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Posts from the "Janette Sadik-Khan" Category

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Sadik-Khan, Wolfson Invite New Yorkers to Sign Up for Bike-Share

Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan hold a giant Citi Bike key this morning. Photo: Stephen Miller

In 2009, the Department of City Planning released an ambitious blueprint for bike-share in New York, and in 2011, the Department of Transportation began an extensive public process to site actual bike-share stations. Now the planning is giving way to implementation, with North America’s largest year-round bike-share system set to launch in May. Today, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson marked an important milestone: New Yorkers can now sign up for annual bike-share memberships.

Annual membership sign-ups have been open since early this morning, and more than 2,500 people have already subscribed at the rate of about $103 per year (including tax), which entitles users to unlimited rides up to 45 minutes long.

The other big news from DOT today is that the system will be launching with 6,000 bikes at 330 stations, about 10 percent larger than the most recent launch plan. It looks like damage from Hurricane Sandy won’t impede the rollout of the system as much as originally thought.

Approximately 60 stations are already on the ground, and the system will launch in May, though Sadik-Khan didn’t specify a date. For the first week of operation, Citi Bike will be open exclusively to annual members; after that, 24-hour and seven-day passes will be sold at bike-share stations.

Sadik-Khan also announced a few perks for the first 5,000 people to sign up, including blue-colored “founding member” keys, discounts on certain brands of bike helmets, and a free 24-hour membership pass to share with a friend. Additionally, the first 500 members will be invited to the launch ride, when bikes will be distributed to stations across the service area on the system’s first day of operation.

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LaHood Announces Safety Summits to Help Shape New Bikeway Standards

In 2010, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood mounted a table at the National Bike Summit and proclaimed, “I’ve been all over America, and…people want alternatives. They want out of their cars, they want out of congestion, they want to live in… livable communities.” He added, to thunderous applause, “You’ve got a partner in Ray LaHood.”

Shortly thereafter he blogged, “People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”

Last night, LaHood addressed the same conference for his fifth and final time as DOT secretary. He echoed that sentiment: People across the country are hungry for safer streets for bicycling. He reflected on what he and the Obama administration had accomplished over the past four years, including awarding a record $3.8 billion of FHWA funding and $130 million in TIGER funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

But the secretary recognizes there is still more to be done. Bicyclists deaths grew by 9 percent from 2010 to 2011. And while LaHood is well known for his campaigns against unsafe behaviors like distracted driving, last night he called for increased, high-quality infrastructure to protect people who bike and prevent crashes.

LaHood told AASHTO last week that “DOT is looking to create a standard guide for how we will build modern streets that work for everyone who depends on them.” Last night, he told the crowd that DOT would hold two bike safety summits this spring, in which DOT will convene experts and advocates to get input into these new standards.

NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan followed LaHood. As the head of the National Association of City Transportation Officials, Sadik-Khan helped oversee the development of the Urban Bikeway Design Guide, which sets forth a well-conceived precedent for the feds to follow. She thanked LaHood heartily for his service and presented him with an honorary New York City street sign, and an offer to rename a real street after him. Maybe Prospect Park West, she joked, to the delight of the crowd.

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City Receives Federal Funding for Full Nostrand Avenue Select Bus Route

The SBS stop coming to the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Empire Boulevard. Image: NYC DOT

The first Select Bus Service route in Brooklyn is on track to start speeding bus trips next year, after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced yesterday afternoon that the project has secured a $28 million federal grant.

The B44 route on Nostrand, Rogers, and Bedford Avenues, which runs between Sheepshead Bay and Williamsburg, is one of NYC’s most used but least reliable bus lines. Plagued by bus bunching, the B44 took home the Straphangers Campaign’s “Schleppie Award” in 2009 and consistently ranks as Brooklyn’s most unreliable route. After it’s converted to Select Bus Service, the B44 will feature off-board fare collection, dedicated bus lanes along most of the corridor, and 12 bus bulbs to improve speeds and cut down on the amount of time buses spend standing still.

The B44 links Brooklyn residents to Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn College, Kings County Hospital, and SUNY Downstate Hospital, as well as several subway lines. Weekday ridership currently stands at about 44,000 passengers. Not only will they see faster, more reliable service, but the improvements should attract more riders. Following SBS upgrades in Manhattan and the Bronx, more passengers started riding those routes, cutting against a citywide trend of declining bus ridership.

