It is a new day on our streets: New york will be the first American city with congestion pricing

The Congestion pricing plan has been included in the governor’s budget after garnering sufficient support to pass in the State legislature. There are still many hurdles ahead of the final budget and law, including all the wrangling by special interests looking for exemptions and control.

What comes out may not be ideal, but the principle will be established and a giant step toward better streets will have been taken. It will be up to this and future mayors to use this free space to improve streets for people on all fronts, rather than let vehicles come back and choke us again.

July 5 - Congestion Pricing

We have come a long way since 2007 when our members were holding boards behind  Bloomberg in Times Square. Hats off to him and Janet Sadik Khan who championed the concept. And hats off to Speaker Corey Johnson who threw the gauntlet down by declaring he would do it if the State did not.

 

In our small way we contributed to this campaign by educating lawmakers on their benefits in their district , whether they are located  upstate or downstate and we published a research showing that 71 lives could be saved and 17,000 injuries could be avoided by Congestion pricing in New york city.

For CHEKPEDS  members, whose motto is Less Traffic = Better Streets , it is indeed a day to rejoice. And NO it is not an April’s fool post.

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750 Speed cameras added to NYC safety toolkit

cuomo-speed-cams2After four  years of heroic advocacy by Families for Safe Streets and Transporation Alternatives,  and a Hail Mary save by the joint efforts of Governor Cuomo and Council Speaker Corey Johson, the new Albany legislature has finally adopted a sensible package of bills to allow more speed cameras around schools.

The increase from  140 to 750 is a giant step and the expansion in hours from school hours only to 6a.m. to 10 p.m. and the cameras can now be placed within a 1/4 mile radius from each school, allowing them to operate at the dangerous locations where students and local residents have to cross. Thank you to Assembly member Dick Gottfried for his strong support to this common sense legislation. Speed cameras have proven to save thousands of lives in all countries and cities where they have been used.

“The data is clear: traffic safety measures like installing more speed cameras help save lives. They reduce injuries and fatalities for pedestrians, motorists, and passengers,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, who cosponsored the New York City speed camera legislation, A. 6449, which was sponsored by Assembly Member Deborah Glick and Senator Andrew Gounardes. “I believe every local government ought to have authority to install speed and red-light cameras without state-imposed limits or need to renew the law. But this bill is a big step in the right direction,” said Gottfried.
In New York City, speed cameras  are placed in school zones to protect students by photographing the license plates of speeding vehicles. The speed cameras can be operated from an hour before the school day to an hour after. The speed cameras can be operated during nights and weekends when school-related activities are taking place.
According to a 2014 study by the Department of Transportation, school zones with speed cameras reported a 63 percent decrease in area speeding and a 15 percent reduction in crashes compared to those without it.
There are now 140 cameras installed in New York City. The bill passed today would expand the speed cameras program to 750. There are roughly 1,700 schools in the City.
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True Democracy: vote for $$$

We particularly like the tree guards and the bus clocks , which both benefit such a large number of pedestrians in our district.

 Vote online NOW by clicking here

Image 3-30-19 at 5.57 PM

Vote Today!

1. Vote online NOW by clicking here

2. Vote in person at any of the following poll sites:

THE LGBT CENTER
208 West 13th Street
Saturday, March 30, Sunday, March 31
Saturday, April 6, Sunday, April 7
11:00 AM-5:00 PM

GREENWICH HOUSE
27 Barrow Street
Saturday, March 30, Sunday, March 31
Saturday, April 6, Sunday, April 7
11:00 AM-5:00 PM

FULTON HOUSES TENANT ASSOCIATION OFFICE
419A West 17th Street
Saturday, March 30, Sunday, March 31
Saturday, April 6, Sunday, April 7
11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

HUDSON GUILD ELLIOT CENTER
441 West 26th Street
Saturday, March 30, Sunday, March 31
Saturday, April 6, Sunday, April 7
11:00 AM-5:00 PM

PENN SOUTH
343 Eighth Avenue
Sunday, March 31
Saturday, April 6, Sunday, April 7
11:00 AM-5:00 PM
Monday, April 1, 3:00 PM-6:00 PM

MANHATTAN PLAZA
400 & 484 West 43rd Street
Saturday, March 30, Sunday, March 31
Saturday, April 6, Sunday, April 7
11:00 AM-5:00 PM

SPEAKER JOHNSON’S DISTRICT OFFICE
224 West 30th Street, Suite #1206
Monday, 4/1 through Friday, 4/5
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

In order to vote, you must be at least 11 years old or in the 6th Grade and live in Council District 3.

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14th Street users deserve Fully Protected Bus Lanes

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At the last meeting of Manhattan Community Board 4′s Transporation committee, the public contributed many ideas to make bus rides more effective on this corridor, especially considering the next two years of misery commuters will experience once the construction starts on the L line, after 8 p.m.

A local architect brought the hyper-realistic model of buses and boarding platforms  leveled with the doors , similar to what subway riders experience. This would speed up boarding especially for people with disabilities and shorten the trips.

