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Senior Critically Injured by Driver on Hylan Boulevard Last Night

A 79-year-old man was critically injured by a motorist in Staten Island last night, on a day when three pedestrians were killed by New York City drivers.

A witness to last night's crash said she narrowly escaped injury. NYPD had no information on whether the driver was charged or summonsed. Photo: Advance

A witness to last night’s crash said she narrowly escaped injury. NYPD had no information on whether the driver was charged or summonsed. Photo: Advance

The victim was crossing Hylan Boulevard at Bay Street when he was struck by the driver of a 2012 Acura, who was northbound on Hylan, according to NYPD and the Staten Island Advance. Contrary to tweets indicating that the victim died, as of this morning the NYPD public information office said he was transported to Staten Island University Hospital in critical condition. His name has not been released.

NYPD had no information on summonses or charges. Also unknown is whether speed was a factor in the crash, or who had the right of way.

A witness told the Advance she was nearly hit as well:

The accident happened just before 10 p.m. in Rosebank, according to a fellow pedestrian who said she’d been crossing also and came within a few feet of being struck herself.

“I’m trying not to think of that right now,” she said, declining to give her name. “It was scary. I just want to go home.”

The witness, from New Dorp, said the victim, not yet identified, was responsive when EMTs loaded him into their ambulance.

She described the driver as an “elderly woman” who was visibly “shaken up” by the accident.

Last night’s crash happened hours after three New Yorkers were killed by motorists in Queens and Manhattan. The victims included Olga Rivera, who was struck in East Harlem on her 65th birthday. At least 30 pedestrians and cyclists age 65 or older have been killed by New York City drivers in 2013.

This injury crash occurred in the 120th Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector John Sprague, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The next 120th Precinct council meeting is scheduled for November 20 at Mt. Sinai Skills and Development Center, 382 Jersey Street. Call 718-876-8505 for information.

The City Council district where this crash occurred is represented by Deborah Rose. To encourage Rose to take action to improve street safety in her district and citywide, contact her at 212-788-6972 or DROSE@Council.nyc.gov.

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At Molinaro’s Request, Streets Around S.I. Boro Hall Now More Ped-Friendly

Hyatt Street in St. George is set to receive a new pedestrian median (in dark gray) and new crosswalks with distinctive markings (in red). Image: DOT

Behind Staten Island Borough Hall in St. George is Hyatt Street. It spans all of two blocks, but there are few markings on the wide two-way street, making it a tricky spot for pedestrians crossing between offices, shops, a library, and the St. George Theater just uphill from the Staten Island Ferry landing.

After a request from Borough President James Molinaro spurred by the construction of  a new courthouse along Hyatt Street between Central Avenue and St. Mark’s Place, DOT has begun installing lane markings, patterned crosswalks, and a pedestrian median with street trees.

DOT presented the design to Community Board 1 on October 8 [PDF], began construction shortly afterward, and expects to complete the project in approximately one month.

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Reports: Drunk Off-Duty NYPD Officer Kills Pedestrian in Staten Island

Today's crash was reportedly the latest in a succession of off-duty NYPD drunk driving disasters. Photo: Daily News

A pedestrian was killed by an intoxicated off-duty NYPD officer in Staten Island this morning, according to reports.

The crash happened on Richmond Terrace near Simonson and Lake Avenues at around 6:15 a.m., when the male victim was hit by the driver of a Ford SUV. The Daily News says the man was crossing Simonson when he was struck.

NY1 reports that the 29-year-old driver is an officer with the 121st Precinct, where the crash occurred.

Sources say the victim landed on the car and the officer just kept driving.

He then allegedly fled the scene but returned about a half an hour later.

Officials tell NY1 the officer has been with the department since 2005 and finished his shift Thursday around 6 p.m.

The victim, whose age is being reported as 51 and 59, was taken to Richmond University Medical Center in cardiac arrest and died soon after, reports said.

WABC says the officer was charged with drunk driving.

