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Auto-Free New York/vision42 Working Group Meeting

Join the next Auto-Free New York/vision42 working group to discuss opportunities to advance vision42:

“Light Rail — Superstar of Urban Planning” highlights of a forum held last month featuring a presentation made by one of the four winning teams from the recent vision42 urban design competition, KB Architecture from France, a firm with many years of experience designing and actually building light rail in France, Germany and Jerusalem.  Roxanne Warren and George Haikalis will summarize the results of the forum and show some of the extraordinary slides prepared by this winning team.

 

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Changes at Streetsblog in 2015

When Streetsblog launched in 2006, the site made an impact almost immediately. The daily scrutiny of NYC transportation agencies and elected officials created new opportunities for policy reform, leading to real change in the design and operation of our streets. It wasn’t long before advocates from out of town contacted Streetsblog about bringing this model of advocacy journalism to their cities, and where we could assemble the resources to pull it off, we did. In the course of a few years, Streetsblog became a truly national voice for overhauling our car-based transportation system.

With growth come risks. Our team knows how to make an impact with our reporting and commentary, but like many other media outlets, we’re still figuring out how to make the business of our journalism work. This process isn’t a straight line — there’s bound to be some trial and error.

In 2015, we’re making key changes based on what we’ve learned so far. While this will entail some difficult transitions, the new approaches Streetsblog is adopting position us to continue making an impact in more places over the long run.

Yesterday, we announced that Streetsblog Chicago is suspending publication after two excellent years of coverage from John Greenfield and Steven Vance. We hope this will be a temporary situation as John rustles up the financial support to revive the site under the umbrella of a new 501(c)3 separate from OpenPlans, the non-profit that publishes Streetsblog. (In Los Angeles, Streetsblog’s Damien Newton weathered the same transition a few years ago by starting up the Southern California Streets Initiative, which today runs a thriving local transportation news site at Streetsblog LA.)

Given current budget constraints, we’ve also had to cut two other valued members of our editorial staff, Tanya Snyder and Payton Chung.

We hired Tanya in 2010 as editor of our national site, called Streetsblog Capitol Hill at the time. Her leadership and energy built it into a compelling news source, with a broad and influential audience.

Read more…

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Keep Streetsblog Going Strong – Donate and Enter to Win a New PUBLIC Bike

If you look at the state of American streets, the scale of our transportation dysfunction is epic. Nothing conveys the failure of the car-based system better than this: More than 30,000 people lose their lives in traffic annually — which means the U.S. could prevent about 20,000 premature deaths each year if we catch up to the nations that are leading the way on street safety.

Can we do it? Well, when you look at the changes happening on city streets, you know this is a time of tremendous ferment and progress. Deadly, car-centric streets are being replaced by human-centric designs that barely existed in America a few years ago. More cities are waking up to the fact that they can’t address issues of transportation, housing demand, and access to jobs by building more parking and highways — they need better transit, biking, and walking.

Streetsblog and Streetfilms are playing a critical role in this transition. Our reporting, commentary, and videos connect people to the information they need to be effective advocates for safe, livable streets. We create pressure on public officials to shake up the way streets work instead of letting the status quo continue. We expose the failures of bad transportation policy. We help good ideas spread fast.

And we need the support of our readers to make it all work. Streetsblog is powerful because elected officials know that our readers care deeply about the issues we cover. And the whole site functions, on the most basic level, because readers fund what we do.

Our year-end pledge drive starts today, so if you value the impact of Streetsblog and Streetfilms, I hope you’ll contribute. The shift to a safer, more sustainable transportation system is just getting started, and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.

For good measure, our friends at PUBLIC Bikes have donated a brand new R16 bicycle that we’ll be giving away to one lucky reader who contributes before the end of the year. Thank you PUBLIC! Here’s a look at their handiwork:

publicR16

 

Thanks as always for supporting Streetsblog and Streetfilms.

– Ben

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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.

Read more…

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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.