Join Us : World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Victims

Events_World-Remembrance-Day_Global-Road-Technology-and-The-Decade-of-Action-970x320-2500x750Please join Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives in commemorating World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Crash Victims on Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 12  noon. 

As always, we’ll honor and memorialize all those who’ve been injured and killed on our streets (and sidewalks too!) but this year we’ll also be demanding a plan from our national leaders (and those who want to be) to end the silence on traffic violence.
We will meet at Bowling Green, at just steps away from the US Department of Transportation.

Together, we mourn. Together, we remember. And together, we will stand in the presence of 100 body bags to demand our national leaders (and those who want to be) put an end to the silence on traffic violence. #EndTrafficViolence

Sadly, this epidemic is one that unites us all. People of every faith, neighborhood, race, class, gender, age, ability and political affiliation are hit personally by this issue. We look forward to commemorating this important day together — and to demanding action from our leaders.

Please note this is a public event and all are encouraged to participate.  RSVP: transalt.org/WDOR2019

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A profound change: the Street Master Plan becomes law

IMG_0F91A3194161-1After months of discussions and refinements , the city council , under Speaker Corey Johnson’s leadership , passed a legislation to make the DOT accountable for the annual implementation of street improvements that benefit all. “The law shall prioritize and promote: (i) the safety of all street users; (ii) on-street priority for mass transit vehicles; (iii) the reduction of vehicle emissions; and (iv) access for individuals with disabilities”. This statement of intent should help accelerate the culture change already underway at DOT and cement our progress regardless of the next administration.

Chekpeds had been in conversation with the offices of Speaker Johnson to advocate for more pedestrian and safety improvements. Our requests were echoed and supported by Manhattan Community Board 4 and Families for Safe Streets.

We are particularly pleased with the results: sidewalks were included in the definition of “pedestrian space” in addition to plazas. The law requires DOT to immediately start protecting 400 intersections per year from left turn conflicts. By 2023 DOT must create 1,000,000 square feet of pedestrian space.

The law requires that accessible signals be installed at 500 intersections annually starting immediately, and install pedestrian ramps at no fewer than 3,000 intersection by 2026.

The law also requires the annual installation of 30 miles of protected bus lanes and transit signal priority, 30 miles of protected bike lanes and that the bicycle network be completely connected by 2026.

This is nothing short of extraordinary: it  will focus DOT on safety as a priority over flow. It will compel DOT to align its resources and request an appropriate budget in order to comply. We are extremely grateful to Speaker Johnson.

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Vehicular Violence Accountability Act is introduced

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., New York State Senator Timothy M. Kennedy, and New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, last week announced the introduction of a bill establishing a new article in the State’s Penal Law entitled “Vehicular Violence,” which establishes four new offenses including the class A misdemeanor “Death by Vehicle,” and class B misdemeanor “Serious Physical Injury by Vehicle.” The legislation was drafted by the D.A.’s Office on the recommendation of a New York State Grand Jury empaneled by D.A. Vance.

D.A. Vance said: “While other types of crime drop to historic lows across New York, we are experiencing an epidemic of vehicular violence . Today, we are announcing a bill which fixes laws that are fundamentally broken, so that more drivers who injure or kill can be held accountable. The Vehicular Violence Accountability Act is our effort to make sure that on the criminal justice side, we are doing all that we can to  ensure that dangerous drivers face accountability.

Senator Hoylman said: “In 2019, there have already been 171 traffic fatalities in New York City—and the number of victims continues to grow. As this new grand jury report from the District Attorney’s office shows, we need strong new state laws to hold drivers accountable for causing serious physical injury or death while behind the wheel. I look forward to working with Manhattan D.A. Vance, advocates like Transportation Alternatives, and my colleagues in the Legislature to craft new laws to protect pedestrians and make our streets safer.”

Thank you Senator Hoylman for introducing this critical legislation .