The NYPD public information office had no details as of this writing.

Read more…

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Verrazano Bridge Path Advocates Release Map, Ask MTA to Commit to Study

The Harbor Ring Committee, a coalition working to complete the missing link in a route around New York Harbor with a bicycle and pedestrian path across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, has released a map of the bike route, a 50-mile loop across four boroughs and Hudson County, New Jersey. Meanwhile, advocates are trying to get the MTA to firmly commit to a feasibility study they hope could pave the way for building the bridge path.

Advocates for a biking and walking path on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge have released a map for the Harbor Loop, a 50-mile route with a key missing link. Image: Harbor Loop Committee

In the spring, advocates circulated a petition calling on Governor Cuomo to support a bridge path. While the governor hasn’t come out with an endorsement, it did get the attention of MTA Bridges and Tunnels. “A feasibility study, addressing a host of issues including cost, structural issues, operational issues and impact on the surrounding neighborhoods would have to be conducted,” spokesperson Judie Glave said, adding that the agency “is considering studying this issue as part of a future reconstruction project” that would not begin until 2014 or later.

Advocates, who have been in touch with MTA Bridges and Tunnels President James Ferrara, say they hope the planned relocation of ramps on the Brooklyn side between the bridge and the Belt Parkway will include a path feasibility study. A separate ongoing capital project that could affect plans for a bike/ped path involves replacing and widening the upper deck to accommodate a bus and carpool lane.

“Honestly, this study I think would be a formality,” Harbor Ring Committee member David Wenger told Streetsblog. The bridge, designed by architects Ammann & Whitney, includes space for paths, but they were never built. In 1997, the same firm prepared a feasibility study for the Department of City Planning, including a preferred option for a path design that was similar to the path on the George Washington Bridge, another Amman & Whitney project.

The new feasibility study would likely update the old one, including more information about security and how the ramp would interact with reconfigured Brooklyn-side ramps. ”There should be no reason why this should not be feasible,” Wenger said.

As advocates push for a study next year, the online petition has gathered more than 2,000 signatures, plus about 500 signatures on paper. Comments from petition signers have been very helpful in convincing elected officials and the MTA of the path’s value, Wenger said. Nearly a quarter of all commenters say they would use the path as part of their daily commute.

In the meantime, the effort continues to rack up endorsements from elected officials, including Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senator Marty Golden, and City Council members Deborah Rose and Vincent Gentile. Democratic City Council nominee John Mancuso has also endorsed the plan. The Harbor Ring Committee will soon reach out to borough president candidates, as well as more state legislators in both Staten Island and Brooklyn, Meredith Sladek of Transportation Alternatives said.

With the completion of a multi-use path on the new Goethals Bridge scheduled for 2017, Sladek said that the group might look at extending the loop route to include more of New Jersey, as well as the George Washington Bridge.

For those who can’t wait until a bridge path is built, the committee has already organized rides on the route and will soon print up to 5,000 copies of its newly-released Harbor Ring map for distribution to local bike shops. The map includes detailed information about the route, local bike shops, and transit. There’s just one pesky gap.

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Harlem CBs Dither on Pedestrian Safety While SI Board Begs for Bike Lanes

Four-lane roads in need of traffic calming: Staten Island Community Board 1 voted to support a community request for bike lanes and traffic calming on Clove Road, left, while Manhattan Community Boards 9 and 10 delayed a community-driven road diet plan for pedestrian islands on Morningside Avenue, right. Photos: Google Maps (left, right)

Last week, Staten Island Community Board 1 passed a resolution asking DOT to install bike lanes, while in Manhattan, a community-requested plan for a road diet and pedestrian islands continues to be delayed by two Harlem community boards.

After months of organizing by Transportation Alternatives — resulting in more than 260 petition signatures and 22 partners signing onto a letter in support [PDF] — as well as a supportive vote from the board’s area committee, CB 1 passed a resolution Thursday asking DOT to bring bike lanes and traffic calming to 2.5 miles of Clove Road from Richmond Terrace to the Staten Island Expressway. This section Clove Road currently has two lanes in each direction for most of its length.

The advocates’ letter recommends protected bike lanes, which would be a first for Staten Island. The text of the CB 1 resolution was not available, so it’s unclear if the community board specifically asked DOT for protected lanes.

The board also requested that DOT investigate “smart traffic lights,” which automatically adjust signal timing in real-time to respond to traffic volumes, and the district manager invited bike lane supporters to join the board for its next budget committee meeting on October 3.

Next, local advocates will try to win the support of Council Member Debi Rose and get a proposal from DOT. Update: “We have not yet received this resolution, but we will review any request we receive from the community,” DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera said in an e-mail.

Update:  ”I am a strong proponent of safe streets and of reducing the city’s carbon footprint; this DOT study would be a good first step in seeing how we can achieve both goals,” Rose said in a statement.

While CB 1 is taking action on Staten Island, it’s a different story in Manhattan. On Thursday evening, Manhattan Community Board 9 failed to advance a resolution in support of a plan for pedestrian islands and a road diet on Morningside Avenue, which would cut down on speeding near Morningside Park.

Read more…

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Tonight: Community Boards Weigh Harlem and Staten Island Traffic Calming

Last week, DOT presented a plan to calm traffic on Morningside Avenue in Harlem [PDF] with a road diet and pedestrian islands. Community Board 10′s transportation committee, which has a track record of dithering on and opposing livable streets projects, asked DOT for more data. Tonight, the action shifts to adjacent Community Board 9, which also covers the project area and could be poised to pass a resolution in support of the project.

Pedestrian islands and a road diet like this one on Macombs Avenue in the Bronx could come to Morningside Avenue. Photo: DOT

“I wouldn’t want to predict how the board will vote,” CB 9 member and Friends of Morningside Park president Brad Taylor said. Earlier this month, DOT presented its plan to CB 9′s transportation committee. Although the committee lacked a quorum at that meeting and could not pass a resolution in support, Taylor said the proposal was received favorably and moved forward to the executive committee, which was supportive of a full board resolution. Tonight’s CB 9 meeting is at 6:30 p.m. at the Fortune Society, 630 Riverside Drive.

If CB 9 passes a resolution in support of the Morningside Avenue traffic calming plan tonight, there will be greater pressure for CB 10 pass a resolution, as well. Activists have told Streetsblog that DOT is unlikely to move forward on the plan without community board support. The next CB 10 full board meeting is October 2; the next transportation committee meeting is scheduled for October 9.

On Staten Island, a proposal championed by Transportation Alternatives [PDF] to bring bike lanes, crosswalks, and other traffic calming interventions to Clove Road between Richmond Terrace and the Staten Island Expressway passed CB 1′s Silver Lake/Sunnyside/Westerleigh area committee last night. Tonight, it heads to the full board, which meets at 8:00 p.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church, 2329 Victory Boulevard.

“I am optimistic that the vote will be positive,” TA’s Meredith Sladek said, adding that CB 1 chair Leticia Remauro even suggested a protected on-street bike lane, which would be a first for Staten Island. The next step for TA activists, who have gathered a coalition of community groups in support [PDF], is getting the support of Council Member Debi Rose and DOT.

Also tonight, DOT will update the Brooklyn CB 6 transportation committee on a design for a capital project [PDF] to bring pedestrian improvements to North Flatbush Avenue. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

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Boy, 5, Among Three NYC Pedestrians Killed by Drivers This Weekend

Three New York City pedestrians, including a young child, were killed by motorists over the weekend. Two of the crashes were hit-and-runs.

Kyrillos Gendy was killed, and his mother and sister were injured, by a hit-and-run driver in Staten Island. A suspect was charged with leaving the scene of the crash, but not for killing Kyrillos or hurting his mom and sister, and was freed on bail.

