Morning Bulletin: Flea Market, Central Park ‘Chaos’, High Rent Fees Still Sting


Playing through the Sunday rain in Strawberry Fields. Photo by Heidi Stubner.

September 3, 2019 Weather: Sunny, with a high of 82 degrees.

Notices:
A bar quiz with “Geeks Who Drink” and many other local events are on our calendar.

A flea market will be held on Sept. 14 from 10-5 on West 83rd Street between Broadway and West End, and the organizers are looking for more vendors. Have stuff you want to sell?
To be a vendor and for more info, email: blockfleamarket@gmail.com.

News:
Former NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe says he doesn’t even bike in Central Park anymore because of the “chaos” there, as cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles jostle for space. “The chaos starts with bad design — roadways are still striped for the (mostly absent) automobiles, and the many traffic signals inside the park don’t immediately appear that they apply to pedestrians and cyclists. So it’s not just that no one obeys the rules — it’s not clear what those rules are.”An e-bike rider died last week after crashing into a pedestrian.

The Post’s Steve Cuozzo also wrote about the issue, arguing that cyclists in the park are out of control. “Red lights are just part of the scenery to Central Park cyclists. Nowhere else in town do bikers ignore traffic signals in such mass numbers and with such flagrant disregard for human beings on foot.”

The Post wrote about an increase in cyclist-on-pedestrian crashes this year, though one commentator pointed out that there have been 1,183 people have been killed by vehicles in the city since 2011, versus 7 people killed by cyclists.

Speaking of vehicle-related dangers… city-licensed trucks hauling waste and debris have been violating speed and red-light laws. “Vehicles registered with the Business Integrity Commission have been caught speeding past schools and running red lights at an alarming rate, according to an amNewYork analysis of traffic camera violations.”

A new state law was supposed to cap up-front fees to rent an apartment at $20. But people are still paying hundreds. Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal is thinking of introducing a new bill to hike fines on landlords. “Ms. Rosenthal said Manhattan residents have called her office about application fees of up to $700, and she is considering legislation to impose steep fines on landlords who violate the new provision.”

Correction: We originally mis-identified the politician looking to add fines for landlords who charge high fees. It’s Linda Rosenthal, not Helen.

NEWS | 47 comments | permalink
    1. Steve G says:

      I stopped riding my bike in Central Park years ago. No where in the city is it safe to ride anymore.

      • B.B. says:

        As when one inline skated for exercise, use the park late (after 8PM or so), when things are quieter. No problems at all. Won’t go near during day time hours especially on weekends or major holidays.

        Find this to be true of many serious runners, bikers, etc… Have plenty of company on the drives sometimes late as 10pm or 11pm. Just not the maddening crowds seen during peak use times.

    2. Erica says:

      Hang on, nowhere else do bikers ignore traffic signals en masse like in CP? Then this person has blinders walking around the city. It’s so rare to see a biker stop at a traffic light anywhere.

      • ron says:

        And why should they, any more or less than a pedestrian? Serious question. If there is no posed risk to anyone, why do you care? Indeed, many municipalities allow treat traffic lights as stop signs and allow “rolling stops” so to speak, which have proven to provide more safety overall. Cyclists need to yield to pedestrians who are crossing on a green — but forcing them to stop completely and wait for the light to turn green when there is no risk in continuing on, impedes traffic flow and actually increases cyclist injuries.

        • Ted Leibowitz says:

          I agree with this comment but only if they actually stop. Although I personally will let the bike pass when they are close, as a courtesy.

        • Vivsgirl says:

          Just for the record, stop signs mean STOP. Not rolling stop. And bikers should stop because they are operating a vehicle that although less dangerous than a car can cause a pedestrian serious harm.

        • Pedestrian says:

          I am unaware of cities or towns that treat red lights as stop signs. Please give me a list. Cyclists need to stop at red lights. They also need to stay off the sidewalks and stop treating paths as speed ways.

          As to vehicles breaking the rules, they should be ticketed and charged just as cyclists should be.
          Just because one segment of society breaks the rules that doesn’t give another segment of society permission to do likewise. What should happen is that enforcement against both should be stepped up.

          • rich says:

            Its called an “Idaho Stop” (Idaho being the first to implement it). Cyclists can treat a stop sign as a yield, and a red light as a stop sign. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idaho_stop

            There are many studies that prove its traffic and safety benefits. (If you actually rode a bike on the streets, you will quickly understand that a bicycle cannot accelerate from a standing stop nearly as quickly as a 2,000 lb motor vehicle. That is a main reason for the allowance).

        • Krash says:

          This makes good sense. A bike stopping at a red light when no one is present is annoying to the rider and silly. But a bike flying through a red light is dangerous to pedestrians. This is a good compromise.

        • Prudence Walker says:

          “If there is no posed risk to anyone…”

          That’s an extreme assumption.

