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Janette Sadik Khan

Transportation Nation

Chart: Biggest Threat to Schoolchildren? Cars

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WNYC

As New York City's 1.1 million schoolchildren amble to the first week of classes on sidewalks and subway platforms, the biggest danger they'll face isn't bullies or muggers but swift-moving traffic. A WNYC examination of traffic safety data reveals a few ways that kids are different from adults when it comes to pedestrian hazards. 

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Bike Share Day 1; And a Transportation Road Rally

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

NYC's bike share launched yesterday. Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC transportation commissioner, discusses the program and her vision for a bike-friendly NYC.

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Transportation Nation

Steel Gates, Raised Roadbeds & Dunes: NYC Transpo After Sandy

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sandy flooded the Battery Park Underpass with 15 million gallons of water.

(New York, NY - WYNC) Now that post-Sandy repairs to New York's transportation infrastructure are in full swing, attention is shifting toward hardening the city's bridges, tunnels and roads against future storm surges.

U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came to Manhattan to hand over $250 million to reimburse the city Department of Transportation for repairs it's making to its storm-damaged facilities. LaHood also said $5 billion is on the way to make those same facilities resilient in the face of future storms.

It's unclear how much of that money could come to New York City. But U.S. Senator Charles Schumer gave examples of how it could be spent locally.

"Once they repair the inside of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, they can put, if they choose, steel gates, to prevent another flood," he said. He also talked about raising coastal roads and building dunes to shelter highways from the ocean.

New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who joined LaHood and Schumer, said Sandy caused the city "$900 million worth of  damage to city roads, bridges, our ferry system, signals, signs--an extraordinary amount of damage."

By way of example, she said The Battery Park Underpass at the tip of Lower Manhattan was filled with 15 million gallons of water (see photo). When it comes to reducing that kind of vulnerability to storm damage, Sadik-Khan said her department "has a long way to go."

Schumer praised LaHood for delivering the $250 million in repair money less than a month after it's authorization by Congress, which he called "a world record" in the realm of post-disaster relief. He explained that the funds will be used in part to reimburse the city for repairs it has already undertaken.

"The mayor couldn't sit there and wait and say, 'We'll fix the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel when the federal money comes,'" he said. "The city had to lay out enormous sums of money."

Some of the money has been spent on repairing the vents and electrical system of the Battery Park Underpass , fixing flood-damaged parts of the Staten Island Ferry terminals, shoring up bridges, and replacing highway lights and guardrails.

Sadik-Khan said the mayor's office will release a report in May about how to harden the city's infrastructure against future storms, including roads and bridges .

 

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Transportation Nation

NYC Suggests You Avoid Getting Killed By Looking Up From Your Smartphone

Thursday, September 20, 2012

NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (left) unveils new street safety campaign with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. (Crouch down, Ray, like we rehearsed.) (photo by Jim O'Grady)

(New York, NY -- WNYC) The one-word street markings started appearing around Manhattan in mid-summer. An eagle-eyed TN reporter snapped a photo of one and, with no help from the city's tight-lipped Department of Transportation, deduced it was the start of a new pedestrian safety campaign.

That $1 million campaign has now been officially launched with the help of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who joined NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan at the corner of Second Avenue and 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan to show off an oversized stencil that read "LOOK!"

That's better. (photo by Jim O'Grady.)

The emphatic order is meant to be spotted by a pedestrian with his head buried in a smartphone as he launches into traffic. The "O's" in LOOK! also double as eyeballs pointing toward a presumed onslaught of vehicles. Sadik-Khan said New Yorkers need the heads-up: more than half of those killed in city traffic accidents are pedestrians. She added that at that very corner, 75 people were hurt in crashes between 2006 and 2010.

The LOOK! markings are installed at 110 crash-prone intersections throughout the city, with 90 more to come.

LaHood said it's critical for pedestrians to remain alert while crossing the street because even when they're in the right, they can still be hurt--more than half of all New Yorkers killed last year by cars at a crosswalk had the green light. "Having the right-of-way does not guarantee your safety," he said. "Hold off on emailing or texting until you've crossed the street."

Sadik-Khan said she got the idea for the markings when she visited London and came across its well-known suggestions to "Look Left" or "Look Right" before crossing.

How London does it.

The NYC DOT isn't putting the burden of safety solely on walkers. The LOOK! campaign includes ads on the backs of buses that admonish motorists to "Drive Smart / LOOK!" Other ads tell drivers to yield to pedestrians when turning at an intersection.

A NYC DOT spokesman said the campaign is largely funded by the Federal Highway Administration.

