself angina.

    • Allan Rosen

      We don’t have them yet but that is what the Assembly Bill is trying to allow — a new type of camera with sensors embedded in the street set to go off when someone speeds.

      • Andrew

        I think F_a_b_a’s point is that you’re referring to speeding cameras as red light cameras.  They’re different things, and they serve different purposes.

        Based on your description, I don’t think there are any red light cameras being discussed – just speeding cameras.

    • ES

      My guess is that motorists and pedestrians getting killed in high speed drag races down Oriental figures prominently in residents’ displeasure.

      • http://www.google.com/ F_a_b_a

        You guys are confusing law enforcement and city income generating technology.
        Speed cameras/ red light cameras are not put in place to keep society safe. Their primary purpose is to generate income for the city, close second it’s a tool for government to observe society.
        Running a city is business these days and every business needs as much income as it can get and as little nonconformists as possible.
        Personal freedoms are no longer priority in this country and more government involvement in every aspect of citizens lives is not only unopposed but also welcomed by many Americans.
        History has many examples where government oversteps all boundaries of indevidual rights to preserve it’s own totalitarian rule. One that comes to mind right this minute is German Democratic Republic (GDR). If you ever want learn how far government can take spying on it citizens I suggest you read up on this short lived country.

    • Abitgentlerplease

      Hey Faba, I agree about your point about the speeding cameras not being there to catch speeders, but I will have to disagree with you abut your sterotyping of Manhattan Beachers.  As a 30+ yr Manhattan Beacher, and the the family member of an
      individual that was hit by a KCC driver in Manhattan Beach, as well as the wife of a KCC alum, I will say that I understand the anxieties of the community about fatalities. To conflate bigotry, which of course sadly exists in many communities, with an attempt to address the fatality issue (albeit not always so intelligently) is a bit bigoted as well, don’t you think?

  • Manhattan Beach Driver

    Why don’t we stop throttling drivers at every opportunity.  Every neighborhood wants to slow traffic to 15mph with a red light at every intersection but if every neighborhood does that it will take 3 hours to get across Brooklyn. 

    Let’s stop trying to rigidly enforce arbitrarily low speed limits and catch the drag racers instead.  If we must have cameras then they need to be set to catch only 20+ over or else this is just another fee against drivers.  I guarantee you there will be plenty of people caught up in that net, just not the average neighborhood person who might be going 5 over.

    • Sickofitall

      Ah but the emperor and the bike lane nut want to do exactly that. Her warped and irrational logic is that if we slow all the evil drivers down to 15 MPH by putting up out of sync lights and bumps in the middle of the road they will all start riding bikes or taking shitty mass transit or walk the 10 miles to work and back everyday.  This is 25% of why the bostonian troll wanted a 3rd term.       

      Those cameras while extremely unconstitutional will undoubtedly pass. They will be used as a money making vehicle but will get public support because they will be promoted as saving lives. Think about it, 2 MPH over the speed limit. $50 a pop. So many people will get caught. The emperor and the bike lane nut are going to be  even more filthy rich! Fuck the 99%! Fuck the poor! 

      • Manhattan Beach Driver

        Don’t worry, the emperor and that idiot DOT commissioner, and everyone who supports them will get theirs.  The reason people drive is because they need to get someplace quickly or where mass transit doesn’t get them efficiently.  When they finish making it all but impossible to utilize this city by car all of us who don’t work a 9-5 along a well traveled train route will simply cut them out of the picture.  They think they have money problems now, wait until they finish telling the small business owners of the city to go f themselves and we leave.

    • N Friedman

      Perhaps if police officers used common sense instead of a citywide ticket quota policy, all neighborhoods would be safer and traffic would move more smoothly. 
      And someone should remind traffic agents in vehicles that by double parking while they issue a summons to a parked vehicle, they only compound the problem!

      • Andrew

        Police officers virtually never give out moving violations.  If I were to hit and kill a pedestrian while running a red light at twice the speed limit, I’d tell the cops that I didn’t see them and chances are I’d be let off the hook.

        Speeding and running red lights costs hundreds of lives a year in New York City.  The police have no interest in enforcing the law, and, even if they did, it makes no sense to pay the police to do something that could be done far more consistently at much lower cost.

        • guest

          What planet are you living on? If you were to hit and kill a pedestrian using your above scenario going 2x the speed limit the cops would be carting you away. That is not an accident. You aren’t from around here are you?

          • http://ocschwar.livejournal.com/ ocschwar

            No, the NYPD have a long established record of bending over backwards to protect drivers who kill pedestrians. 

          • Allan Rosen

            I guess it all depends on the credibility of the driver. The police will protect the driver if he did not run away, is drug and alcohol free, seems distraught over the accident, and the police believe it really was an accident.  If the car was speeding and the driver does not admit it and there were no witnesses, there really isn’t much the police could do.  Not every accident is manslaughter.

            However, if the driver’s story is completely inconsistent or he doesn’t seem upset, I don’t think the police would just let him go. 

          • Andrew

            The police could, if they felt like it, conduct a proper investigation to try to determine the circumstances of the crash (which could be aided by speed cameras, red light cameras, or private surveillance cameras if any happened to be present).  They rarely bother.  Even when the evidence is staring them in the face – for instance, property damage too extensive to have been possibly caused by a car traveling at or below the speed limit – they don’t bother investigating.

            I stand by what I said before: “If I were to hit and kill a pedestrian while running a red light at twice the speed limit, I’d tell the cops that I didn’t see them and chances are I’d be let off the hook.”Not every crash is an “accident.”  Many crashes are the results of negligence.  Somehow we understand that when it comes to equipment other than cars.

            I don’t think a loss of hundreds of New Yorkers a year is acceptable, and I think we can do far better.

          • nolastname

            Andrew and Lost will defend bike lanes to the death. They like to extend a disagreement into a warped debate…twisting words and using statements out of context.
            They both like to call people names when not agreed with.
            Anyone who does not agree with them must be stupid, out of touch or a troll.
            So when they gang up on a person don’t take it seriously.
            I brush them off since I realized what I was dealing with.
            Just to let you know it’s not worth your time.

          • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

            I read your comment before you edited it

          • nolastname

            That’s good.

          • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

            I’ll remember to treat you with the same disrespect you show for Andrew and I. Do unto others and all that.

