Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

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

Photo: Brad Aaron

Photo: Brad Aaron

WINNERS

NYS Administrative Law Judge Sidney Fuchs — The NYS DMV has revoked the license of Ahmad Abu-Zayedeh, the driver who struck and killed 3-year-old Allie Liao in 2013, a decision that “reinforces the importance of DMV safety hearings as a venue to ensure that reckless drivers face consequences for killing other people.”

Brooklyn residents — In addition to plans to redesign the most dangerous road in Queens, major safety improvements have also been announced for Atlantic Avenue and Ocean Parkway, two of Brooklyn’s most dangerous roads.

Staten Island ferry commuters and bicycle riders — The Clove Road bike path will be one of 2015’s first Vision Zero improvement projects, meaning commuters can soon bypass the worsening parking situation at the St. George Ferry Terminal.

New Haven, CT bicyclists —  The announcement of a 2.1-mile cycle track to connect suburban neighborhoods to downtown businesses is great news in light of recent data showing that one in four New Haven families do not have access to a car. 

Princeton, NJ bicyclists — The Princeton Council voted 5-1 to replace on-street parking with two-way bike lanes along a section of Hamilton Avenue as a “baby step” toward a future comprehensive bike policy.

M60 SBS riders — According to new MTA data, Harlem’s M60 SBS has been wildly successful, reducing travel time to Laguardia Airport by nearly 15 percent and travel time along the Second Avenue dedicated bus lane by more than 30 percent.

Brooklyn Technical High School freshman Alison Collard de Beaufort — After several students’ lives were lost in traffic incidents, Alison founded the Vision Zero Youth Council to provide a venue for other students to become actively involved in street safety.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

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

Elliot Sander speaks at a news conference on Jan. 13, 2015 in Grand Central Terminal with Jay Walder, center. | Photo: AM New York (Credit: Charles Eckert)

Elliot Sander speaks at a news conference in Grand Central Terminal with Jay Walder, center. | Photo: AM New York

WINNERS

New York City street users - At a press conference this morning, the City announced street safety gains made in Vision Zero’s first year, including the completion of more than 50 major street redesign projects, with 50 more slated for 2015, starting with the notorious Queens Boulevard. It was also announced that at 19 speed camera locations around the city, speeding dropped 59 percent from September to December.

Former MTA Chiefs Elliot Sander, Jay Walder and Peter Stangl – Joined by advocates, the three former MTA heads came together to demand a fully-funded MTA capital program, saying “The governor, the legislature, and the mayor must do the heavy political lifting to find new revenue sources to fund a $15 billion gap in the program.”

PATH riders, Hudson and Essex County residents, and businesses along PATH – The distressing proposal to eliminate overnight PATH service has been officially and indefinitely tabled following a meeting between Port Authority Chairman John Degnan, NJ state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto.

New Canaan branch and Danbury line commuters – Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced that Metro-North’s New Canaan branch will be receiving new, higher-capacity rail cars to offset the projected 44 percent increase in ridership over the next 15 years, and officials are looking at improvements to get Danbury line upgrades back on track.

New York City Council Member Ben Kallos – The council member is working to persuade the MTA to release more bus data more frequently in order to improve service for riders.

Stamford, CT – As part of Stamford’s Street Smart Initiative, the city is hiring a transportation planner as well as a new bureau chief for transportation, traffic and parking, to be charged with “preparation of a transportation master plan and transportation studies” and seeking state and federal grants.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

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

Left: Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker, Photo: ct.gov | Right: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Photo: nysenate.gov

Left: Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker, Photo: ct.gov | Right: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Photo: nysenate.gov

WINNERS

Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker — The ConnDOT head described the agency’s big plans for the years ahead, including more BRT: “I’d like to have CTfastrak East, CTfastrak West and CTfastrak North.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — When asked what Brooklyn needs more of in 2015, BP Adams replied “…Cars are so old school. We need to embrace bicycling as a transportation alternative, but the infrastructure needs to come with it. We need more bike lanes, buildings should have bus shelters, and we need to remake the entire borough based around that.”

Lower East Side resident William Mojica — Mr. Mojica spearheaded the installation of new pedestrian safety measures for his neighborhood.

Motorists and Pedestrians: Both in New York City and across the nation, driver and pedestrian fatalities have significantly declined.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders  Now the top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Sanders recently announced his plan to authorize a $1 trillion, multi-year infrastructure program to improve roads, bridges and transit.

The Federal Highway Administration — A YouTube video showing how the agency strives to “make biking and walking safer, affordable, more accessible, and an integral part of livable communities across America” complements their recent acknowledgement that driving is not as popular as it used to be.