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Transportation Nation

Let it Zip: NYC's Summer Streets Gets Airborne

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Test-driving the zip line (photo by Guia Marie Del Prado/WNYC)

(Guia Marie Del Prado -- New York, NY, WNYC) In case you missed the news earlier this week, New York City's fifth annual Summer Streets will have something new this year: a 30-foot zip line, which will give locals a new way to appreciate car-free streets.

During Summer Streets, a seven mile stretch of Manhattan roads — from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park — are closed to cars on three Saturdays in August. It allows New Yorkers to walk, bike and play in public spaces they usually don’t have sole access to.

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled the free zip line at Union Square Park on Tuesday.

NYC DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (photo by Guia Marie Del Prado/WNYC)

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said she rode the zip line, twice. “I highly recommend it," she said; "you don’t need a cup of coffee, just start the day with a zip line."

Fahim Saleh took a break from work as an app developer to test out the zip line with his co-workers.

“We thought we’d just take a break from work and why not?” he said. “Just zip line in the middle of work. Sounds like a good idea to me.”

Sophia Taylor, 47, waited in line to face her fears with her 6-year-old daughter Neveah.

“I want to try it because I'm afraid of heights,” Taylor said. “So I'm going to test my fears today and I'm going to get on there.”

Aside from the zip line, Summer Streets will also host a 25-foot climbing wall, yoga and other activities at different locations along the road on August 4, 11, and 18 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

According to Sadik-Khan, as many as 60,000 New Yorkers make use of Summer Streets every year.

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Transportation Nation

The New York City Council Praises Sadik-Khan, Instead of Burying Her

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NY City Council Member James Vacca during a 2011 hearing (photo by William Alatriste via flickr)

Let's go back in time to December 2010. The city's tabloid editorial pages are just beginning to sink their teeth into the transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, for -- among other things -- her avid support of bike lanes and pedestrian plazas. In Brooklyn, well-connected residents are preparing to sue to remove a bike lane.

On December 9, New York's City Council holds a standing-room-only, overflow-room-inducing, five hour-plus hearing on bikes and bike lanes in New York City. Bronx councilman James Vacca, who chairs the council's Transportation Committee, kicks things off first by warning the crowd to be polite, then sets the stage by pointing out "few issues today prompt more heated discussion than bike policy in New York City."

In the hours that followed, he was proven correct: Sadik-Khan was grilled, interrupted, and accused of ignoring the will of the public, prevaricating, and acting by fiat.

And she was put on the defensive, repeatedly exclaiming "That's what we do!" when yet another council member excoriated her for not soliciting sufficient community input.

At one point, Lewis Fidler, a council member from Brooklyn, told Sadik-Khan her answer was "kind of half true. I don't say that to be snooty. I say it because I think maybe you're not aware."

And then he reeled himself him. "This is not like you've got to be for the cars or you've got to be for the bikes or you've got to be for the buses. It's really not...the cowmen and the farmers can be friends."

The mood at this week's Transportation Committee hearing, held in the same hearing room as the 2010 hearing -- and with many of the same players in attendance -- was markedly different.

Now more New Yorkers are biking. More than two-thirds give the city's bike share program, which is launching in July, a thumbs-up. Traffic fatalities are at record lows.

"I want to first off say thank you to the agency," Fidler started, before launching into an encomium. "Quite frankly I don't always get the answer I like from DOT, but we get a lot of answers from DOT. And they're very responsive, your agency, your Brooklyn office continues to be a very responsive one."

He then waxed on about major construction work going on on the Belt Parkway -- a roadway almost entirely in his council district. "I will say for a project of that size to have gone on, without my getting repeated complaints from constituents -- that says something all by itself, and the work that's been completed looks really good."

Back in 2010, Fidler's questioning of Sadik-Khan was one of that hearing's most contentious exchanges, with the two of them repeatedly interrupting each other. Fidler at that time told Sadik-Khan that her answers were "half true;" he later accused the DOT of failing to solicit community input on bike lanes -- a charge Sadik-Khan repeatedly denied.

On Tuesday, Fidler asked Sadik-Khan to look into repairing a bike lane in his district (a lane under the Parks Department jurisdiction since it's on their land. Sadik-Khan said she'd make sure her office reached out to the Parks Commissioner, Adrian Benepe.)

So maybe the cowmen and the farmers might be friends after all.

(You can listen to the audio from the 12/2010 hearing -- and read the transcript -- here. A video of the 5/29/12 hearing can be found here; the transcript isn't available yet.)

