Do drivers speed, run red lights, or double-park in your neighborhood? Do pedestrian signals provide enough time to cross the street safely?
If you live or work in New York City and face traffic safety challenges like these, speak up!
As part of the Vision Zero campaign to eliminate traffic fatalities, the City is seeking [...]
Community members envision a transformed Woodhaven Boulevard at a design workshop hosted by NYC DOT and MTA Bus. Photo: Kathi Ko
In late June, the New York City Department of Transportation and the MTA returned to Queens for a second round of workshops to solicit ideas for the Woodhaven Boulevard Select Bus Service (SBS) route — the first of its kind for the borough. Residents and community groups gathered for a design charrette to submit their visions for a transformed Woodhaven Boulevard. Amid some concerns, participants were eager to share their ideas on how to speed up bus service, ease congestion, and improve walkability along the corridor.
Most workshop participants agreed that something needs to be done to relieve the infamously congested and dangerous corridor. At the first meeting back in April, participants discussed how and where they live, work and play along Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, as well as their choices of and experiences with various commute modes. The feedback revealed local concerns including very slow and unreliable buses, dangerous and difficult pedestrian crossings, and traffic congestion.
During last week’s design charrette, participants engaged in a streetscape redesign envisioning process using elements of SBS and bus rapid transit (BRT) — similar to what MTR envisioned — as well as complete streets elements. The room was abuzz with a mix of proponents for big and bold ideas; others who were open to SBS, and even full-fledged BRT, but with some reservations about how SBS might affect congestion, parking and local bus service; as well as those who were seemingly opposed to any changes to the status quo.
Since city-wide SBS routes currently in service show that these concerns do not necessarily materialize, MTR decided to take a stab at addressing some of these concerns:
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State legislators voted in favor of allowing New York City to lower its default speed limit to 25 miles per hour in the 2014 legislative session. | Photo: AP via legislativegazette.com
It was an action-packed end-of-session for transportation advocates in Albany, with some squeaker wins as well as some disappointing losses which will no doubt be on next year’s sustainable transportation wish list.
A key victory this year came when the State Senate laid politics aside and granted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio a key component of his Vision Zero plan: the authority to lower the default speed limit to 25 mph throughout the five boroughs.
Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell was an early and effective champion in the Assembly, but in the Senate, passage was less certain when election year politics entered into the negotiations.
After a concerted campaign from Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, the first positive sign of forward progress for the bill came with three days left in the legislative session when Senator Jeffrey Klein introduced an amended bill (S.7892) that included input from community boards. Passage was certainly not assured especially as it became clear that Senator Dean Skelos was prepared to block the bill for personal reasons, and when Senator Andrew Lanza also indicated he was not inclined to support the legislation. Ultimately, consensus was reached and the bill is expected to be signed by Governor Cuomo. The City has already begun to discuss how to implement its new local control.
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New York City Department of Transportation Policy Director Jon Orcutt announced today that he will leave his post after seven years with the department. Orcutt was with Tri-State for 13 years before joining NYC DOT, first as associate director from 1994 until 2003, and executive director from 2003 until 2007. Over the past 25 years, Jon has [...]
Image: BRT for NYC
A coalition of transit advocates (including TSTC), community groups, labor unions and business organizations have come together to address transportation inequality by making sure Mayor de Blasio’s vision of 20 world-class BRT corridors becomes a reality in New York City.
The BRT for NYC Steering Committee is working with elected officials at the local and state level, focusing on areas which lack subway service, with growing employment opportunities, and where there’s the greatest risk of damage from natural disasters.
The MTA and NYC Department of Transportation are currently conducting community outreach events focused on implementing Select Bus Service (SBS) along the Woodhaven/Cross Bay corridor. The massive roadway, up to 10 lanes wide in some areas, has been on the NYC DOT’s radar for several years, as it is not only one of the borough’s most congested corridors, but also the most dangerous corridor for pedestrians in Queens. The roadway’s width, if used to its full potential, could easily accommodate a more robust BRT service and infrastructure.