“I think everyone who saw Sandy from near or afar recognized the critical role buses played once the subway system went down, underscoring the value of these types of investments in our transportation infrastructure,” Sadik-Khan said in a press statement. “SBS continues to bring enhanced service to densely populated areas in need of transportation enhancements.”

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NACTO Wrap-Up: Cities Are Doing It For Themselves

Five city transportation chiefs -- Phildelphia's Rina Cutler, Chicago's Gabe Klein, NYC's Janette Sadik-Khan, San Francisco's Ed Reiskin, and Boston's Tom Tinlin -- shared their perspectives today on how cities have innovated by necessity.

The leaders of the nation’s big city transportation agencies have formed a tight-knit circle, brought together by the National Association of City Transportation Officials to share best practices, and yes, battle scars.

As NACTO’s first ever national conference drew to a close today, transportation chiefs from Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago and New York all talked about the progress their cities have made and shared their frustration at the lack of attention to cities and transportation in the state and national political arenas.

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg set the tone by blasting the state government in his introductory remarks. “Our economy is dependent on transportation,” he said. “But our state refused to give us money for a new subway line, so we said ‘screw you’ and took city taxpayer money to extend a subway line.”

NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan put it even more starkly. She said that instead of the old New Yorker cartoon, a New Yorker’s view of the world, in which the map falls off dramatically after the Hudson River, “Washington’s view of the world is made up of Iowa, Ohio and lots of highways. And some dollar signs on the map where New York and Los Angeles are.”

Despite the lack of attention from Congress and the presidential contenders, Sadik-Khan explained that transportation innovations at the city level can cumulatively affect the nation’s economy, echoing yesterday’s plenary speaker Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution. “You’ve got two-thirds of Americans living in top 100 metropolitans areas, where three-quarters of US GDP is generated,” Sadik-Khan said. “Yet there is no mention of cities in presidential debates.” Added San Francisco Municipal Transportation Commissioner Ed Reiskin, “There was no mention at all of transportation in any of the debates.”

Given the progress that cities across the country are making on transportation reform, the question arises: How much more can cities do without the active support of Washington and state governments?

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NACTO Previews a Progressive Design Guide for City Streets

One of the interesting developments to come out of the National Association of City Transportation Officials “Designing Cities” conference (currently in its second day) was the announcement of a wide-ranging new design guide to be released next year. NACTO’s “Urban Streets Design Guide” will show how streets of every size can be re-oriented to prioritize transit, safe walking and biking, and public activity.

In much the same way that NACTO’s “Urban Bikeway Design Guide” helped cities implement projects like protected bike lanes, which aren’t included in more conservative engineering manuals, the Urban Streets Design Guide will help accelerate the adoption of a range of multi-modal improvements, from bus lanes to curbside public spaces. As NYC DOT chief and NACTO President Janette Sadik-Khan writes in the foreword:

These innovations are at the center of improvements for urban roadways in the U.S., but they are still often treated as marginal or exceptional by other national design guides. This guide will fill that gap and give cities the tools they need as they strive to make the most of their streets.

The full Urban Streets Design Guide is slated to come out in March. For now there’s a short overview and some excerpts online, which give a sense of what will be in the finished version.

When it comes to re-engineering streets, the importance of this type of design guidance is hard to overstate. At a panel yesterday afternoon, Seleta Reynolds of the San Francisco MTA’s Livable Streets program shared a terrific example of how the NACTO bikeway guide helped accelerate change at her agency.

When SF was planning bike lanes for JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park, she said, the release of NACTO’s guide prompted her agency to reconsider the standard approach — placing the bike lanes between parked cars and traffic. “We decided the regular bike lane wouldn’t be good enough,” she said. “We opted for one-way cycle tracks.”

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Tonight’s Ride and Forum Are About Livable Streets for All

Mayor John Lindsay (center) and Parks Commissioner August Hecksher (in white shirt) lead ride up Sixth Ave. to Central Park, April 1, 1968.

New York City bicyclists will celebrate bike activism’s past, present and future this evening in a ride from Greenwich Village to Central Park South and back to the Village, culminating in a community forum at Cooper Union. These linked happenings come the day after the New York Times managed to twist its big story on the July 2011-June 2012 spike in NYC traffic fatalities into a jab at DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan’s livable streets makeover.

