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Detroit Bus Driver Contract Offers Bonuses When Ridership Rises

A new labor contract between the Detroit Department of Transportation and ATU Local 26 explicitly ties bus driver bonuses to ridership increases.

If farebox revenue goes up, 30 percent of the increase will belong to drivers, up to a certain point, DDOT announced earlier this week. Individual drivers’ bonuses are capped at $350 per year the first year and can rise to $750 in the fourth year of the contract.

The bus drivers union ratified the agreement on Friday. “With fare box sharing, if DDOT succeeds, our drivers will share financially in that success,” Fred Westbrook, president of ATU Local 26, said in the press release.

Megan Owens of Detroit’s Transportation Riders United said she’s generally supportive of the revenue-sharing provision.

“If they have a little extra reason to help out a new rider to have a good experience or be a little more patient with a frustrating rider … that appears to be a worthwhile investment,” she said.

Steven Higashide of TransitCenter said revenue-sharing is a “really innovative and fascinating provision” that he hasn’t seen elsewhere.

Read more…

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Electeds Call for Safer Flushing Streets After Hit-and-Run Killing

Just after 1 a.m. Sunday, the driver of a black SUV struck and killed Mariano Contreras, 41, on College Point Boulevard in Flushing. The driver fled the scene and has not yet been located.

State Senator Michael Gianaris

State Senator Michael Gianaris at yesterday’s event on College Point Boulevard, with State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assembly Member Ron Kim. Photo: @SenGianaris

Yesterday, local residents and elected officials demanded accountability for reckless driving and called attention to dangerous street conditions in Flushing.

State Senators Michael Gianaris and Toby Ann Stavisky, Assembly Member Ron Kim, and a representative of Council Member Peter Koo joined residents of Bland Houses and members of Make Queens Safer at the event.

“Mariano Contreras could have been any of us — any elderly person or any family with young children who cross this intersection every day,” said Leola Wayne, president of the James A. Bland Resident Association.

Contreras was struck outside the Sky View Shopping Center, where people frequently cross mid-block.

“Over 100,000 pedestrians travel our streets daily and it is the final destination for over 20 bus and train routes,” said Dian Yu, executive director of the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub Business Improvement District. “Downtown Flushing traffic congestion has deteriorated, especially over the last three years.”

A 2015 survey conducted by the Flushing BID ranked traffic issues as the number one concern in the community.

Read more…
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County Gov Bullies Missouri Town Into Abandoning a Safer Main Street

Local residents described Main Street in O’Fallon, Missouri, as “ugly,” “outdated,” and “old” in a series of meetings earlier this year.

Main Street in O'Fallon, Missouri via Missouri BIke Fed

Main Street in O’Fallon, Missouri. Photo via Missouri Bike Fed

Officials responded with a plan to redesign the road to make it safer and more inviting for pedestrians: a road diet. Scores of American cities have used this design treatment to calm traffic and make commercial districts more walkable, preventing injuries and deaths in the process.

Who could have a problem with that? Well, St. Charles County. The county government has decided to intervene, usurping the authority of the local government. Brent Hugh at the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation explains:

This is, frankly, one of the most unbelievable scenarios we have seen in many years of advocacy for better communities for walking and bicycling. The city, which is close to the situation and knows its own needs, had gone through a detailed planning process for improving its main street. The process included public meetings, interviews, and many other forms of public outreach to find out what O’Fallon citizens and businesses really want and need from the project.

After all of that, the County — without doing any similar research or public outreach — stepped in and, attempting to exercise bald political power, issued a threat: If the city goes through with its citizen-supported plan, the County will withhold $2.5 million in funding from the city.

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Eyes on the Street: A Flower-Protected Chrystie Street Bike Lane

Bike commuters on Chrystie Street found a pleasant surprise this morning. The street’s northbound bike lane, a busy connector from the Manhattan Bridge that’s usually a favorite of illegally-parked drivers, had received an upgrade: Someone added orange traffic cones, decorated with the occasional sunflower, to keep cars out of the bike lane.

Earlier this year, DOT agreed to study upgrades to the Chrystie Street bike lanes after Community Board 3 and a united front of local elected officials asked for fixes. CB 3 is still waiting for DOT to come back with a plan.

