Source: MovieClips

Source: MovieClips

THE COMMUTE: Last week, Sheepshead Bites reported on legislation being considered by the City Council to lower the speed limit on city residential streets narrower than 60 feet wide from 30 mph to 25 mph. It is a compromise to legislation proposed by City Councilmember David Greenfield to lower the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph. The City Council is currently revising the language of the law, which they hope to enact before Mayor Bloomberg leaves office.

The law is poorly thought out and is a hysterical reaction to the huge numbers of pedestrians who are killed or injured everyday by automobiles. It is a very big problem fueled by the fact that most of these fatalities receive only a cursory police investigation. If drugs, alcohol, or cell phones are not involved and the driver has a clean record, usually no charges are filed. It seems that every day we hear of another car going “out of control.” What does that really mean? Are the cars possessed?

Will lowering the speed limit solve anything? I don’t think so. Unless your car is hit by another car, there is no reason for any driver to “lose control” unless there is something mechanically wrong. Losing control is usually the result of human error such as hitting the accelerator instead of the brake, excessive speeding, inadequate driver education, distracted or drowsy diving, driving under the influence, the sun in your eyes, or road hazards — not that speed limits that are too high.

What Is A Speed Limit?

A speed limit is a guide to approximately how fast you should travel in optimal weather and roadway conditions. It does not mean that driving 10 miles above the speed limit is unsafe or that driving under the speed limit is safe. Too many non-drivers believe that if the speed limit is 30 mph, traveling at 35 mph is hazardous. Not true. Just because the speed limit is 30 does not mean it is always safe to do 30. Under certain conditions, 35 or 40 may be perfectly safe. On the other hand, it may be safe to drive at only at 10 or 15 mph although the limit is 30. Contrary to public opinion, most drivers realize this and know what speed is safe to drive at. That is why so many cars speed. That doesn’t make them dangerous drivers or “murderers” as some non-drivers like to categorize motorists. You will often find roads where everyone is “speeding,” but is still driving safely.

Yes, there some who believe the speed limit is the speed of the car ahead of you. If no one is ahead of you, then you can go as fast as you want, 90, 100 or more. The ones who are constantly weaving in and out of traffic to gain a precious few seconds going at 60 mph or more when everyone else is doing 50. Those are the drivers that pose a hazard to themselves and everyone around them. They are rarely caught or punished. Similarly, if everyone is going 10 miles over the speed limit, the car who abides by the limit is the one posing the danger. When I was taught to drive, my instructor told me that it is best to travel at the same speed most other cars are traveling.

Many years ago, I was driving on the New England Thruway during a blizzard. The speed limit was 65. I was doing 30 and was pulled over by a police officer for driving “too fast!” I was instructed to slow down to 20, which I did. On narrow streets with parking on both sides and a travel lane of only eight feet wide, you should not be traveling more than 15 or 20 mph, although the limit is 30. On many other streets where the limit is 30, during optimal conditions when there is little traffic and visibility is excellent, it is perfectly safe to travel at 40 mph. It is not possible to post different speed limits on each street for every road condition, so 30 mph was chosen as the average speed that is safe under optimal conditions.

Why The Proposed Law Is Poorly Thought Out

The speed limit should be determined by the width of the roadway, the traffic lanes and other factors. Proponents of the law use the statistic that “a person has an 80 percent chance of surviving being hit by a car traveling 30 mph, while the same person’s chances of survival increase to 98 percent when the vehicle is going 20 mph.” However, is that adequate justification to lower the limit to 25 where the survival rate may be 89 percent? Why not lower the speed limit to 10 mph and increase the survival rate to 99 percent? I am sure some would be in favor of that — the same people who believe everyone should be riding a bicycle and no one should be driving.

Yes, we need to maximize survival rates, but the way to do that is to prevent accidents in the first place by minimizing road hazards such as lanes disappearing without warning, installing better signage, having proper lighting (not dark stretches of road for a year), reducing distracted driving, better lane markings, installing more road safety measures, adequate investigation of accidents and punishment for bad drivers, better driver education, requiring periodic retaking of the written or road test, etc. Not a blanket lowering of the speed limit.

Such A Law Will Have Far Reaching Implications

Local bus service is slow. Many bus routes, such as the B49 on Ocean Avenue use residential streets. Lowering the maximum speed a bus may travel from 30 mph to 25 mph will greatly reduce its average speed, cutting it perhaps from 10 mph to eight mph. That would increase travel times by 20 percent. Yet we are spending millions on Select Bus Service (SBS) to increase bus speeds by less than that amount. Does that make sense?

It also means having to wait longer for a bus or putting more buses on the route to maintain the same schedule, which costs extra money and increases the likelihood that a low usage route will be discontinued. When speed cameras will be placed on streets, instead of someone being ticketed for traveling 36 mph, summonses for violating a 25 mph will be meted out for those traveling 31 mph. (A five mph leeway will be given.) This will result in a huge amount of additional revenue for the city or another tax for the middle class.

The few that will drive at 25 where there are no cameras will risk road rage from those who will continue to drive at 30 mph. It will also lead to more accidents by cars attempting to illegally go around a car traveling at the 25 mph speed limit. It already happens on Oriental Boulevard. Just try driving at 25 mph and see how many cars will pass you in the zebra stripes.

Why Speed Limits Are Currently Not Respected

I stated in an earlier article that speed limits in rural areas are respected because they make sense. A 25 mph speed limit at a curve means you will go over the cliff if you try it at 35 mph. In New York City, in some cases speed limits are already unrealistically too low. On Queens Boulevard, often dubbed “the boulevard of death,” the speed limit was lowered to 30 mph when 40 mph is perfectly safe if road conditions permit. In fact, most cars still drive at 35 to 40 mph in spite of the 30 mph speed limit.

Cameras would force everyone to travel at the speed limit, greatly increasing congestion. Proponents of the lower speed limit on Queens Boulevard point to the fact that the accident rate has been reduced since the speed limit was lowered, although there is no cause and effect. The high number of accidents was caused by pedestrians illegally crossing during mid-block and inadequate walk times to cross the street. The walk time was increased and fences were installed to prevent jaywalking. That is what reduced the accident rate, not lowering the speed limit, which no one abides by anyway.

Work Zones

Another reason why speed limits are ignored has to do with highway work zones. When lanes are narrowed, the speed limit is lowered from 50 mph to 35 mph. That may make sense when all lanes are occupied. However, when traffic is light, and there are no cars in adjacent lanes, the narrower lanes shouldn’t matter. Most drivers realize that so they ignore the lower speed limits in spite of the warnings regarding double fines and license suspension for a second offense.

Also, when work is completed, it takes DOT three to six months to restore the normal speed limits. Work on the Belt Parkway has been complete in many portions for three months, yet the 35 mph speed limit remains. All drivers ignore it and virtually every car is going 60 mph, which is perfectly safe and is the speed that the road is designed for.

The sign to mark the end of the work zone is placed 600 feet after where the work zone actually ends. So the speed limit was lowered for an area where no work was done or is planned. In fact, you have to slow down after the work zone ends because the lanes are narrower and in worse condition, not speed up.

On the Gowanus, the work zone speed seems to have been made permanent. Road work was completed perhaps a year ago and a 30 mph road work speed limit still exists. Of, course everyone ignores it, doing twice that speed because it seems like a bad joke.

Further, marking the three-quarter mile area before the Belt Parkway as a work zone actually poses a hazard and increases the likelihood of an accident because there is no exit speed limit posted at the exit. DOT assumes everyone is already going at 30 mph, which is not the case. No one is doing 30 and anyone attempting to exit at highway speed is risking a bad accident.

Conclusion

Many motorists do not pay attention to speed limits because there are many cases where they are too low. Therefore, they become accustomed to ignoring all speed limits altogether. Lowering the citywide speed limit will not result in safer streets. It will result in unintended consequences. The proposed law needs to be modified to only affect residential streets narrower than 30 feet wide, not 60 feet wide. Then it may help.

Senior citizens legally are not permitted to sit in city playgrounds to get some sun or to watch children play unless they are with their own grandchildren. That activity gives many pleasure, because it brings back memories of happier times. A few years ago some men were given $100 fines for playing chess on chessboards in a city playground provided by the city for that purpose. They were fined because they entered a city playground unaccompanied by a child, which is against the law since the 1990s. Some children in the park heard the news and were disheartened because on other occasions those men taught them to play chess. The law was a hysterical reaction by the City Council to a rise in pedophilia. We don’t need another hysterical reaction to an increase in pedestrian fatalities that will not solve a very real problem.

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).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

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  • Allan Rosen

    This is the link to the October 31 Transportation Committee meeting of the City Council which shows the original proposed amendment to the law.

    http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/View.ashx?M=F&ID=2667553&GUID=1C365BE4-50FB-4C7D-958C-92499D56A4C3

  • S

    “Cameras would force everyone to travel at the speed limit, greatly increasing congestion.”

    Congestion is largely caused by too many cars occupying too little space. The relative speed of those cars has nothing to do with it.

    This is a woefully under-informed piece.

    • Allan Rosen

      Of course too much volume in too small a space causes congestion, but the slower cars are permitted to travel, the fewer cars can pass a given point in a given time.

      Given the same number of cars in the same space, if the speed limit is 20 mph, there will be more congestion than if the limit were 30 mph unless there are too many cars to travel freely at either speed or so few cars that it woudn’t matter if the speed were 20 or 30.

      • S

        “…the fewer cars can pass a given point in a given time.”

        Which is not the same as “congestion.” You are confusing it with throughput.

        • dacomentr

          I’ve been at a “congested” point in a road where no one knows where the hell they’re going. I simply go around them and get through. Not because of the speed limit, but because there are drivers literally clogging the road.

          • guest

            The roads need to be widened not constricted. What has been happening in the past 4 years has solved no problems and only satisfied an extremely miniscule percentage of the population.

          • Kriston Lewis

            Bigger roads won’t solve anything. It’ll encourage more (inexperienced) people to drive and then you’ll be back where you started. Los Angeles is an example of this.

          • Allan Rosen

            I don’t think guest meant we should widen local roads which is not really possible anymore. I think he was referring to the installation of bike lanes which narrow lanes for driving.

      • Andrew

        Your understanding of traffic engineering is quite simplistic. You may want to discuss this with an actual traffic engineer. There was one who used to comment here; if he’s reading this, perhaps he can chime in.

        • RIPTA42

          It’s simplistic but mostly correct. Diminished throughput can *cause* congestion – think of the shockwave effect on an expressway when someone slows down slightly to change the radio station or check that important Status Update.

          • Andrew

            Thanks, but I was referring in particular to the relationship between speed and throughput (or congestion) – I don’t think a reduction in speed limit from 30 to 25 would produce the major congestion that he claims. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

          • Allan Rosen

            He already answered you that “diminished throughput can cause congestion”. You just don’t like the answer so you ask it again, hoping it will change.

          • Andrew

            That’s throughput and congestion. I asked about speed.

          • Allan Rosen

            What’s not to understand? Slower speeds result in diminished throughput. (If cars go slower there is diminished throughput.) Diminished throughput can cause congestion. Therefore slower speeds can cause congestion. Remember things equal to the same thing are equal to each other?

          • Andrew

            Slower speeds result in diminished throughput. (If cars go slower there is diminished throughput.)

            That’s what I’m questioning. I don’t believe the relationship is as straightforward as you think it is. In particular, lower speeds don’t necessarily result in reduced throughput (although at the speeds we’re discussing, throughput is probably reduced slightly).

            RIPTA42, please chime in if I’m wrong.

          • Allan Rosen

            He said “can cause”. Not always cause. It may not be as direct as I stated, but it is a factor.

          • Andrew

            No, he said that diminished throughput can cause congestion, not that lower speeds can cause congestion. Throughput and speed are different things. (Think vehicles-per-hour vs. miles-per-hour.)

            In any case, he’s answered my question.

          • RIPTA42

            On the theoretical end, yes, lower speeds do mean less capacity. A slower vehicle occupies the same fixed amount of space for a longer period of time.

            In the practical world, I lowering the statutory speed limit won’t have any effect on congestion. It would only have a noticeable effect at a given point that is exactly at capacity now and where every single vehicle is going exactly 30. With very few exceptions, capacity on NYC streets is limited by signals and environmental factors, not theoretical maximum speed.

          • Andrew

            Thank you, that’s exactly what I thought.

            Allan, perhaps it’s time to drop the canard that lowering the speed limit, or installing cameras (which isn’t even the subject of this bill), would “greatly increase congestion” – since it wouldn’t.