Ideas proposed and adopted by the committee included a true Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan with physically protected bus lanes, raised platforms for level boarding, dedicated vehicular lanes to service truck traffic (thru and local), sanitation and pick-up/deliveries without delays to the bus service, delivery bays at the curb with a 30 minutes time slots and no commercial deliveries during peak hours. The committee also supported left turns limitations for vehicles, the use of priority signals for buses and camera enforcement for the bus lanes.

Let’s see if MTA and DOT go bold and get us a real BRT.

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Congestion Pricing brings massive benefits to everyone – please call

This is the last week of the state budget session in Albany, and that means this is our last shot to take action to pass congestion pricing in New York City. We could save 17,000 injuries and 71 deaths in the next two years and make our rides reliable while saving significant transit time. congestion pricing will help reducing asthma hospitalizations for young children by more that 30% as it did in Stockholm, and will reduce road rage and domestic abuse which increases with long and congested commute.

This is our last shot to save our streets from choking in dangerous traffic, and to save our transit system from crumbling into disrepair.After a decade of pushing and pulling, this is our best shot to make congestion pricing happen. Truthfully, there may never be a better moment than this one at all.

Will you call Assembly Speaker Heastie and Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins, thank them for their leadership, and ask they include the strongest possible congestion pricing plan in the state budget this week? the ONLY exemption we support is for people with disabilities because the subway is not accessible. 

Call Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins: 518‑455‑2585
Call Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie: 518‑455‑3791

We need to keep pushing — can we count on you to make those calls?

Let’s get this done.

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Protected intersections will be standard on 11th Avenue bike lane

Last Month, New York City DOT gave MCB4′s Transportation Committee a comprehensive update on the roll out of a newly configured 11th Avenue, with a one-way section from 40th Street to 57th Street and two-way below 40th Street. This project is part of the DOT’ Study of Hell’s Kitchen started in 2007  at CHEKPEDS’ request to better utilize roadway capacity in this area. Its implementation has been delayed multiple times but DOT swears that work will start in May 2019! We keep our fingers crossed.

Already last year a section of 11th Avenue between 39th and 42nd Street was redesigned with cement planted medians , which separates tunnel traffic form locations traffic and protects the lives of local residents and NYPD traffic agents. Trees will be planted this season.

IMG_7914

In addition to a true “complete street”, with both a protected bike lane and a bus lane, DOT will be installing a new design to protect intersections at left turns along the offsetxingbike lane, by replacing mixing zones with “offset crossings”. Such design features a tight corner radius to slow vehicle turns and a short conflict zone between bicyclists and turning vehicles.

We have long advocated for this level of protection which benefits equally bicyclists and pedestrians and even participated in the study that DOT completed in 2018. We are delighted to see the first large scale implementation taking place in our district. Bravo to Transportation  Alternatives for championing this cause and to DOT for listening.

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Join us: e-scooters and e-bikes hearings

Join us to ensure that e-scooters are introduced in phases in New York city in the appropriate  areas where they can be useful (not in the CBD), with proper speed controller (12 mph.) the proper infrastructure (no sidewalk riding; parking in parking lane only ) and legal safeguards (proper user agreement and increased enforcement).

We oppose legalizing class  2 and 3 e-bikes  which reach 20 and 28 mph respectively, without their drivers obtaining a license and registration as is currently required for comparable vehicles (mopeds), and driving in the roadway instead of the bike lanes.

We are in favor of financial assistance to convert every class 2 and 3 e-bikes to class 1. and in favor of applying stiff penalties to the sellers of kits to convert bikes in class 2 and 3 e-bikes. Further delivery workers should get the same minimum wage as all other workers and a compulsory tip should be included in deliveries. They should not have to use illegal vehicles to survive.

January 23, 2018 , 1 p.m.
City Hall Chambers
Hearings on legalization of e-scooters and e-bikes at the city council

Bills text 
Chekpeds letter to elected officials
Manhattan Community Board 4 resolution 

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Cuomo puts Congestion pricing in his 2019 priorities

The conversation about congestion pricing has evolved positively especially since the invasion of Manhattan by 100,000 Uber and Lyft cars in the last two years. Examine the Pros and Cons tomorrow night .

2019-Flyer-JR-CongestionPricing-01-17-19

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Best wishes for 2019!

Dear members ,

At this time of year we’d like to reflect on our progress and stake out a few goals for 2019. There is much to like about 2018..

Focusing on Crash Data

8thavIn 2018 we launched Crashmapper.org, a web tool that received many accolades from the press, the agencies and the advocates. The tool maps and analyzes traffic crashes using variety of filters. As one advocate said: ” we used crashmapper to demonstrate that an intersection is dangerous and getting worse. The numbers helped us win the support of the community board in Brooklyn” . We have demonstrated it to many parties including the Borough President who will include it in the training of new board members in the future.  We  will continue to promote its use across the board.

Re-engineering the Intersections for safety

The DOT completed a study of safety at bike lanes intersections we advocated. While the full split phase Cyclingatcrossroadssignals installed on the lower part of 8th and 9th avenues are the safest , the interruptions in cycling flow is a major inconvenience to bicyclists that may encourage them to run through red lights. DOT has proposed two new pilot treatments : (1)  a large island that continues until half of the cross street: it forces drivers to slow down significantly before turning (2)  A delayed Turn ( a.k.a. a split LBI or LPI) which gives pedestrian and cyclists a certain amount of time of fully protected crossing ( with a red arrow for cars ) followed by a semi protected phase, with a blinking yellow arrow for cars. While this still needs some tweaking , we are delighted the Split LPI has been selected, as it has proven beneficial to pedestrians in our district.

simul trip timeMoving on to the next challenge: to convince DOT to provide walking and cycling the same level of service that is afforded to driving. CHEKPEDS partnered with Joe Realmutto an engineer, to develop a simulator of traffic lights. The goal is to find duration of traffic lights that will deliver the longest green wave to pedestrians and bicyclist, while maintaining a 25 mph maximum speed for cars. Why should DOT only study cars and not other street users?

DOT committed to install split phase signals at 57th Street and 8th and 10th Avenues as part of  bike lanes installation on the upper section of 8th/ Columbus circle, and 10th . They will also install some split LPis on those segments . Our elected officials Assembly member Linda Rosenthal and Council Speaker Corey Johnson were instrumental in getting us these favorable outcomes ! Thank you Erica Overton and Erik Botcher.

Following deadly crashes and our letter, Senator Hoylman obtained that the State DOT initiate a study of safety at the intersections along the Hudson River greenway. 

Making Space for Pedestrians

This year HYHK ( Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen) BID redesigned West 37th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues for IMG_7818safety and for an improved pedestrian experience. Bulb outs , planters, street seats , murals and a mid block pedestrian crossing all make it one of the best streets for pedestrians in the city.

TreesSimilarly , CHEKPEDS worked with HYHK, the Port Authority, and Quadrum to complete  the Canoe plaza with a second row of eleven trees and plantings on the north side of the promenade.

CHEKPEDS board members continue to work very hard tostorm enclosure bsd ensure that pedestrian right of way is maintained on 8th and 9th Avenues: They distributed flyers to more than 200 shops and restaurants to advise them of how to make storm enclosures and sandwich boards compliant with the laws.  See what you can do to address this issue .

Looking ahead to 2019

2019 presents a huge opportunity with congestion pricing:  We are part of a citywide coalition “ Fix Our Transit” working along side of 100 prominent organizations that support the plan. Congestion pricing has proven very good for safety: in London, crashes decreased by 40%  in the two years after the congestion charge was established! a much needed remedy in NY since it 2018 is ending on a sad note: more pedestrians were killed that the previous year.

We will continue our critical work on the replacement of the Port Authority Bus terminal , as part of the HKS (Hell’s Kitchen South) Coalition. 

e-scooters and e-bikes will be discussed at the city council in January – Please read the letter CHEKPEDS sent to our elected officials on the matter.

We  will make sure DOT delivers on its safety commitments, in particular at 41st street and 10th Avenue at a district school; that 11th Avenue is converted to one way north of 42nd street  as the last deliverable of the Hell’s Kitchen DOT study; that the study of 8th avenue ( 37/47) is completed and that the traffic signals are adjusted to 25 mph in the district. We will also track the results of the Hudson Greenway study underway.

We will be working on setting up a borough wide sidewalk obstruction task force and on removing garbage from the sidewalks. We will continue to disseminate information on ADA ramp guidelines and on illegal obstructions.

 

Thank you to all of you who support us and read us . Let us know in the comment section if there are additional items we should focus on .

 

 

 

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Comings and goings

Chekpeds board is pleased to welcome Allen Oster, of Chelsea on the board. Alan is President of the W400 Block Association ( 20/21st Streets) and the co chair of the Quality of Life committee of Manhattan Community Board 4 . He is also active on the Midtown South Quality of Life  committee. He is a terrific addition to the board.

We are also delighted to welcome back Ernest Modarelli, who had left for a stint at the Governor’s office. Ernest moved back to 45th Street in Hell’s Kitchen.

This year saw the passing of Alison Tupper, one of the original members of CHEKPEDS. Alison was an example of advocacy done right, with a passion for protecting the Hudson river. She extended her energetic efforts into fighting the stadium, saving the 45th Street playground’s mural as well as keeping the 46th block association alive and well. She was an inspiration to all of us. R.I.P. Alison.

04032009 192Long term member Eric Muise, is moving to Boston. He leaves behind  powerful memories and accomplishments. We  wish him the best of luck. Kathleen Treat has graciously taken over the functions of Secretary.

Howard Carlin, of Chelsea ( 23rd street) stepped down from the board to pursue other interests including moving to Florida for part of the year. Warm wishes to Howard.

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