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Rukhsana Khan, 41, Third Pedestrian Killed by MTA Bus Driver in November

MTA bus drivers killed three people walking in November. The most recent victim was Rukhsana Khan, a 41-year-old mother of six. Image: News 12

MTA bus drivers killed three people walking in November. The most recent victim was Rukhsana Khan, a 41-year-old mother of six, struck on Thanksgiving eve. Image: News 12

New York City motorists killed three people walking over the holiday break.

At around 6 p.m. last Wednesday, November 25, an MTA express bus driver hit 41-year-old Rukhsana Khan on Ocean Avenue between Avenue J and Avenue K.

Rukhsana Khan. Photo via Daily News

Rukhsana Khan. Photo via Daily News

From the Daily News:

“The lady was in the middle of the street crossing,” said William Bizaldi, 64, who later discovered he had lived in the same building with the victim. “I heard like a boom and she looked like a plastic doll when she got hit.”

Albert Britton, 45, was onboard the bus at the time, and said the impact sounded like the bus “hitting a pothole.”

Khan, who had six children, was pronounced dead at New York Community Hospital.

Ocean Avenue is a wide, flat street, with four lanes for motor vehicle through-traffic at the location where Khan was struck. Video of the crash published by News 12 shows the bus driver traveling at a high rate of speed at the moment of impact. Video and photos taken at the scene showed that the bus was damaged on the front driver’s side.

In a second report, the Daily News spoke with people who said the bus driver was speeding, and that reckless driving is common on Ocean Avenue.

Neighbors implored the city to crack down on fast drivers. Witnesses said the bus was speeding, and urged officials to install speed bumps near the site.

“This area right here, they come speeding, 60 or 65,” said Wanda Bizaldi, 52, a neighbor. “Whether she was right or wrong, that’s too fast. It’s a shame that she died right here in front of the building.”

Drivers have injured dozens of people on Ocean Avenue this year, according to DOT crash data. The 70th Precinct, where the crash occurred, issues an average of between one and two speeding tickets a day.

NYPD filed no charges against the bus driver who killed Rukhsana Khan. MTA bus drivers have killed five pedestrians and one cyclist in 2015, including three pedestrians in November, according to crash data tracked by Streetsblog.

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Eyes on the Street: 8-Year Downtown Greenway Detour Finally Ends


Looking north on the newly reopened segment of the Hudson River Greenway by Brookfield Place. Photo: @DataVizier

Since 2007, people biking on the Hudson River Greenway in Lower Manhattan have had to take a circuitous detour into Battery Park City. Not anymore.

This weekend, the shuttered greenway segment reopened, providing a straight shot to and from the Battery. @DataVizier called our attention to these photos he took of the reconstructed greenway at night, and the Tribeca Citizen has more coverage.

Several agencies were involved in the eight-year process of rerouting and, after a very long wait, restoring the greenway. The detour began in 2007 to accommodate construction of an underground passageway beneath West Street, linking the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place to the World Trade Center PATH station. Originally slated to last until 2010, the detour dragged on for a full eight years, including two years after the PATH tunnel opened. The state DOT announced two months ago that the greenway would be back to normal by November.

Throughout all eight years of the greenway detour, motor vehicle capacity on West Street was barely affected.

But as of this weekend, convenient biking and walking access along West Street has been restored. Enjoy.

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Livable Streets Events

This Week: Council Takes Up Hit-and-Run, Bike Task Force Bills

On Wednesday, the City Council transportation committee will discuss a slate of bills, including one to increase penalties for hit-and-run drivers and another calling for the creation of a bike safety task force. We’ll have more coverage before the hearing.

Here are the rest of this week’s calendar highlights. Check the calendar for complete listings.

  • Today: At a meeting of the Brooklyn CB 1 transportation committee, DOT will present a proposal to convert East Williamsburg’s Waterbury Street, which currently runs two-way between Meserole Street and Grand Street, to one-way northbound. 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday: DOT holds a workshop to gather feedback on improving street safety for seniors in Bath Beach. 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Manhattan CB 3, NYPD, DOT, Council Member Margaret Chin, and State Senator Daniel Squadron host a town hall meeting about interstate bus companies operating in Lower Manhattan neighborhoods. 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: The City Council transportation committee will hold a hearing on bills to increase penalties for drivers who leave the scene of a crash, create a bicycle safety task force, and make it easier for the city to remove abandoned bikes. 10 a.m.
  • Wednesday: The Manhattan CB 8 transportation committee will hear from NYC EDC on ferry service and discuss the redesign of the 81st Street pedestrian bridge. 6:30 p.m.