          • nolastname

            I edited it because I realized my comment was not directed at Andrew. It was directly for you. So being you saw it you know how I feel. Like I said when you told me you saw my comment before I edited it, I said “that’s good”.
            So threaten me with disrespect…like I care If I have your respect. Go do unto someone who gives a shit.
            Again….strictly directed to your comment. Twist, take words out of context and have fun while you try to prove your point. There is no proving a point when there are different views. Your methods are repetitive and getting boring.
            I feel no shame, just sorrow for wasting more of my time on your comments.

          • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

            I sat here with a scathing response to what you wrote and instead I just erased it and not because you don’t deserve it. I guess you’re just getting tired of losing arguments and feeling a bit emotional. So I’ll let you commiserate over your inability to debate and let you cool off. Feel free to engage me in conversation on here when your feelings aren’t so easily hurt and you learn to not take things personally.

          • nolastname

            Ditto.

          • nolastname

            I don’t feel I have lost any argument, I will not debate an issue over and over. 
            I will engage you in a face to face conversation any time without an audience.

          • nolastname

            And I am also tired of you belittling people so you seem like the man in charge.
            Scathing response….commiserate….so I don’t use big words, I call it like I see it if that makes me unable to “debate” oh well. 
            Again, you do not debate you argue and have a way of expression that is not nice.
            Again, any time I will meet you.”conversation on here” is too much a game.
            What ever happened to you on Gothamist? 
            How did you get Ned to run with your “mission to save bike lanes”?
            So go ahead…Let me have it. Your opinion does not affect my life, I run with my feelings…not yours.

          • Andrew

            Now I’m curious.

        • Allan Rosen

          They do give out moving violations, but they have to be there to witness it.  Giving out parking tickets is just much easier. 

          • Andrew

            http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/traffic_data/061sum.pdf

            In November, the 61st Precinct issued four summonses for red light running (about one per week), 35 for speeding (about one per day), 21 for failure to yield to pedestrians (one every day or two).

            That’s absolutely pathetic – I can stand in one place for ten minutes and see more red light runners, speeders, and non-yielders than that.

      • Allan Rosen

        Double parkers should only be given tickets when they are blocking traffic, not when traffic is so light that they are not bothering anyone and someone is in the driver’s seat ready to move the car.

        • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

          During the hours when traffic agents operate, there is almost never a “light traffic” situation, especially in the areas they patrol.

          Whether a person is sitting in the car ready to move is irrelevant since they are still forcing a lane of traffic to merge with another. This causes slowdowns when a car in the right lane that’s planning to turn has to merge into the left lane to get around a double parked car. So again, during the hours that traffic agents operate they will always block traffic by virtue that they’re operating in a highly trafficked area. Yes it’s inconvenient for the driver because he can’t be stopped directly in front of where he needs to be, but who cares when he’s being selfish and inconveniencing the other cars on the road.

          • Allan Rosen

            On Brighton Beach Avenue east of Coney Island Avenue around Brighton 13th Street, many times you can go around a double parker without even having to slow down because of light traffic. I would rather they ticket the double parked trucks who park for hours at a time. They are never ticketed except for te UPS and Fed Ex trucks. It is hypocritical for an enforcement agent to commit the same offense they ate ticketing for. Let them drive for 15 minutes looking for a spot also instead of ticketing someone who stops for one minute and is ready to move the car.

    • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

      Maybe after there isn’t a fatal car accident in MB for a 5 year period your point would be valid, that’s unfortunately not the case. I can’t say the speeding cars and drag racers are from MB, but they demonstrate their lack of responsibility IN Manhattan Beach.

      You can’t blame passive speed limiting measures trying to stop dangerous drivers in the neighborhood when the most effective active speed limiting device, THE DRIVER, chooses to endanger your and your family’s lives by being reckless.

      I used to drive (and bike) to KBCC. I’m familiar with the traffic situation there and I’ve written here before on the neighborhood needing speeding cameras but I’ve also advocated for them to have a buffer of 5mph for the same reasons Allan Rosen provided. For  someone like yourself who I can only assume drives safely, a 5mph buffer would be lenient enough not to inconvenience you but would stop the drag racers you complain about. You’d have a win-win so you should be calling up your representative and voicing your support for an implementation of a 5mph buffer if the bill passes.

      • Allan Rosen

        It seems to me that te drag racers are from the College because the only times I see anyone speeding is at school arrival or dismissal times. On weekends, everyone I see usually observes te speed limit.

        They would never go for the buffer because it would mean less revenue. Safety is only the excuse they use to get the cameras implemented. If DOT cared about safety they wouldn’t wait for lane markings to become completely invisible. Look at Avenue I east of Flatbush. The double yellow is totally gone.

        • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

          Luckily since any revenue creating measures the city implements have to be passed in the Assembly, we have the ability to get in touch with our reps and demand the buffer be included in the bill, especially when election season is right around the corner.

          I can’t speak about ave I but the CB is the liaison between residents and the DOT, if no one is reporting the double yellow, either to the CB, or CB to the DOT, nothing will get done. You can’t assume the DOT is blatantly disregarding requests for necessary traffic markings without knowing if someone reported it.

          As an experiment, let’s see how long it takes the markings to be painted after you submit a complaint to 311.

          • guest

            I would be willing to bet the first thing they will do is look to see where to put down traffic signals followed by a study of how the area can benefit from a bike lane and then possibly take the missing double yellow line into consideration since it doesn’t consist of needing white paint. I agree with Mr. Rosen. The DOT does not care about safety, it’s purpose now is to generate revenue to fill private pockets. 

          • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

            And how do bike lanes generate revenue for the city? I await your convoluted logic.

          • Andrew

            They provide an additional transportation option for getting around the city, thereby increasing commerce

            (Probably not what Sickofitall had in mind.)

          • Sickofitall

            Bike lanes do not generate revenue. Don’t know how you got that from my statement. My reply was to you asking how long it takes markings to be painted after submitting a complaint to the city. My point is that after receiving a call to simply paint yellow lines the way the DOT is these days, that would not be the first priority. They would come down, look at the road and see how they can make it anti-car first.

          • Allan Rosen

            First of all, the DOT should maintain a regular schedule as to the painting of lines and not do it only upon request.  These line last at least five years.  Since they are completely worn out, I would guess they haven’t been repainted in over ten years.  That is just unacceptable.  Second, since I haven’t been there for a month, and it isn’t a street I visit regularly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable reporting it now because for all I know it might have been repainted since.

