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Moving Along

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation Janette Sadik-Khan talks about her agenda for Mayor Bloomberg's third term and the status of projects from Times Square to bike lanes in Brooklyn.

Guests:

Janette Sadik-Khan

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Comments [23]

Ken from UWS

The Commissioner stated that Central Park's loop road is closed to traffic "98 percent of the time." This is simply not true. Because different sections of the loop are open to traffic for different lengths of time, the actual percentage depends on where you are on the loop and also on what you define as "the time" (for example, every hour of every day or only the hours when people are actually in the park?). Given this, the actual percentage of time that cars are banned ranges from a low of 47 percent to a high of 94 percent. And the fact remains that the drives are open to traffic during the precise hours when recreational use is highest - from 8-10 am on the West Drive, from 10 am - 7 pm on one section of the East Drive and from 3 pm - 7 pm on the remainder of the East Drive. The caller is right: if the city can close Broadway to cars, Central Park is a no-brainer.

Mar. 05 2010 09:09 AM
Boris

Jonathan from Brooklyn,

No, that's a reasonably large sample size. Typical opinion polls, for example, ask around 1000 people, and they represent the opinions of several million. What really matters is selecting those people according to statistical principles, not selecting many of them.

Mar. 04 2010 10:58 AM
Norma Weisberg from Greenwich Village

Dear Brian,

I live in the Village and usually use the buses. The change has made traveling more difficult. The fact that traffic on 6th Ave. is moving better is not the issue - it goes uptown. When I come down from the east or west sides the traffic is much worse. Seventh Ave. is tied up because of "Bloomberg's Beach". The #6 bus has been rerouted and takes forever and it no longer stops in front of Macy's.

I can't imagine what they will do to 34th St.
When Park Ave. So. was closed on Sundays the traffic was backed up on Bleecker St. bringing chaos to a quiet neighborhood.

People seem to want to close down more streets without taking the consequences into account.

Thanks for all you good work.

Norma

Mar. 03 2010 12:17 PM
Vic from Chester, NJ

For me, Manhattan is not a biking town, especially during business hours. There are so many risks
Ever crash on a bike on a city street?
The fall is bad enough...but the real fear is not ending up under the wheels of a passing car or truck...And it can happen so quickly.
What is a protected bike lane, anyway? A space protected by a barrier...?
Ever fall and crash into a barrier...?
Ever been involved in a bike lane crash and pile up...? How about insurance, and determining fault in case of serious injury? Who is responsible, and how often do you see bikers dis-obeying traffic rules...?

Mar. 03 2010 12:07 PM
Dan Josephs from Union Square, NYC

Dear Ms. Sadik-Khan,
Thank you for all of your terrific efforts on behalf of pedestrians in out town!

Can I share what I believe has been a real sore spot with an urgent need for a sane solution to what is essentially a permanent traffic jam? Union Sq. West, as you know, feeds one-way into 14th St precisely where University Pl feeds up to 14th with one-way traffic flowing uptown. So both streets have cars attempting to turn east (while pedestrians are crossing 14th St) resulting in constant gridlock at that intersection.

With great respect, if you could take a moment to observe the traffic pattern there, I believe you would conclude that the only solution is to close off traffic on Union Sg West. It would provide a lovely extension of the park and farmer's market, and also allow for outdoor tables for the numerous restaurants along that side of the park. Traffic can (and should anyway) be directed east across the north side of the park to go down Union Sg east to Broadway.

This protected are would provide a win-win solution, for traffic congestion, and a haven for pedestrians.

Another important safety concern, I have more than once witnessed a car storming down University Pl, against a one-way street, nearly hitting pedestrians crossing at 13th St.- an accident waiting to happen.

Thank you for your consideration,
Dan Josephs

Mar. 03 2010 11:50 AM
Matthew from Astoria

Re: DEDICATED BUS LANES ON 34TH STREET

Wait a second - Did JSK just say that the dedicated bus corridors will be in the center lanes in each direction??

How will that work? Where will passengers get on and off the buses??

God I hope that this project includes a wide new median strip ...

This would be a good question for Follow-Up Friday.

That said, I like this idea a lot, and I hope it spreads to other traffic arteries very soon.

Mar. 03 2010 11:45 AM
John from Staten Island

One request would be for the DOT Commissioner to review the timing of the lights at Water Street and Whitehall Street at the South Ferry Terminal. For pedestrians crossing on Water Street there isn't enough time allocated especially at rush hour.

Mar. 03 2010 11:41 AM
David Hunter from Kensington, Bklyn

I fully support the enhanced pedestrian zones in Times Square and throughout the City!

In my neighborhood, we really need functioning cross walk signals and call buttons at the intersection of Caton Avenue and Ocean Parkway (grade level) - west side.

Thanks.

Mar. 03 2010 11:18 AM
Sharon from Bronx

The South Bronx (Hunts Point area) suffers from high asthma rates because of about 15,000 trucks passing daily through the Bruckner Expressway. We NEED more green space to diffuse pollution and not to mention beautify the neighborhood!

