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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Mark Your Calendars: VOTE to fund Safer Pedestrian Crossings

As part of the Participatory Budgeting, every resident of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen who is older than 14,  can now vote for a capital project that will be built in our district. Voting will take place from April 11 to April 19. Click here for voting hours and locations

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

Last week we presented the project at the PB expo attended by more than 100 visitors and our Council Member.


It was a great opportunity to hear the public comments which were overwhelmingly positive.  Martin Treat was on hand to answer questions.

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


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Direct Tax $$ to Safe Pedestrian Crossings

For over a year, CHEKPEDS has been designing a Safe Pedestrian Crossing, that will provide Safe Crossing for ALL people, ALL the time. 

The Raised Pedestrian Crossing has been selected as one of the projects that you can vote for, as part of the Participatory Budgeting process Council Member Johnson initiated in our community. The selected projects will add up to $ 1 million of real money included in the City’s next year capital budget. Join us to view the details at the project Expo before you vote in April. 

Project Expo
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 6:30 to 8pm
40 West 20th Street (# 1, F, M, M5, M7)


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8th and 9th Avenues included in the Vision Zero Manhattan Action Plan

In 2014 , DOT  initiated the Vison Zero initiative to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in NYC to zero . The various programs-  limit the speed to 25 mph, and stronger enforcement of speed limit with cameras as well as  yield to pedestrians resulted in a 30% decrease in fatalities in 2014. This is a major achievement for which the DOT and NYPD must be commended.

At the same time DOT reached out to communities to understand the local interactions and hot spots  Last week DOT published the Vision Zero Action Plan by Borough resulting from these consultations .

Not surprisingly in Manhattan the primary concern of pedestrians (23%) is the conflict between vehicles and pedestrians in the crosswalk. 



We applaud DOT ‘s focus on split phase signals as a solution to these problems: 

action plan


Here are the Chelsea and Hell’s kitchen corridors and intersections that term report highlight for particular intervention:  

14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd and 57th Streets
6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Avenues

W14th & 6th, 7th Avenues
W23rd & 6th Avenues
W24th & 8th Avenues
W40 & 8th Avenues
W 42nd & 8th, 9th, 11th Avenues
West 51st & 8th Avenues
W57th & 8th, 10th Avenues

It will be critical for Mayor DiBlasio to allocate proper funding in the next budget for this plan to be executed.

We are also proud that CHEKPEDS was cited in the report as an example of organizations that DOT partnered with to execute a major study and implement changes in the West side of Manhattan.


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The Power of Enforcing the Law

Without the strict application of the Right of Way law, the dialogue about pedestrian safety with the MTA drivers would have never taken place.



Jiahuan Xu, 15, was struck at the corner of Grand Street and Union Street in Brooklyn on Friday, February 13, 2015.  She was pinned under the  bus and rushed to Bellevue Hospital. Jihuan had the right of way, in the now too familiar scenario of the turning vehicle hitting a pedestrian in the crosswalk with the walk sign.  There were nine pedestrians struck and killed by buses last year.

The Bus driver who remained on the scene, was arrested and faces a misdemeanor charge under the city’s recently enacted Right of Way Law. Police took him to the 90th Precinct for a desk appearance ticket and he faces a $250 fine and up to 30 days in jail if convicted.

Shockingly TWU Local 100 spokesperson JP Patafio said bus drivers should not be held to the standards of the Right of Way Law because the ”law of averages has it we’re going to get into an accident.” Samuelsen, the head of the union acknowledged that “no one is above the law” but faulted the new Vision Zero legislation. ”It is clear that the spirit of Vision Zero …did not envision the arrest of bus operators,”.

To our delight, after he lobbed some verbal grenades at the advocates and came under heavy twitter and  Facebook fire in return, Transit union president John Samuelsen ordered Monday the 10,000 bus drivers he represents to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks until they reach the sidewalk,“Do not move your bus until all is clear,” “If you do not make your schedule, so be it. If traffic backs up as you await the ability to make an unquestionably ‘safe’ left turn, so be it.”

Indeed!  Sad they would have to be told. There were nine pedestrians struck and killed by buses last year.