          • Allan Rosen

            Not if street is defined to include sidewalks and cameras will not be used. However, I do believe that speed cameras are in our future because the 20 that the state gave approval for in school zones can be moved anywhere under the law. Once the city shows that accidents have been reduced, it will be easy to get state approval to increase the number to 100 or more. Then they will be installed where they will produce the greatest amount of revenue where speed limits are set too low.

          • Andrew

            Actually, no, that’s not what he said at all.

            But I do enjoy your conspiracy theories about possible enforcement against illegal and dangerous driving habits. Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic that the city will ever take the issue seriously, but hopefully I’ll be proven wrong.

          • Allan Rosen

            What are you talking about? I was agreeing with you. You are so quick to disagree that you don’t even read correctly. I agreed that if there is no camera enforcement and the sidewalk is included in the definition of street we have little to worry about regarding any increased congestion.

            I further stated that eventually we will get speed cameras, this is no conspiracy theory. It is based on what Mayor Bloomberg said after Albany approved the first 20 cameras. A provision in the law was included that allows the City to remove the cameras from school zones and place them wherever it wants to. If you don’t believe, they will be paced where they can raise the most revenue after they are moved and an increase is approved, you are very naive.

            That is exactly what happened with red light cameras. The first ones all were installed at entrances to highways where motorists would be more likely to go through a red light because it was the last one, not at the most dangerous intersections. Statistics also showed that red light cameras increased the number of rear ender accidents, but the city conveniently decided to ignore that.

          • Andrew

            What are you talking about? I was agreeing with you. You are so quick to disagree that you don’t even read correctly. I agreed that if there is no camera enforcement and the sidewalk is included in the definition of street we have little to worry about regarding any increased congestion.

            No, you weren’t agreeing with me. Even if motorists citywide were to suddenly start strictly obeying the speed limit, congestion would not be measurably increased. As RIPTA42 said, “With very few exceptions, capacity on NYC streets is limited by signals and environmental factors, not theoretical maximum speed.”

            I further stated that eventually we will get speed cameras, this is no conspiracy theory. It is based on what Mayor Bloomberg said after Albany approved the first 20 cameras. A provision in the law was included that allows the City to remove the cameras from school zones and place them wherever it wants to. If you don’t believe, they will be paced where they can raise the most revenue after they are moved and an increase is approved, you are very naive.

            I’m sorry, what is this provision?
            http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/08012013-speed-cameras-in-school-zones
            (Of course, I personally wouldn’t object to automated speed limit enforcement on all city streets, which would raise very little revenue once motorists realize that the law is being universally enforced but would improve pedestrian safety significantly.)

            That is exactly what happened with red light cameras. The first ones all were installed at entrances to highways where motorists would be more likely to go through a red light because it was the last one, not at the most dangerous intersections.

            That’s certainly not what I recall. Do you have proof of your claim?

            Statistics also showed that red light cameras increased the number of rear ender accidents, but the city conveniently decided to ignore that.

            More rear-end crashes but fewer right-angle crashes and fewer collisions with pedestrians. If the goal is to save lives, the tradeoff is undoubtedly worthwhile. (And the rear-end crashes would be avoided if motorists didn’t tailgate.) The city didn’t ignore anything.

          • Allan Rosen

            You provide a link to a press release and then ask where is the provision saying they can move the cameras anywhere. I’m telling you what Mayor Bloomberg stated on the news when the law was passed. You don’t have believe me if you don’t want to. You could also state Bloomberg was mistaken or that I misheard him. Frankly I don’t care. But don’t tell me because it isn’t in the press release it isnt buried somewhere in the law.

            In Brooklyn, the first red light cameras that were installed we’re on Ocean Parkway at the entrance to the Prospect Expressway and at Knapp Street at the entrance westbound entrance to the Belt Parkway. Then they put one at Flatbush Avenue south at the last traffic light before entering the Belt Parkway, again. If you believe that these we’re the three most dangerous intersections in Brooklyn, you are very naive. They knew those would raise the greatest amount of revenue.

            You shouldn’t have to slam on the brakes when going at the speed limit to stop on time before the camera. Yes blame te motorist for tailgating.

          • Andrew

            I’m afraid I can’t respond to an announcement that I didn’t hear (might it have been this?), but this is the text of the bill itself. Where is this magical provision?

            I believe the initial round of red light cameras had 50 installations across the city, and you only listed three, one of which is among the most dangerous intersections in Brooklyn for pedestrians. Since the police are unwilling to carry out serious enforcement of traffic laws, intersections like that one need as much automated enforcement as they can get.

            You don’t have to slam on the brakes when going at the speed limit to stop on time before the camera. (But that still doesn’t excuse any driver for following so closely that he can’t stop in time if his leader makes a panic stop, say for a person or an animal or debris in the roadway.)

          • Allan Rosen

            No that is not the statement by the mayor that I heard. You provided the text of the bill, not the text of the law as signed. It could have been a last minute provision inserted at the City’s request. Also, I heard the law was limited to 20 school zones, but that is not what the bill you provided states. It states that no more than 20 school zones could receive cameras at one time. I didn’t see any limit to the number of school zones that could receive cameras.

            Not only do you have to slam on the brakes when going at the legal limit, there are intersections such as at Liberty Avenue and Woodhaven Blvd where even if you do slam on the brakes you stop halfway through the crosswalk and then you have to back up.

          • Andrew

            As I said, I can’t respond to an announcement that I didn’t hear. You’ve made a claim about the law based on something that Bloomberg supposedly said, but everything that I can find on the subject disagrees. Do you intend to provide one iota of evidence for your assertion?

            If you are aware of an intersection whose traffic signals are timed improperly, I hope you’ve informed DOT. But, generally speaking, the standard yellow phase of three seconds provides ample time for a car approaching at 30 mph either to stop or to make it into the intersection prior to the red.

          • Allan Rosen

            You did not provide me with the actual law but only the bills that were introduced. You cannot say for certainty, that the provision is not in the law. Mayor Bloomberg said it was, but that isn’t good enough for you. So you continue to demand proof.

            And as for the traffic signal, first of all they are not all three seconds. Perhaps that is what is intended, but they are not calibrated often enough to ensure that is the case.

            I have timed many at two seconds and some only at one second. I even have video of a amber signal that was only 1/4 second long. That was reported to DOT and corrected. There was another one that I always felt was too short and one day I found out that it was. One day the light was green and as I went through the intersection, I happened to blink for the entire amber phase, and when my eyes opened, I found myself going through a red light because the entire amber sequence occurred when I blinked so I never saw it! And no my eyes were not closed for three seconds.

            As for the intersection I cited, that signal is 3 seconds, but the speed limit is 35 mph and I did inform DOT. So yes, you do have to slam on the brakes in many cases.

          • Andrew

            Sigh. If you’d like to provide any backup for your claim about the speed camera law, then please go right ahead.

            Every single yellow phase that I’ve timed – all on city streets subject to the standard 30 mph speed limit – has been three seconds long, or as close to three seconds as I can tell given the precision of my watch (which has a second hand). If you’ve received a ticket (automated or not) for running a red light at an intersection whose yellow phase is shorter, I hope you’ve fought it. Meanwhile, the other intersections – the overwhelming majority that are timed correctly – could use some enforcement.

          • Allan Rosen

            Try timing amber signals at three way intersections. That’s where you are most likely to encounter ambers of only two seconds. That’s where they like to skimp on the ambers in favor of having red lights for all traffic for up to three seconds.

            I can play the same games you do by saying just because you haven’t timed them does not mean they do not exist. The video of the amber signal of 1/4 second, I even posted once in one article on Sheepsheadbites. So this is an instance where I do have the backup and all you have is speculation. But I forgot. Your speculation does not require backup. Only mine does.

          • RIPTA42

            NYCDOT has a policy minimum of 3 seconds for the yellow interval. They don’t “like to skimp” anywhere, so anywhere you find a 2 second yellow should be reported.

            Has the 1/4 second yellow been fixed? That could have been either a controller malfunction or even a typo – yellow times are generally entered in tenths of seconds, and a careless technician may have input 3 instead of 30.

          • Allan Rosen

            After I complained, the light with a quarter second (which happened during alternate cycles, alternating with a one second amber) was changed to every second at all times. A year later, it was increased to every two seconds. Another year later it was finally increased to every three seconds.

            The other intersection where it was under a second, I haven’t been to in years so I don’t know if it was ever corrected, but it was that way for nine years. It is at a three way intersection of Brown Place, 69th Street, and Caldwell in Middle Village, Queens. The Brown Place amber is or was the short one.

            I will keep a look out now for signals under three seconds because I now know that they are unintended.

          • Andrew

            But conspiracy theories are so much more fun!

          • Andrew

            Do you have a link to that video? And had it been corrected yet?

          • Allan Rosen

            I wish you would read what I write before commenting. In the paragraph beginning “After I complained”, I state if it has been corrected. And here is the link so you can’t call me a liar. Check out this video on YouTube:

          • Andrew

            Thanks for the link, but while that’s clearly too short, it’s also clearly a lot longer than the quarter second that you claimed.

          • guest

            There are many lights in this area alone. (Which we all know by now you don’t reside in and probably have no clue about aside from looking at a google map.) where the yellow light and traffic lights in general have malfunctions. Particularly in cold weather. There are many that are not 3 seconds. Some are 1 second. Some two. Some change in the blink of an eye. It’s not just Sheesphead Bay either. It’s the entire city. Park Slope and Manhattan ARE NOT the entire city. This is done so that it is easier to ticket your administrations number one enemy. Because all drivers are the same. Instead of getting the real clowns off the street, you punish everybody that drives a car because your boss didn’t get his congestion pricing. Stop with the BS already.

          • Andrew

            Brilliant response. But if there are so many, why can’t you name a single one?

          • RIPTA42

            A law is a bill that was passed. If any provision were added, it would be on the Assembly website.

            Traffic signal controllers do not require frequent calibration.

          • Allan Rosen

            Then perhaps the mayor was incorrect.

            And perhaps they should be calibrated more frequently since the one I cited had a one second amber for at least nine years. I would have reported it if I realized a one second amber was not intended anywhere.

    • dacomentr

      I’ve witinessed congestion being caused by people going too slow and not knowing where they’re going, or having no common sense as to where to pull over.

  • bruce b

    Hey Allen:

    I agree with most of what you’re saying. Besides, 20mph seems really too slow for a speed limit. Does sound hysterical doesn’t it.
    But one passage leapt out to me that I wish you had omitted:
    “Just because the speed limit is 30 does not mean it is always safe to do 30. Under certain conditions, 35 or 40 may be perfectly safe. On the other hand, it may be safe to drive at only at 10 or 15 mph although the limit is 30. Contrary to public opinion, most drivers realize this and know what speed is safe to drive at.”
    I don’t know what you’re looking at, but drivers in our neighborhood seem to have not clue as to what speed is safe to drive at. If they did, I wouldn’t be constantly running to avoid their speedy turns or running for my life to avoid their racing through the red light, when I have the right of way. They don’t know, nor do they seem to care what speed is “correct”. I suspect their “correct” speed is the one that gets them to their beer&couch the fastest. There’s an awful lot of accidents in the neighborhood, both car on pedestrian and car on car. They’re not happening because “most drivers know this”.
    On a philosophical level, I have further problems with you “letting drivers determine the speed limit”. If it’s okay to break the law, what good is the law? How are you going to punish one guy for recklessly going over the limit, and one for “correctly going over the limit”, whatever that may mean. How does one make laws like this?
    I’ve seen studies that conclude the lower speed limits lead to less “casualties”. I wouldn’t blame you for being skeptical of these, I myself am, I’m sure someone can produce a study going the other way.
    LIke I said, 20mph seems to be awfully slow for a speed limit. Not sure I can agree to that. But nor do I want guys doing 40 down a 30mph zone. I think the law’s got to be the law, or there’s no way to enforce any law.
    Anyway, it’s a fine article, thanks.

    • dacomentr

      Sounds like you jaywalk, that’s “breaking the law”.

      • Andrew

        I’ve read over his comment three times and I don’t see anything that even remotely suggests that he jaywalks.

        (Also, I’m curious if you’re actually familiar with the laws on crossing the street. For instance, not only is it legal for a pedestrian to cross the street at an intersection with no traffic signals, but pedestrians at such locations even have the legal right-of-way over motorists. It’s also legal for a pedestrian to cross the street mid-block, except where both intersections flanking the block have traffic signals. And even when the pedestrian is in the wrong, motorists are legally obligated to exercise due care.)

