Category Archives: #FixNYC

NYC Fails Snow Cleanup

Remember those days when it would snow one to two feet, and the city would shut down for a day or two, yet when it reopened cars could drive around and people could cross streets.

Yet this week it snowed a whopping 7.6″ in Central Park, and the city shut down the subways for a day, yet through it all…nothing got done.

Legally, New Yorkers had four hours to clean their sidewalks once the storm wrapped up on Tuesday…yet yesterday morning, 36+ hours after the storm finished, walking in Times Square included crosswalks with piles 2 1/2 feet high impeding safe crossing.

Meanwhile, driving into work this morning, 60+ hours after the storm finished, 6th Avenue was a snow nightmare in the West 40s, with mounds and slush everywhere…but don’t worry, there were plenty of bulldozers and dump trucks around the area this morning, all focused one Avenue over on the St Paddy’s Day Parade route.

Mayor De Blasio needs to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it…unless of course he thinks that the city did a fantastic job, in which case he may be delusional…

NY Aquarium: Put Up or Step Down – @nyaquarium

Hurricane Sandy hit the NY Aquarium hard. Located right along the water they had a lot of their exhibits flooded, buildings destroyed, and underground passages devastated.

Because of that they couldn’t justify their $20 admission anymore and had to drop down to $13.
All this on top of a $13 parking cost.
But even that is too expensive.

Now I understand that they need to raise money for their repairs and new “Sharks” exhibit set to open in 2018, but to charge as they are is inexcusable.

Here is the current list of animals at the NY Aquarium:

  • When you walk in the main building (the only building) has a giant tank filled with fish, and then 7 smaller tanks, spanning different areas (such as Africa or Brazil, and the fish from that area).
  • You then leave the main building and have four outdoor exhibits (Walrus, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, and Penguins).
  • Lastly you have a Shark tank, filled with murky water/scratched glass, making it hard to see into.
  • They have a sea lion show twice a day (included with admission) that hasn’t been updated in years, and still plays Crazy Frogs “I Like To Move It” from 2005.
  • They also have a “Touch Pool” which has starfish…and I’ve never experienced it open since Sandy, as it always seems to be “Out to lunch” or just plain “Closed”.

I went yesterday, and they had a larger discount (down to $11), and for this price you couldn’t get close to the main tank (due to construction), or see it from the upstairs viewing area (construction).
The Walrus’ were off display, and the Penguins were nowhere to be found.
As usual, the touch pool was “seasonally closed”.

I do like that if you browse their map, they add on a “Explore The Recovery Wall”…this is what they call the construction barrier, on which they have included two or three paragraphs about Hurricane Sandy and he work they are doing to rebuild the sharks exhibit.

NY Aquarium Recovery Map

By far, the biggest waste of money experience for a family in NY. And yes, that includes Top of the Rock.

Meanwhile: Enjoy a picture of some fish. You can send me the check for admission and I’ll share all 20 pictures/videos I took yesterday of the entire aquarium.
Without needing to leave your house.

Fish NY Aquarium

New Turn Rules on Ocean Parkway

May 17, 2014 I started to write a post about new turn rules that I thought needed to get implemented on Ocean Parkway.
I got lazy and never finished it since I wanted to add in diagrams explaining what I wanted, yet I referenced it in 2015…but now, almost three years later they’ve actually put into effect rules similar to what I had almost hit publish on.

But now we need to take a deeper look at it, and see what really needs to be done to make Ocean Parkway great again:

  • The “No-Right Turns” on certain blocks is a great start. It allows for freer flowing traffic on the main strip and lets the service road have a green light, allowing them to proceed straight without needing to worry about turning traffic.
  • Meanwhile, expanding the corners in the service road to two lanes allows one lane to go thru, while the other is designated for slower traffic turning onto the Avenues.
  • What the city really needs to do is go all in and spend real money on this project, not just “new turn signals” and “traffic patterns”. Every block of Ocean Parkway needs a turn-off point halfway to funnel cars onto the service road for upcoming right turns so that cars never need to slow down in the main six lanes.
    They have it in one place (and one place only) and it works nicely, down near Shore Parkway approaching the Belt Parkway East entrance.

Sure it would cost lots of money, but isn’t that what tolls are supposed to be used for?

As for the politicians who have issues with the new lights…maybe the issue isn’t the lights but with poor drivers?
I have seen numerous drivers run red lights in recent weeks because they are looking at the wrong traffic signal. Why would you look half a block ahead instead of the one directly in front of you?