To be fair, Tuesday's hearing was not one in which members of the public could comment (public hearings on the budget will be held next week), and biking wasn't the only topic on the agenda.

But still:

Peter Koo is the Queens councilman who represents Flushing (a neighborhood so heavily trafficked by pedestrians that the DOT said Tuesday that it's slated for a sidewalk expansion project.) At the 2010 hearing, Koo complained that bikes lanes had been implemented at the expense of motorists and pedestrians, and that they were empty. "I hardly see any people using the bike lanes," he said at the time. (Transcript here; Koo's remarks begin on page 39.)

At Tuesday's hearing, Koo had a different complaint. "I find a lot of bicycles chained to the fence, to the trees, light poles, meter poles, everywhere." He wants the NYPD to cut the chains of bikes that are illegally parked. But before that happens, he said, "we have to find a place for them to park."

Letitia James   -- long a bike lane supporter, put the cherry on the Charlotte Russe. "Commissioner, I want to thank you for all the docking stations in my district. I want to thank you for the bike share program. I want to thank you for using my picture, my image, on your website, on the bike -- it's absolutely fabulous. Thank you for the plazas in my district...thank you for all the street renovations...thank you for the bike lanes, thank you for recognizing that we all have to share the space and no one is entitled to a city street."

A few minutes after James spoke, the May 29th hearing ended.

"I do think since that hearing in 2010, many actions my committee has taken, and the legislation that we have passed, has brought New York City DOT to a realization that they could do a better job when it comes to community consultation," Council transportation chair Jimmy Vacca said in a phone interview.  "I think there's been more outreach, there's been more involvement, so I think that the strongly held views that existed in 2010 have somewhat been mitigated by DOT realizing that it's better to work with local neighborhoods where possible and to try to seek areas of consensus."

And is he happy with bike lanes? Yes -- even though he said the ones in his Bronx district weren't heavily used. "I do think in time, though, people will be bicycling more in neighborhoods where they are not bicycling now. And I think the groundwork that we've laid legislatively will make that reality more positive, have a more positive impact on neighborhoods throughout the city."

Vacca said the Bronx bike lanes have been successful in reducing speeding.  "They've had an impact in slowing down vehicular traffic, and that's always a positive thing," he said, adding that that's a persistent issue for his constituents. "In my neighborhood there's not a block party I go to, there's not a civic association I go to, where people are not demanding speed bumps, where they're not demanding police enforcement for ticketing of people who speed in their cars."

Next up for the City Council: reigning in rogue delivery people -- a project they're collaborating with the DOT on. "We cannot have commercial bicyclists driving the wrong way on one-way streets, we cannot have them ignoring red lights, we cannot have them on sidewalks," Vacca said, adding that he's working on legislation to address this. "I think within the next several weeks we should have a consensus bill that will reflect my views as well as the views of the Department of Transportation. We're working together to come up with type of bill, and I think we're making good progress."

 

 

 

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Transportation Nation

MAP: New York City Sites 420 Bike Share Locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens

Friday, May 11, 2012


New York City has made live its draft maps of bike share stations.  The stations dot all of Manhattan south of Central Park,  Long Island City,  Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant,  Fort Greene,  and Clinton Hill. (See here, for why they won't be in other neighborhoods.)

The full maps are here and explanation of costs here.

The bike share docking stations will extend the reach of the transit system to the far East and West sides of Manhattan, as well as  northern Williamsburg and Greenpoint, which are currently underserved by the subway system.

In those neighborhoods, riders will be able to take a bike share to the 7 train in Long Island City or the L in Williamsburg.   Now, those riders have to take an impossibly long walk, or take the G to either of those trains.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show that bike share is designed to  expand the transit system -- not for recreation. "So you rent a bike, go to work, leave the bike when you get to work, pick it up when you get out of work, leave it when you get home," the Mayor said.

Neighborhoods that currently have no transit connections could be accessed through bike share.  The growing population center of  Williamsburg will be connected now to  and Downtown Brooklyn, as well as Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Still unconnected: Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Windsor Terrace, Carroll Gardens, Crown Heights, and Prospect Heights as well as the Upper West & Upper East sides.  Those neighborhoods will have to wait until 2013.

"I'm extremely proud to release this plan for the Citi Bike network . New Yorkers created this plan during the past six months, contributing time and expertise in workshops, on-line and in dozens of meetings to discuss and plan the City's newest transportation system," said New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Meanwhile, a new poll shows New Yorkers approve of bike share by a more than two to one margin.  Support has slipped slightly since the program was first announced last October.

The DOT says the "draft maps are the product of hundreds of meetings with community boards, elected officials, members of the public and stakeholders in each district, as well as from some 70,000 station location suggestions and comments on DOT’s bike share Web site," adding that the maps have been presented to local council members and "DOT is currently in the process of reviewing the maps with local community boards in the service area."

For the most part, community board leaders say they've been delighted with the siting process.

The locations are on "wide or underused sidewalks," as well as road space that is current "No Standing" or "No Parking."

Citibike will launch in July, and will cost $95 a year or $9.95 a day to join.  Annual members can ride any bike they want for up to 45 minutes a ride, then usage fees kick in, starting at $2.50 for up to 75 minutes and $9.00 for up to 115 minutes.

Daily members get 30 minutes of free riding, with an hour costing $4 and 90 minutes costing $13.

The DOT cautions:  "Citi Bike is transportation, not recreation. It is designed for short trips and encourages users to return bikes quickly so that others can use them...Think of Citi Bike as a taxi cab: Get one, get there, then dock it. See attached maps for indications of the kind of rides Citi Bike can be used for."

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Transportation Nation

Chicago Wants to Zero Out Traffic Fatalities By 2022

Friday, May 11, 2012

New York's transportation department has had safety bragging rights -- reducing traffic fatalities to their lowest level ever.

But Chicago wants to go one better.  In a sweeping action agenda (.pdf), Chicago's DOT Chief, Gabe Klein, is promising to eliminate all traffic fatalities within a decade, and to reduce bike and pedestrian injuries by 50%.

Klein says this can be done through improved design, more vigorous enforcement, and safety education.  Among the proposals are a 20 mph speed limit in residential neighborhoods and more clearly marked crosswalks.

The document also promised to increase the number of under 5-mile trips taken by bike to 5% of all trips, and to "make Chicago the best big city in America for cycling and walking."

That's a distinction NYC DOT Chief Janette Sadik-Khan and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have tried to claim for New York, which has added hundreds of miles of bikeways in the last five years, and tripled the number of cyclists.

The Chicago document also promises more transit options including BRT, better on-time performance by the CTA, and more real time transit information.

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Transportation Nation

NY's Rocky Road to a Bike Share Sponsor -- or Why The Rollout Will Take Longer Than Planned

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan at the rollout of New York's "Citibike" bike share. (Photo: Andrea Bernstein)

When New York  Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson and New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced New York's bike share program last fall, the intention was clear -- they were setting up "a new system to be comprised of 10,000 bikes and 600 stations in parts of Manhattan and northwest Brooklyn -- at no cost to the taxpayers" as Sadik-Khan put it then.

The system, it was explained, needed to be large to make it work -- the more potential users could depend on finding bikes in a variety of locales, the more it would be an actual public transportation network -- not some urban folly.

But when the system was presented Monday under its brand new-name, Citibike, to be funded through a five-year, $41 million contract with Citibank and a $6.5 million Mastercard sponsorship, it was somewhat less extensive -- at least at first.  "It will be a phased-in deployment," Sadik-Khan said at Monday's press conference.  "I mean we can’t just airdrop 10,000 bikes in. It will be between August and spring of 2013 that we'll have the deployment of the full system."

The bike share program, it turned out, would NOT hit the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, or much of Brooklyn beyond Bergen Street until a year from now.

Sadik-Khan wouldn't explain why, or when, this decision was made.   No other DOT officials would speak to this issue, implying that this was always the plan. When I asked Alta president Alison Cohen about delays in implementing the program, Sadik-Khan's spokesman rushed over to prevent her from answering.

But speaking to elected leaders, officials and several sources familiar with negotiations over the bike share contract, a story has emerged of a far more rocky road to a sponsor than yesterday's happy news conference would suggest.

"I got a call sometime last week, that’s when I first heard of  a delay," said Council member Gail Brewer, who represents the Upper West Side. Brewer says she was told there would be 7,000 bikes rolled out at first, with the balance coming next spring. Was she disappointed? Brewer, a big bike share backer, was philosophical.  "I'll be disappointed if I don't get my day care slots back," Brewer said, referring to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed budget. "You have to have priorities."

When the city announced that Alta Bicycle Share would be operating the bike share it made one in a series of splashy promises -- there would be no cost to New York taxpayers. "Alta will be getting a sponsor," Sadik-Khan said at the time. That would make New York the only large-scale system in the country to be entirely privately funded.

"We're getting an entirely new transportation network without spending any taxpayer money," Bloomberg said at Monday's press conference. "Who thought that could be done?"

Apparently, there were a lot of doubters. Puma was approached, and Adidas (New Balance has sponsored Boston's "Hubway.") So was American Express. "All the usual suspects," said one source familiar with the negotiations. "The list of companies who could spend this kind of money just isn't that long. And it was unprecedented to raise that kind of capital  for an unproven system --  bike share on European scale, an order of magnitude larger than any system in existence in north America."

By February, officials were beginning to sweat. If New York didn't find a sponsor, the city could be on the hook to Alta -- but worse, many officials thought, the bike share program could be imperiled.

"It's a lot of money and each company has to decide whether the opportunities they'll have by sponsorship fit their clientele," said Bloomberg on Monday, maintaining he never worried.

But Alta's business plan was confusing, sources say, making it hard to reel in the big money. In late winter, the city involved its Economic Development Corporation in the planning, adding some business gravitas to the discussions.   (The EDC is a quasi city agency that usually hands out loans to entities willing to locate or create jobs in New York.)

Ed Skyler, Bloomberg's former Deputy Mayor for Operations (and Sadik-Khan's old boss), is a top Citibank executive. Citibank was lured in.

(Even so, everyone, from the Mayor on down, credits Sadik-Khan. "I never worried," Bloomberg said, "because Janette went after it. And anyone who knows Janette knows if she sets her mind to it it's going to get done.")

Eventually, Citibank was sold. "We think this is a very innovative program that makes people’s lives easier, that’s what we do, that’s what we do as a bank," Vikram Pandit, Citibank's CEO, told me Monday.

Was he worried about controversy surrounding the program? "This is a program supporting bikes, bikes are environmentally friendly, they're good exercise. There’s always controversy  -- but on balance we think this is a great program," Pandit said.

The Citibank contract was signed only two weeks ago -- far later than officials had hoped. Without the contract, there wasn't the upfront capital to get the bikes produced. And that, multiple sources confirm, was the major reason for the delay in getting the bikes to some neighborhoods.

Bike share boosters are, for the most part, expressing just the faintest disappointment at the delay in bringing bike share to the full footprint.

"The reality of implementing an entire transportation network from scratch for a city as large and complicated as New York will obviously require a careful approach," said Transportation Alternatives chief Paul Steely White. "The city is working with local communities to roll out bike share with as little disruption as possible. Sometimes that means revising timelines. The important thing is to keep moving forward and work toward meeting the huge demand for bike share in New York City."

Steely White, Brewer and others are willing to cut the city some slack -- willing to give credence to what the city says. "We said we would find a sponsor.  And we did," mayoral spokesman Marc LaVorgna said. " We're doing something that's never been done before."

When the bright blue bikes were unveiled Monday at City Hall plaza, there were smiles and claps. And the idea of "Citibike" seemed to convey exactly what the city wanted -- these bikes are for transportation, for getting around the city. These are urban bikes. And they are intimately tied with the city's economic future.

"A perfect outcome," Sadik-Khan told me yesterday.   I told her I was guessing she was exhaling right about now. A faint smile played across her lips.

 

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Transportation Nation

New York Deal on Regulating Budget Bus Lines

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

photo Alex Goldmark

(New York, NY -- Denise Blostein, WNYC) The Bloomberg administration is on board with proposed legislation that may eliminate the "Wild West" atmosphere of intercity buses that many officials say is wreaking havoc on city streets, especially in Chinatown.

State Senator Daniel Squadron and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn said new permitting will require bus companies to seek approval for designated pick-up and drop-off locations. The city would consult local community boards as part of this application process.

Currently, the city designates locations for some curbside bus companies, but channeling these requests through the DOT isn’t mandatory. Sadik-Kahn said that nothing prevents bus companies from deciding on their own locations. The new law would also enable the city to take action and fine bus companies that don't comply with the new rules; bus lines would be fined $1,000 for a first offense and $2,500 for subsequent offenses.

George Lence, a spokesman for Megabus, one of the intercity bus companies operating out of Midtown Manhattan said, “We always work closely with the city when selecting workable bus locations for our customers and will continue to do so under this legislation."

City Council member Margaret Chin, who supports the legislation, said she has received complaints about the volume of buses and passengers loading in and out of Chinatown streets for the past two years. Chin noted that after a deadly accident involving a Chinatown bus company last March, “the need for legislation took on more urgency.”

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senator Squadron, who will introduce the bill in the Assembly and the Senate respectively, said that regulation is needed because both capacity issues at the Port Authority terminal and federal regulations requiring that curbside bus lines be allowed operate have turned the streets of New York City into bus depots.

“We’re real glad there’s a whole new low-cost bus industry” Squadron said. “It’s good for riders, it’s good for commerce, it’s good for the country. But an unregulated Wild West atmosphere is bad for everyone.”

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Crossing Delancey To Get Safer

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Delancey Street (photo by Joseph A. via flickr)

Delancey Street -- a busy multi-lane street on Manhattan's Lower East Side -- will be getting a major safety overhaul.

"We've got a plan to make it even easier to cross Delancey and really make it more of a street again," said New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

The city will widen sidewalks and change the timing of lights to give pedestrians more time to cross. All told, 14 of the street's 19 crosswalks will be shortened.   Some left turns will now be restricted, and a service lane will be eliminated. "We're going to make it much clearer for pedestrians and drivers to understand how to cross and use the street," said Sadik-Khan, who called it "the most concerted effort that's ever been brought to bear on Delancey Street."

She said the redesign will add 14,000 square feet of additional pedestrian space to Delancey between Norfolk and Clinton Street. Large planters, maintained by the local business improvement district, will help delineate the space.

The street leads to the Williamsburg Bridge and is considered among the city's most dangerous; in a statement today, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer called it "a nightmare for pedestrians." The city has made safety improvements over the years, but the issue vaulted to the forefront last month when a 12-year old girl was killed while crossing the intersection of Delancey and Clinton Streets.

“The problems along Delancey have been hidden in plain sight for decades,” said Sadik-Khan.  On Wednesday night, the proposed changes will be presented at a special meeting of Community Board 3.

New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, who said he created the Delancey Street Working Group last year in order to make the street safer, was pleased with the DOT's response. "These changes on their own don't solve every problem, and we're going to need to monitor them," he said. "What they are is they are a dramatic change in a short time frame, and it's going to make a real improvement."

The city said it wants to implement the changes this June. To see the plan, go here (pdf).

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Transportation Nation

New York Traffic Deaths Hit Historic Low

Thursday, December 29, 2011

NY Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, NY DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and NY Mayor Bloomberg Announce Traffic Stats at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn. (Photo by Jim O'Grady)

(New York, NY - WNYC) The Bloomberg Administration says the city will have the lowest number of traffic fatalities in its history this year.

Mayor Bloomberg said 237 people have been killed in traffic incidents this year--a 40 percent drop from 2001. He said traffic fatalities for pedestrians and children are also at record lows.

New York Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan added that fatal bicycle accidents have held steady. She said that's despite a quadrupling of bike ridership over the past decade.

The mayor and his transportation commissioner unveiled the statistics in Brooklyn at Grand Army Plaza, where they said safety upgrades contributed to a 40 percent reduction in crashes over the past three years.

Sadik-Khan said deaths are down because the city keeps re-engineering its streets, and plans to do more. "You will see more pedestrian countdown signals," she said. "We're going to be doubling them in the next two years. You will see more neighborhood slow zones, continuing our work to create slow zones around schools. We've done 138 so far."

She said her department also plans to keep installing bike lanes, crossing lanes and pedestrian islands around the city.

New York's traffic fatality rate is already half the per capita national average.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Vermont Swiftly Repaired Irene-Damaged Roads; LaHood To Testify About High-Speed Rail Today

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Top stories on TN:

FAA Chief Randy Babbitt is on a leave of absence after being arrested for drunk driving Saturday night. (Link)
The White House declined to call for Babbitt's resignation. (Link)
MIT developed an algorithm to predict which vehicles will run a red light. (Link)

Repairing a post-Hurricane Irene Route 106 in Weathersfield, Vermont (photo courtesy of the Vermont Agency of Transportation)

Vermont’s success in swiftly repairing roads damaged by Hurricane Irene "is a story of bold action and high-tech innovation." (New York Times)

NYC DOT head Janette Sadik-Khan -- "the high priestess of people-friendly cities" -- went on Rock Center with Brian Williams to talk about street redesign. (NBC)

U.S. DOT head Ray LaHood will be on the hill today to testify about the nation's high-speed rail program. (The Hill)

California's high-speed rail program is starting to look iffy. (KALW)

Deepwater Horizon update: BP accused Halliburton of destroying evidence about possible problems with the cement slurry that went into drilling the oil well. (AP via NPR)

A California law going into effect next year puts a statewide cap on the amount of greenhouse gases coming out of smokestacks and tailpipes. (NPR)

NY's MTA is installing more cameras and driver partitions on hundreds of city buses. (New York Post)

