Pedestrian Delight: Wider Sidewalk on 8th Avenue

With the help of Duane Reade’s Landlord at the corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue, DOT has enlarged the sidewalk by 9 ft  or 40% on a block of 8th Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets that is usually hyper congested with pedestrians and Port Authority bus commuters. The pedestrian barricade has been removed, the Time Square alliance maintains the planters and there is no reason for pedestrians to use the bike lane . IMG_6354 2

 

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Pushing the envelope: Streetopia

Streetopia
Thursday, July 22nd, 2017, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Museum of the City of New York,

1220 5th Ave & 103rd St, New York

The advocates for Streets Renaissance have garnered many  successes over the last 10 years and really changed our streets. They now challenge us to think big and with new experiments and bold models from other cities around the world.

Even though we are a long way from done on the first ideas, bringing  a new vision will help elevate the debate and may trigger more fundamental rethink of our public spaces .

Join them and us at the new frontier . Details and RSVP 

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Mark Your Calendars: Tell the Port Authority to clean their Act!

Port Authority Board meeting
Thursday, July 20th, 2017, 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
4 World Trade Center

(more information to follow )

At the last Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition’s meeting various speakers explained the impact of cars exhaust buses and idling on our health. A representative of the NYC Health Department was at hand to respond to various questions. Read the presentation HERE .

June8_HKS_Mask

The Port Authority has since sent a copy of this Carrier Bulletin – Engine Idling 6-2-17 to Community Board 4. This is well and good but after years of  asking the PA to address the issue of idling, it strikes us as an expedient response, way too little and too late.

It is critical to let the Port Authority know that any plan  and its Environmental Impact Study will need to address the deplorable condition of our air quality (CD4 has the third worse Air Quality in the city which is itself below the Federal EPA standard for Quality).

The last thing we need is hundred more buses idling in our neighborhood.

Please join us to express our concerns.

Chelsea Now article on the Coalition Meeting
City Journal article on New York’s terminal blues encourages the Port Authority to build in Secaucus and extend the # 7 train.

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A tragic week in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen

Last week we were reminded that traffic violence continues unabated in our district . A 36 years old bicyclist was killed going east on 26th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Videos show that he was taken over by a commuter bus driver who caused him to fall and be crushed under the rear wheels of the bus. Gothamist 

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Saturday, another cyclist – 80 years old Chelsea resident was killed by a bus driver turning west from 7th Avenue to 29th Street .Gothamist

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On Thursday, at the  southwest corner of 37th Street,a driver traveling south on 9th Avenue tried to beat a red light and lost control of her vehicle, the SUV jumped the curb injuring 9 persons, 4 severely, one critically. DNA info

 

How can the city stop the wave of violence? When will it end? Can we all drop our kids at school or pick up groceries and hope to come back alive? Or do we continue to live in a state of siege where no one will protect us! Where are our tax $$ going ? to make it easier for vehicles to kill us?

Mayor DeBlasio said Friday on WNYC that they have to get to the bottom of it. I say:  you already had 3 years to do that …  bicyclists fatalities are going up. Since 2013 bicyclists fatalities have increased from 11 to 21 in 2016 , and injuries have shot up 37% . This is not a one by one issue, it is an epidemic. You have to treat it in a systemic way.

Buses are restricted to truck routes only and these buses had no business being on those streets. Will the DOT take back the bus company permits ? Will the DOT install  cross town protected bike lanes. In 2014 CB4 had requested a study of such bike lanes on cross streets between 23rd and 42nd street – We need a connected system not just safe avenues dumping cyclists in horribly dangerous unprotected segments . Will the DOT have the guts to get it done? and how fast?   See Gothamist article Finally we need traffic agents and bollards at 37th street( 9 motorists and 12 pedestrians injured in the last 5 years). Up to recently there was a traffic agent at 37th street and 9th Avenue a very tricky intersection with Lincoln tunnel traffic .  Will the NYPD reinstall this agent?

Overall DOT needs much more systemic approach to bike lanes, safety and buses. NYPD needs to treat illegal and dangerous behaviors by drivers as a problem that deserves full attention and a rigorous and neutral enforcement. NYPD and DOT turning a blind eye to enforceable offenses leads to a sense of permissiveness which increases the chances of crashes, injuries and fatalities .

 

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JOIN US : Port Authority is bad for your health – even before adding 50% more buses

A representative of the NYC Department of Health will join us  to explain how poor air quality  affects our health.

Make sure you join us at the next
Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition
Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 6:30 p.m.
410 West 40th Street ( 9/Dyer)

 HKS Coalition

Agenda

  • General update on process/plan for new Port Authority bus terminal
  • Presentation of coalition mission statement, guiding principles and organization structure
  • Report from Neighborhood Plan Committee
  • Discussion on neighborhood air quality and affordable housing

 

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Will 7th Avenue bike lane have safer intersections?

This month the DOT presented a proposal for a parking protected bike lane on 7th Avenue between Clarkson and 30th Street. While in the past the discussion may have focused on loss of parking, this year all the questions from the public and the committee were on intersection safety.

Following the death of a cyclist on 2nd Avenue two weeks ago, the cycling community is becoming more aware that mixing zones are dangerous, a fact well understood by pedestrians: in the last five years  drivers turning when both drivers and pedestrians have a signal to proceed at the same time have killed tens of pedestrians.  It is good to see that everyone is now focused on safe bike lanes, not just any bike lanes. This will be a necessary ingredient if bicycling is to capture a larger share of the commuters.

