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Posts from the Upper West Side Category

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Motorist Kills Cyclist on Broadway on the Upper West Side [Updated]

Broadway and W. 89th Street, where a motorist killed a cyclist this afternoon.

Broadway and W. 89th Street, where a motorist killed a cyclist this afternoon.

Update: The cyclist in the this crash was identified as Jing Yin Jiang. Photos published by DNAinfo and West Side Rag indicated the driver was operating a tractor-trailer.

Update: The Daily News and WNBC identified the Bronx hit-and-run victim as Orlando Savino.

A motorist struck and killed a cyclist on Broadway near W. 89th Street this afternoon.

The crash occurred at around 12:10 p.m. The driver was northbound on Broadway and struck the cyclist, who had swerved to avoid a parked vehicle and was also northbound, according to NYPD. Police did not specify if the parked vehicle was occupying a legal space.

The victim, whose identity had not been released as of mid-afternoon, died at Mount Sinai West Hospital, police said. West Side Rag reported the victim’s age as 59.

A tipster told us people at the scene said the victim was a delivery worker, but NYPD could not confirm that detail. The driver was not immediately ticketed or arrested and the investigation is ongoing.

NYPD said the motorist was operating a box truck, but a Honda minivan and a bike were cordoned by police tape at the scene. It is not unusual for NYPD to disseminate incorrect information concerning serious traffic crashes, especially in the early stages of an investigation.

Through the first nine months of this year, motorists had killed 17 cyclists on New York City streets, three more than than the number of people killed while riding bikes in all of 2015.

The crash occurred in the 24th Precinct, and in the City Council district represented by Helen Rosenthal.

Also in Rosenthal’s district today, a motorist struck two pedestrians at Columbus Avenue and W. 96th Street at around 11 a.m., and one of the victims may lose a leg, according to WNBC.

In a third crash a 72-year-old man was killed by a hit-and-run driver in the Bronx this morning, WNBC reported.

We’ll post more information on these crashes as it becomes available.

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Bike-Share Stations Don’t Usurp Parking — They Are Parking

Space hogs in Manhattan and Brooklyn are complaining about bike-share stations on neighborhood streets, and the powers that be are listening.

In a letter to DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione, Assembly Member Dan O’Donnell complained about the much-anticipated rollout of Citi Bike on the Upper West Side.

Here’s an excerpt from O’Donnell’s constituent newsletter (hat tip to Peter Frishauf), which went out Wednesday:

First, the placement of Citi Bike’s docking stations and the resulting loss of parking spaces. Secondly, the lack of community input during a rather quick implementation process.

It is my hope that we can explore alternate solutions to restore critical parking spaces, and that increased dialogue with community will be a part of that exploratory process.

O’Donnell apparently believes parking for cars should be the default use for New York City curb space. He also seems to think the extensive public process for bike-share siting, which already happened, shouldn’t count because people are now griping about parking. All this in a district where more than 75 percent of households don’t own cars.

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Drivers Killed Two Seniors in Manhattan and NYPD Filed No Charges

DOT reduced traffic lanes but did not install concrete islands to slow turns at West End Avenue and W. 93rd Street, where a driver killed 85-year-old George Mamalas. The white line represents Mamalas's path through the intersection — it is unknown which direction he was walking — and the red arrow indicates the path of the driver, per NYPD. Image: Google Maps

DOT reduced traffic lanes but did not install concrete islands to slow turns at West End Avenue and W. 93rd Street, where a driver killed George Mamalas. The white line represents Mamalas’s path through the intersection — it is unknown which direction he was walking — and the red arrow indicates the path of the driver, per NYPD. Image: Google Maps

Drivers fatally struck two seniors in separate crashes in Manhattan in the last few weeks. NYPD filed no charges in either case.

On August 23 at around 3:50 p.m., 85-year-old George Mamalas was crossing W. 93rd Street at West End Avenue when someone hit him with a box truck. NYPD told the West Side Rag that the driver was westbound on 93rd, which is one-way, and turning left onto West End.

Mamalas died from his injuries on September 11. His obituary says he was a Korean War veteran, dancer, and Pilates instructor.

There is no dedicated turn signal at West End Avenue and W. 93rd Street. If the driver had a green light and Mamalas entered the intersection with a steady walk signal, Mamalas would have had the right of way.

NYPD did not identify the driver, which is typical when police don’t charge or ticket a motorist who kills a person.

Drivers have killed at least five people walking on West End Avenue since January 2014, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. Following a string of deaths, beginning with the crash that killed 9-year-old Cooper Stock, DOT implemented a road diet along 35 blocks of West End Avenue in the fall of 2014, but installed concrete islands to slow driver turns at just four intersections. W. 93rd Street wasn’t one of them.

George Mamalas was killed in the 24th Precinct and in the City Council district represented by Helen Rosenthal.