Waterbury branch commuters — Weekend ridership has surpassed Metro-North’s projections after the addition of two late-night weekend trains on the Waterbury branch.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

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

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo | Photo: governor.ny.gov

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo | Photo: governor.ny.gov

WINNERS

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker — “I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” said Zucker, prompting the Governor to announce a ban on the controversial energy extraction process, which would have had a major impact on transportation across the state.

Opponents of the Sterling Forest casino proposal — The state casino siting board announced its choice developers today, none of which will be located in Orange County – great news for those advocating against the Sterling Forest proposal.

Connecticut commuters — Governor Dannel Malloy toured the CTfastrak busway yesterday and stated that he felt confident that “the route will ease traffic jams on I-84, generate economic development and make commuters’ lives better.”

New York City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod — Weisbrod recently promised that future city development would be approached through the lens of coordinated rational growth, with a focus on transit-oriented development.

U.S. Representatives Richard Neal, Rosa DeLauro and John Larson, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Connecticut transportation commissioner James Redeker — The elected officials from both Massachusetts and Connecticut rode the rails to highlight recent upgrades to the regional transit line.

North Shore Bus Rapid Transit advocates — Councilwoman Debi Rose, The New York League of Conservation Voters and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to raise awareness and grow support for expanding transit options to the rapidly-developing North Shore.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

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

New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg | Photo: johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu

New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg | Photo: johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu

WINNERS

New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg — The Senator solidified her role as champion for New Jersey bus riders by calling for equal investment in and improved conditions at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at today’s Port Authority budget hearing. She is also holding a second commuter feedback meeting this Thursday.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka — The mayor has joined other leaders in calling for the continuation of the state’s red light camera program.

New York State Senator Jeff Klein — The Senator wants to see part of the state’s windfall bank settlement money used to create a new program called Empire Public Works, dedicated to upgrading the state’s infrastructure, rather than seeing the funds go to a one-shot project.

Camden, NJ — The city recently approved six new major development projects, including Subaru’s new corporate headquarters, “leading to the creation, retention or relocation of some 2,000 jobs.”

Village of Mamaroneck, NY  After completing a zoning study and public engagement process partially funded by Tri-State’s Transit-Centered Development Grant Program, the Village has approved a transit-oriented development rezoning that promotes green building codes, green infrastructure, and green roofs in the TOD district.

PATH riders — Weekend service connecting Exchange Place and the World Trade Center is finally set to resume next week.

Mark Fenton — The public health, planning and transportation expert and Tufts University adjunct professor engaged New Haven residents in a walking tour and planning workshop for the Route 34 development corridor.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo — The mayor is banning cars in central Paris neighborhoods.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

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

New Haven, CT city transit chief Doug Hausladen (left) and City Engineer Giovanni Zinn (right) | Photos: Facebook, New Haven Independent

New Haven, CT city transit chief Doug Hausladen (left) and City Engineer Giovanni Zinn (right) | Photos: Facebook, New Haven Independent

WINNERS

Connecticut residents and businesses — This morning, Governor Malloy joined elected officials and transportation advocates to kick off a series of speakers discussing transportation’s role in jobs access.

New Haven, CT transit chief Doug Hausladen and City Engineer Giovanni Zinn — The two local leaders are pushing a “Complete Streets 2.0” program of low-dollar, quick turnaround projects to implement more safety improvements faster.

New York State Assemblyman Michael Miller — The assemblyman is working with the NYC DOT and Mayor de Blasio to bring Vision Zero improvements to Woodhaven.

New York State Department of Transportation — In a recent report, the agency has cited “incorporation of bicycle facilities, consistent with the Complete Streets legislation” as “integral” to Syracuse’s I-81 replacement project.

Cities with red light camera programs — At the 100 intersections with red light cameras in Suffolk County, traffic crashes declined by an average of 5.4 percent, accidents involving injuries dropped 10.6 percent, and side-impact accidents fell 30 percent compared to the previous year.

New Jersey State Assemblymembers Ralph Caputo and Grace Spencer — As the state’s red light camera pilot program comes to a close, the Essex assemblymembers are fighting for local control so that municipalities can reinstate the program at their will.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone — The county executive spearheaded the successful application for a $1.5 million grant for planning, design and construction of a BRT system along Nicolls Road.

Suffolk County Legislature — A bill was approved to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in Huntington Station in advance of new development projects.

Hamilton Township, NJ — The township’s leaders are working to improve traffic safety along the deadly stretch of Black Horse Pike in the wake of three recent casualties.

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We’d Be More Thankful If…

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Photo: people.com

Before we succumb to the increasingly aggressive Christmas creep, we’d like to take a moment to honor another important holiday coming up. No, not National Cookie Day (but that’s coming up on December 4 — mark your calendar). We’re talking, of course, about Thanksgiving.

