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Bill Giving Cyclists a Head Start at LPIs Gets a Council Hearing Next Month

Momentum is building for Council Member Carlos Menchaca’s bill to allow cyclists to proceed at traffic signals at the same time that pedestrians get the go-ahead. Intro 1072 would affect intersections with leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) — signals that give pedestrians a head start to establish themselves in the crosswalk ahead of turning motorists. If the bill passes, cyclists can legally take the same head-start.

The City Council transportation committee plans to hear testimony on the bill on November 15, along with six other bills related to walking and biking.

The text of Menchaca’s bill reads:

A person operating a bicycle while crossing a roadway at an intersection shall follow pedestrian control signals when such signals supersede traffic control signals pursuant to local law, rule or regulation, except that such person shall yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.

In practice, that allows cyclists to legally advance with the walk signal at intersections with LPIs. As you can see in the above clip from Brooklyn Spoke’s Doug Gordon, shot at Atlantic Avenue and Hoyt Street, people are already doing that.

The Menchaca bill officially sanctions the behavior and sends a subtle message that signals intended regulate driving don’t always make sense when applied to cycling. With a head start, cyclists can establish themselves in drivers’ visual field and stay out of blind spots.

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No More Stalling: DOT Redesigns Gerritsen Ave After Teen Cyclist’s Death

In the coming weeks, Gerritsen Avenue will get a two-way protected bike lane, concrete pedestrian refuges, and bus boarding bulbs aimed to calm traffic and create safer access to the park. Image: DOT

By next month, Gerritsen Avenue will get a two-way protected bike lane, concrete pedestrian islands, and bus boarding islands. Image: DOT [PDF]

DOT will install a two-way protected bike lane and other traffic-calming measures on Gerritsen Avenue, the street next to Marine Park in southern Brooklyn where a drunk driver killed a teenage cyclist this summer [PDF].

On the night of July 19, Thomas Groarke, 24, overtook another driver on the left and sped into the wide painted median on Gerritsen near Gotham Avenue, then fatally struck 17-year-old Sean Ryan, who was riding his bike southbound, the Daily News reported. Three other people were injured in the crash. Groarke’s blood alcohol level was found to be twice the legal limit.

Gerritsen Avenue is a wide street with a speeding problem and a history of traffic injuries and deaths. Since 2007, there have been four fatalities on the street, according to DOT, including three in the past two years. After the deaths of Joseph Ciresi and James Miro last fall, the Times looked at the street’s reputation as a drag strip.

The city has tinkered with the design of Gerritsen Avenue before. After a motorist severely injured 12-year-old cyclist Anthony Turturro in 2004 at the same intersection where Ryan was killed, the city implemented a four-lane-to-three-lane road diet with a painted median. In 2008 and 2009, the city floated concrete pedestrian islands and painted bike lanes for Gerritsen but backed off after local residents protested the changes. The only change implemented was to narrow the medians to make room for a “wide parking lane” (instead of painted bike lanes).

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Livable Streets Events

This Week: Bike-Share Planning in Astoria

On Wednesday DOT and Citi Bike will hold the first of two planning workshops for bike-share in Astoria. Now’s your chance to help decide where stations should go, and speak with DOT and local electeds about the need for more bike-friendly streets in northwest Queens.

If you can’t make it Wednesday, the second Astoria workshop is scheduled for November 3.

More event highlights below. Check the calendar for full listings.

Watch the calendar for updates. Drop us a line if you have an event we should know about.
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D.C. Riders: Late-Night Transit Cuts Would Leave Workers Stranded

Hard to believe, but one of the biggest transit agencies in the U.S. — WMATA — is moving to eliminate eight hours of late-night Metro service per week. The whole system will simply not be available for those eight hours, and people in D.C. are livid.

Protestors demonstrate against late-night service cuts outside a Metro board meeting last week. Photo: Greater Greater Washington

Protestors demonstrate against late-night service cuts outside a WMATA board meeting last week. Photo: Greater Greater Washington

How would those cuts affect transit riders? At a recent public meeting on the service cuts, people spoke about how they rely on late-night Metro service. Greater Greater Washington shares this synopsis from contributor Nicole Cacozza:

One man came to testify on behalf of his former coworkers in the service industry who worked long shifts and needed Metro to get home.