More importantly , bus drivers and pedestrians should join forces:  both are the victims of defective roadway design : we need DOT to install split phase signals at all these intersections so that it is clear of who has the right of way.



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Join Us: Reckless Drivers Who Kill New Yorkers Must Be Charged

Families for Safe Streets Calls on NYC’s District Attorneys to
Prosecute in Fatal Crashes

Families for Safe Streets
Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 2pm
City Hall steps

New York City’s district attorneys must prosecute drivers when their
reckless behavior causes death or serious injury, say members of
Families for Safe Streets, a group of New Yorkers who have lost loved
ones in traffic crashes. In a rally on the steps of City Hall Sunday
afternoon, the group will call on the City’s five district attorneys
to become partners in the Vision Zero effort to eliminate traffic
fatalities and serious injuries.

“Why is it that if you kill someone while driving drunk, the district
attorney will press charges, but not if you kill or maim someone
through reckless behavior on the road,” asks Families for Safe Streets
founding member Amy Cohen, whose 12-year-old son Sammy Cohen Eckstein
was struck and killed by a driver in 2013. “Crashes caused by aggressive driving
are not accidents. When drivers make turns at full speed without even
looking, or speed through intersections and kill people, D.A.s never
press charges. We need to change the culture on our streets and make
it unacceptable to drive recklessly. We will never get to zero
fatalities and serious injuries unless we hold dangerous drivers
accountable for their actions.”

“Most New Yorkers don’t understand the reality that a driver can kill
or maim your loved one, and then get back in their car and drive off,
with no consequences,” says FSS founding member Dana Lerner, whose
9-year-old son Cooper Stock was killed last January when a cab driver
hit him in a crosswalk. “How can reckless drivers who kill innocent
people go free? D.A.s need to change the attitude that ‘accidents
happen’ and start bringing charges in connection with these crashes,
to keep dangerous drivers from destroying more lives.”

“District attorneys are the people’s prosecutors, and they must
champion public safety,” says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of
Transportation Alternatives. “The public needs more information about
how D.A.s determine whether to prosecute after serious crashes, and
how often they bring charges. We need City Council oversight hearings
on the role of D.A.s in the effort to reach Vision Zero, and we need
legislation similar to the NYPD TrafficStat law, which requires
regular public reporting from district attorneys about their cases.
The D.A.s in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island are seeking
re-election next year, and T.A. will press the issue of driver
accountability with all the candidates.”

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Vision Zero 2015: The Year of the Protected Only Phase signals (Split Phase)

IMG_3199Sweden is on its way to reaching zero road deaths per year. The Economist earlier this year took a look at the data: just three deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 5.5 in the European Union and 11.4 in the US. (See this European Commission report for additional data.)

How has Sweden done it? “We are going much more for engineering than enforcement,” Matts-Åke Belin, a government traffic safety strategist told Citylab.  We wonder whether New York city will adopt the same strategy?

A good step in that direction would be the Protected-Only Phase Signal: It prevents turning vehicles from hurting or killing pedestrians who cross in the pedestrian crossing with the Walk sign. Today 44% of pedestrians hospitalizations are due to crashes under those circumstances.

In Manhattan, PROPS installations have decreased injury crashes by 50% (9th Avenue Bike lane in Chelsea) to 63% , on 7th Avenue and 23rd Street intersection. But In Hell’s Kitchen, it took two deaths and 7 years to install a PROPS at 41 st street and 9th Avenue, and the bike lanes above 34th street were not equipped with PROPS.

The federal Highway safety manual recommends to install PROPS  wherever there is an insufficient level of safety for pedestrians. So, in the era of Vision Zero, if the solution exists to address such a large and devastating issue, what do we need to do to accelerate the installation of such a device at every dangerous intersection?

