Skip to content

12 Comments

DUMBO Street Upgrades: Big Curb Expansions + Contraflow Bike Lane

DOT's proposal for DUMBO (left) includes expanded pedestrian space and a contraflow bike lane. Today, pedestrians have a long crossing on Jay Street (right). Images: DOT [PDF]

DOT’s proposal for DUMBO (left) includes expanded pedestrian space and a contraflow bike lane. Today, pedestrians have a long crossing on Jay Street (right). Click for larger view. Images: DOT [PDF]

DUMBO, where NYC DOT launched its public plaza program more than seven years ago, is set to get more pedestrian space as the city expands sidewalks and reworks oddly-shaped intersections beneath the Manhattan Bridge. The project also includes a contraflow bike lane to improve connections from DUMBO to the Manhattan Bridge, Jay Street, and Downtown Brooklyn [PDF].

The biggest change is coming to the intersection of Jay and Prospect Streets, one block from the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge bike path. Currently, pedestrians have to cross 80 feet of asphalt on the north side of the intersection, though half that distance is marked as off-limits to vehicles by white paint. DOT will replace this painted area with concrete, adding a chunk of pedestrian space and cutting the crossing to 27 feet. Curb extensions will also be added to the intersection’s northwest and southeast corners.

The project also includes a new bike connection. Currently, cyclists heading south from DUMBO to the Manhattan Bridge, Downtown Brooklyn, or the Sands Street bike path must take a long detour (or break the law) because Jay Street is one-way northbound between Prospect and York Street. The new design adds a contraflow bike lane on the west side of the block to eliminate that detour, while converting the existing northbound bike lane to sharrows.

This would be Brooklyn’s second contraflow bike lane; the other was installed in 2013 on Union Street in Gowanus.

Read more…

Streetsblog.net No Comments

This Is the Kind of Leadership We Need From State DOTs

“A breath of fresh air” — that’s how Chuck Marohn at Strong Towns describes this interview with Tennessee DOT Commissioner John Schroer. In this video, produced by Smart Growth America, Schroer describes what he is doing to make Tennessee’s the ”the best DOT in the country.” Here are some of the highlights:

We did a top-to-bottom review and we looked at everything that we did and we analyzed it from a production standpoint to a financial standpoint. Changed a lot of the leadership within the department, brought in a lot of people from the private sector.

I found when I  moved into this position, a lot of cities did a poor job of long-range planning — in how they did zoning, in how they approved projects — and took very little consideration into the transportation mode. Oftentimes those cities would then call us and say, “We’ve got a problem, you need to help us fix it.” Well, that problem was self-created. It was self-created because they made bad zoning decisions, they put a school in the wrong place without thinking about transportation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to build a bypass to a bypass, and that purely is bad planning. We’ve got a whole division now that is working with communities right now and trying to help them not make those bad decisions, and when that happens the state saves money.

Read more…

13 Comments

Today’s Headlines

  • Silver to Resign as Speaker; Rochester’s Joe Morelle Will Be Interim Successor (NYT, Post, Capital)
  • Potential Assembly Speakers: Morelle, Wright, Heastie, Lentol, and Nolan (NYTC&SCapital)
  • Unlicensed Motorist Faces Careless Driving Charges After Killing Bath Beach Pedestrian (News, WNBC)
  • Hit-and-Run Driver Critically Injures Inwood Pedestrian; Charges Pending (Post)
  • NYPD Officer Charged With Drunk Driving in East Flatbush During Snowstorm (DNA)
  • Cuomo’s $1.3 Billion Bailout of Thruway Authority Gets Praise From Buffalo News
  • De Blasio Heard About Subway Shutdown (NewsPostCrain’s) Minutes Before Everyone Else (WNYC)
  • Lots of Questions for Cuomo About Subway Shutdown from Post, News, NYT and Straphangers (Capital)
  • Amtrak Gateway Tunnel Could Cost Up to $20 Billion, With Many Unanswered Questions (WSJ)
  • BAM Parking Lot (News), Crown Heights Gas Station Becoming Apartments (Crain’s, TRD via Curbed)
  • Come Slush or Snow, Low-Wage Food Delivery Workers Brave NYC’s Icy Streets on Two Wheels (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

12 Comments

We’re Talkin’ Sneckdown

Queens. Photo: @Streetfilms

85th Street and 34th Avenue, Queens. Photo: @Streetfilms

New York City was spared the brunt of winter storm Juno, and with streets in better shape than expected, there are already enough photos out there for our inaugural #sneckdown round-up of the season.

