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NYPD “Bicycle Safe Passage” Stings Aren’t Creating Safe Passage for Cyclists

Earlier this year, when City Hall announced NYPD’s “Bicycle Safe Passage” enforcement initiative to ticket drivers for blocking bike lanes and failing to yield to cyclists, it sounded like a step up from predecessors like “Operation Safe Cycle” — which were notorious for fining cyclists, not protecting them. But the new NYPD bike safety approach still looks a lot like the old.

This week marks the third “Bicycle Safe Passage” operation of 2016. So far, people have reported NYPD ticketing cyclists on Ninth Avenue, Chrystie Street on the Lower East Side, Second Avenue near Stuy Town, and Jay Street by the Manhattan Bridge.

On Jay Street, the 84th Precinct is ticketing cyclists around Nassau Street and Concord Street. Just south of that location, between Fulton Street and Tillary Street, the bike lane remains blocked by double-parkers, as per usual.

During the previous “Bicycle Safe Passage” week, in June, the NYPD gave out 1,757 tickets to drivers obstructing bike lanes and 810 for motorists who failed to yield to cyclists or pedestrians, according to AM New York. It’s not known how many tickets were given to cyclists.

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Streetsblog USA
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America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: Kansas City vs. St. Louis County

The second round of competition in the search for the Sorriest Bus Stop in America gets underway today. (The poll is still open until midnight in the Buffalo vs. Rochester match if you haven’t voted yet.)

Two bus stops in Missouri go toe-to-toe today. Kansas City’s entry overcame some tough competition from D.C. in the first round. Meanwhile, St. Louis County — also home of the reining Sorriest Bus Stop — triumphed over a sorry bus stop in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Which one is Final Four material? Vote below.

St. Louis County

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This bus stop by a highway ramp serves Maryville University (just to the right over the trees) in the suburb of Town and Country in St. Louis County. It was submitted by Richard Bose, who says it’s worth considering “the amount of wealth put into the auto infrastructure and even the landscaping nearby compared to the bus stop.”

Between Missouri DOT, St. Louis County DOT, and Metro St. Louis, there’s plenty of blame to go around — but you’ve gotta pin most of it on the transportation departments for creating an environment that caters entirely to motoring, not walking.

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Crash Data Show NYC Is Losing Ground on Vision Zero

vzview

Citywide traffic deaths rose slightly in the first six months of 2016. Map: Vision Zero View

After a four-month hiatus, City Hall is again updating its Vision Zero View map with new crash data, and through the first six months of 2016, traffic deaths rose slightly compared the same period last year. Through the end of June, 111 people lost their lives to traffic violence, up from 107 in the first half of 2015.

Drivers killed 58 pedestrians and 12 cyclists from January through June this year, compared to 63 pedestrians and five cyclists in the first six months of 2015.

The month of June was especially deadly, with 29 fatalities, wiping out what had looked like progress in the first five months of the year.

Traffic injuries, which are less prone to random variation, are also up from last year for pedestrians and cyclists, though Vision Zero View does not track injury severity. Motorists injured 7,110 people walking and biking through June, compared to 6,518 pedestrian and cyclist injuries during the same period in 2015 — an increase of 9 percent.

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Help Fix the Sanitation Department’s Process for Clearing Abandoned Bikes

Rusty bikes missing wheels, saddles, and other parts are a common sight on NYC sidewalks. Clearly abandoned, they clog up bike racks and other places to lock up, making it harder to park bicycles that people are actively using, and they’re an eyesore to everyone else.

Cleaning up abandoned bikes is the Department of Sanitation’s job, but DSNY’s system isn’t effective, so the problem persists. If you want to make the case that DSNY should change how it handles abandoned bikes, Recycle-A-Bicycle wants your help documenting the performance of the current system.

This abandoned bike on Nostrand does not meet the city's current criteria for removal. Photo: David Meyer

This abandoned bike on Nostrand does not meet the city’s current criteria for removal. Photo: David Meyer

DSNY is holding a hearing on its abandoned bike policy August 9. Before the hearing, Recycle-A-Bicycle is asking New Yorkers to report derelict bikes to 311 and record how the city handles the request.

Under current practice, DSNY responds to 311 complaints about abandoned bicycles by placing a neon tag on the bike, after which owners have one week to remove the tag, or else the bike will be impounded.

But in practice, said Recycle-A-Bicycle Executive Director Karen Overton, “It’s hard to know, if someone calls in a bike, if they [DSNY] actually come out and tag it or don’t.”

So Recycle-A-Bicycle wants to crowdsource an evaluation of DSNY’s system. If you call in an abandoned bike to 311, return in a week to see if the neon tag has been applied, and if so, come back one week later to see if the tag has been cut or the bike has been removed. Each time you check on the bike, you should snap a photo and send it to seetagcut@recycleabicycle.org.

DSNY has had the authority to remove derelict bikes since 2010 but hasn’t made much of a visible impact on the problem. “The Department of Sanitation is not set up to fully handle the abandoned bike process, or rescuing abandoned bikes,” Overton said.

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Streetsblog.net
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Tim Kaine Took a Stand Against Cul-de-Sacs

Even though the Democratic Party’s strongholds are in cities, we probably won’t hear much about urban transportation and development policy at the Democratic National Convention this week. City issues seldom get much play when political parties are focused on scooping up swing votes in the suburbs.

Tim Kaine. Photo via Tim Kaine

Tim Kaine

But Hillary Clinton’s VP choice, Tim Kaine, is the former mayor of Richmond, Virginia, and experience running a city is surprisingly rare for someone on a presidential ticket.

So Greater Greater Washington writers have weighed in on his urban policy track record. Here’s a look at the evidence.

Before he was mayor, Kaine made a name for himself as a lawyer fighting housing discrimination, writes Joanne Pierce:

Kaine was on the board of Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) of Virginia from 1986-1994 and 2011-2013, starting before he got into local politics.

He helped represent HOME against Nationwide Insurance, which had labeled minority neighborhoods as undesirable and pulled its agents from those areas. He also helped represent HOME against General Services Corp, which made apartment brochures that featured more white people and lacked equal housing logos and language. Staff members testified that company management talked to them about how to deter black people from renting in their properties.

When he served as governor of Virginia, Kaine ensured the Silver Line would be built, writes Canaan Merchant:

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Today’s Headlines

  • Bratton Won’t Stay Beyond Next Year (NYT)
  • L-Pocalypse 2019! (2nd Ave Sagas, News, DNAAMNY, PostBklyn Paper)
  • It Doesn’t Look Like the 2nd Ave Subway Will Launch This Year (DNA)
  • Crain’s: John Degnan Needs a Better Plan to Replace Port Authority Bus Terminal
  • DDC Won’t Finish Astor Place Reconstruction Until the Fall (DNA)
  • Metro North Rolls Out Mobile Ticketing on the Harlem Line (DNA)
  • 4 Ways to Improve Bus Service Besides Dedicated Transit Lanes (MTR)
  • Only 1.8% of NYC Freight Moves By Rail, Hence the Truck Traffic Pounding Our Streets (Crain’s)
  • There Are Bioswale NIMBYs in Flushing and of Course Tony Avella Is Fighting for Them (TL)
  • Cap’n Transit: Street Fairs Shouldn’t Disrupt the Bike Network

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Mayor de Blasio Needs to Step Up to Keep L Train Passengers Moving

This morning the MTA announced that starting in 2019, it will close the L train between Eighth Avenue and Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg for 18 months to repair damage caused by Superstorm Sandy — surprising no one who’s been paying attention.

For several months now, it’s been obvious that the MTA and the de Blasio administration will have to work together on a plan to keep hundreds of thousands of L train passengers moving during these repairs. The MTA will have to adjust subway service and run more buses, and the city will have to allocate space on the streets for high-capacity busways and safe bicycling.

