Sunday, March 28, 2010

Manhattan (Opening)

Mention a city that Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is so closely associated with, you'd be right, - but it better be Manhattan. Grizzled streets with winsome tourists agape at skyscrapers. Long gone diners of meals gone by still offer the hungry and thirsty coffee. Broadway neon ooze the electricity powered by promise and opportunity. Say what you will, New York will always draw the young and vibrant.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In Manhattan, Driving Is Toughest on Wednesdays

In Manhattan, Driving Is Toughest on Wednesdays: "A study of taxi trips is helping planners tackle gridlock in New York.



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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Start your Car with an iPhone

Nice video demo on the Viper SmartStart remote car starter on the iPhone.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Car Wars: East Harlem's Costco Explains High Price of Parking

Car Wars: East Harlem's Costco Explains High Price of Parking: "

2010_03_costco.jpg

Image via Crain's



People love to complain about the parking fees at Costco in the East River Plaza, where leaving your car for two hours costs $4.70. But the fee isn't Costco's decision. “We get a lot of grief for the parking lot because it costs $4. It is not our parking lot, by the way,” a store spokesperson told analysts today. In the same phone call, Costco officials said that the store gets good neighborhood traffic during the day, but that they've found New Yorkers just don't want to hop in the car after work to pick up bulk necessities.


If the obviousness of that statement makes steam come out your ears, then you'll enjoy this response from the Wall Street Journal's Marketbeat blog:

Not to be too snarky, but as we're sure Costco is aware, New Yorkers don't tend to travel around in cars. Instead we opt for an elaborate system of subterranean railroads that convey us hither and yon about the city. In these trains, we are often crammed cheek-by-jowl with our fellow travelers, with little room for the pallet-loads of cashews and toilet paper that suburbanites are at liberty to load up on.
All good points, but come now: How could Costco possibly have known before it opened that New Yorkers don't drive?

· Now Open: Free Food, Expensive Parking at Costco [Racked NY]

· Rants [Racked NY]

· The Number at Noon: $4.70 [WSJ]

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The Weekly Carnage

The Weekly Carnage: "


The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle mayhem
across the five boroughs and beyond. For more on the origins and purpose of this
column, please read About the Weekly Carnage.



carnage_rollino.jpg"The Great" Joe Rollino, killed by driver on January 11 in Brooklyn
Fatal Crashes (7 Killed This Week, 14 This Year, 4 Drivers Charged*)
  • Dyker Heights, Brooklyn: Joe Rollino, "World's Strongest Man," Killed by Brooklyn Minivan Driver at Age 104; No Charges Filed (NYT, NY1, News, Post, Bklyn Eagle)
  • Annadale, SI: 23-Year-Old Daniel Kelley, Jogger Hit by Drugged Driver, Dies of Injuries; Further Charges Against Killer Gypsy Porfirio Pending (News, NY1, Advance 1, 2)
  • Related: Pedestrian Safety on the Minds of Staten Islanders (Advance 1, 2)
  • Eastchester, Bronx: Unidentified Pedestrian, 66, Hit by Driver of Mini Cooper; Gerald King, 53, Charged With Homicide, DWI (Post)
  • Flushing, Queens: Unidentified Pedestrian Hit, Killed by Two Drivers on Grand Central Parkway; No Charges (News)
  • Hillcrest, Queens: Speeding Driver Plows Into Cars on Grand Central Parkway, Killing Another Driver; Charged With DWI, Manslaughter (News)
  • Bay Ridge, Brooklyn: Two Killed in Belt Parkway Crash; Driver Charged With Homicide (NYT, Post)



firejpg_large__advance.jpgPhoto: Staten Island Advance
Injuries, Arrests and Property Damage

  • Manhattan: Howard Safir Hits Pregnant Woman With SUV, Drives Off (NYT, NY1, News, Post)
  • Related: DA Vance Examining Safir Hit-and-Run, Ped and Cyclist Deaths (Streetsblog, NYT, Post)
  • Related: Ray Kelly Says Collision "Not a Criminal Matter," Considers Case Closed (News, Fox5)
  • Manhattan: Driver Fleeing Police Tears Through Midtown; 3 Cops Injured (Post, News)
  • Queens: Pedestrian Critical After Collision in Hollis Hills; Driver Blames Sun; No Charges (NY1)
  • Old Town, SI: Driver Rams SUV Into Laundromat, Steals Cash Register (News)
  • Bulls Head, SI: Firefighter Hurt When Truck Carrying Oil and Antifreeze Catches Fire (Advance)
  • Bronx: Driver Trying to Avoid Rear-Ender Hits Pole, Writes Entertaining Forum Post (8th Civic)
  • Crashes Reported on Manhattan, Verrazano Bridges (WNBC, Advance)


