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Posts tagged "NYPD"

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Is this the worst bike lane in NYC?

Original title: "The Cars are Due on Jay Street" (Okay, they're already here.)

That title is just a fun take on one of my favorite "Twilight Zone" episodes. But the absurdity of cars constantly parking in the Jay Street bike lane is not fun. And it is dangerous.

Today while riding 26 miles collecting footage, amongst my missions was documenting a whole bunch of street conditions that NYC DOT is actively working on improving. One of them is Jay Street in Brooklyn which has seen chronic double-car parking (and worse) forever. The amount of disregard for the bike lane is nearly unmatched anywhere else in New York City. Luckily, NYC DOT is working on a plan to install 5 foot, parking protected lanes on each side of the street, a conduit that sees over 2400 cyclists per weekday!!

I intended to sit on all of my "before" footage to use in future pieces, but I just couldn't believe how bad it was so I just posted this. In fact, I only had to spend ten minutes filming before I was confident I had enough. I had budgeted about an hour, but as you can see (especially the first shot) the immediate yield was very high.

On top of it all, NYPD loves to hand out cycling tickets up and down Jay Street. But how many tickets do they write for these drivers? I'm not sure, but something tells me close to none.

We sure could use a fleet of Peatonitos in action, like here a few months ago attempting to clear the lane of cars. Watch here:vimeo.com/158135821

StreetFilms
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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Makes Historic “Vision Zero” Announcement

In 2013, NYC recorded a record-low 333 homicides, yet at least 286 people lost their lives to traffic violence. In a press conference on January 15, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it's "shocking to see how much those two numbers correspond."

In announcing his first steps to implement Vision Zero, the goal of eliminating traffic deaths, he said, "The first obligation of government is to protect the health and safety of our people, and this is an area we simply have to do better. We think there is an epidemic here, there has been an epidemic of traffic fatalties and it can't go on. And the time to start change is now."

The mayor made the announcement near the site where 8-year-old Noshat Nahian was killed by an unlicensed truck driver in a crosswalk last month while walking to school. The site is not far from where three other Queens youth have tragically had their lives taken from them. The mayor met with the families of many people who've lost loved ones to traffic violence.

Here we've assembled some highlights of the event, which also included NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and incoming NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

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How Many NYC Drivers Fail to Signal?

If you walk on New York City streets (or frankly anywhere in the U.S.), you're well aware of how much unlawful and dangerous driving happens on nearly every block: red light running, speeding, double-parking, you name it.

I first moved to NYC in 1991, and one thing that seems to have gotten much worse since then is the percentage of drivers who fail to signal their turns. I've lost count of the times I've been walking or bicycling and nearly been hit by drivers who didn't use their directionals. Anecdotally, I would estimate that about 25 or 30 percent of drivers don't signal.

So I set out to put my theory to the test where I live in Jackson Heights, Queens, taping the first 100 turning drivers I saw. I won't spoil the final count, but this video is more evidence of the poor quality of driving across the city. Failing to use blinkers makes it hard for walkers, bikers, and other motorists to anticipate a driver's behavior -- this is basic Driver's Ed, people -- but so many people just don't do it.

Every week we read horrible stories of drivers crashing into pedestrians or mounting sidewalks -- and yet hardly anyone is ever charged or even issued a ticket. NYPD could be issuing plenty of tickets for drivers failing to signal turns on just about any block at anytime. They could start a crackdown tomorrow, it doesn't require more legislation. It doesn't require an officer to be stationed in a car with a radar gun. Just stand on the corner and pull people over. Simple.

NYPD credits cracking down on small crimes with helping to dramatically lower the city's overall crime rate. If we started to show less tolerance for "smaller" infractions, might drivers in NYC eventually change their overall driving habits?