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Posts from the "Inwood" Category

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Inwood Cyclist Injured at Broadway and Riverside Last Evening

Photo: Kimberly Kinchen

A cyclist was struck and injured by a driver at the intersection of Riverside and Broadway at Dyckman Street, in Inwood, Wednesday evening. The victim, a male in his 40s, was transported to Presbyterian Hospital in the Bronx, according to FDNY (the spokesperson was presumably referring to the Allen Pavilion on Broadway at W. 220th Street, in Inwood). His condition is unknown. The spokesperson said FDNY got the call at 6:01 p.m. Neither the NYPD public information office nor the 34th Precinct had any details.

Streetsblog reader Kimberly Kinchen (@BornAgainBikist) alerted us to the crash. She has this account:

It looks like a cyclist was hit at the stop sign where Riverside forks off to the right to southbound Broadway. The cyclist was apparently already in the ambulance; there was just one cop car parked on the sidewalk, and, while you can’t see him in this picture, the driver of the car was standing on the driver’s side looking pretty distraught when we walked up. I don’t know the condition of the cyclist, as we didn’t ask any questions. There was no blood, etc. on the street, and while I wasn’t looking for it, I didn’t see any indentations on the car’s hood, so I’m hoping the cyclist is not in too bad a shape.

As we have reported numerous times, this intersection is a mess — a confluence of drivers en route to and from the West Side Highway, the FDR and Inwood’s two toll-free bridges to the Bronx. While physical improvements are reportedly in the pipeline, area residents are bracing for the annual summer invasion of cruising boom-cars and motorcycles. A community-driven plan to calm Dyckman with a separated bike lane connecting the east- and west-side Greenways, a concept first proposed to DOT and Community Board 12 over four years ago, has gone nowhere.

If you know what happened here, or have information on the victim or his condition, please leave a comment or send us an email. See a wider shot of the scene after the jump.

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Eyes on the Street: Driver Goes Wheels-Up Outside Inwood School

Photo: Shannon Park

Via Shannon Park (@GothamGoddess), this was the scene on Park Terrace West at Isham Street in Inwood this morning. Hard to tell how the driver of the SUV managed to mount a parked livery cab, but we do know a few things.

Park Terrace West is not a wide, speed-inducing roadway. It’s northbound-only with parking on both sides, and is flanked by a park and apartment buildings. This block of the street is curvy and, if you’re driving it, goes uphill. Not to say that drivers don’t speed through regularly — they do, of course — but I can only imagine what you’d have to do to catch air at this spot, just a few yards beyond the Isham intersection.

We also know that the building in the background, to the right, is a school. On nice days like today, Isham serves as its playground. While that segment of the street, directly in front of the school, is cordoned by NYPD sawhorses on weekdays, Isham is also a thoroughfare for kids on field trips to Inwood Hill Park, who cross where this driver apparently barreled through. Out of frame to the immediate left: a daycare center.

Isham Street constitutes the southern border of the proposed Inwood 20 mph zone. Would the zone prevent people from getting hurt or killed at the hands of drivers like this one?

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Adriano Espaillat Was for Cut-Through Traffic Before He Was Against It

Adriano Espaillat

I nearly spit out my coffee when I saw that Adriano Espaillat had signed on in support of the Inwood slow zone application.

See, while he endorsed Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan, the state senator from Upper Manhattan adamantly opposes placing tolls on Harlem River bridges, preferring that Inwood remain a bypass for toll-shopping motorists bound for the Bronx and Westchester.

Public remarks indicate that Espaillat is well aware of the added burden on the neighborhood, but he believes it’s worth it to keep motorists’ expenses down. He also claims that most local residents, the vast majority of whom don’t own cars, feel the same way.

So now that he’s helped make sure there will be plenty of rat-running traffic through his constituents’ streets for years to come, Espaillat is concerned about those drivers putting lives at risk as they whip past the schools, parks and playgrounds of northwest Inwood.

I can hear the horns as I type. Thanks for the assist, senator.

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Support For Neighborhood Slow Zones Keeps on Growing

Interest continues to grow in the Department of Transportation’s slow speed zones, which place 20 mph speed limits on residential streets. One month after the application deadline for the program, community boards across the city continue to pass resolutions in support of slow zones.

The city's first 20 mph slow zone, in the Claremont neighborhood of the Bronx, uses "gateway" treatments to slow drivers entering the zone. Neighborhoods across the city want to be the next to get the new safety treatment. Photo: Noah Kazis

In February, Streetsblog wrote about applications or expressions of interest from Mt. Eden and Wakefield in the Bronx, Rego Park in Queens, Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and Brownsville, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights and Park Slope in Brooklyn. Those appear to be only a fraction of the neighborhoods seeking safer, slower traffic. While DOT has not officially said how many applications have been submitted, an agency representative told attendees at a Brooklyn Community Board 7 this week that the department had received over 100 from across the city.

