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NYPD: “No Criminality” as Cab Driver Runs Over Kids on Bronx Sidewalk

Several people, including a number of children, were seriously injured when a livery cab driver drove onto a sidewalk in the Bronx this morning.

At around 7:45 the driver, a man whose name was not released, “lost control” of a Toyota Camry at 229 E. Kingsbridge Road, according to NYPD. A police spokesperson said the driver hit one woman and four children on the sidewalk. Four victims were hospitalized in stable condition and one in serious condition, NYPD said.

FDNY said there were six victims: two in critical condition, three in stable condition, and one with a minor injury. The two critically injured victims were children, according to a fire department spokesperson.

NYPD told Streetsblog the Collision Investigation Squad, which works only the most serious traffic crashes, was dispatched to the scene.

WNBC reported that the driver was taken into custody this morning, but NYPD could not confirm. Unnamed police sources told the Post “no criminality was suspected.”

From the Post:

A passer-by comforted a 5-year-old boy as emergency workers arrived at Valentine Avenue and East Kingsbridge Road in Fordham Manor after the 7:45 a.m. accident

“I held his hand and he said, ‘I want to see my sister, I want to see my sister!’ He was so scared. I said, ‘Look at me! Look at my eyes! You’re going to be OK,’” said Nilda Guerrero, 57.

“He was crying and he wanted to hold his mother’s hand. I pretended I was his mother. And I held his hand. And I said, ‘Miguel, you’re going to be fine,’” she added.

“I heard a noise — a loud boom and a crash. There were people screaming. I ran over and there was a mother and daughter under the car,” said Migdalia Morales, 42, a parks worker.

“There was a little girl that had her legs stuck under the car next to the building,” she said

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In Oakland, a “Green Street” That Doesn’t Live Up to Its Name

Harrison Street in downtown Oakland is a barrier for pedestrians. Unfortunately, even after a "Green Streets" makeover, it will mostly stay that way, says Ralph Jacobson. Photo: Google Streetview via GJEL Accident Attorneys

Harrison Street in downtown Oakland cuts people off from the lakefront. Even after a “Green Streets” makeover, it will mostly stay that way. Photo: Google Streetview via GJEL Accident Attorneys

Downtown Oakland is growing and changing. Earlier this year, Mayor Libby Schaaf said it’s time for the city to “re-envision our roads.” That’s easier said than done, however, and it looks like Oakland is about to blow its chance to re-envision a major downtown street.

Ralph Jacobson at GJEL Accident Attorneys blog takes a close look at plans for Harrison Street, which runs along Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland. Voters approved a measure intended to improve the downtown waterfront area, and while several of the resulting projects have been quite admirable, Jacobson says Harrison Street will remain a dangerous barrier between downtown and the lake:

The existing highway design of Harrison Street predates Oakland’s freeway system. Harrison was widened to six lanes in the 1930s, and widened again to eight lanes in the 1950s during the construction of the Kaiser Center to accommodate projected traffic growth (filling in part of Lake Merritt in the process, as shown in the image below). However, this traffic never materialized: freeway construction rendered the eight lane highway obsolete, and it has remained half-empty over the past sixty years.

Local planners have missed a prime opportunity to correct past mistakes, Jacobson says:

Read more…


Today’s Headlines

  • Brewer, Adams: NYC Should Decriminalize Sidewalk Bike Riding and Jaywalking (Crain’s)
  • Budget Gap Is Already Affecting MTA Capital Projects (WSJ)
  • DiNapoli MTA Report Prompts Another Productive Round of Back-Biting (DNA, Post)
  • Port Authority General Counsel Stepping Down as Fraud Investigation Continues (WSJ)
  • Support Builds for Divvying Times Square Plazas Into Regulated Zones (News)
  • Car2Go Has Expanded Into Queens (Times Ledger)
  • Archdiocese of New York Looking to Sell St. Patrick’s Air Rights (Politico)
  • Jumaane Williams Wants to Armor Up NYPD Vehicles (Politico)
  • Ruben Diaz Jr. Proposes a New Park on Site of Mott Haven Homeless Encampment (News)
  • Tri-State: Transportation Improvements Would Help de Blasio Reach Emission Goals