Sadly, the connections between the fatalities story and tonight’s events aren’t just in the timing.

The most obvious connection, and the most painful, is that the Houston Street and Sixth Avenue meetup for tonight’s ride, which was chosen months ago, is where long-time Village resident Jessica Dworkin was run over in late August when the driver of an 18-wheeler steered his rig into her.

There’s a more enduring connection as well, and it’s two-fold: first, there’s the media’s chronic inability to scrutinize traffic-crash data critically to determine, as we at Transportation Alternatives asked a quarter-of-a-century ago, Who’s Really Getting Hurt?; paired with that is the NYPD’s utter unconcern about traffic safety and justice — from its autopilot “No Criminality” statements that appear even before the blood has been washed off the pavement, to its blanket refusals to release crash analyses by its Accident Investigation Squad.

Streetsblog has run dozens of posts on NYPD stonewalling, so let’s focus here on how the Times mis-reported the jump in fatalities.

The raw figures are simple enough: from the 2011 fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, to the 2012 fiscal year ending June 30, 2012:

  • Motor vehicle occupant fatalities rose by 37, from 78 to 115, a jump of 47 percent.
  • Non-occupant (pedestrian and cyclist) fatalities rose by 18, from 158 to 176, an increase of 11 percent.
  • Total traffic fatalities rose by 55, from 236 to 291, an increase of 23 percent.

The takeaways are fairly obvious too:

  • Driving, walking and cycling in New York City were less safe in FY 2012 than in FY 2011.
  • The increase in danger was concentrated in driving, with an increase in fatalities twice as large as that for walking and cycling — and four times as great in percentage terms.

How, then, did the Times story manage to center its lead on DOT’s “roadway interventions,” virtually all of which have been on streets, not highways?

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In Wake of Traffic Fatality Spike, Officials Tout Safer Delancey Street

This morning, elected officials and community leaders unveiled a slate of pedestrian safety improvements to Delancey Street, long ranked as one of the city’s most dangerous places to walk.

Nine people were killed and 742 injured between 2006 and 2010 on Delancey, from the Williamsburg Bridge to the Bowery. In the last six years, there have been 118 pedestrian injuries and six pedestrian fatalities on the corridor, according to DOT.

Local officials cut the ribbon on Delancey Street's pedestrian improvements. Photo: Stephen Miller

The Delancey Street Working Group, convened by State Sen. Daniel Squadron in September 2011, gained new urgency after Dashane Santana, 12, was killed while crossing the busy street in January.

Teresa Pedroza, Dashane’s grandmother, was at today’s press conference, which was convened by DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Sadik-Khan was joined by State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Community Board 3 Chair Gigi Lee and Lower East Side BID executive director Bob Zuckerman.

Delancey Street now has more than 21,000 square feet of new pedestrian space, shorter crossing distances, longer crossing times, new turn restrictions and more consistent lane markings for drivers going to and from the Williamsburg Bridge. Drivers can now access the Williamsburg Bridge via Clinton Street, which also includes a two-way protected bike lane. The improvements were funded through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program.

Carmen Luna, 60, lives on Clinton Street near its intersection with Delancey, and has lived in the area for most of her life. Her sister was hit by a truck driver while crossing Delancey about two decades ago, she said, and suffered brain damage as a result. Luna welcomed the safety improvements. “This is very important,” she said. “We don’t have enough crossing time.”

Luna also admired the new pedestrian space and seating, which will be maintained by the Lower East Side Business Improvement District.

Traffic enforcement continues to be the missing component for pedestrian safety on Delancey Street. “They don’t do anything,” Luna said of officers directing traffic.

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LaHood, Sadik-Khan Show Off LOOK! Safety Education Campaign

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan at the corner of 42nd Street and Second Avenue this morning for the official launch of the city’s new LOOK! campaign, aimed at distracted drivers and pedestrians.

Sadik-Khan and LaHood point to the marking's "eyes," which indicate the direction of traffic. Photo: Stephen Miller

Although NYC traffic fatalities are down 40 percent over the past decade, last year, 57 percent of fatalities were pedestrians. Half of all pedestrians killed in city crosswalks last year had the “walk” signal when they were killed.

“Having the right of way does not guarantee your safety,” LaHood said, while standing beside an intersection that saw 75 pedestrian injuries between 2006 and 2010.

“We need motorists to pay attention as they’re taking the turn,” Sadik-Khan urged.

