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Posts from the "CHEKPEDS" Category

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CB 4 Wants On-Street Bike Parking for Ninth Avenue

CHEKPEDS reports that Community Board 4 voted last week for the creation of on-street parking spots for bikes along Ninth 200692876_7c5971f0f7.jpgAvenue:

DOT had sent the board a list of bike racks to install on our sidewalks. After an extensive review, it became apparent that in many locations there is not enough space to accommodate both large bike racks and pedestrians, while the many bike deliveries businesses definitely need a solution. This concept should sound familiar, since the community recommended this approach as part of the 9th Avenue Renaissance vision.

It's a concept that's also familiar to DOT, as last year the city swapped three car spaces for 30 bike spots in Williamsburg. CHEKPEDS is proposing that two car parking spots per intersection -- one on the east, one on the west -- along Ninth between 36th and 56th Streets be converted for bike parking.

Photo: musiquegirl/Flickr

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Streetfilms: Street Star Christine Berthet



Today, StreetFilms debuts Street Stars, the first of many planned vignettes for 2008 which will focus on the amazing organizers in our communities who are fighting constructively for livable streets. Hopefully, these Stars will provide a road map for change and inspire others to work to transform their neighborhoods.

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Their first choice is Christine Berthet, co-founder of Chekpeds, the Clinton/Hell's Kitchen Pedestrian Safety Coalition. Together with Transportation Alternatives and the Project for Public Spaces, she was also instrumental in organizing the Ninth Avenue Renaissance, a movement to re-imagine neighborhood streets as a healthier place for people. She is an indefatigable advocate working hard for the community, organizing rallies, and is omnipresent at community hearings and testifying at City Hall.

According to surveys conducted in Hell's Kitchen: 75 percent said that they were afraid for their safety because of motor vehicle traffic, 5 percent because of crime.

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Rally at City Hall for Pedestrian Safety Legislation, 12:45 Today

The New York City Council's Transportation and Technology in Government committees are conducting a joint hearing this afternoon on Council Member Vincent Gentile's accident reporting and review bill, Introduction 567 of 2007. The legislation would require long-sought changes in the way that the NYPD and DOT report and investigate pedestrian injuries and fatalities:

  • The New York Police Department to forward all accident reports involving a pedestrian or a pattern of motor vehicle accidents to the Department of Transportation for analysis and overview within five days from the accident.
  • The Department of Transportation would study the location and look to improve safety at that location. Study will be started within seven days from receipt of the report.
  • The study result would be forwarded to Community Board and Elected Officials from the accident area within 5 days form completion.

While some of the details of the legislation will need to be improved before these rules can be implemented by city agencies, it is critical that these improvements move forward. Currently, pedestrian injury and fatality data is handled as if it were some sort of state secret and the way that the NYPD handles pedestrian injury and fatality investigations is a downright embarrassment to New York City.

Likewise, it is incredibly difficult to get the NYPD to cough up information about specific pedestrian crashes, even if you are the family members of a crash victim. Unlike crime statistics, which are openly published on every police precinct web site monthly, car crash data is nowhere to be found.

Advocacy organizations and civic groups have no way to know what the most dangerous intersections are in New York City neighborhoods, which means we often don't really know where to focus pedestrian safety resources. This is particularly troublesome since we know that somewhere around 50 percent of all crashes involving fatalities or serious injuries to pedestrians occur at ten percent of the city's intersections. It is long past time for the city to collect this data properly and then put it out there so that communities and city agencies can make rational policy and improvements where they are needed. 

There will be a rally on the steps of City Hall at 12:45pm today, just ahead of the Council hearing. Christine Berthet of CHEKPEDS is urging Livable Streets advocates to show up. She writes:

Only two weeks ago we held a memorial for Kumo, an eight year old who was hit by a speeding car. It was not an "accident." It is part of a deadly pattern. This bill is a crucial step in our fight to bring focus and urgency to the prevention of pedestrian casualties. Your presence and support are very important.

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Renewed Calls for Ped Safety Summit as Death Toll Mounts

After a weekend that saw three pedestrian fatalities and just as many serious injuries -- with no known criminal charges filed against any of the motorists involved as of this writing -- a Manhattan-based advocacy group has renewed calls for action on pedestrian safety.

Spurred by the death of third-grader Prince Harris, Jr. (pictured), the fourth pedestrian to die this year along a notorious stretch of Ninth Avenue, the Clinton/Hell's Kitchen Pedestrian Safety Coalition (CHEKPEDS) is again urging the city to convene an interagency panel "to address this critical health issue."

amd_prince_harris.jpgOn Friday, 8-year-old Harris was on his way to a park with his father and siblings when he reportedly "darted on W. 17th St." and was hit by a Toyota Scion, driven by an unidentified 44-year-old man. Harris's father said the Toyota and a taxi "were speeding down the block to make the light." The driver stayed at the scene and was not issued a ticket.

Today CHEKPEDS issued an e-mail bulletin offering condolences to the Harris family, and imploring the city to turn its attention to the pedestrian casualty epidemic.

The "new DOT" is moving fast and all problems cannot be tackled in one day. Priorities must be set, and in our book none is more important than pedestrian safety. 11,000 injuries and 163 deaths annually would qualify as a national disaster if they were all happening in one day. But they keep happening year after year.