More headlines at Streetsblog USA


How Bus Rapid Transit Can Save Lives on One of NYC’s Most Dangerous Streets

Woodhaven Boulevard needs BRT not only to move transit riders faster, but also to save lives and prevent traffic injuries. Map: Transportation Alternatives [PDF]

Lives are at stake in the redesign of Woodhaven Boulevard and Cross Bay Boulevard, making the implementation of bus rapid transit on this southeast Queens corridor all the more urgent, according to a new analysis from the BRT for NYC coalition. Crash stats bring home the point that new pedestrian islands and other safety measures in DOT’s Woodhaven BRT project are critical to reducing the carnage on one of the most dangerous streets in the city.

Woodhaven Boulevard regularly appears near the top of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s list of the city’s most dangerous streets. More pedestrians were killed by motorists on Woodhaven from 2011 to 2013 than on any other street in Queens, Tri-State reported in March, outpacing notorious roads like Queens Boulevard and Northern Boulevard. Citywide, only Flatbush Avenue and the Grand Concourse saw more pedestrian deaths.

An analysis released today by BRT for NYC coalition member Transportation Alternatives pinpoints the intersections with the most crashes on Woodhaven [PDF], based on NYPD crash data from July 2012 to December 2014. They are:

  • 101st Ave & Woodhaven Blvd: 42 crashes, 62 injuries, 1 fatality

  • Jamaica Ave & Woodhaven Blvd: 38 crashes, 52 injuries, 2 fatalities

  • Queens Blvd & Woodhaven Blvd: 32 crashes, 42 injuries, 0 fatalities

  • Atlantic Ave & Woodhaven Blvd: 32 crashes, 55 injuries, 1 fatality

  • Rockaway Blvd & Woodhaven Blvd: 30 crashes, 18 injuries, 0 fatalities

Among the victims was Yunior Antonio Perez Rodriguez, 35, killed by a hit-and-run driver after he stepped off a pedestrian island near Jamaica Avenue in December 2013 — just months after another man was killed trying to cross Woodhaven at the same location.

Read more…

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Miraculous! Philly’s Open Streets Open Eyes During Papal Visit

The official name for it was the “traffic box” — the 4.7-square-mile chunk of center city Philadelphia where incoming motor vehicles weren’t allowed when Pope Francis was in town this weekend. But rather than the traffic nightmare some anticipated, something wonderful happened: #popenstreets.

Suddenly the streets felt public. Neighbors were hanging out together. Kids played. Holly Otterbein at Philadelphia Magazine called it “an urbanist utopia”:

Blissed-out pedestrians are walking down the middle of roads as big as Broad and Market, and hordes of people are crossing the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Cyclists are giddy by the extra room. Some residents are even turning the streets into impromptu picnic spots and playgrounds.

The local media, and a lot of residents, were generally euphoric about the situation. In another article, Philly Mag listed “10 Reasons Why Philadelphia Is a Better Version of Itself Right Now.” One reason being: “There’s none of the undercurrent of anger and tension that you see when bikes and cars are on the road at the same time.”

“It’s like a block party,” one reveler told the City Paper, which was a common sentiment. The inquirer wrote that the closed Ben Franklin Bridge was “one big block party.” Read more…


Was Alexa Cioffi’s Death Caused by Negligence? Still No Word From NYPD

Update: NYPD said as of today no charges have been filed against the driver who killed Alexa Cioffi.

Reporter and Streetsblog reader Joe Enoch produced this “Inside Edition” piece on the prevalence of improperly secured trailers on U.S. roads. It features an interview with Kristi Cox, a Minnesota woman whose husband and child were killed by a negligent driver whose trailer hit their car. According to the story, hundreds of people a year are killed by drivers who fail to follow proper trailer safety procedures.