          Who is determining the risk? Who is perceiving the risk? And who is at risk?

          True, the risk is less to a bicylist at 2AM, when there are fewer vehciles out, and virtually no pedestrians out.

          However, the risk is great to a pedestrian at 8:30AM when cars, scooters, skateboards, hoverboards, runners, and dog walkers are out, and a pedestrian is navigating all of those traveling at different speeds, coming from different directions in a confined space.

          Why is a pedestrian supposed to trust a bicyclist to used good judgment and exercise caution when the cyclist is already riding against traffic, and blowing through a red light? What makes anyone think that such a person is going to suddenly be overcome with prudence?

          If a cyclist doesn’t care enough about his/her own safety to wear a helmet and observe the most basic traffic safety principles, why should a pedestrian risk his/her physical safety on such an awfully large assumption?

          No, thank you.

    3. Robert says:

      The image used for this article is has nothing to do with the subject. I have rode my bike around the Central Park Loop for many years and only with experience do you know where to ride slowly with caution such as the area around Sheep’s Meadow, the west 59th street entrance, and a number of others. No matter how many signs you put up, it boils down to people paying attention to their surroundings. I have had many a scare riding on the streets due to people walking while looking at their phones and one a woman just pushed her baby stroller out between two parked cars just as I was passing. Just pay attention people.

      • Paul says:

        Exactly.
        And the riders who don’t conform to this simple and common sense approach are going to ruin it for everyone else.

      • Momo says:

        Not to mention tourist and unaware cyclists riding clockwise in the park.

        I could not agree with you more that there are unwritten rules and etiquette that you can only learn from experience in different parts of the park.

        • B.B. says:

          Not so much an “unwritten rule or etiquette”, but the law. Cyclists are supposed to follow same traffic patterns as motor vehicles when on city roadways.

          This means riding with indicated flow of traffic, not against.

          Drives in Central Park are all one way only; north, south, west and east. That is the way all traffic is meant to go.

    4. Alice W says:

      This is to be expected due to chronic lack of enforcement. Bike riders speeding down hills rarely stop at lights. Tennis players ride bikes on pedestrian paths despite clear signage. The design problem is real. The Central Park Tennis Center has bike racks at the terminus of two pedestrian paths marked with no bike riding signs. The path north of the courts permits mike riding. The racks should be placed there.

      • Jessica says:

        I agree with Alice W about the bike racks by Central Park tennis. Remove the racks and place them where appropriate. Also, there are hundreds of tourists that totally disregard the disembark bike signs at the entrance of the park. They should be in different languages as well as they are usually the biggest offenders!

    5. CCL says:

      So. It seems that traffic lights are merely decorations in the Park. For pedestrians, dogs, bikes, joggers, skateboards and the like.

      Why are they there if they do not regulate when traffic of any kind should stop or go?

      Yes. True. Bikes do speed through red lights on CPW too.

      • B.B. says:

        Traffic lights were installed when motor vehicles replaced horse drawn carriages as prime users of CP drives.

        They remain even as motor vehicles are largely if not wholly banned from Central Park.

    6. Marci says:

      Until bikers start getting ticketed for not following traffic laws, we’re just going to keep having the same conversations about who needs to be doing what. The “Just pay attention people” comment is pointed at pedestrians. And there are a lot of oblivious pedestrians out there. But the bikers in the park don’t want to ever stop; ever, and bikers on Citibikes are largely unaware that they need to follow traffic laws. Start ticketing everyone; bikers and pedestrians. That will help with the number of incidents.

    7. Patricia Gilman says:

      I agree. Central Park bicyclists are Totally out of control. Try crossing the road with the dog. I’ve left the neighborhood because I can’t stand the crowds and the bikes and noise and everything else

    8. Steven Morvay says:

      Chaos is correct. That’s because the Parks/City are not addressing the issue. Here’s a start….
      1. Ban ALL motorized vehicles from the park including bikes, scooters, mopeds etc

      2. Recognize that more intensive training/exercise activity takes place during early morning hours and establish a time period for that to occur. Then, declare the rest of the day to be for “recreational” activity

      3. Declare Exercise/Training hours between daylight and 8am. Then put all traffic lights on “blink” with the road side being yellow and the cross-walks being red or vice versa.

      4. Put up comprehensive signage. At all crosswalks say “Training Session Daylite-8AM. Look both ways for joggers and high-speed cyclists”
      Declare all other times as “Recreation Time” with significant signing saying “Cycling Speed Limit 10 MPH during 8am to Sunset” on the roadway.
      Add significant signage at crosswalks etc saying “Look Both Ways Before Crossing Roadway”

      5. Establish a dedicated NYPD or Parks enforcement team to enforce motorized vehicle ban and reduced speed limit for cyclists during Recreation Time

    9. AB says:

      Bikers in the Park are fine, just not bikers clipped in training like it’s a velodrome. These people scream at everyone else and are a complete menace. Simple, no one can bike in the Park clipped in. Period, full stop.