This morning’s pop-up protected bike lane was the work of the “Transformation Dept.” Photos were first posted under the @NYC_DOTr handle on Twitter. The project, covering two blocks between Grand and Delancey streets, had a budget of $516 to purchase 25 cones and about a dozen flowers. It took four people less than 20 minutes to install, said a Transformation Dept. representative who asked to remain anonymous.

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Today’s Headlines

  • Curb-Jumping Driver Kills Woman, Critically Injures 2-Year-Old in Richmond Hill (NYT, WCBS, WNBC)
  • City Government Drivers Have Killed Zero People in Past 12 Months (News)
  • MTA Releases Draft Concept for $400 Million VNB Bike-Ped Paths (Advance, AMNY, News)
  • Police Release Video of College Point Blvd Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed Mariano Contreras (DNA)
  • De Blasio Tweets About Hylan Boulevard Pedestrian Deaths (Advance)
  • Bergen County Sheriff: “Let’s Face It, Vehicles Are Weapons” (WCBS)
  • More Coverage of Cuomo’s Latest Salvo at de Blasio Over MTA Funding (Politico, News, Observer)
  • City Planning Commission Expected to Sign Off on S.I. Wheel Changes, Which Keep Parking (Advance)
  • Gothamist Talks About the Evils of Shoaling
  • Forgot Your Keys? Citi Bike Members Have a New Perk (Citi Bike Blog)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA


If Cuomo Wants City Funding for the MTA, He’ll Need to Compromise

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s months-long attempt to squeeze money out of City Hall for the MTA appears to be reaching its end game.

Cuomo and his people at the MTA — which, despite what the governor says, is a state entity under his control — have been asking Mayor de Blasio for ever-increasing amounts of money to fill the gap in its capital program. Earlier today, Cuomo went on WNYC to bash the mayor for not handing over the dough.

The governor says the city should pony up because it relies on the MTA more than any other jurisdiction. But the city has good reason not to hand over significant sums to a state-controlled agency, no strings attached. Transit riders will be better off if de Blasio negotiates a good deal with Cuomo instead of capitulating.

First, there’s the lockbox question. Cuomo has a history of siphoning funds out of the MTA to paper over gaps on the state budget. City Hall likes to note, for example, that Cuomo has raided $270 million from the MTA since taking office in 2011. That same year, the state legislature passed a lockbox bill that would sound an alarm whenever the governor attempts to sneak his hand into the MTA’s cookie jar, but Cuomo neutered the bill. The legislature tried again two years later. Cuomo vetoed the bill and denied he’d ever raided the MTA’s budget.

Now de Blasio seems to be seeking a lockbox-type guarantee as part of the deal. “I’m not comfortable with paying — you know, paying out of the New York City budget, New York City taxpayer money, only to see it taken out of the MTA and into the state budget. So, you know, there’s real discussions that have to be held about how to reform that situation,” de Blasio told Brian Lehrer on Friday. “We’ve got to see those issues resolved upfront.”

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Thursday: Come On Over to Streetsblog’s Goodbye Party for Stephen Miller

At the end of the week, Stephen Miller is hanging up his Streetsblog cleats after three-plus years of powerhouse reporting. Before we post his final byline, come join us at Streetsblog HQ Thursday evening for a farewell party celebrating Stephen’s time here and wishing him the best as he heads over to Council Member Jimmy van Bramer’s staff.

The party will kick off at 5:30 p.m. on the roof deck of 148 Lafayette Street (the top floor). We’ll have beer, snacks, and other refreshments, plus some rousing toasts. Please RSVP by Wednesday at 5 so we won’t run out of supplies and can make sure you’re on the list at the front desk.

To RSVP, send an email to the man himself: Once he gets off the phone with this source, he’ll be standing by…


See you Thursday!

Streetsblog USA
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Salt Lake City Cuts Car Parking, Adds Bike Lanes, Sees Retail Boost

The new 300 South, a.k.a. Broadway. Photos: Salt Lake City.

pfb logo 100x22Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.

Protected bike lanes require space on the street, and removing curbside auto parking is one of several ways to find it. But whenever cities propose parking removal, retailers understandably worry.

A growing body of evidence suggests that if bike lanes and parking removal contribute to a street with calmer traffic and a better pedestrian environment, everybody can win.

