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Eyes on the Street: NYC’s Newest Bus Zones on 23rd Street, Jay Street

New dedicated bus lanes on 23rd Street, where Select Bus Service is set to launch in the fall. Photo: Stephen Miller

The new bus lane on 23rd Street, where Select Bus Service is set to launch in the fall. Photo: Stephen Miller

DOT crews recently put down new terra cotta paint for buses on 23rd Street in Manhattan and Jay Street in Brooklyn.

In the fall, Select Bus Service will bring faster bus service to the M23’s 15,000 daily riders with dedicated lanes, off-board payment, and consolidated bus stops. The bus lanes are set to run eastbound from Ninth Avenue to Second Avenue and westbound from mid-block between First and Second Avenue to Eighth Avenue.

The red lanes are here already — Streetsblog alum Stephen Miller snapped this photo of 23rd Street looking west from Seventh Avenue.

And in Downtown Brooklyn, there’s fresh red paint on Jay Street at the long bus stop alongside the Myrtle Avenue plaza:

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DSNY Needs to Devise a Better Fix for NYC’s Abandoned Bike Problem

Unusable, forgotten bikes are mainstays of the NYC streetscape, hogging bike parking for months and even years before they meet the Department of Sanitation’s standards for removal. DSNY has proposed a rule change to loosen its criteria, but advocates say it doesn’t go far enough to solve the city’s abandoned bike problem.

Despite 311 calls requesting its removal, this dilapidated bike has never even been tagged by DSNY for removal. Photo: Recycle-A-Bicycle

Despite 311 calls alerting DSNY to this abandoned bike in Greenpoint, the agency never even tagged it for removal. Photo: Recycle-A-Bicycle

Reports of abandoned bikes have increased 43 percent this year compared to 2015, according to 311 data made available by the city. But DSNY will only remove a derelict bike after it’s reported via 311 — and only if it meets three of the following criteria:

  • It is “crushed or not usable”
  • It is missing parts
  • It has a flat or missing tires
  • It has damaged handlebars or pedals
  • At least 75 percent of the bike rusted

Under current rules, staff check on a bike once it has been reported via 311 and tag it for removal if it meets the criteria. If the tag is not removed by an owner within one week, the bike gets impounded.

DSNY’s proposed change would lower the threshold for removal from three criteria to two and lower the rust threshold to 50 percent [PDF]. Additionally, “flat or missing tires” would no longer be one of the criteria for removal.

DSNY held a hearing on the rule change August 9 and must now determine how to proceed. Advocates and elected officials who testified at the hearing don’t think the proposal will improve matters much.

Recycle-A-Bicycle Executive Director Karen Overton, who testified at the hearing, said even the new criteria will leave countless abandoned bikes rotting away on sidewalks.

Read more…

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NYC Motorists Injured 1,225 Pedestrians and Cyclists in July, and Killed 12

Andrew Esquivel, Jack Koval, Sean Ryan, and Matthew von Ohlen

Andrew Esquivel, Jack Koval, Sean Ryan, and Matthew von Ohlen

Seventeen people died in New York City traffic in July, and 5,310 were injured, according to City Hall’s Vision Zero View crash data map.

City Hall reported 83 pedestrians and cyclists killed by city motorists through July of this year, and 8,378 injured, compared to 77 deaths and 7,835 injuries in the same period in 2015.

Citywide, nine pedestrians and three cyclists were fatally struck by drivers last month. Among the victims were Teresa Martinelli, Matthew von Ohlen, Jorge Zepeda, Andrew Esquivel, Sean Ryan, Terrence Montrose, Roberts Nukheimra, Jack Koval, and an unnamed male pedestrian in the Bronx.

Motorists killed at least one senior in July: Teresa Martinelli, 79.

Across the city, 727 pedestrians and 498 cyclists were reported hurt in collisions with motor vehicles. Per NYPD policy, few of these crashes were investigated by trained officers.

Of nine fatal crashes on surface streets reported by Streetsblog and other outlets, three motorists were known to have been charged for causing a death. Based on NYPD and media accounts, at least four victims were likely walking or cycling with the right of way when they were struck.

Teresa Martinelli was reportedly “knocked out of her shoes” in a Midtown crosswalk by a driver who was charged with a misdemeanor Right of Way Law violation.

After Andrew Esquivel was struck and killed on a Brooklyn sidewalk by an allegedly drunk off-duty police officer, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said drunk driving cops are “not a problem” at NYPD. Another driver who reportedly had a BAC of .163 killed Sean Ryan, 17, as he rode his bike near Marine Park. The motorists who killed Esquivel and Ryan were both charged with manslaughter.

