NOT ONE MORE : Vigil for 26,500 New Yorkers injured by Drivers in 2015

The number is staggering: 143 per day! In the second year of Vision Zero how could it be that drivers injured so many people in 2015 alone? People talk about crime in New York city in the 70′s . I doubt that criminals injured or killed so many people per day ever in New York City.  Are we in a war zone? Who are the terrorists?

VIGIL for VISION ZERO  RSVP Here 
Since January 20,033 New Yorkers have been injured. Join Families for Safe Streets to say – NOT ONE MORE.. 
Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 7 p.m.
Union Square North 

The City must understand this is not a marginal movement by few victims’ families, but a profound change requested by all voters.   - This is your opportunity to speak up. 850 are already coming but we need more than 1,000 – Power in numbers YOUR  VOICE IS CRUCIAL..

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Free Outdoor Movie – Musical Chairs

Join us for this event full of good news for our neighborhood.  Persons with disabilities are at the vanguard of a crucial fight for ALL pedestrians: Streets and sidewalks compliant with ADA guidelines are the most comfortable and safe to walk on. What it good for ADA is good for seniors, mothers with young children and all the rest of us. 

MUSICAL CHAIRS , Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Monday, July 13, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Mathews Palmer Park, 45th Street b/w 9/10 Avenues

Musical Chairs outdoor screening 7.13.2015

 

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Mark your calendars

Free Outdoor Movie:
MUSICAL CHAIRS , Celebarting the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Monday, July 13, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Mathews Palmer Park, 45th Street b/w 9/10 Avenues

VIGIL for VISION ZERO  RSVP Here 
Since January 20,033 New Yorkers have been injured. Join Families for Safe Streets to say – NOT ONE MORE.. 
Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 7 p.m.
Union Square North 

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Bus Drivers and Pedestrians are asking for safer intersections

It is time for TWU Local 100 to turn its attention to the real culprit behind bus drivers in handcuffs and dead pedestrians : poorly designed intersections.

In the highly charged discussions of the last few weeks, it seemed that everyone forgot the fundamental rule of Vision Zero: accepting that mistake will be made and design the road to prevent resulting fatalities and injuries.

A review of Manhattan most dangerous intersections below shows that not only many of them are located on bus routes but in certain cases buses must turn at these very intersections. It is time that pedestrians bus drivers and bus riders join forces and ask DOT to make a priority of installing split phases at these dangerous intersections in each borough.

intersections

We are delighted that Transporation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets are looking toward such a goal: “ As the momentum builds toward a greater shared understanding of the need to protect the most vulnerable users of our streets, we look forward {…} to a time when  we  can begin working with unions on the points where we have common ground – including the need for more dedicated turn signal phases for buses, and alert systems to help make pedestrians and bus operators aware of each other’s presence in crosswalks. - http://transalt.org/news/releases/8186#sthash.V02ZRACy.dpuf

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TWU Local 100 and New York State Senate nearly gutted the Right-of-Way law

It came very close but in the end it failed.

As part of Vision Zero, we gained the “right of way” law which assigns criminal penalties to drivers that fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists and injures or kill them, a major progress that makes it possible for NYPD to investigate even if they have not personally observed the violation. . Read a full explanation by Steve Vaccaro Here. 

In 2014 8 MTA bus drivers were arrested under this law, although many fewer were eventually condemned. TWU Local 100 who represents MTA bus drivers decided that their  drivers did not deserve the same treatment as the general population even if they killed pedestrians. Their campaign caused NYC Council members to introduce a bill to exempt bus drivers from criminal penalties when they kill or injure pedestrians with the right of way , and the NYS senate to introduce a bill to exempt bus drivers from an arrest , although they would still be accountable.

To our stupefaction, 25 Council members have signed on the NYC bill, and the Senate passed the NYS bill in Albany. Fortunately , thanks to the efforts of Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe streets it does not appear that either bill will go any further.  Ydanis Rodriguez ( Chair of NYC Transportation Committee) , Attorney General Cy Vance,  Mr Gantt, chair of the NYS Assembly Transportation Committee expressed their opposition in no uncertain terms .  ”The right of way law is here to stay” .