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Take a Stand Against Affordable Housing By Saving This Parking Garage

A developer wants to build affordable housing on the sites of three parking garages between Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue on West 108th Street. Photo: Google Maps

An affordable housing developer wants to expand the Valley Lodge transitional homeless shelter and build new apartments on the sites of three parking garages between Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue on West 108th Street. Photo: Google Maps

In NYC’s current affordable housing shortage, every square foot counts. With that in mind, the city announced plans earlier this year to relinquish three parking garages it owns on West 108th Street to make way for 280 units of new housing, all of which would be reserved for people earning less than the average income in the area. Naturally, hysteria ensued.

Since the plans were announced, a group of residents organized under the banner “Save Manhattan Valley” to fight the development. “This Street Parking Space Will Disappear Soon If You Don’t Act,” its fliers read. “In addition to the toxic noise and air caused by construction, you can expect added pollution from idling cars, double parking, honking, stress and accidents.”

Gasp! Photo: @lpolgreen

Gasp! Photo: @lpolgreen

This is the Upper West Side, served by no fewer than three subway lines (more if you count expresses), several bus routes, Citi Bike, and car-sharing services like Zipcar and Car2Go. All those transit options make owning a car an avoidable expense for Upper West Side households, so nearly 80 percent of them choose not to.

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Eyes on the Street: Pedestrian Islands Arrive on Amsterdam Ave

Pedestrian islands, like this one at 73rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue, shorten crossing distances while providing additional protection for cyclists. Image: Robert Baron

The new addition to Amsterdam Avenue at 73rd Street.

DOT has finished striping the protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue between 72nd Street and 110th Street, and now it’s moving on to the concrete. A reader sent in this photo of a brand new pedestrian island, more of which will be going in on the north side of intersections along the corridor.

The nine-foot-wide raised concrete islands shorten crossing distances and tighten the turns drivers make from side streets onto Amsterdam.

A rendering of a typical pedestrian refuge island on Amsterdam Avenue. Image: DOT

The typical design of a pedestrian island on Amsterdam Avenue. Image: DOT

Earlier this week, DOT said most pedestrian islands on Amsterdam will be installed this year. Between 107th Street and 110th Street a separate capital project will likely delay construction of ped islands until 2017.

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Eyes on the Street: Bigger Sidewalk, Shorter Crossing at Riverside and 116th

riverside4

A tipster sent this photo of the sidewalk expansion underway at the corner of Riverside Drive and W. 116th Street in Manhattan. (It’s one of the elements in a DOT safety plan for Riverside that survived after the agency watered down the project at the behest of Community Board 9.)

Once the concrete is poured, the distance to walk across Riverside will be shorter and drivers will have to make slower turns onto 116th around the squared-up corner.

Image: DOT

Image: DOT

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Biking on Amsterdam Avenue in NYC — Now More Like Biking in Amsterdam

Getting a protected bike lane on NYC’s Amsterdam Avenue was an epic struggle. This year, safe streets finally won.

Amsterdam Avenue is a neighborhood street on the Upper West Side, but it was designed like a highway with several lanes of one-way motor vehicle traffic. Local residents campaigned for nearly ten years to repurpose one of those lanes to make way for a parking-protected bike lane and pedestrian islands. They kept butting up against a few stubborn opponents of the street redesign on Community Board 7 (for viewers outside NYC, community boards are appointed bodies that weigh in on street redesigns, among other neighborhood changes).

Fed up with the dangerous conditions on Amsterdam, residents ramped up the activism. They staged silent protests and neighborhood actions to publicly shame the community board members stalling the redesign. Their efforts were rewarded earlier this year when CB 7 voted in favor of DOT’s plan for a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue from 72nd Street to 110th Street. Although not fully built yet — 14 more blocks above 96th Street are still to come — the project has changed the feel of the street dramatically.

It was a hard-earned victory, and yesterday people who fought for a safer Amsterdam celebrated with a ride down the new bike lane. Here’s a look at the ride — a sight we should see many times again as advocates organize for more space for safe biking and walking throughout NYC.

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Eyes on the Street: First Signs of Amsterdam Avenue’s Protected Bike Lane

This isn’t Amsterdam, but it is a protected bike lane on Amsterdam Avenue. Photo: Lisa Sladkus

Exciting news to conclude this Bike to Work Day: NYC DOT has striped 24 blocks of the Amsterdam Avenue protected bike lane, from 72nd Street to 96th Street.

Once it’s finished, the segment DOT is building this year will run up to 110th Street. It’s a much-needed and long-desired northbound complement to the southbound protected lane on Columbus Avenue.

Amsterdam Avenue has been a treacherous speedway for years, and the redesign — which repurposed a lane of car traffic and will include concrete pedestrian islands — will no doubt save lives.

Upper West Side advocates — including Lisa Sladkus, who sent in these photos — worked for years to make this project a reality. The first community board vote for a protected lane on Amsterdam was way back in 2009. But it wasn’t until this February that a specific redesign cleared the obstructionist leadership of the board’s transportation committee.