        • Allan Rosen

          Pedestrians do not have the right of way at T intersections if there are no crosswalks or traffic signals.

          Most drivers, however, do not know the law when pedestrians have the right of way and think drivers always have it. When I give the right of way to a pedestrian, I am often greeted with surprise and and a thank you. That shows me how rarely they are given the right of way when they have it.

          • Andrew

            Thank you for the clarification in the first paragraph (a distinction I’ve never understood, but it is what it is).

            And I agree with your second paragraph completely.

          • Allan Rosen

            Finally a non-argumentative reply. It s a new day!

          • Allan Eosen

            I also don’t understand the distinction or why DOT claims it is legal to block a curb cut at such intersections which makes no sense at all, although you stll might get a ticket for doing that. Some judges have been dismissing tickets based on the proof that DOT claims it is legal on their web site, and others believe it is an error and have been upholding such summonses. This information is based on a past NY Times article.

      • bruce b

        I’m no saint. Do I jaywalk? yes I have in my lifetime. I’ve also smoked 1 joint. Guess that validates any thing I ever say.
        I don’t deny there are some awfully dumb and dangerous walkers. I hate when they put their head down and cross against the light, like “if I don’t look, I can’t be wrong”.. But that’s not what this article is about.

        • bruce b

          I meant invalidate

    • Allan Rosen

      it’s as if no one in the City Council drives a car or they just believe they are exempt from the law. When there are no cars on the road and there is visibility all around, 20 or 25 mph feels like you are standing still. Personally, I believe the speed limit shoud be higher for the lane not near the parked cars where your visibility is limited.

      I won’t argue as to what percentage of drivers drive safely but I would agree that most drivers do not give pedestrians the right of way. I think, however, if most drivers were “bad drivers” there would be much more accidents than there are. As far as which drivers to punish who are going over the limit, that’s where discretion comes in, for the police to determine who is a hazard and who isn’t. Safety should be the determining factor not revenue.

      I didn’t dispute any studies that said slower speeds lead to less casualties.

      What would you do if there is a work zone speed limit of 30 or 35 mph and all work is complete and everyone else is doing 60? Would you go 35?

    • ES

      Please don’t encourage Allan to write even more 1,927-word tomes. Because this poor slob had to edit it. It would have been a fine article at 1,200 words too.

      • 123123

        It would have been a fine article at 1,200 words too.

        What do you mean too? This poor excuse for a rant is not a fine article, although my sympathies if you were forced to read this 1927 word brain hemorrhage.

        • ungutterbal

          Amazing that you seem to be oblivious to “multiple meanings”.

          “Word brain hemorrhage”…you wouldn’t happen to be Andrew, would you?

          • guest

            Andrew or one of those other transportation alternative pea brains.

      • bruce b

        Allen’s articles are great. However, they are far too short bahahaha, love ya Erica.

        • Allan Rosen

          I guess I will have to make them longer. Wait–Erica will kill me.

  • R62 1881

    “The law is poorly thought out and is a hysterical reaction to the huge numbers of pedestrians who are killed or injured everyday by automobiles. It is a very big problem fueled by the fact that most of these fatalities receive only a cursory police investigation. If drugs, alcohol, or cell phones are not involved and the driver has a clean record, usually no charges are filed. It seems that every day we hear of another car going “out of control.” What does that really mean? Are the cars possessed?”

    What is an example of such an accident with pedestrian fatalities where the car was described as being “out of control” and no charges were filed? And what charges would you propose be filed in the example you cite?

    • Allan Rosen

      I am not saying that charges need to be filed in this case but just yesterday or the day before there was the case of a car plowing into a Trader Joes in Long Beach because a driver supposedly lost control and the store is not even along a roadway but in a shopping center. Luckily no one was killed in that incident, but someone certainly could have been. There have been cases of fatalities also.

      • R62 1881

        You didn’t answer my question! Also, I am specifically asking about NYC since that is the focus of the article and the context of your claim (that it is a “fact that most of these fatalities receive only a cursory police investigation. If drugs, alcohol, or cell phones are not involved and the driver has a clean record, usually no charges are filed. It seems that every day we hear of another car going “out of control.””).

        • Allan Rosen

          If you want the answer to that question, just go to Streetsblog. They write about every pedestrian fatality caused by the “murderers” who drive cars and are not prosecuted in NYC, because it was just an accident.

          Yes some are unfortunate accidents, But not all.

          A driver making a mistake between the gas and the brake is allowed to continue to drive without even a summons or license suspension since there was no mal intent.

          • R62 1881

            You STILL haven’t answered my question! You made the claim – now back it up. You said we hear about these every day so surely you can provide at least one example, if not hundreds. What’s the problem?

          • Andrew

            Where does Streetsblog write about such “murderers”? Can you provide even one link?

            “Mal intent” has nothing to do with it. Someone who is unable (e.g., for medical reasons) or unwilling to exercise the caution necessary to distinguish the brake from the accelerator, and is unable or unwilling to quickly carry out the necessary corrections after something has gone wrong, should not be driving a motor vehicle, especially in an area with many pedestrians or cyclists, who are not themselves inside protective cages. It’s a question of whether such a driver can be expected to drive without causing damage to others.

            William Rockefeller had no malintent on December 1 when he derailed his Metro-North train. Does that mean that we should shrug off the derailment, which killed four and injured 67, as a mere accident? Or should we try to figure out what went wrong and how to avoid a recurrence?

            The word “accident” implies that the end result was unavoidable. The word should not be used until and unless such a conclusion has been reached.

          • guest

            Where does Streetsblog write about such “murderers”? Can you provide even one link?

            Clearly you need glasses. Those idiots call our sanitation workers dangerous. I would bet most of those bloggers over there have no idea how difficult a job being a sanitation worker is. Too my knowledge every week they have a weekly carnage section. In every single article it is always the murderous drivers fault with his or her murderous weapon. How do you solve every single problem according to streetsblog? More bicycles, less ways for any type of veichle that uses gas to get around. The end.

          • Andrew

            Last I checked, “dangerous” and “hard-working” are not opposites.

            Do you have a link to a Streetsblog article that refers to a “murderous driver” or a “murderous weapon”? Here’s the most recent Weekly Carnage – all I see is a list of crashes and links to articles about them. Nobody is called “murderous.”

          • guest

            That site has never classified any job involving a motored vehicle as hard working. They labeled sanitation as dangerous. More proof to their agenda, right in that title called “weekly carnage”. Obviously there are some idiot drivers out there, but do those clowns stop to think and investigate a story and see that possibly it was an accident? No. That’s impossible in their eyes. It is ALWAYS the car, truck, bus or taxi at fault with them. If it involves a cyclist, it’s always the other person. Cyclist are never at fault. A cyclist can be just as big a moron as a driver but that’s sacrilege over there.

          • Allan Rosen

            I fully agree with you. Just go to their site and say one thing to defend drivers. Within a few minutes, you have to defend yourself against ten people who then call you a murderer. That’s why I rarely visit their site anymore.

          • guest

            I have and you are correct. Didn’t even say anything bad. But mentioned the words car and taxi and all hell broke loose. They are clueless over there.

          • Andrew

            Show me one example of ten people calling you, or any other commenter, a murderer.

            (By the way, even if there were such an example – and I don’t believe there is – it’s a bit of a stretch to represent Streetsblog itself by the people who choose to comment on the site. The Streetsblog comment policy explicitly welcomes dissent.)

          • Allan Rosen

            They can say they welcome dissent all they want. The fact is they don’t. Whenever they themselves make an anti auto remark, ten people agree saying the article was brilliant. When one disagrees, the same people start attacking and not by disputing facts. They do it with personal attacks, lies, generalizations and quoting irrelevant statistics. They are extremely intolerant to opposing viewpoints. I’ve been there often enough to know, their commenters reflect the view of the writers who never give a fair report. They are always extremely one sided.

            You don’t have to believe me if you don’t want to and I do not have to spend my time looking for an example. If you don’t believe me just try it yourself. Talk about how great it is to drive and say something like we need more highways, or say so etching like cyclst’s frequently go through red lights. Someone will respond that cyclists don’t kill people. Then they will mention the number of pedestrian fatalities, never addressing the fact that cyclst’s do frequently go through red lights or that a cyclist is ever wrong.

          • Andrew

            Do you realize that the editorial staff of Streetsblog and the people who comment on the Streetsblog website are distinct and only barely overlapping groups of people? The Streetsblog comment policy welcomes dissent, which means that (a) you can post your opinion, whether or not it agrees with the position of Streetsblog itself, and (b) others can respond to your posting, in agreement or in disagreement, whether or not their positions agree with the positions of Streetsblog itself.

            Are you complaining about Streetsblog itself, or are you complaining about the people who comment on the Streetsblog website?

            I’ve been involved in plenty of friendly arguments on Streetsblog. What’s the problem with that? The question of cyclists running red lights often comes up in the comment threads, often resulting in heated discussions – today included.

          • Andrew

            Oh, and if you’re going to refuse to give even a single example of ten people who called you a murderer, then perhaps you should retract that claim.

          • guest

            Sir or Madam, you are incorrect. If you post a comment that paints cars or any motor vehicle in a positive light. you are A)Ridiculed and B)Banned.

          • Andrew

            If other commenters think that your comment is worthy of ridicule, they will ridicule it. Is that somehow a problem?

            Have you been banned from commenting on Streetsblog, or do you know anyone who has? What was the comment that resulted in the ban?

            As I asked you before, do you have a link to a Streetsblog article that refers to a “murderous driver” or a “murderous weapon”?

          • Allan Rosen

            It results in heated discussions because the bicycle advocates come out in force. I am complaining mostly about the people who comment. I did not pay attention if any of those arguing vehemently against cars and motorists were from the Streetsblog staff or not.

          • Andrew

            What’s wrong with heated discussions? Are people not allowed to disagree with you?

            And how about retracting your “murderer” claim already?

          • Allan Rosen

            I am not going to spend hours looking for comments I made three years ago just to prove something to you that I remember.

            There is nothing wrong with heated discussions when they are fair. I wouldn’t call a fight where ten people beat up on one and don’t reply to the points that person makes, but instead restates irrelevant statistics, to prove themselves right just because they know they are right and are unwilling to accept opposing opinions and just restate their own propaganda, discussions worth having, if you even want to call them discussions.

          • Andrew

            It doesn’t take hours to carry out a simple Google search. A quick search for site:streetsblog.org “brooklynbus” murder OR murderer OR murderous yielded no results. Leaving off the murder/murderer/murderous bit yielded 14 results, and on a quick skim it seems like everyone debating you was exceedingly polite yet thorough – see here and here and here.

            You made the claim. Either prove it or retract it.

          • Allan Rosen

            The three citations you found were not what I had in mind. Most were arguing sensibly here without insulting. Of the ones you cited, this was the worst I found. The quote is from me and the response is that Automobile drivers are in fact villains.

            —Jason A

            • 5 years ago

            “Automobile drivers are not the villains who need to be punished.”

            Yeah, except that they are…——

            That summarizes the thinking of most Streetsbloggers. Okay, villains is not the same as murderers. But the posts I was thinking of were not one on one discussions. They were where I made a comment and ten readers took issue with it at once and I had to defend my comments to all ten of them, and many were not as civilized as ones you decided to quote.

            They were more like “User 21936″ who called me “a narrow-minded idiot” in the Truck post here on Sheepsheadbites. http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/2013/12/greenfield-proposes-flashing-yellow-lights-at-train-overpassesto-prevent-truck-collisions/

          • Andrew

            If there’s a particular citation you’d like to make, then please make it. I’ve already shown you what to search for in Google.

            I’m sorry you don’t approve of Jason A’s comment, but how can you say both that “Most were arguing sensibly here without insulting” and “That summarizes the thinking of most Streetsbloggers”?

            A villain is a far cry from a murderer, and one person is a far cry from ten. You claimed last Wednesday that “Within a few minutes, you have to defend yourself against ten people who then call you a murderer.” I asked you to give one single example. I’m still waiting for that example or for a retraction.

            I don’t agree with user21936′s mode of discourse, but I can’t argue with his assessment of the facts.

          • Allan Rosen

            I have better things to do with my time than to perform endless Google searches just to please you when all you will do if find another reason to disprove what I am saying. There is no end with you.

          • Andrew

            Don’t accuse ten people of calling you a murderer if you’re not willing to back it up. (Especially since its clear they didn’t.)