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A new gem on 11th Avenue

14 blocks ( W43rd to W 57th) of brand new protected bike lane just popped up on 11th Avenue , or so it seemed!  The 11th Avenue redesign was the last piece of a major puzzle entailing the Lincoln Tunnel approaches,  that took DOT and the Hell’s Kitchen community 15 years to resolve. We owe it to NYCDOT and Greg Haas who did a wonderful job on this project.

The design includes protected intersections, protected bike lane and bus boarding areas,  to allow for a future SBS. This is a major new – safe- facility for the many new residents of 11th Avenue where high rises are proliferating. Biking at full speed while passing car traffic and automotive dealers is particularly sweet.

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And because we cannot stop enjoying it , here is an aerial view of the 8th Avenue pedestrian and cyclist improvements from W38th to W 45th.  Again thank you NYCDOT!

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More legislative good news

Two more legislations passed last week that will improve our safety on the streets: 

  • the carting industry reform will limit the number of commercial gY6JQ-tchaulers in each of the service districts, thus reducing the overall  miles travelled by commercial garbage trucks by 50%. This industry had continued to demonstrate its disregard for human life and for the laws.
  • the complete street legislation will require the DOT to comply with a complete street checklist or will be called to justify why a project do into include enough safety features for all users. This combined with the Maser Plan will be a potent incentive for the DOT to execute properly.

 

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New Wide Sidewalk and Fully Protected Bike Lane on 8th Avenue

 

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DOT has completed its installation of a wider sidewalk and protected bike lane from W38th to W45th Streets,  with NO CONFLICTS with vehicles (full split phase signals, no left turn at W42nd Street)  and striped green at W45th Street ! This is the beginning of a new era for pedestrian and bicyclist safety!  THANK YOU to DOT’s pedestrian unit and to Port Authority staff who worked together to design these changes in a challenging area.

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The pavement was also fixed in multiple locations along the bike lane , although much more needs to be done .

 

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How Bad is our Air Quality?

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In its quest for healthier  walking, CHEKPEDS has initiated an Air Quality study with 25 volunteers from our district, from 15th to 57th Streets . Over the next month, they will each collect 21 air samplings at their respective sites.

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The Kickoff , organized by Ernest Modarelli who is managing the project ( shown here on  the left)  took place on October 7 at Hudson Guild in an enthusiastic atmosphere.

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Erik Bottcher of Speaker Johnson’s office became a volunteer  with Darlene Waters of Elliot Chelsea,  Betty MackIntosh from Penn South got converted.

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State Senator Brad Hoylman and Borough President Gale Brewer dropped by to energize everyone . Each person installed their own appliance and an app to capture the information  and was assigned an air testing location.

And now our volunteers are out there, incognito, tracking the dirty particulates in the air .. Bravo to all

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A miracle in the making

As announced DOT is widening the western sidewalk of 8th Avenue from W38th to W45th Streets and adding a protected bike lane. It is stunning : Yes, all that space is ours!

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EEx28NoXsAIhDEUa NO left turn has been installed on W42nd Street, a small revolution in itself!

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Finally a faster, more reliable M42

This month, DOT and MTA will start laying the red paint for express bus lanes on W42nd Street, river to river. If it works as well as M34 SBS, it will change your life !

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Speed camera program expanded- not a minute too soon

in June the State passed  legislation allowing up to 750 speed cameras,  from  6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays year round , anywhere in a 1/4 mile radius from a school.

This is a massive expansion of the 40- camera enforcement system in place which has already proven its effectiveness: speeding at location with cameras have decreased by more than 60% with 80% of violators not receiving a second ticket.

A camera is the perfect tool for traffic enforcement – no bias, no prejudice and it does not eat donuts .  Especially when the NYPD seems to be on strike, doing  a deliberate slow down on traffic enforcement . The gothamist reports that 

comparison“According to data released by the Mayor’s Management Report, motorists were hit with 1,027,000 moving violations in fiscal year 2019, the lowest total since 2015. For offenses classified as hazardous violations—such as speeding or running a red light—summonses decreased by 4.2 percent, from 942,684 in FY 2018 to 902,482.”

How is it acceptable to let Safety officers off the hook ? it sounds more and more like a mutiny and our families are paying the price for it .

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