In fact the law seems to work well: to date in 2015, there were no fatalities caused by MTA bus drivers . See here CHEKPEDS letter to elected officials in opposition to the weakening the Right of Way law.

 

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Trans Hudson Summit: Blueprint or Patchwork?

IMG_3678On May 7th, 2015, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) convened a Summit for Trans Hudson Transportation attended by the crowned heads of the Region Transporation sector: most top executives of the Transportation Agencies that provide services in that space were at the table as well as a representative of the US Department of Transportation.  This kind of royal attendance is usually seen only for weddings or funerals. The future will tell us what it was.

As a proper venue for such lofty goals, the meeting was held on the 63rd Floor of One  World Trade Center from which New Jersey looked so close … and yet billions of $ away for the 75% additional commuters that will be coming to NYC in 30 years.

Irreverence aside, this was both a hopeful and distressing meeting, showing how far PA Trasns hudson ridershipwill have to go to deliver 21st century cross Hudson transportation to the fast growing hundreds of thousands of commuters – more and more of them millennials – who come to work in Manhattan everyday .

The meeting marked the kick off of the Strategic Planning effort,  described in the remarkable  report “Keep the Region Moving” prepared by the Special Panel on the Future of the Port Authority  and endorsed by both governors in December 2014.  The board of the PA endorsed this blue print which calls for “initiat[ing] a long-term planning process for the expansion of Trans-Hudson transit capacity, including river-crossing and terminal facilities; “

Trasns hudson ridership 2The hopeful part is that the New Chair, Vice Chair and commissioners have already demonstrated that the report was not just words:  They are coming from the industry, real estate and finance and have implemented drastic changes at the board level: open discussions, transparency, business minded focus and public dialogue which augurs well for a reasonable and thoughtful outcome. However the obstacles are immense.

Most of our existing mass transit systems (except roads) were built by individual entrepreneurs (August Belmont Jr. owned and built the  Inter-borough Rapid Transit- IRT  in 1904) or by bureaucratic tyrants (Robert Moses and most recently Dan Doctoroff) who were inclined to bulldoze their ways to achieve their vision with single mindedness. The current crop of Transportation leaders are operators NOT builders. Just look at MTA’s recent efforts (East Side Access, Second Avenue Subway) to see that the organization lacks what it takes to pull off such large projects.

Because the agencies have specific footprints and technologies, there is an natural preference for Trasns hudson ridership 3 1operating within these boundaries creating massive bottlenecks and inefficiencies at interface points: Port Authority Bus terminal, Penn Station, Grand Central  etc.. , while transportation – just like the internet- is about “interconnectivity” “speed” and “customer delight”.

As a commuter you have to ask: Why should I need different modes of payments for different segments? cars do not have that problem with Easy Pass! Will my commute be shorter?

Trasns hudson ridership 4 1Why is the subway not going west of the Hudson ? Can you imagine the subway system if it stopped in Manhattan and we had to take the bus or the train to go to Williamsburg or Queens?   Would commuters rather hop on a train or a subway? Are 7,000 buses back to back the right technology to move 320,000 people a day all through one lane of the Lincoln Tunnel ?

What about the costs ? Indeed as a budget constrained operator, it is difficult to conceive that when meeting with the US Government you should really  behave like an entrepreneur meeting with a venture capitalist:  the more you ask, the more credible you are. Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld knew that well : if the US Government spent $ 3 Trillion on the war in Iraq, there should be no problem finding $ 30 Billion to build a new Cross Hudson infrastructure for the next 100 years.

What was obvious at the meeting, is that each agency has dreamed up its own solution in its geography and with its own set of technologies, building on what they know how to do and not on what the customer wants, because in the current configuration they are not empowered to do anything else. This is the worst possible use of capital, and guarantees extravagant maintenance costs for a system that pleases no one. Trasns hudson ridership 4

We will see if the PA cobbles together a collection of marginal solutions that continue to build up bigger and bigger hubs or steps up to the plate and lays down a blueprint and key components of a 21st century distributed network, while giving each agency a mission  to connect and converge to the new network over time.

Doing the right thing will take guts of steel, but If anyone can do it , this board is our best bet.