“The word ‘accident’ bothers me,” says Cox. “If they would have hooked that up correctly that day, if they would have put the two chains on and the pin, then right now as I sit here, then Liam would still have his dad and his sister.”

Another victim might have been 21-year-old Alexa Cioffi. On September 14, Cioffi and a friend were hit by a detached boat trailer as they rode bikes on Staten Island’s Hylan Boulevard. Cioffi died, and Briana Emanuele was hospitalized in critical condition. NYPD did not immediately file charges against the driver who was towing the boat. As is customary when police file no charges after a fatal crash, the driver’s name was not released.

Read more…

Streetsblog USA
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Boulder’s Protected Bike Lane Removal Would Be Just the 4th Nationwide

Boulder’s Folsom Street on Friday afternoon. Photo: Eric Budd

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.

Boulder, Colorado, will vote today on whether to become the fourth U.S. city to remove a modern protected bike lane.

The others are Memphis, where a riverside project was removed this year after the end of a one-year pilot; Boise, where a downtown network was removed last year after the end of a one-month trial; and Portland, Oregon, where in 2012 the city decided not to replace a series of posts that had been torn out by car collisions on one of its bridges.

As of last month, 75 U.S. cities (including Memphis, Portland, and Boulder) have built permanent protected bike lanes, and the number of such projects is doubling every two years or so.

But in Boulder, as Streetsblog reported last week, the latest project has taken a turn. On Thursday, city staff recommended scaling back what was planned as a year-long pilot just 11 weeks in.

That’s an unexpected change of direction for one of the four cities in the country rated as “platinum” by the League of American Bicyclists.

“This is not what we would ever expect to see for a platinum city,” League spokesman Steve Clark said in an email Friday. “Or gold, or silver. Extremely bad precedent.”

The protected bike lanes on Folsom Street were added in July as part of a redesign that replaced two general travel lanes in each direction with one general travel lane in each direction plus a new center turn lane.

The number of reported collisions on the street dropped immediately, city data show.

Read more…


Andrew Cuomo Could (Still) Save Thousands of Lives With One Phone Call

On Monday Andrew Cuomo hailed DMV rule changes that have resulted in license sanctions for recidivist drunk drivers. The governor, who spearheaded the reforms himself, could also use the power of his office to take driving privileges from motorists who habitually commit other deadly violations, like speeding, which kill and injure thousands of New Yorkers every year.

Governor Cuomo has the power to take driving privileges away from chronic reckless drivers, whether or not they drive drunk. Photo: Families for Safe Streets

Governor Cuomo has the power to take driving privileges away from chronic reckless drivers, whether or not they drive drunk. Photo: Families for Safe Streets

In 2012 Cuomo oversaw an update to DMV rules to target the worst drunk driving offenders. Now the DMV permanently revokes licenses from people who have five or more DWI convictions in a lifetime, or three or more DWI convictions in 25 years plus other offenses, such as a fatal crash or the accumulation of 20 or more license points.

As lenient as those standards are, they used to be worse. In the past, repeat drunk drivers whose licenses were suspended or revoked could regain driving privileges in weeks by completing an education program, and drivers with multiple DWI convictions did not permanently lose their licenses unless they were convicted for two DWI crashes resulting in injury.

A Cuomo press release said the reforms have taken more than 8,000 dangerous drivers off the roads in the three years since they took effect. “Impaired and irresponsible driving far too often results in needless tragedy and ramifications that can last a lifetime,” Cuomo said. “These tough regulations have taken chronically dangerous drivers off the roads and helped make this a safer state.”

The updated DMV rules are an improvement, but they don’t do enough to keep reckless drivers from harming people. Four DWI convictions doesn’t mean a person drove drunk four times. It means that person was caught, arrested, and convicted four times. By allowing repeat DWI offenders to keep driving, the DMV is playing Russian roulette with New Yorkers’ lives.