The forgiving roadway:

According to the Federal Highway safety manual, in the past, when human errors resulted in collisions, the fault was perceived to lie with the road user, rather than with the road. The approach to roadway safety has since evolved. While the concept of “road user error” remains, it is now understood that errors and the collisions that result do not just “happen,” they are “caused,” and the roadway environment sometimes plays a role in that causation.  The forgiving roadway seeks to break the chain of causation between the erroneous decisions and/or actions and their undesirable outcomes (e.g., crashes). The forgiving roadway concept is fundamental to ‘Vision Zero’ as the Swedes have demonstrated, and is predicated on meeting the expectations of road users— motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians—and assuring that they get needed information when it is required, in an explicit and usable format and in sufficient time to react.

Road users who are not visually impaired receive most of their information visually. The human visual field is large; however, the area of accurate vision is quite small.  Complex or cluttered backgrounds, make individual pieces of information more difficult to identify and can make the driving task more difficult.. This is of particular concern in areas of high workload, at decision points, and at locations where there is a high potential for conflict Intersections and crosswalks in Manhattan squarely fall in that category.

To reduce road users errors at signalized intersections the information must reinforce their expectations. Road users will rely on experience rather than their perceptions (however incomplete) of the situation at hand when their expectations are not met. When turning with the green light, the user expectation is that he/she has the right of way. For a driver who is about to make a left or right turn, a green light provides incomplete information , that leads to false expectations (that the driver has priority and no obstruction) and thus provides insufficient time for decision (stop).

The best way to address this issue is to install PROPS :the green light gives an unequivocal right of way to drivers as they expect and the walk signal gives an unequivocal right of way to pedestrians as expected. Protected-only Phasing Signal consists of providing a separate phase for turning traffic and allowing turns to be made only on a green left arrow signal indication, with no pedestrian movement or vehicular traffic conflicting with the turn.


A counter intuitive benefit of these treatments is that left-turn movements with protected-only phasing have a higher capacity than those with permissive-only phasing which are more dangerous due to fewer conflicts. These are the signals installed at most two way streets intersections.

So why are such signals not ubiquitous?

Three key engineering manuals recommend the use of protected-only operations except when, based on engineering judgment, an unacceptable reduction in [vehicular] capacity will result.[2] [3] .    The manuals put the final decision squarely in the hands of the engineers and based only on a vehicle capacity measurement. In New York City, where the capacity is never enough, the decision has been a given.

Unacceptable to whom? Capacity in terms of vehicles or in terms of pedestrians? And why should the engineer make the decision?  Unacceptable reduction in capacity and engineering judgement are inadequate yardsticks to decide life and deaths issues. The Departement of Transportations and the elected officials must use the Vision Zero framework to establish two new criteria: Unacceptable level of pedestrian capacity and unacceptable level of pedestrian safety.

Fortunately, their are indicators that the tide is changing: at the Vision Zero Symposium in late 2014, Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of City Council Transportation Committee advocated for the installation of PROPS as the assembly applauded! This should encourage us to raise the bar and insist on safe intersections to reduce hospitalizations by 44%.


2  ICG4, ITE:4, MUTCD:4
Credit to

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When will MTA join in on Vision Zero?

While pedestrian deaths are at an all time low ( 131 in 2014) , MTA is not making any progress. Based on crashes reported in the media, MTA bus drivers have killed as many pedestrians and cyclists so far this year as they did in 2013.

You would think MTA is actively participating in Vision Zero task force . Well not exactly. In October 2014 at a breakout session of the Vision Zero Symposium, where bus companies explained their safety programs, the MTA made a presentation that could have been written in 1960. Nothing specific except posters at the bus depot. When challenged on why they were not part of the Vision Zero task force, they told a shocked audience- which included families of traffic victims – that they had not been invited!

In December 2014, the MTA has agreed to pay $1.8 million settlement to the family of an FIT student, who was fatally struck by a city bus operated by a driver who had previously been suspended for texting while behind the wheel.  Seth Kahn was 22 when an MTA bus struck him in the crosswalk at Ninth Avenue and West 53rd Street. Driver Jeremy Philhower was making a left turn from West 53rd Street onto Ninth Avenue. Read More. The MTA had been appealing the verdict for two years.