But in a statement to the Times, Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris framed the shutdown as a problem of the MTA’s own making:

We are deeply concerned that it would announce an 18-month shutdown of this critical service without a clear plan or a commitment of resources for mitigating the impact of this closure on hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. Well before this shutdown occurs, New Yorkers deserve clarity from the M.T.A. on how it intends to minimize inconvenience and keep people moving throughout the duration of the construction.

And when Mayor de Blasio addressed the L train shutdown this morning, he didn’t stray from that message:

So, we’re looking at that very seriously. First of all, I’ll remind everyone the MTA is run by the State of New York. The amount of time that they have projected — the 18 months — is a very big concern for me and for the City government. We’re going to have some very serious conversations about the MTA, about whether it has to take that long and how it’s going to be handled. I want to make sure there’s a lot of redundancy in place. By the time it happens, one — small but important factors — we’ll have the citywide ferry service in place, so that’ll be helpful, but we’re going to need a lot more than that, obviously. So I want to press the MTA to show us that 300,000 riders really will have good and consistent alternatives. And we’re certainly going to look at what we have to do in terms of the bridge as part of that. We’ll have an answer on that after those discussions with the MTA.

Noticeably absent from de Blasio’s statement is a specific mention of buses and bikes as “redundancy” measures. Ferries can help, but setting aside street space to move large numbers of bus passengers and bike riders will do more to make up for the loss of L train service.

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Streetsblog USA
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America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: Buffalo vs. Rochester

With today’s match, the field of 16 in the running for the title of Sorriest Bus Stop in America has been revealed. Shame on the DOTs and transit agencies that make transit riders trek over dangerous streets to these terrible waiting environments.

The two final bus stops in the competition are outside Buffalo and Rochester — an Empire State showdown.

Buffalo

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Express buses serve this stop on Highway 5 in the town of Hamburg, south of Buffalo. It comes from an anonymous submitter, who writes:

I don’t know how you could cross this 55 mph 6-lane highway to get to it, even if you wanted to…

To be fair, the NFTA (Buffalo’s transit agency) does a fairly good job usually. But, the little village governments of the southern suburbs really don’t believe in public transit, so the agency is pretty limited in what it can provide down there.

Agencies in charge: New York State DOT, Town of Hamburg, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

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Livable Streets Events

This Week: Rally for Safe Streets on Staten Island’s North Shore

With major development projects slated for the north shore of Staten Island, activists are pressing the city to reimagine Richmond Terrace, where more than two hundred people have been injured in traffic since 2012, as a safe street for walking and biking. A rally to “Complete the Terrace” highlights the slate of events on the calendar this week.

Check the Streetsblog calendar for the full list of this week’s events.

Watch the calendar for updates. Drop us a line if you have an event we should know about.

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No Charges for Driver Who Killed 26-Year-Old Terrence Montrose

rockaway_point_blvd

A driver struck and killed Terrence Montrose, 26, on this stretch of Rockaway Point Boulevard shortly after midnight Sunday. Image: Google Maps

A driver struck and killed Terrence Montrose, 26, as he was walking along Rockaway Point Boulevard in Breezy Point, Queens, just after midnight on Sunday.

The 22-year-old driver, whose name has not been released by police, remained at the scene, and no charges were filed. NYPD says an investigation is ongoing.

According to NYPD, Montrose, who lived in East New York, was walking “in the eastbound travel lane” just east of Beach 193rd Street by Fort Tilden when the driver struck him from behind. The driver’s 2005 Toyota Sienna had a smashed windshield and dented front end from the force of the collision, the Daily News reported. NYPD did not provide any information on the driver’s speed at the time of the crash.

The crash occurred in the 100th Precinct and in the City Council district represented by Eric Ulrich. If you would like to express concerns to the NYPD about pedestrian and traffic safety in the neighborhood, the 100th Precinct’s community council meets this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Knights of Columbus Hall, 333 Beach 90th Street.