A portmanteau of “snow” and “neckdown,” a sneckdown occurs when driving patterns delineated in snow reveal excess street space that might be reallocated for traffic-calming. For a primer on documenting sneckdowns where you are, check out the article in the latest ioby community projects newsletter from Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson Jr. We’ll add that, if you’d like to see your photos published on Streetsblog, it’s helpful to include a location in your tweet or Instagram.

We’ll be on the lookout for more post-Juno pics. In the meantime, here they are: from NYC and beyond, the first sneckdowns of winter 2015.

Prospect Park West and 16th Street, Brooklyn. Photo: @dnielsonmoore

Prospect Park West and 16th Street, Brooklyn. Photo: @dnielsonmoore

Read more…

5 Comments

Last Call to Make Sure DMV Properly Refunds Biking Tickets

street_justice2

Last summer, we learned that the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles was charging motorist-only surcharges of $88, and applying motorist-only driver’s license penalty points, to cyclists who pled or were found guilty of traffic violations. Our law firm brought a class action to address DMV’s unlawful penalization of cyclists as if they were drivers.

DMV’s response? Refund a “sample” of the surcharges, limit the same wrongful penalties going forward, and urge the court to dismiss the class action suit as “moot” in light of the agency’s hasty and incomplete effort to make up for its mistakes.

Last week, DMV filed its motion to dismiss the class action.

If you want to help make sure that every cyclist wrongfully penalized by DMV gets refunded the unlawful $88 surcharge and has the unlawful points lifted from his or her driver’s license, read on.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA No Comments

Help Streetsblog Find the Sorriest Bus Stop in America

Atlanta's Buford Highway, via ATL Urbanist.

Atlanta’s Buford Highway, via ATL Urbanist

It’s contest time again, and competition is going to be stiff for this one. After handing out a Streetsie award for the best street transformation in America at the end of 2014, we’re going to do some good old public shaming this time: Help us find the most neglected, dangerous, and all around sorriest bus stop in the United States.

Most bus stops don’t amount to much more than a stick in the ground. No shelter, no schedule, and nowhere to sit. Better bus stops would mean people could walk to transit without taking their life in their hands, and that transit riders could wait for the bus with dignity. This contest will provide definitive evidence that transit agencies and DOTs have to do a lot better.

The above example comes from Atlanta’s notorious Buford Highway, where pedestrian infrastructure of all types has been completely neglected in favor of wide open asphalt.

It will be hard to top the example below, however. That’s an actual bus stop in Cleveland. The only indication is a very small RTA logo under the highway sign for 71 South (you might have to zoom in to actually spot it). What exactly people are supposed to do when they get off the bus here is unclear, but it’s a sorry statement about how seriously Ohio DOT takes bus riders’ needs.

This is an actual bus stop in Cleveland. We swear. Image: Google Maps via Tim Kovach

An actual bus stop in Cleveland. We swear. Image: Google Maps via Tim Kovach

If there’s an awful bus stop where you live, send us your pictures of it along with a written description of the context, and we’ll put the worst up to a popular vote. You can leave an entry in the comments or email it to angie [at] streetsblog [dot] org.

No Comments

NYC High School Students Aim to Make Their Mark at Youth Bike Summit

Each year, students and educators from across the country gather at the Youth Bike Summit to strategize about how young people can make an impact in bike advocacy. This year’s summit will be happening in Seattle in mid-February – the first outside New York City. Students from two NYC high schools are raising funds to make the trip.

Bicycle clubs at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice in Williamsburg and International High School at Union Square are working to send a delegation of students to Seattle. At the summit, El Puente’s students will present findings from a survey of their classmates about the potential for bicycling to relieve stress. Students from International High School, who are all recently-arrived immigrants learning English, hope to present a film about what bicycling has meant to them both in New York and in their countries of origin.

Both bike clubs have been working with Recycle-A-Bicycle to teach students bike maintenance as part of earn-a-bike programs, and have brought in Bike New York to teach safe riding skills. The after-school groups work mostly indoors in the winter, but when the weather warms up and daylight lasts longer, they go out for rides.

One of the milestones for El Puente students is pedaling over the Williamsburg Bridge on a trip to Manhattan. “I never knew how to ride a bike until bike club,” said Marielis Palen, 17, a senior at El Puente. ”It took me three rides to finally get comfortable going over the bridge. It was funny because I really didn’t want to do it, because I was so scared.”

Once they get going, though, the students seem to never stop biking. Last October, a group of El Puente students rode in the Tour de Bronx. They hope to ride in the Five Boro Bike Tour in May.

Read more…

Streetsblog.net No Comments

Are More Families With Kids Choosing to Live in Walkable Areas?

Overall, walkable places lost ground with families over the last decade, according to this analysis by Family Friendly Cities.

According to an analysis by Family Friendly Cities, in walkable American neighborhoods the number of children is shrinking.

Bradley Calvert at Family Friendly Cities has done some impressive number-crunching to identify trends in where families with children are living. Using Walk Score and Census data, he analyzed the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. to determine whether the population of children is growing or shrinking in walkable and unwalkable areas. (Some regions had to be excluded because they didn’t have any places with a Walk Score over 70.)

Calvert found that the total number of kids under 18 living in walkable areas is shrinking, but the trend is not as pronounced among parents with young children:

Overall the growth of families, measured by number of residents under the age of 18, in walkable communities has been unimpressive. Walkable communities lost 11.99 percent of residents under 18 while non-walkable communities posted a gain of 2.78 percent. The difference signifies that families are not finding their way into our most walkable communities. While most of the nation’s largest cities have shown growth in residents under 18, particularly in more recent years, they are not choosing more walkable communities. Of the cities studied only Charlotte and Seattle posted growth in all residents under 18 in walkable communities.

The outlook for our youngest families, those with children under the age of 5, was slightly more optimistic. While of the 50 largest cities they still posted a loss of 2.98 percent, 13 cities posted growth. Still, non-walkable communities experienced a growth rate of 3.78 percent.  Of the 13 that posted growth it was a smattering of Sun Belt boomtowns, Pacific Northwest growth, and Mid-Atlantic & Midwestern staples. The growth in these 13 cities hints that younger families, particularly young professionals that are now having children might be more inclined to stay in more urban walkable areas. Being that their children are still below school age, there is still the concern that they could leave much like a report earlier this month from Washington, D.C. suggested.

Read more…

11 Comments

Today’s Headlines

  • Assembly Dems Call on Silver to Step Down (NYTPostCapNY)
  • Subways Ran During Cuomo’s Snow Shutdown, Just No Passengers (Bklyn Paper, 2nd Avenue Sagas)
  • Storm Dumped Less Snow Than Expected on NYC; Roads and Transit Come Back Online (WNBC)
  • Sheepshead Bay Safety Cam Catches Speeders and Council Member Deutsch Is Outraged (Bklyn Daily)
  • Daily News Wants to Throw the Book at Law-Skirting Uber
  • With Ped-Filled Plazas, the Times Frets That Times Square Might Be Too Crowded and Popular
  • Wonder What It Takes for Uber to Can a Driver? It’s Not Exactly Clear (Daily Beast)
  • City Planning Unveils East New York Rezoning Details; Growth Will Focus on Atlantic Avenue (YIMBY)
  • Apparently Bicycles Were Affected by Last Night’s Travel Ban, Too (Animal NY)
  • WSJ Serves Up a Slideshow of Old Snow Removal Photos on NYC Streets

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

1 Comment

Has Your NYPD Precinct Ramped Up Enforcement Under Vision Zero?

Which police precincts are devoting greater attention to traffic enforcement under Vision Zero? Streetsblog crunched the numbers from NYPD to find out how different precincts stacked up in 2014 compared to previous years. The stats show that police are, in general, devoting more resources to enforcing the most dangerous traffic violations on surface streets. But the baseline level of enforcement was so low that many precincts are still issuing fewer than one speeding or failure-to-yield ticket per day.

Since August 2011, NYPD has released monthly totals of moving violations, broken down by unit, precinct, and type of summons issued. Two types of violations are of particular relevance to street safety: Speeding is the leading cause of traffic deaths in New York City, and failure to yield is the leading contributor to crashes resulting in injury. For those reasons, we’ve singled out these two statistics — and not, say, tinted windows or defective headlights — to measure each precinct’s performance [XLS, CSV]. (One caveat about the numbers: It’s not clear how many of these tickets were issued to cyclists as opposed to motorists, though it is probably a very small number in most precincts.)

Tickets for speeding and failure to yield last year were up 54 percent over the year before, and up 82 percent over 2012′s numbers. Importantly, the focus of NYPD’s speeding enforcement is shifting somewhat from highways to surface streets, but the pace of change was still very slow in 2014.

In 2012, the department’s transportation bureau, which usually works on highways, handed out 73 percent of all speeding tickets, while just 27 percent were issued by precincts. In 2013, that balance shifted slightly to 71-29 and last year, the ratio moved to 64-36 — an accelerated shift, but a stat that still leaves lots of room for improvement.

The first full year of the city’s speed camera program offers some interesting context. Officers handed out 117,767 speeding tickets last year, of which 42,627 were issued by local precincts. The city’s speed cameras – restricted to school hours on surface streets with a school entrance within a quarter-mile — issued 445,000 violations over the same period. DOT has been slowly expanding the number of speed cameras, currently at 19 fixed and 40 mobile locations. State law allows the city to put 91 more cameras on the streets to slow down speeding motorists.

Read more…