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Posts from the "The Bronx" Category

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Mapping Out a Route for the Hudson River Greenway in the Bronx

The plan for the Hudson River Greenway in the Bronx includes improvements in the next three years in blue, the next decade in purple, and the years beyond in red. Image: NYMTC

The plan for the Hudson River Greenway in the Bronx: Improvements for the next three years are in blue, the next decade in purple, and the years beyond in red. Click to enlarge. Image: NYMTC

In 1991, Governor Mario Cuomo signed the Hudson River Valley Greenway Act, setting in motion the design and construction of a continuous walking and biking route along the river, from Manhattan to Saratoga County. More than two decades later, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council — the NYC-area regional planning agency — has come up with a preferred route for the greenway through the Bronx and parts of Yonkers, which would fill the gap between the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway and the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail in Westchester County.

The study, funded by a $1 million earmark from Senator Charles Schumer in the 2005 federal transportation bill, involved years of workshops, meetings, and analysis by NYMTC and lead consultant The RBA Group to identify a route. Tweaks are still being considered, and NYMTC anticipates ironing out the final details by the middle of next year. This study, while comprehensive, simply outlines a preferred route and provides cost estimates. Bronxites looking to walk and bike on their section of the greenway are still a long way from seeing shovels in the ground.

Some residents of Palisade Avenue are worried that the greenway plans could ruin the bucolic nature of their street. Image: NYMTC

Some residents of Palisade Avenue are worried that the greenway plans could ruin the bucolic nature of their street — by adding sidewalks. Image: NYMTC

The route, running from the Henry Hudson Bridge to Yonkers, is broken into three phases, covering the next three years, the next decade, and beyond.

The first phase creates a physically-separated greenway path along Palisade Avenue and in Riverdale Park between 232nd and 254th Streets. North of 254th, it would create an on-street route along Palisade Avenue, 261st Street, and Riverdale Avenue to Yonkers. South of 232nd, an on-street route is planned along Palisade Avenue and Kappock Street to the Henry Hudson Bridge.

At last month’s Community Board 8 parks committee meeting, residents of Palisade Avenue raised concerns about the potential changes. Currently, the street, which carries two-way traffic and has on-street parking on its east side, does not have any lane markings. The report recommends building a sidewalk along the west side, striping a yellow centerline and adding shared lane markings for cyclists, while maintaining on-street parking.

Residents at the meeting were worried that sidewalk construction would require land takings and alter the wooded, alpine nature of the area. NYMTC is considering other options, including a painted area on the street that designates pedestrian space instead of a sidewalk. “We understand the residents’ concerns about the bucolic nature of the roadway,” said Gerry Bogacz, NYMTC’s planning director. Some residents requested that the plan relocate the greenway’s on-street route one block east to Independence Avenue, but Bogacz was less receptive to that idea.

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No Charges: Witnesses Say Driver Who Killed Bronx Senior Ran Stop Sign

A senior was killed in Mott Haven Tuesday by a motorist who witnesses said sped past a stop sign before striking the victim, jumping a curb and slamming into an apartment building. The driver was not charged or summonsed by NYPD.

Candida Acosta. Photo: DNAinfo

According to reports, Candida Acosta, 74, was crossing E. 141st Street at Beekman Avenue at around 11:05 a.m. when the driver of an Infiniti SUV struck her, then drove onto a sidewalk, knocked down a street sign, hit a building, and crashed into a stoop with sufficient force to trigger the vehicle’s airbags.

After the SUV stopped, a child exited the vehicle, bleeding from her mouth. The Daily News and News 12 said the 47-year-old driver and her 8-year-old daughter were hospitalized.

From DNAinfo:

Multiple witnesses, including the man who called 911, Ali Nagi, told DNAinfo New York that the SUV was going about 35 MPH and rolled a stop sign before hitting Acosta.

