Cross Town Protected Bike lanes on W37/38th streets?

Community Board 4 wrote a letter to DOT asking them to study the feasibility of protected crosstown bike lanes on 37th and 38th Streets from 11th to 8th Avenue .

The bike lanes would connect workers and residents of the emerging Hudson Yards district to the northbound  / southbound  lanes on 8th and 9th Avenues.  And the recent fatality on 26th street has illustrated that further protection is needed to make this mode of transportation safe for all. This could also be a boon to the Javits’ Center visitors who need a more protected environment to use a bike in New York city.

“CB4 supports Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance BID ’s proposal for bike lanes on these streets and requests that DOT create a plan for protected bike lanes on these streets from Eighth Avenue to Eleventh Avenue. Over the past several years, CB4 has repeatedly requested that DOT provide safe, protected crosstown bike lines. While DOT has stated they are working on several proposals, the safety of our city’s pedestrians and cyclists cannot wait. In this case, the local businesses and communities are explicitly requesting these lanes in order to make their streets more friendly and inviting.”

The developers are anxious to see this facility come on line and we are too!

 

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Adding 50% more capacity to the existing bus terminal is viable

The results of a recent study concluded this month was presented to the Port Authority Board of Commissioners on September 28, 2017. Engineering and Construction firms concluded that it would be feasible to add two floors to the current bus Terminal and then proceed to renovate the floors below , in a top down approach. This technique has been used before on other buildings. Thus this will be included in the options to be studied as part of the environmental process .

You can see the presentation here and view the video Here ( 0:31:28).

While this is a good news from a land use perspective – no eminent domain will be necessary- many key issues air quality  and street safety remain to be addressed:  increasing by 40% diesel bus exhaust is not going in the right direction unless the building is fully enclosed and the air filtered. And what will happened to pedestrians with 40% more buses on the street or to 40% more commuters who want to go the East side and use the E line , which is already at capacity?

This is only the very first step in a very long precess to resolve all these critical issues to the community satisfaction. We have our work cut for us.

 

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Meeting with Bus companies and DOT

Bus meeting 10-8-2017

 

On October 5, 2017 Council Member Corey Johnson was joined by Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Dick Gottfried, a representative of Assembly Member Rosenthal , CB5 and CB4 to host a meeting of Bus companies Executives, representative and executive officers  of their association, the DOT and NYPD.

This was the second meeting called by the council member’s office in response to the cyclists deaths earlier in the summer in Chelsea.

The list of concerns discussed was long : Bus routes ( DOT is preparing a new map for buses) Idling is a major issue (DOT clarified the rules – Idling is not permitted during prolonged Loading – unloading – Air conditioning need the engine idling to cool the cab- eventually electric buses will be an answer. Alternate  fuels and auxiliary power should be considered) Spill back which has a major effect on pedestrians , Parking and Layover is a major issue (DOT should publish a map and explore a reservation system as exists in Alexandria, VA, DOT should push for the building of a bus garage).

A good meeting but an endless battle to be continued …

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DOT Focuses on Protecting Intersections for Cyclists

After a number of Community Boards banded together to ask the DOT to protect intersections along bike lanes, a study is underway to look at all intersections treatments and come back with recommendation some time next year.

As part of this study, the DOT installed various tests, bollards on the upper west side, Columbus Avenue at 70th Street and Amsterdam Avenue at 85th Street; and a split LPI in Hell’s Kitchn (9th Avenue at W38th Street) . We look forward to get your feedback.

This comes on the heels of DOT’s publication of ” Safer Cycling” a report that analyzes all causes of death and injuries for cyclists. It found that while cycling is getting safer, especially in CitiBike’s territory, the vast majority of crashes occur on streets without protected bike lanes , and 86% of serious injuries occur at intersections. Something pedestrians are well aware of.

ghost-bikeMost crashes leading to fatalities fall in three categories : traveling adjacent to a motor vehicle (29%), traveling at a right angle to a motor vehicle (27%), and motor vehicle turn crashes (21%), the latter being very close to the statistics for pedestrians.

Since 2009, CHEKPEDS has been advocating for Split phase signals at all intersections on bike lanes.

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Many Signals Do Not Provide Sufficient Crossing Time

In 2017, the Hudson Yards/ Hell’s Kitchen ( HYHK) Alliance completed a comprehensive streetscape study in their catchment area of 30th to 42nd Street, 9th Avenue to 11th Avenue. One of the unexpected findings is that many traffic signals have not been properly adjusted to allow enough time for pedestrians to cross the road.