            As for doing an experiment, I don’t have to do one. I have sent enough letters to DOT to know how responsive they are. In 2006, I asked for lane markings on Shore Parkway, North service road west of Ocean Parkway when they created two left turn lanes on Ocean Parkway. The cars had to merge into one lane while making the turn, an unsafe condition.  I received a response that they do not paint lines in the winter and will do it the following Spring. They didn’t in 2007 or 2008.  So I sent another letter in 2009.  They responded that they will investigate.  Then they responded that the lines were there after investigating the west side of Ocean Parkway not the east side.  I had to write back again telling them they looked at the wrong block.  Finally, the following month, they were repainted.  I also asked for them to repaint lines on the south roadway since they were starting to wear out.  It is now 2011 and they still have not been repainted.  About four years ago I notified them of a one-way sign installed an inch in front of the street sign completely blocking it. (Avenue Y and East 11 St.) It has never been fixed.  I don’t need to do more experiments.  

          • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

            Fair enough to the experiment, but the lack of progress can be just as much attributed to the CBs as the DOT. Their job is to be on top of it, not just yours.

          • Allan Rosen

            Sorry, I can’t blame CB’s.  First of all, they are not transportation experts.  The people at DOT supposedly are. You can’t expect anyone on the CB to realize that DOT created a dangerous situation at Ocean Parkway and Shore Parkway. They are just no good at what they do.  For example on Shore Parkway North Service Road before Ocean Parkway there is only one left turn lane which is insuffucient.  There is no reason why the center lane can’t be the through and left turn lane.  Most drivers ignore the markings because they make no sense other than to back up traffic.

            Look at the mess they created on Emmons Avenue with the restriping. The CB is against what they done and rightfully so, but DOT won’t change their mind.  Additionally, after a seven year study, they made ridiculous recommendations for the intersection of Guider and Coney Island Avenue.  CB 15 opposed those changes which would have created gridlock and now those changes are on hold.  Don’t blame the CB’s when DOT is at fault.

          • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

            What are you talking about? The stripes on ave I? That’s the CB’s job to report to the DOT to fix. From the CB nyc.gov website:

            “Just about any complaint that involves a municipal service can be called in to the District Office. This includes such items as, but is not limited to:
            Reporting a pothole
            A tree that needs pruning
            Missing or damaged signs”

            The job of the CB is to be a community advocate and liaison to elected officials and city agencies. They are just as responsible for lack of action as the DOT itself because it’s their job to make sure it gets done.

            And the mess on Emmons created with the striping was done after a requested by the CB for the DOT to improve the intersection. The CB didn’t request the striping and the exact changes to the intersection, but it was because of their role as community liaison that they were able to request changes, just as whichever CB is responsible for the Ave I intersection should have.

            The CB shares accountability with the DOT for lack of action as well as the negative effects of “improvements” the DOT provides.

        • Andrew

          I doubt the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association has any say over what happens on Avenue I.

          The Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association is requesting a change to improve safety in Manhattan Beach, and I don’t see a problem with that.

          The reason speeding is such a problem on Oriental is that the street is much too wide.  The bike lanes were put in to try to give drivers the impression of a narrower street, but it didn’t work very well.  From a safety perspective, the real solution would be to physically narrow the street – i.e., move the curbs.  But I don’t think you’d be happy with that, and it would also be quite costly.

          • Allan Rosen

            Oriental Boulevard is not much too wide.  It is the same width as Brighton Beach Avenue which leads into it.  Speeding is also a problem on Shore Blvd and that is narrower. If you don’t want speeding, you do not put down smooth paving to enable speeding.  Before Oriental Boulevard was reconstructed around 1985, the street was in deplorable condition for over ten years, just full of pothole.  No one traveled faster than 20 mph because you couldn’t without braking an axle.  As soon as Shore Blvd was resurfaced last year when it did not even need any resurfacing, the cars started to speed and there were several accidents.  

            I don’t see why they can’t have mild speed bumps, not the type that force you to slow down to 15 mph, but mild ones where it becomes uncomfortable to travel over 30 mph which would not interfere with snow plows.  Narrowing the street would hamper emergency vehicles.

            I don’t believe that the cameras would improve safety for reasons I mentioned in the article.

          • Andrew

            Most of Brighton Beach Avenue is in the shadow of the subway.  The short section between Coney and Corbin has curves and is much busier than Oriental.

            Speed enforcement, which basically does not exist today, would improve safety.  It doesn’t make a big difference to me if it’s done by humans or by machines, except that machines do a better job of it and are much cheaper. 

            As for emergency vehicles: http://www.howwedrive.com/2010/05/12/the-fallacy-of-speed-and-emergency-response/

          • Allan Rosen

            Except the section between Coney and Corbin is pretty lightly traveled. At school arrival and dismissal times it is not busier than Oriental. It only seems busier because of the traffic lights which creates congestion. Put a fixed light at Ocean Nd you will swear traffic has tripled on Oriental. All you hav to do is push the walk button and ten cars line up each way. When the are moving constantly traffic only appears light.

          • Andrew

            You may be right that it’s not actually busier – I take that back.  But it has curves, which naturally slow down traffic, and the commercial area often has double parking and other turbulence.  Oriental is a straightaway with little turbulence.  It gives the impression of being safe to drive on at 50 mph, and it would be if not for the minor detail of pedestrians.

      • Andrew

        Buffers are bad policy – they simply increase the speed limit for those who know that there’s a buffer.  If the speed limit should be 35, change it to 35, and enforce it at 35.

        Given that this is a neighborhood city street, I think the speed limit should remain 30, and should be enforced at 30, so that everybody knows how fast they can go without getting a ticket.  If necessary, get the word out that the speed limit in Manhattan Beach is strictly enforced.

        By the way, Oriental is one mile long.  At 30 mph, it takes 2 minutes to drive one mile.  At 35 mph, it takes 1 minute 43 seconds.  So this debate is over 17 seconds.  (Less, actually, since only a portion of the drive will take place at maximum speed.)

        • Sickofitall

          So lets say someone is driving 32 or 33 MPH does that make them a bad driver and/or bad person in your view? Does this person really deserve a fine?

          • Andrew

            The line has to be drawn somewhere.  I suggest we draw it at the legal speed.

