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Posts from the "FDNY" Category

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FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano: Bike-Share Racks Are Not In Our Way

We have a message from FDNY that should once and for all take care of fabricated concerns about bike-share docking stations getting in the way of emergency vehicles.

Here’s a statement from Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano, which we received via email:

Contrary to a news report today, FDNY EMT’s had absolutely no problems responding to and providing medical care to a patient on Sunday on West 13th Street in Manhattan. The FDNY has been working closely with DOT on this initiative and we have not experienced any problems nor do we anticipate issues operating at or near bike racks that have been situated on city streets.

Hear that? It’s the sound of tabloid narratives and NIMBY lawsuits deflating.

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FDNY: “We Haven’t Had Any Issues” With Bike-Share Locations

Republican mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota, on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show yesterday, said that while he didn’t “know this for a fact,” he views the bike-share program as an example of failed agency coordination in the Bloomberg administration, because he’d read press reports that people were complaining about new bike-share stations potentially impeding emergency response. Despite Lhota’s speculation, based off hysterical media reports, the Fire Department says they were consulted by DOT and that the stations have not been a problem.

Joe Lhota's speculation about bike-share coordination? Turns out not to be true. Photo: Daily News

“You bring in the police commissioner and the fire commissioner and the DOT commissioner and you coordinate and you work out all of the issues related to, for example, where the bike racks are going,” Lhota said. “I don’t know if they’ve done that.”

Lehrer then asked, “So you’re for the bike-share program, but you think the racks aren’t being put in the right places because there was a bad decision-making process?”

Lhota continued:

It’s possible. There have been some articles about it already. You’ve got the bike racks, some that were in the Village, it was written up in one of the newspapers yesterday, that it’s you know, according to the article — I don’t know this for a fact — but they’re in violation of the fire code…Now, you could make this into a larger issue than it is…I’m all for the bike-share program, I’m for the bike lane programs, I’m not to be interpreted that I’m against it. But putting it in front of an entranceway of which emergency services use to rescue people, that’s insensitive.

In DOT’s report about the bike-share planning process, it lists NYPD and FDNY as “planning partners.” It also says that station sites “must not impede the use of…fire hydrants.”

Streetsblog checked with the Fire Department to see if New York’s Bravest had been consulted by DOT. “We gave to them our input,” a spokesperson said, adding that discussions took place at the battalion division or borough level, as the program’s initial phases will not be citywide, covering only parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

When Streetsblog asked if the stations have impeded fire access to buildings, the reply was simple: “We haven’t had any issues.”

Read more…

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Myth Busted: Safer Streets Are Not Slowing Emergency Responders

A go-to NIMBY argument against safe street improvements is that bike lanes, pedestrian plazas, and ped refuge islands interfere with emergency responders.

We await the exclusive CBS 2 report retracting all their nonsense about safer streets slowing down emergency vehicles.

In 2009, one complainer at an event sponsored by then-Council Member Alan Gerson claimed that pedestrian islands on Grand Street “put lives in danger” by slowing down fire trucks and ambulances. Opponents of the Prospect Park West bike lane lobbed the same accusation at DOT and got Marcia Kramer to give them a megaphone. Assembly Member Dov Hikind spearheaded a successful campaign to make Fort Hamilton Parkway more dangerous for seniors based on nothing more than specious complaints from Hatzolah ambulance drivers, again amplified by Kramer.

A data set released by the city Wednesday blows another hole in what has always been a weak and cynical criticism. At an event on Randall’s Island yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano announced that in 2012, FDNY achieved the fastest average EMS response time in the city’s history. Fewer civilians died in fires last year than ever before, which the mayor and fire chief attributed to another near-record low average response time. From a City Hall press release:

The FDNY’s Emergency Medical Service averaged an ambulance response time for life-threatening medical emergencies of 6:30 — a second faster than the previous record of 6:31 set in 2011.

Structural fire response time in 2012 was 4:04, two seconds higher than last year when it was 4:02 due in part to the large call volume that occurred during and after Hurricane Sandy when the FDNY responded to nearly 100 serious structural fires.

Compared to the total amount of street space in the city, the square footage dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists in recent years is actually quite small. But there are still hundreds of places with new sidewalk extensions, pedestrian islands, and bike lanes, and at the very least the FDNY numbers suggest that new measures designed to make streets safer for walking and biking are not having the detrimental effect prophesied by the likes of Dov Hikind, NBBL, Marty Markowitz, and Marcia Kramer.