We’ve got a lot to be thankful for here at MTR, like New York City’s lower default speed limit, the passage of a vulnerable users bill in Connecticut, and New Jersey legislators pushing forward Port Authority transparency. And while some may be thankful for declining Thanksgiving gas prices, it’s worth noting that the number of travelers is skyrocketing.

Yes, there are plenty of reasons to be thankful, but we’d be a lot more thankful if:

Traffic deaths weren’t a requirement for getting safety improvements on our streets — “Let’s wait until someone is struck and killed before we make traffic safety improvements,” said no one ever. But unfortunately, that’s often what it takes to get local governments to fix unsafe street conditions.

New York and New Jersey’s elected officials had to commute via bus or train — We feel pretty confident that if the Port Authority Bus Terminal or Penn Station were part of the daily commute for our states’ leaders, the Gateway Project would be moving forward with real funding, the city’s bus terminals would receive more than a one percent funding priority in the Port Authority capital programand NJ Transit service would be more reliable.

Connecticut cities started acting like cities — Hartford is planning to add over 1,400 new parking spots in the Downtown North district, New Haven’s Route 34 West project looks like something you’d see in a suburban office park, and Stamford’s new Street Smart program doesn’t address the downtown area’s wide arterials that shun pedestrians and bicyclists.

New Jersey drivers were any good at math – We can’t help but add to the pile of disparaging things that have been said about New Jersey drivers. Increasing the state’s gas tax—the second lowest in the nation—by 25 cents per gallon would cost the average driver an additional $292 each year. Last we checked, that’s less than half of what the average NJ driver pays in extra repair costs due to poor roads.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

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

Congresswoman Grace Meng | Photo: Facebook

Congresswoman Grace Meng | Photo: Facebook

WINNERS

New Jersey Assembly – There was not a single vote cast against either of the two Port Authority transparency bills that were passed during last Thursday’s Assembly hearing.

Congresswoman Grace Meng The Congresswoman is supporting the Liao family in their efforts to obtain justice against the driver who killed three year-old Allison Liao.

Central Park users  The City has announced a speed limit reduction to 20 mph for the park, among other safety improvements. Banning cars, unfortunately, is not one of them.

Traffic safety advocates The NYC DOT introduced its new comprehensive, interactive Vision Zero View tool the same day that the NYC Department of Health announced that it has begun making traffic-related bicycle and pedestrian injury data available on its website. Here’s hoping other departments pick up the pace with tracking crashes!

Queens Boulevard users  The speed limit for one of NYC’s most notorious speedways will be dropped to 25mph.

New Haven businesses Some companies in the New Haven area are providing shuttles for employees and staggering work schedules in an effort to alleviate congestion and ease commutes.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal – The Connecticut Senator has renewed his call for a full restoration of the federal commuter tax benefit.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

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

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer | Photo: schumer.senate.gov

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer | Photo: schumer.senate.gov

WINNERS

New York City Health Department — The department’s Center for Health Equity released its first report, which recommends ways to increase “active transportation” for students in areas with high obesity rates, such as adding bike racks and creating and expanding bike lane networks.

New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin — The councilwoman is calling for enforcement of traffic safety laws to protect pedestrians and cyclists, and has also announced legislation calling on the Department of Transportation to perform a study of the safety impacts of major truck routes through the city.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer — In his continued effort to “restore parity between commuters and drivers,” the Senator is again pushing to expand the commuter tax benefit to those who use mass transit.

Connecticut commuters — Metro-North’s new train schedule went into effect this week, which means more trains more often for those traveling between New Haven and Grand Central.

Port Authority Bus Terminal commuters — There have been some dramatic improvements to bus service operations at the facility, resulting in a 23 percent increase in the number of buses during rush hour and a 50 percent decrease in customer complaints. Still have issues you’d like to discuss with officials? Make sure to attend tomorrow evening’s PABT Commuter Chat session.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announcing the installation of Queens slow zones. | Photo: Twitter @JimmyVanBramer

NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announcing the installation of Queens slow zones. | Photo: Twitter

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

WINNERS

New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer – Sunnyside Gardens, Woodside and Sunnyside will be included in two new slow zones coming to Queens.

Linden, NJ – Linden’s City Council passed a unanimous resolution in support of “the renewal of the red light camera program in the interest of public safety” – a powerful statement in the face of increasingly vocal opposition.

Connecticut – ConnDOT adopted a departmental Complete Streets policy which “enables the alignment of transportation funds to encourage improvements for non-motorized users,” such as the road diet planned for East Hartford and the addition of bike racks to 50 train cars.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals – New Haven, CT’s Gateway Community College has received a $250,000 subsidy from the company to halve bus fares for college students over the next five years.

Retirees – Americans are outliving their ability to drive safely, and nonprofits are stepping in to connect housing choice and transportation options for the aging.

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