          • Andrew

            “That site” doesn’t generally discuss how hard pedestrians or cyclists or transit riders work either. A dangerous driver is a dangerous driver, whether he’s a hard-working dangerous driver or a lazy dangerous driver. What’s the relevance of working habits?

            Investigation is exactly what they call for. The NYPD almost always concludes that the driver could not possibly have been at fault immediately, without conducting any sort of serious investigation.

            When did they say or even suggest that cyclists are never at fault? And what do cyclists even have to do with the vast majority of motorist-ped collisions?

          • Allan Rosen

            I am not defending Streetsblog. Sometimes it really is an accident. But Streetsblog wants to convict every single driver who has one.

          • Andrew

            Oh really?

            I don’t know which Streetsblog you read, but the one I read wants supposed “accidents” to be fully investigated to determine what actually happened. The NYPD rarely tries to determine whether there was any negligence involved, especially on the part of the driver.

            By the way, even the NYPD no longer calls them accidents.

          • Allan Rosen

            Streetsblog has the motorist convicted in all instances. Thy have never found a cyclist doing any wrong. All you have to do is to compare the number of articles about pedestrian fatalities and the number of articles with cyclists breaking the law. The total is something like 300 to zero.

          • Andrew

            Perhaps that’s because there hasn’t been a bike-on-ped fatality in New York City in over four years, while there are multiple motorist-on-ped fatalities each week.

            Here’s a Streetsblog post that links to an article about that most recent bike-on-ped fatality – I suggest you look at the comments.

          • Calling Your Bluff

            Ok Janette. Keep living in your dreamworld. Just because your precious streetsblog doesn’t post doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Let’s play your game. I will give you not one but two separate instances of bike carnage.

            Cyclst not paying attention, speeding along. Both of these were reported in the Daily News in August 2012. There were at least 2 in Prospect Park in 2011. Which if I do the math and I’m pretty sure I am correct, falls within the past 4 years. And of course, which streetsblog took high offense too.

            So what was done to stop those crazy cyclist? In the central park bike carnage cases, You decided you needed to remove a car lane from central park. Of course! That will make it much more safer for pedestrians from renegade cyclist. Can’t wait for this administration to get the hell out of office before they can do more damage.

            http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/mayor-concentrate-slowing-speeding-bikers-banning-big-drinks-blind-marathoner-pummeled-cyclist-central-park-article-1.1138169

            http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/prospect-park-boosters-hope-solve-hot-button-issue-pedestrians-cyclists-article-1.1139943

          • Andrew

            Must I define the word “fatality” or would you like to look it up in the dictionary yourself?

          • Allan Rosen

            I actually agree with you this time. I did provide a link in another post and if you look to the right, there are half a dozen related stories, and each time they point out cases where no charges were filed although there was a fatality. They even make a blanket statement in one of them that you will not be charged unless you are found to be drunk. They also frequently refer to these “accidents” as “murders.”

          • Andrew

            I actually agree with you this time. I did provide a link in another post and if you look to the right, there are half a dozen related stories, and each time they point out cases where no charges were filed although there was a fatality. They even make a blanket statement in one of them that you will not be charged unless you are found to be drunk.

            This is all unfortunately very true. Perhaps Bill Bratton will make this a priority, since Ray Kelly certainly didn’t.

            They also frequently refer to these “accidents” as “murders.”

            WHAT? I will ask again, for the third time, for a single such reference.

          • Allan Rosen

            I dd a quick check and couldn’t find an instance where an article referred to motorists as murderers although they call them killers quite often, which I suppose is true, even if an accident is unavoidable or the pedestrian is at fault. (Commenters do use the term “murderer”)

            But don’t try to tell me Streetsblog engages in objective reporting. Every instance where no charges are filed is followed by the words “no charges filed” even in cases where no charges should be filed. That is misleading.

            They also include all instances of roadway deaths in their “Weekly Carnage” even including instances where pedestrians are killed attempting to cross limited access highways.

            Yet show me a single article where a cyclist ever caused an accident or was at fault or ever broke a law?

          • Andrew

            I dd a quick check and couldn’t find an instance where an article referred to motorists as murderers although they call them killers quite often, which I suppose is true, even if an accident is unavoidable or the pedestrian is at fault.

            So do you retract your earlier claim?

            (Commenters do use the term “murderer”)

            Yes, a few of them do. Not many, in my experience. But commenters are not Streetsblog itself.

            But don’t try to tell me Streetsblog engages in objective reporting.

            I don’t think Streetsblog has ever claimed to engage in objective reporting.

            Every instance where no charges are filed is followed by the words “no charges filed” even in cases where no charges should be filed. That is misleading.

            I’m sorry, what exactly is misleading? If no charges were filed, what are they supposed to report?

            They also include all instances of roadway deaths in their “Weekly Carnage” even including instances where pedestrians are killed attempting to cross limited access highways.

            Of course they do. The purpose of the Weekly Carnage isn’t to assign blame.

            Yet show me a single article where a cyclist ever caused an accident or was at fault or ever broke a law?

            http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/07/09/nypd-issues-more-tickets-for-sidewalk-riding-than-speeding-on-local-streets/- and don’t miss the comments.

          • Allan Rosen

            That is your example of cyclists breaking the law? The entire thrust of that article is that bikes are ticketed more frequently than speeders which is unjust. And you can see for yourself how many pounce on the guy who is trying to stick up for the motorist. Thanks for proving my case.

            By the way did they ever cite those two Daily News Articles that Calling Yor Bluff pointed out where bikes were clearly in the wrong or do they only report on fatalities caused by bikes? All injuries caused by cars a reported, not just fatalities. I would call that a double standard.

            And there is no point in stating “No charges filed” when no charges were warranted unless you are trying to give the impression that charges should have been filed which is the impression they try to give for every encounter with a motor vehicle. Yes they want all instances investigated, but they also want all motorists to be found guilty. They don’t believe tat is possible to have an “accident.”

          • Andrew

            I was directing your attention to the ongoing debate in the comments section – largely between two cyclists. The thrust of the article is that focusing enforcement efforts disproportionately on cyclists, even through motorists are responsible for the overwhelming majority of fatalities and serious injuries, is a misallocation of resources, not that it is “unjust.”

            The two Daily News articles were offered in response to my claim that there hasn’t been a bike-on-ped fatality in NYC since 2009. Do those two articles contradict my claim? Do they soak of fatalities? In contrast, there are multiple motorist-on-ped fatalities every single week. Motorists strike pedestrians on sidewalks with surprising regularity, often resulting in death or serious injury.

            “No charges filed” has no business being declared until after an thorough investigation has been concluded. That includes both a determination of the facts (based on more than the claims of the motorist himself – the dead pedestrian is unable to give his side of the story, after all) and a determination of whether either party was acting negligently. Some very basic questions that are often simply ignored include: Was the motorist fully engaged in the task of driving, or was he distracted by something else? (Cell phone records can help to smart this question.) Was the motorist driving at a safe and legal speed, or had he made the decision to increase his stopping distance by speeding? Was the motorist taking any medications that reduce awareness or increase reaction time? If the motorist claimed a vehicle malfunction, was the vehicle being properly maintained in the first place? Did the motorist yield to pedestrians where required by law, or did he assume that the pedestrian would jump out of the way? Did the motorist exercise due care? Until those questions are answered, it simply cannot be determined whether a collision was a pure accident.

          • Allan Rosen

            Agreed on your last paragraph. But even if the investigation is not yet concluded, Streets blog lists it as a “No charges filed”. Sometimes they say charges are pending when they are giving a detailed description of an accident, but I never have seen, charges pending, or charges filed, when they do their summaries. There are a half dozen accidents listed in the summaries, and all always state “No charges filed”. They are distinctly trying to give an impression that drivers are going free when they are guilty even if that is not the case.

            As for your claim regarding misallocation of resources, where is your proof. The number of citations given does not mean resources are misallocation. When I drive along highways, I always see the highway patrol out in full force. That doesn’t mean they have to be writing tickets every minute. They can wait an hour before they decide they should capture a speeder. They are there to save lives so they concentrate on those exceeding the peed limit

          • Allan Rosen

            speed limit by at least 20 mph. If they go. After every speeder, they might miss the big ones which is far more important. Those fines are also higher.

            I can’t recall the last time I saw the bike patrol out in full force giving tickets to bikers. Maybe more tickets are given to bikers than to motorists is because the vast majority of bikers go through red lights whereas only a very small percentage of motorists do that. Did you think of that?

            Of course Streetsblog would readily conclude a misallocation of resources because we know whose side they are on.

          • Andrew

            Agreed on your last paragraph. But even if the investigation is not yet concluded, Streets blog lists it as a “No charges filed”. Sometimes they say charges are pending when they are giving a detailed description of an accident, but I never have seen, charges pending, or charges filed, when they do their summaries. There are a half dozen accidents listed in the summaries, and all always state “No charges filed”. They are distinctly trying to give an impression that drivers are going free when they are guilty even if that is not the case.

            I’m not clear on your objection. Perhaps a few examples would help. What summaries are you referring to? If you mean the Weekly Carnage summaries, in the most recent column I only see those words in the description of one crash, one in which a driver killed a pedestrian crossing with the legal right-of-way.

            As for your claim regarding misallocation of resources, where is your proof.

            Did you read the opening two paragraphs of the Streetsblog article? If not, here they are again:

            NYPD issued more tickets for riding a bike on a sidewalk than for speeding on surface streets last year, according to summons data and court records.

            The Criminal Court of the City of New York 2012 Annual Report [PDF] ranks sidewalk riding as the third most frequently charged summons, with around 25,000 issued. According to data scraped from NYPD moving violations reports, 71,305 motorists were cited for speeding in 2012, and 52,186 of those summonses were issued by the highway patrol. Local precincts ticketed just 19,119 drivers for speeding through neighborhoods last year.

            The number of citations given does not mean resources are misallocation. When I drive along highways, I always see the highway patrol out in full force. That doesn’t mean they have to be writing tickets every minute. They can wait an hour before they decide they should capture a speeder. They are there to save lives so they concentrate on those exceeding the speed limit by at least 20 mph. If they go. After every speeder, they might miss the big ones which is far more important. Those fines are also higher.

            If the NYPD were concerned with pedestrian safety, they’d focus on city streets, not on highways.

            Here are the November 2013 numbers from the 61st Precinct. The 61st Precinct issued 15 summonses (one every two days) for running red lights, 14 summonses (less than one every two days) for speeding, 30 summonses (one per day) for failure to yield to pedestrians, and 5 summonses (one every six days) for failure to signal. That is, frankly, absurd – numbers that low have no deterrent effect whatsoever. If we want drivers to drive safely, there need to be hundreds of summonses per day for offenses that endanger pedestrians, until motorists get the point.

            I can’t recall the last time I saw the bike patrol out in full force giving tickets to bikers. Maybe more tickets are given to bikers than to motorists is because the vast majority of bikers go through red lights whereas only a very small percentage of motorists do that. Did you think of that?

            Allan, I am a pedestrian. Within a span of about three minutes on Friday afternoon, I was forced to wait for two motorists who blatantly ran red lights and for four motorists who simply did not stop at stop signs and kept going despite the pedestrians in the crosswalk trying to cross. Any of these people could have killed me had I not waited for them to break the law. I didn’t encounter any cyclists, but even if I had, I would not have feared for my life.

            To put this in perspective, on November 11, motorists managed to kill three NYC pedestrians on sidewalks.

            I want the NYPD to focus on safety for pedestrians. No, cyclists shouldn’t run red lights, but the NYPD should be focused on solving the traffic violence epidemic, and any concerted effort to target cyclists is simply a distraction from that goal.

            Of course Streetsblog would readily conclude a misallocation of resources because we know whose side they are on.

            They’re without question on my side, and I haven’t used a bicycle in decades.

          • Allan Rosen

            This was one of the Weekly Carnage stories I was referring to where all it states for four incidents “No charges filed” without indicating if charges were just not filed yet or if the investigation had concluded or not.

            http://www..org/2013/11/01/the-weekly-carnage-217/

            I agree that local precincts should be doing more. I also would like to see someone ticketed for exessive lane changing like five times within 30 seconds. The highway patrol is trying to save lives but local precincts are only interested in revenue, not safety. Perhaps that’s why more cyclists are ticketed by local precincts than autos. Especially disturbing was the ticketing of cyclists legally using a bike path over the Willis Avenue Bridge. That proves the emphasis is revenue. Still I am not for singling out one car going 35 mph in a 30 mph zone when everyone else is doing it and it isn’t even dangerous. They should e giving

          • Allan Rosen

            They should be giving tickets to cars going 20 mph over the limit on local streets. NYPD should focus on safety for pedestrians. But bikes are also a danger to pedestrians which many will testify to. I’ve had a few close calls.

