Connect with us


Happy Birthday, Citi Bike!



citi bikes new york

It’s hard to believe, as New York’s Citi Bike celebrates its fifth birthday this month, that it was once considered a radical idea. In September 2017—the city’s most popular month for biking—New York City’s bike-share system served up more than 70,000 rides on eight separate days, and over 60,000 rides on ten more. In total, Citi Bike allowed for more than 4.3 million gas-free miles traveled around New York that month.

That’s a big achievement for a brand-new public transit system. (And yes, municipal bike-shares are a public transit system.) For context, Miami’s 25-mile, 23-station Metrorail averaged 68,400 riders on weekdays in October 2017. To take an example closer to home, New York City’s Economic Development Corporation projected that average daily ridership on its six-line ferry system would be slightly more than 12,000 per day. (Of course, Citi Bike has lower numbers in the winter—but even during a bitterly cold January, it averaged more than 23,000 riders a day.)

The program’s success is part of a larger two-wheel trend. Chinese cities today are thronged with cheap, pay-per-ride bikes that may have permanently changed urban travel patterns there. Santa Monica has a new billion-dollar startup providing electric scooters to grown-ups. And Uber recently spent a reported $200 million on the electric bicycle-sharing startup Jump.

But even recently, this future was not so clear. Thursday is the five-year anniversary of a memorably apocalyptic video testimonial by Wall Street Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz called “Death by Bicycle.” In a follow-up, Rabinowitz decried the influence of the “all-powerful bike lobby.” But that goofery was far from anomalous. Gothamist has rounded up some of the fearful predictions that accompanied the rollout of New York’s shareable blue bicycles:

• New York City will get sued.
• Citi Bikes will ruin historic neighborhoods.
• Citi Bikes will “severely endanger the health and safety of the residents of 99 Bank Street.”
• “The bike-share program, however innocent its intent, represents another governmental incursion into the private marketplace.
• Rather than encourage business to develop creative solutions to gridlock, the government has imposed its own solution.”
• Terrorists will use Citi Bikes to carry bombs.
• Michael Bloomberg is like the Taliban.

That all feels very distant now. While Paris’ Velib and Washington, D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare came first, no system outside of China rivals Citi Bike for ridership. The system has more than demonstrated that bicycles are a legitimate, widely accessible solution to short-distance transportation in a congested city. (The average trip hovers a little over 2 miles, or about 40 Manhattan north-south blocks.) It has given hundreds of thousands of people the opportunity to try riding in the city and, by making bicycles a regular part of the urban streetscape, changed the way drivers behave.

And yet: In many ways, the system’s success remains chronically underappreciated in its own backyard. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has slowed his predecessor’s commitment to creating new car-free spaces, letting two of the city’s landmark greenways—along the Hudson River and over the Brooklyn Bridge—languish under record traffic. This will be the first year that Citi Bike won’t expand, despite a desperate need for new transit options in Bushwick (which will lose its direct subway service to Manhattan next year) and a total absence of bike-sharing in the Bronx.
According to Streetsblog, Citi Bike parent company Motivate was close to an agreement to expand the network by 50 percent, including in a big area of the Bronx, but the deal fell through because de Blasio was reluctant to sacrifice parking spaces.

Instead, outer-borough neighborhoods will get trials of dockless bikes that cannot be ridden into Manhattan. (Citi Bike has an anti-competitive clause in its contract.)

Most perplexing of all, though, is the city’s continued reluctance to provide public money to support the system. Rare is the New York transportation option that does not obtain some subsidy: Private cars depend on hundreds of miles of free parking; Ubers, Lyfts, and taxis on free access to midtown streets; subways, buses, and trains on public funding.

Thus far, Citi Bike has made do setting up its docks in a handful of repurposed parking spaces and extra sidewalk real estate. Beyond that, it obtains no meaningful public subsidy at all. At $169 a year, an annual membership is still a bargain. But you have to wonder: Why hasn’t the nation’s most successful transit startup drawn in any public funding? And what could it do if it did?