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Mayor de Blasio’s new and improved plan to rezone Midtown East must prioritize infrastructure improvements to relieve overcrowding and congestion. Image: www.theepochtimes.com
A recent proposal to build a 65-story tower directly adjacent to Grand Central Terminal has reawakened the broader Midtown East Rezoning plan. During the Bloomberg Administration’s waning days, a previous version of the proposal was halted by the City Council due to its failure to adequately address infrastructure needs before more intense development arrived. The new plan has yet to be fully developed, but for now, a short term zoning change could clear the way for the first tower in the area and offer a blueprint for how infrastructure improvements could be made in tandem with development.
It’s not that the previous proposal ignored infrastructure needs. The Bloomberg proposal read that a District Improvement Fund (DIF) would be dedicated to transit and pedestrian improvements throughout the area, paid for by contributions funneled through a District Improvement Bonus (DIB). Developers would be able to build higher density for contributions into the DIF. The problem is that these improvements would be made after the fact – infrastructure improvements would not be made until there was enough money in the pot to cover costs. Meanwhile, an enormous influx of new employees would exacerbate the already-congested Metro-North and subway platforms and entrances, as well as strain public spaces, sidewalks and streets.
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NYPD must record crash information accurately in order to achieve Vision Zero. Image: Streetsblog
Since the release of New York City’s much-anticipated comprehensive crash dataset earlier this month, community members, advocates, and other proponents for safer streets can more easily access traffic crash data to advocate for safer streets. Opening crash data in this format is an integral step towards Vision Zero’s success.
As the City continues to outline next steps towards eliminating traffic deaths, the public can now view the NYPD-provided dataset, which includes information on all vehicle crashes dating back to July 1, 2012. Its 332,871 records (as of May 20,2014) contains date, time, number of persons/pedestrians/cyclists/motorists involved (broken out by injury and fatality), as well as geographic information. Of the 332,871 records within this period, 28,244 represent vehicle crashes that involved pedestrians or cyclists (or both).
Of particular interest when looking at crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists was the “Contributing Factor” attribute, which is what the investigating officer indicated as a factor in what caused the crash. This attribute could help us understand the true causes of crashes, but the dataset leaves a lot to be desired.
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Without camera enforcement, some drivers will treat “BUSES ONLY” as nothing more than a suggestion. | Photo: Joseph Cutrufo/TSTC
New York City Transit staff were on hand to help new SBS riders with off-board fare payment. | Photo: Joseph Cutrufo/TSTC
Select Bus Service for the M60 bus in Harlem launched earlier this week — a move the MTA expects will “speed trips to LaGuardia and across 125th Street” for the thousands of daily riders who use the service along the corridor.
To get a first person perspective of the new service, MTR rode the M60 Select Bus Service on 125th Street Wednesday morning at rush hour to see how the newly-installed bus lanes have helped to increase bus speeds. The M60 bus traveled at an average speed of 2.7 miles per hour prior to the addition of bus lanes on 125th Street.
The ride from St. Nicholas Avenue to Lenox Avenue — where there are no exclusive bus lanes – is .4 mile in length, and took four minutes and 30 seconds, for an average speed of 5.3 miles per hour, largely because the M60 doesn’t make any stops between St. Nicholas and Lenox.
The ride from Lenox Avenue to Lexington Avenue — where exclusive bus lanes have been painted — is .5 mile long, and took four minutes and 45 seconds, for an average speed of 6.3 miles per hour. While that doesn’t seem like much of a difference, during this particular trip, the bus was stopped at the Madison Avenue station for extended period. First the operator had to direct passengers to pay their fare using curbside payment machines (after just three days in service, people are still getting used to Select Bus Service off-board fare payment) and then assist a passenger using a wheelchair. That was more than enough time to capture this video and grab this photo of the real-time bus arrival signage from one of the rear doors. Take away 45 seconds from the total trip time and it’s more like 7.5 miles per hour, nearly three times as fast as before SBS implementation.
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