MTA bus drivers have killed at least seven pedestrians and one cyclist this year, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Only one case reportedly involved an electronic device — a woman who was run over when she reached under a bus to retrieve a cell phone.Of the other six pedestrians, all were hit by bus drivers making right or left turns, and in five cases media and police accounts confirmed or suggested the victim had the right of way. There is no evidence that any of the remaining seven victims were distracted by electronic devices when they were struck.

So it is completely logical that in early December the MTA released a victim blaming PSA’s showing a woman in a pedestrian crossing listening to a music player and being hit by a bus . The message is clearly that she should have paid attention. No mention that the pedestrian has the right of way and the bus driver is at fault.

And On December 31st, MTA announced new features to increase pedestrian safety: Buses will blare warnings through speakers to alert pedestrians at corners under MTA pilot program- Yes, there is not enough noise in the street beyond the honking, the ambulances, the police, the fire department, the private carters and the construction!  Thankfully they will also explore Another “collision avoidance” pilot in the works will use radar and sensors to detect — and then alert — bus drivers of pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicles in the immediate vicinity, including so-called “blind spots.” Daily News 

The culture of blaming the pedestrian instead of the drivers is deeply seated in the MTA. The arrest of a bus driver for fatally running over a pedestrian last night was so unusual that MTA bus operators in Brooklyn refused to leave their depots this morning in protest, the Post reports. According to the tabloid, the drivers were outraged over the arrest of B44 bus operator Reginald Prescott, who was charged with failure to yield after fatally striking 78-year-old Jean Bonne-Annee in East Flatbush.The failure to yield criminal charge is a relatively new law enforcement tool. In May, the City Council passed NYC Administrative Code Section 19-190. ”They’re angry,” an anonymous source told the Post. “It’s the first time I’ve heard of someone getting arrested for a fatality. Brooklyn was very close to shutting down.”


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2014 was a game changer for pedestrians

Vision Zero:

Mayor Di Blasio made good on his campaign promise to get serious on traffic injuries and r2-125fatalities. This year 22 bills were passed in the council to improve information, increase enforcement and increase penalties for careless drivers who do not respect the laws. The DOT embarked in a city-wide consultation with the communities to identify dangerous intersections. The administration and Families for Safe Streets worked tirelessly to get Albany to reduce the default speed limit in New York city to 25 MPH and install speed enforcement cameras at 140 school zones.

In the Neighborhood:


Pedestrian safety was enhanced by the implementation of a number of DOT Hell’s Kitchen study recommendations : a split phase at 43rd streetand 9th Avenue , at 41st Street and 9th Avenue, a new pedestrian crossing and a signal at 36th Street and 9th Avenue to cross Lincoln Tunnel Ramp C.  At 57th Street  and 9th Avenue the south turn green arrow was moved to the end of the green cycle which is much safer for pedestrians.

Pedestrian confort was also improved with the completion and Greening of the Canoe Plaza (along 36th Street between 9th and Dyer Avenues) and connect to the Green Triangle. The contract for the new LinksNYC that will replace current phone booths was signed with a provision that will allow community boards to relocate appliances that are obstructing the pedestrian way.

Congestion was dramatically reduced on 10th Avenue by changes the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit made in the dispatch and routing of NJT commuter buses. All the bus queues have disappeared from 10th Avenue. On 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues the chaos of jitneys was brought under control by strict enforcement by the NYPD. The jitneys still have not obtained a permit to stop there. The port Authority board committed to explore the funding of a bus garage in 2015. Such a bus would reduce dramatically the number of buses stored on our side streets.


From a transit standpoint the MTA started a new line the M12 on 11th and 12th Avenues , 57th to 14th streets, a terrific service to take advantage of the Hudson River Park and there is a new taxi to go to Wall Street form 44th Street.

Some of this efforts have gone on for years and are now bearing fruit . Our elected officials were all instrumental in making these happen.  DOT, NYPD, PANYNJ  participated in local progress. City wide,  Transportation Alternatives has been the major instigator of these new policies. We are very very grateful for a bountiful year.


Posted in 9th Avenue Renaissance, CHEKPEDS, Clean Air, Complete Streets, Congestion, DOT STUDY, Greening, pedestrian, Sidewalk, Traffic Justice, Transit | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment