We need your help to measure Air Quality!

airquality chekpeds
Our neighborhood experiences the third worst air quality in New York city, which in itself is not compliant with Federal guidelines. We suspect that the reality is even worse , since measurements have been done with very few captors.

We need a few volunteers to spend 10 minutes, 3 times a day at specific locations in the district during the month of October to measure air quality at pedestrian level. You will use a state of the art portable measuring device that uploads its information to a smart  phone and the Cloud .

If you’d like to help, please take this quick survey below . Or click here : https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Airqualitystudy

Pass this around to your networks – thank you. Here is the flyer

Create your own user feedback survey

 

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Who is entitled to a Green Wave?


Deep into the Green Wave plan, DOT is proposing a design change which will have a  profound impact on our culture and our streets and that mercifully the main press missed: ” Implement and review “Bicycle Progression” at one location in 2019 and identify other corridors for implementation in 2020. This signal timing strategy, often referred to a “bicycle green wave,” turns traffic signals along a street to green at cyclists speeds to discourage vehicular speeding, reduce cyclist travel time and stopping, and encourage steady bicycle speeds.

Everyone is familiar with the green wave concept where traffic lights are timed to allow  cars to get a green signal at successive intersections and not break constantly to stop. That may explain – in part – why cars generally respect red lights. But what if the vehicular green wave forces pedestrians and cyclists to stop every 200ft? DOT proposes to adjust the Green Wave to incorporate bicycle timing instead of only considering car timing.

simul-green wave In 2018 CHEKPEDS,  with the help of advocate Joe Realmutto,  built a model to optimize the green wave for cars, cyclists and pedestrians,  and shared it with DOT. It shows that bicycles could have a 14-block green wave without negative impact on the car’s green wave. Read the full description

Pedestrians often complain that bicyclists run the red lights (never mind that adventurous pedestrians ignore the “Do Not Walk” sign all the times!).  The question should be why? Is it cultural or is it a design flaw? DOT’s proposal implies that there is a design flaw, and they plan to remedy it .

The impact of this change could not be more potent: our efforts to reclaim the city  from automobiles is very focused on capturing  space but also include more time for pedestrians to cross the road, lower speed so more time to break, and separate times for cars to turn and conflict with pedestrians and bicycles.

An obscure physicist’s theory is that one person’s interval of space is another person’s interval of both time and space, and one person’s interval of time is also another person’s interval of both space and time. Thus, space and time are effectively interchangeable, and fundamentally the same thing (or at least two different sides of the same coin).

DOT intends to roll out a red carpet of green lights for cyclists that was – up to now- reserved for drivers. This is a giant step toward equality, where the rights of bicyclists to ride unencumbered are recognized as being as important as drivers’ rights.

It will also reduce the frequency of red light infractions and could very well have a positive  effect on relations between cyclists and pedestrians.  This will change the system in depth and – best of all, such changes are invisible and harder to reverse. All Good !

 

 

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A Safer Greenway & West Side Highway? Yep!


Slide2Two years ago, following a cyclist’s death at Chambers Street, CHEKPEDS sent a letter to our elected officials and NYS DOT asking them to better protect Greenway. Cyclists have experienced many near misses, when southbound drivers turn west and cross the Greenway.  Senator Brad Hoylman ordered a study of the West Side Highway and the Greenway and NYS DOT just presented its findings and action plan. Better yet, the implementation starts immediately.

A number of treatments are included: more time to cross the highway for pedestrians and split phase signals that ensure NO conflicts between vehicles and Pedestrians/Bicyclists on the greenway. The speed on the highway will be limited to 30 mph –  down from 35  - and traffic lights will be adjusted accordingly. This is progress.

Unfortunately north of 13th Street, the plan is lacking. NYS DOT and NYC DOT are getting back to us with a follow up action plan from 14th to 57th Streets. We are keeping tabs.

Click Here to see the full presentation 

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CB4 requests a walking and ADA- friendly Transportation Master Plan

Everyone walks in New York: 11.4 million of us walk every day. This includes 1.1 million commuters arriving at the bus terminal, at Grand Central, and at Penn Station. Sixty million tourists visit New York annually and they walk. And we pay the highest price for that privilege: since 2014, 663 crash fatalities involved pedestrians – 50% of the total – and 55,000 pedestrians were injured.

Yet in Manhattan our walking infrastructure has been overlooked: 60-story buildings have replaced six-story tenements or 12-story commercial buildings, without any changes to the sidewalk width. Sidewalks are crowded to the point of overflowing into traffic at great risk to walkers. A recent analysis of Eighth Avenue shows that at peak hour, 85% of street users walk on 30% of the street space; in contrast, 12% of street users are in a vehicle and occupy 70% of the space. There are at least five different rules for the minimum width of the pedestrian right-of- way, varying from 9’-6” to 3’-0”. IMG_8499

And whereas it takes just two days to fill a pothole, it takes six to eighteen months to repair dangerous sidewalk conditions. People with disabilities have to sue the City to obtain compliance with federal laws.

