Pedestrian Delight: 40 phone booths will be removed

After years of advocacy ( since 2008!) and with the help of MCB4 District Manager Jesse Bodine  and Borough President Brewer and her staff,  DoiTT has finally confirmed in writing which phone booths will be removed and NOT be replaced by a LinkNYC installation. See the complete list HERE .

45th street Double cirme sceneSome of them  do not comply with the new more stringent placement rules: a good example is the phone booth at the NW corner of 45th Street and 9th Avenue that the community has tried of years to get removed, especially after two pedestrians  were killed in the crosswalk.

Others because you had  successfully illustrated all your complaints and the MBP supported our requests.  For those, we have proposed new sites for relocation. The phone booth at 402 West 44th Street is a perfect illustration and will be removed.

There is still a small contingent of installations for which we have requested relocation , but could not get confirmation since they belong to an operator who is suing the city. The lawsuit’s outcome will dictate if and when the installations will be swapped out .  Unfortunately the  phone booth at 125 West 25th Street falls into that category. We will need a bit more patience and follow-up to get resolution.

Unfortunately our requests for removals on 8th Avneue were not honored. DOT took a very long time to respond to the removal requests and the franchisee moved in before a final determination was made.  If they had been removed , some o the most troublesome installations would not be in place today.

The replacement of all the installations is due to be completed in 2019. At this time we do not have a schedule for the swap of the balance of the LinkNYC in our district. We will follow up with Community Board  4 to obtain a schedule of those coming to our neighborhood next year.

Again, none of these locations will receive a LinkNYC. The sidewalk will be refurbished and pedestrians will be once again able to use the space. A victory for our cause.

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Pedestrian Safety advances: 3 new Protected Pedestrian Crossings

At the September CB4 Transporation Committee Meeting, the Department of Transportation indicated they were proceeding with the installation of split LPIs at the following locations

@ 8th Avenue on W 31st Street (approved)
@ 8th Avenue on W 38st Street (approved – fatality)
@ 11th Avenue on W 37th Street (approved – fatality)

IMG_5608A split LPI signal consists of a red arrow that gives to pedestrians 10 seconds of exclusive crossing time on the side street, before a blinking yellow arrow let vehicles turn while urging caution .

DOT also indicated that 9 more locations were pending approval internally:

@ 8th Avenue on W 30st Street (pending approval)
@ 8th Avenue on W 36st Street (pending approval)
@ 8th Avenue on W 50th Street (pending approval)
@ 9th Avenue on W 45th Street (pending approval)
@ 9th Avenue on W 47th Street (pending approval)
@ 9th Avenue on W 49th Street (pending approval)
@ 9th Avenue on W 53rd Street (fatality) (pending approval)

Needless to say they got a round of applause for these proposals.  But the letter sent by CB4  continues to ask for mitigation at many more  locations:

  • At the priority intersections in CB4 listed in the Vision Zero Pedestrian Safety Action Plan
  •   On 39th Street, turning south on 9th Avenue
  •   On 40th Street turning south on 9th Avenue (Tunnel traffic)
  •   On 9th Avenue, turning west on 45th Street
  •   At all intersections along the bike lanes from 30th to 57th Streets where turn baysare already in place, and particularly in the midtown segment where fatalities have occurred and the commuting drivers are the most aggressive.

CHEKPEDS is entering the 2018 Participatory Budget,  with a project to install signals at 11 of our most dangerous intersections.

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This year again more greening and protected trees

We are continuing our annual program of greening the neighborhood . This year four new tree guards were installed in addition to the 25 that had been previously installed in Hell’s Kitchen South.

Two very large ones on 9th Avenue @ 56th Street and  on 8th Avenue @ 20th to protect  Micro gardens on the bike lanes;  and two on the sidewalks on 9th Avenue in the 40s  to protect newly planted and fragile trees. Mail Attachment

Let us know if you have newly planted trees that deserve protection  (on avenues and bike lanes only)

Over the summer, we  also orchestrated the creation of the East Chelsea Gardeners with the critical help of William Borock President of the Council of Chlesea Block Associations, and Shirley Secunda Chair of CB2 Transportation Committee.