          • qwerty

            You’ve had a few close calls almost killing cyclists.

          • Andrew

            To be fair, I’m only aware of the one.

          • Allan Rosen

            He misunderstood what I wrote.

          • Andrew

            No, I think he understood quite well.

          • Allan Rosen

            No, I’ve had a few close calls as a pedestrian where bikes almost hit me.

          • Andrew

            I have a few close calls as a pedestrian where motorists have almost hit me virtually every time I spend five minutes walking.

          • Andrew

            So why don’t you click on the links provided and read up on the details?

            I have no objection to increased enforcement of weaving, but speeding and red-light running and failure to yield to pedestrian are far more rampant and have a greater direct impact on pedestrian safety.

            The ticketing of cyclists on the Willis Avenue Bridge was due to the NYPD’s general dislike of cyclists, nothing more and nothing less. As far as the NYPD is concerned, anybody driving a car is an important person making an important trip, while pedestrians and especially cyclists are just wasting time and getting in the way of the all-important motorist class.

            They should certainly not wait until motorists are driving at 50 mph before issuing tickets on local streets!

            Motorists have killed hundreds of people in NYC, possibly as many as a thousand (I haven’t seen the exact numbers), since a cyclist last killed a pedestrian, in 2009. Let’s focus on the real danger.

          • Allan Rosen

            Yes, they din’t have to wait for someone to do 50. However, in many instances even 40 or 45 poses absolutely no danger to anyone. It all depends on visibility and road conditions. I would rather they concentrate their efforts on cars no driving safely, than just going by the speed limit. Reckless driving is what the problem is.

            And your refusal to admit that revenue is the driving force is unbelievable. You can speculate how police officers think, that they hate bikes and love motorists, without any proof whatsoever. But if I speculate, you immediately demand proof. If cops hate cyclists so much, why do some police patrol using bikes?

          • Andrew

            As long as nothing goes wrong, 40 or 45 is perfectly safe – and, for that matter, as long as nothing goes wrong, 100 is equally safe. But if something unexpected happens, driving at 40 or 45 gives you less time to react, and the consequences of your not reacting quickly enough are greater. In a dense setting with pedestrians and cyclists, I do not think that 40 or 45 is safe. Also (and this part is indisputable), it is not legal on most NYC streets.

            If the NYPD were interested in revenue, they’d set up a quick-and-dirty yield-to-pedestrians sting at the intersection of their choice. They’d easily pick up more revenue in very little time, and they’d even be contributing to safety while they’re at it. Tickets that are dismissed in court do not contribute to revenue.

            I think it’s been pretty clear over the years that the NYPD has no warm feelings toward cyclists. Very little police work takes place on bicycles. Here’s one blatant incident from July.

          • guest

            “I think it’s been pretty clear over the years that the NYPD has no warm feelings toward cyclists.”

            Pertaining only to cyclists. Because personally cops don’t really like anyone due to this administration’s nutjob ways. Why could that be, that they don’t like cyclists? Maybe because the streets have been made impossible to travel on by the number of baracades, plazas and other anti-vehicle “calming” features that have been implemented in the past 4 years in response to the emperor not getting his congestion pricing so he can have $35 billion at this point instead of $31 billion. Did you and your streetblog readers ever stop to think. Hmmm…maybe closing off streets and putting up full time speed bumps is not a smart idea. It is now harder for police, fire and any emergency vehicles to maneuver anywhere. This results in longer response times. All to apiece a small part of the population that will move on to the next big thing in a few years. It’s not about just cars you fool. It’s about keeping this city moving. Keeping people alive. You throw asshole drivers in jail and take away their licnese, not play with peoples lives because youre a baby and didn’t get what you wanted 4 years ago and then have the gall to claim you are doing it for safety and for children. There was nothing wrong with crossing guards helping children cross the street during school hours. It kept people employed and calmed traffic much more efficiently then out of sync lights and speed bumps which if an idiot wants to run will run. What the hell is wrong with some of you? Open your damn eyes. But you won’t.

          • Andrew

            I stopped reading when you used “travel” as a synonym for “drive a car” – in a city in which most households don’t even have cars.

            Grow up. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

          • Allan Rosen

            Okay, let me play the Andrew game here. You take one anecdote (your link) which you assume is 100% correct from the cyclist’s memory when she had every incentive to lie so she can avoid paying a ticket she deserved and you turn that into a broad generalization that all cops hate cyclists and therefore ticket them relentlessly, most of whom who are totally innocent. Where is your proof that the tickets given to cyclists are because the police hate cyclists?

            Now let me tell you what I really think. I actually believe the cyclists account of events, not because I love cyclists or hate police, but because I have an open mind without it being made up before I read the actual circumstances. But I don’t believe for one minute that cops hate cyclists. The reason the cop behaved the way he did was because she was challenging his authority and there is nothing more than cops hate is when they are challenged. He didn’t believe for one minute that you are not allowed to go through an amber light. He was just looking to ticket her because she challenged him. If she would have been polite, was young and fairly attractive and smiled a lot at him, he might have even changed his mind and let her off with a warning. It is human behavior at work, not a bias against bikes and a love of autos as you suggest.

            And as to why local precincts ticket more cyclists than autos, it is simply because like in many other professions, many cops are just lazy. What other profession allows you to retire with a pension while still in your forties. Some become police officers for that simple reason. (That is not to say that there aren’t many dedicated cops who want to do good.) It is far easier to meet their ticket quota by ticketing a cyclist than by chasing down a speeding motorist. And don’t try to tell me there are no such things as ticket quotas. A simple threat that if a “ticket goal” is not met, they will be transferred to the nigh shift, is enough of an incentive to meet that “goal” and that is a quota.

            “As long as nothing goes wrong, 40 or 45 is perfectly safe”

            I never said or implied anything of the sort your first paragraph is irrelevant.

            “In a dense setting with pedestrians and cyclists, I do not think that 40 or 45 is safe.”

            I fully agree, but I was not speaking about those situations, but rather cases where there are very few autos and pedestrians around and visibility is excellent in all directions so you can easily see impending danger.

          • Allan Rosen

            I forgot to mention how I enjoy your conspiracy theories how cops hate cyclists.

          • RIPTA42

            There have been over 1,500 pedestrian fatalities in NYC since 2009.

          • Andrew

            Thanks. I think we should be trying to reduce the number for the next four years. That means increased enforcement of driving laws that protect pedestrians, and it also means further redesigns of the built environment to improve pedestrian safety.

  • R62 1881

    “When I was taught to drive, my instructor told me that it is best to travel at the same speed most other cars are traveling.”

    What ridiculous advice! Did he offer to pay for any speeding tickets?

    • Allan Rosen

      I bet you don’t drive. It’s not ridiculous advice. If you are driving slower than everyone else assuming te others are driving at a reasonable speed, then you are creating a hazard by driving slower. And unless there is a speed trap, on a highway you don’t get a ticket for going 5 or 10 mph over the speed limit. They are there to catch those going 20 or more over the limit.

      • R62 1881

        You’d be wrong. I drive a lot. Again, did your driving instructor offer to pay for all your speeding tickets? There are many roads/highways where most of the other cars are traveling more than 5 or 10 MPH over the speed limit. That advise is ridiculous.

        • Allan Rosen

          They are driving 5 or 10 miles over the limit because they are driving within the safe design limits of the highway. The engineers plan the speed limits knowing that some will speed. That’s why they are lower than what is safe to drive under optimal driving condition, not the speed where if you are one mile over, you are causing a danger. That’s why they are not ticketed either.

          By going slower than everyone else, you are causing most everyone else to risk danger by switching lanes and passing you.

          • R62 1881

            You are still completely missing the point. It doesn’t matter that others are driving over the speed limit. And it doesn’t matter why they are doing it. If YOU do it, you can get a speeding ticket. For the fourth time, DID YOUR DRIVING INSTRUCTOR OFFER TO PAY FOR YOUR SPEEDING TICKETS? HIS ADVICE WAS RIDICULOUS.

            Your claims that “driving 5 or 10 miles over the limit is safe” is NOT a valid excuse for speeding with respect to the law! Do you understand that?

          • Allan Rosen

            No my driving instructor did not offer to pay for my speeding tickets five miles over the speed limit. Are you happy now? Perhaps he didn’t offer to do that because except in the cases of speed traps, tickets are not given for going five miles over the speed limit partially because radar guns havea small margin of error.

            And this is coming from someone who is so sure of his driving skills that he goes twice the advised speed around curves? Do you understand your hypocrisy?

          • R62 1881

            “No my driving instructor did not offer to pay for my speeding tickets five miles over the speed limit.”

            Thank you. As such then, his advice was ridiculous. As there are many roads where many/most cars are going 5 to 10 or more MPH over the speed limit, he should not have given you that advice. You certainly can get a ticket for going 10 or more MPH over the speed limit.

          • R62 1881

            “And this is coming from someone who is so sure of his driving skills
            that he goes twice the advised speed around curves? Do you understand
            your hypocrisy?”

            Not at all. What does the advisory speed on a curve have to do with speeding tickets given for exceeding the posted speed limit?

            And what do speeding tickets have to do with confidence of driving skill? You can get a ticket for doing 85 MPH in a 75 MPH zone for a road on which doing 100 MPH would still be “safe” (assuming no other nearby traffic).

          • Allan Rosen

            Okay, I misunderstood you. I thought because you assumed the instructor advised drivers to go 65 in a 50 mph zone, you thought it was poor advice because it was unsafe although others were going at that speed. Your only real objection to that advice was that you would get a ticket. The first objection, although going 15 miles over the limit was not his advice, would have made some sense. Criticizing his advice because in your opinion it would be likely to subject you to a summons, not because of safety reasons, although it woud be safe, is just plain dumb.

          • ungutterbal

            I’m pretty sure you’re the one missing the point. While it technically IS breaking the law if traffic is flowing at a higher speed than posted, the cops are more likely to pull someone over that is driving at a speed considerably different from the traffic flow than someone of the many moving faster than the posted speed. I’m not a driver and I realize this. (Before you even bother asking, I have known this for quite a bit prior to this article.)

      • Maxwell Smart

        I use the 10% rule…Speed limit plus 10% going 45 in a 35 zone will probably get you ticketed

        • R62 1881

          I’m going to assume that you are making fun of Allan Rosen as opposed to maklng a serious post.

          • Allan Rosen

            Of course you agree with him. You didn’t even spot his arithmmetic error.

          • R62 1881

            What are you talking about?

          • Allan Rosen

            His math doesn’t add up and his explanation of hs bad math makes no sense either.

          • R62 1881

            I know it doesn’t add up. I’m referring to this: “Of course you agree with him. You didn’t even spot his arithmmetic error.”

            Where did I agree with him? Why “of course”? And why would I have not spotted his arithmetic error?

          • Andrew

            He’s saying that going 45 in a 35 zone will probably get you ticketed because 45 is more than 10% over 35.

          • Allan Rosen

            Thanks. That’s not how I read it the first time.

          • Andrew

            I didn’t understand it either until fdtutf explained it.

        • Allan Rosen

          Great arithmetic. Going over 35 mph by 10% is 38.5 mph not 45 mph. And yes going 45 in a 35 mph zone would subject you to getting a ticket.

          • fdtutf

            Bad punctuation rather than bad math. Here it is with correct punctuation: “I use the 10% rule: speed limit plus 10%. Going 45 in a 35 zone will probably get you ticketed.”

          • R62 1881

            What are you talking about?

          • fdtutf

            I just repeated Maxwell Smart’s comment, with corrected punctuation. Is that really that difficult to figure out?

          • Allan Rosen

            Yes, what are you trying to say? We have no idea.

    • RIPTA42

      Speeding tickets or not, it is safer. Speed differential is more of a safety hazard than speed itself. Of course, that only goes for arterial roadways with a fair amount of traffic, not residential streets with a couple hundred cars an hour.

      • Allan Rosen

        Agreed. On residential streets it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. You should never drive faster than what you feel is safe even if everyone else is going faster.

        So no one misinterprets that, if you are a new driver and are still not comfortable going as fast as everyone else on the highway, just go slower and keep to the right. If you have to go slower than 40 for some reason when everyone else is going much faster, you should use your flashers. Drivers respect flashers and go around you rather than getting angry because you are going slow.