            I’m not interested in making a moral judgment, but a pedestrian struck at 33 mph is more likely to die than a pedestrian struck at 30 mph.  And if the speed limit is 30, then someone driving faster than that does deserve a fine.  That’s why we call it a speed limit.

            On highways, I certainly think there’s room to increase speed limits.  But on city streets?  No thank you – 30 is plenty fast when pedestrians are around.

          • Allan Rosen

            Don’t agree. Queens Blvd speed never hold have been lowered from 35 to 30 and that’s why no one listens. 30 feels like you are standing still there. If need be they should construct fences on every block to keep pedestrians from crossing mid block which was te cause of most of the fatalities there. Also they could make som of te crossings perpendicular instead of diagonal to reduce crossing time for pedestrians.

          • Andrew

            Without very strict enforcement, a street that’s engineered for high speeds (like Queens Blvd or, to a lesser extent, Oriental Blvd) will attract high-speed drivers.  Without either modifying the design or stepping up enforcement, changing the number on a sign won’t change anything.

            Doesn’t most of Queens Blvd already have fences?  Fences, of course, won’t stop drivers from speeding or running red lights or turning into pedestrians who are crossing with the light.

            You claim that pedestrians crossing mid-block was the cause of most of the fatalities.  Source?

          • Allan Rosen

            Oriental Blvd would not be safe to drive at 50 even if there are no pedestrians. You don’t seem to care if there are accidents involving turning cars. Right? Let all the drivers just kill themselves as long as no pedestrians are hurt. And the fences were put up on Queens Blvd because of all the pedestrians crossing mid block. Yes let’s change the design of the street so everyone drives at a crawl and air pollution is increased. That way we have a better case for congestion pricing and more people will ride bikes.

          • Andrew

            Where did I say that?

            Speeds over 30 are dangerous to pedestrians, because pedestrians aren’t protected by cages and because pedestrians aren’t as large or as light-ridden as cars.  Roads that don’t accommodate pedestrians can be safe at much faster speeds.  (You don’t stick to 40 on modern rural interstates, do you?)I have no problem with the fences, and they’ve reduced the problem, but they haven’t solved it.  Enforcing the law would reduce it further.

          • Allan Rosen

            Read all your comments. You (Andew) said something like: it is a straightaway and gives the impression of being safe to drive at 50. And it would be if not for the minor detail of pedestrians. (I couldn’t reply in the proper place.)

          • Andrew

            Yes, that’s what I said.  Plenty of roads are safe for drivers at speeds over 40; it’s only when pedestrians get involved that speeds that high become unsafe.

        • Allan Rosen

          Buffers are necessary.  It makes no sense to enforce a speed limit for going 1 mile over the limit because the equipment measuring speed isn’t even that accurate.  You don’t really care id innocent people are fined or if people will just pay them even if they are innocent because the City makes it so difficult to fight fines by making you lose a day’s pay.  And if you weren’t speeding, you couldn’t prove it anyway.  It’s not as if you could submit a photo as evidence as with parking tickets.  The City is not as honest as you think.   There have been cases where meter maids have ticketed cars for expired meters when several minutes were still remaining on the meter.  I once saw a meter maid starting to write a parking ticket by scanning the registration sticker before a car even came to a complete stop. 

          • Andrew

            Obviously, due to the imprecision of the equipment, the cameras won’t be set to issue tickets at precisely 30 mph, since then half of the cameras will issue tickets at slightly less than 30 mph.  They’ll be set instead to a little bit faster than 30 mph to avoid false positives.  But if you do get a ticket at 31 mph, you’ll still have to pay it.  

            That’s different from promising drivers a specific buffer.  If the city guarantees a 5 mph buffer, then you have legal grounds to contest a summons for driving 34 mph in a 30 mph zone, which is absurd.

  • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

    “1. Moving the bicycle lane from Oriental Boulevard to the dual sidewalk on Shore Boulevard.”

    This isn’t that great an idea. Between the toddlers playing there and the fisherman casting it’s already a pretty dangerous place to ride. It’s nothing compared to Emmons during the summer, but it’s still a pretty serious slalom course. When I commuted to KBCC by bike I would immediately get on the road and ride on Shore Blvd (mostly because the Oriental bike path is in poor condition). People on the sidewalk are unpredictable and bikes don’t belong there.

    I think perhaps having oriental and shore having one direction each would be better. South side of Oriental going east, Shore going west. Shore blvd has a small sidewalk that’s separated from the double wide sidewalk by grass and trees, perhaps converting it to a 1 directional bike lane would be a good idea because it would seperate cyclists from pedestrians and wouldn’t take away from road either.

    “2. Removal of the zebra stripes on Oriental Boulevard.”

    I think that with the bike lanes there, they’re necessary. If the westbound path was to be moved to Shore blvd the north side wouldn’t need the stripes. I think the stripes on the south side of Oriental are necessary (even if there wasn’t a bike lane), perhaps just not as wide as it is right now.

    “3. Reducing alternate side parking (ASP) from four days a week to two
    days a week to provide more parking spaces and less of a reason for
    students to speed to obtain a parking space. If neighborhoods more dense
    than Manhattan Beach can keep their streets clean with two day a week
    ASP regulations, and parts of Sheepshead Bay can have clean streets
    without any ASP regulations, there is no reason why Manhattan Beach
    needs ASP for four days a week.”

    Yes Yes Yes, just everything about this yes.

  • Anonymous

    Speed cameras.   Are scams.   The reason is simple.   Man-made systems are incompatible with man-made laws.   The traffic engineer’s definition of a speed limit is what 85% of the cars are doing at a specific time.   Engineers call this practice the “85% percentile rule.”    Imagine the road before a speed limit sign exists.   The speed limit traffic engineers set for the road is what they measure 85% of the cars doing at the busiest time of the day.   At 8AM, 85% of the cars could be doing 35 mph.   But at 12 midnight, 85% of the cars could be doing 50 mph.  What is the speed limit of the road?    By engineering definition, it really changes given the time of day.   To error on the safe side, engineers have to choose some speed limit–so they chose the slowest speed   It’s quite arbitrary and its enforcement does requires human discretion.   Cameras do not exercise discretion.   So at 12 midnight, the road becomes a speed trap.   It’s a great opportunity to make money.   Hence the cameras.   

    • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

      A pedestrian hit by a car traveling at 30mph has
      an 80 percent survival rate, at 40mph it drops to 30%.

