Speed Cameras are back – Hail Mary will save lives

Yesterday Governor Cuomo signed an executive “emergency order” to allow the city of New York to reactivate the 140 existing speed cameras which had been shut down in July, and work with the DMV to implement this change. Tomorrow the City Council will vote on a bill to reinstate the cameras and Mayor di Blasio  will sign  a ” Bill of Necessity” the city equivalent of the emergency order.

Cuomo said, “the cameras have reduced crashes by 60% where installed . By not renewing the program we run the real risk of causing children’s deaths”. He also credited Speaker Johnson for working closely with both the Governor and the mayor to think outside the box and achieve this result.

This is a stunning outcome for a situation that had turned desperate during the summer, with the Republican-led senate refusing to return to Albany to pass the bill . Families for Safe Streets and Transportation Alternatives advocates staged  numerous demonstrations including running a marathon around Senator Marty Golden’s block.

The bill introduced in the council could allow more cameras in the future. This is an outstanding outcome to a very long fight. Both  Families for Safe Streets and Transporation Alternatives deserve an enormous credit as well as Speaker Johnson. Senator Flanagan and Golden who stubbornly blocked the bill for political reasons, do not deserve to represent their districts.

Here are more details  and a discussion of the proposed bill 

Join Us
Rally to Demand an Expansion of Speed Cameras
Tuesday, September 4th, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
City Hall

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Can electronic scooters peacefully co-exist with pedestrians?

CHEKPEDS has learned that Speaker Corey Johnson and Transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez are working on a legislation to ensure the orderly inclusion of electric scooters in the New York Transportation options.

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These appliances which look like a children ‘s toy have showed up in various cities and caused consternation with pedestrians as described in this article “What ends up on the Sidewalk“.

In  a letter to the speaker, CHEKPEDS recommends a four-part  approach to legalizing scooters and dock-less bikes: 

  • Create parking for these vehicles in the Parking lane . Let the operators fund and maintain these parking spaces.
  • Allow only scooters designed for a maximum speed of 10 mph.
  • Increase enforcement of illegal use of all vehicles including scooters; in particular riding or parking on sidewalk and going the wrong way should get increased penalties.
  • Convene a task force to study sidewalk encroachments and resolve the multi-agency conflicts as well as propose sidewalk enlargement.

We look forward to hearing your comments  below..

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Air Quality: Help your neighbors and yourselves:

Request a street tree or multiple ones. Council Member Corey Johnson has allocated funds for street trees and will get priority from the Parks Department . It can be a brand new tree pit or a new tree in an existing tree pit . There are also $$ for tree guards . Do not  miss this great opportunity to green the avenues and the streets . Here is the form 

Report on illegal idling and get a reward. A new law allows the government to reward citizens for reporting idling . Considering the number of buses in our neighborhood, we should all be become rich! Follow the enclosed procedure; follow the procedure

 

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In case you missed it

It was summer, it was hot and you had better things to do than reading about transportation. Still you missed some major moves. Here are the ones we watched:

Pedestrians

  • Corey Johnson sent a letter to DOT asking for better pedestrian protection on the proposed 10th Avenue bike lane . DOT has agreed to change the traffic signals on 10th Avenue to comply with the 25mph during the day and night.

Transit 

  • It’s official: the M42 is the slowest in the city – Yes, we know ! read on 
  • MTA published their action plan in may and has already implanted route changes in Staten Island.

Long Distance Buses 

  • Fuji jitneys has lost its permit for the bus stops located at 327 West 42nd Street and 301 WEst 40th street. DOT followed CB4 recommendations that their permit be terminated. A very good news for the community.

Bicycles 

  • Dock-less Citibike  debuted in the Bronx – Their biggest proponent? Mayor De Blasio who does not want to sacrifice even One parking space!
  • Pedal -assist bikes were legalized . Citibike and ride share system are happy but delivery bicyclists are not : they all use throttle bikes which are still illegal. New York Times 
  • A tourist was killed on the Central Park West bike lane . Tragic but not surprising: the ” bike lane ” is only a line painted on the ground.  A waste of paint if you ask me . At least it will prompt DOT in doing the right thing and put a protected bike lane around the park.
  • 26th and 29th street protected crosstown bike lanes are near completion .
  • New York State DOT is working on a traffic study for the Greenway and the West Side Highway initiated by a CHEKPEDS’ letter to Senator Brad Hoylman last year. A meeting was organized by the Senator’s office with NYS DOT to review the progress to date with the affected community boards. Nothing tangible yet.
  • Citibike will add more stations within the existing network . You can request stations near you  here 

Congestion

  • City council passed two legislations to limit the number fo Uber, Lyft etc cars ( unless they offer service for the disabled riders) and to increase the minimum wage of drivers to match the rest of the city . New York times
  • Bruce Schaller, a former NYC deputy commissioner, publish a report showing the massive congestion caused by Uber and Lyft, etc. Read the article in Citylab and read the report 

Parking 

  • New York city announced new parking rates to encourage more turn over. As a result the cost of placards to the rest of the citizens will reach $ 1.5 billion a year. Who will have the balls to tackle this baby?

It was a very busy summer indeed.

 

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West 37th Street Renaissance

Over 10 years ago CHEKPEDS initiated a 9th Avenue Renaissance project which incorporated over 1,000 input from the community. The resulting suggested various  designs for streets.

Fast forward to 2017 , when the recently formed Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance (HYHK Business Improvement District) initiated a Streetscape Study of its district.

in 2018, HYHK started to implement the plan and the results are spectacular. we encourage you to visit 37th street ( 9/10) and enjoy al fresco in the public seating provided.