Congrats and a big thank you to everyone who helped make it happen.

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Years After Death of Ariel Russo, NYPD Chases Still Injuring and Killing People

Last week Franklin Reyes was sentenced to three to nine years in prison for the death of 4-year-old Ariel Russo.

NYPD pursuits have killed at least one person since the 2013 death of Ariel Russo, and injured an unknown number of other people.

NYPD pursuits have killed at least one person since the 2013 death of Ariel Russo, and injured an unknown number of bystanders and police.

Police pulled Reyes over on W. 89th Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam avenues, on June 4, 2013, after he drove his family’s pick-up truck across several lanes to make a turn. As officers walked toward the truck, Reyes, who was 17 and did not have a drivers license, hit the gas.

Police chased Reyes for eight blocks until he crashed onto the sidewalk at Amsterdam and W. 97th Street, where Ariel and her grandmother, Katia Gutierrez, were walking to Ariel’s school. Reyes hit them both, killing Ariel and injuring Gutierrez.

NYPD vehicle pursuits that result in death typically lead to serious charges for the people being chased. According to court records, Reyes pled guilty to manslaughter, assault, and two counts of fleeing police — all felonies. Gothamist reports that he was sentenced Friday.

“Ariel died a violent death because of your reckless behavior and you have not apologized,” said Sofia Russo, Ariel’s mother, in court. “You have shown no remorse.”

Nor has NYPD stopped engaging in car chases. NYPD policy says “a vehicle pursuit be terminated whenever the risks to uniformed members of the service and the public outweigh the danger to the community.” As in the case of Ariel Russo, and Karen Schmeer, and Violetta Kryzak, and Mary Celine Graham, many times a pursuit doesn’t end until the suspect crashes. In the wake of Ariel’s death, NYPD chases are still injuring and killing people.

NYPD hides police crash data from the public, so we don’t know exactly how much injury, loss of life, and property damage is caused every year due in part to the department’s open-ended pursuit policy. Stories about police pursuits that lead to injuries still surface regularly in the press. In March 2015 an unlicensed driver attempting to evade police killed Dave Jones on a sidewalk in Crown Heights.

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Amsterdam Ave Protected Bike Lane Finally Happening After 28-13 CB 7 Vote

Hundreds of people packed into Goddard Riverside Community Center last night to speak out in favor of DOT's proposed redesign of Amsterdam Avenue. Image: Luke Ohlson/Transportation Alternatives" width="529" height="397" /></a> Hundreds of people packed into Goddard Riverside Community Center last night to speak out in favor of DOT's proposed redesign of Amsterdam Avenue. Photo: Luke Ohlson/Transportation Alternatives

Hundreds of people packed into Goddard Riverside Community Center last night, most to speak in favor of DOT’s proposed redesign of Amsterdam Avenue. About a hundred more were denied entry because the venue reached capacity. Photo: Luke Ohlson

By a count of 28 in favor and 13 opposed, Manhattan Community Board 7 voted last night to endorse DOT’s plan for a protected bike lane along Amsterdam Avenue from 72nd Street to 110th Street. The vote affirmed a safety project that Upper West Siders have worked toward for several years, but the meeting itself devolved into farce, with some board members making a last-minute attempt to stop the redesign despite the long public process, endorsements from major elected officials, and the large crowd who turned out to support it.

More than 200 people packed the meeting room at Goddard Riverside Community Center, the vast majority in favor of the project. With a larger meeting room, the crowd would have been a lot larger — at least 100 people were denied entry after the room reached capacity.

DOT’s plan would calm traffic on Amsterdam Avenue by replacing a general traffic lane with a parking-protected bike lane and concrete pedestrian islands [PDF]. With four northbound moving lanes, Amsterdam’s current design leads to dangerous speeding and higher-than-average injury rates. The bike lane would provide a safe northbound complement to the southbound protected lane on Columbus Avenue. The project is on track to be implemented in the spring.

Local City Council members Helen Rosenthal and Mark Levine spoke in favor of the project last night. But some board members appointed by Rosenthal and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer did their best to stop it.

In a ploy to prevent any change, former CB 7 Chair Sheldon Fine proposed a substitute resolution that called on DOT to address safety on Amsterdam Avenue without the protected bike lane. The resolution requested that DOT instead make the Columbus Avenue bike lane two-way, a design that doesn’t exist on any wide NYC avenue with frequent intersections and would introduce new conflict points between turning drivers and northbound cyclists. Fine argued that this wouldn’t amount to tossing several previous CB 7 votes out the window, but most people on the board weren’t buying it.

“This conversation has been going on for five years,” board member Mel Wymore told Fine. “What you’re proposing is first of all sandbagging a two-year process and secondly, the DOT had already told us that what you’re proposing would not be the safety improvements that we’re asking for here. We need a good bike lane not for the bikes, but to calm the traffic and save lives.”

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