      If you’re driving down Oriental or Shore Blvd at 50mph, especially at midnight where visibility is limited, you’re a reckless driver and don’t deserve the privilege of a driver’s license, oh but right you’re just an anti-camera troll/spammer who comments on any blog that publishes an article mentioning speed cameras.

      • canute12

        You are the reason why speed camera companies exist.   What is a pedestrian doing out in the middle of the road at midnight?   And since a pedestrian hit by a car travelling at 10 mph has a better  90 percent survival rate, then why should we not set the speed limit to 10 mph on Oriental or Shore Blvd?

        Why is the speed limit on the interstate 65 mph, not 10 mph?   Would not a 10 mph speed limit on the interstate be dangerous?    What is the standard for setting a speed limit.   There is one, though you deny it.

        Why do I troll websites like this?    In the hopes that people will wise up to a scam headed their way.  I do it as a favor.   The speed camera companies have a different agenda than even you, LostInService, would like.   But you may be the type of person who will only wake up after receiving a $50 ticket every day for travelling 1 mph over the speed limit.     And watch where the city will put those cameras.   On straight-aways, on downside of hills . . . anywhere where it will be difficult to maintain the speed limit.    

        • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

          I don’t know what podunk town you’re in, but I can guarantee you that NYC’s traffic requirements are massive compared to yours and that you can offer no input into the situation, especially on a neighborhood microcosm in NYC.

          “What is a pedestrian doing out in the middle of the road at midnight?”
          Crossing the street while going for a walk…what’s it to you why a person is out at midnight. As a driver you should be alert and prepared for the unexpected. It’s why you drive slower than the speed limit in a blizzard.

          “Why should we not set the speed limit to 10 mph on Oriental or Shore Blvd?”
          Are you dumb? Your hyperbole demonstrates your lack of understanding risk. People should still be able to drive at a speed that’s reasonable enough to get them to their destination fast enough without creating a highly dangerous situation.

          “Why do I troll websites like this?”
          I think you answered your own question here, and since you’re a troll you don’t care to read my other comments advocating for a legal 5mph buffer for the cameras, but your only goal is to spam your blog.

          Like I said, don’t comment on cities you have no knowledge about. Keep to commenting on laws in your own flyover part of the country.

          • Manhattan Beach Driver

            Why can’t said pedestrian be bothered to look both ways before crossing the street?  There are ample opportunities to cross the street without risking an accident, even if you are old.  Even if every single car were going 50mph there is ample time to cross the street.  The only pedestrians that are in danger are the idiots who are standing half way out into the road hoping to J-Walk.  I walk this neighborhood every single day and have had 0 (zero) close encounters with cars, even with the craziest KBCC drivers.

            Where I grew up we were taught to look both ways before crossing the street.  It worked out pretty well, none of us were killed by a car!  The speed limit on the road right in front of my house was 45mph and was a two lane street no wider than Shore Blvd.  There were more than 30 houses on my block.  Tell me, how many pedestrians have been killed on a sidewalk in this neighborhood, or even in a crosswalk?  Every case I’ve seen featured on this site or via the MBCG is from a pedestrian doing something really dumb, even if the driver was going faster than the speed limit.  The speed limit argument is a cop out for the fact that pedestrians can’t be bothered to obey the rules either.

            I live and work Manhattan Beach and have a young daughter here.  I don’t want cameras or any new measures in place to waste more of my time or anyone else’s.  Aggressively punish those who cause wrecks or drag race but leave the rest of us alone.

            If you must put the screws to drivers then you need to put the screws to the pedestrians who are at least an equal part of the problem.  Maybe if they looked both ways and didn’t bolt out from a curb as their walk signal turns solid (and finally let a car through that’s been waiting for 30 seconds, you know, like turn taking (gasp) then pedestrians wouldn’t feel like they are in so much danger.  Maybe drivers would even calm down once they don’t have to fight to get everywhere.

          • Andrew

            I suggest you familiarize yourself with the traffic laws in these parts.  For instance, drivers are required to yield to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks.  We have a name for someone who is driving so fast that he can’t see or stop for pedestrians in time: a reckless driver.

            Yes, of course, the pedestrian should look.  But if the pedestrian doesn’t see you (maybe you also think that headlights are optional at night) or misjudges your speed (maybe he would have had plenty of time to cross if you had been driving 30 mph) or expected you to see him and slow down or stop (I know, it’s pretty quaint to expect a driver to obey the law), the pedestrian should not be killed for his mistake.  Especially since the primary mistake was yours, not his – he had every legal right to be doing what he was doing, and you didn’t.

            Of course, the laws should apply to everybody but you.  Fortunately for you, the cops are on your side – if you’re speeding and you manage to kill a pedestrian, just tell the cops that you didn’t see him, and you’ll be off the hook.

            I guess that’s the problem with these cameras – you can’t persuade them that you’re in the right when you’re actually very much in the wrong.

          • Manhattan Beach Driver

            I’m more than adequately familiar with driving laws and have a clean record mind you.  My family has had blood spilled in Manhattan Beach by lunatic drivers so I’ve got some skin in this game. How much blood have you lost here?  You guys are taking safety to the extreme.  Just remember, when your geriatric ass dies on the way to the hospital because traffic is clogged and it takes twice as long as necessary to get somewhere I’m sure it will give your family lots of comfort knowing that at least there were red light cameras everywhere.

          • Andrew

            Manhattan Beach Driver: I’m sorry to hear of your loss.  I’ve lost two friends in two separate incidents (neither in Manhattan Beach, but Manhattan Beach doesn’t have a monopoly on reckless drivers).  Of course, we can’t change the past, but I hope that neither of has to lose any more friends or relatives in this way.

            I don’t think asking drivers to obey the law is particularly extreme.  Especially when the law in question considerably increases the chance that a pedestrian who is struck will survive.  Quoting from the New York City Pedestrian Safety Study & Action Plan:

            Speed-related factors are major contributors to pedestrian KSI crashes. 21% of all pedestrian KSI crashes could be attributed to factors such as speeding, limited sight distance, slippery pavement (i.e. driving too fast to stop under prevailing weather conditions). Yet, a recent series of DOT-sponsored focus groups found that most New York City residents were unaware of the city’s default speed limit (30 mph). Moreover, failing to drive at an appropriate speed (often lower than 30 mph) that matches local conditions is illegal and can lead to pedestrian crashes.  Pedestrian KSI crashes involving ”unsafe vehicle speeds” are twice as deadly as others (20% vs. 10%).