Let’s institute re-upping ones written road test every 10-15 years, so that people can learn what the “stop line” is for at intersections…but that’s a whole different fight.

The Long Term 2nd Avenue Subway Failure

It all started in 1916, and 101 years later the 2nd Avenue subway has finally begun to open.

The Q train has been extended up from 57th Street, and while its ultimate Northern goal is 125th Street (that’s a Phase Two problem), Phase One has created a subway line that runs up 2nd Avenue from 72nd to 96th Street.

Phase One ran at an outstanding cost, at $1.7B per kilometer…Phase Two is estimated to cost $2.2B per kilometer (stats via Vox). Phase Three, which will extend it all the way down the Southern tip of Manhattan (a much-needed subway line along the East Side) has yet to be budgeted, but the costs seem extreme.

The city is badly in need of a commuter overhaul, but the costs would run into the Billions (if not Trillions), and the over-crowded city and system can’t handle long-term shutdowns.

On that note, now that it’s finally open, let’s have our first incident on the 2nd Avenue Subway, which included a 92-year-old man falling down an escalator.

101 years of work and it still ain’t safe.

mta going your way

Getting More Parking Spaces #FixNYC

There is a former Fine Fare Supermarket near my house, that had allocated to it 4 parking spots just for “No Standing, Trucks Unloading 7AM-7PM”.

But with the store closing 2+ years ago, these spaces, in a semi-commercial neighborhood, were going to waste.
Other stores in the neighborhood were using it for their deliveries, even though their stores had their own “No Standing” spaces…which they then just were using for their own store trucks.

So I wrote an email back in May to Keith Bray, Brooklyn’s Department of Transportation Borough Commissioner, asking them to reassess the situation, and try and get some of our parking spots back.

After a few months I got a response back on Monday:

The Brooklyn Borough Engineering Office completed a field investigation at the above location.  As a result, the signs were removed on July 11, 2016 at this location.

I went past the area yesterday and sure enough the spots have been turned into metered parking!

I’m sure the stores themselves are probably a little upset, but their trucks will just go back to doing what all trucks in New York City seem to do…double park; and the people trying to park in the area just gained four legal parking spots.

The way I see it, it’s a win for the drivers of Brooklyn, already struggling with parking spots.

NYPD Needs To Blur The Lines #FixNYC

The NYPD has strict district lines. If something happens on a specific block, there is a precinct that is supposed to handle it.

While this is well and good, and helps make sure there are enough cops to cover the city, the lines it creates are absolutely ridiculous.
Here is a map of a recent example/incident.

NYPD Precinct Triangle

This is the corner of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue P. As you can see, the four corners of the intersection is divided into three different precincts.

The red circle is the location of a car that parks daily on the sidewalk, with the plates removed, and the VIN covered. But when an officer on the SouthWest corner was asked about the car, the response was “I can’t give it a ticket, because it’s not in my precinct.”

Let’s be clear. We aren’t discussing two different cities or towns. We are talking about New York City and the New York Police Department.
These officers, when on duty, should be allowed to give tickets to whomever they see committing a crime, within the five-boroughs.

Time to blur those precinct lines. If an officer can respond to a crime or sees something happening outside their lines, they should have full authority to.

BQX – #FixNYC

The Mayor of NYC, Bill de Blasio, unveiled plans recently for BQX, a streetcar running through Brooklyn and Queens, in parts that have previously needed to loop through Manhattan to use mass transit between the two.

BQX 2

The new streetcars are supposed to run up to 12 MPH, and cut the commute time in half from the current scenarios. And the vehicles will hold almost 2X as many people as the current articulated buses.

My issue is how do we make sure they stay running smoothly, with the abundance of double parked trucks/cars, and taxis/cabs who just “pull over for a second”, and the BQX wouldn’t have the capabilities to go around it.

Early artist renditions don’t show any barriers between the streetcar and the driving lanes, and has these cars running curbside, and not through the median, so you can expect lots of loading/unloading vehicles in its way.

BQX

We’ve already experimented with bus lanes and cameras on the buses to try and enforce them, and for the most part they work…but when there’s something in the way, a bus can just go around…

The reality is, these neighborhoods are horrendously overlooked in terms of good mass transit, and this system could really help it.

BQX MAp

For all my uncertainties with the system, one man I trust to run New York’s transportation grid correctly, Sam Schwartz (a cabbie and former NYC Traffic Commissioner), has an opinion piece in the Daily News, pro the BQX…and if he is okay with it, then so am I.
Here is the piece for your perusal.

For more info on BQX here’s a good read.