Following Up




carnage_drunk_bus_driver_vid.jpg
In the Region, Out of Town
  • LA Road Rager Christopher Thompson Gets Five Years for Injuring Two Cyclists (Streetsblog LA)
  • Son of Brooklyn Rabbi, Two Others Killed in Crash Outside Pittsburgh (Post)
  • Almond, NY: School Bus Driver Gets 90 Days for On-the-Job DWI (News)
  • Windham, NY: 2 Teens Killed in Three-Car Catskills Crash (AP)
  • How Safe Will Kids Be at Newark's Speedway Elementary? (MTR)



Other News


  • Vulnerable Street User Law to Be Reintroduced in Albany (Streetsblog)
  • Before Leaving Office, Morgenthau Joined Ray Kelly in Cementing New DWI Procedures (News)
  • FocusDriven, New Group Modeled on MADD, Takes on Distracted Driving (Bits, NY1)




  • Cellphone-Using Drivers Cause 28 Percent of U.S. Crashes: 1.4M a Year (WaPo)
  • Safety Guru Leonard Evans: Distracting Auto Tech "Worse Than a Six-Pack in the Front Seat" (AOL)





























  • Ford VP Says Company Wants to Make Cars "as Cool as Your iPhone" (MediaPost)
  • New York, Connecticut Picked for Fed-Supported DWD Enforcement Study (WNYC)
  • Tennessee Considering Crackdown on Life-Saving Traffic Cams (Times Free Press)
  • FL Phantom Cam Controversy: Do Drivers Hate Cameras, or Hate Following the Law? (WZVN

* Based on latest available reports

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Top 10 Tips and Tools for Commuters [Lifehacker Top 10]

Top 10 Tips and Tools for Commuters [Lifehacker Top 10]: "

U.S. commuters spend an average of 50 minutes in their car each day, and that leaves a lot of room for improvement. Make the most of your commute with these 10 tips.

Photo by mattlemmon.


10. Adjust Your Mirrors for Better Vision


Most people set up their car's mirrors in a way that keeps the edge of their own car in their vision, mostly to provide a sense of perspective. This limits the amount of 'blind spot' coverage provided by your mirrors. Car and Driver suggests a new alignment technique supported by the Society of Automotive Engineers that covers more angles with your side and rear view mirrors. When we first highlighted this tip, several commenters asked what's wrong with just looking over your shoulder as you change lanes—technically, nothing. But if you're willing to commit a little practice time to a new mirror setup, you might find yourself more in control of what's happening as you're speeding down the highway. (Original post)


9. Make Your Commute with Pre-Tax Money


The Frugal Dad blog suggests taking a second look for commuting discounts, including asking around your firm's HR types to see if any discounts or even pre-tax buy-ins are offered for public transportation, parking, or other commuting costs. If you happen to live in San Francisco, commenter JeffK suggests seeing if your employer might reimburse you for your bicycle commute. Photo by 91RS. (Original post)


8. Plan Around Traffic


Those estimates of driving time that online maps provide? They don't always know your commute like you know your commute. If you must be on time, avoid stress, or maybe just want to try a different route, check out Google's traffic mapping on desktop, iPhones, and Android units, give Bing's experimental maps a go, or, in larger cities, try a service like Commuter Feed, or simply run a Twitter search to see if drivers at a stand-still have shared their misery with the wider world. (Original posts: Google traffic maps, Commuter Feed)


7. Make Smart Use of Your 'Down' Time


Blogger and web PR thinker Steve Rubel likes to make otherwise unusable time useful, primarily by listening to audiobooks relevant to his trade and queuing up articles for reading with the Instapaper service. If you're similarly willing to give up drive-time radio for something a bit more, well, mind-expanding, we've explored a few options cheaper than forking over bucks to Audible or iTunes. BooksShouldBeFree neatly organizes the public domain offerings, BooksFree offers a Netflix-like rental service, and you might be surprised to learn that iTunes can make any audio file you find into an audiobook. Keep in mind, too, that your local library likely has a good selection of audiobooks available. (Original posts: BooksShouldBeFree, BooksFree, iTunes/audiobooks).