Witnesses also told WABC the driver ran a stop sign. One woman said more people could have been hurt. “If that building wouldn’t have stopped that car, all those people would have died plus people that are on that sidewalk,” said Mercedes Rivera, a friend of the victim.

Acosta suffered severe head and body trauma and died at Lincoln Hospital, reports said.

No charges were filed against the driver, and no summonses were issued. News 12 reported on Tuesday that, according to unnamed sources, “it’s possible the driver may receive a summons.” As of this morning the NYPD public information office had no updates. Streetsblog asked for the driver’s name, but a spokesperson said the department would not release that information unless the driver had been arrested.

Acosta was at least the second person killed by a motorist in the past month, and the fourth in 2013, in the City Council district represented by Maria del Carmen Arroyo, according to data compiled by Streetsblog. We talked with Arroyo’s spokesperson, who said the council member is out of town. The spokesperson said he would try to obtain the police report on the crash that killed Acosta, and pledged to follow up with Streetsblog next week.

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Eyes on the Street: Bronx River Greenway Access Streets Get Upgrades

The new two-way protected bikeway has been installed on Bruckner Boulevard ends after a block, yielding to shared lane and sidewalk markings.

The Bronx River Greenway has given many South Bronx residents a place to feel comfortable biking, but the streets nearby are often filled with speeding drivers navigating sometimes-confusing intersections. A project adding bike lanes, curb extensions, and lane striping aimed to fix that — and since the end of the summer residents have seen some of the results. An anonymous reader who lives in Soundview and commutes by bike through the area sent in some photos showing the changes.

Some of the biggest changes have come to the intersection of Whitlock and Westchester Avenues, busy with pedestrians accessing Concrete Plant Park and the 6 train. Among those changes are painted curb extensions, which do not have flex-post bollards and “are almost always completely ignored by drivers,” our reader said in an e-mail. Streetsblog has asked DOT if the agency will be installing barriers to keep cars out of the pedestrian space.

Without bollards or barriers, some drivers ignore the newly-painted curb extensions at the intersection of Westchester and Whitlock Avenues.

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Cyclist Struck in the Bronx Today Is Second Fatality in Past Two Weeks

A cyclist was struck and killed by a driver this morning in the Bronx, and EV Grieve reports that a restaurant worker who was hit by a motorist last week while biking in Brooklyn died from his injuries.

Cesar, identified as the cyclist fatally struck by a motorist in Downtown Brooklyn on October 20, had a wife and three kids, according to EV Grieve. No charges were filed.

Today’s crash occurred in Claremont. NYPD and published reports say Walter Ayala, 36, was traveling west on St. Paul’s Place when he was struck by the driver of a Toyota headed north on Third Avenue. Ayala died at the scene.

NYPD told Streetsblog it appears Ayala ran a red light and the motorist had the right of way. NYPD didn’t specify how the agency determined who had the right of way, and provided no information about driver speed. A spokesperson said no summonses were issued and the investigation is ongoing.

Walter Ayala was killed in the 42nd Precinct, in the City Council district represented by termed-out Helen Foster.

In the earlier crash, a cyclist identified as Cesar was biking home from his job at Stromboli Pizza in the East Village sometime on the night of October 20 when according to DNAinfo the driver of a GMC truck hit him at the corner of Smith and Schermerhorn Streets in Downtown Brooklyn.

DNAinfo reported the next day that the cyclist was making a left turn from Smith to Schermerhorn when he was struck by the northbound driver, and that he was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

Via Gothamist, EV Grieve wrote today that the cyclist, who was identified by a reader, died as a result of the crash:

“Apparently he was on a bicycle going home to Brooklyn after work and was hit by a truck and died from his injuries in the hospital after being in a coma for a few days,” Aizaz says.

He leaves behind a wife and three children.

Says Aizaz, “Cesar had a lot of charm and a very positive attitude about everything we ever chatted about.”

Stromboli Pizza is taking donations for the family.

No other details were reported pertaining to what caused this crash. The DNAinfo story from October 21 said the motorist “was not expected to be charged.”

