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Posts tagged "NYC"

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Listen to these New Yorkers ideas of what we should do next for safe streets!

As many of you know, here in New York City there was an overwhelming reaction to the horrible tragedy in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where two young children were killed by a red-light running driver. Numerous events held, including a large NYC March for Safe Streets, put together by Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets and many other community partners. Hundreds of people joined in an incredible show of emotion and anger, and there were many suggestions on what we need to do next as a city and state.

The clips here show five short revealing conversations I had with pairs of people and their ideas about what needs to come next. All of their relfections were smart, sobering and perfectly appropriate.

If you are Mayor de Blaiso, Governor Cuomo, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, a council member on the city council or one of the thousands of community leaders out there, you should take a quick listen. I'd say implement all of what these people have to say.

In order to save our children and save all of us, it is a good start point.

Read more...

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The Northern Boulevard Protected Bike Lane Celebration Ride

Despite the chill, nearly 75 people turned out Sunday to celebrate the new protected bike lane on Northern Boulevard connecting to the popular path known as Joe Michaels Mile in Eastern Queens.

This NYC DOT project added a two-way, concrete-protected bikeway to a high-speed section of Northern Boulevard that's frequently used by parents, kids, and commuters. The ride followed an eight-mile loop of bike lanes, some of which are still in the process of being installed by DOT.

Project opponents upset about the conversion of a car lane to make room for the bikeway have enlisted State Senator Tony Avella to help gin up negative press about it, claiming that the street is now more dangerous.

But people were getting maimed and killed in traffic before this bike lane was added. The impetus for the project was the 2016 death of Michael Schenkman, 78, who was riding on Northern Boulevard to get to Joe Michaels Mile for his daily exercise when a driver struck and killed him. Neighborhood residents and businesses are grateful DOT followed through and made this key connection on Northern Boulevard safer for biking and walking.

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300+ People Create Human Protected Bike Lane on NYC’s 5th Avenue

More than 300 volunteers organized by Transportation Alternatives formed a six-block-long “human-protected bike lane” on Fifth Avenue last night, calling on the de Blasio administration to extend the protected bike lane network through Midtown’s busiest streets.

Fifth Avenue has no bike infrastructure above 26th Street, leaving a large void in the bicycle network where there’s huge travel demand. Protected bike lanes can’t come soon enough: Through the first eight months of this year drivers injured 15 people biking and 28 people walking on Fifth Avenue in Midtown, according to city data.

Last month, DOT presented a plan to add a second bus lane on this part of Fifth Avenue, but a bikeway was not included. To date, the agency has hesitated to claim street space for biking and walking on these busy Midtown avenues. DOT has stated a vague intention to extend protected bike lanes through the busiest blocks of Fifth and Sixth Avenues but never backed that up with specific commitments, timetables, or designs.

The hundreds of people taking action yesterday were saying that’s not good enough and took matters into their own hands. The human-protected bike lane occupied two lanes, from 50th Street to 44th Street.

Fifth Avenue functioned perfectly well while the impromptu bike lane was in effect. People biking quickly gravitated to the new space set aside for them, while car and bus traffic continued apace in the remaining three lanes.

In a written response posted on DOT’s Twitter feed, Commissioner Polly Trottenberg framed the campaign for a bike lane as being in conflict with the second bus lane for Fifth Avenue. “We did not want to postpone what we see as a reasonably straightforward improvement for buses,” she wrote.

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Parking Day Meets PeopleWay! (2017)

With the 15-month shutdown of L-train service west of Bedford Avenue coming up in 2019, NYC DOT and the MTA need to figure out new ways to move hundreds of thousands of people each day.

In Manhattan, a big piece of the puzzle is rethinking 14th Street. To keep people moving, Transportation Alternatives has proposed a car-free PeopleWay, maximizing the efficiency of the street by dedicating space exclusively to buses, biking, and walking.

On Parking Day -- an international day of action to repurpose street space for people, not cars (see previous Streetfilms herehere, and here) -- a few dozen TransAlt volunteers were out collecting signatures and educating people about why 14th Street needs the PeopleWay. Streetfilms was there to document the occasion.

Take a look. As one concerned citizen told us, "The clock is ticking New York!"

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Cyclists Become “Human Bollards” to Protect 2nd Ave Bike Lane

Earlier this summer, DOT filled an 18-block gap in the Second Avenue bike lane in Midtown. But there’s a big problem with the project: On most of those blocks, the new bike lane isn’t protected at rush hour, when the number of cyclists is highest and car traffic is most intense.

So this morning, Transportation Alternatives volunteers took safety in their own hands, lining up between 45th Street and 44th Street to form a “human-protected bike lane” during the 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. rush.