We need to promote more healthy living for the lower income level communities! Let's get more GREEN SPACE and BIKE PATHS in the SOUTH BRONX!

Mar. 03 2010 11:18 AM
Jay from Sunnyside

I think a pedestrian plaza on Greenpoint Ave, from Queens Blvd towards LIC (in Sunnyside/Woodside) would work perfectly to rejuvenate the area, and not impact all that much car traffic.

Mar. 03 2010 11:18 AM
YourBoss from Queens

A great place to export this idea would be Main Street, Flushing in Queens. This would free up buses to travel much quicker, and make the streets surrounding the library much safer for kids and other pedestrians!

Mar. 03 2010 11:17 AM
Alyssa from Brooklyn

I propose the idea of re-widening city sidewalks-back in the early 20C the sidewalks were narrowed in the name of the automobile-. I think this is, paired with the plan that the commissioner is talking about, is a viable plan for the citys development.

Mar. 03 2010 11:16 AM
Tommy Mintz from Astoria

I second Peter's comments on two-wheeled vehicle parking.

For a pedestrian plaza, I nominate McDougal Street between Bleeker and 3rd st. Or even from 8th st to Bleeker St.

Mar. 03 2010 11:14 AM
nat from Brooklyn

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz recently voiced opposition to plans for a two way class A bike path on Prospect Park West. This plan also had extended bulbs on the corners which shorten the crossing distance into and out of the park. This all seems like a no brainer in terms of safety; that road is never at auto capacity, its a high traffic pedestrian zone, and people speed down it.

Markowitz is opposed because of the on street loss that the pedestrian crossing bulbs would cause - probably only a couple dozen spaces.

Do local politicians like Markowitz actually have the power to stop projects for reasons like that?

It seems unreasonable to me that a few dozen on street spaces in Park Slope trump the safety of the hundreds of children that cross this road daily.

Mar. 03 2010 11:14 AM
hjs from 11211

all of lower manhattan, near city hall and wall st, driving down there is impossible
also something needs to be done with canal st.

why have some bike lanes been removed? politics?

http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/12/01/dot-sandblasts-14-blocks-of-bike-lane-off-bedford-avenue/

Mar. 03 2010 11:14 AM
Adrian from Upper East Side

A great candidate for conversion to a pedestrian only space would be the blocks around Broadway below Houston street. Even if only on the weekend, the sidewalk are so packed with people that it is very difficult to walk around and the traffic volume on Prince, Spring, etc is so heavy that it poses a threat to pedestrians that are forced into the street by the heavy crowds.

Mar. 03 2010 11:13 AM
Steven S. from Washington Heights

There's a big natural plaza at 168th St. in Washington Heights by the 1AC subway station and New York Presbyterian Hospital. Any thoughts about a project like this in an "outlying" neighborhood? It would be such a wonderful amenity and a focal point for further redevelopment.

Mar. 03 2010 11:12 AM
Charles from New York City

How about closing Central Park to cars permanently?

Mar. 03 2010 11:11 AM
Bill nadler from nyc

How is your kitchen coming along?

Mar. 03 2010 11:10 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

Second question:

Motorcycles and scooters are a significantly more fuel-efficient and space-efficient way to get around the city. Unfortunately, motorcycle parking is a nightmare - street parking results in cars & trucks knocking bikes over when they don't look.

A single car parking spot can hold 8 motorcycles or scooters, and solve daylighting issues on streetcorners where pedestrians can't see around parked cars to cross the street safely. Why doesn't the DOT investigate dedicated parking for motorcycles and scooters, like they have in other major cities of the world?

Mar. 03 2010 11:00 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

With all the budget issues at both the city and state level, it's becoming pretty clear that the MTA, short of some major new source of funding, will need to cut back service severely throughout the city.

NYC's roads are already overwhelmed with traffic, and there's simply no room for more cars. What are DOT's thoughts on how to further encourage alternative means of travel (e.g. bicycle) when commuters, abandoned by the MTA, start thinking about driving again?

Mar. 03 2010 10:55 AM
Jonathan from Brooklyn

One other point: At the announcement it was stated that something like 75% of those surveyed liked the changes.
I checked the methodology and it said that although during peak hours Times Square sees something like 20,000 pedestrians AN HOUR, only 539 people were surveyed. Isn't that an awfully SMALL sample size for a project of this size?

Mar. 03 2010 10:39 AM
Jonathan from Brooklyn

RE: Operation GREEN LIGHT MIDTOWN (pedestrianizing B'way)
I would like you to ask JS-K about the "Contracted Pedestrian Managers" used to assist in pedestrian security and the extra Traffic Control Officers used to manage the vehicular traffic. Those Pedestrian Managers are paid crossing guards at the intersection who use whistles and plastic chains to restrain pedestrians during don't walk periods.
Will the city have the money to continue funding additional police presence for traffic control in Times Square? And will we still be able to pay for the Contracted Pedestrian Managers? How much did that cost, anyway?

Mar. 03 2010 10:38 AM

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