At around 8:25 p.m. Friday, Kyrillos Gendy, 5, his mother and sister were struck by a hit-and-run driver in a Mercedes-Benz sedan in Dongan Hills. From the Times:

Just before he hit the family, at 8:25 p.m., the police said, the driver turned left out of the parking lot of the Diddle Dee Dairy and Deli at 1334 Richmond Road.

“Eyewitnesses say he did stop first, looked both ways,” Mr. [Adam] Gendy said, “and then hit all three of them in one shot.”

Kyrillos was killed. His sister, Gabriella, 7, and their mother, 35-year-old Erieny Thomas, were hospitalized and later released, reports said. On Saturday, John Sanjurjo, 33, accompanied by a lawyer, turned himself in to police, according to reports. From the Daily News:

Sanjurjo’s 2013 Mercedes-Benz 350 matched the vehicle description, including dents in the hood from the impact, a law enforcement source said.

The force of the impact sent Kyrillos flying through the air.

Bits of scattered food that Kyrillos’ family was carrying were found on the car, the source said.

According to reports and online court records, Sanjurjo was charged with one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury. He is free on $50,000 bond. Kyrillos’ funeral was held Sunday.

The crash that killed Kyrillos Gendy and injured his mother and sister occurred in the 122nd Precinct, in the City Council district represented by James Oddo.

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Livable Streets Advocates Campaign for Better Bike Access to S.I. Ferry

Advocates looking to improve access for cyclists at the Staten Island Ferry terminals have run into a roadblock from DOT, and, facing an impasse, are pivoting to a different strategy that seeks to at least protect waiting cyclists from the elements. In the meantime, a bus shelter near the ferry terminal has been spruced up with a new mural, and livable streets advocates are working to bring play streets to St. George after an unsuccessful attempt this spring.

Cyclists board the Staten Island Ferry after being inspected by a bomb-sniffing dog and waiting in an area exposed to heat and cold, beneath the indoor ferry terminal. Photo: Stephen Miller

Currently, cyclists accessing the ferry in Staten Island must ride down the roadway ramp from Richmond Terrace, dismount, get screened one-by-one by a bomb-sniffing dog, and wait in a cordoned-off area on the lower level that is also used for disabled passengers. While other passengers can wait indoors, this area is covered but open to the outside, and people are always exposed to heat, cold and wind — a particular concern during long waits when a ferry is delayed.

Cyclists coming from the west along Bank Street, a bike route, must carry their bikes up a flight of stairs, walk across the terminal, then go down another flight of stairs on the east side to access the waiting area, or take a detour along Richmond Terrace.

In May, the Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness (SIPCW), the St. George Civic Association’s Ferry Riders Committee, Transportation Alternatives, and the Harbor Ring Steering Committee sent a letter [PDF] to Captain James C. DeSimone, Chief Operating Officer of DOT’s Staten Island Ferry, asking for screening area for cyclists approaching from the west so they don’t have to go up and down the stairs.

DeSimone shot the idea down, saying that increasing the ferry’s already-high security costs would be “a very tough sell” to the Office of Management and Budget. “We certainly understand your motivation,” he wrote, suggesting that the planned Harbor Commons development could improve bike access with a proposed waterfront greenway.

Meredith Sladek of Transportation Alternatives wants to see the development incorporate suggestions from Community Board 1, including construction of the North Shore Greenway, but that’s not guaranteed. “I would like to think that if the community board requests something as common-sense as safe accommodations for all users,” she said, “hopefully that will be honored.”

Until then, advocates are looking to improve conditions at the existing waiting area, where cyclists are in the cold or heat while other passengers wait inside. “I would love to see climate control. I know it’s possible,” Sladek said. “What we want to say [to DOT] is, if you can’t do this right now, help us do this other thing that will make a huge difference.”

Update: “While the areas are not temperature controlled, at St. George DOT is in the process of designing a wind shelter with seating, similar to a bus shelter, to provide additional amenities for waiting cyclists,” DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera said in an e-mail, adding that the improvements should be complete in six to eight months.