6. Ride Your Bike to Work


It's the best fuel economy you can get, and the side effects aren't that bad, either. The Sietch Blog answers all the basic questions and gripes about bike commuting to work, and Paul Dorn offers smart tips on planning your route. Feel like you're devastatingly disconnected from your date life? It's fairly cheap to mount your smartphone to your bike—just be safe! Photo by richardmasoner. (Original posts: riding 101, route planning).


5. Avoid or Manage Getting Pulled Over


Nobody's ever planning to be pulled over, but you can be prepared. Stewart Rutledge schooled us on some techniques for beating a ticket, or at least upping your chance of a smooth transaction. Car and Driver interviewed state troopers on how to behave when pulled over, and a traffic attorney from the state of very serious traffic offenses, Virginia, offered his own debunking of ticket myths. If you've got a lead foot or a rolling stop style, they're all worth a read. Finally, you could try out a service like Trapster to get a heads up on common speed traps. (Original posts: Debunking myths, Trapster)


4. Manage Your Commuting Stress


Managing your commuter stress isn't about a zen state of mind or leaving five hours early. Avoiding minor cases of road rage every time you hop in the car can be accomplished by stepping back from your drive and examining it objectively, suggests auto writer Tom Vanderbilt. Don't change lanes in slow traffic, because it almost never matters. Make eye contact with other drivers when you can, look ahead down the road, and try to avoid a sense of personal entitlement to your lane merge, says Vanderbilt. Mixed with a good audiobook or other good use of down time, your commute might just become a lot less stressful, or even better—something you look forward to. Photo by DannyBen. (Original post)


3. Have a Stash for Your Stuff


No, not that kind of stash. We're talking about a pad for your gadgets, DIY car consoles, a clever dashboard camera mount, and makeshift mounts for your iPhone/iPod touch or $2 adjustable multi-gadget mount. Your priority is keeping your eyes on the road, of course, but these tiny projects make it less likely you'll have to dig around underneath a seat for your stuff while driving. (Original posts: sticky pad, console, dash camera, iPhone dock, adjustable dock).


2. Telecommute the Smart Way


If you're able to telecommute on occasional sick days or with some regularity, you'll still have office etiquette, politics, and logistics to deal with. Our own Gina, who's been working over the net for more than five years, offers some tips at a Harvard Business Review post on remote email, 'checking in' with video chats or teleconferences, and using smart tools to collaborate. Photo by mccun934. (Original post)


1. Save Money on Gas


Back in the summer of 2008, when automotive fuel averaged $4 a gallon, Jason wrote up a guide to the easy but verified ways of saving money on gas. Since then, gas has leveled off in price and then crept back up, but no matter where it goes from here, spending less cash on your commute is always going to make you feel better about it. Photo by FutureAtlas.




What tips, tricks, projects, or simple tactics have made your commute better, faster, or less annoying? We'd love to hear about them, and maybe post about them, if you'd leave them in the comments.






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Mall Garage Posted Fake "No Parking" Signs on Street Meters via gothamist.com

Mall Garage Posted Fake "No Parking" Signs on Street Meters: "

03072010alg_parking.jpg
Bill Terrell via the Daily News



A parking garage at a Queens mall, didn't vandalize meters, but it did the next best thing. It plastered them with “No Parking Saturday” signs and placed blockades in front of them, hoping to funnel drivers into paid spots in its lot. The fliers were neon yellow, and marked with the NYPD’s insignia, but in fact they could have been run off at a local Kinkos. "The precinct was not aware that these signs were being put up," Sgt. Carlos Nieves, an NYPD spokeman told the News. 'The only people that are allowed to put these signs up are the NYPD.'



Back in 2004 when the mall was expanding employees were given official signs to post, and afterwards, according to Queens Center Mall spokeswoman Dawn Simon, they continued to “facilitate traffic flow” on busy days by barring street parking. "Initially, the signage was provided by the Police Department," Simon said. "Rather than have them re-issue the signs over and over, we created signs."



But duped drivers were enraged. 'It's disgusting,' said Bill Terrell who took pictures of the signs and blockades. 'It's forcing you to go into the garage.' 'Why should I have to pay for the garage when I'm only going in for an hour and could just pay 75 cents?' asked another driver, Geraldine Simmons. (The garage costs three dollars for the first hour, and a dollar for every hour after that.)



Simon has promised to discontinue the signs, and so far it’s unclear whether the Queens DA will press charges. According to, Ryan Blanch of the Blanch Law Firm, the bogus signs could “warrant charges of defrauding the city or obstructing governmental administration.”





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