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Posts from the "West Village" Category

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CB 2 Panel OKs Hudson Street Bike Lane Upgrade, Bowery Ped Safety Tweaks

The Hudson street buffered bike lane is set to become a parking-protected path. Image: DOT

The Hudson Street buffered bike lane is set to become a parking-protected path. Image: DOT

Last night, Manhattan Community Board 2′s transportation committee unanimously supported two safety measures: one to upgrade a bike lane on Hudson Street, and another to tweak pedestrian improvements at the car-clogged intersection of the Bowery and Delancey Street.

Almost two-and-a-half years after asking DOT to upgrade the faded buffered bike lane on Hudson Street to a parking-protected path with pedestrian islands, the committee unanimously endorsed a plan from DOT to do just that [PDF]. The next steps: support from the full board at its April 24 meeting, and construction beginning in July.

The plan actually extends two of Manhattan’s most popular protected bike lanes southward. The Ninth Avenue protected lane will now reach a few blocks further south of 14th Street, on the southbound section Hudson Street, before joining the curbside striped bike lane on Bleecker Street. And on the northbound section of Hudson, cyclists will be able to use a protected bike lane starting at Houston Street before joining the existing Eighth Avenue protected lane.

CB 2′s request in 2011 asked that the lane extend south to Canal Street, but DOT’s plan stops at Houston. When the board made its request then, Hudson Square Connection BID executive director Ellen Baer said her members were split on the concept. While the BID has supported a number of other street safety improvements, it opposed the CB’s request for Hudson Street. Since then, the BID has released a concept plan that includes a protected bike lane along Hudson Street, but asked DOT to leave it out of the plan the agency presented last night.

“So far, we’ve gotten very positive responses, but we continue to go out there and build support for the plan,” Baer told Streetsblog. The BID’s plan includes widening the sidewalk to create space for green stormwater infrastructure, a more significant design change than DOT is proposing north of Houston. “You want to do it all at once,” she said. “You wouldn’t want to put a protected bike lane in this section and then come back.”

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80-Year-Old Pedestrian and MTA Bus Driver Killed in Separate Crashes

Senior Margarita Seda was killed in the middle of the day by a driver making a left turn at at a signalized intersection with marked crosswalks. He was cited for careless driving and failure to yield. Image: Google Maps

Senior Margarita Seda was killed in the middle of the day by a driver making a left turn at a signalized intersection with marked crosswalks. The driver was cited for careless driving and failure to yield. The red arrow represents the movement of the driver and the white arrow the movement of the victim, according to reports. Image: Google Maps

In the last 24 hours, an 80-year-old pedestrian and an MTA bus driver were killed in crashes in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

At around 1:35 p.m. Tuesday, Margarita Seda was struck by the driver of a GMC vehicle as she crossed Grand Street at Graham Avenue in Williamsburg, according to WCBS and the Daily News. WCBS reported that Seda was crossing Grand north to south when the driver, traveling north on Graham, struck her while making a left turn onto Grand. Seda suffered head injuries and died at Bellevue Hospital.

The unnamed motorist was summonsed for careless driving and failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Grand Street and Graham Avenue are two-lane streets that meet at a signalized intersection, and there is strong evidence that the victim was in the crosswalk and had a walk signal, based on published reports and the fact that NYPD cited the driver. If it occurred as described, yesterday’s crash appears nearly identical to the one that killed Maude Savage, the 72-year-old who was hit by an unlicensed driver last November while crossing with the signal at Sutter and Euclid Avenues in East New York. The man who killed Savage was charged criminally, but only because he was driving without a license.

This type of crash is not rare. At least 30 NYC pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by turning motorists since January 2013, and for the most part the drivers were breaking the law by failing to yield. As we wrote after Savage’s death, that this deadly behavior does not apparently meet the standard of criminal negligence is a sign that New York’s criminal justice system is failing to hold drivers accountable for killing law-abiding pedestrians.

The crash that killed Margarita Seda occurred in the City Council district represented by Antonio Reynoso, and in the 90th Precinct, where in 2013 local officers cited 35 drivers for failing to yield to pedestrians, and wrote 311 speeding tickets.

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Reality Check: Bike-Share Station Takes Up Less Space Than Parked Cars

Curb space in front of 99 Bank Street then ...

You have to hand it to residents of 99 Bank Street. The lawsuit to have a bike-share station removed from the street in front of their West Village building is a textbook example of reactionary NIMBYism.

The suit, which has already been rejected in court, claims the station violates a rule against the placement of “street furniture,” and blocks the building entrance. Among the other reported complaints: the bike-share station will impede fire truck access, cause tourists to ride on the sidewalks, and lead to cyclists congregating under the building awning when it rains.