        • R62 1881

          But what about going 15 MPH over the speed limit because most other cars are doing so? What happens when you come upon the few cars that are not doing 15 MPH over? That’s a huge speed differential.

          • Allan Rosen

            I assume you are talking highway. So if I understand you, the speed limit is 50 and everyone is doing 65, your question is should you be going 65? It depends on what you feel is safe. You should never go faster than what you feel comfortable doing. That’s all I will say on the matter.

          • R62 1881

            Yes, you understand correctly. So you’re finally admitting that what your driving instructor told you is ridiculous. Thank you. Now I hope that when you call for more driving instruction, it is not with an instructor like the one you quoted.

          • Allan Rosen

            First of all, that was back in 1970. The highway speed limit was 55 in the city not 50. He was talking about going five or ten miles over the limit, not 15 which at that time would have meant doing 70 in the city.

            I’m sure he didn’t mean that if everyone is driving crazy or too fast, you should be doing the same. He was merely stating that it is safe to speed up by five mph if everyone is going 5 mph faster than you and he was referring to highway driving in general, not only NYC.

            I don’t believe what he meant was ridiculous. He was over 60 at the time and had many years of driving experience and was a licensed instructor, but I don’t see why I need to defend him when a traffic engineer already stated that “speed differential is more of a safety hazard then speed differential itself”.

      • R62 1881

        I never said otherwise w.r.t. safety. I was specifically responding to the fact that his instructor said “it was best”. That is ridiculous. And of course as you noted, this has nothing to do with residential streets in the first place. So….?

  • R62 1881

    “Many years ago, I was driving on the New England Thruway during a blizzard. The speed limit was 65. I was doing 30 and was pulled over by a police officer for driving “too fast!” I was instructed to slow down to 20, which I did.”

    Are you sure it wasn’t the opposite and he pulled you over for going too slow and told you to go faster or get off the damn HIGHWAY?? If you have to go 20 MPH on such a limited access highway then there is no point. Might as well get off the highway and take local roads or just wait for the storm to pass. 20 MPH on such a highway is not very safe. Neither is 30 MPH.

    • RIPTA42

      Have you ever driven in a blizzard? Going 10-20 on an expressway is probably the safest (short of just staying put). On local streets, you have to content with intersections – if you manage to stop and not slide into crossing traffic, you probably won’t get going again.

      • Allan Rosen

        This is what I was talking about when I stated better driver education is needed.

        • R62 1881

          With respect to this discussion, better driver education is needed in the area of knowing that it’s NOT “best” to simply go as fast as everyone else. There is a lot more to it.

          • Allan Rosen

            I never made that blanket statement. I placed conditions on it.

          • R62 1881

            “I never made that blanket statement. I placed conditions on it.”

            That’s incorrect. You DID make that blanket statement. I quoted it. You placed no conditions on it.

          • Allan Rosen

            You are taking what I said out of context. You are making me constantly repeat the same points and I can’t say it exactly the same way each time unless I look it up each time. I explained elsewhere what the driving instructor meant by that statement.

      • R62 1881

        “Have you ever driven in a blizzard?”

        Yes.

        “Going 10-20 on an expressway is probably the safest (short of just staying put).”

        I disagree. Seeing as 10-20 MPH is significantly under the speed limit, you are creating a potentially huge speed differential. In adverse weather conditions, each driver decides for himself what the appropriate speed should be. If the weather conditions are SO bad that a vehicle with a moderately competent driver can not proceed at 40 MPH or greater in a 55 MPH (or higher) zone on a Thruway/Interstate type road then IMO the highway should be shut down. Weather of that nature would introduce all sorts of additional challenges to driving such that the majority of less than competent drivers would be putting everyone else into grave danger. Going 10-20 in a 55 is just asking to be rear ended! How is that safe? It would be much safer to get off the expressway and drive 20 MPH on a 45/50 MPH local highway/route.

        • RIPTA42

          Whether the highway should be or even is shut down, it doesn’t change the fact that you may be on it during extremely non-optimal conditions. The speed limit is irrelevant in such conditions, and the state troopers are well aware of that fact (as evidenced by Allan’s experience on the Thruway).

          And how is 20 in a 55 on an expressway, where you “might get rear ended,” less safe than 20 in a 45 on a local road, where you just as easily might get rear ended, or worse, broadsided or hit head on, which are much more likely to kill you than being rear ended?

          • Allan Rosen

            Just as a side note, at the time I was stopped, I was virtually the only car on the road and I got off at the next exit as I suspect others did also. It was not possible to drive faster than 30 mph so a car going 20 was not posing a hazard to other cars.

          • R62 1881

            ” It was not possible to drive faster than 30 mph…”

            LOL! I highly highly highly highly highly highly highly doubt that the speed you were driving when you got pulled over (30 MPH) was the absolute maximum speed that a competent driver could safely maintain in that situation!!!!

          • Allan Rosen

            It definitely was. You obviously have had little experience in driving with near zero visibility.

            I really don’t get you. On one hand you state that under such conditions a competent driver could have driven faster, and on the other hand you say when conditions are so bad you should pull off the road entirely? So which one is it?

            Are you saying that you are the only driver with such skills that enable you to go twice the speed limit around a curve, and can always drive at 40 mph during adverse conditions, while others not competent as you need to pull off the road?

          • R62 1881

            “Whether the highway should be or even is shut down, it doesn’t change the fact that you may be on it during extremely non-optimal conditions.”

            Right. So you should either go 40 MPH or more, or if doing so is unsafe, then you should get off the highway and then hopefully the highway will be shut down soon after.

            “The speed limit is irrelevant in such conditions, and the state troopers are well aware of that fact (as evidenced by Allan’s experience on the Thruway).”

            The higher speed limit of an Expressway reflects the fact that the road is designed for higher speeds. Such a design is advantageous in bad weather. It allows for competent drivers to still maintain a decent speed in bad weather. However if conditions are SO bad that a competent driver can’t even go 40 MPH, then said competent driver should get off the highway in order to prevent hitting someone going way too slow or to prevent being hit by someone going way too fast. As for incompetent drivers, if it’s a little rainy or snowy out and they are so freaked out that they feel they need to go less than 40 MPH, then they should immediately get off the highway to prevent causing an accident with a competent driver. They can go drive slow on some slower road.

          • R62 1881

            “And how is 20 in a 55 on an expressway, where you “might get rear
            ended,” less safe than 20 in a 45 on a local road, where you just as
            easily might get rear ended, or worse, broadsided or hit head on, which
            are much more likely to kill you than being rear ended?”

            It’s an issue of diminishing returns. Except in complete white out conditions or in a hurricane or in a tornado or in a monsoon or in a tidal wave, you can pretty much drive safely at a steady 20 MPH on any road. Going down to 10 MPH isn’t going to make things significantly safer, and in the case of snow, will likely result in losing traction and momentum. As such, if you feel you can only go 20 MPH, then do it on a road that already has a lower speed limit and already has a poorer design. Everyone knows that such a road should be driven slower and thus its understandable to drive such a road at 20 MPH. But in conditions better than the extreme examples I’ve listed above, you should be able to go more than 20 MPH on an Expressway!!!! And thus the competent drivers should not be penalized by all the incompetent drivers. Let the incompetent drivers get off the the Expressway to travel 20 MPH on local roads/highways and let the competent drivers travel 40 MPH on the Expressway.

        • R62 1881

          Tonight proves my point perfectly. Since the weather conditions will be so bad that all the incompetent drivers would immediately crash or cause accidents, several major expressways/highways are being shut down completely. This forces everyone onto local roads, which is exactly what I said should be done. This shoots down the idea that it’s safer for everyone to drive slowly on a highway than to use local roads. Expressways/highways are for high speed travel. If you can’t or won’t go at a high speed, then get off the damn expressway/highway. Unfortunately, since all the incompetent drivers won’t do this voluntarily, they have to shut down the highway to everyone so everyone suffers.

      • R62 1881

        “On local streets, you have to content with intersections – if you manage
        to stop and not slide into crossing traffic, you probably won’t get
        going again.”

        If conditions are so bad and the capabilities of vehicle and driver so poor that events such as you describe are likely to happen, then said driver and vehicle should NOT BE MOVING during those weather conditions. The vehicle should be parked, away from any highway or road, preferably in a legal off-street parking spot.

        • Allan Rosen

          I have been in several situations during heavy rainstorms where visibility was so bad that I pulled off the road and just waited, just as you suggested.

          • R62 1881

            THANK GOD :)

        • RIPTA42

          No, you should not be moving. But if conditions aren’t so bad that you have to abandon your vehicle and be rescued by the National Guard, you may have to be.

    • Allan Rosen

      I am quite sure what happened.

      You couldn’t go any faster on a local road. In fact you would even have to drive slower like 10 or 15. I was coming back from Boston and quickly realized that at that speed limit, I had 14 hours of driving left from Rhode Island. We pulled off at the next exit and stayed the night at a motel. Speed limits were back to normal in the morning.

      This is what I was talking about when I stated better driver education is needed.

      • R62 1881

        “I was coming back from Boston and quickly realized that at that speed
        limit, I had 14 hours of driving left from Rhode Island. We pulled off
        at the next exit and stayed the night at a motel. Speed limits were back
        to normal in the morning.”

        That’s exactly one part of my point!!! That’s what I said! I’m glad you finally understand something.

        • Allan Rosen

          Sorry, although we agree on that one point, I didn’t need you to help me understand that because you are still wrong about pulling off onto local roads under those conditions. You are actually safer on a limited access highway because you don’t have the additional dangers of intersections or pedestrians as RIPTA42 already pointed out.

          • R62 1881

            No, I already addressed those concerns.

          • Allan Rosen

            No you didn’t adequately address it, You stated that if someone is too incompetent to be driving at 40 mph,on an expressway during inclement weather, you should use a side road to avoid accidents with competent drivers such as yourself. You didn’t address the fact that those side roads pose a greater danger during bad weather, because of intersections or pedestrians which aren’t factors on limited access highways.

            And you also said that if it is not safe to drive at 40 mph, everyone should immediately get off the road and use side roads neglecting the fact that exits are spaced 10 or more miles apart in rural areas, so it is not possible to just get off any time you want to. Or should you just pull over and wait 20 hours for the road to be plowed? What you suggest is not always feasible.

            I bet Paul Walker’s friend who crashed his Ferrari killing himself as well as the actor was also very confident in his driving skills and often took curves at twice the legal limit or advisory speed.

  • R62 1881

    “On narrow streets with parking on both sides and a travel lane of only eight feet wide, you should not be traveling more than 15 or 20 mph, although the limit is 30.”

    Please cite an example of a NYC street that is only 24 feet wide, with three 8-foot lanes, with legal parking on both sides taking up two of those lanes and the middle 8-foot lane being the travel lane.

    • Allan Rosen

      Most of the streets in Brooklyn Heights are narrower than 24 feet with an 8 foot wide travel lane and two parking lanes. Hicks Street, Henry Street, Clinton Street, etc.

      • R62 1881

        “Most of the streets in Brooklyn Heights are narrower than 24 feet with an 8 foot wide travel lane and two parking lanes. Hicks Street, Henry Street, Clinton Street, etc.”

        I zoomed around Google Maps (and Street View) and could not see a spot along Hicks Street that is “narrower than 24 feet with an 8 foot wide travel lane and two parking lanes.” Could you please provide a specific block that is like that?

      • RIPTA42

        Fortunately, it looks like one of the parking lanes on Henry Street is being converted to a bike lane, widening the travel lane to 11 feet.

        • fdtutf

          But…but…surely you cannot mean that conversion of part of a street to a bike lane is going to HELP drivers? We know that bike lanes are uniformly evil.

          • R62 1881

            “But…but…surely you cannot mean that conversion of part of a street to a bike lane is going to HELP drivers?”

            No, that’s not what he’s saying. Removing a parking lane does not help drivers who desire to find street parking unless said parking lane removal results in a disproportionate decrease in car ownership in the immediate area.

          • RIPTA42

            Yes, that was what I was saying. An 11 foot travel lane means more throughput than an 8 foot travel lane. For that matter, an n-foot travel lane with no parking means more throughput than an n-foot travel lane with parking.

        • Allan Rosen

          I can’t imagine the residents allowing any loss of parking there without screaming.

  • R62 1881

    “Many bus routes, such as the B49 on Ocean Avenue use residential streets. Lowering the maximum speed a bus may travel from 30 mph to 25 mph will greatly reduce its average speed, cutting it perhaps from 10 mph to eight mph. That would increase travel times by 20 percent.”