In March, CHEKPEDS worked with Community Board 4 to draft a letter (PDF) to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer asking them to organize a citywide task force "bringing the various players to the table to address street and signal engineering, agencies jurisdiction, enforcement and traffic safety laws, reporting traffic problems and police procedures in accidents." But it hasn't happened.

Also over the weekend, a speeding taxicab jumped a curb and struck three members of the same family, killing 60-year-old TV helicopter pilot Paul Smith; no criminal charges have thus far been reported. On Staten Island, a 4-year-old is "fighting for her life" after being hit by a car yesterday while trying to cross the street with a group of other children; the unidentified driver was not ticketed. And yesterday morning in Coney Island, the driver of a charter bus making a U-turn hit an 60-year-old woman, knocking her down and running over her abdomen; the driver was not charged.

This weekend's carnage comes after last week's angry memorials to Hope Miller and Julia Thomson, who were run down five days apart at the end of September.

Photo of Prince Harris via New York Daily News

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CB4 Votes Tonight on a Revised Hell’s Kitchen

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In order to foster ideas on how to reclaim 9th Avenue from Lincoln Tunnel traffic, the Clinton/Hell's Kitchen Pedestrian Safety Coalition (CHEKPEDS) sponsored a six month community input process designed by Project for Public Spaces. The process began with a design workshop in January, and has evolved into an impressive final report (PDF). Some highlights from the report:

When asked to describe the issues facing Clinton/Hell's Kitchen, local residents and business owners identified safety, traffic congestion, and lawlessness as their top challenges. These problems hamper the access of many user groups and diminish the identity of 9th Avenue. Unchecked traffic and congestion are the root of each problem identified.

 

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Resident survey questions asked users to indicate their primary means of mobility. Despite the fact that 25% of Community District 4 residents own a car, survey responses show that very few residents use private automobiles as their primary mode of transportation. 

Read more...
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Choose Your Own Hells Kitchen

The Ninth Avenue Renaissance project continues to evolve into the most thorough and impressive community-driven Livable Streets effort currently underway in New York City (the Gansevoort Project runs a close second). Following up on a design workshop facilitated by Project for Public Spaces in January, Ninth Avenue Renaissance has launched a survey that allows you to choose and comment on three different redesign options for the avenue.

Click here to take the survey.

For example, the option below proposes reconfiguring the avenue to three lanes for travel and one for parking. It widens the sidewalks and installs dedicated bus and bike lanes and adds a number of pedestrian-friendly amenities:

Then there is this neighborhood-friendly vision for Hells Kitchen's side streets -- mid-block neckdowns and pedestrian crossings, little bump-outs for cafe tables, benches or bike parking, raised crosswalks, basically all of the great street design stuff that you see in European cities these days:


The Ninth Avenue Renaissance project was initiated by the Clinton Hell's Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety, a group of neighborhood stakeholders who want to reclaim Hell's Kitchen from "hellish" Lincoln Tunnel traffic. The goal of the project is to develop a shared vision of street design and traffic calming measures aimed at turning Ninth Avenue into a vibrant community Main Street.

You've got to think that this could be an ideal showcase for Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030 vision. One thousand days is enough time to do something like this and it is entirely within city government's power to make it happen -- no begging or bribing up in Albany necessary. It strikes me that this sort of Livable Streets project could be a direct and tangible way to show New Yorkers how the PlaNYC process is making city life better right now.

Frankly, the redesign can't happen soon enough. Yet another elderly pedestrian was mowed down and killed crossing 23rd Street at Ninth Avenue on Friday afternoon -- the third such victim in three months.

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3 Peds Hit on 9th Ave. 2 Dead. Mayor Mike: Where Are You?

Like Third Avenue in Brooklyn, Manhattan's Ninth Avenue is emerging as one of New York City's new "Boulevards of Death." This afternoon, the Clinton / Hell's Kitchen Pedestrian Safety Coalition, the community group that has been organizing the Ninth Avenue Renaissance project, broadcast the following news and call to action:

Dear Neighbors

Seventy-five percent of our community members are concerned for their safety because of traffic, while only 6 percent are concerned about crime!

Just two weeks ago, another pedestrian was killed by a truck trurning from Ninth Avenue onto 16th Street. On Friday morning a 55 year old lady with a walker was killed by a bus turning west from Ninth Avenue on 45th Street and last night a young woman was critically injured by a truck turning into the Lincoln Tunnel lanes from 37th street at Ninth Avenue.

In all cases the pedestrians had the light, and the drivers walked away with summons.

We must obtain more enforcement at intersections, officers who care more about pedestrian safety than flow of cars and who are qualified to issue summons.

City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and the Chair of the Public Safety committee are hosting town hall meetings to give community members the opportunity to voice concerns about and suggest improvements to current police operations in their neighborhoods.

Tuesday, February 27
Mc Burney YMCA
125 West 14th Street, btwn 6th - 7th Ave.
6:00pm-8:00pm

We must also change the laws so that the life of a pedestrian is worth more than a summons! Join the hundreds who will gather at City Hall to rally for Pedestrian Safety.

Citywide Rally
Sunday March 4 at 3 pm
City Hall

Please join us. These are critical times and we must speak up for our safety.

Best

Christine Berthet ,
Co founder
Chekpeds