» Driving & Traffic News

July 3, 2013

Image,_License_PlatesIf you’ve crossed the Henry Hudson Bridge connecting the Bronx and Manhattan in NYC recently and didn’t have an E-ZPassNY or E-ZPassNJ to pay the toll, a camera took a picture of your car and license plate.  About 1-3 months later, you got a bill for the cash rate for the toll.

That’s fine, right? Not to some people who believe that it’s illegal for the government to record our vehicle movements without our permission.  The Atlantic Cities reports that Jennifer Lynch, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains, “They’re recording a single plate linked to the time and date that plate was photographed and the location of that plate. If it were just photographed one time, that probably wouldn’t be that much information, it wouldn’t be concerning to most people. It’s the fact that the data is stored, and that plates are recorded pretty frequently. That allows law enforcement to create a picture of your life, not only to find out where you’ve been in the past, but also to anticipate where you might be in the future.”

We can understand law enforcement relying on license plate readers in criminal investigations, to find missing persons, and to track down stolen vehicles. These license plate readers are also used widely by parking operators for parking ticket enforcement, which makes sense. On the other hand, Read more…

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April 18, 2013

Image,_NYC_food_trucksEither you’re hungry and love that you can get a cheap and great lunch from one of the food trucks on the street, or you need parking and that darn food truck is taking up 2 spaces — for four hours! Right now, any food truck can park on a NYC street if they are following the parking laws. They are not allowed to park where there is a NYC parking meter, though.

New York City Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan) proposed on April 9, 2013:

  1. Create up to 450 NYC street parking spots specially designated for food trucks (based on supplying 5% more than the current estimate of 300 – 400 food trucks),
  2. Allow only one spot per block for a NYC food truck,
  3. Ban any other NYC food truck from parking anywhere else on the same street, ie. ‘one block, one truck’, Read more…
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March 21, 2013

NYC Parking Electric_Vehicle_Charging_Station_&_Car,_Beam_ChargingWe’ve been hearing about electric vehicles for a few years now. With huge gas savings, government tax credits for buying an electric vehicle, and free parking — these cars seem like a great option.

But lately the discussion has been questioning these subsidies, ie. if electric vehicles are so fantastic, why does there need to be so many incentives to encourage us to buy them? The Nissan Leaf starts at about $35,000.

At a parking conference last year, one session focused solely on parking demand and supply for electric vehicles:

  • If we make a car owner pay for the electricity, should we give him free parking?
  • What is someone parks in a garage for 8 hours and uses only 2 hours of a battery charge? That takes away the space for other people to park.
  • If you offer electric car charging stations at on-street parking, the space needs to be handicapped-accessible.
  • Can we give someone free electric charging and charge more for the parking?

In NYC, Edison Parking began offering electric vehicle charging stations in 21 NJ & NYC garages in February 2011. Edison offered free charging for the first six months. Read more…

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March 5, 2013

Yep, new fares for NYC buses, NYC subways, Metro-North Railroad, LIRR Railroad, and NYC bridges and tunnels.

Effective March 3, 2013:

NYC Subway & NYC Bus

  • Base Single Ride Fare: Increase from $2.25 to $2.50 → $.25 increase
  • Single Ticket Fare: Increase from $2.50 to $2.75 → $.25 increase (Sold at vending machines only. Must be used within 2 hours, no transfers included)
  • Monthly MetroCard/30-Day Unlimited: Increase from $104 to $112 → 7.7% or $8 increase
  • 7-Day Unlimited: $30.00
  • 7-Day Express Bus Plus: $55.00
  • Express Bus: $6.00
  • Fee to Purchase New MetroCard $1, so save those used or expired NYC MetroCards and exchange them for a new one! Fee applies to each new MetroCard purchased at station booth, vending machine or commuter rail station.
  • Pay Per Ride Bonus: An additional 5% is added to your MetroCard with the purchase or addition of $5 or more.

Effective March 1, 2013, fares and tolls are also increased for these NYC bridges and tunnels: Read more…

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February 27, 2013
Pothole

Pothole

If you have been driving in NYC in the last few months, you probably have swerved to avoid a pothole. You know what a pothole is, but here’s the office NYC definition:

  • A hole in the street with a circular or ovular shape and a definable bottom.
  • The bottom may be the concrete roadway base and may be partially filled with mud, dirt, or loose gravel.
  • Condition does not look man-made and usually is not sitting in an area of collapse.

These large holes — some as big as 2 feet wide — slow down NYC traffic, can be hard to avoid, destroy NYC road conditions, ruin your car and never seem to get fixed fast enough.

How do these enormous holes that can be as deep as 10 inches, just show up suddenly?  There are a few different theories:

  • Theory 1 says that roads need to drain water.  Read more…
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February 22, 2013

NYC traffic ticketAs if NYC parking and driving isn’t hard enough, you can get a NYC parking or traffic ticket for some unbelievable violations. Here are a few that we sourced from 888RedLight.

NYC Traffic Violations You Might Want to Know

1. It is illegal to bypass traffic by cutting through a parking lot or other establishment. This move is illegal under VTL 1225 and is called “avoiding an intersection”.