The map below illustrate which intersections are not in compliance and thus present dangerous situation for pedestrians. The HYHK asked the Community Board 4 (CB4) to support their request to DOT to adjust signals at those intersections . CB4 voted unanimously to support it and is writing a letter to the DOT to this effect.

insufficient crossing time

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Join Us : Discuss Air Quality with the State Agency DEC

After our presentation on Air quality  - or lack thereof –  to the Parks and Environment Committee of CB4, the state agency in charge of the environment – Department for Environmental Conservation, (DEC)  will be presenting their plans and efforts to the committee.

Department of Environmental Conservation Presentation
Thursday, October 14, 2017, 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
353 West 30th Street

The 50% increase in the number of buses in our backyard proposed by the Port Authority means that our air will become much worse when it should be improved.

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Pedestrian Safety: 10 More Intersections Protected in 2017!

Just in 2017 , DOT has added 10 new split LPIs to protect pedestrians who cross the avenues. A split LPI is a red arrow for turning cars which gives exclusive right of way to the pedestrians, followed by a blinking yellow arrow which puts drivers on notice to slow down and yield. LPIs – which delays the start of all traffic ( turning and through)  were installed at 3 locations .

Slide1

Such installation has been very successful in our district notably at 43rd and 9th Avenue . We are delighted that our Hell’s Kitchen Transportation Study is yielding so much safety at dangerous intersections .

Our next goal is to tackle  the big complicated intersections ( 42/8, 57/8, 57/10 ) and get them fixed. Already DOT notified us that the 57/8 intersection is included in a study of Columbus Circle that will be completed in January 2018. This is progress.

 

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We Desperately Need Protected Intersections

Activists are making the rounds of Community Boards with one message to DOT: we need protected intersections! by letting cars turn at the same time as cyclists and pedestrians cross the intersection, DOT is creating a dangerous situation and  is  responsible for crashes at these intersections!

This is a position CHEKPEDS has advocated for a long time , and as a result CB4 has more split LPIs signals that most districts in New York . With the death of a cyclists easier this year in a mixing Zone, the cycling community is now aware of how dangerous these intersections are and is adding its powerful voice.

CB4 recently joined the chorus of Cb7 and CB2 in asking for a blanket policy on intersection safety. Including: extending the green ribbon across the intersection, adding boards to separate from the cars, put pedestrian and bike crossings on a speed table, install split phases and split LPIs. We are told DOT is working it and will come out with a decision next year.

Slide4

 

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RPA’s “Crossing the Hudson” Proposes a Holistic Plan for the Next 20 Years and Beyond

The Regional Plan Association recently published key transportation recommendation ahead of Its fourth regional plan to be released in November 12017.  It pretty closely mirrors the Community Board and our recommendations for the bus terminal replacement: a long distance bus terminal at or around Javits Center, that would provide enough capacity to extend the terminal life by 20 years, [completion of Gateway with a run  through option] and a rail or subway extension in Phase 3. Notably, this is the first time RPA advocates for a # 7 subway extension in New Jersey.

RPA integrated plan

Here are some excerpts:  ”For example, the New York City subway #7 or L trains could be extended to add trans-Hudson capacity and relieve bus and rail demand on existing facilities …”

“The new Javits terminal could consolidate all intercity buses, taking buses off the streets and freeing up 63 gates at the existing Port Authority Bus Terminal ( PABT), resulting in an almost 30% increase in gate capacity for commuter buses. ”

“Phases one and two {Hudson Tunnel, Penn Station, Bus terminal} would likely meet capacity needs for the next 20 years. Beyond then, trans-Hudson demand will begin to surpass combined rail and bus capacity, and the existing PABT will have surpassed its useful life, requiring replacement. While a decision does not need to be made at this time, a better option than replacing the bus terminal would be to construct new rail tunnels between New Jersey and Manhattan. This would provide sufficient trans- Hudson capacity for the foreseeable future, divert more passengers from buses, and eliminate the need to rebuild the 42nd Street bus terminal”.

You can read the summary related to the Port Authority bus terminal and the full report

 

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Buses and Cars exhaust is fouling our air – How can 40% more buses help?

Last week Chekpeds joined the Hell’s Kitchen South Coalition to present to the CB4′s Parks and Environment committee their findings related to Air Quality in our district.

Using the Data gathered by the NYC Department of Health, we highlighted that CB4 has the third worst air quality in the city. The city itself in not in compliance with Federal guidelines. In all categories where we are worse, we are in fact way worse and the situation has not improved over the last 5 years, while many other neighborhoods have made significant progress. With the large population affected ( over 562,000 persons daily and 47 schools within a half mile), one wonders how the new terminal will improve this situation with its 40% more buses. – See the excellent article from Chelsea Now - Or view the full presentation.

air quality

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