The suit also says the city’s bike-share program “presents a serious threat to public safety,” according to the Daily News.

Reality check: Bike-share has a great safety record. And as for building access, this Citi Bike station, which will hold 31 bikes, replaced a handful of car parking spots that occupied the same curb space, but with taller, blockier objects. If anything, May and her dog Pippin will have an easier time crossing the street mid-block now that there aren’t parked cars hogging curb space and cutting off the view of oncoming traffic.

… and now. Photos: Google Maps, DNAinfo

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CB 2 Committee OKs Varick Street Traffic Calming, Punts on Bike Corrals

With two unanimous 9-0 votes, Manhattan Community Board 2′s transportation committee took one step forward and one step back for livable streets last night, voting for safety fixes at a problematic intersection while punting on a proposal for bike corrals after local NIMBY extraordinaire Sean Sweeney showed up to squash it.

Just another day at the intersection of Carmine Street, Clarkson Street, Varick Street and Seventh Avenue South. Photo: Doug Gordon

A request for traffic calming and pedestrian safety fixes at the intersection of Clarkson Street, Carmine Street, Varick Street and Seventh Avenue South moved ahead after the committee agreed to drop further consideration of converting one block of Carmine Street to one-way operation. The intersection, which floods with traffic bound for the Holland Tunnel, would receive curb extensions on the northeast and northwest corners to reduce the crossing distance and daylighting treatments on the southwest corner through removal of on-street parking. The proposal was put forth by Brooklyn Spoke blogger Doug Gordon, who works nearby, and will move to the full board on January 24 before advancing to DOT and NYPD for agency consideration.

In a surprise move, the committee sent plans for three on-street bike corrals back to DOT for further study. Bike corrals were presented for three locations, each to be maintained by an adjacent business that had requested the bike parking: Spring Street Natural on the southwest corner of Spring and Lafayette Streets, Little Cupcake Bakeshop on the southeast corner of Prince and Mott Streets, and Organic Avenue at the corner of Sullivan and Houston Streets.

Sean Sweeney, winner of Streetsblog’s 2008 NIMBY of the Year award, pounced on these bike corral installations. “Why is SoHo DOT’s petri dish?” he asked. “Experiment somewhere else!”

Although DOT’s Inbar Kishoni pointed out that corrals are being installed in several other neighborhoods, and that the committee had already voted in support of a bike corral at Cafe Habana at Prince and Elizabeth Streets, Sweeney’s opposition scared away enough members from supporting the corrals. In the end, Committee Chair Shirley Secunda put forward a resolution asking DOT for more planning, education, and outreach before installing bike corrals.

So, thanks to Sweeney, instead of safer sightlines at intersections and on-street bike parking that would help relieve the spatial crunch on crowded sidewalks, SoHo and these local businesses will be getting nothing, at least for the time being. Chalk up another win for Sweeney’s SoHo Alliance.

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Pressure Mounts for Safer Intersection After Jessica Dworkin’s Death

In the wake of Jessica Dworkin’s death, community members are waiting for DOT and NYPD to take action to reduce the dangers caused by motorists at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and Houston Street.

At a meeting on September 20, Manhattan Community Board 2 passed two resolutions that recently passed the board’s transportation committee. The first asks DOT to study the intersection, as well as other problem locations in the area, and evaluate potential pedestrian safety improvements.

Flowers to honor the memory of Jessica Dworkin remain at Sixth Avenue and Houston Street. Photo: Stephen Miller

DOT scheduled a walk-through of the intersection with community members last week, but cancelled for unknown reasons, with a commitment to reschedule. Streetsblog has asked DOT why the event was cancelled and when the agency plans to follow through.

The second request from CB 2 asks the City Council to pass proposed bills and resolutions to change NYPD traffic safety protocols. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who represents the neighborhood, has not taken a position on the reform package.

Earlier this month, 6th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Martin Baranksi said there was little that could be done. “For all intents and purposes, I think it was just a terrible accident,” he told the CB 2 transportation committee. “You know, it happens.”

Crossing guard Esperanca Varela often sees dangerous behavior from drivers, who swerve around crossing pedestrians while turning. She said she occasionally sees traffic enforcement at the intersection, “But they can’t be out here all the time.”

There is a red light camera for westbound traffic on Houston Street at Sixth Avenue, but the camera is not operational.

Until city agencies take action, nearby seventh-graders have been studying pedestrian safety at the intersection, documenting behavior and recording video for a class project, according to Phillip Kassen, director of the Little Red School House.