            And in the discussion of speed cameras:

            Speed cameras capture the license plate information of cars that exceed the speed limit. Owners of these vehicles are automatically contacted and required to pay a fine. A 2007 international review by NHTSA found that the cameras installed at conspicuous, fixed sites led to  injury crash reductions of 20% to 25%. Eleven states (e.g. Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Washington, DC) currently employ speed cameras. 

            Your emergency response argument is a fallacy.

            By the way, if you drive in New York City, it’s pretty hard not to have a clean record.

        • Andrew

          The pedestrian out at midnight is probably simply on his way home from work or dinner or some other evening activity – walking from the subway or crossing the street after getting off the bus.

          If you find it difficult to maintain the speed limit on straight-aways or on the downside of hills, I suggest you bring your car in for servicing immediately.

      • Allan Rosen

        No one is advocating raising the limit to 40, so that point is irrelevant.

        • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

          Of course, but his point is that speed limits are somehow established arbitrarily. They’re not.

        • Andrew

          But many are advocating not enforcing the current limit of 30.

          • Allan Rosen

            You should still get a buffer and only receive a ticket for going over 35.  Even 40 is safe to drive if you have absolute clear visibility and there is no one in front and there are no parked cars. In moderate traffic it would not be safe to drive over 30 unless everyone else is going just a little faster. But to say a 50 mph speed limit would be safe if everyone were going 50, as Manhattan Beach Driver stated, is just not true. It would be extremely dangerous under the best of conditions because other factors come into play when you have blocks every 200 feet.

            I don’t know how many close calls I’ve had when I’ve approached a stop sign, looked both ways and see a car over a block away and assume it is safe to turn. Being that far makes it impossible to judge how fact someone is going.  You assume he is doing no more than 30 or 35.  If he is doing 50 he will be on top of you before you have completed your turn although it appears to you that you have plenty of time to make your turn without interfering with him.  I have had cars do this to me and then blow their horn and give me a dirty look why I didn’t see them.  I did, but when I saw them they were over a block away.

          • Andrew

            40 is perfectly safe if nothing goes wrong.  But if you hit a pedestrian at 40 (due to your mistake or due to his, it doesn’t really matter), you’ve probably killed him; if you hit a pedestrian at 30, he’ll probably survive.

            So, no, in practice, 40 is not safe.  Because things sometimes go wrong.

            By the way, your example isn’t a very good one.  If you’re stopped at a stop sign, the car on the main street has the right of way over you.  But if you’re crossing that main street on foot at an unsignalized intersection, you have the legal right of way over the car.

          • Allan Rosen

            No one is arguing right of way. My point was you cannot tell if someone is doing 50 so you will think there is plenty of time for you to enter the intersection. When I said it was okay to do 40 I said your visibility is clear and there are no pedestrians anywhere unless one falls out of the sky.

          • Andrew

            You don’t know when a pedestrian is going to cross the street in front of you.

            At 40 mph, your stopping distance is greater and, if you do hit the pedestrian, it’s far more likely that you will kill him.

            That’s why the speed limit is 30.  It’s not an arbitrary number.

  • Anonymous

    Red light cameras.   Are scams.    The reason is simple.   Traffic engineers do not know physics.  Engineers all over the world habitually misapply a formula called the ITE Yellow Clearance Formula.   In doing so they miscompute the yellow light durations to values which oppose Newton’s Second Law of Motion.  Engineers literally create the physical conditions which force drivers to run red lights.   The formula does not compute sufficient durations for left or right turns or for any close-by intersections, nor does the formula provide a margin of error for straight thru movement.  The formula physically forbids drivers from decelerating before entering the intersection, and demands that drivers when in doubt whether to stop or go, to beat the light.    Any scenario where a driver must declerate before entering the intersection becomes a guaranteed opportunity for the red light camera company and the city to make money.    To see the emprical proof of this, and to learn about the legal case bringing violations of Natural Law against the Town of Cary, North Carolina, refer to redlightrobber.com.

  • Andrew

    “Reader Andrew” also stated that work trains don’t pick up trash off the tracks, and that what you probably encountered was a signal problem that delayed the work train.  There was certainly no plan to plug the road for an extended period with a work train.
    You got the standard form response from the customer service folks.  Your email will be read by the appropriate people, but (based on my experience) you probably won’t hear back from them unless they need more information from you to carry out their investigation.Don’t expect to hear back from Prendergast – there’s a reason he doesn’t publicize his email address, and unless you’re personal friends, he probably doesn’t much appreciate receiving your email.

    • Allan Rosen

      The work train I saw had flat cars loaded with plastic bags so they must have come from the tracks, not the stations. I would assume they use cars at platform height to pick trash from the stations, not cars at track level which is what I saw.

      As for not blocking the tracks for an extended period of time to collect trash from the tracks, how about this response from Trainmaster 5 who is a retired motorman: “I think this particular incident was a snafu caused by the RTO and Station departments. Refuse pickup IS done during miday hours but this particular incident was probably caused by inexperienced supervisors trying to cross the refuse train from the n/b local tracks, across the express tracks, into the s/b local track at Prospect Park. It’s a risky move even with experienced train operators at the helm.”

      • Andrew

        Plastic trash bags are not stored on tracks.  (How would trains get by if they were?)  I don’t know what that work train was doing, but it wasn’t picking up garbage.

        What Trainmaster 5 says makes sense (except that, again, this wasn’t a refuse pickup if it involved the tracks).

        • Allan Rosen

          How do you know there wasn’t an army of track workers picking up loose trash and putting them in plastic bags and loading them onto the train?

          • Andrew

            Track workers don’t pick up loose trash by hand.

          • Allan Rosen

            Well how do they get the trash out of the nooks and crannies. I don’t believe they use the vacuum train outside because that trash stays there for month’s or years.

          • Andrew

            I’ve seen the vacuum train in use on the Brighton line.  It’s very slow, so the track has to be taken out of service for it to run.  That’s why it’s not done very often on any given section of track.  (I don’t know exactly how often, but it’s measured in terms of months or years, not days.)

          • Allan Rosen

            I also recall once seeing trash being picked up by a group of about 20 workers outdoors somewhere but I do not remember where. Just that they all stopped and moved to the side to let the train pass. They had plastic bags.

