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Posts from the "SUVs" Category

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Eyes on the Street: Speeding SUV Aftermath

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A camera phone tipster sends this shot of wreckage on a residential street in Boerum Hill. This morning, a speeding SUV managed to build up enough force to plow through parked cars, take out the iron gate, and demolish a good chunk of the ground floor. FDNY, fearing a cave-in, has propped up the front of the building. Mercifully, no one was hurt. We're told that the driver lost control due to a seizure, though our source says that traffic engineering has also made this block more susceptible to crashes.

...since DOT replaced the stop sign at the intersection before our block [with a traffic light], we have had three incidents where cars have gotten up to such a speed they've flipped over and took out a bunch of cars.

When this same traffic light was installed two years ago, Andy Wiley-Schwartz, who now heads up the public plaza program at DOT, found it inexplicable.

Update: Curbed has more photos and details about how this happened. The driver kept trying to maneuver the berserk vehicle until the wheels were in the air:

...a lady tried to parallel park on front of the house, and her accelerator got stuck. After punching the hole, she sped back onto the street and smashed up a few cars, before flipping over.

After the jump, the mammoth SUV that caused this destruction.

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Pedestrian Hit on Ocean Parkway at Brighton Beach Ave

Flickr pool contributor Mazaev has posted photos of the aftermath of a Monday vehicle-pedestrian collision on Ocean Parkway at Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn. According to Mazaev, the victim, a woman, was hit and killed by an SUV. We could find no media reports of the incident -- though there was a hit-and-run on Ocean Parkway last night. If anyone knows anything, please share in comments.

A photo from the scene appears after the jump. Warning: it's an unsettling image.

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Brooklyn Cyclist Struck and Killed by SUV

shamoon.JPGOn Tuesday, August 5, at approximately 1:28 a.m., cyclist Rasha Shamoon was struck by a Range Rover SUV at the intersection of Delancey St. and the Bowery in Manhattan. According to friends, she was not breathing when paramedics arrived at the scene. Shamoon was revived and taken to New York Downtown hospital in critical condition. She was transferred to New York Presbyterian, where she was declared brain dead. She was removed from life support on Monday, August 11.

Shamoon, 31, was on her way home to Greenpoint when she was hit. The driver remained at the scene and was not charged. According to reports, police say Shamoon was crossing against the light.

Shamoon worked as a college instructor. She was a member of Transportation Alternatives and Time's Up, and a supporter of the New York City Streets Renaissance. She was also a musician, playing in several local bands.

A funeral mass will be hold for Shamoon tomorrow, followed by a New Orleans-style Jazz Parade and wake celebration. Details are available here.


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Cartoon Tuesday: Outmoded

From Dick Locher of the Chicago Tribune comes a cartoon complement to Judith Warner's essay in the Times last Friday, declaring that SUVs have outlived any "utility" owners may once have derived from them.

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“My Next Vehicle Will Be a Bicycle”

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Like media outlets everywhere, CNNMoney.com is reporting with greater frequency on rising fuel prices, with headlines like "Six fixes for pricey gasoline" and "Bad news for Detroit: Miles per gallon." In a recent online poll, the financial website asked a question that is surely on the minds of many Americans: "The next vehicle I buy will be...?" In the non-random sample of 42,275 respondents, more people said they are leaning towards a bike than a truck or SUV.

Sure, this poll is totally un-scientific, its results not a reliable indicator that bike makers should ramp up production. Nevertheless, it is a signpost for everyone wondering whether bicycles are creeping into the mainstream consciousness as a practical solution to rising fuel prices. When a major national news outlet starts including human-powered vehicles in its polls, I think the answer is yes.

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Chrysler: Let’s Ruin America!

Looks like Chrysler has figured out a novel way to move their 2008 model gas guzzlers off the lot. Sign up for their new "Let's Refuel America!" credit card and they'll lock in the price of gas at $2.99/gallon for three years.

That's right, it's a 36-month guarantee that you don't have to think about moving over to a more fuel efficient car, commuting by bus, lobbying your elected officials for a national passenger rail system or the fact that Chrysler is essentially writing checks to Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria and Vladimir Putin on your behalf.