Police said the hit-and-run driver who ran over cyclist Matthew von Ohlen in Brooklyn may have done so intentionally. Though investigators located the vehicle, von Ohlen’s killer remains at large. The 90th Precinct responded to von Ohlen’s death by ticketing people on bikes.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Stark Divisions Between Dems and GOP on Climate Impacts of Transportation

How polarized are the two political parties on key questions about transportation policy and climate change? As you can imagine, the answer is “very.”

Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer (CA), ranking member of the Committee on the Environment and Public Works. Photo: Wikipedia

California Senator Barbara Boxer. Photo: Wikipedia

The senior Democrat and Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee — California’s Barbara Boxer and Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe, respectively — each wrote an opinion this week for the Eno Center for Transportation about a proposed federal rule to require state DOTs to measure their impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

Boxer is the ranking Democratic member of the committee. Her column applauds the move to measure the climate impacts of state and regional transportation policy:

Establishment of a performance measure for carbon pollution is critically needed now. Since 1970, carbon emissions produced by the transportation sector have more than doubled, increasing at a faster rate than any other end-use sector. By requiring transportation agencies to track carbon emissions, we can evaluate whether transportation investments are effective in meeting the goal of protecting the environment.

Senator Jim Inhofe (OK) is chair of the Committee on the Environment and Public Works. Photo: Gage Skidmore

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe. Photo: Gage Skidmore

Meanwhile, Committee Chair Inhofe challenged the legitimacy of the rule:

The goal of the laws I co-authored is to improve the safety and advance the modernization of our roads and bridges. FHWA’s proposed GHG regulation would divert the limited time and resources of States and local governments away from this goal to pursue instead the administration’s unlawful and overzealous climate agenda.

Yes, the “overzealous agenda” of transparently documenting how much carbon pollution is caused by billions of dollars of spending on transportation.

FHWA regulators will be wading through these and many other comments in the coming months as they produce a rule that may or may not require states and regional planning agencies to finally measure their impact on the climate.

Streetsblog.net
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Portland Will Connect Streets Over a Highway With a Car-Free Bridge

Portland's newest car-free bridge will complete a key bike route. Image via Bike Portland

Portland’s newest car-free bridge will complete a key bike route. Image via Bike Portland

Here’s one way to heal some of the damage created by urban interstates.

Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland reports that the city has won a $2.6 million state grant to help it complete a key bike route. To fill in the missing segment, Portland has to create a path across a big sunken highway. So the city will use the grant, combined with some local funds, to build a bike and pedestrian bridge over I-405.

Maus explains why this is such a smart investment:

Portland leaders have been working for over a decade to close this gap. Former mayor Sam Adams first proposed the idea of a new bridge over Flanders in 2006 when he was PBOT Commissioner. He continued to work on the project until his run for mayor in 2008 but was not able to make it happen.

According to the city’s grant application, the bridge would likely average about 3,000 crossings as soon as it opens as people shift their routes from the busy and high-stress crossings at Everett, Glisan and Couch. Once greenway elements like speed bumps, signage, and diverters are added to the street, it’s estimated that the new bridge would see 9,100 trips per day. That’s more than the amount of daily bike trips over the Hawthorne Bridge.

Read more…

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Today’s Headlines

  • City Hall Will Seek Council Approval for Commercial Waste Carting Reforms (Crain’s)
  • Cuomo’s State DOT in No Hurry to Tackle Climate Change (MTR)
  • Port Authority Has Quietly Scaled Back Frequency of JFK AirTrain (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • Motorcyclist Killed on East Tremont Ave Passing Double-Parked Tow Truck (News)
  • Motorcyclist Injures Pedestrian on Sterling Place in Park Slope (Gothamist)
  • The Trains With the Most Hot Cars Were Built With No Back-Up A/C Compressor (NYT)
  • DOT Installs Sidewalk So SI Seniors Can Safely Walk to Buy Groceries on Veterans West Road (DNA)
  • The Times Checks in With PATH Commuters Dealing With Weekend Maintenance Disruptions
  • Queens Activists Protest NYPD Fare Arrests By Giving Away Fares (DNA)
  • Protesting a BoltBus Stop Because “It’s So Congested” (DNA)
  • Work Begins on Downtown Brooklyn’s 700-Car Garage With a Park on Top (YIMBY)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

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Citi Bike Expands South of Atlantic Avenue

A newly-installed Citi Bike station outside the Fifth Avenue Key Foods in Park Slope. Photo: @brooklynsja

A newly-installed Citi Bike station outside the Fifth Avenue Key Foods in Park Slope. Photo: @brooklynsja

Yesterday, Citi Bike began installing stations in the Brooklyn neighborhoods south of Atlantic Avenue and west of Prospect Park. A few stations are already operating, according to the Citi Bike station map, with a total of 73 set to go live in the area in the coming weeks.

All told there are 139 new bike-share stations coming online this year, with another batch in the pipeline for 2017.