Last week, the transportation committee of Brooklyn Community Board 1 endorsed plans for a slow zone in Greenpoint. The zone, which is sponsored by the Greenpoint Renaissance Enterprise Corporation, had strong local support even before the community board weighed in. Letters of support have already come from Senator Martin Dilan, Assembly Members Joseph Lentol and Vito Lopez, and Council Members Diana Reyna and Steve Levin, as well as a slew of local civic associations.

Eric Brazaitis, who has led the push for the zone, said that the area’s location in between three truck routes makes it ideal for a slow zone. “We get a lot of shortcutters,” he said. “The police can’t be there 24/7 to write tickets on them.” Slow zones not only lower the speed limit, but install traffic calming infrastructure that help to make the lower speed limit self-enforcing.

The application, submitted before the deadline, covers an area roughly between Graham Avenue, Morgan Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue and the BQE. ”This is a perfect candidate area,” said CB 1 transportation committee chair Karen Nieves. “We have parks, we have schools, we have churches.”

This Tuesday, the full board of Manhattan CB 12 voted to support an application submitted for the Inwood neighborhood. “It’s a lovely spot, but the roads are hilly and narrow and tempting to speeders and toll-dodgers,” applicant Dave Thom told DNAinfo. ”A comprehensive neighborhood-wide program like this to reduce speed and deter traffic might be the answer residents have been looking for.”

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Eyes on the Street: Next-Gen No Standing Signs in Inwood

Southwest corner of Park Terrace West and W. 218th Street. Photos: Brad Aaron

The city recently replaced four parking spots at Park Terrace West and W. 218th Street, in Inwood, with a no standing zone. The 34th Precinct reportedly requested the change to give drivers exiting Park Terrace West, a northbound one-way street, a better view of east-west traffic on 218th.

Inevitably, car owners accustomed to parking at the intersection complained, and those complaints, many of which were posted on a neighborhood email list, led to a story by DNAinfo. Here’s a taste:

At least seven residents said they were ticketed or towed after the new signs went up late last month.  Local parenting email list InwoodKids was recently flooded with parent complaints about the new parking regulations.

Inwood mother Beth More said she and her husband were ticketed and towed in the new zone on Jan. 5 after arriving home from the holidays.

“We had no idea the new signs were posted,” she told DNAinfo. “In fact, we were sure our car was stolen at first and never even thought to look up.”

The couple has appealed the $75 parking ticket and will fight for reimbursement of the $185 tow charge.

“I, like many others in the neighborhood, question if this really was a matter of safety or simply an opportunity for the city and police precinct to ticket more,” she said.

Several city and police sources said summonses issued just days after the new signs were installed are likely to be dismissed.

In case the no standing signs still don’t get the message across — a possibility, considering the illegally parked car out of frame in the above photo — on Sunday I saw a couple of homemade posters warning drivers not to park near the intersection.

I have driven this corner. I also walk it regularly. As a driver it was very difficult to detect whether cars on 218th were approaching without either inching into the Park Terrace West crossing or nosing into cross traffic. As a pedestrian I also appreciate that drivers have better sightlines. While it’s understandable that some were angry about being caught off guard, the idea that the city would look to raise revenue by clearing four parking spots at a blind intersection — and installing the proper signage, no less — smacks of Agenda 21-level paranoia.

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Eyes on the Street: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Hint: There's no rack for the bike.

A few weeks ago muni-meters began popping up on the streets of Inwood. Naturally, this made me wonder if the city had considered turning the neighborhood’s defunct coin-op meters into bike racks.

DOT has converted discarded meter poles into racks in other parts of the city, and livable streets advocates have long noted Inwood’s lack of bike parking. According to the CityRacks map, there are 19 racks in Inwood, all of them on or within a block of Broadway. (The disappearing shelter, as far as I know, has not resurfaced north of Dyckman Street, though after it was removed DOT said it would seek another location nearby.)

We queried DOT on the possibility of Inwood meter conversions in mid-November, and again this week. We’ll update this post when we hear back.

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City Says Decrepit Inwood Step-Street on Track for Rehab

After a dozen years of waiting, what's a couple more, give or take? Photo: Brad Aaron

It was supposed to happen circa 2005. Then in 2009. Now the city says the restoration of a crumbling block-long staircase that serves as a pedestrian-only street in Inwood will be finished by summer 2013.

The 215th Step-Street connects Broadway to residential blocks at Inwood’s northern end. For years its cracked stairs and broken lamps have posed a hazard — neighborhood residents have been asking the city to rebuild it since at least 1999. In 2007 a woman tripped on a hole in the stairs, cutting her legs and face, prompting renewed calls for action.

In 2008, DOT officials and then-Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat announced that a reconstruction project would be completed the following year. Instead, in the summer of 2009 the city backed off its pledge.

Now the Department of Design and Construction says plans are moving forward.

“The project is in Final Design and that phase is scheduled to be completed by July 2012,” a DDC spokesperson told Streetsblog. “The project is scheduled to begin construction in FY 13.”

While the news is promising, Inwoodites could be forgiven for not holding their breath.

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CB 12′s Bike Resolution Testifies to Uptown Support for Safer Streets

In the wake of its long-planned bike lane forum, Manhattan Community Board 12 has finalized a resolution calling for a major study of bike infrastructure of Upper Manhattan, available in full above. Overall it’s a strong demonstration of support for the expansion of bikeways in the area.