          • Andrew

            Perhaps they were cleaning up after finishing whatever job they were doing.  There’s lots of work that takes place “under traffic.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/ianbrettcooper Ian Brett Cooper

    I know it’s a novel concept, but how about drivers start obeying the speed limit and stop making convoluted excuses for why it’s okay to speed?

    1mph over the limit is not ‘okay’ – it’s wrong, dangerous and illegal.

    Just a thought.

    • Manhattan Beach Driver

      Oh boy, you are a dangerous man then.  I better call crimestoppers.  There’s not a person in the world who hasn’t gone 1mph over.

    • LLQBTT

      I can only imagine what your position is on Jaywalking! I think that every NYer’d be in jail!

  • LLQBTT

    Why move the bike lane?  That’s got zero to do with speeding cars.  Instead, put road barriers in the zebra stripes and add hummocks or bumps along Oriental Blvd.  Or, just add lights…almost as bad as the speeding sensors, and make them out of synch requiring cars to stop at every block.

    Of course this will anger the same residents trying to slow down traffic.  Maybe the real answer is just stepped up NYPD enforcement for a few months until cars slow down.

    BTW, buses also speed on Oriental Blvd

    • Allan Rosen

      That’s what we really need, punish everyone by making them stop every block.  It takes long enough to get around in this City anyway.  Imagine if every neighborhood did this, it would be impossible to get anywhere. Yes there should be stepped up enforcement, something the Community Board and both community groups have been asking for years.  Instead we get unmanned police scooters or a digital sign for three weeks telling you how fast you are going.  Once every six months there is a ticket blitz.  We need regular unannounced enforcement.  If teams of meter maids can patrol every inch of Brighton Beach Avenue every 30 minutes to ticket expired meters, there is no reason why traffic enforcement agents cannot be used to ticket speeders. If you stay ten minutes extra at a parking meter, there is over a 50% chance you will receive a ticket.  But if you speed, your chances of getting a ticket are more like 1% or less. 

      Your solution about inconveniencing everyone reminds me of the school teacher who punishes the entire class because she can’t find the one student who was causing the problem. 

      • Andrew Kent

        Traffic Enforcement Agents cannot ticket speeders because, despite the “NYPD” emblazened on their cars, they are peace officers and not police officers, are not armed or otherwise prepared for a physical confrontation with a lawbreaker, and do not have the authority to force a driver to stop, pull over, and show their paperwork.  They could document a violation and then ask a police officer to stop the vehicle, and they can request that the police arrest an otherwise uncooperative motorist for interfering with governmental administration, but, as a rule, since a traffic stop is a form of custodial detention, from a safety and public policy standpoint, it should only be initiated by an armed law enforcement officer trained and authorized for such an interdiction.  Unarmed enforcement personnel from several City agencies can and do issue summonses in public places, but they are required to request police assistance, either NYPD or their own department’s police unit (as with Parks and Sanitation) when the violator is uncooperative, and they may only use force in self defense.

        In recent years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of governmental and non-governmental vehicles that resemble police vehicles but which are not.  Even private neighborhood patrol services have cars with logos that resemble the NYPD shield, although neighborhood patrols are merely the radio-equipped eyes and ears of law enforcement and have no enforcememt authority themselves.  The problem here is that, while some potential miscreants might be deterred by what may seem like an increased police presence, ordinary citizens are lulled into a false sense of security that the increased uniformed scrutiny represents increased police protection, which, in most cases, it does not.

        Do we really want to empower non-police officers to physically restrict the activities of otherwise law abiding citizens in public spaces?  Do we want to create a slippery slope that could eventually lead to private security guards patrolling our streets, parks, beaches, and boardwalks with the authority to stop and interrogate private citizens against their will?  Traffic stops should be the exclusive province of armed police officers, as many such stops have resulted in violence, the seizure of drugs and weapons, and the arrest of fleeing criminals and wanted fugitives, situations with which unarmed peace officers are neither trained nor authorized to deal.

      • LLQBTT

        ‘Your solution about inconveniencing everyone reminds me of the school teacher who punishes the entire class because she can’t find the one student who was causing the problem.’

        Yes, exactly! I was using is to draw an analogy to the speedcams because the problem is the same. Everybody suffers!  Which is why both ideas are plain dumb

        • Andrew

          Actually, people who drive at or below the speed limit don’t suffer.  Neither do pedestrians or bicyclists.

          But I guess they don’t count.

          • Allan Rosen

            No, but the people inadvertantly driving at 32 mph getting $50 tickets once a week do suffer. So now they will have to try not to exceed 25 mph to ensure they never drive over 30.

          • Andrew

            If you are driving a car, you should be aware of its speed.  If you know that you’re going to get fined for exceeding 30 mph, then you’ll make sure not to exceed 30 mph unless you’re stupid.  The reason people speed now is that they know that it’s extremely unlikely they’ll be fined.

            That said, Lindsey Ganson posted this afternoon that fines will start at 35 mph.  Not what I would have preferred – if we want to enforce a speed limit of 35, we should post that on the speed limit signs – but I’m sure you’re pleased.

          • Guest

            It is clear from all of your post that you obviously do not drive and have possibly never been in an automobile. I would go so far to say that you hate cars. I find it foolish of you to believe for a minute that people should be fined if they dare to go above the posted speed limit by 5-10 mph. Do you really believe Bloomberg or upir bike queen Khan (and she does indeed drive an automobile. Look it up, there is plenty of proof, I will not appease you further) go at the posted speed limit at all times? Please. Of course not. Most people drive a little above or below the posted speed. We’re talking the city milking everyday people here that just want to go about their lives. The jerkwads who are speeding and I mean really speeding, causing hit and runs are not going to give a shit and not pay any heed to the fines. But go ahead and keep calling people who drive, your fellow citizens lawbreakers, stupid and speed demons.

          • Guest

            It is clear from all of your post that you obviously do not drive and have possibly never been in an automobile. I would go so far to say that you hate cars. I find it foolish of you to believe for a minute that people should be fined if they dare to go above the posted speed limit by 5-10 mph. Do you really believe Bloomberg or upir bike queen Khan (and she does indeed drive an automobile. Look it up, there is plenty of proof, I will not appease you further) go at the posted speed limit at all times? Please. Of course not. Most people drive a little above or below the posted speed. We’re talking the city milking everyday people here that just want to go about their lives. The jerkwads who are speeding and I mean really speeding, causing hit and runs are not going to give a shit and not pay any heed to the fines. But go ahead and keep calling people who drive, your fellow citizens lawbreakers, stupid and speed demons.

