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NYC Motorists Have Killed Five Pedestrians and One Cyclist in 10 Days

At least five pedestrians and one cyclist have been killed by motorists since November 15. Of the six drivers involved, four left the scene. Of the four who were either caught by NYPD or remained at the scene, only one has been charged for causing a death.

One three-hour span on Monday was especially violent. At 6:50 p.m., the driver of a BMW sedan struck 57-year-old Robert Perry on the Bowery near Rivington Street on the Lower East Side. ”The car kept going until it crashed into a fire hydrant a block away at Stanton Street,” reported DNAinfo.

The driver who killed Mohammad Uddin, 14, in Kensington was only charged with leaving the scene. Photo via DNAinfo

The driver who killed Mohammad Uddin, 14, in Kensington was only charged with leaving the scene. Photo via DNAinfo

Perry, who often stayed at the Bowery Mission, was pronounced dead at Lower Manhattan Hospital, according to DNAinfo. Police charged Danny Lin, 24, with homicide and leaving the scene.

Council Member Margaret Chin, who represents the district where Perry was killed, issued a statement Tuesday:

I was encouraged to learn this morning from an NYPD official that the driver who hit and killed Mr. Perry — and who apparently unsuccessfully tried to drive away — was arrested at the scene for criminally negligent homicide by NYPD officers. However, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office will of course still need to file charges against the driver for there to be a real step toward justice in this case. I will be contacting the DA’s office very soon to strongly advocate for the driver to be charged and held fully accountable for this incident.

As of Wednesday morning, Lin’s name did not appear in an online database of court records, though active cases are not always accessible to the public.

“Everyone [at the Mission] knows him,” witness Indio Bryan told DNAinfo. “This has been his home. He eats here, sleeps here. He was a good guy, harmless. He liked jazz a lot.”

Perry was at least the fifth fourth pedestrian to be killed by a motorist this year in the 5th Precinct, where ticketing cyclists is a top priority.

“Mr. Perry’s name must be remembered alongside Sui Leung, Sau Ying Lee and other traffic victims in Lower Manhattan and across the city who simply did not deserve to have their lives ended in this tragic manner,” said Chin. “My thoughts are also with the friends and family of Shan Zheng, the cyclist who was hit and killed by a car last night just outside my district in Lower Manhattan.”

Approximately three hours after Perry was killed, a livery cab driver hit Zheng, 61, as he rode on Pitt Street at E. Houston. Zheng, who lived in Ossining, was pronounced dead at Bellevue, according to the Journal News. NYPD filed no charges against the 50-year-old cab driver, whose name was not released. The crash occurred in the 7th Precinct, in the City Council district represented by Rosie Mendez.

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Livable Streets Progress in Albany Will Have to Go Through a GOP Senate

Andrew Cuomo may have won re-election, but New York was no exception to the national Republican wave in yesterday’s elections. The GOP regained control of the State Senate, weakening its bond with the Independent Democratic Conference and keeping mainline Democrats in the minority. With last night’s results, the landscape for transit and livable streets legislation in Albany has shifted.

Dean Skelos, right, is back as the sole leader of the State Senate. What will it mean for the MTA? Photo: MTA/Flickr

Dean Skelos, right, could come back as the sole leader of the State Senate. What will it mean for transit in NYC? Photo: MTA/Flickr

Republicans now have 32 of 63 seats in the State Senate. They gained control by ousting three upstate Democrats and losing only one seat, in a tight three-way Buffalo-area race. The balance of power no longer rests with the breakaway IDC, which formed a power-sharing agreement with Republicans. Leadership of the Senate could be consolidated next session in Dean Skelos of Long Island, who currently splits control with IDC leader Jeff Klein.

With Republicans in the majority, NYC’s two GOP senators — Martin Golden of Brooklyn and Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, who both won re-election last night – will be key for any street safety legislation affecting the city. Golden initially resisted speed camera legislation earlier this year, though he ultimately voted for the bill. Lanza is best known to Streetsblog readers for refusing to allow flashing lights on Select Bus Service vehicles.

The rest of the statewide political landscape did not change much. The Assembly will remain in the hands of Democrats, led by Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver and Skelos will return to Albany next year with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and Governor Cuomo, who all secured expected victories over Republican challengers.

The most pressing transportation issue facing Cuomo, Silver, and Skelos — the proverbial “three men in a room” — will be closing the $15.2 billion gap in the MTA capital program.

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The Streets Ball Is Tonight! Get Tickets Online Til 2 PM

The Streets Ball is finally here — our big annual benefit starts tonight at 7 at the Invisible Dog off the Bergen Street F/G stop. If, like me, you’re the type of person who always buys tickets at the last possible moment, here’s the deal:

You can get tickets online until 2 p.m. today. We’ll also be selling tickets at the door and can accept cash, checks, or credit cards.

It’s going to be a wonderful evening with fantastic people. See you there, Streetsblog readers.

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Only One Week Left Until The Streets Ball — Get Your Tickets Now

A quick reminder: The annual fundraiser for Streetsblog and Streetfilms is just seven days away and space is limited. Lock up your spot and get a ticket today — prices start at $50 or just $25 for students.

If you’ve come to the Streets Ball before, you know it’s a special night where hundreds of New Yorkers who care about safe streets, better transit, and a more livable city come together under one roof. And if you’ve never been to one, we’d love to see you next Thursday for the best Streets Ball yet, as we honor former NYC DOT policy director Jon Orcutt and Families For Safe Streets.

The Streets Ball is our biggest fundraising event of the year and powers us through the next 12 months. Come out to the Invisible Dog off the Bergen Street F/G stop next Thursday and join us for food, drink, music, and the great company of people working toward livable streets for NYC.

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Two Weeks Until The Streets Ball — Get Your Tickets Today

If you haven’t bought your tickets to the annual benefit for Streetsblog and Streetfilms on October 23, there’s no time like the present. Come join us at The Streets Ball and support media that makes a difference. Tickets start at just $50 ($25 for students).

We’ll be honoring the work of former DOT policy director Jon Orcutt and Families for Safe Streets — heroes of the movement to reshape city streets to prioritize people, not cars. All proceeds go directly to the production of Streetsblog reporting and Streetfilms videos — high-impact media that captures the imagination, commands the attention of public officials, galvanizes grassroots activism for livable streets, and catalyzes real policy change.

Our events team has put together a wonderful evening at the Invisible Dog, an arts space on Bergen Street right off the F/G train. We’ll have food from Kickshaw Cookery, beer and wine, live music, and a silent auction with a little bit of everything.

What really makes The Streets Ball special is the crowd and the community that comes together to take stock of the year behind us and get ready for the year ahead. Join us on the 23rd and help keep Streetsblog and Streetfilms going strong.

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Flushing to Jamaica SBS Community Workshop

Join the NYC Department of Transportation and the MTA for an interactive workshop to discuss surface transit needs and challenges in and between Flushing and Jamaica. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about Select Bus Service and share ideas to improve transit between the two downtowns.

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Queens Community Board 5 Transportation Committee Meeting

The agenda includes discussion and recommendations regarding Move NY proposals, “Faster. Safer. Fairer.”; discussion of current local freight rail issues; capital project updates on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bride Project, the 69th Street and Calamus Avenue Sewer Projects, and upcoming plaza projects; and review of traffic safety issues and requests.

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Join Us for The Streets Ball 2014 on October 23

StreetsBall2014

Save the date — our annual benefit, The Streets Ball, is happening October 23 and tickets are on sale now, starting at just $50 ($25 for students). The Streets Ball is a great time to connect with other New Yorkers who care about livable streets, mark this year’s advocacy successes, and support the work we do here at Streetsblog and Streetfilms so we can keep on making powerful media in 2015.

We’ll be honoring former NYC DOT policy director Jon Orcutt and Families For Safe Streets. Orcutt’s career spans advocacy and government, and he played a leading role in setting the agenda for street reforms under both Janette Sadik-Khan and Polly Trottenberg at NYC DOT. Families For Safe Streets is a powerful new force at City Hall and Albany, whose message helped pass multiple pieces of legislation this year, including the new 25 mph speed limit.

Come join us in recognizing their contributions to New York City streets on October 23. We’ll have great food from Kickshaw Cookery, live music, beer and wine, all in a fantastic space — the Invisible Dog, right off the Bergen Street stop on the F and G trains. Our event team has put together a wonderful evening and on behalf of the Streetsblog and Streetfilms crew, we’d love to see you there!

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The Link Between Northeast Ohio’s Flooding and Its Sprawl

As Cuyahoga County has sprawled since 1948, with roughly the same population now covering nearly four times the land area, it’s become more susceptible to flooding. Map: Cuyahoga County Planning Commission via Tim Kovach

After a string of major flooding events, residents of Northeast Ohio are looking for someone to blame, reports Tim Kovach. Are local governments at fault for the property damage from these floods? Or should residents, as a great poet once said, blame it on the rain?

Neither question really gets to the heart of the matter, says Kovach. If Northeast Ohio hadn’t spent the last 60 years spreading out ever farther, covering huge areas with impermeable pavement and developing every last inch of land, then the region would be much more resilient in the face of torrential storms, he writes:

…a recent study out of the University of Utah suggests that from 2000-2010, the Cleveland metro area became even more sprawling (PDF). Using Smart Growth America’s sprawl index, the authors examined the rate of change for the 162 largest metro areas (paywalled) during this period. While Akron actually became 2.7% more compact, Cleveland sprawled by another 13.3%, the 10th worst change of any metro area…

So why does this all matter for flooding? Well, simply put, areas that follow sprawl-based development models are more likely to suffer from flooding problems. Sprawl increases the percentage of land area that is covered with impervious surfaces, such as parking lots, roads, and driveways. As the extent of impervious surfaces rises, so too does the amount of precipitation that winds up as surface runoff during storms. Forested areas are excellent at controlling stormwater (PDF); trees enable 50% of precipitation to infiltrate the soil and allow another 40% to return to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. Urbanized areas, in contrast, drastically reduce the amount of water that can infiltrate into the soil, guaranteeing that 35-55% of precipitation ends up as runoff.

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Brooklyn Community Board 3 Transportation Committee Meeting

Brooklyn CB3’s Transportation, Sanitation & Environment Committee kicks off its 2014-2015 session.  The agenda is TBD.