The crash that killed Cesar occurred in the 84th Precinct, in the council district represented by Steve Levin.

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Three New Yorkers, Including Two Seniors, Killed by Drivers in the Past Week

Three people were killed by motorists in NYC since last Friday, including two hit-and-run victims. Two of the victims were also senior citizens.

Antonio Ramirez was struck by a hit-and-run driver in Washington Heights. The killer is still at large.

At around 4:40 a.m. Friday, a motorist in a dark-colored car fatally struck Antonio Ramirez, 40, at Audubon Avenue and 176th Street in Washington Heights, then fled the scene, according to reports. Along with neighborhood advocates, City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, and Assembly Member Gabriela Rosa blasted DOT after the crash for rejecting a Slow Zone for the area.

From the Post:

Friday’s fatality created a haunting scene for several schools near the crash, including Kipp Star Elementary on 177th Street.

Many young children and parents at the school had to walk past Ramirez’s body, which was wrapped in a white sheet. Some teachers left the building and tried to distract the students so they wouldn’t see it.

Frustrated mom Ayiesha Washington, 27, who has a son in kindergarten, said, “I’ve lived in this neighborhood for three years, and this is the millionth accident.”

Rodriguez and Espaillat, who rarely make an issue of street safety, said this section of Washington Heights is plagued by speeding drivers coming off the George Washington Bridge and the Cross Bronx Expressway.

“This tragic hit-and-run, less than a block from a school building, truly hits home for the people of Washington Heights, particularly when so many have raised the issue of high speeds in the area to the Department of Transportation,” said Rodriguez, in a press release. “It is so easy for deaths such as these to be avoided.”

Since the program began in 2011, DOT routinely gets many more Slow Zone applications annually than it approves. The press release from Upper Manhattan electeds incorrectly claims DOT rejected 15 of 70 applications this year, when the agency actually approved 15 of 74 applications.

Rodriguez, Espaillat, and Rosa made only a passing reference to the lack of traffic law enforcement in Washington Heights in their press release, and did not mention NYPD directly. The 33rd Precinct, where the crash occurred, had issued 273 speeding tickets this year as of August, and cited 154 drivers for speeding in all of 2012.

Ramirez worked at a restaurant and was a former building super. He was married with two kids, a 14-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son.

“This biggest part of it is the dance you have with your dad,” Leslie Ramirez told WNBC. “And that man took that dance away from me. He took away that one special person I had in my life.”

The Daily News reported that, according to police, the killer was driving an Infiniti, and Ramirez was “walking against the light.” As of earlier this week, at least one outlet was reporting the driver ran a red light, but that version of the story is no longer online. An NYPD spokesperson said today that the public information office did not have details on how the crash occurred. The motorist who killed Antonio Ramirez remains at large.

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Drivers Kill Three in Queens and the Bronx in Weekend of Vehicular Violence

Three pedestrians were killed by drivers, including two who fled the scene, in Queens and the Bronx over the weekend. A senior was seriously hurt in another hit-and-run crash, also in Queens.

Maria Dulce-Valencia was one of at least three pedestrians killed by motorists since Friday. Photo via Daily News

Raj Chohan, 59, had just exited her parked car when she was hit by an alleged drunk driver on 117th Street near 97th Avenue, in Richmond Hill, at around 7 p.m. Friday, the Daily News reports.

Vishwanand Subryan, 23, of Schenectady, was arrested not far from the scene. Subryan was charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, DWI and leaving the scene, the News reported.

At 9:49 p.m. Friday, an unidentified female pedestrian was hit by a motorist as she crossed Queens Plaza North near 27th Street, near the entrance to the Queensboro Bridge, according to DNAinfo.

Upon investigation police found that she was hit by a 69-year-old man who stayed on the scene. The driver had been headed west when he struck the woman as she crossed from south to north, police said. He swerved up onto a curb and struck a pillar after hitting her, police said.