A woman from WMATA’s accessibility committee spoke about just not being able to travel on weekends if Metro cut its morning service, because she cannot get around without public transportation.

One woman who immigrated to Maryland as a child said that she used Metro to travel to Virginia after school in order to spend time with other people from her home country, and she currently knows people who use it to attend GED classes after work.

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Driver Kills Jazmine Marin, 13, Near Ozone Park School; NYPD Blames Victim

A driver hit two teenagers, killing 13-year-old Jazmine Marin, at Cross Bay Boulevard at 149th Avenue in Ozone Park this morning. NYPD filed no charges against the driver and blamed the victims in the press. Image: Google Maps

A driver hit two teenagers, killing 13-year-old Jazmine Marin, at Cross Bay Boulevard at 149th Avenue in Ozone Park this morning. NYPD filed no charges against the driver and blamed the victims in the press. Image: Google Maps

Update: The motorist who killed Marin and injured the second victim was driving an early 1980s Chevrolet El Camino with a racing hood scoop, per a Daily News photo from the scene.

A motorist hit two teenagers near a school in Ozone Park this morning, killing a 13-year-old girl and injuring the second victim.

Jazmine Marin and another girl were walking east across Cross Bay Boulevard at 149th Avenue at around 6:40 a.m. when a 55-year-old man hit them with a Chevrolet sedan, NYPD told Gothamist.

Marin sustained head trauma and died at Jamaica Hospital. The second victim was hospitalized with a leg injury.

Cross Bay Boulevard at 149th Avenue is a wide street designed to facilitate fast driving. A motorist killed 59-year-old pedestrian Francisco Camacho at the intersection in 2012.

The victims of today’s crash were approaching a nearby middle school, but it’s unknown if they were students there.

NYPD withheld the driver’s identity and blamed the children in the press. From the Daily News:

The 55-year-old driver of the sedan remained at the scene. It appeared that he had the green light at the time and that the girls were crossing outside of a crosswalk, police sources said.

No charges were filed. Anonymous police sources told WNBC “no criminality is suspected.”

Jazmine Marin was killed in the 106th Precinct, where officers had ticketed 372 drivers for speeding this year as of September, and in the City Council district represented by Eric Ulrich.


Today’s Headlines

  • Second Ave Subway Phase 1 Nears Finish Line (NYT); Crews Had to Shave Down Tunnel Walls (News)
  • Driver Kills 13-Year-Old Girl, Injures Another Girl Near Middle School in Ozone Park (PostDNA)
  • MTA Express Bus Driver Kills Woman in Lower Manhattan, Charged With Failure to Yield (News, NY1)
  • Drunken Staten Island Drag Race Claims One Life, Injures Several (Post)
  • Dan Squadron and Paul White: Test Out Tolls on the East River Bridges During L Shutdown (News)
  • Nicole Gelinas on de Blasio: “Once You’ve Joined the Helicopter Class, It’s Hard to Go Back” (Post)
  • TWU’s John Samuelsen Wants to Rally NYC Unions Against de Blasio (News)
  • Council Bill Seeks to Shed Light on the Public Design Commission (Politico)
  • New Cottage Industry in New York — Citi Bike Accessories (WSJ)
  • 7,000 People Biked the Bronx Yesterday (NY1)
  • Transit = Freedom for NYC Kids (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA


The 4th Most Influential Streetfilm of All Time

With the 10-year benefit for Streetsblog and Streetfilms coming up on November 14 (get your tickets here!), we are counting down the 12 most influential Streetfilms of all time, as determined by Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Groningen: The World’s Cycling City

Number of plays: 259,000

Publish date:  October 9, 2013

Why is it here? This mega-length Streetfilm is adored the world over. What really makes an impression on people is how Groningen’s street network is divided into sections that make car trips indirect while allowing the free movement of people on bikes. For many trips, riding a bike in Groningen is two or three times faster than driving a car. In large parts of the city, bicycling accounts for 60 percent of all traffic.