Keep an eye on the calendar for updated listings. Got an event we should know about? Drop us a line.
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Stranded on Two Feet: The Danger of Gaps in the Pedestrian Network

The only way to access this post office in Minneapolis by foot is to break the law and sprint across this speedway. Image: Clark Parket,

The only way to access this post office in Minneapolis by foot is to break the law and sprint across a 75-foot speedway. Photo: Clark Parker/

Anyone who does a fair amount of walking to get around will encounter gaps in the pedestrian network sooner or later. Sometimes they might just be minor annoyances, but they can also put people in very dangerous positions.

Clark Parker at stumbled into a pedestrian gap when he tried to send a letter on a Saturday afternoon. The only post office open in the Minneapolis area was by the airport. He took transit to get there, and that’s when the adventure started:

The thought of 10 miles of highway driving and dealing with airport parking seemed more trouble than it was worth. So I grabbed a book and my Metropass, hopped on a bus to Downtown, and caught the Blue Line to the airport. Upon arriving at Terminal 1 Lindbergh Station (map), I re-checked the directions; according to Google Maps, it would be an easy 6-minute walk to the post office. I headed out the door and could instantly see the USPS eagle logo across the way.

The Google Map directions proved to be inaccurate, so I improvised, making my way past a low building that led to the a wide stretch of pavement. This was the exit for the airport’s main parking garage. I was encouraged by the clearly marked crosswalk painted on the ground. Few cars were exiting the gates, so I easily made it across. At the end of the crosswalk I reached a two-lane road with cars whipping by at near-highway speed. There was no crosswalk, no bridge, and no discernible option for getting to the post office by foot.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Not a Video Game: Man Driving Away From Car Wreck Kills Woman in East NY (News, Gothamist)
  • MTA Bus Driver Kills 41-Year-Old Mother Crossing Ocean Ave (News)
  • Driver Hits and Kills Man, 54, in Long Island City (News)
  • De Blasio/Astorino Plea for Federal Transpo Funds Becomes Political Grist for Cuomo (DNA)
  • 12 of 16 Brooklyn CBs Voted Against de Blasio’s Housing Plan (Bklyn Paper)
  • MTA: Splitting the M5 in Two Would Make It More Reliable (DNA)
  • Cap’n Transit Looks at the Effect of Uber and Lyft on Traffic
  • Daily News on the LGA Shuttle Bus Makeover Idea: Go For It
  • More on the Advent of an Open-Data Platform for Bike-Share Systems (Post)
  • The Lede for This Bklyn Paper Piece on Reynoso’s Bike-Yield Bill Is Exactly What You’d Expect
  • If You Can Stomach It, Here Are Some Photos of the Old Penn Station Getting Torn Down (AMNY)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Bike-Share Open Data Standard Clears the Way for Better Trip Planning Apps

It’s about to get easier to plan trips that include bike-share.


It’s about to get easier for developers of apps like Citymapper to incorporate bike-share data.

Yesterday, the North American Bikeshare Association, a trade group representing transportation agencies and private firms involved in operating bike-share systems, announced that it is adopting an open data standard. NABSA includes Motivate, the company that operates Citi Bike, Divvy, Bay Area Bike Share, and several other systems in American cities.

The policy means that data about station locations and bike and dock availability will be much easier for software developers to incorporate into trip planning apps. Bike-share data will be released in the same format that transit agencies use, known as the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS).

Previously, variations between systems made the use of bike-share data a cumbersome, one-city-at-time process for developers. Motivate spokesperson Dani Simons said in an email that the open data platform clears the way for rapid integration of bike-share information by companies with huge user bases, like Google and Apple.

“Transit provides a standard data feed already,” she said, “which makes it easier for these bigger players to provide transit information to customers, which in turn makes it easier for an individual to decide to take the MTA or the Tokyo Metro or the Portland Max, even if they’re new to taking transit in New York, Tokyo or Portland. We want that same level of seamlessness and ease for bike share customers as well.”

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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It’s Time to Stop Pretending That Roads Pay for Themselves

If nothing else, the current round of federal transportation legislating should end the myth that highways are a uniquely self-sufficient form of infrastructure paid for by “user fees,” a.k.a. gas taxes and tolls.

Highways have been massively subsidized for many years, but now it’s going to be harder to ignore. Graph: U.S. PIRG

With all the general tax revenue that goes toward roads in America, car infrastructure has benefited from hefty subsidies for many years. But at the federal level, the road gang could always argue that the gas tax paid for the Highway Trust Fund. Not anymore.

The gas tax has stagnated at the same rate since 1993, and the Highway Trust Fund has been bailed out so many times over the last decade, it’s hard to keep count. A long-term transportation bill was supposed to fix that. Instead, the six-year bill on its way to passage right now in Washington may finally bury the idea that American highways are wholly paid for by the gas tax.

Despite gas prices plummeting to barely more than $2 a gallon, and despite pressure from interest groups on both the right and left, Congress has never seriously considered raising the gas tax to cover the cost of the federal transportation program. That means roads are in line for way more subsidies.

It’s unclear exactly how much subsidy the final bill will contain, since the House and Senate bills have yet to be reconciled. But it looks like about $85 billion will be needed to fill the gap over six years. Part of that figures to come from raiding the Federal Reserve and part from a gimmicky one-shot tax on “repatriated” overseas corporate profits. Either way, we’re not talking about “user fees.”

In the House bill, the combined subsidy would account for a quarter of the $322 billion in transportation spending over six years. The subsidy will only get larger in future bills as the purchasing power of the gas tax continues to erode, unless Congress can overcome its aversion to asking drivers to pay for roads.

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Bill Bratton Has the Perfect Response to a “Bike-Yield” Law for NYC

Yesterday Council Member Antonio Reynoso introduced a resolution calling for state traffic laws that recognize the differences between bikes and cars. The idea is that people on bikes should be able to treat stop signs as yield signs and red lights as stop signs, proceeding after they check for crossing pedestrians and motor vehicles and the coast is clear.

Well, the Post got the perfect response from Police Commissioner Bill Bratton:

“The city is going to great pains put bicycle lanes in, and to exclude the bicyclists from the traffic rules that everybody else, pedestrians and vehicles are supposed to follow, I would not be supportive of that under any circumstances.”

Solid thinking here. Can you believe these ingrates, the bicyclists? It doesn’t matter if you’re walking, biking, or driving a 55-foot tractor-trailer — we all have to follow the same rules.

When I know I’m going to be walking, I never forget my front and rear lights before I leave my apartment. Out on the sidewalk, I always come to a full stop at stop signs, and I use hand signals whenever I turn or change lanes. I know not everyone is as scrupulous as I am, but if we excluded pedestrians from the traffic rules that everybody else, bicycles and vehicles are supposed to follow, the social order would collapse and there would be riots in the streets.
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How Traffic Growth Projections Become a Self-Fulfilling Prophesy

Transportation planners in Austin are in the beginning stages of a pattern just about every community in the U.S. is familiar with.

Image: Carfree Austin

The way to break the traffic projection prophecy is to avoid catering to it in the first place. Image: Carfree Austin

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) says traffic on a local highway — South MoPac — is going to grow a lot. And if Austin doesn’t spend $400 million building new managed lanes, they say, the result will be gridlock.

But Network blog Car-Free Austin says in the past, similar doomsday traffic projections haven’t come to pass. When Austin Public Works wanted to expand the Lamar Bridge in the 1990s, the justification was an impending 28 percent increase in traffic. But the project was rejected, and since then traffic on the bridges has actually declined 27 percent.

If the bridge had been widened, though, the traffic forecast might have been accurate, Car-Free Austin explains:

1.  If you build it, they will come.

Because of a well-established phenomenon known as induced demand, every new lane that gets built will fill up within 5-10 years and congestion will return to its bumper-to-bumper equilibrium.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Bratton on Reynoso Bike-Yield Bill: NYC Has Done Enough for Cyclists (Post)
  • Will de Blasio Alter Affordable Housing Plan to Appease Parking-Obsessed CBs? (Gotham Gazette)
  • De Blasio Seeks Horse Carriage Compromise; No Mention of Fake Old-Timey Electric Cars (NYT)
  • Avella Backs CityTicket Expansion With Vague Pledge That Albany Would Cover Hit to MTA (News)
  • Motorist Space Hogs and Queens Courier Bullish on “Battle” Against Woodhaven Boulevard SBS
  • Downtown Alliance Plans Permanent Ped Upgrades, But No Bike Lane, for Water Street (Tribeca Trib)
  • Treyger Bills Would Codify Tree-Pruning Protocols After Death of Cyclist Jin Liu (Gothamist)
  • City Settles Suit With Pedestrian Who Claimed Short Walk Signal Contributed to Serious Crash (News)
  • Robert Moses Devotee Joe Borelli Has Some Ideas for Staten Island Road Improvements (Advance)
  • Pass the Vegan Stuffing: Tri-State Counts Its Blessings

More headlines at Streetsblog USA