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This inequity cannot be ignored any longer. It is time to address the pressing needs of the walking public – all of us – in this Master Plan. The City needs to re-envision the sidewalks not as peripheral spaces to the “side” of the far-more-prioritized vehicles, but as “Walk Lanes”, pedestrian rights-of-way, with the same status as traffic lanes, parking lanes, and bike lanes. Depending on volume and capacity, a Walk Lane could be located entirely on a sidewalk or a plaza, or both on a sidewalk and in the adjacent street, or entirely in the street.

CB4 recommends that

  • the city evaluates  500 miles of walk lanes annually for capacity, safety and quality including ADA compliance
  • the city fix 100 miles of walk lanes annually
  • DOT establishes unified standards for minimal walking lanes width
  • DOT  and other agencies  streamline Walk Lanes maintenance and enforcement of obstructions

Read the full text here. 

 

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Posted in 9th Avenue Renaissance, CHEKPEDS, Complete Streets, pedestrian, Sidewalk | 3 Comments

LAST CHANCE to voice your concerns on PA’s Bus Replacement Project

SPEAK UP : Tell the Port Authority to be more encompassing and bolder in its goals and solutions . This new facility will probably last more than 50 years.

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Port Authority Bus Replacement Project
Thursday September 5, 4 – 7:30 p.m.
Westin Hotel Times Square,

Broadway Ballroom,
207 W 43rd Street (7/8), New York, NY

The PA does not intend to fully relieve the neighborhood from buses : The facilities must house ALL buses that are using the curbside today and provide for their growth. Buses operate or park at the curb because a lack of capacity or ramp compatibility in the Port Authority terminal and parking lots. Our streets and curbs are used as an annex to the PABT operation, PA must address these operations as well as those occurring inside the terminal. Other large cities have shown it is feasible to free curbside from buses – given the political will.

The PA just wants to reduce bus idling or make sure the air quality is not worse off: Air quality must be significantly improved : ALL facilities must be enclosed with air filtration systems. We have the third worse air quality in the city,  Buses idle everywhere for hours at a time, Lincoln tunnel queues of cars and buses overwhelm our neighborhood for many hours a  day and idle constantly.

The plans to develop PA parcels are not part of the project:   Substantial green space must be created over the existing Dyer Avenue cuts and parking areas. CB4 is next to last in green space per resident in the city , and Hell’s Kitchen South in particular is not served by any park space.  70 years ago PA left Dyer avenue cuts uncovered: PA must finish the job, cover them and repair the damage that resulted in our community . Affordable housing and retail must be included in the plan

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New housing must preserve the social diversity of our neighborhood. And affordable goods and services must be provided to current and new residents

The HKSC web site includes links to the HKSC plan presentation and PABT scoping document.

If you cannot make it in person, you can submit comments at ReplacePABTcomment@panynj.gov or by Clicking Here.

image

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11th Av. conversion crowns 15 years of advocacy on the west side

Our long-held dream to rebalance the vehicular traffic between 9th and  11th avenues by converting 11th Avenue becoming one-way south only has been realized. As promised, DOT changed traffic lights and markings at the end of June 2019.  In August, will be the installation of bus loading platforms and a bike lane on the west side of the Avenue  And sufficient spare capacity will remain to install an SBS lane for the M12  when the  number of commuters warrants it.

Chekpeds has been working on this complete street since 2004. 15 years have passed with many other wins to pave the way and much help from various organizations and in particular HKNA, Transportation Alternatives, Street film, Streetsblog, PPS, Open Plan, Manhattan Community Board 4, Hudson Yards/ Hell’s kitchen Alliance and Garment District, and our elected officials.

This one feels like a crowning achievement. Our primitive Powerpoint ( see one of the slide below dated march 2004) was shown to all agencies at the time under the banner of the HKNA traffic committee , chaired by Martin Treat. I recall the dripping sarcasm of all agency employees who looked at us like naive dreamers and sent us our way.

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Fortunately things changed and new teams at DOT started to study the neighborhood . Our elected officials had procured federal funding to the DOT but in 2007, it was still an enormous challenge to include the words “pedestrians” and “safety” in the scope of the study. Took us about four months of wrangling to get there.

Subsequent DOT planners were very attuned to our concerns and fought valiantly inside DOT . Andrew Lenton, Greg Haas, as well as Margaret Forgione and scores of others, did wonders to move not only DOT but Port Authority in the right direction. We are very fortunate to see the result of their efforts. Bravo to all !

