Crowdsourcing Traffic Safety: Help Map Local Traffic Problems

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Oh, look. A dot. One, lonely dot. Won't you give it some company?

Oh, look. A dot. One, lonely dot. Won’t you give it some company?

Back in April, the city launched an interactive Vision Zero map for neighbors to get involved with making street conditions safer. The map allows you to pinpoint problematic roads and intersections, reporting a range of conditions including double parking, frequent speeding, irresponsible cycling or even crosswalk timers that take too darn long.

Reader Daniil S. put it back on our radar this week, causing us to note that, well, no one in Southern Brooklyn appears to be paying attention. Dots cover the map in Manhattan and northern Brooklyn, but scrawl down to below Avenue H and there’s hardly a single report.

That’s cause for concern, because its the frequent cry of both drivers and pedestrians in Southern Brooklyn that the Department of Transportation goes ahead and implements plans from the top down, implementing ideas that may work well for midtown Manhattan but not so much for quiet, residential and car-dependent neighborhoods. And, yet, when given the opportunity to map out where the real problems are… nothing?

Daniil writes, “If you can encourage everyone on the blog to tag our intersections and we outnumber the other neighborhoods in the city in complaint count, it might just make our streets a bit safer.” 

Indeed. Let’s give that a try. Find the map here.

  • BrooklynBus

    Perhaps people in southern Brooklyn would be eager to participate if they were asked to indicate locations and times where traffic congestion is a problem or left turn signals are needed. Or how about all the unnecessary places where there are No parking signs where parking could be allowed without any problems. However, keeping traffic moving or making ir easier to find parking is not one of the city’s priorities. It seems the opposite is true.

    • Kriston Lewis

      Have you seen the map?

      At a glance, the complaints in our area are about double parkers (a lot of them actually), the re-instatement of the turn onto the Belt Pkwy off Coney Island Av, and speeding along Ocean Av.

      Common sense would dictate that enforcing the double parking laws would speed things up and make things safer for all.

      • BrooklynBus

        I just looked at it now. Do you know how to add an issue?

        • Kriston Lewis

          Go to the site, and click on an intersection on the map. On the left side of the page, there’s a button marked “REPORT AN ISSUE” or something similar. After that, fill out that form.

    • fdtutf

      Yeah, I can’t believe the city has the audacity to try to reduce pedestrian fatalities when there are automobile journeys that sometimes take five minutes longer than the driver planned. Priorities, people!

      • Roma Faizulin

        With crime at a five year high, should double parking and jaywalking be the main priority for the NYPD in Sheepshead Bay.

        • Subway Stinker

          Yes Roma, double parking and other accident prone conduct makes living in Bklyn less safe, just as a robbery does. I think we have a smart enough Police department to cope with both.

          Ned, thanks for posting this. I was unaware of this map, and the site is not user friendly so i would not have found the comments/map section without your Link. Well done.

        • BrooklynBus

          Yes, double parking should be a prime focus when it delays traffic. The times I’ve seen it enforced is when no one was inconvenienced by it.

          • Andrew

            How about double parking when it reduces visibility of, or for, pedestrians and cyclists?

          • guest

            How about cyclists who run through red lights and give a damn about nothing but themselves?

          • Andrew

            I’ll start to worry about selfish and irresponsible cyclists as soon as they kill as many pedestrians in ten years as selfish and irresponsible motorists kill in a week. Until then, I’m afraid I’m really not going to be focusing much of my concern on the cyclists. Sorry.

            How about answering the question? Is double parking OK when it reduces visibility of, or for, pedestrians and cyclists? (Allan, you’re the one who brought up the issue, and I directed the question especially to you – what do you think?)

          • BrooklynBus

            I answered above.

          • BrooklynBus

            I don’t see how double parking reduces visibility for pedestrians and cyclists unless you believe it is okay to cross mid block and even then visibility is not really reduced unless you are talking about large trucks double parking which I am definitely opposed to, but apparently is legal although loading and unloading can take up to three hours. We need more loading zones but the city doesn’t want to reduce curbside parking.

          • http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/ Ned Berke

            I suppose you don’t see it because you’re not a cyclist. Double parking is definitely a threat to cyclists and pedestrians (and drivers, too), and definitely reduces visibility. If I’m on my bike and have to come around a double parked car, and a car in front of it is trying to get out of his parking space, his ability to see me coming up on him (and my ability to see him) is hampered. It’s even worse because the biggest offenders of double parking on ambulettes, moving vans, trucks, etc. for which there is absolutely no seeing around.