Horticulture: Designwild
Music: Allegria Callada, Chano Dominguez

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Victory for Disabled – L train’s 6th Avenue station to become ADA compliant

Disabled person discuss with Andy Byford at L Train  Open House. Photo by Lesley Susan

Disabled person discuss with Andy Byford at L Train Open House. Photo by Lesley Susan

As the result of a lawsuit filed by the 14th Street Coalition and disabled groups, the MTA committed to install elevators at the 14th Street and 6th Avenue Station, while the repairs to the Canarsie Tunnel are underway.

It is a terrific win on an item that was high on Community Board  4 ‘s list of demands for this project . On the other hand, it is a disgrace that a lawsuit was necessary in order to obtain satisfaction for such a logical request .  MTA funds would be better spent on accelerating projects in compliance with federal law , rather than litigating them.

Read the full story.

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Speed cameras work. Ask Gov. Cuomo to keep them to save lives

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Last night, the State Legislature went home without approving an extension of life-saving speed cameras at schools. The Assembly majority showed real leadership by approving an expansion bill but the Senate did not allow it to advance. Because of this inaction, , the speed camera program as we know it will end on July 25th and lives will be at risk. 140 schools will lose these speed cameras which reduce pedestrian injuries by 23 percent and speeding by 63 percent.

We need your support. Join Mayor de Blasio and advocates for a rally to tell Albany that they must approve a speed camera bill.

Rally to Support Speed Cameras (with Mayor De Blasio)
This Sunday, June 25th, 11 a. m.
Union Square

Thank you for joining us in this important fight!

If you’re interested in attending or know others who would like to attend, please let Gabrielle know.

Gabrielle Dann-AllelManhattan Borough Director
Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit
o: 212-788-2781
m: 347-268-7912
[email protected]

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Pedestrians and cyclists fight over crumbs on 8th Avenue

I know , pedestrians will tell you that cyclists are doing all sorts of illegal stuff: running red lights, interfering with pedestrians in the crosswalk, going the wrong way, riding on the sidewalk  and they are right about all of it. Bicyclists scare pedestrians with unexpected moves and can be very callous when called upon it.  But pedestrians also act illegally when they jaywalk in a bike lane and it turns out such behavior is dangerous .

gregg_ambulance-2Gregg is my neighbor. You could not find a more reasonable , moderate and law abiding citizen. He was biking in the 8th avenue bike lane three week ago , around 45th street when a pedestrian, walking illegally in the bike lane, elbowed him and threw him to the ground. He stayed in the hospital for 3 days with a collapsed lung, three broken ribs and a broken collarbone. He is back home in great pain, starting reeducation. Full Story 

The main culprit here is neither pedestrians nor cyclists but rathe the poor design of the 8th Avenue bike lane , adjacent to an overcrowded sidewalk.  It is not that the DOT did not know .. the community board resolution alerted them to the specific problem and the fact that is will be dangerous . Expediency was chosen over safe design.

As they continue to roll out this new infrastructure, DOT must not sacrifice quality design to the urgency of adding bike lanes, nor should the advocates pressure them to do so.  We are often blaming former generations for designing streets for cars and speed.  In our haste to change this, we must not accept less safe infrastructure that does nor resolve current problems for **all Users**.

If there are not enough funds to install safe bike lanes and complete streets for everyone, then lets pressure the Mayor for more resources to reduce deaths and injuries. But let’s  not tolerate expediency and ultimately become responsible for more injuries .

No room for Pedestrians on NYC’s 8th Ave so they walk in Protected Bike Lane from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

 

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Inclusive streets: focus on disabled persons

When we met with Andy Byford , the new head of New York City Transit, he declared being very focused on accessibility. His 10 year plan is proof that he was serious .  Now the Coalition of Block Associations againstthe L train who had filed a lawsuit against both DOT and MTA, has already settled its MTA portion: the stations that are not yet ADA compliant will be be made so , either as part of the L train repairs  or shortly thereafter. Community board 4 resolution on the L train has highlighted this need as a top priority. This is excellent news and indeed so logical. See the full details in Chelsea Now .

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At the request of Martin Treat, chair of CHEKPEDS, Community Board 4 Transportation Committee formed a working group to promote an ADA compliant design for store entrances. Many businesses are located in old buildings which are not ADA compliant.  Designing an ADA compliant  entrance is challenging on avenues and streets with narrow sidewalks . The working group will propose designs that achieve ADA requirements while leaving sufficient space for pedestrians . This should help disabled persons as well as businesses who have to fend off class action lawsuits .

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Spotlight on bike lanes: 8th and 10th Avenues proposals coming up

Join Us at the Transportation Committee, to hear DOT’s plans to extend the 8th Avenue bike lane from 56th Street around Columbus circle  and the Amsterdam Avenue bike lane down to 52nd Street.

DOT will present their approach to make 57th Street and 8th Avenue safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.  We are so grateful to Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal and the wonderful Erica Overton for their relentless efforts and support over the last 4 years to obtain this change.

Manhattan Community Board 4 – Transportation Committee
Wednesday, June 20th, 6:30 p.m.
305 West 44th Street (8/9)

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A bike lane will be installed later this year on 11th Avenue , when the avenue direction will be changed from two ways to one way southbound, between 42nd and 57th Streets.

CB4 had previously requested that a bike lane be installed on 10th Avenue  starting with implementation from 34th . CB4 has also requested the installation of cross town bike lanes at 37th and 38th Streets .

Our next challenge is the stretch in front of the Port Authority which is so dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians alike. 

 

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