Open Thread Wednesday 6/19/13

What’s on your mind? Comment away!

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  • Arch Stanton


  • Joe A

    Update on Bike share stats

    June 18th
    Trips 5 pm – 5 pm current day: 21,184
    Trips since launch: 311,826

    Avg Duration (current day): 16 min 30 sec
    Miles traveled since launch: 834,261 miles

    Remember MonroeOrange saying bike share would be a huge failure and no one would use it? Well, over 800,000 miles have been traveled in the short time it has been operational. Enough to ride to the moon and back. And the program is growing every day.

  • Bloomy

    Just a heads up, if anyone is planning on purchasing a Citi Bike membership, you can save $15 by paying for it with your Citi card. Wish they had sent out the email before I got mine, but maybe others can save some cash.

  • joinkert

    Yes. It was doing flight tours based out of Teterboro over the weekend. I think it went uptown, then out to Queens, then right over the Heights and back to the airport.

  • Susan Raboy

    frightening sight to hear and see this plane so low. For a few seconds I didn’t breathe

  • MonroeOrange

    Once again, Mr. Cursty…keep hiding behind that new name of yours….lets see how successful this program is OCt – March…if this is ‘alt transportation’ lets see how accessible it is in those months, and lets see how many miles will be accumulated during those months…of course people are using it now in the summer…I hope you enjoy your annual membership, that you won’t be able to use many months of the year…but keep being a corporate Shill for Citibank, im sure they love all the advertising in our supposed advertising free landmark neighborhood…..and if this is ‘Alt transportation’ than why is not in the neighborhoods that need it, where there aren’t 5 or 6 different train lines available…why, bc citibank and bloomberg could care less about low socioeconomic neighborhoods that could actually benefit from this program…….

  • joinkert

    Military aircraft usually have much lower pitched props. Same for blackhawks. Can usually tell the difference from very far away.

  • ab_bklyn

    As an avid bike commuter (even at 6 months pregnant!), I ride for as long as possible into the winter before it gets unbearable. I continued well into November this year before quitting and then picked it up again in April (I was away on business for most of March, otherwise I probably would have ridden in March as well). Once you catch the bike-commuting bug, nothing else compares.. you’re getting exercise and fresh air on the way to work, and the subways are crowded and slow in comparison! I think that a lot of people who signed up for annual memberships will continue to ride for as long as they can into the winter. I’m not sure why you’re still SO against CitiBike, MonroeOrange. They concentrated the test program in the areas where they felt it would get the most usage (Manhattan up to 59th St., and North Brooklyn), and it’s been deemed successful so far, so I assume they will proceed to roll out the rest of the program. I counted at least a dozen CitiBikers on my 4-mile commute this morning, and at times the bike lanes were so crowded it felt like Copenhagen! I’m so excited that bike culture is catching on here in NY..

  • Claude Scales

    My photo makes the plane appear much lower than it was, as I was using a zoom lens.

  • Brooklynite

    FYI Staff Co has sent out termination letters to some LICH employees for August 1st-14th. Similar to the letter that was sent in March about a June employment termination notification. Doesn’t look too good.

  • mlcraryville

    The BHA is to be seriously faulted for failing to follow up on the corner house at Monroe Pl and Clark which was falling down and being taken down the rest of the way when the BHA forcefully and successfully intervened to save what was left of the wreck. Now, four or more years later, our block and the neighborhood is defaced by this rat-infested dump which is apparently not going anywhere. And, the BHA is nowhere to be seen or heard. This is neighborhood desecration not responsible neighborhood preservation.

  • PB

    First, personally, I think the annual membership is an incredible bargain even if you only use it for 6 months of the year.

    Take the $95 annual cost and divide by 6 months. That’s $15.83 a month. If you use it just once or twice a week instead of the subway you’ve broken even. Every ride after that — or on seasonable days during the other 6 months of the year and you’re riding for free.

    And honestly, it’s not just about saving money on subway rides — it’s also about saving time (which is extremely valuable for a lot of people), convenience, getting exercise, cutting down on pollution, seeing the city from a different perspective… the list goes on and on.

    But let’s get back to MonroeOrange’s point about use during colder weather. Personally, if it’s cold out I prefer to be riding a bike to get from point A to Point B — it’s much faster and warmer than walking.

    Yes, I won’t do this if the roads are covered in slush or ice but honestly, that’s only a few days of thw year. This past winter for example we only had 1 real snowstorm and it was 100% gone with a few days. The year before the only real snow we got was in late *October* it was gone by the next morning. So personally, I’m not so worried. Yes, usage will likely be down. But it will still be plenty high enough to warrant the system being there.

    Finally, MonroeOrange, the vast majority of your posts about CitiBike were about the inherent danger of the Henry Street station near Atlantic Avenue. Personally, as I’ve posted before, I think a safer location for that station is on the sidewalk on the south side of Atlantic in front of Henry Public. And I’ve passed this feedback on to the DOT and CitiBike.

