24 Intersections now SAFER in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen

8 years into the DOT Traffic study of Hell’s Kitchen, DOT is adding six (6) Split phases and 18 Lead Pedestrian Intervals in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, a  welcome news for the residents of these neighborhoods overwhelmed by the horrendous thru traffic.

Combined with those already installed as part of other projects ( bike lane, crash remediations etc..)  this brings the total to 24 Split Phases and 24 Lead Pedestrian Intervals. Protecting crossings is beneficial to pedestrians, to bicyclists who can get a head start and to people with disabilities who cannot move as fast as others.

We are grateful to DOT for these installations and look forward to the next phase of improvements.


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Join Us to remember the victims: 373,377 lives lost to traffic in US in last 10 years



November 15, @ 12 Noon, City Hall Park Fountain.

There are no words to describe this epidemic and the condoning silence that surrounds it . The costs to society are staggering, and the cost in pain to families indescribable.  Why is this not registering in the news more than say a Russian plane with 225 person killed – (a horrific crash in itself )?  We cannot stay silent . Join us to remember and speak up.

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Bus Terminal Master Planning should include Community Input

Option3The Port Authority Board voted on October 22nd to initiate two studies in advance of finalizing a location and a design for a new bus terminal by September 2016.

  • Performing a “Trans-Hudson Commuting Capacity Study” including other modes like rail and ferry capacity, existing and anticipated patterns and preferences of bus commuter travel after arrival in Manhattan, strategies to reduce bus congestion in neighborhood streets adjacent to the proposed new bus terminal and in the Lincoln Tunnel and its approaches.
  • Conducting an international design competition (the “Bus Terminal Design Competition” or “Design Competition”) soliciting conceptual designs for a new bus terminal on the site recommended by the Working Group, one block west of the current structure, between Ninth and Eleventh Avenues; and appropriate pedestrian connections to mass transit in the vicinity of the new terminal; suggest alternative sites for a new Port Authority bus terminal should their analysis determine that the proposed site west of 9th Avenue is not optimal.

A very interesting part of the board’s recommendation was to “solicit substantial public and stakeholder input in this ongoing process” a part that has been sorely missing to date. Consider that the proposed bus location west of 9th avenue , would increase commuting time by 7 minutes everyday  and would require the condemnation of two 9th Avenue blocks, In short, the  $ 10 billion project would yield a slower commute, and a disfigured neighborhood.  Community Board 4 responded accordingly in its letter to the Port Authority: 

CB4 is appalled at the idea of condemning two blocks in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen-south, on 9th Avenue, our main retail corridor, in order to free up investment properties and make space for ramps and pedestrian passageways, when the existing underground passageways between Dyer and 8th Avenues could easily be used instead.  This would require the eviction of many affordable housing tenants, a church and food pantry, a nursery school, a farm, the only affordable food supermarket and a number of other retail stores essential to the character of our neighborhood. Robert Moses technique of razing our neighborhood is no longer acceptable. You can and must do better than that. “

As such projects will take eons to get completed , the Community Board also recommended that the Port Authority use unallocated funds to perform short term system – wide improvements that could relieve commuters and communities. Read the full letter here. 

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Tell the Feds: City Streets Are Not Highways

It doesn’t make much sense to design a street that passes through the center of a community’s downtown the same way we would the 50 mph highway that carries commuters from that city to another.

Currently, local communities and states must adhere to a long list of federal design criteria, or face an arduous and costly process of requesting exceptions to do simple things like line a downtown street with trees or use design cues to slow traffic to the community’s desired design speed and make streets safer for people in cars and on foot.

In a proposed rule, FHWA decided after a thorough review to scrap 11 of 13 current design criteriafor most roads and streets with speed limits under 50 mph. Many of the streets that fit this description often serve as a town’s main street or are where a large share of pedestrian fatalities occur. According to the proposed rule, these criteria have “minimal influence on the safety or operation on our urban streets” and are more useful for designing freeways, highways and higher speed urban arterials.

We agree — do you?  FHWA needs to hear that they have strong support. Can you take just one minute to generate a letter that we’ll personally deliver to FHWA for you?

Sign this letter endorsing this proposed rule  and thanking FHWA for their great work

This  move will liberate local communities that have been working hard to make their roads safer for everyone that uses them, and rid them of the need to petition FHWA for exceptions to do exactly that. We need to make sure FHWA moves forward with this proposed rule.



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BIGGEST TRAFFIC CHANGE in years makes a superb debut in the quiet of the summer

On July 13th , in the middle of the day, Port Authority and DOT started to operate a contra lane on Dyer Avenue, between 42nd and 41st Streets for buses to reach the Lincoln Tunnel in a safer way. This resulted in 90 less left turns by buses at 42nd Street and 9th Avenue a dangerous intersection used by thousands of pedestrians. Our DOT Commissioner does big things quietly !

Slide1Every day between 4 and 6 p.m.  about 90 commuter buses travel west on 42nd street,  turn south at 9th Avenue, and then turn west at 41st Street and 9th Avenue to reach the Lincoln Tunnel. A large proportion of buses there are MTA buses going to Staten Island. Both of those intersections are very dangerous according to Vision Zero.

We all know that left turning movements on a two-way street cause many crashes.   In addition, the buses contribute to traffic which causes heavy congestion on the northern part of 9th Avenue .