In Midtown, Second Avenue was supposed to get “low-profile tuff curbs” — plastic barriers — to keep motorists out of the bike lane during rush hour. (The rest of the day, the space next to the bikeway is a parking lane, which provides protection.) But the agency changed its mind, nixing the treatment “due to safety and accessibility concerns raised during additional design review and product testing.”

“Without that protection, people aren’t going to be using the bike lane,” TransAlt Manhattan organizer Chelsea Yamada said. “We’ve got 20 to 25 folks here that are using themselves as a substitute for infrastructure. We can’t afford to do this every day, we can’t afford to do that, to put our bodies on the line, but that’s basically what we’re doing every day.”

(From David Meyer, StreetsblogNYC)

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Transform Your City With Tactical Urbanism

Tired of waiting for local governments to fix dangerous conditions, in many cities everyday citizens are practicing DIY traffic-calming to make streets safer for walking and biking. Some are forming “Departments of Transformation” to show others how to implement low-cost interventions, like traffic cones, to slow drivers down.

Often these installations are quickly removed by local DOTs, but in other cases, cities are embracing what’s come to be known as “tactical urbanism.” Some cities are making citizen-generated improvements permanent, while others are encouraging the movement by sanctioning, and even sponsoring, tactical urbanism projects.

Watch as we check in with people who are making this happen around the world!

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NYC Bike to Work Day 2017

Another great ride with the NYC Progressive Council which always turns out bigly for all of these rides dating back to 2014, which thanks to StreetsPAC is when these rides began.
This year saw three separate rides converge at City Hall. We decided to start pretty early on the Upper East Side with Council Member Ben Kallos who has been helping to lead the call for better biking for his constituents and those who ride thru his district.
We met up with several dozen others at Union Square (and lots of other cyclists who decided to join up on the ride on their daily commute) enjoying a mostly stress free jaunt to City Hall. Upon arrival there we met the Brooklyn delegations and at one point eight City Council members and NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg were outside addressing the very large group.
Another fun day of bike riding. Thanks to all.

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Should NYC Have a Bicycle Mayor? Meet Anna Luten Amsterdam’s Bike Mayor

During 2017's Vision Zero for Cities Conference in New York City I got to spend a few minutes chatting with Amsterdam's Bicycle Mayor Anna Luten about her biking public advocate status and then I wondered if we could do the same in NYC.

Could we? Who would you nominate? What would be their qualifications? What powers would you like them to have? Most people I spoke to thought it would be an excellent idea.

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NYC 4-Boro Protected Bike Lane Ride

I've been riding a bike in NYC for more than 25 years. When I started, there wasn't much in the way of good bike infrastructure, but in that time I've watched the bike network expand and slowly get safer.

With recent bike lane additions and enhancements on Jay Street, Chrystie Street, and First Avenue, NYC DOT has pointed out that you can now ride on protected bike lanes almost continuously from Brooklyn to the Bronx. Connecting to other segments of protected bike lanes, with just a few blocks exposed to traffic, you can do enjoyable, low-stress rides of 10, 20, 25 miles on city streets.

So I pitched the good folks at Transportation Alternatives about doing a small group ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan to the Bronx to Randall's Island to Queens and back to Brooklyn -- about 25 miles. After sketching it out, we estimated that 97 percent of the ride could be done on protected lanes, car-free bridge paths, and greenways.

Of course, New York still has a long way to go to make cycling safe for all ages and abilities throughout the city. But we are on our way. As recently as 10 years ago, I can remember the huge advocacy effort that went into gaining two meager strips of white paint for bike lanes here or there. Now we are building up to a useable network.

So come along for the ride, get a good look at the protected bikeways and bridge paths along our route, and meet some of the volunteers who've been working hard to make biking better in New York City. As the soundtrack (which the great Eric Bazilian and Mats Wester generously gave permission to use) goes, "That's a good thing!"

Also, if you want to see the details of all the turns in this journey, I compiled this map.

StreetFilms
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#Sneckdowns Before and After: The Final Storm

After a decade of documenting nature's traffic calming, I decided to go out to the snowy streets of Jackson Heights for one final Streetfilm about the craze we helped start: sneckdowns! There's a new wrinkle in this installment -- before-and-after images to show how dramatically the snow changes the dynamic of the street.

If you're new to sneckdowns, it's a portmanteau of "snow" and "neckdown" (a technical term for a corner sidewalk expansion). A nice snowfall constrains the area where motorists take turns and provides clear visual evidence of where street space can be repurposed for walking instead of driving, creating much safer intersections in the process.