England has tabled a decision on whether to begin work on HS2 -- the high-speed rail project running from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds -- until next year. (The Guardian)

Men over 45 are more likely to crash their cars on snowy, icy roads. “There may be a sense of invulnerability with four-wheel drive trucks leading the drivers to not slow down as much as they should," says a researcher who conducted the study. (Chicago Tribune via Inforum)

Sales of GM and Ford cars are on the rise in China. (Marketplace)

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New York DOT / Uses Haiku with Graphics / to Tame City Streets

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New York City has fought speeding with "slow zones" and digital images of skeletons. It has turned Times Square into a pedestrian zone. It has installed hundreds of miles of bike lanes and will implement a bike share program next year. And now its campaign to remake city streets has turned to... haiku.

Curbside haiku (image courtesy of NYC DOT)

The New York City Department of Transportation will be posting hundreds of signs around the city as part of a new safety education campaign called "Curbside Haiku." The signs were created by New York/Atlanta artist John Morse and feature twelve designs accompanied by a haiku poem.

The DOT has installed the 8”x8” signs at locations it says are "based on a citywide analysis of crashes near various cultural institutions and schools," including near Brooklyn’s Transit Museum and the Brooklyn Museum; the Bronx  Hub, Bronx Museum/Grand Concourse and Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden; Manhattan’s Studio Museum of Harlem and MoMA/International Center for Photography; Queens’s Jamaica Center for the Arts and the Staten Island Museum. The DOT says the signs are too small to distract drivers and will face the sidewalk so that they catch the attention of pedestrians.

Morse said this was inspired by black-clad New Yorkers crossing the streets after dark. (image courtesy of NYC DOT)

In an emailed statement, DOT Ccmmissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said: "We’re putting poetry into motion with public art to make New York City’s streets even safer. These signs complement our engineering and education efforts to create a steady rhythm for safer streets in all five boroughs.”

(Note: Observant transit riders will note the reference to Poetry in Motion, the city's now-defunct campaign that put poetry placards in subway cars.)

Morse created the images through paper collage and authored the haiku, which he said was a whimsical take on a deadly serious subject.  “It's like a Grimm’s fairy tale. You’re delivering a dark message in a way that’s rather delightful." He said the challenge was to find a new way to deliver an old message. "We have this thought of 'walk/don't walk. Look both ways.' I get that, I understand that," he said. "The goal here is to say 'how can I reach people who have heard that message a million times but need to hear it again?'"

He added that the poetry "underscores the reality here, the harshness of, what is the brutality of traffic. That's a very significant thing."

Morse is no stranger to the marriage of road sign to artwork. In 2010, Morse installed "Roadside Haiku" in Atlanta, a project inspired by ubiquitous signs promising weight loss or easy money.

You can see the haiku, as well as a map of where they are located, here (pdf).

 

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WNYC News

34th Street Gets Select Bus Service

Monday, November 14, 2011

Faster buses are coming to 34th Street that allow riders to pay before boarding and provides access at both rear and front doors as a way to reduce delays.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Pennsylvania Pols Battle Over How To Fund Transportation, Taxi Group Joins AFL-CIO, Planned Bridge Between Detroit and Canada Tabled -- For N

Friday, October 21, 2011

Top stories on TN:

Power, politics, and a Brooklyn bike lane. (Link)

Joseph Lhota was named to run New York's MTA. (Link)

NYC okays wheelchair-accessible taxi. (Link)

New Yorkers support the incipient bike share program, 72 to 23. (Link)

Ambassador Bridge. Image: (CC) by Flickr user mcclouds

More on Joe Lhota's appointment to the NY MTA in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, the Staten Island Advance, and Crain's New York.

A coalition of environmental groups is suing three rail operators in California to force them to lower diesel soot. (Los Angeles Times)

A Pennsylvania state senator will introduce legislation to pump another $2.5 billion a year into that state's transportation system and is challenging the governor come up with his own plan. (AP via Penn Live)

Plans to build a second bridge between Detroit and Canada have failed in the Michigan Senate. (Detroit Free Press)

California adopts nation's strictest cap and trade standards, and is working on lowering the state's tailpipe emissions standards. (KQED)

The Metrorail link to Dulles Airport will probably be $150 million over budget. The overall price tag: $2.8 billion. (Washington Post)

A NYC taxi drivers association became the first non-traditional labor organization to join the AFL-CIO since the early 1960s. (Crain's New York)

Londoners fear the impact the Olympics might have on that city's transit system. And no pressure, London: "The success or failure of the games will hang in part on whether the system can keep up with the increase in demand." (AP via Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

