Finally more space on the sidewalk

You have all seen them in front of restaurants’ doors in the winter: the large IMG_5921vestibules or storm enclosures that take up 3′ or 4′ of sidewalk . They stay up until April or sometimes during the whole year and they are illegal!  Per the code, they cannot extend by more than 18″.

But when it came to enforcing the law, over the last 5 years we encountered an impossible magma of incompetence, unwillingness, and inadequate procedures. Agencies bounced the problem back and forth, calls to 311 directed the issue to the wrong agencies , and in the meantime the vestibules proliferated: over 100 of them are now installed in our district.

311 reporting copyFinally with the help of CB4 District Manager, Jesse Bodine, the Department of Buildings has agreed to enforce the rule and created a dedicated panel on the 311 system to log the issues:  here is the link

Lets reclaim our space !

 

http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/1305/storefront-awning-marquee-canopy-or-storm-enclosure-complaint

And Bravo Jesse Bodine for your wise guidance and help on this matter .

 

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Hudson Park Greenway: Our elected officials step up the pressure with the State

After Chekpeds board member Chana Widawsky sent a terrific letter to our elected officials, on the risks to the bicyclists on the Hudson River Park Greenway,  Senator Brad Hoylman rallied all the elected officials whose district includes the Greenway and they collectively sent a very strong letter to the New York State Department of Transportation asking for a study and  immediate remedies. West-Side-Highway-DOT-State eelcted Letter

“These incidents and the data show the pressing need to improve safety on the West Side Highway.”… ”Overall, however, the West Side Highway lacks many of the basic and innovative traffic calming devices and programs that are used across the city, such as narrower lanes, bulb-outs, speed cameras, red light cameras, greater use of Leading Pedestrian Intervals, appropriate pedestrian crossings, and Improved Driver Visibility”

We could not have said it better and are very grateful that our elected officials and Senator Hoylman are taking charge of this issue, which has been orphan for so long . Thank You .

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Sigh the Petition: Another proof the pedestrians are lowest priority for City

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We all love the beautiful  sights and quiet the snow brings to the city, but walking in the street the day after is no fun at all and often downright dangerous. This last storm amplified what we already knew: cars receive the royal treatment, with  swift snow removal and their snow being piled high along the curb, making the cleaning by homeowners and businesses exceedingly difficult; bike lanes remain untouched for days, and the sidewalks and corners of pedestrian crossings are impracticable as they are left to the goodwill of adjoining merchants.  In some places the walking path is barely 3ft , or zero when in front of a construction sites. Bus stops or shelters are completely impracticable.

Clearly the system needs an overall to take in account the new reality of millions of commuters walking in the streets and a growing number of bicyclists going to work. If the city really wants to get back “on its feet” quickly it needs to take care first and foremost of moving its pedestrians and cyclists.

STREETSpac has initiated a petition to get a hearing at the City Council Transportation Committee  SIGN THE PETITION HERE

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Find out how dangerous your street or school is

crashmapper

In March, CHEKPEDS launched a new mapping tool www.crashmapper.org that lets onefilter information by time slices, by areas like Council District, Community Board, Borough, Precinct, and by type of crash.

It’s distinctive feature is that it lets the user delineate a custom area to be tracked and returns map and statistics filtered by this area. This allows a non expert activist, like most of us are,  to track a stretch of avenue and see if the safety situation is improving or getting worse, or track an area around a school and see if a slow zone is needed.

The reviews by experts have been very positive with the app called “Best in Class” by Streetsblog  or the “Gold Standard ” by the creator of CrashStats, an early incarnation of this concept.

The app relies on NYC open data and refreshes as soon as it is updated. We thank Councilmember Corey Johnson for helping fund this effort and the CARTO company who gave us free space and tools. Chris Henrick assisted by John Kraus completed the app.

We hope that many activists groups, elected officials and others will find the tool useful to demonstrate to the DOT the need for safety improvements. If we are to achieve Vision Zero, we must all focus on the most dangerous intersections and use numbers in a smart way, without ever forgetting that pain and suffering for people and their families are behind these numbers.

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Community unified on approach to Port Authority replacement

Through a very successful town hall meeting and a survey at the end of 2016,  CB4 gathered  our community members’ opinions which were presented at a well-attended February 9th meeting of the Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition. See some highlights below. We encourage you to look at the whole presentation which has a lot of valuable feedback.

survey location

Based on this input and other intelligence , in March 2017,  CB4 jointly with CB5  sent a letter asking the Port Authority to study the creation of a  PA7, a path like rail line that would be connected seamlessly with the #7  effectively creating an extension to the #7 line.   Such a facility would provide 45% of the increase in capacity the Port Authority needs to satisfy the growth in bus riders. Cb4 is further preparing a letter to the PANYNJ with guidelines for redeveloping the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

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It is timely because the Port Authority Board just approved a $ 70 million project to study the developemnt of the bus terminal and staging facilities . Fortunately the Chair indicated that this will not be the only project and that any other project that helps satisfy future demand for Trans Hudson capacity will be considered. We also understand that a joint meeting with New Jersey maybe in the works.

DEC6 air

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We need your input to preserve our community from the Bus Terminal- Meeting and Survey

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On December 6, Manhattan Community Board 4 hosted a community planning session at Metro Baptist Church related to proposals for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT).  At that meeting it was announced that a community coalition would be forming in the wake of PABT discussions and proposals.

The first meeting of the coalition will be Tuesday, February 7 at 6:30 pm at Metro Baptist Church.  The purpose of this initial meeting of the (tentatively named) Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition will be to discuss:

  • Goals of the coalition and organization of the coalition
  • Update on Port Authority activity since Dec. 6 meeting
  • Summary of community feedback from Dec. 6 meeting

The aim is to create a neighborhood plan that reflects local needs and preferences using 26a4d97c-bdcc-4bb2-88ff-887a4e08f791the feedback we are getting at community meetings.  With that in mind, we are interested in getting feedback from you and community members.