          • Andrew

            Yes, Guest, you figured me out. Congratulations!

            Obviously, the population is divided into pro-car and anti-car, with no room for nuance. Forget about any notions of a useful tool like a car potentially having negative impacts, like taking up lots of space and costing a lot of public money to accommodate and killing people – that requires far too much thinking. No, either you’re pro-car (i.e., you think that every proposed change should be evaluated only in terms of how fast you’ll be able to get around by car) or you’re anti-car (i.e., you think that all cars should be eliminated, possibly by means of those awful bike lanes and bus lanes that now take up a fraction of 1% of the city’s street footprint and thereby generate tremendous traffic jams).

            I am eternally grateful for the clarification. How I dare I bring up irrelevant issues like safety!

  • JR

    Lets just wait 10 to 15 years and then all cars in production will be autonomous or they, the cars, drive themselves… Then it won’t be up to you how fast you go, it’ll be the cars programming. w/e the speed limit is it’ll be in that range depending on traffic or weather or time of day or other statistical knowledge the car has about the community. and in place like MB everyone would have an autonomous car b/c only rich ppl will be the one’s who could afford them to start out… problem solved

    • Brightonresident

      What is an autonomous car?

  • Andrew Kent

    The best way to stop speeding is for radar-equipped police officers to intercept speeders, issue summonses that can result in, not only escalating fines, but points on their licenses and increased insurance rates, and arrest and impound the vehicles of drivers who are unlicensed, uninsured, or whose licenses have been suspended or revoked for repeated violations. Red light cameras and speeding sensors result in only monetary administrative penalties that are no more draconian than parking violations and which many of our neighborhood’s wealthy, cocky, and arrrogant young punks willingly pay as the cost of driving like they own the road.  The law needs bigger and sharper teeth if it is to take a bigger and deeper bite out of traffic crime.

    An irresponsibly driven car is a deadly weapon as dangerous as a firearm, and driving is a privilege reserved for those who demonstrate that they can drive safely and obey the law. How many more innocent pedestrians and motorists will have to die in our otherwise safe and quiet neighborhood before the City has the technology, manpower, authority, and commitment to remove their murderers and potential murderers from the road?  Speeding is as much a part of our neighborhood’s crime problem as are burglaries, muggings, and sexual assaults, and you have as great a chance of being killed or injured by a reckless driver in a speeding vehicle as you do being attacked by a violent street criminal.  If we are going to have zero tolerance for street crime, we should have zero tolerance for road crime as well.  Safety is everyone’s concern, and if it means that we all have to drive a little more slowly and carefully, if only to avoid summonses, it’s a small sacrifice to make to protect the lives of our neighbors, our loved ones, and ourselves.

  • Subway Stinker

    Speed cameras are bunk. Like red light cameras, they are revenue generators first, and traffic safety enhancers second. In NY, yellow lights are shorter than the USA average so we have to be extra careful. Arizone recently repealed their state statutes that allowed Speed Cameras. Of course, living in the state and city of NY which is anti car & has a Nanny-form of government, it is likely we will get speed cameras and more red light cameras.   Our DoT commissioner is very taken by ‘traffic calming’.  That is a concept I had rarely heard of until she arrived on scene and I am wondering why traffic needs to be calmed.  I have been to cities like London and USA cities where traffic is much worse than ours (mainly because they dont have such fine mass transit) and I havent met any NYer who has been able to justify all these speed bumps, and traffic control devices that line our secondary roadways.  Comment as you see fit.

  • Andrew Kent

    I’m amazed at how much emotion-charged debate has been generated by this topic.  I think this discussion has dwarfed the one on the boardwalk smoking ban, although this thread included comments on both subway issues and traffic/parking issues and the smoking discussions took up several threads.  BTW, how many Andrews are there on this thread?  I saw at least one comment in which Andrew replied to Andrew (and it wasn’t me), and I think I posted only 2-3 comments myself.  I hope the readers know which of us is which.

    • http://twitter.com/Lostinservice Lostinservice

       As I understand it there’s you and Andrew and the instance where Andrew replied to Andrew (himself) he was just continuing a discussion because of the disqus limits on how many levels deep a conversation can go.

      • Andrew

        That’s right.  There are only two Andrews here (so far?), and I’m not talking to myself, even if it sometimes feels that way.

  • annonymous

    I think this makes sense.  I am not a fast driver, but it’s true, occasionally anyone can go a few miles faster for the moment.  Getting a ticket on a weekly basis could be a horror.  Let’s make another plan.  
    I think we need to have a police car hiding on Ocean Ave, I’ve seen it there, and it works.  Minute after minute he picks up another speeder.
    KCC is the culprit, this kids are out of control.
    Concerned Resident of MB

    • Allan Rosen

      You are correct. But the police need to vary their location. Otherwise people will just slow down at the checkpoint like they would if there were sensors.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always thought red light cameras were to enforce laws governing intersection stops. This is a new wrinkle. It may be somewhat unfair but overall there are way too many crazy speeding SUV drivers on our streets that need an incentive to slow down. I wonder how much enforcement will actually take place. These cameras ought to have audio as well to capture the sounds of those loud bleating horns of drivers who never seem to get that $350 fine touted by all those signs posted up.

    • Andrew

      It’s not a wrinkle – it’s a different sort of camera.  For some reason, Allan calls them red light cameras.  They’re not red light cameras at all.

      • Allan Rosen

        I called them red light cameras because the news story I referred to called them that. But yes they are technically not “red light cameras” but speeding cameras. I guess that would be a more accurate term. I prefer to think of them as revenue cameras, however.

        • Andrew

          No it didn’t.  The only use of the term “red light cameras” was in reference to actual, existing red light cameras (you know, the ones that fine drivers who run red lights).  Read the article again.

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  • stop the carnage

    I’m looking forward to more red light cameras (and speed cameras). They save lives, and are constitutional. End of story.

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  • Lindsey Ganson

    Actually as specified in the legislation (full text here http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=A07737&term=&Summary=Y&Me

    mo=Y&Text=Y)fines start at 5mph over the 30 mph speed limit.