The Hudson Yards / Hell’s Kitchen Alliance continues its steady stream of improvements in the District. Street Seats were installed on 37th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. Such public seating is located in the parking lane and thus does not take any pedestrian space. It is funded by DOT but the business provides maintenance. With the beautiful background the Glass House building, the seats became immediately popular. A really terrific addition to the district
On W 37th Street,between 9 and 10th Avenues, a number of volunteers painted the Port Authority bridges on August 2nd. Members of the Planning committee led by David Solnick selected background and Accent colors. Tishmann Volunteers did the heavy lifting .
Finally , Ascension, a 9-foot steel sculpture by local artist Jordan Baker-Caldwell, was installed on August 10th in the Canoe plaza at West 36th Street and Ninth Avenue. This is a great representation of the Hell’s Kitchen spirit.
On the 23rd of June, the City Council Transportation Committee held a hearing on a bill, intended to bring some semblance of order to the chaos of news racks on the sidewalks . DOT, Business Improvement Districts and Civic groups like CIVITAS supported the bill, while it independent press groups who use the racks for local distribution opposed it.
But from the beginning Chair Ydanis Rodriguez indicated that it was a larger issue about making the sidewalks better for pedestrians. We could not have agreed more . Here is CHEKPEDS testimony:
“In the Central Business district, where the number of tourists has swelled to 59 million a year and the height of the building has gone from 6 stories to 60 stories, sidewalk sizes have not changed in 100 years. In some cases, sidewalk has shrunk to make space for automobile, as is the case on 9th Avenue.
75% of New-Yorkers walk at some point during their commute. 50% of Port Authority commuters walk to their final destination in midtown. The sidewalk is really a Walk lane that serves a mode of transportation like the bus lane, the car lane or the parking lane.
Imagine if the car lane had Links, newsstands, newspaper boxes, A frames, storm enclosures, various vendors and sidewalk cafés obstructing it? It is urgent that we make it so that pedestrians can move most effectively and in comfort.
- Change the name of the sidewalk to “ Walk lane” along the measures recently adopted on Times Square.
- Give to the Department of Transportation (DOT) the mission to enforce all the rules related to obstruction, furniture etc…that are on the Sidewalk
- Give DOT the mission to establish rules for placement of all obstructions to reduce clutter and improve walking capacity, depending on foot traffic. This would let DOT specify rational placement of trees and utilities like ConEd grids which are a major obstacle to walking and greening. And a whole discussion should be open about Signals and lighting poles catch basins and flooding at corners.
- Return Walk lanes’ maintenance to the city. Why are my taxes paying for the maintenance of car lanes and not walk lanes? Also property owners who pay for their sidewalk’s maintenance consider it their right to install furniture on it. It would also accelerate the adoption of the permeable concrete for sidewalks a critical sustainability initiative. ”
A big improvement was added to the Canoe plaza, at 36th sTreet between 9/Dyer Avenues with 6 tables and 5 umbrellas and the jersey barricade was moved to create further pedestrian space . Council Member Johnson granted the funds to the Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance, who maintains the Canoe
The Table, Chairs and umbrellas made the whole difference. It is now a popular area and a superb gateway to Hudson Yards to the west. thanks you to CHDC and Shanti Nagel for the spectacular planted beds. So much better than the parking that used to depress this area.
While the Families for Safe Streets @NYC_SafeStreets and Transportation Alternatives put together a strong coalition and mounted a brilliant campaign in Albany, the legislative leaders failed to include the modest bill to increase the number of cameras by 60 and increase their hours of operations, in the package negotiated with Governor Cuomo, claiming that NYC Council had not passed a home rule.
Today there are 140 cameras for more than 2,000 schools and they can operate only when school is in session. So when kids are safe inside , we turn on the cameras!
This is heartbreaking for all of us and in particular for the families of victims of traffic violence, and it is infuriating for the tax payers who pay the salary of elected officials. We are lucky to have outstanding Senators and Assembly members but should we question the whole Albany concept ? Is this time to NYEXIT?
This should also remind us that Vision Zero principles are to start with street redesign, educate, then enforce. We will not succeed by over-relying on enforcement.
With Mayor De Blasio denying any increase in the 2017 DOT budget to prevent traffic deaths, I wonder why parents and activists are not working with the Transformation Department @NYC_DOTr to install Topes, the most efficient speed breakers in the world (it will wreck your car if you go faster than 5 miles per hour) at VERY low cost. If 10 of these were installed per day, all the schools would be safe by next year. Can you imagine how many deaths and injuries could be avoided ? If we cannot rely on our governments to keep us safe, we should be able to rely not on guns but on Topes, which may kill suspensions but will save lives.
Do you know that New York is allowed only 40 Speed enforcement cameras, around schools and only when the school is in session? So when kids are out of school at their most vulnerable, there is no enforcement. This is absurd but that is what Albany passed last year. Say you’ll be at the June 9th Rally for #EverySchool.
On May 10, 2016, 150 New Yorkers went to Albany , to push the Every School Speed Safety Camera Bill forward. They had 38 meetings with legislators and convinced 17 to sign on in support of the campaign. Another 19 legislators gave an enthusiastic maybe.
Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives are planning a huge rally for June 9th. On the steps of City Hall, with hundreds of families, CHEKPEDS will join them to call for the passage of this bill.
Rally for the Every School Speed Safety Camera Bill
Thursday, June 9, 10:30 a.m.
Like everything worthwhile in this world, making our streets safe starts with New Yorkers like you. Say you’ll be there on June 9th. Please invite school principals, teachers and PTA presidents. Bring your children.