14th Street: Transit and Truck priority Pilot

In July, DOT and MTA will start operating a new configuration on 14th street from 3rd to 8th Avenues, 5 AM to 10 PM as an 18 month pilot: one lane each way , located in the center will carry buses and  trucks across the island. All other traffic will be permitted on one block only, that is will have to get off at the next intersection.

Such configuration was successfully implemented in Toronto and improved markedly the on-time performance of buses there. The difference here is that trucks will be permitted in the bus lane, so that they do not use the residential side streets, a good news for residents but not so good for riders.

Access to both curbs will remain, with 30 minutes  ”Loading and Unloading” regulations. Vehicles and buses will be barred from turning left, except for the M7 bus at 7th Avenue. Right turn bays will free up the bus lane from turning vehicles.

Bus riders will benefit from off-board payment as do other SBS corridors on 34th and 23rd Streets , and bulb outs will be provided for easier boarding.

Unfortunately DOT has not yet provided a mitigation plan for the adjacent streets, the residents of which fear an onslaught of traffic diverted from 14th Street. We are told that DOT is ready to react promptly once issues are raised.

The Council Member has asked and the DOT has committed to provide a robust reporting during the 18 month-pilot to evaluate its viability. For the sake of everyone concerned, we hope this configuration works and actually speeds up the buses. Let’s wait and see.

Find more details in DOT presentation here. 

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New Bike Lanes and Pedestrian Safety projects underway


This is really happening! Split phase signals on 57th Street at both 8th and 10th Avenues. And indeed closing the bike lane gap from 56th Street to Central Park ! Yoo hoo ! DOT is in full swing!

8th and Columbus Circle WHH


10th and Amsterdam WHH

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Claim a free tree guard!

Time to claim a tree guard for your favorite tree!

One of the initiatives funded by the 2019 Participatory budget will provide tree guards for newly planted trees. If there are some in your neck of the hood, on the streets and especially on the avenues  where the conditions are harsher for the newly planted trees, send the request and the tree location to Council member Johnson’s office.

First come first served.


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Great Job DOT! Safer Crossing for 800 students at West 41st Street and 10th Avenue

After a  successful campaign by both residents of 555 10th Avenue and the parents of the school Success Academy Hudson Yards, DOT installed a new split LPI at the very dangerous intersection of W41st Street and 10th Avenue.  This is one of the Lincoln Tunnel entrances where drivers use two lanes  to turn aggressively and block the pedestrians crossing.


During the summer of last year,  a petition circulated that garnered over 700 signatures and parents reached out to Council Member Johnson to get relief. MCB4 sent a letter the following month asking for a split LPI . Chekpeds also worked with neighbors and the DOT to secure a few planters that were installed on the sidewalk in the fall of last year, giving a modest sense of safety. DOT will install markings on the ground in the next few days! great job DOT and thank you to Council member Johnson and his staff for putting a priority on this issue.


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Port Authority seeking residents to join Bus Terminal Advisory Board

The Port Authority is seeking interested individuals who commute regularly through or live near the midtown bus terminal to serve on the agency’s new Port Authority Bus Terminal Advisory Council.

The new advisory council – which will launch in July as a 12-month pilot program – will be tasked with providing input to facility management on operations, customer service issues and community impacts from operations. Bus terminal council members will meet every two months either in person or via teleconference.

Applications to participate on the council must be received by June 7. The council will be open to commuters who regularly travel through the bus terminal and to community residents who live within neighborhoods adjacent to the bus terminal, including Hell’s Kitchen, Times Square, Midtown West, the Theater District and the Garment District.

To obtain an application, go to www.panynj.gov/PABTAC or pick up an application at a Bus Terminal Information Booth or at the Port Authority Bus Terminal Replacement Center, located just inside the terminal’s Ninth Avenue entrance between 40th and 41st streets.

Completed applications can be submitted via e-mail to PABTAC@panynj.gov; via mail to PABT Advisory Council, TB&T Customer Programs and Services, 4 World Trade Center, 150 Greenwich Street, 22nd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10007; or hand delivered to a Bus Terminal Information Booth or at the Port Authority Bus Terminal Replacement Center.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 212-435-7777


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Join Us to Celebrate Bob’s life



Celebration of Bob’s Life
Saturday, May 4th, 2019, 2p.m. to 5 p.m.
Hartley House
413 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
Robert Paul Kalin
(February 28, 1954 – January 22, 2019)
A quiet and humble person, he never sought, nor wanted recognition for the work he dedicated his life to. His presence in our neighborhood will be deeply missed.


Bob Kalin, worked at HCC for 40 years. He was employed as a long time tenant organizer and advocate for low-income tenants in Hell’s Kitchen. Sadly, he passed away on January 22, 2019.