“Once these flowers are gone,” Varela said, looking at the shrine to Dworkin on a fence at the corner where she was killed, “People are going to forget.”

But Ian Dutton, former CB 2 transportation committee vice chair, says that Dworkin’s death has been an awakening for the community. “Sentiments about crossing this intersection range from uncomfortable to terrified,” he said. “I really don’t think anyone is going to go back to business as usual.”

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Trucker Who Killed Jessica Dworkin Cited for Careless Driving

Photo via DNAinfo

The truck driver who killed Jessica Dworkin in the West Village Monday morning was summonsed for failure to yield and failure to exercise due care, according to NYPD, but was not cited for possible violations related to truck size and safety mirrors.

Dworkin, 58, was riding a foot-propelled scooter west on Houston Street just before 9 a.m. Monday when she was caught by the rear wheels of a flatbed semi whose driver, identified by the Post as Greg Smith, was turning right from Houston onto Sixth Avenue.

Dworkin was dragged by the truck for two blocks, until witnesses were able to get Smith’s attention. She died at the scene.

A DNAinfo profile described Dworkin as an artist and SoHo “stalwart” known for her volunteer work:

Dworkin, who also went by the name “Jessica Blue,” moved into 128 Thompson St. between West Houston and Prince streets from Massachusetts in the 1970s, said close friend Craig Walker, who knew her for more than 20 years.

Talkative and warm by nature, the self-described artist regaled him with tales of writing for Interview and Details magazines, and frequenting Studio 54 in her younger years, he said.

Photos from the scene seem to indicate that Smith’s truck exceeded 55 feet, the maximum length allowed on surface streets without a permit. The cab is also missing the required front-mounted crossover mirrors, which give truck drivers a view of what’s directly in front of them. An NYPD spokesperson told Streetsblog that two citations were issued: one for failure to yield to a pedestrian and one for failure to exercise due care, a violation of state vulnerable user laws.

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Woman Killed by Truck Driver in West Village This Morning [Second Update]

Photo: WNBC

A pedestrian was struck and killed by the driver of a tractor trailer in the West Village this morning.

The victim, a 58-year-old woman, was riding a foot scooter at Sixth Avenue and Houston Street when she was struck at approximately 8:55 a.m., according to NYPD, FDNY and published reports. NBC cited a crossing guard who said the truck driver was making a right from Houston onto Sixth.

The Daily News said the victim was dragged to the intersection of Sixth and Carmine Street, a distance of two blocks.

She died at the scene and her body remained under the wheels of the truck Monday morning as cops probed her gruesome death.

The victim’s identity was not available at this writing. The NYPD Accident Investigation Squad was dispatched to the scene, a police spokesperson said.

We’ll post additional information as we get it.

Update: NYPD told Gothamist that the victim was “crossing east to west on Houston Street” on the scooter. A Times report confirms that, according to police, the driver was turning right from Houston to Sixth when the victim was struck by a rear wheel. Gothamist and the Post are reporting that the driver did not stop until alerted by witnesses. Per the Times: “The truck driver stayed on the scene and was not charged, the police said.”

Update: The victim has been identified in the News and Wall Street Journal as Jessica Dworkin of Manhattan.

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NYPD Won’t Confirm West Village Pedestrian Fatality

Last week, a reader wrote to tell us that a woman hit by a cab driver in the West Village on May 2 had died of her injuries.

A 70-year-old woman walking her dog was struck by a yellow cab driver on May 2. NYPD would not confirm a report that the victim was killed. Photo: Daily News

According to the Daily News, the woman was crossing Jane Street near Hudson Street with her dog when she was hit by the driver of a yellow cab.

“The cab was going fast and was trying to pass another car on the right. He didn’t see the woman and hit her pretty badly,” said Valentain Diaz, 37, who works nearby.

“She was trying to cross the block but didn’t make it. She must have hurt her head. She looked critical.”

A neighbor said the woman lived nearby and was often seen out with her beloved pet. “It’s amazing that she never let go of her dog,” she said. “Her dog looked pretty shaken up. He was worried about his owner you could tell.”

DNAinfo reported that the driver was not charged.

FDNY confirmed on Friday that the victim was a 70-year-old woman, struck at Hudson and Jane at about 9:54 p.m. The victim suffered head trauma and was transported to Bellevue, a spokesperson said. FDNY could not provide a name.