See video and presentations Here 

 

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YOU WON! The City will build Raised Pedestrian Crossings!

As part of the Participatory Budgeting organized for the first time by Council Member Corey Johnson,  you joined 535 other residents of Chelsea and Hell”s Kitchen in voting for Pedestrian Safety.  This project will get $ 250,000 in funding and we hope it will be installed in a few locations.

The first location is West 45th Street and 9th Avenue at the west crossing of 45th Street where two of our neighbors were killed over the years. The second is the west crossing of 25th Street and 8th Avenue were residents gathered 1,000 signatures to gain improved safety. Hopefully more will be added once the exact cost is known.

THANK YOU for coming out in large numbers. Special thanks to Jordan Caldwell Baker who used his enormous talent to create this stunning animation and to Kathleen Treat and Lorena Camacho who worked tirelessly to get out the votes!

 

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Sidewalk Obstructions – Slow but Definite Progress

A  quick update on a few of our favorite subjects:

Phone Booths: Per DoiTT, the new design was approved on March 23rd. The contractual Kick off  for the new installations is on  July 21st, 2015.   All of the old phones must be either replaced or removed by July 20th, 2019.

A- Frames, also known as Sandwich Boards: After much research and work by Matt Green of Council Member Corey Johnson, the Department of Sanitation we have now learned that A-frames are illegal, no matter if they are 3 feet or not  outside a business. Law §16-118(2)(a) that permits displays to enrich 3 feet on the sidewalk, applies only to merchandise that is on display.

The Department of Sanitation is now committed to enforcing this law in our neighborhood. Call 311 , report the presence of an A- Frame , and forward the 311 call reference number to  Jesse Bodine at CB4 and /or Matt Green at Council member office.

Storm Enclosures. Similarly after months of follow up by Jesse Bodine, the  CB4 District Manager, the Department of Building has now confirmed that all storm enclosures that exceed 18 inches are illegal and will start to enforce next winter. For the time being they are sending letters to the current offenders to notify them in advance . 

In parallel, the Transportation Committee is  asking the Departement of Buidlings to add this item as a type of complaints in the 311 system. Hopefully these tools will allow us to push back on this invasion of our scarce sidewalk space.

Finally the Business and License Permits Committee is changing its stipulations form to ask that NO storm enclosure be installed.

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Last Call for Pedestrian Safety – Vote for # 15

As part of the Participatory Budgeting, every resident of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen who is older than 14,  can now vote for up to 5 capital projects that will be built in our district. Voting will take place April 11 – 19. 

This is YOUR chance to make a direct impact : Here are the voting locations for

 Today and Tomorrow, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Hartley House , 413 West 46th Street (9/10)


Today 12:30 – 6 p.m.
Library, 40 West 20th Street (5/6)


Tomorrow, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Hudson Guild, 441 West 26th Street (9/10)


Today and Tomorrow, 9 a.m. – to 6 p.m.
Fulton Houses , 419A West 17th Street (9/10)

By voting for the  project # 15 called “Raised Pedestrian Crossing” you have the power to usher our residents in a new era of pedestrian safety and comfort.

See all the projects you can vote for 

 

Click here for voting hours and locations for the other voting days

CLIK HERE for a flyer you can print and distribute to your neighbors with voting locations and hours.

 

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POLLS are open – YOU can vote today for # 15 – Pedestrian Safety !

As part of the Participatory Budgeting, every resident of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen who is older than 14,  can now vote for up to 5 capital projects that will be built in our district. Voting will take place April 11 – 19. 

This is YOUR chance to make a direct impact : Here are the voting locations for Today, April 11th

 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Hartley House , 413 West 46th Street (9/10)


12:30 – 6 p.m.
Library, 40 West 20th Street (5/6)


9 a.m. – to 6 p.m.
Hudson Guild, 419A West 17th Street (9/10)

By voting for the  project # 15 called “Raised Pedestrian Crossing” you have the power to usher our residents in a new era of pedestrian safety and comfort.

See all the projects you can vote for 

 

Click here for voting hours and locations for the other voting days

CLIK HERE for a flyer you can print and distribute to your neighbors with voting locations and hours.

 

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