If it was up to CB4 , the whole bike lane would be equipped with split phases , like the lower part of 9th Avenue , which have proven to be 100% safer than mixing zones.

We understand that DOT is experimenting with Split LPIs on bike lanes. The first two were installed in CB4  on 9th Avenue at 25th and 29th streets and then on 2nd Avenue at 26th and 30th streets. You can see  how it works here. This configuration gives s strong sense of safety to pedestrians, although the 7 seconds of real protection is woefully insufficient. For cyclists, it still leaves the problem of cars blocking the bike lane during the 44 seconds balance of the cycle, forcing bicyclists to pass the car either in traffic or in the pedestrian crossing or to dismount.

Another variant is the Spilt LCI (Lead Cyclist Interval) which after a protected phase of 25 seconds – would put all users on notice that the crossing is dangerous, and hold them equally responsible for being careful while crossing.

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NO matter which solution is adopted,  we need to get rid of mixing zones and unprotected intersections sooner rather than later. They are deadly for pedestrians and bicyclists while the cars always come out winning and unscathed.

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Long awaited changes come to 11th Avenue – Less parking, Less congestion

11 Av 34th-37thFinally ! Once again , 11th Avenue goes in both directions between 34th and 40th Streets, allowing 9th and 10th Avenues to get relief from Lincoln tunnel- bond traffic congestion.

The Department of Transportation effected the changes last week and will add high visibility cross walks this week. An LPI has also been added at 37th Street where a turning driver killed a pedestrian last year. A bus lane is installed.

The two-way configuration had been put in place after 9/11 to screen trucks entering the Lincoln Tunnel. It turned out to be very effective to balance the traffic on 9th ,10th and Dyer Avenue .  However when the road was reconstructed five years ago, only the portion of 37th to 40th was restored as a two ways avenue; 34 to 37th was set as one way with two lanes essentially used by the Convention Center and the NYPD as perpendicular parking, while 10th Avenue was extremely congested.

DOT intends to extend the two way-section down to 23rd Street, once the Western Rail Yards development is completed and make it more pedestrian friendly.

This is great news for all . Our next step will be to ask DOT to install way-finding signs on the cross streets so that more tunnel-bond drivers use this entrance and reduce the congestion on 9th and 10th Avenues.

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One block of 8th Avenue will soon be safer for pedestrians and cyclists

 

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In May 2017 the DOT plans to redesign the awful block of 8th Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets.

the pedestrian area increased by 60%  by removing  the  barricade.The adjacent bike lane will be by delineated by large blocks on the pedestrian side and flexible bollards on the vehicular side to prevent obstructions.

We had been working on improving this block since the bike lane installation, 6 years ago , and it proved quite difficult. Fortunately the owner of the property where Duane Reade is located, agreed to study the problem, and hired an engineer who worked out the details with DOT. WE also understand that the Times Square  Alliance has agreed to maintain the pedestrian space, a point that was a job obstacle.

We hope  DOT will take this as a test and soon expand this experiment from 34th to 47th streets .

 

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This a great day for pedestrians in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen

As part of the Hell’s Kitchen Transporation Study we had requested that a number of intersections be equipped with split phase signals, which give a exclusive crossing phase to pedestrians. The Department of Transportation came through for us, approving all the intersections we had recommended: 12 more pedestrian crossings to be protected in 2017.   This brings to 34 the number of protected crossings in our district.

Following the death of a bicyclist last week in a mixing zone on 1st Avenue, Transporation Alternatives and other safety advocates started asking for safer intersections along bike lanes, a point we have made repeatedly over the years. DOT  announced that they are starting a study of their treatment of intersections and once a new design is chosen they will retrofit all existing bike lanes. We are delighted to hear of this new initiative that will no doubt  improve pedestrian safety. Not a minute too soon.

See the map below  showing the proposed signal installations  as well as the existing ones.

 

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Port Authority Bus Terminal : Next Steps

Two months ago the Port Authority  adopted its 10 year Capital plan and earmarked $ 3.5 Billions to build a new bus terminal . However the Chairman indicated that “ this resolution does not preclude the study of any additional options for providing cross-Hudson transportation. We continue to acknowledge that, while the bus terminal is a critical first step, it is only one piece of a menu of options that must be in place to meet the needs created by future demand increases”. Such statement is a big step in the right direction. Watch his speech here.

Also in response to the CB4 letter on the #7 extension, CB4 met with the Planning Department of the PANYNJ and explained our concepts. It was a productive meeting.

Then in early April, at its last full board, Community Board 4 passed a resolution summarizing the input gathered from the community over the last 12 months . The key points of this terrific letter to the Chairman of  the Port Authority are as follows:

  • Do no harm: no eminent domain and no demolition
  • Comply with the zoning: residential zoning was negotiated as part of the last rezoning and will produce affordable housing.
  • Improve air quality: no staging or parking facilities – the new building should be enclosed with a filtration system. All bus accesses should be underground.
  • Integrate with the regional transportation system: a Path 7 extension of the # 7 should be studied as well as a long distance bus terminal and garage for tour and charter buses and the impact of the Gateway project factored in the plans.

These points will the basis for our discussions going forward with the Port Authority.

Yesterday at the Regional Planning Association (RPA) annual assembly, infrastructure was on everyone’s mind. The panel discussion “Crossing the Hudson” was very popular. Polly Trottenberg, NYC DOT Commissioner was the star of the exchanges with the Port Authority: “no one build large bus terminals inside cities any longer” she told them. And then she enjoined the Port Authority to build partnership to succeed: “There was no one representing  NYC on the Design Competition Jury ” she added. Brava.

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