The initial expansion map for this part of Brooklyn called for 20 stations per square mile, spreading them farther apart than the 23 per square mile in the initial Citi Bike service area. This was a problem, since longer walking distances between stations make the system less useful.

In May, DOT proposed 11 more station locations [PDF], bringing the station density in line with the rest of the system (but still short of the 28 per square mile recommended by the National Association of City Transportation Officials).

The eleven "infill" stations added by DOT after the initial station map was approved are marked in black. Image: DOT

The 11 black stations are “infill” added to the initial station map. Image: DOT

Here’s a look at a few more of the new stations that have gone in since yesterday:

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Streetsblog USA
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Carless Renters Forced to Pay $440 Million a Year for Parking They Don’t Use

Many residents of American cities can’t escape the high cost of parking, even if they don’t own cars. Thanks to policies like mandatory parking requirements and the practice of “bundling” parking with housing, carless renters pay $440 million each year for parking they don’t use, according to a new study by C.J. Gabbe and Gregory Pierce in the journal Housing Policy Debate.

Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia

The financial burden works out to an average of $621 annually per household, or a 13 percent rent premium — and it is concentrated among households that can least afford it. “Minimum parking standards create a major equity problem for carless households,” said Gabbe. “71 percent of renters without a car live in housing with at least one parking space included in their rent.”

Parking is typically bundled with rent, making the cost of residential parking opaque. So Gabbe and Pierce set out to estimate how much people are actually paying for the parking that comes with their apartments.

Crunching Census data from a representative sample of more than 38,000 rental units in American urban areas, they isolated the relationship between parking provision and housing prices. They determined that on average, a garaged parking space adds about $1,700 per year in rent — a 17 percent premium.

Looking only at carless households, the average cost is $621 per year and the premium is 13 percent. On average these households earn about $24,000 annually, compared to $44,000 for the whole sample, and they get no value whatsoever out of the parking spaces bundled with their rent.

Gabbe and Pierce estimate that nationwide there are 708,000 households without a car renting an apartment with a garaged parking space, for a total cost burden of about $440 million per year due to unused parking.

So how can parking policy create fairer housing prices?

Gabbe and Pierce say cities should eliminate minimum parking requirements to make housing more affordable. Cities can also help by allowing and encouraging landlords to “unbundle” the cost of parking from the cost of rent — so people who don’t have cars aren’t forced to pay for parking spaces they don’t use.

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Private Trash Hauler Critically Injures Cyclist in Flatbush

A private trash carter struck and critically injured a cyclist at this intersection last night. Photo: Google Maps

A private trash carter struck and critically injured a cyclist at this intersection last night. Photo: Google Maps

A private garbage truck driver struck and critically injured a 44-year-old cyclist at the intersection of Albany Avenue and Lefferts Avenue in Flatbush last night, highlighting the pervasive public safety risks in the commercial waste carting industry.

The victim, whom police did not name, remains in critical condition today, according to NYPD’s public information office. The driver, Steveson Thanus, received “multiple summonses,” though the police spokesperson could not specify the violations.

Police arrived at 11:23 p.m. last night to find the victim “laying in the roadway” with “severe head trauma,” the spokesperson said.

According to NYPD, the cyclist was riding south on the east sidewalk of Albany Avenue last night when he entered the intersection. The spokesperson said the driver was “going westbound on Lefferts approaching Albany” at the moment of impact, and the victim “collided with the right rear tire area of [the truck].”

The garbage hauler was driving a white Mack dump truck registered to La Vega Carting Corporation, located on Highland Boulevard in Cypress Hills, NYPD said.

La Vega is a small company with three employees. Co-owner Edwin Rosario told Streetsblog the truck had a broken rear light at the time of the crash. It’s not clear if this contributed to the collision, but if Thanus was backing up, the equipment failure could have been a factor.

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Streetsblog.net
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An American Take on the “Bus Stop of the Future”

College Park, Maryland's "Bus Stop of the Future." Image: Beyond DC/Flickr

College Park’s “bus stop of the future.” Image: Beyond DC/Flickr

Four years ago, the regional transit agency in Paris, RATP, set out to create the “bus stop of the future.” This bus stop would be designed to give riders and even passersby a comfortable place to relax. In addition to a sleek shelter, it featured a bike-share station, a library, and snacks and coffee.

Inspired by that example, College Park, Maryland, recently created its own version of the “bus stop of the future.” Dan Malouff at Greater Greater Washington says it includes many of the elements of the Parisian bus stop, but at a price that’s a lot more reasonable:

They started with a normal bus stop sign and shelter, then added a standard mBike bikeshare station. To help with maintenance, the city chained a bike tire pump to the station sign.

For the library, they staked to the ground a Little Free Library, a pre-fab wood box for people to take and give away free books. There’s no librarian and no library cards; it runs on the honor system, and relies on people donating as many books as they take.

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