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Posts from the "Union Square" Category

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Witness Accounts Wanted in Union Square Cyclist Crash

051910pilar.jpgPilar Ortiz. Photo via Gothamist
On May 13, 36-year-old Pilar Ortiz was hurt in a collision with an MTA express bus while riding her bike on Broadway between 13th and 14th Streets. Corresponding with Gothamist, attorney Ben Rubinowitz says Ortiz remains in the hospital with severe injuries, the details of which are not for the faint of heart.

Pilar suffered extensive, life threatening injuries including fractures of one leg and horrific degloving injuries and fractures to the other leg. A degloving injury is one in which the skin, underlying tissue, muscle, nerves and fascia are peeled away from the body very much the way a glove would be removed from a hand. The injury has been so severe that the surgeons have already conducted 4 surgeries to try and save her leg.

Needless to say, the injuries occurred when she was struck by the bus while she was lawfully on her bicycle. According to the police report the bus driver never saw her and wrote, among other things, that the accident took place because the bus driver failed to yield the right of way while Pilar was crossing the intersection with the signal in her favor. The report also states that the bus driver heard a "crunch and scream."

Rubinowitz is collecting witness accounts of the crash. Here is his contact info:

Gair Gair Conason Steigman Mackauf Bloom & Rubinowitz
80 Pine Street
NY, NY 10005
212 943 1090
Fax 212 425 7513
speak2ben@aol.com

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DOT Unveils Union Square Upgrades to Manhattan CB 5

Picture_6.pngNYCDOT's plans for Union Square would add pedestrian plazas and better bike facilities on Broadway and 17th Street. Image: NYCDOT. For a larger version, click here.

Last night NYCDOT showed plans for a package of safety upgrades and public space improvements for Union Square [PDF] to Manhattan Community Board 5's transportation committee. Under the plan, the north and west sides of the square would see much less traffic and receive more space for pedestrians and new cycle tracks. Several elements of the project are novel for New York, including a contraflow bike lane proposed for Union Square North and two blocks that would be car-free some of the time.

Reader Mike Epstein tells us that the committee reacted positively to the overall plan but chose to put off a vote until DOT returns with another presentation detailing the impact on 18th Street traffic. 

On Broadway from 23rd Street to 18th Street, the plan calls for a parking-protected bike lane and pedestrian refuge islands while removing one driving lane. DOT told CB 5 that because of changes to Broadway at Times and Herald Squares, this stretch of Broadway now carries only about 250 cars per hour at its peak, or one quarter of the road's capacity. Without removing a lane, the extra space promotes unsafe speeds.

Cars driving down Broadway would be diverted east onto 18th Street, a move which prompted some outcries from 18th Street residents worried about more traffic in front of their homes. "The amount they're adding should be one or two cars per minute," said Epstein, who noted that new turning lanes and signal timing should make the impact of that increase negligible. 

Cyclists will be able to continue down Broadway to 17th Street, where they will have the option of turning onto a new contraflow lane along the north side of Union Square. The protected bike lane will then continue along the eastern edge of Union Square until it ends at 15th Street. 

New plazas are slated for Broadway between 17th and 18th and on 17th between Broadway and Park Avenue, and pedestrians would get parts of Union Square West to themselves, at least some of the time. Between 17th and 16th, and 15th and 14th, the street will be closed to traffic part-time. DOT wasn't ready to announce when those two blocks would be pedestrianized or how they'd be programmed, said Epstein. He hypothesized that the need to get trucks in for the Union Square Greenmarket was a key consideration.

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Tonight: DOT to Reveal Plans for a Safer Union Square

usgrab2.jpgImage via NY1
Safer street conditions and more space for pedestrians and cyclists could soon be coming to Union Square under a plan to be unveiled by DOT today.

We haven't gotten our hands on the drawings yet, but media reports say that by Labor Day, East 17th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue South, along with part of Broadway north to East 18th Street, are slated to be converted to a pedestrian plaza and car-free thoroughfare.

According to the Times, the pedestrian plaza would run along the north side of Union Square Park between Broadway and Park Avenue South, with a bike lane and pedestrian walkway on the south side. Drivers heading south on Broadway would be directed to make a left at East 18th, while East 17th would become a one-way westbound with a single lane. One lane for auto traffic, as well as street parking, would be maintained on Broadway between East 17th and 18th Streets. DOT is reportedly also looking to reclaim parts of Union Square West for pedestrians.

The area around Union Square is notoriously dangerous. Between 1995 and 2005 there were 95 pedestrian- and cyclist-involved crashes at Broadway and Union Square West alone, according to Transportation Alternatives' CrashStat. Three pedestrians lost their lives during that same period at Fourth Avenue and Union Square East.

DOT is scheduled to present the plan to the Community Board 5 transportation committee tonight at 6:30 at McBurney YMCA, 125 West 14th Street.