There’s evidence that localized sponsorships can boost ridership in low-income communities of color. In Brooklyn, for example, a grant-funded collaboration between Citi Bike and the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation boosted membership at a rate 10 percentage points higher than in the city as a whole. Enrollment by public housing residents grew faster in Bed-Stuy than anywhere else in New York. Trips in the neighborhood shot up by 70 percent from September 2015 to 2016. The work, the BSRC reported, “is changing the face of who rides in Bedford Stuyvesant, encouraging more people to use Citi Bike for commutes and pleasure, and giving long-time residents new ownership over changing streets and new safety infrastructure.”

Having profitable transit should never be a city’s goal. To the extent they increase ridership (beyond a certain point, they may not), transit subsidies are investments that reduce the externalities of auto traffic, including accidents, air pollution, lost time, noise, road deterioration, and greenhouse gases. So if you have a transit system—like Citi Bike—operating with no subsidy, you are probably looking at a massive missed opportunity to expand its user base.

It’s not as if the de Blasio administration is philosophically opposed to the concept of public support for transit: The mayor recently announced another $300 million in capital spending on a ferry network that also draws in $30 million of public money for an annual operating subsidy. To translate that into bike-share economics, the annual ferry subsidy would pay for almost 200,000 annual Citi Bike memberships.



Driver with head full of racist tattoos gets into car accident with deliveryman on bike





A man with a head full of racist tattoos — including one that reads “AM A PSYCHOTIC NEO NAZI SERIAL KILLER SKIN HEAD FOREVER FOREVER” — got into a car accident with an Asian deliveryman on a bicycle in Brooklyn on Monday night, authorities said.

The heavily inked motorist was behind the wheel of a U-Haul cargo van when he collided with the rider aboard an electric bike on Broadway near Gerry Street, in front of the Food Bazaar Supermarket in Williamsburg, at about 9:30 p.m., authorities said.

Despite the man’s tats — which also included one that reads in all caps “I hate s–cs n—ers Indians Lebians women” — police said the crash appeared to be an accident and no charges were filed.

“I saw them take the guy (bicyclist) away. I think he was bleeding — middle-aged,” a witness said. “I think he was really injured.”

The bicyclist was rushed to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan in critical condition. He’s expected to survive.

The driver remained at the scene of the accident and answered questions from police.

The man — who declined to comment — passed a field sobriety test and has a clean criminal and driving record, law enforcement sources said. Neither his identity nor that of the victim was released.

by William Lopez

Continue Reading


Trump criticism supports far-right Germans against Angela Merkel




Merkel, Trump Spoke

Trump criticism supports far-right Germans against Angela Merkel

Trump is pushing away such an ally as Germany. His attacks on immigration policy of this country have put the US in a very strange position in front of many countries.

Residents of the United States are in bewilderment, for at the moment, the question of thousands of children who were separated from their parents at the border without documents is very actual, and Trump seems to be more focused on the immigration policy of a completely different continent.

“We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!” said Trump.

But the media around the world reacted sharply to these words, pointing out that according to the report of the German Interior Ministry, the criminal situation in the country is at the lowest level since 1990.

The Ministry is now headed by Horst Seehofer (born July 4, 1949, Ingolstadt) – German state and political figure, Minister President of Bavaria (2008-2018); President of the Bundesrat (from November 1, 2011 to 1 November 2012); Federal Minister for Health and Social Security from 1992 to 1998 in the cabinet of Chancellor Helmut Kohl; Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection in the cabinet of Angela Merkel from 2005 to 2008; Chairman of the CSU since 2008. Since the CSU was unable to form a one-party government for the first time in many years, the office of Seehofer was formed thanks to a coalition with the FDP. After the victory of CSU in the elections to the Landtag in 2013, Seehofer headed the one-party government of Bavaria. Since March 14, 2018, he is the German Minister of the Interior. Horst Seehofer is currently an ally of Merkel.

Seehofer’s CSU, based in conservative Bavaria, is threatened this autumn by the rise of the Alternative for Deutschland, AfD, a far-right party deeply opposed to refugees from Muslim countries that Merkel has brought in as a Western response to the continuing violence in Syria.

Trump himself is not popular in Germany. And although he said that he had “excellent” relations with Merkel, his sharp attacks towards the Chancellor were not ignored. Deputy Armin Paul commented on this situation “He is a businessman”.

Continue Reading







DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Troubled rapper-singer XXXTentacion was shot and killed Monday in Florida in what police called an apparent robbery attempt. Investigators don’t have a motive, and no arrests have been made.

