Join Us to Meet with our Favorite Bus Companies

CB4 Transportation Committee
Wednesday, September 17, 6:30 p.m.
Cameo Studios, 307 West 43rd street, Studio B

The executives of many of our favorite bus companies  - including New Jersey Transit – have accepted to meet with the community to discuss their plans related to Bus Routes, Pedestrian Safety and Long Term Initiatives to limit or eliminate using our streets as a parking and taxiway to the Bus Terminal. We also expect members of DOT, NYPD and Port Authority to attend.

Do not miss this opportunity to make your voice heard and to better understand the challenges facing these carriers.

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More Bus Challenges at CB4 Transportation Committee

The Transportation committee will discuss long distance and bus stop placements at

Jitney buses – relocation from currently W. 42nd street (8/9)

to possible locations including W. 40th Street (8/9),  W. 41st (Dyer/10) , W.39th Street (9/10), W.42nd Street (Dyer/10), (discussion)

Martz bus – 9th Avenue (33/34).  (vote)

 

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Same Street, A Second Name

 

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Last Friday at 2 p.m. our elected officials and a large crowd overtook the Northeast corner of 43rd Street and 10th Avneue to honor the memory of Stan Brooks, who passed away early this year. Sam a radio legend and the voice of New York: he had been working as an announcer on 1010Wins for 50 years and was universally loved in the profession.

He had been living with his wife at Manhattan Plaza for the last 28 years. ” Better to Burn out than to fade away… “

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On both sides of the Hudson, Businesses want More Mass Transit to cross the river

1910 is the last time a rail connection was built across the Hudson River. Since then competition  between the states and the emergence of the automobile resulted in no improvement in public transit connectivity. At a packed Symposium convened by the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce last week, a panel of Transportation and Business Executives called for a future where to compete in the global markets and succeed,  both states need to work together as a Region.

Steven Spinola, head of the powerful Real Estate Board of New York, opened his remarks as saying: “30 years ago I came to this state to debate how New York competes with New Jersey : I was wrong! we need to work together as a region”  and Veronique Hakim, Executive Director, NJ Transit discussed her model of Cross Hudson partnerships to resolve problems on the ground on both sides of the river.

IMG_34smallJohn Robert Smith , CEO, Transportation4 America opened with statistics on generational and population changes that are already taking place and will accelerate in the near future. Less and less people want to use their cars in the US and especially in the region. 77% of americans want to live in a pedestrian friendly neighborhood . To attract highly qualified employees, corporations have to locate downtown or in proximity to transit. For municipalities, property taxes generated by a pedestrian friendly neighborhood  are 100 X those generated by Walmart on a per foot basis. eh jobs per acre are 73. 7 instead of 5.9 per acre for Walmart. Proposed changes to the Federal funding may give more power to the regions to select the most critical regional projects that  should be funded by Washington.

Mitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation (NYU) illustrated how much New Jersey and New York are already functioning as a region, with many examples and – what else –  a map of the “New York ” sports team some of them  with a home in New Jersey , and the transit options to visit them . Powerful message.  If we are all cheering for the same team, we are probably on the same team. 

Martin Robins, Fellow at Rutgers University Transportation Center, pointed out the need for a joint prioritization of trans Hudson projects  and the need of both a rail and subway crossing.  Obviously Port Authority is more focused on maintaining existing facilitates on both sides of the river, and especially bridges as Michael Massiah, Chief, Capital Planning , Port Authority NY&NJ described .

Drew Galloway, Chief Planning and Performance, Amtrak described efforts to improve capacity across the river, by the expansion of the Amtrack platforms under  Moynihan Station, the construction of Gateway,  an enclosed easement  under the Hudson Rail Yards, to preserve the opportunity to build a new rail tunnel, and other projects which taken together are the foundation for a future new Hudson Crossing by rail .

While Veronique Hakim described the magnitude of capacity and customer service problems faced by New Jersey Transit  and announced short term changes that will eased the problem, Steve Spinola raised the challenge of the long term solution:  “Extending the # 7 to New Jersy is too good an idea to let it languish because of lack of funding”. On a per passenger basis the costs would be less than the price of the La Guardia airport renovation  and would yield a massive economic benefit in increasing the pool of workers, increasing property values, and quality of life for residents and commuters.  In a recent survey 85% of business respondents in New Jersey.com voted in favor of expanding the #7 line from 33rd Street and 11th Avenue to Secaucus., where a new bus terminal would be built and thus remove the need for many buses to bring commuters to the West side. They would board the subway in Secaucus. see more on the proposal here 

Rutgers university is undertaking a study to qualify the economic benefits of such a connection. See article 

 

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Pedestrian Delight: 41st Street Protected Crossing

After six years of asking and two neighbors killed, it is finally SAFE for pedestrians to cross 41st Street on the West side of 9th Avenue! As you can see below, pedestrians are actually talking and smiling while crossing the street, a real testament to the immense relief the improvements the DOT installed are bringing to our neighbors.

IMG_3379IMG_3381In addition to the dedicated crossing while the turning buses and trucks have a red arrow, there is now a bulb-out for pedestrians to use , that will soon receive large planted pots. DOT also created two turning lanes reserved for buses at peak hour and going north above 42nd street a bus lane up to 47th Street. This is intended to regroup buses on the west side of the avenue and let other traffic flow on the east side and thus reduce congestion at this intersection.

This installation continues the succession of improvements the DOT has made on this corridor. Combined with the changes at 36th street, it now allows pedestrians to use the West Sidewalk of 9th Avenue between 34th and 42nd Street when they could not before. The corollary is that the East Sidewalk is less congested and easier to navigate except at peak hours.

DOT still has  16 intersections to improve, for which we should get a report this year and installation next year.

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Join us: Trans-Hudson Transportation Summit

Connecting the region
Fiday, September 12, 2014, 8:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Hilton Hasbrouck Heights / Meadowlands , 650 Terrace Avenue , Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604

REGISTER HERE

The Meadowland Chamber of commerce is convening a Transportation Summit covering topics extremely relevant to the future of the West side:

FEDERAL PERSPECTIVE ON INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
THINKING REGIONALLY, ACTING REGIONALLY
TRANS-HUDSON INITIATIVES
REGIONAL TO LOCAL NEEDS
LAST MILE CONNECTIONS
NEXT ACTION STEPS

With an exceptional panel of speakers:

  • John Robert Smith , CEO, Transportation4 America
  • Mary K. Murphy, Executive Director, NJTPA
  • Veronique Hakim, Executive Director, NJ Transit
  • Martin Robins, Rutgers University Transportation Center
  • Mitchell Moss, Director, Rudin Center for Transportation (NYU)
  • Drew Galloway, Chief Planing and Performance, Amtrak
  • Steven Spinola, President, Real Estate Board of New York
  • Michael Massiah, Chief, Capital Planning , Port Authority NY&NJ

REGISTER HERE

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In the News

Progress Is Made in Plan to Convert Post Office Into Penn Station Annex – NYTimes.com.

Jitney bus in Lincoln tunnel crash: one killed three injured

9th avenue bike lane (16th to 23rd Street) brings the most safety improvements for cyclists

NYPD “not Ready” to apply New Vision Zero laws that protect pedestrians

Council Bill proposes higher fines for Hit and run drivers 

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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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