Throughout the years, Bob trained dozens of tenant organizers at HCC, housing advocates and tenants throughout the City.  He also developed a viable ‘plan of action’ to help elderly tenants clean out their cluttered apartments to avoid evictions. Bob worked tirelessly – advocating for generations of Hell’s Kitchen tenants and their families to prevent eviction and get needed repairs. He was well known for his activism in the tenant community and was a strong advocate of tenant rights. Bob was unrelenting in the fight to preserve affordable housing in our neighborhood.

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Another safety improvement on W42nd Street and 8th Avenue

Step by step this intersection is getting better, although it is so bad, you can hardly notice the progress !


Pedestrians crossing at the north of the intersection, now have the priority, while the turn signal for eastbound motorists who make a left turn on 8th Avenue has been moved to the end of the cycle .

As a result, most conflicts between cars and pedestrians will be eliminated. A similar treatment on westbound W42nd Street at 9th Avenue resulted in a 53% reduction in injuries over 5 years. Thank you DOT for these life-saving changes.

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M42 Bus: from Pokey to Presto in 2019?

Improving bus service in New York city is a key prerequisite to the success of congestion pricing . From giving more commute options to residents who live in transit deserts, to speeding up the current buses in Manhattan, this is a priority for both MTA and DOT.

DOT recently announced its ” Better Buses Action Plan – 2019” where the  M42 has been selected as one of the first corridors to be improved. Features will include painted dedicated bus lanes, priority signals for buses, and restricted or signalized left turns, as well as delivery bays for long distance buses and business deliveries.

Apokey awardnyone who has ever tried to cross 42nd St. on a bus will not be shocked to learn that the M42, running from river to river, is the “Pokiest” bus in town. It runs a staggering 3.2 mph, enough to win for the fifth time in the 15-year history of the awards and draw an unflattering comparison.”3.2 miles an hour, slower than a chicken, which runs at up to nine miles an hour. So much, much slower than a chicken runs, does the M42 move,” said Jaqi Cohen of the Straphangers Campaign.

It is very good news for our neighborhood, where so many seniors depend on the bus and so many residents live on the far west side and use shuttles to connect to the subway. This could really make a dent in the shuttle congestion on the corridor.

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Congestion Pricing Passes! Traffic Safety will improve

Rejoice! Our lives are about to get better, from a congestion, air quality but also safety standpoints.

London implemented congestion pricing over 10 years ago and reduced its road traffic by 15%. in 2015, Lancaster University Management School studied the effect Congestion Pricing had on traffic safety and concluded that it reduced crashes leading to fatalities and injuries by 40% in the congestion zone and 13% in the adjacent counties The  study attributes these remarkable results to the fact that with less congestion, trips are more predictable and thus less stressful for drivers.

Applying these findings to New york city, CHEKPEDS found that congestion pricing could reduce fatalities by 71  and injuries by 17,000 over the next two years in New York City, if congestion pricing was implemented.  This would move up by years our reaching the goal of Vision Zero at no cost to the city.

Of the top 10 legislators whose constituents would benefit the most from congestion pricing, Queens representatives are in 4th and 5th positions , three more are from Brooklyn and one in the Bronx, showing that Congestion pricing really benefits all New Yorkers

Top 10 legislsators - live saved-1-31-2019

Beware of exemptions:

The current plan provides exemptions for emergency vehicles as well as vehicles carrying persons with disabilities. It also gives a tax credit to drivers earning less than $ 60,000 annually.

Many categories of users have started to clamor for exemptions. The law requires that the plan raise $ 15 billions for the MTA to fund public transit . It means that each exemption will require lawmakers to find a compensating revenue , and the easiest way will be to increase the fees.  Also every exemption claimed by residents of the cordoned zone, will open the door for outer boroughs’ residents to claim the same one. Residents in the cordoned zone are on average wealthier than others.

Consider the fact that every exemption will put more motorists on the road and decrease our chances of a safer city . This in itself,  should be a powerful motivator to shut the door on any exemption.


Click Here for the full research 

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Join us at Transit Center – Neighborhood Empowerment Project

As usual Open Plans founders are ahead of the game. This new initiative explores  how  monolithic agencies with many silos could enroll nimble and motivated local people who have a more holistic view of their streets in order to improve their productivity and response time.

empowerement project

This approach was embraced by corporations long ago in order to improve their customer service, but it is very foreign to our government. Join us for an evening of challenging  ideas that may well be the start of another street revolution

Join Open Plans for the launch of “The Neighborhood Empowerment Project

Thursday April 18, 2019 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Transit Center
1 Whitehall Street , 17th Floor


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