    That said, the station’s current location seems to be perfectly safe. As have every other one of the 311 stations. With 311,826 trips to date — or a bit over 1,000 trips per station on average — there hasn’t been a single reported accident involving removing or docking a bike. I’m not an expert in statistics but I’d say a sample of 311,826 events is enough to deem station locations safe.

    Speaking of safety, as Joe mentioned there have been 834,261 miles traveled so far. In those 834,261 miles there have been a grand total of 2 accidents reported in the press. Both not especially serious. And to my knowledge, neither have been determined to be the cyclists’ fault. (Meanwhile, there are roughly 11 taxi accidents serious enough to require police involvement NYC *every* *day* but this post is already getting awfully long.)

    Bottom line, by any measure I can think of my opinion is that these bikes are an incredible success. They’re not perfect — nor will they ever be — but I think they’re a tremendous addition to our city and look forward to seeing the program expand and flourish.

  • HenryLoL

    I was just wondering what was going on there! I too call on BHA to make some noise!

  • Remsen Street Dweller

    How to Sustain SUNY Downstate? Get Rid of the SUNY Board ot Trustees!

    As a resident of Brooklyn Heights for the past seventeen
    years I have used the services of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) as a patient ­­many times.

    Over the past several months, in addition to keeping
    informed about the State University of New York’s (SUNY) Board of Trustees’ call for closure of the hospital, I have been an active supporter of LICH in its struggle to keep its doors open.

    Two weeks ago, I watched (via YouTube) the June 4th
    public hearing of the NYS Senate Standing Committee on Higher Education, which focused on the proposed sustainability plan for the Downstate Hospital Medical
    Center presented by the Board of Trustees of SUNY. I watched the entire hearing from start to finish – listening to the SUNY presentation, various panels, including state senators, reacting to – some supportive of and some questioning the viability of the plan, as well as the responses of LICH nurses and other staff.

    The proposed sustainability plan as presented on June 4th consists of a SUNY network with various other Brooklyn hospitals (minus LICH) in order to negotiate for better rates from insurance companies, as well as
    Medicare and Medicaid.

    SUNY trustees, though vague about many of the details of the proposed network, pointed out the necessity for the creation of another body above SUNY to manage the network. Another governing layer seems to me not only an unnecessary and expensive complication, but it also does nothing to address the core problems. One of the panelists even said there is no current model like this at all.

    Moreover, still another panelist pointed out that the linchpin to the SUNY proposal, i.e. the network of
    hospitals, may be totally irrelevant anyway as SUNY already has that ability to bargain with other hospitals.

    It seems to me that the real problem here is the SUNY Board of Trustees. They have a history, documented in the NY Times, the Daily News and other publications of having mismanaged SUNY Downstate hospitals for
    years. The NYS Comptroller’s Audit spoke of SUNY’s “weak governance and ineffectual financial anagement.” The Comptroller’s previous audit in 2012 also found that “Downstate had poor procurement practices that led to
    fraudulent and uneconomical vendor selection, inefficient implementation of a multimillion dollar software system, and conflicts of interests between an employee and a vendor. These deficiencies likely contributed to the financial distress at the Hospital.”

    The Comptroller’s report also stated that SUNY Downstate paid $3.1 million to Pitts Management Associates to find ways to cut costs, but they did nothing to implement any of the recommendations!

    Besides providing incompetent management of Downstate hospitals, the SUNY Board of Trustees has behaved despicably to the citizens of Brooklyn in their dealing with LICH. From the very beginning, with the
    takeover of LICH in 2011, SUNY did nothing to bolster the viability of LICH. What it did do is keep an expensive and inefficient billing system left over from Continuum Healthcare, as well as close the lauded LICH School of Nursing, etc.

    And just as the SUNY Trustees work to close LICH leaving that area of Brooklyn without a hospital, it has been reported that Downstate has been planning to open a new hospital in an area already dense with

    Actually, before all of the above transpired, the Brooklyn
    Heights Association (BHA) had presented SUNY Downstate with a community award
    for saving LICH. How taken in was the BHA – how taken in were we all!

    And, recently when the NY City Council voted unanimously to support LICH in its struggle to keep its doors open as a full-service hospital serving Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, the SUNY Trustees put on a phony show of rescinding the closure plans. Meanwhile, they have done everything possible to “starve out” LICH by no longer sending residents to the hospital, withholding needed supplies, removing equipment, not involving any LICH stakeholders with its so-called meetings with other hospitals in the interest of a possible merger with LICH etc., etc.

    I could go on and on listing the affronts of the SUNY Board of Trustees – how they disregard the NYS judge’s restraining order regarding LICH, etc. etc. All these heinous activities are documented in various daily and local newspapers, community board blogs, etc.

    The point is – what kind of representatives are these people – the so-called SUNY Board of Trustees? What do they know about running a hospital? What do they know about conducting their business in an honorable, open way that respects Brooklyn and NYC residents, rather than deliberately putting NYC residents in harm’s way?
    I believe that to truly provide long-term sustainability for
    SUNY Downstate and LICH, the leadership of and/or the SUNY Board of Trustees needs to be censured or removed. They are the real problem here – not the

  • ab_bklyn

    All great points, PB.