Perhaps most importantly, the resolution, which passed by a unanimous vote of 33-0, makes clear that there is broad community support for new bike infrastructure in the area. “Residents of CB12 suggested ways to improve current bike lanes and paths within our community’s parks and streets enjoyed the support from those in attendance in addition to a petition signed by 1,300 residents of CB12,” reads one clause. Given the near-inevitable complaints from some quarter or another that accompany any significant change to the street, such a record of grassroots support is quite valuable.

Based on suggestions, the resolution puts forward a list of bike projects that CB 12 would like DOT to study and report back to them about.

First among them is a safe bike connection between the Hudson and Harlem River Greenways, on or near Dyckman Street. Community members have long proposed that this be a separated bike path. CB 12 also asked for studies of how to improve bike and pedestrian access to the George Washington, Henry Hudson and Broadway Bridges, as well as the West Side Greenway at 181st Street, which currently lets cyclists off at a one-way highway on-ramp, forcing them onto the sidewalk.

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Tonight: Upper Manhattanites Finally Get to Talk About Bike Lanes

Dyckman at Broadway and Riverside Dr. Photo: Brad Aaron

After years of delays, a citizen-generated plan for a separated bike path in Upper Manhattan will get an audience tonight.

The Dyckman Greenway Connector would, as the name suggests, link the east- and west-side Greenways a short distance from the northern tip of Manhattan, in Inwood, completing an uptown circuit for commuters and recreational riders. It would also help bring order to what is now a chaotic environment for area cyclists and pedestrians.

The bike path concept was first proposed to Community Board 12 in early 2008, and for the last three years has languished. At various times, advocates were told by CB 12 and DOT that each was waiting on action by the other. Proponents were repeatedly assured the connector would be addressed in a long-awaited neighborhood traffic study, but after the study was released with no mention of bike facilities, DOT told Streetsblog that CB 12 had asked that the project be excluded. Last winter, the CB 12 transportation committee turned away residents who had come out to endorse the proposal, and refused to reschedule discussion until the spring on the grounds that cold weather would keep seniors from attending.

Nevertheless, CB 12 has formally asked DOT for a feasibility study, and tonight’s “Bike Lane Forum” will ostensibly be dedicated at least in part to the Greenway connector concept. Along with residents of Inwood and Washington Heights, representatives from DOT and Transportation Alternatives are scheduled to attend.

If I might break character for a minute: July will mark my fifth year living in Inwood, and based strictly on personal observations, this spring has already brought a noticeable uptick in the number of cyclists on the streets, despite the fact that bike facilities — lanes and racks — are virtually non-existent here. I don’t bike myself, but as a pedestrian I would spend a lot more time and money on Dyckman, along with Broadway and other streets for that matter, if they were more pleasant places to walk. It’s entirely conceivable that, combined with changes in the works for the intersection of Dyckman at Broadway and Riverside Drive, a Greenway connector could supplant the summertime hordes of cruising motorists and motorcyclists with activity that’s more conducive to a livable neighborhood.

Tonight’s forum will be held at ARC XVI Ft. Washington Senior Center, 4111 Broadway, at 6:30 p.m.

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Three Years In, Might the Dyckman Bike Path Finally Get a Hearing?

Dyckman Street at Broadway and Riverside Drive: In the few minutes before and after this photo was taken, in addition to innumerable pedestrians, nearly a dozen cyclists passed through. About half were delivering food; others appeared to be students, or adults commuting or running errands. Will the city heed repeated requests to tame Dyckman, for cyclists and pedestrians alike, with a separated bike path? Photos: Brad Aaron

It’s been over three years since residents of Inwood first proposed a separated bike path for Dyckman/200th Street, one that would link Manhattan’s east- and west-side Greenways and help foster a safer and more humane environment for neighborhood cyclists and pedestrians. So persistent are advocates of the project, known informally as the “Dyckman Greenway Connector,” that they persuaded the notoriously auto-centric Community Board 12 to ask DOT for a feasibility study.

That was in late 2008. Since then, things haven’t moved an inch.

According to DOT personnel, an analysis of the connector was to be included in the Sherman Creek-Inwood traffic study, unveiled in the spring of 2010. However, though it outlines a number of planned improvements — including what looks to be a significant redesign of the hellish interchange at Dyckman, Broadway and Riverside Drive — the study makes no mention of bike infrastructure, on Dyckman or anywhere else.

“It is hard to understand how the DOT decides to put in protected bicycle facilities in some neighborhoods but continues to deprive Inwood of any such facility, and declines even to study the Dyckman Greenway Connector,” says Maggie Clarke, longtime Inwoodite and a chief proponent of the plan. To Clarke’s point, it’s difficult not to notice the fact that Inwood joins East Harlem among Northern Manhattan neighborhoods to explicitly, and to this point unsuccessfully, request the city’s help in improving cycling conditions.

A traffic island separating Dyckman from Riverside serves as a cyclist and pedestrian refuge -- sometimes.

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