After the Community Board insisted on the installation of pedestrian islands and refuges on the 6th Avenue bike lanes in January 2016, the DOT agreed to create micro gardens wherever a gardener was in charge. We recruited 37 volunteers who adopted one or sometimes multiple micro gardens. This includes the Flat Iron BID and the 34th Street Partnership BIDs, as well as Lowe’s and TD bank.

DOT has finished building most of the islands.  We held a kick off meeting on October 17 where everyone shared information and particularly the founders of the Chelsea Garden Club  shared their insights on planting etc .

The first micro garden was planted this week end on 6th Avenue and 15th Street !  This project will put a smile on your face.



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LinkNYC – A work in progress

LinkNYC Implementation 102816

LinkNYC is the Wi-FI and phone charging system that replaces the phone booths. It is currently installed at 364 locations in Manhattan, mostly on 8th Avenue in our district . The service has been very successful with 700,000 subscribers and 37 million internet sessions in its first year. It provides internet speed about 500 times faster than your internet at home .




However the experience on the ground has been  less than satisfactory. The kiosks became a magnet for gatherings that impeded pedestrian traffic on crowded sidewalks, for example near the Port Authority Bus Terminal and lead to illegal activities.

At Council Member Johnson’s  request, the franchisee  reduced the sound volume in some places and turned off most internet browsing capabilities at most of our installations. This brought significant improvements to the sidewalk. Indeed had the  DoiTT accepted our request to remove troublesome locations, they would have avoided all of the uproar on 8th Avenue.


Still the design of the appliance remains deficient since it forces people using the device to stand in the pedestrian right of way. A better design would put the controls on the sides of the appliance.

We are delighted that Councilman Johnson intervened and that thanks to Manhattan Borough President Brewer, 40 installations will be removed on our very narrow and overcrowded sidewalks.

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Regulation of Sightseeing Bus – Better but needs work

On September 23, 2016 the City Council held an oversight hearing of the Hop-on, Hop-off bus industry a welcome initiative.

Intro 529 -A increased safety requirements for drivers, a proposal we support whole heartedly. However CB4 asked that the drivers be subject to the same safety test as the MTA drivers. Nothing less.

Intro 713 -A proposed to subject sightseeing bus stops to Community board review and approval.

Intro 950 established  a quota system to limit the number of buses to 225 , approximately the existing number of permits. While this sounds like a good idea there is a serious downside to this idea and  CB4 proposed instead to limit the locations of stops  and  subject the companies to stringent method of operations including reducing the advertising they carry on their buses.

You can read the full testimony of Manhattan Community Board 4  HERE 

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Proposal to “double the number of street vendors” runs into fierce opposition

With less than two weeks to comment and no community consultation , the proposed legislation started on the wrong foot .

Community board 4 testified that it was opposed to the legislation unless the siting criteria for vendor carts was consistent with other street furniture most notably Newsstands, and food carts be allowed to use parking spaces rather than blocking pedestrian flow.

We understaand the legislation has been withdrawn.

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How Would YOU Spend $ 1 Million of City funds?



This is a real democratic process for spending real money. Two years ago , CHEKPEDS received enough votes to win $ 250,000 to build Raised Pedestrian Crossings .

Join Council Member Johnson  and share your ideas.

CLICK HERE to  respond to the invitation

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We demand Safe Passage – Sign the Petition and Join us

Enough-Slider17 people killed biking; 74 people killed walking; 29 people killed by cowardly hit-and-run drivers so far in 2016. More cyclists have been killed in the first 8 months of 2016 than in all of last year. Hit and run drivers have killed more people so far this year than in all of 2015. The number of cyclists killed this year by automobiles has increased dramatically, even when the cyclists have the right of way. It is important to speak up and increase our pressure on the Mayor so that the city really invests in safety.