Please take 5 minutes to fill out this survey formulated from priorities expressed at the Dec. 6 planning session.  And please share with others.We hope to see you on February 7.  Come to get involved or simply to learn more.  Any and ALL are welcome!

Tiffany Triplett Henkel
Hell’s Kitchen Resident & Metro Baptist Church Pastor

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Landmark Ruling: City liable for crash because lack of traffic calming

The New York high court just ruled that the City can be held liable for failing to study and implement traffic calming measures, which the jury determined were a major factor contributing to the crash. In a 2004 incident, the driver was traveling at 54 mph on Gerritsen Avenue, which had a speed limit of 30 mph. Prior to the incident, the City had been advised by local residents, elected officials, and the Department of Transportation that speeding was common on the street, but that no sufficient speed study or traffic calming review was performed. The Court found the City liable for failing to adequately study and mitigate the road conditions that contributed to the speeding, stating that “an unjustifiable delay in implementing a remedial plan constitutes a breach of the municipality’s duty to the public.” Read the full Press Release

Just like lawsuits were the only way to get the DOT to implement the Federal ADA guidelines, this lawsuit may be the surest way to put a price on inaction that will directly hurt the city coffers and force the city to move faster in the implementation of Vision Zero .

 

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Traffic fatalities are skyrocketing: what will the DOT do?


ped-struckIn December 2016, our neighborhood experienced two more fatalities, bringing the 2016 toll to  6 , or three times as many as in 2013.  A tourist was killed crossing W39th Street at 10th Avenue  and a bicyclist was killed while crossing 55th Street at 12th Avenue

We send a strong letter to our elected officials asking for their support and help to address the situation. We also urged Community Board 4 to write  a strong letter asking DOT for immediate action.

Read the Chelsea Now article

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Hudson River Park greenway: Near Death Experiences

16659074501_9d921bf177_bin 2006 Carl Nacht was killed  by a vehicle in the Hudson River Park, on the greenway. On 2016 another person was killed on the greenway at Chambers street.

CHEKPEDS sent a letter to the Department of Transportation and the Hudson River Park Trust late last year to alert them of the exceedingly dangerous situation at six intersections – all in our district- where the vehicles have a green light to turn into the park, while the bicyclists and pedestrian have a green light to proceed . While this is the same situation at crosswalk all over the city – and this has proven deadly in many instances- here  bicyclists and walkers have a heighten expectation of safety because after all THIS IS A PARK and people should be able to enjoy the park without dangerous interferences from vehicles.

The press picked it up and we received number of testimonies from park users who have had near deaths experiences at those intersections.

The Department of Transporation responded promptly and gave us assurances that the solution being studied for Chamber Street will be deployed at all the other dangerous intersections. Hudson River Park & Trust also responded pledging to fix all intersections.

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Good Bye 2016… Welcome 2017

 

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2016 ended up as a tough year!

Congestion – Clean Air

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The Project to replace the Port Authority Bus Terminal dominated our  activity , with townhalls, press conferences, testimonies , killer missives and arm wrestling between our elected officials and the Port. We thought it was ending up on a positive note when the Port Authority Board agreed to scraping its competition and forming a task force with New york, New Jersey and the Port Authority . Alas, the war on words picked up again in the nastiest way, around the capital plan where clearly Governor Cuomo wants to use the Port Authority as its personal piggy bank. Fortunately, the Community Board continued its deliberate and constructive process of creating a comprehensive plan for this area, to guide the future decisions to relocate or not the terminal . CHEKPEDS is joining the coalition that will activate the community.

Sidewalk and Greening

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We  made good progress on greening and sidewalks :  we won the installation of 31 micro-gardens on the 6th Avenue bike lanes which were adopted by volunteers. The Canoe Plaza in south Hell’s Kitchen received tables, chairs, umbrellas, planters and a sculpture by artist Jordan Baker- Caldwell, and street seats were added to 37th Street. Four new tree guards were installed.

LinksNYC started to replace the phone booths that everyone loves to hate . After initial hicups the installations are now working well. In addition we learned that our request for installation removals was successful and 40 installations will be removed in the district.

Pedestrian Safety

News were grim this year. We joined with Transportation Alternatives to obtain from Albany legislature that every school be equipped with a speed camera, and again were disappointed that such a common sense measure did not pass.

pedestian trends 2016

There were 6 fatalities in our district, compared to 2 two years ago. Crashes have increased nationwide and in the city by 10% due to the improved economy , but a 300% increase is still stunning and horrifying.

On the positive side, we fought for and won a safer 6th Avenue bike lane with pedestrian refuges . DOT has approved three new split phase signals (not yet installed) and is reviewing another nine. Still the increased pace of improvement that we expected from Vision Zero has not materialized and we are looking for new ways to bring this issue to the fore.

In other News

IMG_0152Chekpeds celebrated its 10 Year anniversary and gave the first ever Walkie Awards to governement officials who demonstrated their commitment to community and pedestrian safety. The people who do the work in government are rarely thanked for their tireless dedication and it was a pleasure to honor them . Co-founders Martin Treat and Christine Berthet were honored as well.

We want to thank our active board members and all of YOU  for your interest and involvement in these issues. As we painfully learned, it is critical we show our strength through numbers. Please share this letter with friends and suggest they subscribe, and let us know if you could contribute your  skills or $ to this important issue.

Happy 2017.. The CHEKPEDS Board of Directors


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Posted in 9th Avenue Renaissance, CHEKPEDS, Clean Air, Congestion, Greening, pedestrian, Port Authority, Sidewalk | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment