Pedestrian Safety: 10 More Intersections Protected in 2017!

Just in 2017 , DOT has added 10 new split LPIs to protect pedestrians who cross the avenues. A split LPI is a red arrow for turning cars which gives exclusive right of way to the pedestrians, followed by a blinking yellow arrow which puts drivers on notice to slow down and yield. LPIs – which delays the start of all traffic ( turning and through)  were installed at 3 locations .

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Such installation has been very successful in our district notably at 43rd and 9th Avenue . We are delighted that our Hell’s Kitchen Transportation Study is yielding so much safety at dangerous intersections .

Our next goal is to tackle  the big complicated intersections ( 42/8, 57/8, 57/10 ) and get them fixed. Already DOT notified us that the 57/8 intersection is included in a study of Columbus Circle that will be completed in January 2018. This is progress.

 

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We Desperately Need Protected Intersections

Activists are making the rounds of Community Boards with one message to DOT: we need protected intersections! by letting cars turn at the same time as cyclists and pedestrians cross the intersection, DOT is creating a dangerous situation and  is  responsible for crashes at these intersections!

This is a position CHEKPEDS has advocated for a long time , and as a result CB4 has more split LPIs signals that most districts in New York . With the death of a cyclists easier this year in a mixing Zone, the cycling community is now aware of how dangerous these intersections are and is adding its powerful voice.

CB4 recently joined the chorus of Cb7 and CB2 in asking for a blanket policy on intersection safety. Including: extending the green ribbon across the intersection, adding boards to separate from the cars, put pedestrian and bike crossings on a speed table, install split phases and split LPIs. We are told DOT is working it and will come out with a decision next year.

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RPA’s “Crossing the Hudson” Proposes a Holistic Plan for the Next 20 Years and Beyond

The Regional Plan Association recently published key transportation recommendation ahead of Its fourth regional plan to be released in November 12017.  It pretty closely mirrors the Community Board and our recommendations for the bus terminal replacement: a long distance bus terminal at or around Javits Center, that would provide enough capacity to extend the terminal life by 20 years, [completion of Gateway with a run  through option] and a rail or subway extension in Phase 3. Notably, this is the first time RPA advocates for a # 7 subway extension in New Jersey.

RPA integrated plan

Here are some excerpts:  ”For example, the New York City subway #7 or L trains could be extended to add trans-Hudson capacity and relieve bus and rail demand on existing facilities …”

“The new Javits terminal could consolidate all intercity buses, taking buses off the streets and freeing up 63 gates at the existing Port Authority Bus Terminal ( PABT), resulting in an almost 30% increase in gate capacity for commuter buses. ”

“Phases one and two {Hudson Tunnel, Penn Station, Bus terminal} would likely meet capacity needs for the next 20 years. Beyond then, trans-Hudson demand will begin to surpass combined rail and bus capacity, and the existing PABT will have surpassed its useful life, requiring replacement. While a decision does not need to be made at this time, a better option than replacing the bus terminal would be to construct new rail tunnels between New Jersey and Manhattan. This would provide sufficient trans- Hudson capacity for the foreseeable future, divert more passengers from buses, and eliminate the need to rebuild the 42nd Street bus terminal”.

You can read the summary related to the Port Authority bus terminal and the full report

 

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Buses and Cars exhaust is fouling our air – How can 40% more buses help?

Last week Chekpeds joined the Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition to present to the CB4′s Parks and Environment committee their findings related to Air Quality in our district.

Using the Data gathered by the NYC Department of Health, we highlighted that CB4 has the third worst air quality in the city. The city itself in not in compliance with Federal guidelines. In all categories where we are worse, we are in fact way worse and the situation has not improved over the last 5 years, while many other neighborhoods have made significant progress. With the large population affected ( over 562,000 persons daily and 47 schools within a half mile), one wonders how the new terminal will improve this situation with its 40% more buses. – See the excellent article from Chelsea Now - Or view the full presentation.

air quality

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NYPD Responds to Criticism after the Death of Two Cyclists

Chief Chan as well as his direct reports and the head of the Collision Investigation unit were on hand to discuss the various issues raised after the death of two cyclist in CB4 in June.

NYPD confirmed that their current procedure is to not comment on a crash, either at the crash site or at headquarters until the investigation has progressed to the point where the information is reliable . This being said, they acknowledged that there is tremendous pressure to be transparent, therefore they also try to communicate as soon as feasible.

Finally it is understood they cannot 100% control ALL agents or police officers, and prevent individuals to speak off the record.

They shared statistics of enforcement of bus companies which show they are doing a lot in this area. NYPD committed to double down as needed. The community needs to continue call 311 ( choose “illegal parking” ) for any bus that is laying over illegally

 

 

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DOT Responds to CB4′s Calls for Bus Enforcement

After the loss of two cyclists in our district in June, Council Member Johnson and CB4 asked for and obtained separate meetings with DOT and NYPD.

DOT’s COO was on hand to clarify the procedure related to approval, management and  renewal of bus operations.

It turns out that DOT does not take in account historical bus safety information when granting a stop permit. This is something CB4 has long requested and currently evaluates as part of its due diligence.

The approved routes are currently not clear to bus drivers since there is only a truck map and it does not explicitly mentions that buses must respect the same routes ( although the law is clear on the subject).  DOT committed to publish a new map for buses.

DOT also agreed to toughen their stance with bus companies upon receiving complaints from the community, and be  diligent in not renewing the permits if the companies have received NYPD summonses

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Indeed one of the fundamental issue is that our city does not have a terminal for long distance buses, like other large cities do (Washington, Boston) . As a result they park at curb side everywhere in the city, thus encouraging buses to illegally use residential streets to reach their stops. This is why CB4 makes every attempt to have bus stops on the far west side an recommends the construction of a Long Distance bus terminal there as well.

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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 .

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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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