You can help by Demanding Safe Passage to Mayor Di Blasio , we ask for more funding and more support from NYPD:   SIGN THE PETITION  

Or better yet, join us:

Rally/Ride – Demand Safe Passage
Wednesday, September 15, 2016 @ 6:00 p. m.
59th Street @ 5th Avenue

The rally at 59th street will unite pedestrians and bicyclists , then the cyclists will ride down 5th Avenue ending at Washington Square where pedestrians can join again.

This is important. Do not miss it .


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DOT should not Cut Corners when Safety is Concerned

NYCDOT just published the results of a study of 1,000 intersections showing that vehicular left turns are three times deadlier than rights turns , especially for pedestrians and seniors. This is consistent with our neighborhood’s experience where ten out of 13 pedestrian fatalities in the last 15 years occurred in the left crossing with the walk sign.

With this report DOT is complying with Local Transportation Law 11 that requires to study left turns. DOT’s failure to study proven solutions for these situations raises critical questions as to the report’s credibility. We do need transparent, objective and accurate information when it comes to saving lives and avoiding life altering injuries.


Recent DOT sponsored studies and our experience in the field with bike lanes have shown Split Phases to be extremely effective to improve safety in those situations. Our Council Member Corey Johnson wrote and Oped in Chelsea Now asking the DOT to roll out more split phases across our district.

Public Advocate Laetitia James introduced a bill asking to roll out the current proven remedies like Split phases or split LPIs at 100 intersections. Instead, DOT will roll out 100 “Hardened Centerline”  a paint-&-plastic experimental treatment that has never been tested. Experimenting is good but can we afford the three-year wait time to find out if this works ? Especially  for the hundreds of persons that will be killed or injured while the proper treatment is withheld.

Monday is obviously an issue:  Mayor Di Blasio rejected the City Council demand to include $ 50 millions in the budget to improve street safety. The city is spending millions $ annually to repair potholes; they send teams within one week of report to fix them. And still no one ever heard that a driver was killed because of a pothole.  What about taking some $ out of that pot to save many pedestrians’ or bicyclists’ lives? Don’t we deserve it ? Or are we second class citizens and our lives are expandable for the comfort of drivers? Our administration should not cut corners when it comes to ensuring the safety of our seniors, families and neighbors.

DOT staff indicated that they could not study split phase signals since the number of installations was too small. However we counted at least 49 split phases in the city , including 9 outside Manhattan. This is a larger sample that the  34 Left turn only signals and 51 left turn restrictions that were included in the report.

The report confirms the findings of an earlier report published by the Bloomberg administration in 2010. It found that overall 19% of fatalities and severe injuries occurred as a result of a left turn in the pedestrian crossing where the pedestrian has the walk sign .   DOT has been aware of this information for six years: not including the split phases treatment in the study and not rolling out the best treatment possible to reduce deaths and injuries is unconscionable. This brings to mind car companies failure to fix problems that they knew about and caused numerous deaths just to save money. This is pure negligence.

DOT concludes that the status quo is appropriate.  But Streetsblog in an excellent article, questions why DOT is rolling out so many LPIs which are probably less effective than split phases (we would know if this had been studied!). And let’s not forget that all bike lanes are not created equal: those with Split Phases are much safer per an earlier DOT analysis.

In spite of the lofty goals of Vision Zero this administration continues to ration safety treatments for pedestrians, children and senior citizens and  keep all of us in harm’s way. Smooth riding in an SUV is more important than saving lives.

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How to Improve Bus Service In New York

transitcenterThe Transit Center has studied the many reasons why buses are getting slower 30% slower than in 2000, in New York City , and published an interesting report on a collection of proven remedies to apply to the network.  you can read the report called ” how to improve Bus Service in New York here.

On September 19, the Transportation Committee will hold hearings on such solutions. We encourage you to participate and testify.

NYC Council Transportation Committee Hearings 
Monday, September 19, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
Council Chambers, City Hall

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