The LOOK! campaign uses funds from the Federal Highway Administration to install $60,000 worth of thermoplast markings at 200 intersections with high pedestrian fatality rates in all five boroughs. DOT began installing the crosswalk markings in July and has so far reached 110 intersections.

The campaign also includes $1 million for a six-month ad campaign, targeting pedestrians with messages on bus shelters and drivers with ads on the backs of buses.

Sadik-Khan said DOT will be evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign on pedestrian and driver behavior, noting that distracted driving trails only speeding and drunk driving as a contributor to injuries and fatalities. Distracted driving was a contributing factor in 3,092 deaths nationwide in 2010. In New York City, more than 9,000 were injured and 41 died in distracted driving crashes.

Sadik-Khan said she was inspired by ubiquitous crosswalk markings in London that instruct pedestrians to look left or right. Many visitors to London are not used to the UK’s drive-on-the-left rules and habitually look the wrong way before crossing the road. The “eyes” in New York’s LOOK! markings more subtly direct pedestrians to look toward the flow of traffic.

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NYC Will Expand 20 MPH Zones to 13 Neighborhoods, With More to Come

Following the launch of the city’s first 20 mph zone in the Claremont section of the Bronx last year, NYC DOT has selected 13 more areas to receive the “slow zone” treatment (see the full list), Mayor Michael Bloomberg and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced this afternoon. DOT was inundated with applications for slow zones after the agency announced the program in November, and Sadik-Khan said more neighborhoods would be able to opt in next year.

Behind Mayor Bloomberg are Council Member Julissa Ferraras, NYPD Transportation Chief James Tuller, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Council Member James Vacca, and Assembly Member Francisco Moya. Photo: Ben Fried

In each slow zone, the speed limit is reduced to 20 mph and low-cost safety improvements like speed humps help regulate motorist behavior. “Slow zones send a strong message to drivers that these streets are not shortcuts,” said Sadik-Khan, noting that about 60 traffic deaths in the city each year are attributable to motorist speed. The safety benefits of capping vehicle speeds at 20 mph are tremendous, she said, with pedestrian survival rates at 95 percent in the event of a crash at that speed. Pedestrian survival rates at 30 mph are 60 percent, according to America Walks [PDF].

In London, where 20 mph zones are accompanied by more intensive physical traffic calming measures, researchers credit the program with preventing 27 deaths and serious injuries each year. Preliminary results in Claremont show that speeding is down at six out of seven locations with new speed humps, and maximum speeds are down about 10 percent, according to the mayor’s office.

The new batch of slow zones range in size from .08 square miles to .30 square miles. Today’s press event was held at the corner of 99th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, where Queens Community Board 3 approved a slow zone of .26 square miles, or about 35 city blocks. Inside the zone, DOT will add 14 speed humps, and at 13 intersections the agency will add gateway treatments announcing the lower speed limit with bright blue signs.

With more than 100 slow zone applications pouring in to DOT, there’s still plenty of unmet demand for traffic-calming out there. As City Council Transportation Committee Chair James Vacca put it, ”There’s not a place I go in this city where people don’t want speed bumps.”

More slow zones will follow this first round of winners. DOT plans to re-open the application process again next year. It will be interesting to see if the selection criteria, which ruled out areas that include wide, highly-trafficked streets, change between this round and the next.

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Bloomberg and Sadik-Khan Announce New 20 MPH Slow Zones

Mayor Bloomberg and NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced an expansion of the city’s Slow Zone program, which lowers speed limits in selected areas from 30 to 20 mph and implements low-cost traffic-calming measures like speed humps.

Photo: NYC Mayor's Office

Bloomberg and Sadik-Khan were joined in Corona by NYPD Chief of Transportation Bureau James Tuller, City Council transportation chair James Vacca and other electeds for this afternoon’s announcement.

Locations of the 13 planned zones are as follows:

  • The Bronx: Mt. Eden, Baychester, Eastchester, Riverdale
  • Brooklyn: Boerum Hill
  • Manhattan: Inwood
  • Queens: Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights/East Elmhurst, Auburndale
  • Staten Island: New Brighton/St. George, Dongan Hills, Rosebank

The city’s first slow zone was installed last November in the Claremont section of the Bronx. The city received more than 100 applications for slow zones from neighborhood groups.

We’ll have more on this story later today.