Before you rush out to purchase yourself a new, 13 mpg Dodge Durango and set up shop at the nearest pump as a gasoline reseller, you'd better read the fine print. The program caps the number of annual "price-protected gallons" that Chrysler will actually pay for. If I understand their "gallon allotment calculation" correctly (Charlie Komanoff, feel free to step in here and do some math), Durango owners get a maximum of 2,400 discounted gallons over three years. As for global warming, oil war, suburban sprawl and American economic disintegration, Chrysler is offering a lifetime guarantee.

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Open Season on Parking Spots, and Parking Agents


Which excuse is this guy using?

The Daily News today has the sickening story of an off-duty NYPD officer beating an NYPD traffic agent for ticketing his girlfriend's illegally parked car in the Bronx. The capper: the agent was reportedly cuffed and taken to the precinct, while the cop he says assaulted him has not been charged with a felony, though the state just adopted a law stiffening penalties for attacks on traffic agents.

"If the NYPD doesn't show respect to us, what will happen with regular civilians?" said Traffic Agent Eric Celemi.

Celemi, 29, says Officer Eladro Mata beat him bloody last month after he ticketed the double-parked car in the Bronx.

Mata has been stripped of his badge and gun, but not charged with a felony, despite a law signed last month by Gov. Paterson that makes assaulting a traffic cop a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison.

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DOT to Present Manhattan Bridge Plans to CB 3 Tonight

From Transportation Alternatives: 

Tonight the DOT will be presenting their plans for improved Manhattan Bridge bike access via the Chrystie Street bike lane to Community Board 3. This plan is going to involve the removal of parking along Chrystie Street, so it is anticipated that there will be resistance at the Community Board level.

It would be great to have supportive cyclists in the room. The details are as follows:

What: CB 3 Transportation Committee Meeting on Chrystie Street Bike Lane

When: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 6:30 PM

Where: Confucius Plaza, Community Room - 33 Bowery (at Bayard Street)

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How Much Would You Actually Save With a Gas Tax “Holiday”?

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Drivers depend on gas tax revenue almost as much as they depend on gas.

The folks at Jabberwonk have put together a simple gas tax "holiday" calculator. Enter your car's fuel efficiency and the miles you expect to drive, and the calculator spits out how much you would save this summer if the gas tax were suspended.

The formula assumes that the full 18.4 cents per gallon will be passed on to the consumer, an outcome most economists view as extremely unlikely. Even so, it's difficult to come up with a scenario in which someone would save more than $100. But if you own a 16 mpg SUV and commute 50 miles each way, and drive 800 miles (roundtrip) for your vacation, that would do it. More likely, typical savings would work out to about $18 (and for many readers of this blog, probably zero).

Meanwhile, not content to let the gas tax holiday remain a pocketbook pander for the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton says she's going to put the question to Congress. Is it savvy politics to keep this idea in the news cycle -- running contrary to the experts' consensus -- or will voters sniff out a gimmick?

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DOT Study Measures Lower Manhattan Placard Abuse

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A Department of Transportation study released Friday shows just how out of control placard parking is in Manhattan.

The 187-page report [PDF], accompanied by some 223 pages of maps, was undertaken to assess "how placards are used in Lower Manhattan," and to determine if placard users are taking up more space than is allotted for them. The results should come as no surprise.

Key findings include:

  • Curb parking spaces in Lower Manhattan are highly utilized, with 93% of all legal on-street parking spaces in Lower Manhattan occupied during the peak hours (9AM-5PM).
  • Vehicles with agency and law enforcement permits, when combined with marked official vehicles (e.g., police cruisers, DOT bucket trucks), are a large share of the vehicles parked on-street, comprising 43% of vehicle-hours from 9AM-5PM. Law Enforcement placards are the major component of these vehicles (23% of all vehicle-hours). (A vehicle-hour is one vehicle parking for one hour. Thus, a vehicle that parks for three hours uses three vehicle-hours.)
  • Nearly 1 in 8 permitted vehicles were illegally parked at a bus stop, crosswalk, fire hydrant, driveway, or were double-parked.
  • Placards displayed by 9% of all agency and law enforcement permitted vehicles were deemed to be inauthentic or illegitimate in some way.
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