The victim was declared dead on arrival at Mount Sanai Hospital. NYPD told Streetsblog her name has not yet been released, pending family notification.The driver has not been charged or summonsed, and the investigation is ongoing, NYPD said.

Maria Dulce-Valencia, 27, was struck by the driver of a black sedan at Bruckner Boulevard and Evergreen Avenue in Soundview at approximately 5:00 a.m. Sunday, reports say. From the Post:

“Olivia [Chavez, Dulce-Valencia's girlfriend] saw it happen. Dulce was killed right in front of her,” said Valencia’s sister, Marnely, 28. “[Olivia] was standing eight feet from her when the car came and . . . just fainted.”

The driver fled the scene and remained at large as of Sunday afternoon, according to DNAinfo.

Also Sunday, a 79-year-old pedestrian was seriously injured by a hit-and-run driver in Corona. DNAinfo reports that the victim was walking east on Junction Boulevard near 50th Avenue at around 3 p.m. when she was struck. She was transported to Elmhurst Hospital and was in critical condition.

In another crash that could have been much worse, a 19-year-old killed himself and injured his passenger Sunday afternoon when he struck another vehicle and slammed his car into a pole on Linden Boulevard. And a motorcyclist and his passenger were killed on Saturday afternoon when they hit an SUV as the driver was making a U-turn at 20th Avenue and 24th Street in Ditmars.

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Abigail Lino, 24, Killed in the Bronx; Driver Charged With Leaving Scene

Friends gathered at a Bronx courthouse last week calling for justice for Abigail Lino, who was one of at least four New York City pedestrians killed by hit-and-run drivers in August.

Photo via DNAinfo

According to reports, Lino was outside a club in Longwood at around 3 a.m. on August 31 when she and others ran away after a security guard warned that someone at the club had a gun. From the Daily News:

[Lino], of Harlem, began fleeing the area with a group of friends across Bruckner Ave. near Austin Place, witnesses said. But the 24-year-old was halfway across the street when she was hit by the driver of a speeding silver SUV heading south.

Witnesses said Lino’s body was thrown in the air by the callous driver before she came to rest in the center of the street. The driver sped off into the early morning darkness, police said.

“It’s hard to think about … we had just been inside having a good time. It’s really hard to believe,” said Ayalla Ingram, 24, who was walking with Lino moments before the accident.

“The car didn’t even slow down,” Taylor added. “It actually looked like it sped up (after it hit her).”

Lino worked for UPS and was a caregiver for her 20-year-old sister, who has Down Syndrome, and was also raising the young child of an ex, reports said.

Police arrested Leroy Forest, of the Bronx, the day after the crash. According to court records, Forest was charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury, a Class D felony punishable by up to seven years in jail, and which also allows for no jail time, or probation. Leaving the scene is the sole charge against Forest — he was not charged by District Attorney Robert Johnson for killing Lino.

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Feds Reject All Three NYC Applications for Latest Round of TIGER Grants

Without a TIGER grant, New Yorkers will have to wait a little longer for the next phase of the Bronx River Greenway (in red). Map: Bronx River Alliance

This morning, U.S. DOT announced the winners in the latest round of its highly-competitive TIGER grant program. While upstate New York won grants for two projects — a highway teardown in Rochester and a complete streets project in Olean — New York City missed out, with applications for ferry improvements, a greenway connection in the Bronx, and the redesign of a busy intersection in Downtown Brooklyn failing to make the cut.

DOT had applied for funding to implement the Brooklyn Bridge Gateway project, a long-anticipated reconstruction of the intersection of Tillary Street and Adams Street that would dramatically improve cyclist and pedestrian access to the Brooklyn Bridge. DOT, which had unsuccessfully submitted the partially-funded project for earlier rounds of TIGER funding before trying again this year, told Streetsblog it was looking at other federal funding sources to fill the gap.