The 20-year-old rising star, whose real name is Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, was pronounced dead Monday evening at a Fort Lauderdale-area hospital, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said. He was shot earlier outside a Deerfield Beach motorcycle dealership.

XXXTentacion had been at RIVA Motorsports checking out inventory, sheriff’s public information officer Keyla Concepcion said. He was in a black BMW i8 and preparing to leave before 4 p.m. when two armed suspects approached him. At least one of them fired, and then both suspects fled the scene in a dark SUV, Concepcion said.

Stephanie Martinez, a 29-year-old mother who lives in the neighborhood, was just coming back from the pool with her kids when she heard three shots. She drove to the end of the street and saw the rapper’s body in the car.

“He has his mouth open and his hand out. Two people went over and checked his pulse,” said Martinez, who also saw blood. “It’s just weird because he should’ve had security and stuff with him.”

On Twitter, his peers expressed shock and sadness.

Kanye West said: “rest in peace … I never told you how much you inspired me when you were here thank you for existing.” Producer Diplo posted a photo of the two together and said, “Thanks for inspiring me.” Travis Barker tweeted: “I’m at a loss for words… speechless #RIPXXXTentacion Loved collaborating with you. You were a true artist …”

And J. Cole said, in part: “RIP X. Enormous talent and limitless potential and a strong desire to be a better person. God bless his family, friends and fans.”

The entertainer, who sported dreadlocks and a number of facial tattoos, was a rising star and notched a No. 1 album in March with his sophomore effort “?” and had a top 10 hit with “Sad!” but was facing trial on charges that he beat up his pregnant girlfriend.

XXXTentacion racked up huge streaming numbers — on Spotify, his “Sad!” had more than 270 million streams and was on its Top 50 chart this week in the United States and globally. He also has several songs that have been declared platinum, including “Changes,” ”Roll in Peace” with fellow rapper Kodak Black and “Look at Me!”

In interview with XXL magazine, which named him an up-and-coming artist last year, the rapper cited Nirvana, the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur among his musical influences.

“Obviously, I’m one of the greatest of this generation, the upcoming generation, as far as artistry. … And I say that humbly,” he said in a video interview with the outlet last year.

But much of his brief career had been mired in controversy. In 2016, he was arrested on charges including home invasion for a 2015 incident, and less than a month later was arrested on charges that he attacked his girlfriend, who was pregnant at the time, and was jailed, and later faced more charges including witness tampering.

Regarding a June 2017 attack at a San Diego concert, the following messages were posted on XXXTentacion’s Twitter account: “security and venue set me up, I got sucker punched and knocked out, it is what it is.”

A subsequent tweet said,” ”next time make sure you kill me so I can’t talk (expletive).”

He was released from jail on house arrest late last year and was released from house arrest earlier this year to allow him to tour.

Fan Wyatt Rubin, 21, jumped in his car and headed to the scene shooting Monday as soon as he heard, playing the rapper’s songs like “Jocelyn Flores” and “King” on the drive over.

“He was just maturing as a person and as an artist … it couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Rubin said. “A lot of it was really beautiful music, progressive music.'”

In an interview earlier this month with the Miami New Times, XXXTentacion described his upbringing, which included seeing his mother infrequently and being raised by friends, other family and babysitters. His mother would buy him clothes, phones and other gifts. He told the paper he used violence so she would engage with him.

“I used to beat kids at school just to get her to talk to me, yell at me,” he said.

XXXTentacion was initially one of two artists Spotify removed from its promoted playlists in May in accordance with its new policy on hateful music and conduct. But after a backlash in the music industry, Spotify backpedaled and said it would no longer attempt to police conduct and restored XXXTentacion to its playlists (although they did not do the same for R. Kelly).

While he made headlines for his legal woes, he connected to millions of fans musically. Among the topics he spoke about was depression and addressed it in his music.

In one video posted to social media, he said: “If worse things come to worse, I (expletive) die a tragic death or some (expletive), and I’m not able to see out my dreams, I at least want to know that the kids perceive my message and were able to make something of themselves.”

He continued later: “I appreciate and love all of you and I believe in you all; do not let your depression make you, do not let your body define your soul, let your soul define your body. Your mind is limitless ….you are worth more than you can believe.”

from fox35 website

Continue Reading