In an in-house study of its new protected bike lane, Salt Lake City found that when parking removal was done as part of a wide-ranging investment in the streetscape — including street planters, better crosswalks, public art, and colored pavement — converting parking spaces to high-quality bike lanes coincided with a jump in retail sales.

On 300 South, a street that’s also known as Broadway, SLC converted six blocks of diagonal parking to parallel parking and also shifted parallel parking away from the curb on three blocks to create nine blocks of protected bike lanes on its historic downtown business corridor.

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Two More Killed on Hylan Boulevard — Who Will Act to Stop the Carnage?

Update: Mayor de Blasio tweeted that he has instructed NYPD to increase enforcement on Hylan Boulevard and has directed DOT to “pursue safety fixes.” We’ve asked the mayor’s office for details.

Motorists killed two people last night in separate crashes on Hylan Boulevard — the third and fourth fatalities on the street this year.

Steven Turetsky was crossing Hylan at Bay Street at around 7:30 p.m. when a driver hit him with a Honda compact, reports said.

Shannon Lies had two young daughters and was expecting a son when a driver killed her just after she left a shift at one of her two jobs. Photo via Staten Island Advance

Shannon Lies had two young daughters and was expecting a son when a driver killed her just after she left a shift at one of her two jobs. Photo via Staten Island Advance

From the Advance:

The 73-year-old driver was traveling southbound on Bay Street in the left lane, police said. He approached the intersection at Hylan Boulevard at the same time Turetsky was crossing Bay Street, from west to east, outside the crosswalk, according to police.

As the vehicle approached the intersection, Turetsky walked out into the path of the car and was struck by the front bumper, police said.

Witness and co-worker Tony Thomas told the Advance Turetsky “flew in the air” upon impact, an indication that the driver was traveling at a high speed. “I was standing on the other side of the street … and before I could tell him to look out … the car hit him,” Thomas said.

Turetsky, 61, died at Staten Island University Hospital, according to the Daily News.

At approximately 11 p.m., a 54-year-old woman driving a Mercury sedan hit 31-year-old Shannon Lies as she crossed Hylan Boulevard at Arden Avenue. Reports said Lies, who had two small children and was six months pregnant, was struck after leaving work at a nearby restaurant.

The Advance reports:

She was killed outside the diner when a sedan slammed into her as she was crossing Hylan Boulevard to get to a bus stop, according to police. The driver, a 54-year-old woman, struck Lies as she approached the intersection of Arden Avenue, police said.

“She walked out, said goodbye to me and walked across the street to catch a bus … and got hit,” Salvatore said, noting he had worked with the victim for about two years. “She was a very nice person,” he added.

A co-worker told the Daily News Lies had two jobs and “always came in early to try to make extra money for her kids.”

Police filed no charges and issued no summonses in either crash. The NYPD public information office had no details on driver speeds and withheld their names. Police said the driver who killed Turetsky was not intoxicated.

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Eyes on the Street: Children Play Mere Feet From Citi Bikes — The Horror!

Photo: Joe Enoch

The E. 82nd Street bike-share station, menace to playing children. Photo: Joe Enoch

Let’s take a moment to remember the fury of the Upper East Side parents who discovered last month that a bike-share station had begrimed the same block schoolchildren use for midday recess on E. 82nd Street near Second Avenue, next to P.S. 290.

Here are the fear-mongering quotes reported by DNAinfo:

“I’ve been here 12 years and it’s disgusting,” said Janine Whiteson, mother of a fifth grader at the school. “We have 650 kids, and most of them are really little. They could knock into the bikes or fall and hurt themselves. Who knows what kind of people will come in. It’s disgraceful.”

…”It is ridiculous to even consider putting it on a street that is already closed off for part of the day,” [parent Brian Feldman] said in an email. “Random people are going to be walking through the kids’ recess to get on and off bikes or riding their bikes through.”

…In protest of the new location, the PTA sent out an email to parents on Friday. “This is not in the best interest of the 650 children ages 4-11 that use the street for recess, drop-off and pick-up every day,” the email states. “The staff at P.S. 290 is not equipped to handle the additional burden of making sure that adults walk their bikes safely through the street while the children are using it. Imposing this responsibility on the staff will divert their attention from watching and engaging with the children.”

So how’s it going with the new station? Reader Joe Enoch was walking by the play street and saw the “disgusting” scene unfolding before his very eyes.