December 19th, 2017: Ebikes and Greenways

It's going to be another warm day today so be sure to get out there and take advantage:

tues

Tuesday Partly sunny, with a high near 55. West wind 7 to 13 mph.

Tuesday Night Partly cloudy, with a low around 37. West wind around 17 mph.

Sunrise: 7:16am

Sunset: 4:31pm

Even though it's totally fine to drive since it's not technically a "Gridlock Alert Day:"

If you're wondering why today's not a designated Gridlock Alert Day but tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday are, here's what I was able to find:

In 1982, the city traffic commissioner Samuel I. Schwartz, now known as Gridlock Sam, released a list of the days with the heaviest traffic.

The city has recognized Gridlock Alert Days ever since.

The list has evolved over the years, but because of the holidays, December has always been bad.

People shop on Thursdays and Fridays. On Wednesdays around Christmas, matinees are the cause.

Seems kind of quaint, especially the bit about shopping on Thursdays and Fridays, and you'd think any theoretical lulls in traffic are no doubt more than offset by the UPS trucks disgorging holiday Amazon packages that we've been weaving around for the past few weeks now.

Speaking of gridlock, the mayor's decree that delivery people trade in their ebikes for cars is hardly going to help matters, which is why they rallied against the impending crackdown at city hall yesterday:

ebike rally

“I ride about 60 miles per day, with a base salary of $48 per day,” said Liqiang Liu, 45, through a translator. Liu said he’s been delivering food in the city for seven years. “I cannot rest, no matter how bad the weather is or how my health suffers, so I keep delivering food on New York streets. Electric bikes are our tool for survival.”

And issued some eminently reasonable demands:

Participants at the rally made four demands: that the city halt all enforcement against delivery workers; create a set of best practices for delivery workers to follow; build policies in direct consultation with workers; and push for state-level legislation to safely integrate e-bike into city streets.

“Many workers are older, and cannot speak English well, so if they lose their delivery job, there are no other decent options,” Liu said. “Improving traffic safety in New York City is also a common aspiration for delivery workers. I hope that the mayor can come to our community to learn more, to show compassion for our community, and to work with us to develop a reasonable standard for e-bike delivery workers.”

Exactly.  Ebikes have killed absolutely nobody and this crackdown is based on anecdotes.  Meanwhile, that very same morning:

tractor trailer

The horrific crash took place at about 8 a.m. at the intersection of 54th Ave. and 48th St. in Maspeth.

NYPD worked swiftly to absolve the driver:

The truck kept going and is being sought by police. Investigators said it’s possible the truck driver didn't notice hitting anyone.

This is days after the hit-and-run alert system went into effect:

In less dismal news, the mayor announced a $101 million commitment to expanding the Greenway in East Harlem:

harlem greenway

Opening up East Harlem’s waterfront to the community was one of the promises made in the recently approved rezoning of East Harlem, now the city is looking to deliver on that promise. On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced a $101 million commitment toward creating a new section of the Manhattan Greenway, between East 125th and East 132nd Streets.

And there's incremental progress in extending the Hudson River Greenway into the Bronx:

Yet, much work remains to be done. The Metro-North study is nothing more than a feasibility study, and it’s still not even complete. Once it is, there will have to be an engineering study to begin design work, which would cost more money. 

“But we’re over a big hurdle,” Bender said. “We’ve identified a feasible route, and the one entity that essentially controls access to the riverfront — Metro-North — approves of this plan.”

At this rate the city is going to be a cycling paradise...for our great-grandkids.