    How much time do these slow bus routes spend driving in the 25 MPH to 30 MPH range? I doubt it is very much. So I don’t think changing the speed limit to 25 MPH would “greatly reduce its average speed…increasing travel times by 20 percent”.

    • Maxwell Smart

      Stopping at lights and letting numerous passengers on and off is what slow buses down

      • R62 1881

        I agree. Allan Rosen is wrong on this.

      • Allan Rosen

        Of course.

        But you are thinking of heavy routes or when many are using buses. There are many lightly traveled routes where many bus stops are skipped in many parts of the city. This is especially true in outer Queens and Staten Island where there are fewer traffic signals and fewer passengers.

        Buses can travel for five or ten minutes without stopping and do 30 mph. There are also not in service buses going to and from the depot that would have to travel slower. Those miles are considerable also.

        • R62 1881

          “But you are thinking of heavy routes or when many are using buses.
          There are many lightly traveled routes where many bus stops are skipped
          in many parts of the city. This is especially true in outer Queens and
          Staten Island where there are fewer traffic signals and fewer
          passengers.Buses can travel for five or ten minutes without stopping and do 30 mph.”

          You seem to have quickly forgotten that you were originally talking about a bus route with an average speed of 10 MPH. So your reply that I just quoted is irrelevant.

          • Allan Rosen

            My reply is quite relevant. Some bus routes are quite long. They can go through sparse areas where their speed reaches 30 mph and travel through congested areas where their speed is only 4 or 5 mph. It is quite possible for the same route that travels at 30 mph on a portion of its route to still have an average speed of only 10 mph. And don’t forget average speed includes time stopping for passengers and traffic signals. That’s why it’s called average. It is not an average of its moving speed.

          • R62 1881

            No, your reply is irrelevant. We’re assuming the average speed of this route is 10 MPH. If such a route “can travel for five or ten minutes without stopping and do 30 mph” then:

            1. Then this section must still be a very short portion of A VERY VERY long route, and/or

            2. This 30 MPH section is along roads more than 60 feet wide so the new law wouldn’t affect it.

          • Allan Rosen

            So you are saying that this law would not lower the average speed from 10 mph to 8 mph for some bus routes?

    • Allan Rosen

      It is probably less than 50 percent. But I don’t think that assuming this would lower an average speed from 10 mph to 8 mph is far fetched. Of course if the average speed for a particuar routes is already 4 or 6 mph, lowering the speed limit won’t have any affect.

      • R62 1881

        “It is probably less than 50 percent. But I don’t think that assuming
        this would lower an average speed from 10 mph to 8 mph is far fetched.”

        I disagree. I think it is far fetched.

  • R62 1881

    “I stated in an earlier article that speed limits in rural areas are respected because they make sense. A 25 mph speed limit at a curve means you will go over the cliff if you try it at 35 mph.”

    Just because you stated it in an earlier article doesn’t make it any less untrue. If you take a curve at 35 MPH that has an advisory speed limit of 25 MPH, you’d have to be a complete moron to lose control of your car. Most curves with advisory speed limits of 25 MPH or less can be taken at up to 2X that speed by anyone who competently knows how to drive, and is sober, and is paying attention to what he is doing.

    • Allan Rosen

      That’s how accidents happen with people like you who have too much confidence in their driving ability. Speed limits are there for a reason. You are obviously one of those who feel it is okay to ignore them all the time. I almost learned the hard way. I tried going around a curve at 35 mph upstate when the limit was 25 and I barely made it and I was sober. It was the last time I tried that. You yourself used the word “most curves”. Is it worth taking the chance for the one curve that isn’t most? Don’t be a moron.

      • R62 1881

        I thought you said you bet I don’t drive? So which one is it? Do I not drive at all, or am I one of those crazy drivers? You can’t have it both ways. It’s amazing how you can’t refute my comments but instead make generalizations, twist what I said, or cite irrelevant statistics. You are so sure you are correct, you just can’t be bothered with listening to any opposing viewpoint or argue anything on its merit, so you just close their eyes, engage in personal attacks by calling me a moron or a non-driver or a crazy driver just because you don’t share my beliefs and knowledge of facts. You don’t even try to sway me to change my mind. Certainly you’re not a very intelligent person. I wonder if you will delete this?

        • Allan Rosen

          I don’t have the ability to delete.

          Well, for one thing you do a good job of quoting. Okay so which comment of yours am I not addressing?

          • R62 1881

            “I don’t have the ability to delete.”

            I didn’t know that. Interesting. So who does have that ability? Because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen comments here disappear.

          • Allan Rosen

            Only the moderator can delete. And that only happens if the comment is vulgar, inappropriate or a personal attack which sometimes is not deleted either. . Everyone is allowed to respectfully disagree.

          • R62 1881

            “Well, for one thing you do a good job of quoting. Okay so which comment of yours am I not addressing?”

            For starters:

            1. An example of an accident with pedestrian fatalities in NYC that matches the description of the one you said we hear about almost every day.

            2. Whether or not your driving instructor offered to pay for any/all speeding tickets due to his ridiculous advice.

            3. A specific block of street that is less than 24 feet wide with parking on both sides and an 8 foot travel lane.

          • Allan Rosen

            I already answered points 2 and 3. As far as Point 1 is concerned, I referred you to Streetsblog. But since you couldn’t be bothered to look it up yourself, here is a link to recent fatalities in NYC.

            http://www.streetsblog.org/2013/11/11/three-killed-by-curb-jumping-drivers-on-east-harlem-and-elmhurst-sidewalks/

            There were no charges filed for at least one of those where the driver ran a stop sign and killed someone. It doesnt specifically state that the driver said he lost control but I’m sure with a little research you can find others where a driver did say that. The question isn’t whether he lost control or not, but why were no charges filed for going through a stop sign and killing someone? Could it be because charges only can be filed if a police officer witnessed the event? Too many motorists are literally getting away with murder.

          • R62 1881

            “I already answered points 2 and 3.”

            Yes, you have since answered #2, but still haven’t admitted that his blanket advice was ridiculous.

            I haven’t seen you answer #3 yet.

          • Allan Rosen

            I won’t admit that his advice was ridiculous because I don’t believe it is.

            Regarding Point 3, I mentioned streets in Brooklyn Heights, such as Hicks Street and I used the definition of curb to curb, not including sidewalks.

          • R62 1881

            “There were no charges filed for at least one of those where the driver ran a stop sign and killed someone.”

            I assume you are referring to the Mott Haven incident? First, from that article, we don’t know if the driver was ultimately charged or not. Second, this is not a case of a driver losing control and hitting a pedestrian. He lost control AFTER hitting the pedestrian. If the witnesses are correct, then this is a case of not following the traffic laws but still maintaining control of the vehicle. I asked for an example of the kind of accident that you stated we hear about all the time, one which involves a pedestrian fatality, an out of control vehicle, and no drugs/alcohol/cell use, and for which no charges are brought. You said most accidents like this result in no charges, but in the link you provided, most of the accidents like this listed DID RESULT IN CHARGES. Please explain.

          • Allan Rosen

            This is from one of the Streetsblog articles on the right where it says “related articles.”

            “The News, the Post and DNAinfo all note that, according to NYPD, the driver remained at the scene. This is a critical piece of information, as it all but ensures that, regardless of other factors, a city motorist who kills a pedestrian or cyclist will not be charged criminally by police or prosecutors, as long as the driver is not legally drunk.”

            If you have a problem with that and do not believe it is true take it up with Streetsblog, not me.

      • R62 1881

        “That’s how accidents happen with people like you who have too much confidence in their driving ability.”

        If you don’t have confidence in your driving ability then you shouldn’t be driving. You’re a menace to the rest of us.

        “Speed limits are there for a reason.”

        Absolutely correct! You judt don’t understand the reason! You’ve made that VERY clear.

        “You are obviously one of those who feel it is okay to ignore them all the time.”

        LOL, where do you get that from?!!?

        “I almost learned the hard way. I tried going around a curve at 35 mph upstate when the limit was 25 and I barely made it and I was sober. It was the last time I tried that.”

        So you’re a moron who can’t drive. There’s really no other explanation for almost losing it in that situation, assuming all else is equal (standard conditions).

        “You yourself used the word “most curves”. Is it worth taking the chance for the one curve that isn’t most?”

        Yes, because that’s what I meant, most curves. What’s not to understand? I don’t take chances. I choose my speed based on hundreds of variables.

        “Don’t be a moron.”

        You’re one to talk! Try doing some research and putting a few facts into your articles!

        • Allan Rosen

          First you stated that most curves can be taken safely at twice the posted speed limit. When I criticized you for taking chances and said don’t be a moron, you now state that you don’t take chances and choose your speed “based on hundreds of variables” which I assume your computer mind can calculate in a few seconds.

          So which one is it? You have so much confidence that you can afford to take chances and go twice the speed limit, or you are such a safe driver that you never go over the speed limit? Talk about me contradicting myself!

          • R62 1881

            “So which one is it?”

            Both! I don’t take chances and only take the curve at a speed I feel is safe. Usually that speed is about twice the advisory speed :) Get it now?

            “or you are such a safe driver that you never go over the speed limit?”

            Since when is going over the speed limit necessarily unsafe or taking chances with safety???

          • Allan Rosen

            I give up. You are talking out of all sides of your mouth. Now you claim it is okay to go over the speed limit at times and before you make a big deal about what my driving instructor saying that you should keep up with traffic even if that meant going a little over the speed limit because it is safer..

          • Arthur Borko

            I think he was trolling you.

          • R62 1881

            No, I wasn’t trolling him. He just doesn’t understand what’s going on. He’s comparing a situation that involves the capabilities of vehicle and driver to a situation that involves the law. I have commented separately about both. He is trying to claim that my comments should apply equally to both situations.

    • Local Broker

      I would love to see you take a 25mph turn at 50. Make sure you record that one.

      • R62 1881

        OK……? Got a video camera and a person to hold it? Or got a GoPro Hero with the appropriate attachment?

        • Local Broker

          Cell phone and double sided tape to your windshield.

          • R62 1881

            Ok, as long as you use your cell phone and you tape it to my car, then we can record it.

          • Local Broker

            You dont have a camera in your phone? You cant do it yourself? If you need help doing this how can you drive a car so fast?

          • R62 1881

            ????

            Obviously if you want to “see it”, then you’re going to have to provide your own means for doing so (i.e. your own camera). Why would I subject my own camera to such things? It’s ridiculous. You want to record it, then you provide the camera. Very simple. Can’t believe you don’t understand that, LOL.

          • Local Broker

            You are the one claiming you can do double the limit in the turn. So prove it. You made a silly comment so back it up. If you dont mind what car would you do that in?

      • Arthur Borko

        I’ve done that before. I’ve taken a 25mph turn at 60mph and I was fine.

        • Local Broker

          So have I but it doesnt make it safe. I took a 30 mph turn the other day at 70. He claimed that it as something you can do in everyday driving. I was pushing my car to do that and it wasnt safe.

          • Allan Rosen

            You are not talking about me I hope. I stated that in rural areas you better follow the speed limits at curves. In the city, however, a 15 mph speed limit at a curve can mean it is perfectly safe to make that turn at 40 mph. That is why they are ignored.

          • Local Broker

            Not you the other commenter. Whats the speed limit at the Sheepshead Bay Road exit from the Belt on the West bound side?

          • Allan Rosen

            i think it is 30 mph. That’s pretty standard unless there is a very sharp curve like at Cropsey where it is 15.

          • Local Broker

            I have taken that turn a thousand times and would never try to take it at double that limit.

  • guest

    Allen, please don’t listen to the anti-motor vehicle crowd. This is a fine article with many fair points. As are many of your other articles that you publish here. Keep fighting the good fight. streetblog and transportation alternatives hound sites that go against their “only cyclist” world vision. If they would open up their sheltered closed world view to what is happening around them maybe, just maybe they would understand. But now since they have had the emperor and the nutty bike commissioner in their corner the past 4 years it is impossible to say anything reasonable without being attacked.

    • R62 1881

      Who here makes up the “anti-motor vehicle crowd”?

    • R62 1881

      “This is a fine article with many fair points. As are many of your other articles that you publish here. Keep fighting the good fight.”

      LOL! How many of his other articles have you actually read?!?!

