A Major VICTORY : City Council passes three bills to enhance traffic safety and government transparency

Three years ago CHEKPEDS co-founder Martin Treat wanted to find out where crashes happened in our neighborhood and how many summons NYPD was giving at these locations. He created a spreadsheet and attended all Community Precinct Councils, asking for the information to fill it out. He got lots of fuzzy statements, and in the end no usable information. This did not end there…

After you all wrote many letters, Community Board 4 support and more than one council Hearings where Chekpeds members testified, and with the relentless push of  Transportation Alternatives , Council Members Jessica Lapin, Gale Brewer, Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca and Speaker Christine Quinn, the ” Saving Lives through Information Bill” has been adopted unanimously by the City Council last Wednesday. Mayor Bloomberg said he will sign the bill.

This is a momentous event. First because it proves that our activism can win the day on major issues. Also because this bill will finally give us the tool to address the missing link in our fight for street safety: enforcement.  Is the right amount of enforcement applied,  at the right place, for the right offenses, those that could prevent fatalities and injuries?

So bravo to Martin , to CHEKPEDS members , to Community Board 4, to Transportation Alternatives and to our elected who want to open the books and give the citizens a say in how the streets are managed when safety is at stake.

The second bill requires that all crashes involving bicycles be recorded, with fatalities and injuries, filling up a gaping hole in the statistical analysis of traffic on our streets.

The last bill requires the Department of Transportation to explain why it rejected certain requests for traffic control devices. If a community board or Council member requests, say, a stop sign and DOT rejects that request, DOT must send a summary of the federal warrants it used to guide its decision, along with the date and time it collected the traffic data. The community board or Council member may then request that DOT send them a summary of any traffic study it conducted.

These three bills gives us excellent tools to reclaim our streets.

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