    It’s interesting that MonroeOrange has changed his tune from “These bikes will never get used!” and “These bikes are only for tourists!” to “Well, these bikes are getting used now, but just wait until winter comes!” Will ridership decrease in the wintertime? Almost certainly. But I can guarantee it will pick right back up again when the weather gets warm next spring. Why all the negativity?? And as for the relative safety of one bike share station, well, if people deem it unsafe to dock or undock the bikes there, it simply won’t get used as heavily as the other stations. I’d be interested to see the stats on that station vs. others in the area.

  • PB

    I recall her tune as being 90% “this station will get someone killed!” but yeah, she just doesn’t see anything positive in the program.

    I’d love to know the usage of individual stations as well. I just put a request into Greg — keeper of the awesome CitiBike Stats page for just such a list. For now you can see at the link below that Brooklyn Heights tends to be the 3rd or 4th most popular neighborhood in Brooklyn. Not surprising as a lot of Cobble Hill users walk North to our stations I suspect.

  • ab_bklyn

    MonroeOrange is female?? With all of the negativity they spew I just assumed it was a curmudgeonly “Get off my lawn, you pesky kids!” old man…

    You learn something new every day!

  • Joe A

    1) I am not hiding anything. When BHB switched over to Disqus I had to swith my screen name because I already had an account with Disqus. I posted that Mr. Crusty will now be known as JoeA.

    2) yes of course winter use will be less than summer use. So what. Same can be said for every park. Should we close down the Promenade because fewer people use it in the winter. This is truly one of your more ridiculous arguments and that is saying quite a bit.

    3) advertising free neighborhood? I don’t know about you but I see a lot of advertising in BH. Ever walk down Montague Street? And CitiBank isn’t advertising, it is displaying it’s logo on the bikes they supplied. You know, like all the cars that have logos like Ford, Chevrolet, BMW, etc.

    3) Corporate shill you call me? Hardly. This has nothing to do with my feelings towards Citibank and everything to do with my belief that a bike share program is a good thing for a city for many different reasons and I’m happy that CitiBank assisted the City in making this happen without spending taxpayers money. Win, win.

    4) the program had to start somewhere and they intelligently decided to start the program in area’s where they would likely get the most use. The program will be expanded to other parts of the city as we move forward.

    The program is a huge success already and all of your chicken little the sky is falling predictions have proven to be as silly as this latest post. Happy biking.

  • PB

    I don’t know his or her gender for a fact but something in the many posts led me to form that opinion. I don’t think it was based on interpretation — I think he or she posted something that specified a gender.

    But I could be wrong.

    MonroeOrange, if you’re male, not female, my apologies if you find being called a female offensive. :-)

  • PB

    Thanks. I just bought another membership for my spouse and took advantage of this offer. Wish I knew about it before!

  • Joe A

    Apparently MO is a curmudgeonly “Get off my lawn” old woman. Who knew?

  • Greg

    Over last week (Mon June 10 – Fri June 14), Henry & Atlantic was the neighborhood’s most popular station by dock activity (takeouts and returns per dock) and 3rd most popular by station activity (takeouts and returns per *station*).

    Over the weekend (Sat June 15 – Sun June 16), it was the most popular station by both measures.

    “Activity” happened about 80 times per day.

    It looks like this was also the station most likely to not have free docks.

  • Greg

    Thanks. I’d love to do just that, and plan to, subject to time. Perhaps by the end of this week…

  • PB

    Thanks Greg!

    I suspect part of the popularity comes from the fact that other stations in the neighborhood were not working from the 10th to the 14th but regardless of where it stands, what matters is that people add or remove bikes about 80 times a day, or over 500 times a week and so far, no one has been killed as MonroeOrange assured us would happen.

    But who knows? Maybe it will, god forbid, happen tomorrow. Here’s hoping that the station *does* get moved to the sidewalk just to the south.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go use a CitiBike to run an errand. :-)

  • Monroe place mom

    It’s a complete disgrace! And it’s dangerous. My husband and I have tried – in vain- to get any response from BHA regarding the plans for the building. It’s as if they are protecting the owner. Everyone on Monroe Place is fed up and disgusted. Let’s all make some noise!!

  • Arch Stanton

    Thanks, I thought I was having a Dresden flashback.

  • Jason Kidd

    Russkie plane, making off with a Super Bowl ring for Put-sky.

  • gbkm

    Bravo! I hope you will send that letter, in its entirety, to Governor Cuomo who appoints every SUNY Trustee (except the students’ representative who is elected) and Senators LaValle & Hannon who chair the Senate Committees on Health & Higher Education & are involved in the decision-making in the Downstate/LICH issue

  • neighboronhicks

    The Citi-bike hate has driven me away from reading BHB. It’s childish and incredibly annoying.

  • Andrew Porter

    As I stated previously here, plans are on file with Landmarks for a 5-story condo building, and they must be approved before anything happens.

    Demolition and reconstruction are still on track to start this year.

    Posting under my own name, as usual, and not under “Micraryville”.