Our tipster, a West Village resident, said she learned of the woman’s death through a call to the 6th Precinct. Streetsblog also made several calls to NYPD. On Friday, when we asked an officer at the 6th Precinct if a pedestrian had indeed been killed that night, he replied, “As far as I know.” The NYPD public information office had no information about the crash on Friday, though a spokesperson said he would contact the 6th Precinct. When we called DCPI again today, a different spokesperson said there were no updates. We then called the 6th Precinct a second time. The officer we spoke with said she knew nothing about the incident, and said that if the public information office had no details, it’s possible someone “made it up.”

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CB 2 Committee Endorses Parking-Protected Hudson St. Bike Lane

Upgrading the Hudson Avenue bike lane would extend the protected lanes on both Eighth and Ninth Avenues.

The transportation committee of Manhattan Community Board 2 voted unanimously on Tuesday to endorse a community-generated plan to upgrade the Hudson Street bike lane to a parking-protected lane.

Right now, Hudson Street has a buffered bike lane. It’s one of the oldest in the city according to Ian Dutton, a former vice chair of the transportation committee, who proposed the upgrade along with community board member Maury Schott and Mike Epstein, who works in the area. But the lane has become inadequate for safe travel. The paint on the street has been totally worn away and the lane is constantly blocked by double-parked vehicles.

Since it is already buffered, however, upgrading to a parking-protected lane is easy. “All we’re doing is flipping it,” said Dutton. “It has no impact on moving lanes — they stay right where they are.” The only trade-off for the safety upgrade is a few parking spaces that would need to be removed for new mixing zones and pedestrian refuge islands.

“All the statistics point to the fact that parking protected zones reduce both pedestrian, bike and vehicle passenger injuries,” said Schott. On Eighth Avenue, total street injuries fell between 18 and 35 percent after the upgrade. On Second Avenue, injuries fell 11 percent while the number of weekday cyclists using the lane more than tripled.

Hudson Street effectively runs in two segments. Above Abingdon Square, Hudson runs southbound, connecting Ninth Avenue to Bleecker Street. Below the square, Hudson runs north until it becomes Eighth Avenue. If installed alongside existing DOT plans for bike lanes in Midtown, therefore, the upgrade would create continuous protected lanes on Eighth Avenue from 59th Street to Canal Street and on Ninth Avenue from 59th to Bleecker.

Nearly every member of the public who spoke at the meeting voiced support for the proposal; a straw poll of attendees showed seven in favor and one opposed. Testimony submitted by e-mail weighed overwhelmingly in favor of the lane.

Safety — for both cyclists and pedestrians — was the top issue. CB 2  member Denise Collins,  said she worried for parents and children cycling to Hudson Street’s P.S. 3. “There are people who don’t even know that we have a bike lane on Hudson, it’s just totally washed away,” she said. “I hold my heart in my hands sometimes when I see these people on bikes.”

Ellen Peterson-Lewis, a public member of CB 2′s environment committee, noted that the neighborhood has a growing senior population, a group she included herself in. “To have that flip and to have that pedestrian island there,” she said, “I do think this is an excellent idea.”

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Drivers Kill Four Pedestrians in Six Days, Two Flee Scene

Security camera footage shows yesterday's deadly hit-and-run in Bensonhurst. Image: NY1.

Security camera footage shows Sunday's deadly hit-and-run in Bensonhurst, in which a New York City firefighter is under suspicion but has yet to face charges. Image: NY1.

Four pedestrians have lost their lives on New York City streets since Thursday. Two of the crashes were hit-and-runs and a third killed a four-year-old child. A cyclist is also in critical condition after a man who wasn’t licensed to operate the tractor trailer he was driving struck her on a Bushwick street Friday morning.

At 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Manuel Tzajguachiac was crossing 65th Street at 20th Avenue in Bensonhurst, according to the Post. As he crossed the street, the driver of a BMW SUV struck and killed him. The impact sent the victim flying through the air but the driver never even stopped, the Post reported. Tzajguachiac moved to the United States six months ago from Guatemala, where his wife and son still live.

The SUV is known to belong to firefighter Pat Quagliariello, whose brother is an NYPD detective. Though Quagliariello told the police that the car was his a few hours after the crash, he isn’t saying whether he was driving the vehicle. Police released Quagliariello because they couldn’t prove he was the driver, according to the Daily News. He has been suspended pending the results of the investigation.

Later that morning, a delivery truck driver hit and killed a pedestrian on Morton Street near West Street, in the West Village. The police said that they have not identified the victim, though the Wall Street Journal reports that he was Dario Digiano, a 21-year-old from Belleville, New Jersey. The driver fled the scene and police are still trying to find him.

At around 2:00 a.m. this morning, a Duane Reade truck driver hit and and killed a pedestrian as he crossed Eighth Avenue at 56th Street.

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