Daily Bike Forecast — by Bike Snob NYC

October 16th, 2018: Of Bus Bulbs and Dim Bulbs

Much, much better riding weather today:

Tuesday Weather

Tuesday Sunny, with a high near 57. Northwest wind 9 to 15 mph.

Tuesday Night Mostly clear, with a low around 48. West wind 9 to 11 mph.

Sunrise: 7:08am

Sunset: 6:14pm

So be sure to enjoy what is arguably the best cycling season of the year.  (And remember your lights!)

In many ways commuting by bike is its own reward, but here's something to stoke your smug sense of superiority:

13% of the firm’s insured drivers make at least one claim per year, found Day, but this fell to 6% for cyclists who were insured on the firm’s cyclist-driver policy. 

Day believes cyclists tend to be more aware of their surroundings than motorists.

Also they spend less time in their cars so there's that.

Anyway, this is more evidence that people who ride bikes are not only better people in general, and also that they should be given more money since they waste less of it.

Moving on to enforcement news, here's a must-read article from the latest issue of Reclaim:


What we got was a little different. The officer, who is also a recreational cyclist, describes a system of traffic enforcement that is data-blind, priority-confused, and at points incompetent. We were left wondering if police enforcement should be an element of Vision Zero at all.

There's lots of fascinating stuff in here, but maybe the most useful is that it's the squeakiest chain that gets the lube, for better or for worse:

Let’s talk about e-bikes. A person on an e-bike has never killed anyone in New York City. Why crack down on their use?

I believe with e-bikes, it was so prevalent at so many community meetings, and also people just walking up to individual officers and complaining, that some individual officers heard the complaints and acted on their own. I myself have heard tons of complaints about e-bikes.

So let's use that to our benefit:

How can cyclists and pedestrians who feel at risk from dangerous driving change the system?

In general, I think enforcement of Vision Zero violations is addressing pedestrian and bicyclist concerns. But if you want to be specific as to a certain intersection or roadway, then you would have to reach out directly to the precinct, preferably in written communication. Email, letters, and be forceful with it. One is not enough. Keep up the pressure.

Finally, the portion of Broadway in the Bronx that runs along Van Cortland Park got a fetching redesign over the summer, and while the most visible change was the protected bike lane it also came with some much-needed bus bulbs...which one local merchant doesn't like:

Yes, the Riverdale Press doesn't talk to a single commuter to find out what they think of the changes.  But they do talk to Louis Porco, who makes Jay Parker of Ben's Best seem eloquent:

“It sucks,” said Louis Porco, owner of Broadway Joe’s Pizza nearby. “It’s just horrible. It just causes more traffic, and I’m losing business because people can’t stop over here. Traffic is backed up all the time over here.”

Indeed, this new bus bulb that allows people to board and exit the bus more conveniently and safely sucks so bad it did exactly what it's supposed to do, which is keep selfish drivers from blocking the bus stop:

“It’s just a waste of money and it’s not working out good,” said the owner of the 5985 Broadway pizza joint. “People can’t even double park anymore, it’s just crazy. It’s too much.”

Too much indeed.  If you can't sell pizza slices from a store located adjacent to a subway stop, a bus stop, a train yard, and a college dorm (I hear college kids like pizza), it may be you who's "not working out good."

By the way, I happen to live right nearby and use this station regularly.  Here's the typical nightmare scenario at the new bus bulb:

Bus Bulb

And here's the chaos that's unleashed when the BX9 bus rolls in:

Bus Bulb 1

See how people can step on and off the bus and transfer to the subway across the now-pedestrianized slip lane?  (Or buy a slice of pizza seasoned with spite if they're hungry.)

I was almost trampled in the melee.

The bus bulb is a tremendous improvement.  Previously, the bus was forced to stop in the middle of Broadway nowhere near the actual stop and you had to walk into fast-moving traffic to get onto it.

But don't take my word for it.  Listen to Dan Padernacht, CB8 traffic and transportation chair:

The bus bulb, at least according to traffic and transportation chair Dan Padernacht, was a bad idea from its inception.

“We knew it was going to create dangerous conditions, which is exactly what is happening now,” he said.

Let's take another look at those dangerous conditions, shall we?

Bus Bulb

Meanwhile, here's the resolution Dan Padernacht passed as CB8 chair back in 2017 when the DOT presented these changes [PDF]:


In other words, he wanted to move the bus stop away from the subway stop so drivers could double-park for pizza.

But don't worry, CB8 have thousands of transit riders' best interests at heart.

Oh wait, no they don't.

“We’re hoping that the city has an open mind and the DOT looks at the feedback and people look and see that this is a mistake,” Villaverde said. “That pride should not be in the way of doing what is right for the merchants.”

Sure, definitely tear the bus bulb out and make it easier to double-park in front of the pizza place.