NYC may shutter a bus franchise that makes women ride in back. (Reuters)

DC's Capital Bikeshare is raising prices to help pay for its expansion. (AP via WaPo)

One thousand shiny new sidewalk benches represent the latest effort by the NYC DOT to "elevate our streetscape." (Streetsblog, DNA Info)

Teen drivers: OY. Wait, make that OMG. (NPR)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Paris Launches Electric Car Share, Warren Buffett Gets Into Urban Redevelopment, Furloughed FAA Employees Get Paid

Monday, October 03, 2011

Top stories on TN:

NJ and the federal government reach a settlement on ARC tunnel money. (Link 1, link 2)

A Bluecar on Paris's Boulevard Sérurier (photo by Portemolitor via Flickr)

Paris launched an electric "bubble car" auto sharing program. Paris transportation head: "It's the same principle as Velib'; you use the car, leave it and that's it. Simple." (Los Angeles Times, The Guardian)

Warren Buffett joined an effort described as "a holistic approach to urban redevelopment." (USA Today)

Forbes magazine: don't bother making transit pretty. "The point of transit is to transport. Money buys movement, and funds are finite."

Furloughed FAA employees will receive back pay for the time they missed. (The Hill)

The Boston Globe interviewed Janette Sadik-Khan: "Change is messy, and change is hard...but it’s really important that we don’t get stuck in an approach that’s 25 years old."

The New York Post looks at who taxi medallion owners  give campaign donations to local politicians, and concludes "they are often getting their money's worth."

New York Times editorial: say no to the Keystone XL pipeline.

DC's Police Complaints Board said that district police need to become better versed in the bike laws they enforce. (Washington Post)

Is the Tysons Corner Metrorail link on schedule or not? Fairfax County says no; the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says yes. (WAMU)

Countdown clocks come to Chicago bus shelters. (Chicago Tribune)

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Transportation Nation

NYC Getting More Audible Crosswalk Signals To Help Visually Impaired

Thursday, September 29, 2011

An accessible pedestrian crosswalk control panel (photo by William Alatriste/NY City Council via Flickr)

New York City is ramping up installation of accessible pedestrian crosswalk signals.

On Wednesday, the city showed off its newest APS at the intersection of Seventh Avenue and West 23rd Street. Twenty-one intersections across the city have been equipped with the audible signal devices since 2004. But the city said it's going to be putting them in at a significantly faster rate, with plans for 25 more in the next 12 months.

Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City Department of Transportation commissioner, said the audible signals "are literally sound investments that will help improve the safety and quality of life for the most vulnerable New Yorkers who use our streets."

According to DOT information, APSs are wired to a pedestrian signal and can send audible messages to indicate when it is safe to cross. (The button that initiates the sound emits a clicking noise so it can be found by pedestrians.) The units also vibrate to help those with hearing impairments.

Using the new signal, at the intersection of 23rd Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan (photo by William Alatriste/NY City Council via Flickr)

You can read more about the program -- as well as find out where the next audible signals are being installed -- here.

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Transportation Nation

PHOTOS: Scenes from New York City Bike Share Announcement

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

As we reported earlier, New York City announced the vendor for its bike share program.

A bike share station (photo by Kate Hinds)

A close up of the handlebars of one of the sample bikes. Looks like a three speed.

(photo by Kate Hinds)

The formal announcement:

Dan Cantor (Working Families Party), Alison Cohen (President, Alta), Janette Sadik-Khan (NYC DOT Commissioner), Gale Brewer (NYC Council Member), Kathleen Wylde (Partnership for NYC), Paul Steely White (Transportation Alternatives) and Brad Lander (NYC Council Member)

Front view of a bike station:

(photo by Kate Hinds)

Musician -- and bike advocate -- David Byrne was on hand:

David Byrne (photo by Kate Hinds)

So were city politicians.

Gale Brewer, Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson, NYC Council Member Letitia James, and Colvin Grannum, president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration (photo by Kate Hinds)

Eco-friendly parking stations:

The bike stations are solar powered (photo by Kate Hinds)

Docking instructions:

(photo by Kate Hinds)

A sample payment machine:

(photo by Kate Hinds)

And finally, a joy ride. NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and other city officials make a loop around the plaza in front of reporters.

 Janette Sadik-Khan test-driving one of the bikes (photo by Kate Hinds)

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WNYC News

City Announces Nation's Largest Bike Share Program

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WNYC

The city has chosen Alta Bike Share to run a 10,000-bike network of one-way, short-term rentals that it says will augment the transit system.

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