Read more…

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Advocates Call on Cuomo to Support Path on Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Next year, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will mark its 50th anniversary. Although the structure was designed to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle paths, they were never included. Now, advocates are hoping a renewed push can close the gap in what they’re calling the Harbor Ring, a 50-mile loop around Upper New York Bay. This week, the initiative launched an online petition to Governor Cuomo, asking him to support the plan and move it forward.

Plans for a path on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge have been idle for years. A new petition asks Governor Cuomo to take action. Image: Ammann & Whitney, Department of City Planning

The petition is part of a renewed effort to build a path across the bridge after previous attempts stalled out. In 1997, the Department of City Planning commissioned a feasibility study by Ammann & Whitney, the bridge’s architect, to examine installing paths on the bridge. In 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed support for the plan. But a decade later, there are still only two times each year when New Yorkers can cross the span under their own power: the New York City Marathon, held every November, and the Five Boro Bike Tour each May.

Dave “Paco” Abraham, a Harbor Ring advocate, will be guiding Five Boro Bike Tour riders as they cross the bridge this year. ”Every year I’ve done the Five Boro bike ride,” he said, “Everybody stops on that bridge and takes a photo. It’s breathtaking. It’s why people go to the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s why the Walkway Over the Hudson [a rails-to-trails project in Poughkeepsie] opened.”

The same types of tourism, health, and transportation benefits those projects bring to San Francisco and Poughkeepsie make the project costs on the Verrazano worth the investment, said Abraham. ”We’re in the scale of tens of millions of dollars, not hundreds of millions,” he said.

There are two MTA capital projects that could affect the path’s prospects. One is replacing and widening the upper deck to accommodate a bus and carpool lane; the other is the relocation ramps on the Brooklyn side between the bridge and the Belt Parkway. ”If they can take any way to incorporate [the path] into their capital projects one way or another, that would be wonderful,” said Meredith Sladek of Transportation Alternatives. A few weeks ago, a coalition of organizations including TA and the Regional Plan Association sent a letter to the MTA asking the agency to consider the path in its planning process.

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Staten Island Motorist Strikes Couple, Killing Elderly Man; No Charges Filed

Jefferson Avenue at Mason Avenue, where a motorist making a left turn struck a Staten Island couple Friday evening, killing one. Image: Google Maps

A motorist who killed an elderly man and injured his wife on Staten Island has been cleared of responsibility by NYPD.

Bujar Hasimja, 72, and his 64-year-old wife were crossing Jefferson Avenue at Mason Avenue, near their home, at approximately 7:30 p.m. Friday when the driver of a Nissan SUV hit them while making a left turn, according to reports.

The Post reported that Hasimja was declared dead on arrival at Staten Island University Hospital, and his wife, whose name was not released, suffered “minor injuries.”

If the crash occurred as described by police, at the very least the motorist failed to yield. Details such as vehicle speed and whether the driver may have been using a phone or was otherwise distracted are rarely divulged by NYPD.

Within hours of the crash, NYPD issued its boilerplate “No criminality suspected” statement to the press. There is about a 50 percent chance that the driver will not receive so much as a traffic summons for running over two people who had the right of way.

As pedestrians continue be wounded and killed at an alarming rate, their killers unpenalized by NYPD, the City Council continues to focus on delivery cyclists and parking perks.

This fatal crash occurred in the 122nd Precinct. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain Joseph B. Veneziano, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. The 122nd Precinct council meetings happen at 8 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at the precinct, 2320 Hylan Boulevard. Call 718-667-2292 for more information.

The City Council district where Bujar Hasimja was killed is represented by Minority Leader James Oddo, an enemy of bike lanes who has supported neighborhood slow zones while also stating that “drivable roads” for Staten Island motorists are his primary concern. Another pedestrian, Suying Du, was killed by a motorist in Oddo’s district last November. To encourage Oddo to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-7159, joddo@council.nyc.gov or @HeyNowJO.