    • Allan Rosen

      Thank you. You are correct. Notice how the attackers never refute points in the article but always make generalizations, twist what I said, or cite irrelevant statistics. They are so sure they are correct, they just can’t be bothered with listening to any opposing viewpoint or argue anything on its merit, so they just close their eyes, engage in personal attacks by calling you a murderer or an idiot just because you don’t share their beliefs. They don’t even try to sway you to change your mind. Certainly not very intelligent people.

      Besides if everyone likes you, you couldn’t be saying something very important.

      • Local Broker

        “Notice how the attackers never refute points in the article but always
        make generalizations, twist what I said, or cite irrelevant statistics.
        They are so sure they are correct, they just can’t be bothered with
        listening to any opposing viewpoint or argue anything on its merit, so
        they just close their eyes, engage in personal attacks by calling you a
        murderer or an idiot just because you don’t share their beliefs. They
        don’t even try to sway you to change your mind. Certainly not very
        intelligent people.”

        This kind of reminds me of that background check smaller clip thing Ned and Lev talk about all the time. Do you see the similarity?

        • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

          All the time? I don’t recall being a part of that at all. I think I made some joke about the “clip size” of a fist last week, but that had nothing to do with anything.

          • Local Broker

            Maybe not all the time just sometimes. Feel better now. Do you see the similarity?

  • Andrew

    What fraction of the B49 route is on streets less than 60 feet wide, and how often do buses travel faster than 25 mph on those segments of the route currently?

    • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 aemoreira81

      On the B49—the portion between Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue (except for Shore Boulevard and Emmons Avenue) on the southern end, and north of Farragut Road to the northern terminus (except for the portion of Bedford Avenue between Dean and Fulton).

      • Andrew

        Most of those streets are significantly wider than 60 feet.

        • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 aemoreira81

          Are you measuring from curb to curb?

          • Andrew

            No, street width includes the sidewalks.

          • R62 1881

            Wait a minute, Andrew. The right-of-way may include PORTIONS of the sidewalk. However what matters is how the proposed law defines street width. Is the proposed law measuring curb to curb or the entire ROW? Because only curb to curb makes sense. Why would you need to look at the entire ROW width?

          • Allan Rosen

            I was wondering the exact same thing and even discussed it with my neighbor. Curb to curb is the only measure that makes sense in this instance since sidewalk widths can vary greatly from street to street.

          • RIPTA42

            Sidewalk widths vary and curb-to-curb widths vary. Right of way widths (curb-to-curb plus sidewalks) are rather standard in NYC with 60 feet being a typical side street (Two 10 foot sidewalks, two 8 foot parking lanes, two 12 foot travel lanes). That coupled with the definition of “Street” from the NYC Administrative Code I posted below leads me to believe the ordinance refers to right-of-way of 60 feet, not curb-to-curb width of 60 feet.

          • R62 1881

            Yes, rereading the beginning of Allan’s article, I should have realized that 60 feet wide would make no sense if just referring to curb to curb. That would be a major street!

          • Allan Rosen

            I disagree that most travel lanes are twelve feet wide on city streets. You only see those widths usually on either expressways or residential side streets. Most avenues especially those with four or more lanes have travel lanes of only nine or ten feet wide. Even a major street like Ocean Parkway had only 10 foot wide lanes and the turning lane is even narrower. The Belt Parkway lanes are only 10 feet wide except for the sections being rebuilt which are 12 feet wide. A street, however like Avenue S may have a 12 foot wide lane.

          • R62 1881

            “Most avenues especially those with four or more lanes have travel lanes of only nine or ten feet wide.”

            Absolutely untrue.

          • Allan Rosen

            Go and measure them then if you don’t agree.

          • RIPTA42

            “I disagree that most travel lanes are twelve feet wide on city streets.
            You only see those widths usually on either expressways or residential
            side streets.”

            I said “typical side street.” (60-(2×10)-(2×8))/2 = 12.

          • Andrew

            The typical NYC side street has only one travel lane, not two, but it’s wide enough that a car (but not a truck or bus) can usually pass a double-parked car – maybe 16 feet wide? Which (keeping your other numbers) yields a total width of 52 feet.

            Essentially any street wider than a side street would be wider than 60 feet, so the proposed legislation would not apply.

          • Allan Rosen

            Yes if the sidewalks are indeed counted and if they are each ten feet wide. A few streets like the Shore Parkway service road only has a sidewalk on one side, so it woud apply there although it should not.

            The legislation still needs to be better thought out with clear unambiguous language or scrapped altogether.

          • Andrew

            The entire parkway, including service roads, may be legally considered a single street, which would obviously exempt it. Or it may not. I don’t know.

            In any case, the language is perfectly unambiguous. Just because you or I don’t know how the law defines a word doesn’t mean that the law doesn’t have a precise definition for the word.

          • Allan Rosen

            Yes, but people need to clearly understand that definition. Otherwise you will have laws that seem ambiguous that many won’t follow. Wait. That’s exactly what happens. We have confusing and unclear laws.

          • Andrew

            “Notwithstanding the aforementioned provisions, speed limits not exceeding twenty miles per hour shall be established on all streets fewer than sixty feet wide in areas zoned for residential purposes and shall be indicated on speed limit signs posted at all appropriate locations as determined by the department.”

            Speed limit signs are ambiguous and confusing and unclear?

          • RIPTA42

            Sorry, I meant typical two-way side street. I believe a typical one-way in an outer borough is a 50 foot right of way – two 10 foot sidewalks, two 8 foot parking lanes, one 14 foot travel lane. In Manhattan, a one-way side street would more likely be a 60 foot ROW with wider sidewalks.

          • Andrew

            Thanks. If that’s the case, then the proposed speed limit wouldn’t even apply on a typical Manhattan side street!

  • http://www.facebook.com/aemoreira81 aemoreira81

    The proposed local speed limit law is indeed improper if you ask me. A blanket solution is never the right answer. Instead, the DOT should study these problems on a case-by-case basis. I am okay with lowering the speed limit on non-arterials to 25 mph. However, is a 25-mph speed limit really needed on a street like Avenue U or Nostrand Avenue (between Gerritsen and U)?

    Instead, the city should be looking at other traffic calming methods—such as speed humps reducing lanes of traffic, rumble strips, and sometimes traffic light timing (intentionally setting a light out of sync).

    • Andrew

      Avenue U and Nostrand Avenue are significantly wider than 60 feet. (Pretty much the only streets narrower than 60 feet are side streets.)

      • Allan Rosen

        Definitely not true. Avenue U never approaches 60 feet when measuring curb to curb and the width of Nostrand Avenue varies much. Ocean Avenue is very close to 60 feet. I think just a few feet under.

        If you are including sidewalks, then it is another story. But why would you consider sidewalks when the subject is the roadway and driving?

        • asdasdasdasd@asdasdasdas.com

          Ocean Ave is 70′ wide.

          • Allan Rosen

            Yes if you count the sidewalks

        • RIPTA42

          “If you are including sidewalks, then it is another story. But why would you consider sidewalks when the subject is the roadway and driving?”

          That would be an important distinction. The NYC Administrative Code defines “Street” as “Any public street, avenue, road, alley, lane, highway, boulevard, concourse, parkway, driveway, culvert, sidewalk, crosswalk, boardwalk, viaduct, square or place, except marginal streets.” You would include sidewalks because they are essentially the pedestrian lanes of the roadway.

          • Allan Rosen

            Then you are really talking about public right of way not roadway and Ocean Avenue would not be included in this law.

            It really does not even make sense legally to define street in that manner because you have “streets” like Brighton 3rd Lane which consists of only a sidewalk. If NYC has a legal obligation to clear “streets” of snow, why do they not hire people to shovel all those walks, lanes, courts, etc that are not wide enough to accomodate vehicles of any sort?

          • RIPTA42

            It does make sense, because pedestrians use the “street” too. As far as clearing snow goes, the definition of “Street” in the NYC Administrative Code Title 16, Sanitation, is different from the definition in Title 19, Transportation.

          • Allan Rosen

            That is what is so confusing. You shouldn’t have different definitions for the same word in different codes and laws. How is anyone supposed to know what you mean?

          • RIPTA42

            By reading the “definitions” section of the appropriate section of the law.

          • Allan Rosen

            When someone hears that something is illegal, they don’t run to the law to check definitions of commonly used words or even know where to find it. How would you even know if a law if federal, state, or local all the time?

            If its City, it could be in some obscure administrative code. Few even know the difference between a code and a law. That’s why some laws are frequently broken because not everyone understands them.

            A definition of a term like “street” needs to be consistent between the laws, but that woud mean fewer lawyers to interpret laws, and we all know who makes those laws, the lawyers.

  • bruce b

    Allen, you’ve acquired a number of devoted haters! In today’s society that makes you famous and enables you to acquire large sums of money

    • Allan Rosen

      I am not sure how to respond to that.

  • Local Broker

    Lowering the speed limit will do nothing to stop certain people from driving recklessly. You can easily drive 5 over any speed limit and be completely safe as long as what you are doing is driving. Not talking on the phone or eating breakfast or putting make up on. Just driving. I think its way to easy to get a drivers license and putting so many uneducated and unskilled people in 2-3 ton machines is crazy especially in a place like NYC.

    • Allan Rosen

      You are just echoing what I stated earlier that we need better driver education and periodic retesting not changes to laws that largely will be ignored and not enforced. It’s just the easy thing to do to make it seem like lawmakers are doing their job rather than making a serious effort of solving the problem of too many pedestrian fatalities which involves work, takes time and costs money.

      • Local Broker

        Yeah i agree with you.

  • bruce b

    20-25mph is way too slow a speed limit. We don’t need more congestion. I’m comfortable with the existing speed limit. However, nobody seems to follow THAT. I’m in favor of stricter enforcement of existing laws. I’m not in favor of people doing 40 in a 30mph zone because “it’s okay, they know what they’re doing”.
    And I am not anti-motorist. I’m anti-motorist-who-drives-crazy-and-breaks-the-law, which is so many people in our neighborhood, it’s simply shocking. I’m more anti-bicycle, those dudes don’t even believe the rules are in any way applicable to them.
    Are you all familiar with the psychological studies which conclude that people vastly overrate themselves? In particular, 75% of drivers feel they are above average drivers…. hmmmmm. (Another examples are investing, general decision-making, etc, etc). Sorry, Allen, the statement that “drivers know what they’re doing” is just the wrong way to justify a policy.

    • Allan Rosen

      I didn’t say all drivers know what they are doing. The vast majority of drivers are safe drivers. That’s what i meant. But even if only 20% drive recklessly or too fast, that is certainly way too high and needs to be lowered.

      As far as bikes are concerned, I would put the percentage of those who break the law much higher than motorists. But as bicycle advocates will be quick to point out, they are not driving two tons of steel and that also makes a big difference.

  • Murry

    I was under the impression that this proposal was initially intended to save lives. Especially children darting out bet cars. And that it would only be enforced on one way streets. How are the police going to prevent speeding on one way streets ? Hide in the bushes with radar guns? Sit in their car and wait for someone going 25 .
    Not in this area, between the extended bus stops, the newly installed Command stops. I would never deprive kids from enjoying sports, but there are a hundred cars over here belonging to parents and friends of those children participating in baseball, hockey and football.
    Maybe I’m thinking of yet another proposal .

    • Allan Rosen

      They will enforce it by installing cameras. The recent state law allowing the City to place cameras in school zones, according to Mayor Bloomberg also gives the City the right to move and place those cameras wherever they want to. They only said it was for school zones to gain public support.

      Acquiring an amendment to increase that number from 20 to 100 or more should be relatively easy after the City shows that fatalities declined in school zones after the pavement of cameras.

      You can be guaranteed that whether they save lives or not, if they do not generate enough revenue in school zones, they will be moved to where they will generate revenues on streets where going 31 mph is perfectly safe. You will be hearing of many new $100+ fines being issued.

      • RIPTA42

        Have you found anything to back up the claim that they can be moved anywhere? The law not only says they can only be in school zones, but also only active during the school day.

        • Allan Rosen

          No. I was not able to find anything and I am glad. Perhaps the mayor misunderstood or misspoke. However, I thought the law limited the number of school zones to 20, but that’s not what the law states. It places no limit on the number of school zones. It only states that no more than 20 can be installed at one time. So does that mean that 20 zones can be added every three months? There also was no mention in the news that the law woud expire in five years.

          • Andrew

            Perhaps the mayor misunderstood or misspoke. Or, perhaps you misunderstood.

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  • carterson2

    NY should join Minnesota in sharing speed limit information with wikispeedia.org
    -Jim Pruett
    (901) 213 7824