The Parks Department applied for $27.5 million from TIGER to match $10 million in city funds for the completion a section of the Bronx River Greenway between Starlight Park and Concrete Plant Park. The Bronx project includes three bridges — two over the Bronx River and one over the adjacent Amtrak corridor. The project, delayed by negotiations over the Amtrak bridge, saw state funds dedicated to its construction expire in 2009.

A third application, from EDC, would have been dedicated to ferry infrastructure. Streetsblog has inquired with Parks and EDC to see how they plan to fund their projects without TIGER; we’ll let you know if we hear anything back.

New York City has previously won TIGER grants for Hunts Point freight rail infrastructure, Moynihan Station, the city’s Sheridan Expressway study, and the redesign of Fordham Plaza.

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Eyes on the Street: Traffic Calming, 20 MPH Zone at Williamsbridge Oval

Illegal idling by ambulance drivers is still a problem, but recently-installed improvements around Williamsbridge Oval have calmed traffic for Norwood residents accessing the park. Photo: Elisabeth von Uhl

Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem isn’t the only green space receiving traffic calming improvements this summer. In the Bronx, Friends of the Williamsbridge Oval waged a fight with DOT to get crosswalks and pedestrian space near their park in the Norwood neighborhood. Now, a plan [PDFpresented to Community Board 7 this spring has been implemented.

The improvements include a 20 mph speed limit, expanded pedestrian space at intersections, crosswalks connecting to park entrances, additional on-street parking, and new signage. The 20 mph speed limit could be extended to the rest of the neighborhood if local leaders persevere in their effort to receive a Slow Zone from DOT.

Although there is still illegal idling in the area by ambulance drivers, Friends of the Williamsbridge Oval member and Norwood resident Elisabeth von Uhl is thrilled with the changes. ”Finally, our streets are safer and our park is safer,” she told Streetsblog in an e-mail.

New pedestrian space and crosswalks make park access easier for Norwood residents. Photo: Elisabeth von Uhl

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Driver Injures Two on Bronx Sidewalk; NYPD: No Charges, No Tickets

Jump the curb, injure two pedestrians, smash four storefronts? NYPD says there is "no criminality." Photo: WNBC

All too often, a New York City driver jumps a curbstrikes a pedestrian (or 10), and is on his or her way without so much as a traffic ticket. If the motorist is a repeat drunk driver, or if the crash kills a teenager, it might grab the public’s attention for a moment. But usually, victims are transported to the hospital, debris is swept away, and as far as police and prosecutors are concerned, all is forgotten. No investigation. No arrests. No summonses.

Shortly after 6:45 p.m. yesterday, police say a woman driving a minivan on Boston Road in the Bronx was cut off by another driver near Corsa Avenue in Williamsbridge. She swerved onto the sidewalk, crashing into four storefronts and injuring two pedestrians, who along with the driver were transported to Jacobi Medical Center with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to FDNY.

The scene of yesterday's curb-jumping crash, where the speed limit is 25 mph. Photo: Google Maps

Because no one was killed or seriously injured, NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad did not launch an investigation. A police spokesperson could not say whether the second motorist stayed at the scene or drove off. NYPD did, however, tell Streetsblog that there is “no criminality” and that no summonses were issued. No summonses for passing unsafely. No speeding tickets.

The speed limit on this section of Boston Road is 25 mph. Last year, the 47th Precinct, where the crash occurred, issued 183 speeding tickets — about one every other day — and two tickets for improper passing. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Deputy Inspector Brian M. Mullen, the commanding officer, go to the next community council meeting. The 47th Precinct council meets at 8 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. Call the precinct’s community affairs office at 718-920-1202 for more information.

This crash occurred in City Council District 12, which is represented by Andy King. To encourage Council Member King to take action to improve street safety in his district and citywide, contact him at 212-788-6873 or 718-788-6873.

One final note: the only city agency that investigated the scene was the Department of Buildings, according to WCBS, and DOB has good news. The smashed storefronts remain structurally sound.