 

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SPEAK UP: Public comments on the Bus Terminal replacement project

SPEAK UP : tell the Port Authority your priorities

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PABT ramps – credit Brian Weber

The public meetings are part of the Port Authority’s robust 120-day public outreach process to solicit comments from elected officials in New York and New Jersey, the City of New York, neighborhood residents, other stakeholders and the public on plans for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Public Meeting , Replacement of the Port Authority Bus Terminal
Wednesday July 10, 4 -8 p.m.
Westin Hotel Times Square , Broadway Ballroom
270 W. 43rd Street (7/8), New York, NY 10036

The Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition has developed a plan endorsed by Manhattan Community Board 4, with the input of many stakeholders in the community. It reflects the feedback collected through many consultations of  community members over the last three years :

The community applauds the approach that does not require the destruction of local properties through ”eminent domain”  - but this is not enough. The community asks that :

The facilities MUST house ALL buses that are using the curbside today and provide for their growth. Buses operate or park at the curb because a lack of capacity or ramp compatibility in the Port Authority terminal and parking lots. Our streets and curbs are used as an annex to the PABT operation, PA must address these operations as well as those occurring inside the terminal. Other large cities have shown it is feasible to free curbside from buses – given the political will.

Air quality MUST be addressed in the most aggressive way: ALL facilities must be enclosed with air filtration systems. We have the third worse air quality in the city,  Buses idle everywhere for hours at a time, Lincoln tunnel queues of cars and buses overwhelm our neighborhood for many hours a  day and idle constantly.

Substantial green space MUST be created over the existing Dyer Avenue cuts and parking areas. CB4 is next to last in green space per resident in the city , and Hell’s Kitchen South in particular is not served by any park space.  70 years ago PA left Dyer avenue cuts uncovered: PA must finish the job, cover them and repair the damage that resulted in our community

Affordable housing and retail MUST be included in the plan

Picture2

New housing must preserve the social diversity of our neighborhood. And affordable goods and services must be provided to current and new residents

The HKSC web site includes links to the HKSC plan presentation and PABT scoping document.

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How much faster will the M42 get?

Not much if DOT proceeds with their current plans which maintain many car lanes and conflicts with curbside uses between Dyer and 8th Avenues.

As part of the Better Buses Action Plan, DOT intends to improve bus speed by 25% by 2020. the M42 was an easy choice, at 4mph or 25% slower than other buses in Manhattan and a third of W 42nd street users traveling on  bus (probably more if it was faster).

42nd bus lane

DOT presented to Manhattan Community Board 4 a plan to install dedicated bus lanes for the M42. across Manhattan. The plan seems to be well thought out between Dyer  and 12th Avenues , but between Dyer and 8th Avenue, the plan falls apart.  There are no proposed eastbound bus lanes  between Dyer and 9th Avenue , with two lanes dedicated to the tunnel traffic. On the block between 9th and 8th the bus lanes are along the curb, when we know that multiple buses and jitneys block the lanes the whole day.

These layover would slow down buses for the whole route . This block is  very complex but we expect DOT to come back with a better mousetrap.

See the full presentation here

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Finally! More walking/cycling space on 8th Avenue

The horrendous stretch of West 38th Street to West 45th Street is slated by DOT for an upgrade and not a minute too soon. The changes will take place later this year.

Pedestrian congestion is so extreme on this stretch, that last year conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists escalated with a pedestrian sending a cyclist to the hospital for three days. Community Board 4 requested a study, CHEKPEDS did a walk through with DOT and then with Port Authority,  and DOT responded positively .

ped space 42

At the June 2019 CB4 Transportation committee, the DOT pedestrian group and PANYNJ  presented  an excellent plan for this complicated section:  recognizing the imbalance between walk lanes capacity and volume of walkers,  DOT proposes to increase the walking lanes by 60% and create  a protected bike lane on the whole length of the corridor.

The left turn onto Westbound 42nd Street and one block of taxi stand will be eliminated, while the other taxi stand will be equipped with a floating boarding area in order to maintain the protection of the bike lane.

No more Mixing Zones

safety 8th avenue

 

Safety is also massively improved by the installation of three split phases to replace dangerous mixing zones.

An offset crossing will be installed where a cyclist was killed earlier this year by a driver turning in a truck

offset 45

And finally DOT will pilot bike lane markings continuing through the intersection at W45th Stret...

Christmas in July !

See the full presentation here

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Spring fever: DOT is transforming our streets

So many times, we complained that DOT was too slow or not doing enough ..  Let’s give them credit for the projects going on in our neighborhood. These are very exciting times for Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea even if some projects took a very long time to come to fruition.

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Posted in 9th Avenue Renaissance, CHEKPEDS, Complete Streets, Congestion, DOT STUDY, pedestrian, Port Authority, Sidewalk | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment