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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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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