IMG_3788Now, from  4 to 6 p.m. every week day, while the other three lanes continue to go north, one lane of Dyer Avenue goes south, with cones and changeable signs. Instead of turning south at 9th Avenue, then west at 41st  Street and south at Dyer Avenue, the buses continue west to the Dyer Avenue intersection with 42nd Street and make a southbound turn in the contra lane, which brings them directly in the tunnel . Two traffic agents are located there to direct the operation.

IMG_3791As a result the 42nd Street intersection with 9th avenue sees very few buses turning at that time of the day, and the congestion to the north of 9th Avenue is reduced.  (there is currently construction of a hotel on the west side of 9th Avenue that makes matters worse for the time being). Further, MTA has rerouted all its buses at the other times the day to use 11th Avenue to reach the tunnel. This is a major success.

Removing 90 left turn movements by buses everyday is a major achievement, that will without a doubt, reduce crashes and injuries at this crowded and dangerous intersection . In total , the number of turns is reduced by 180 per day. The community had worked closely with DOT on these changes. We are extremely grateful to the DOT and the Port Authority staff who came up with this brilliant idea and implemented it as part of the Hells Kitchen Traffic Study.

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NYPD and their Cars

Commissioner Bratton this week repeatedly voiced his support for removing the Times Square Plazas that have become an enormous success with all users including the real estate interests in the area. This is in response to incidents with a few topless women, draped in USA flag paint and the ever-present petty crooks now disguised as Walt Disney mascots.


While the NYC official statistics show that the plaza has reduced crashes by 40%, the Commissioner continues to quote Fox News numbers to the contrary. That may explain why CrashStats is useless in changing NYPD behavior: they keep their own set of books.


We believe that in fact, Commissioner Bratton is playing to his troops: the horrifying truth about policing Times Square is that you cannot do it with your butt glued to the seat of a White and Blue Crown Vic, using a megaphone. You actually have to WALK. 

That officers would prefer cruising in their vehicles instead of stopping and frisking topless women is yet another reminder of NYPD’s irrational love story with cars.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION here to keep pedestrians first in Times Square

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New Bills introduced to prevent Left Turn collisions

ON August 13, Public Advocate Letitia James introduced two traffic safety bills in the New York City Council aimed at reducing pedestrian deaths across the City. The first bill would require the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish protected left turn signals at 100 additional intersections with four or more traffic lanes. The second bill would require the DOT to provide reports on all pedestrian right-of-way violations to identify intersections requiring better safety measures.

“By increasing the number of protected left turn signals at large intersections and taking a closer look at locations with chronic right-of-way violations, we can make Vision Zero a reality.”

At last year’s Vision Zero conference CHEKPEDS advocated for such a measure. We have  been a vocal supporter of Left turn signals to improve pedestrian safety. On the Chelsea portion of the bike lanes where left turn signals are installed, crashes were reduced by 50% versus 30% where they were not . As part the Hell’s Kitchen Traffic Study , Chekpeds has requested the installation of over 10 such signals in our neighborhood, and  two new ones were  just installed at 41st street and 9th avneue where two people were killed and at 43rd Street and 9th Avenue. 

IMG_3200According to a report commissioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, New York State has the most pedestrian fatalities caused by left-turning vehicles of any state in the country. And according to the New York City DOT, left-turn pedestrian collisions outnumber right-turn collisions 3-1.

“T.A. supports Public Advocate James’ two pieces of new Vision Zero legislation,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “The proposal for dedicated left-turn signals is an opportunity for the NYC DOT to continue leading this effort … We applaud Public Advocate James for pursuing public accountability, enforcement and transparency as part of Vision Zero implementation.”

The Right of Way Law, enacted by the City last year, increased penalties for drivers by making it a misdemeanor to hit pedestrians or cyclists with the right of way. Public Advocate James believes quarterly reports on violations of this newly established law will help inform where additional safety measures are needed.

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NOT ONE MORE : Vigil for 26,500 New Yorkers injured by Drivers in 2015

The number is staggering: 143 per day! In the second year of Vision Zero how could it be that drivers injured so many people in 2015 alone? People talk about crime in New York city in the 70′s . I doubt that criminals injured or killed so many people per day ever in New York City.  Are we in a war zone? Who are the terrorists?

Since January 20,033 New Yorkers have been injured. Join Families for Safe Streets to say – NOT ONE MORE.. 
Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 7 p.m.
Union Square North 

The City must understand this is not a marginal movement by few victims’ families, but a profound change requested by all voters.   - This is your opportunity to speak up. 850 are already coming but we need more than 1,000 – Power in numbers YOUR  VOICE IS CRUCIAL..


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Free Outdoor Movie – Musical Chairs

Join us for this event full of good news for our neighborhood.  Persons with disabilities are at the vanguard of a crucial fight for ALL pedestrians: Streets and sidewalks compliant with ADA guidelines are the most comfortable and safe to walk on. What it good for ADA is good for seniors, mothers with young children and all the rest of us. 

MUSICAL CHAIRS , Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Monday, July 13, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Mathews Palmer Park, 45th Street b/w 9/10 Avenues

Musical Chairs outdoor screening 7.13.2015


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Mark your calendars

Free Outdoor Movie:
MUSICAL CHAIRS , Celebarting the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Monday, July 13, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
Mathews Palmer Park, 45th Street b/w 9/10 Avenues

Since January 20,033 New Yorkers have been injured. Join Families for Safe Streets to say – NOT ONE MORE.. 
Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 7 p.m.
Union Square North 

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