    10. Chrigid says:

      why have cyclists and skateboarders on Columbus Ave in the low 90s been riding in the car-door lane?

      • Waco kid says:

        Because the paint used to color the Green Lane is so rough that it’s like riding on cobblestones.

    11. Joey says:

      Put a bicycle lane on 5th Ave just like CPW.

    12. alice gingold says:

      Cyclists are frightening thousands of people in and outside of the Park as they disregard traffic rules. There are so many close calls of cyclists nearly hitting pedestrians as they violate traffic laws and disregard the safety of others. They ride in both directions on the bike paths, and in regular traffic and sometimes on the sidewalk. Bikes are a major menace in an overcrowded city.

      • ronnyuws says:

        UWS kvetchers are a bigger menace. Seriously, “frightening thousands of people”, “so many close calls”. Um, hyperbole, perhaps??

    13. Normal biker says:

      These cyclists are truly insane! I ride my bike in a normal way. These guys only care about their timing, not pedestrians. I have mentioned this to patrol-car cops in the park, who don’t seem interested in doing anything. Remember the pregnant mom who was killed a couple of years ago? That’s why I call these reckless speedsters “Mommy killers.”

    14. Ellen K says:

      If you have the time, go to Governor’s Island early on a weekday morning, get a free rental for an hour or pay for two and enjoy the fantastic views and almost empty path. Sometimes there are school groups to look out for.

    15. Reed says:

      how many injuries by bikers are taken seriously and how many are part of the stats? Bikes are not motorized and the drivers are not insured, thus the tracking system for injuries caused by a bike are not part of a data bank.

      For Pete’s Sake…..charge a fee for a bike license and make liability insurance mandatory. Enough is enough.

      • Steve says:

        Good idea, Reed. Bikes can cause injury and damage and should be insured for liability. That would mean they would have to be registered and plated as well. Licensing couldn’t hurt but what about kids who ride bikes?

    16. stu says:

      I encourage everyone to go to the Museum of the City of NY to learn about the history of cycling in NYC. This issue has had a long and involved history spanning way over a century. Ends in mid October.

      https://www.mcny.org/exhibition/cycling-city

    17. Jan says:

      Ban the Bikes
      NYC is a walking subway city!

    18. jill s says:

      when walking across road you can only hope the bikes will obey the lights.

    19. UWSWasp says:

      I’m sitting in my car at a red light at 94th and WEA on Sunday late afternoon. What do I see? A dude on an electric bike with a large bundle of pizzas strapped to his rack coming the wrong way down 94th, wide open throttle, banking the corner at about 20 mph like he’s racing at Daytona, he went through that intersection ballin the rubber on his tires with his knee down like a GP racer. I pity any pedestrian with this misfortune of being in the crosswalk when he’s making his maneuvers. Total disregard of laws, risks, and really complete disregard for everyone’s safety including his own. The only thing he cares about his maximising his tip revenue.

    20. Vic Pinalti says:

      Not to mention the smoking in the park , the new park commissioner removed all the no smoking signs from the park and when I asked about them he told me they will be back . This was 6 months ago .

    21. B.B. says:

      Cannot prove it, but have a strong hunch that many cyclists of all sorts are ignorant of fact they are supposed to follow same traffic rules/laws as motorists.

      To wit those on bikes are not allowed on sidewalks, are supposed to follow traffic, not ride against it; stop as indicated by signs/lights, yield to pedestrians, etc….

      It is fairly obvious a large number of those riding Citibikes clearly do not know.

      I for one am getting fed up with Citibike cyclists riding on sidewalks.

      If you are that unsure of your bike skills, and or cannot handle riding a bike in city traffic, don’t rent a bike. It is that simple.

    22. Gail Dedrick says:

      I pop up every so often to say this, but I have long been a critic of bike culture in NY. My husband almost got hit just yesterday with a biker FLYING through a red light at a turn. You may think this hyperbole, but bikers have ruined Riverside Park for me long ago, although the new rules are the boast basin strip are most welcome, it’s just too little. Now the Citibikes and their ilk are ruining the whole city. And no, it usually isn’t the delivery guys – the entitled dudes in their spandex have been a menace for years, but at least they usually stayed off the sidewalks, but now the clueless on their Citibikes are ON the sidewalk. Nowhere is safe. On top of that, I’ve been the bike advocates at Community Board meetings and their sense of entitlement and self-serving moral outage is not to be believed.

    23. B.B. says:

      Help is on the way dealing with Central Park and other cyclist “chaos”. Well sort of, maybe; https://gothamist.com/news/de-blasio-mulls-mandatory-helmets-citi-bike-riders-licenses-all-cyclists