Fun fact: When I got off the train in Groningen, I walked the mile to my hotel and was practically laughing out loud. There were bicycles everywhere. Happy people enjoying the outdoors, hardly a car to be seen, and almost no traffic noise. It was magical, and as much as I thought I would be prepared for it based on what I’d heard from our publisher, Mark Gorton, I was not ready. As I told many people, I felt like I was in “a magical grownup Candyland game for bikes”!

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East Harlem Rezoning Plan Scraps Parking Minimums to Build More Housing

The Department of City Planning previewed its East Harlem rezoning proposal at Community Board 11 this week [PDF].

The Department of City Planning previewed its East Harlem rezoning proposal at Community Board 11 this week [PDF].

The Department of City Planning is preparing a major rezoning of East Harlem, and it calls for scrapping parking requirements along most of the avenues in the neighborhood.

Earlier this year, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito released the “East Harlem Neighborhood Plan” [PDF], a set of recommendations developed by her office, Community Board 11, Borough President Gale Brewer, and the grassroots social justice group Community Voices Heard. The plan called for “increased density in select places to create more affordable housing and spaces for jobs” and recommended that “any potential rezoning should eliminate minimum parking requirements.”

New York City’s minimum parking requirements drive up the cost of housing by requiring developers to build parking spots that otherwise wouldn’t get built. This adds to construction costs and constrains the supply of new housing.

On Tuesday, representatives from the Department of City Planning previewed the rezoning at Community Board 11’s monthly meeting. All areas that would get upzoned in the plan will also have parking requirements eliminated.

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Friday Job Market

Looking to hire a smart, qualified person for a position in transportation planning, engineering, IT, or advocacy? Post a listing on the Streetsblog Jobs Board and reach our national audience of dedicated readers.

Looking for a job? Here are the current listings:

Associate Transportation Planner, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle, Washington
The Project Development Division of the Seattle Department of Transportation presents an exceptional opportunity working with a team of professionals focused on creating a safe, interconnected, vibrant, affordable, and innovative city for all. Reporting to the Project Development Team Lead, the Associate Transportation Planner will support a multi-discipline, multi-section, and multi-agency team of initiation, execution, and completion of complex, highly visible projects and programs.

Bureau Chief — Transportation, Traffic and Parking, City of Stamford, Connecticut
The City of Stamford is seeking a highly motivated and experienced professional to manage and direct all matters pertaining to the traffic functions of the City, in accordance with the City Charter. The Bureau Chief will be the head of the Transportation, Traffic & Parking Bureau and shall be responsible for the analysis, planning, execution and administration of plans and programs for the City’s transportation functions.

Development Assistant, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco, California
The Development Associate reports to the Development Director and works closely with a team of staff, board members, interns and volunteers. The Development Associate helps plan and executes contributed revenue strategy in areas key to ensuring organizational sustainability. Areas of responsibility include: individual donor cultivation and stewardship, direct mail and electronic fundraising campaign support, foundation prospecting and grant writing, business partner support, workplace giving and third-party fundraising support.

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5 Highlights From Last Night’s Bike-Share vs. Parking Meeting

A dense network of stations is what makes bike-share work so well in these Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Last night’s Brooklyn Community Board 6 bike-share forum lacked the fireworks of previous meetings — no physical threats this time. While the tone was civil, the demands from the anti-bike-share crowd weren’t exactly reasonable.

So far, Citi Bike has proven incredibly popular in CB 6, with some stations getting as much as seven rides per dock each day. That’s a lot more activity than the average free car parking spot ever sees.

Opponents said they would be fine with the bike-share stations if they didn’t occupy curb space that previously served as free car storage. They suggested the docks be moved onto sidewalks and that the station density be cut in half. But sidewalks in Park Slope and Carroll Gardens don’t have room for bike-share stations, and reducing station density would ruin the usefulness of the bike-share system. Bike-share only works well when you don’t have to walk more than a couple of minutes to reach a station.

With the room at capacity, Council Member Brad Lander live streamed the meeting for people stuck outside. The entire one-hour, 45-minute video (which amazingly does not capture the entire meeting) is available on Lander’s Facebook page. Here are the highlights:

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