2. Similarly, driving on the sidewalk is illegal unless one is actually trying to access lands adjacent to the roadway. VTL 1225-A.

3. It is illegal to pass a broken NYC traffic signal without stopping. Under Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 1142, you must stop, yield to any other vehicle that has already entered the intersection from any other direction or one that presents an immediate hazard and then you can proceed.

4. Outside of NYC, in Sag Harbor, NY it is illegal to take your clothes off in a car.

So if you want to avoid a NYC traffic ticket, remember these obscure NYC traffic laws. And if you do get a NYC traffic ticket, call our friends at 888RedLight.

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January 24, 2013

NYC DOT (NYC Department of Transportation) and Transcore have been awarded International Road Federation’s Global Road Achievement Award (GRAA) for deployment of a modernized citywide computerized traffic control system. This system monitors and controls 12,400 traffic signals throughout the five boroughs – creating the largest such system in North America. It also includes Manhattan’s Midtown in Motion program, which we’ve written about before.

Midtown in Motion is a series of 100 microwave sensors, 32 traffic video cameras and E-ZPass readers installed at 23 intersections in NYC midtown. These devices measure traffic speeds covering a 110-block area from 2nd – 6th Aves & 42nd – 57th Sts in an effort to get NYC traffic moving faster by adjusting Midtown traffic signal patterns, unplugging bottlenecks and smoothing the flow of traffic.

Phase I resulted in an overall 10% improvement in travel times on all the Aves (based on E-ZPass readers and taxi GPS data). Read more…

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January 6, 2013

I’ve always believed that the next revolution would start at the NYS DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Over-complicated forms, long lines, dingy rooms, unfriendly staff, and unhelpful service folks are a sure-fire recipe for angry customers.

NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo must agree, because he has announced plans to make the NYS DMV office friendlier places. The plans include:

  • Customer Service Reps to greet and help customers,
  • Self-serve kiosks,
  • Expanded hours to include morning, late night, and possible Saturday at DMV office, pharmacies, and AAA offices for official vision screenings for driver’s license renewals, and
  • Online reservations from a smartphone.

These improvements were set to start at 15 NYC DMV offices in December 2012.

Right now, DMV offices have an average wait time of one hour. These changes are designed to reduce that wait time to 30 minutes. Still feels like quite a long time to us.

Filed under: Driving & Traffic News — Tags: , — mtohn @ 6:18 pm
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Let’s say you’re driving NYC traffic. NYC taxis are speeding past you, trucks are double-parking, limos are cutting in to your lane, you see brake lights ahead, and you’re not sure if you can make a right turn at the next intersection.  Stressful, yes? But do you want to know your stress level? And would that help?

According to Edmunds, car company Ford is starting to install in-vehicle sensors that will measure a driver’s stress level and use that data to personalise ‘driver-assist’ technologies.

In the 2013 Ford Fusion, there are 74 biometric sensors that can “can monitor the perimeter around the car and see into places that are not readily visible from the driver’s seat,” Ford said.

Both radar and cameras will gather data including traffic congestion and incoming phone calls. Ideally, this data will be used to both predict driver behaviour and manage the vehicle’s controls for results such as better energy management.

We’d need to know a lot more about this technology before signing up for it. After all, I drive in NYC traffic nearly every day and my stress level is definitely going to be different than someone’s who is driving in NYC traffic for the first time.

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December 25, 2012

NYC bus MTA busWe’ve posted about this before and now it’s been confirmed.

Fares for NYC buses and NYC subways will increase effective March 3, 2013. 

NYC Subway & NYC Bus

  • Base Single Ride Fare: Increase from $2.25 to $2.50 → $.25 increase
  • Single Ticket Fare: Increase from $2.50 to $2.75 → $.25 increase (Sold at vending machines only. Must be used within 2 hours, no transfers included)
  • Monthly MetroCard/30-Day Unlimited: Increase from $104 to $112 → 7.7% or $8 increase
  • 7-Day Unlimited: $30.00
  • 7-Day Express Bus Plus: $55.00
  • Express Bus: $6.00
  • Fee to Purchase New MetroCard $1, so save those used or expired NYC MetroCards and exchange them for a new one! Fee applies to each new MetroCard purchased at station booth, vending machine or commuter rail station.
  • Pay Per Ride Bonus: An additional 5% is added to your MetroCard with the purchase or addition of $5 or more.

Effective March 1, 2013, fares and tolls are also increased for these NYC bridges and tunnels:

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR)

  • Increase of approximately 9%

Metro-North Rail

  • Increase of approximately 9%
Whitestone Bridge, Queens Midtown Tunnel, Triboro RFK Bridge
  • One-Way Cash Fare: Increase from $6.50 to $7.50 → $1.00 or 15% increase
  • One-Way E-ZPass Fare: Increase from $4.80 to $5.33 → $.53 or 11% increase

Henry Hudson Bridge

  • One-Way Cash Fare: Increase from $4.00 to $5.00 → $1.00 or 25% increase
  • One-Way E-ZPass Fare: Increase from $2.20 to $2.44 → $.24 or 11% increase
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
  • One-Way Cash Fare: New fare is $15.00
  • One-Way E-ZPass Fare: New fare is 10.66

These increases should generate an additional $450 million annually.

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