In addition, Cuomo’s DMV reforms don’t address behaviors that cause as many or more serious crashes than drunk driving. In 2013, alcohol contributed to 132 deadly collisions and 4,097 injury crashes in New York State, according to the DMV. By way of comparison, unsafe speed was determined to be a factor in 313 fatal crashes and 12,613 injury crashes, failure to yield in 165 fatal crashes and 21,355 injury crashes, and driver distraction in 127 fatal crashes and 25,098 injury crashes.

In New York City, alcohol was identified as a factor in 15 fatal and 996 injury crashes in 2013, speeding in 69 fatal crashes and 2,933 injury crashes, failure to yield in 52 fatal crashes and 6,369 injury crashes, and distracted driving in 49 fatal crashes and 10,270 injury crashes.

Though their actions harm many more people than drunk drivers, motorists who hurt and kill others while speeding or failing to yield are usually not penalized in any way, and investigators rarely subpoena cell phone records after a crash to determine whether a driver was distracted.

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How Portland (Maine) Pairs Car-Share With Parking Reform

Is your city skittish about reducing parking minimums? Here’s one way to ease people into the idea that new buildings shouldn’t be forced to include lots of parking along with housing, and it comes from Portland — Maine.

The expanding number of places you can pick up a shared car in Portand, Maine. Image: Rights of Way

Portand, Maine’s car-share fleet is growing as its parking mandates shrink. Image: Rights of Way

Network blog Rights of Way reports that this city of 66,000 pairs the reduction of parking mandates with the expansion of car-share. C Neal MilNeil writes:

It’s hard to believe, but UhaulCarShare has been operating in Portland for over six years now.

They started with four cars parked near Monument Square and the ferry terminal.

As of this fall, they’ve doubled the local fleet to 8 cars and expanded into South Portland with a car parked at the Southern Maine Community College campus.

A lot of UhaulCarShare’s success here comes from a helpful new reform of parking rules in the city’s zoning requirements. For the last few years now, city planners have allowed a reduction in developers’ expensive parking-construction mandates if the developers agree to sponsor a carsharing vehicle on-site.

Several new apartment buildings have taken advantage of this incentive, most recently Avesta Housing’s 409 Cumberland Avenue apartment block, which built only 18 basement parking spaces for its 57 new apartment units and sponsored a new UhaulCarShare vehicle to be parked on-site. This arrangement benefits everyone: reduced construction costs for the developers, reduced housing costs and more mobility options for residents, and a more convenient carsharing network for neighbors.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Bike Portland reports from Mayor Charlie Hales’ bike commute yesterday, his fourth Monday in a row riding to work. Urban Review STL photo blogs the experience of navigating the way to St. Louis’s new Ikea store by wheelchair. And Plan Philly wonders if SEPTA should provide all the city’s students with discount transit passes.


Today’s Headlines

  • De Blasio: TWU Ad Blaming Him for Subway Funding Gap “Pitiful” (Politico, News)
  • City’s Capital Plan Is Already a Stretch; Can de Blasio Afford to Pay More to MTA? (City Limits)
  • Hit-and-Run Driver Kills “Inebriated” Man, Who Died of Injuries Two Weeks Later (WPIX, Advance)
  • Owner of Grand Central Sues City Over Rezoning for Office Mega-Tower Next Door (NYT)
  • WSJ Columnist Tests Out Citi Bike, Finds NYC Isn’t Bike-Friendly Enough
  • WNYC Maps Where Citi Bike Stations Are Consistently Full or Empty
  • GE in Discussions With DOT About Piloting Sensor-Laden “Smart” Street Lights in NYC (DNA)
  • Highway Patrol Officers Sued for Excessive Force During Staten Island Traffic Stop (Post)
  • Brooklyn Spoke: NYC Should Allow Cyclists to Follow Leading Ped Signals, Like DC Does
  • Governors Island Will Get a Boost in Ferry Service From Brooklyn Next Year (DNA)
  • Is Anyone Really Surprised That Citi Bike Is Faster Than a Crosstown Helicopter? (HuffPo)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA