Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser | Photos: Newsday, Press of Atlantic City

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser | Photos: Newsday, Press of Atlantic City

WINNERS

Metro Hartford, CT residents — CTfastrak, central Connecticut’s new bus rapid transit system, began taking passengers on Saturday and is so far a hit with riders.

Long Beach, NY As part of the Long Beach Safety Initiative, the City is lowering the speed limit to 25 mph and retiming traffic signals.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone In his State of the County speech, Bellone called for greater investment in transit infrastructure, including the Ronkonkoma Double Track project and bus service linking LIRR branches, as a means of boosting economic development and attracting younger residents.

New York City Department of Transportation — NYC DOT’s $100 million safety improvement plan for Queens Boulevard — which includes protected bike lanes and more pedestrian space — is working its way through the community board process.

Somers Point, NJ Mayor Jack Glasser — The City has received a grant for a bikeway extension and bike infrastructure to connect existing bike lanes in South Jersey.

Citi Bike riders — Motivate CEO Jay Walder announced that in addition to software and bike improvements, New York City’s bike share system is also expanding.

LOSERS

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — NJ Transit commuters pay the highest fares in the nation, and are facing yet another fare hike as the agency struggles to fill a budget gap, but Governor Christie is demanding loan repayment to shore up the Transportation Trust Fund for a little longer.

Newark pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists — Red light running at Newark intersections is up 116 percent in the three months since the state’s red light camera program expired.

Diplomats New York City is owed more than $16 million in parking tickets issued to diplomatic vehicles.

2 Comments on "Wednesday Winners (& Losers)"

  1. Rob Durchola | April 1, 2015 at 8:17 pm |

    It is not completely true that NJ Transit commuters pay the highest fares (per mile) in the nation. Actually, if you examine NJ Transit intrastate bus and rail fares, in general they are lower than fares for similar trips in the other major northeast urban areas.

    Fares to New York City are higher than for other agencies on a per mile basis. But this doesn’t seem to have discouraged ridership. NJT’s Northeast Corridor Line has the highest ridership of any NJT bus or rail route and seems to be growing such that monthly ridership gains in actual numbers of new riders and often in percentage of new riders is higher than other rail routes. Similarly, interstate bus ridership to NYC (again with high fares) is growing more quickly than local bua ridership.

    One should note that most of these NYC riders (those who are employed in New York) are benefiting from New Jersey subsidies to NJT; but they don’t pay state income tax to New Jersey. In that sense, a slightly higher fare than other transit agencies for similar distance traveled makes sense.

  2. The City of Long Beach deserves the winner category but with hesitation. I applaud the retiming of lights and adjusting the side streets to a lower speed but am left waiting for the crosswalk light and clinging to the curb for dear life. We still have InComplete Streets.

    Until now the traffic department has not utilized a data driven traffic management system which translates into a reactionary traffic department. Without looking at the bigger picture and tracking patterns, hotspots have gone largely ignored and prevention not entertained. I am hopeful that this is going to lead to a big change in the city being more proactive than reactive to street issues.
    The traffic light retiming did not adjust pedestrian crossing so while the city has flaunted the ability to drive from one end to the other of Park Avenue in 4 minutes, they have not addressed that it takes that long for a person to cross Park Ave. It is not possible to cross all 8 lanes plus the center parking strip in 20 seconds.
    Speed limits: The problem with maintaining 30mph through our CBD, Park Ave, is that its so densely pedestrian. The bus & LIRR station, stores & restaurants, post office, library, movie theater, city hall, police department and general offices are all located within 5-blocks with the bulk of parking located in a center strip of the street. Park Ave has 3 lanes plus curbside parking each way and no bike lane. Right-on-red are allowed. A pedestrian or cyclists navigating streets with that much traffic chaos at 30mph is not smart.

    “City officials likened the effort to New York City’s Vision Zero plan.”- Long Beach Herald.

    This is nothing like Vision Zero as they liken their initiative to and this does not make a Complete Street. We have to level the playing field and consider all modes of street users when retiming lights and resetting speed limits- and that is just a sliver of what really needs to be done. Bumpouts, repainting crosswalks wider and back from intersections, banning right-on-red, narrowing lanes and adding bike lanes, reducing the CBD speed to 25 mph and probably a few other things that I cannot think of because I am typing too early with not enough coffee. These are achievable, affordable, digestible and more like Vision Zero and Complete Streets.

    The City Council and Police Commissioner deserve some applause for these improvements because they are a step in the right direction. We just need to make sure they maintain the safety momentum and start addressing all user of Long Beach streets.

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