As part of the Hell’s Kitchen Transporation Study we had requested that a number of intersections be equipped with split phase signals, which give a exclusive crossing phase to pedestrians. The Department of Transportation came through for us, approving all the intersections we had recommended: 12 more pedestrian crossings to be protected in 2017. This brings to 34 the number of protected crossings in our district.
Following the death of a bicyclist last week in a mixing zone on 1st Avenue, Transporation Alternatives and other safety advocates started asking for safer intersections along bike lanes, a point we have made repeatedly over the years. DOT announced that they are starting a study of their treatment of intersections and once a new design is chosen they will retrofit all existing bike lanes. We are delighted to hear of this new initiative that will no doubt improve pedestrian safety. Not a minute too soon.
See the map below showing the proposed signal installations as well as the existing ones.
You have all seen them in front of restaurants’ doors in the winter: the large vestibules 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.
Finally 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 !
And Bravo Jesse Bodine for your wise guidance and help on this matter .
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 .
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
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.
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 .
In 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