Sneckdown spotting is now a global phenomenon. To get a sense of how it all started, you may want to check out the first two Streetfilms in the series:

And the rest is history -- which I recapped in this post from 2014.

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NYC Buses: Time for a Turnaround

New Yorkers take 2.5 million rides on the city's buses every day. While NYC's buses provide essential transit, especially in areas beyond the reach of the subway, they are among the nation's slowest and least reliable.

Now a coalition of transit advocates are promoting practical strategies to improve the performance of NYC buses systemwide.

Transit advocates knew something was wrong when they observed declining bus ridership despite increasing population, a growing economy, and record-high subway ridership. To figure out what could be done about it, they spoke to industry experts and researched successful efforts in peer cities to identify common sense solutions to NYC's bus problems. This research is summarized in their report "Turnaround: Fixing New York City's Buses".

The bus system faces big challenges, but these challenges have clear, proven solutions. By transforming how riders get on and off the bus, designing streets to prioritize buses, adopting better methods to keep buses on schedule, and redesigning the bus network and routes, policy makers in city government and the MTA can turn around the decline of the city's buses and attract riders back to the system.

We'll get to see how serious public officials are about tackling these problems on October 6, when the City Council transportation committee holds an oversight hearing on how to improve the quality of NYC bus service.

This Streetfilm was produced in partnership with TransitCenter, the second in a series of four films examining transit in American cities. If you enjoyed this one, check out the first film, "High Frequency: Why Houston is Back on the Bus."

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Biking on Amsterdam Avenue in NYC — Now More Like Biking in Amsterdam!

Getting a protected bike lane on NYC's Amsterdam Avenue was an epic struggle. This year, safe streets finally won.

Amsterdam Avenue is a neighborhood street on the Upper West Side, but it was designed like a highway with several lanes of one-way motor vehicle traffic. Local residents campaigned for nearly ten years to repurpose one of those lanes to make way for a parking-protected bike lane and pedestrian islands. They kept butting up against a few stubborn opponents of the street redesign on Community Board 7 (for viewers outside NYC, community boards are appointed bodies that weigh in on street redesigns, among other neighborhood changes).

Fed up with the dangerous conditions on Amsterdam, residents ramped up the activism. They staged silent protests and neighborhood actions to publicly shame the community board members stalling the redesign. Their efforts were rewarded earlier this year when CB 7 voted in favor of DOT's plan for a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue from 72nd Street to 110th Street. Although not fully built yet -- 14 more blocks above 96th Street are still to come -- the project has changed the feel of the street dramatically.

It was a hard-earned victory, and yesterday people who fought for a safer Amsterdam celebrated with a ride down the new bike lane. Here's a look at the ride -- a sight we should see many times again as advocates organize for more space for safe biking and walking throughout NYC.

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Why are New Yorkers bicycling to work in record numbers?

Today is Bike To Work Day in NYC. And as usual Transportation Alternatives was out hosting some fueling stations in the morning.

We thought with the newest NYC DOT data showing bicycling at an all-time high, it would be great time to ask bicyclists why they are riding their bikes more. Interestingly, the answers seemed to fall in three distinct categories: it is safer, it is healthy and MTA is falling apart.

But don’t take our word for it, listen to what your fellow city riders told us.

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The Queens Boulevard Protected Bike Lane Celebration Ride

If Queens Boulevard can get a protected bike lane, you can probably put one on almost any street in the country.

Yesterday, the Transportation Alternatives Queens Committee hosted the first of what it hopes are many celebratory bike rides down Queens Boulevard, trying out the first 10 blocks of the bike lane installed this month by NYC DOT. When complete, this project will run 1.3 miles from Roosevelt Avenue to 73rd Street. It’s the first phase in what the city has promised will be a thorough overhaul of the “Boulevard of Death,” which is also the most direct east-west route in the borough.

Over the years, many lives have been lost on Queens Boulevard. I spoke to riders yesterday about all the hard work that volunteers and advocates put it in to make this bike lane happen.

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Cardboard Cut-Out Cuomo Rides the NYC Subway

The advocates at the Riders Alliance have been campaigning for many months to get Governor Andrew Cuomo to ride the NYC subways. The governor’s office has refused to answer any of their inquiries. So on Thursday, they did the next best thing: They brought along a cardboard cut-out of his likeness to see how straphangers would react.

Subway delays are on the rise, but so far, Cuomo has failed to fund the MTA’s $32 billion five-year capital planto fix tracks, modernize signals, expand capacity, and upgrade the equipment that moves New York City. It wasn’t hard to find straphangers who want better service to give fake Cuomo a piece of their minds.