Vision Zero: Last Chance to flag your intersection

Take a minute tonight to mark your “favorite” dangerous intersections! Click on the map

vision-zero-herokuapp-map

DOT will take down the map tomorrow and will start establishing priorities for intersections that should be studied and fixed. Do not miss this opportunity to participate in the solution.

 

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Port Authority gets $ 93 million for operational fixes

Is relief in sight? let’s not get our expectations too high but this is a good first step showing that Buses now register in the collective transportation conscience.

In response to angry commuters, the  Port authority board just voted to fund  a “Quality of Commute” improvement program at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at an estimated total program cost of $90 millions. The funds will be redirected in September from other projects in the capital plan.

IMG_2934While most of the repairs  address the comfort of passengers inside the terminal, there are a few hints at progress on the street. See the full presentation here . Short term improvements include : Gate reassignment and optimization, Construct by-pass lane for buses from 10th Ave to the 4th floor, additional NY bus parking and staging areas (where???) , Investigate the addition of street level bus gates,  XBL signal rehabilitation, and –  my personal favorite -  Install and develop a bus tracking system. 

It is hard to believe that in a day and age when an Uber app knows where all the taxis are, neither NJT or the Port Authority know where  2,000  buses are. The drivers are left to their own device to find the best route to the terminal (a residential street) at the time they chose (three hours of idling) arriving pell-mell at the terminal. Fortunately  air traffic controllers have shown the way and the same systems should work for buses.

For the medium term, the PA acknowledges that  ”Preliminary findings have determined that the construction of a bus staging and storage facility is crucial to any major long term development (location: Galvin Plaza)”. This is coming on the heels of the announcement that the Port Authrity has sold a parcel of land on 33rd Street to a developer and intent to use the $ 100 millions proceeds towards the funding of the bus staging facility. The PA has also requests $ 300 million in Federal funding to build the staging facility.

Still all transportation experts agree that the needs are on a different scale . Capital New York writes appropriately “WHERE (not what) is the big fix for the Port Authority Bus Terminal “. With the rezoning of Hell’s Kitchen and Hudson Yards for residential use and the dearth of land in this area, the only plausible solution will require going outside the box.  Read the full article here.

But at least the right steps are being taken and the right people are talking about buses!

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25 mph: A Hard-Won Victory in Albany

25mphBoth the  Assembly and the State passed bill S07892 allowing New York City to reduce its default speed limit to 25 mph from the current 30 mph. Both Assembly Member Dick Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal were  proponents  and  Senator Brad Hoylman was front and center in the Senate battle in the last day of the session. Governor Cuomo still has to sign it into law, which we expect him to do.

This seemingly small 5 mph reduction cuts by half the chances of severe injuries : At 30 mph, chances for severe injuries are close to 50%, while at 25 mph, they decrease to just above 25%. Further, the 140 speed cameras that were approved in April will issue tickets at 35 mph (10 miles over the speed limit as mandated by the law).

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This effort – started in 2012 – gained momentum this year in the context of Vision Zero, a Home Rule vote by the City Council and the determined and emotional efforts by Families for Safe Street who went repeatedly to Albany to convince lawmakers.  Chekpeds joined them in April.

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Take Action: File Complaints with NJ Transit Buses

Every weekday afternoon our neighborhood is overrun by New Jersey Transit buses: they congest our streets, block our crosswalks, and ruin our quality of life. This problem is not just a nuisance it is a pedestrian safety issue.

We have reached out to the NYPD for assistance and have seen little improvement. It’s time for us to take a different approach, and the first step is to begin filing formal complaints with New Jersey Transit. Every time you witness a New Jersey Transit bus creating an unsafe traffic condition file a complaint on the NJT website

NJT bus Information
Be sure to include the date and time of the incident, the route and bus number, and as much detail as possible, the form also allows you to include an attachment, so take pictures. Keep track of the complaint information in case its needed at a later date. You can log the complaint # in the comments section of this post . The more complaints we lodge with New Jersey Transit the stronger our case will be when we request assistance from New Jersey Transit and our elected officials in finally resolving this dangerous situation. So start filing complaints and share this information with your networks.

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Buses: NJ Transit Riders fed up with Bus Terminal

Well, we are not the only ones complaining bitterly of the terrible conditions imposed by the Bus Terminal! On June 11, Chekpeds’ special envoy to New Jersey, attended a forum held for the first time by NJ Transit and the Port Authority with the elected officials.

Approximately 200 NJTransit Bus riders who were visibly frustrated and angry at the bus commute out of the PABT were in attendance for this inaugural forum spearheaded by the local elected officials. The Electeds opened the session by saying there were many complaints and concerns brought up recently. NJTransit and PA officials then went over statistics and their future plans to alleviate problems. This was followed by heated questions from the audience. Here are a few examples : (Read the full report here)

  • Building is unsafe due to massive overcrowding, locked/blocked exit doors, and numerous water leaks. Stairs going down from where passengers exit buses should always be operational. Otherwise this creates huge backups and buses can’t exit/move out.
  • Unacceptable delays during PM rush hour. After 5:10pm, all bus routes are delayed and it is impossible to get home within 2 hours. A lot of people are considering leaving Bergen County because commute is becoming unbearable These are indeed the same buses that idle forever on our streets:

  • Dispatchers are ineffective.Total lack of communication.  Customer service ends at 6pm but most issues occur at or after that time.
  • Use GWB instead of tunnels? Have NJTransit offer Secaucus stops so that passengers could switch to train .

This is excellent news. Customers give a lot of weight to our issues and will put pressure on finding  long term solutions. Another bit of good news is that $90  millions have been approved for on-time performance, which will necessarily affect positively the situation in the streets.  Further CB4 supported the Port Authority request for $ 300 millions in Federal sustainability funds. The funds will be granted in the fall and would go toward building a bus garage. Seems that finally buses are on people’s mind .

In another positive development, the Board of the Port Authority declined to provide credit guarantees to Larry Silverstein to build a third tower in the World Trade center. These credit guarantees could be better used to borrow money to build a bus terminal. This is a very good day when the Port Authority refocuses on its transportation mission and specifically pays attention to its bus operation.

 

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Buses: What will the City do?

While the vast majority of buses come and go to the Port Authority, they are not the only ones to be a major health and safety hazard to our community. Untitled

It turns out that Chekpeds and CB4  have developed a repository of intelligence on buses  unique in the city since no single agency is responsible for all aspects of this fast developing mode of transportation. CB4 hosted a meeting of the Department of City Planning , DOT , PANYNJ, the Highline and Hudson Yards developers who recently discovered the problem of Buses in our neighborhood. Click Here to see the full presentation. CB4 Transportation Chair is also working with DOT to relocate jitneys from 42nd Street, not a simple task.

We really hope City Planning will take ownership of a problem that has sorely lacked strategic and tactical planning and has reached crisis proportions. Parking buses is indeed much more critical to our economy and more urgent than parking cars.

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Speak Up: Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Workshop

Join us to identify dangerous intersections that will be considered to be fixed as part of the 50 intersections that will be redesigned annually by DOT . Co-sponsored by CHEKPEDS , DOT, and all our Elected Officials .

Vision Zero: Pedestrian Safety Workshop
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 , 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Our lady of Pompei ( low level) , 25 Carmine Street (subway: W4th Street)

 

VZenVZesp

 

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Pedestrian’s delight: 9th Avenue gets a protected crossing at 43rd Street

This week, DOT installed what hundreds of Manhattan Plaza senior citizens and families with young children have been asking for years: a traffic signal that protects pedestrian crossing 9th Avenue on the south leg from westbound cars turning south from 43rd Street onto 9th Avenue.

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Above , cars have a red turn arrow, while pedestrians crossing the avenue are fully protected, then a **new feature** provides for a blinking yellow arrow that lets drivers turn but tells them to proceed with care.

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This is a tremendous improvement over the status quo at this intersection where a large volume of buses and shuttles make a turn at peak hour.

This was requested as part of the Hell’s Kitchen DOT study started in July 2007. Thank You DOT , Greg Haas, Margaret Forgione, Colleen Chattergoon and all the engineers who made it happen.

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Free Outdoor Movie : Breaking Away

Bike month
Sponsored by West 45th/46th Street Block Association and CHEKPEDS.
Questions? Volunteer? Have something to donate or raffle off? Please contact west45thstreet@gmail.com or347-460-1818

 

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Speak Up: MTA to hear public comments on proposed M12

map-1MTA _ M12 Hearing
Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
347 Madison Avenue, Board Room, 5th Floor

Finally good news on the transit front: MTA is gearing up to operate a much needed new route on the Far west side:  The M12 would operate 7 days a week every 30 minutes between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm. This service is planned to begin operating in September 2014.

However will the M12 be reliable or will the Lincoln tunnel traffic on 11th Avneue create unpredictable delays and make the bus as useless as the M11? Sspeak up and ask for 11th Avenue to be converted to one way , from 45th to 57th Street as the Community Board asked the DOT to do. 

The hearing will begin at 5:30 p.m., with registration to speak remaining open until 7:30 p.m. All registered speakers will be heard. Each speaker is permitted up to three minutes to testify. Written comments will be accepted online until 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, 2014.

For more information about the proposed service changes, or to pre-register to speak at the hearing, call or write to MTA NYC Transit Government Affairs, 2 Broadway, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10004, 646-252-2660. You may also pre-register online to speak.

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