          • BrooklynBus

            I see your point but still there needs to be a distinction between someone who stops for 30 seconds to drop someone off or pick someone up and a truck which double parks for three hours. Everyday there are dozens of double parked trucks along the north side of Brighton Beach Avenue hampering both traffic and visibility and absolutely nothing is done about it. The fruit stores are the biggest offenders. There really needs to be about ten loading zones. Right now I believe there is one loading zone. These trucks blocking traffic for three hours are not breaking any laws but the car who stops for 30 seconds is. Don’t you see anything wrong with that?

          • SubwayStinker

            There is no such thing as ‘I’ll only be 30 seconds’. People who double park or use bus stops for short term parking are lying when they say “I’ll only be a minute’. There is no distinction esp when you are the one trying to safely get off a but on Ave U and cannot.

          • Allan Rosen

            Not true. I regularly pick up a friend waiting at a bus stop or double park to let him off. Pick up takes me about 15 seconds, and drop off, about a minute. Yes, people who wait for someone may be there for 3 or 5 minutes, but that still is not the 3 hours trucks spend double parking that inconveniences everyone much more than cars double parking.

          • Andrew

            Not true. I regularly pick up a friend waiting at a bus stop or double park to let him off. Pick up takes me about 15 seconds, and drop off, about a minute. Yes, people who wait for someone may be there for 3 or 5 minutes, but that still is not the 3 hours trucks spend double parking that inconveniences everyone much more than cars double parking.

            If a bus happens to pull up to the stop while you’re parked there, I hope you realize that you are personally responsible for both the traffic congestion that results from the bus stopping one lane out and for the inconvenient, possibly difficult, and often unsafe boarding conditions that you create for bus riders.

            You have the option of finding a legal parking space and meeting your friend on foot. If the truck driver is going to make a delivery, he has to park near the store that he’s delivering to. And if the curbside is filled with parked cars, then he really doesn’t have much of a practical option aside from double parking. Advocate for loading zones on every block with commercial land use and the truck double parking issue will be greatly diminished.

          • fdtutf

            “If I’m on my bike”
            Well, that’s your first mistake, right? Use your car like a normal New Yorker.

          • ES

            I have huge issues with double parking, particularly on Sheepshead Bay Road. What generally happens to me is, I will be riding toward Voorhies Avenue from Shore Parkway and a car traveling ahead of me (there is hardly room to travel side by side) will abruptly stop to double park because of a dearth of parking spots available, or stop and wait for another car to pull out of a spot. If the light at Voorhies is green, that means I have to somehow crane my neck over or around the car that just impeded my passage, or look through the front and back windows of the car, in order to determine if there is oncoming traffic. If there is, I am stuck until it passes, since I also can’t pass the car in front of me on the right, as there is no room to squeeze by. All in all, ridiculous.

          • ES

            I should have added, since I neglected to mention it and it may not be obvious, that I am on my bike.

          • Kriston Lewis

            It can cause visibility problems at intersections too. Especially when they’re at an angle.

          • Andrew

            I don’t see how double parking reduces visibility for pedestrians and cyclists

            Ned Berke and Kriston Lewis and ES have given some examples. So, now that you’ve seen those examples, I ask again: “Is double parking OK when it reduces visibility of, or for, pedestrians and cyclists?”

            Perhaps you aren’t as much of an expert in street safety as you claim to be.

            unless you believe it is okay to cross mid block

            It is absolutely, 100% legal to cross mid-block, after yielding to approaching traffic, on any block not bounded by signalized intersections at both ends.

            On blocks bounded by signalized intersections at both ends, it is illegal to cross mid-block. However, it is often safer to cross mid-block after traffic has cleared (or, at the opposite extreme, is so tightly congested that it’s essentially stopped) than to cross at the intersection and pray that motorists choose to yield to pedestrians (as required by law, but barely ever enforced). And if it’s a choice between crossing safely and crossing legally, I’ll cross safely. Come back and get me once all motorists (yourself included) unfailingly yield while turning to pedestrians crossing with the light.

            and even then visibility is not really reduced

            Yes it is.

            unless you are talking about large trucks double parking which I am definitely opposed to, but apparently is legal although loading and unloading can take up to three hours.

            In the absence of loading zones, delivery truck drivers can’t make deliveries without double parking. All else being equal, I’m much more inclined to give them a pass than a self-centered car driver who double parks because he can’t be bothered to find legal parking or to
            take the bus.

            We need more loading zones but the city doesn’t want to reduce curbside parking.

            The city is perfectly happy implement loading zones in place of curbside parking. Then people like you come along and whine about the lost curbside parking, and the city backs off.

      • guest

        Drivers have a right to get where they need to be just like you do. Not everyone should be penalized because of a few bad turds. Get off your high horse.

        • Andrew

          Unfortunately, it’s more than “a few bad turds” who threaten the lives of pedestrians, by driving at unsafe speeds, by failing to yield, by running red lights and stop signs, by parking illegally.

          You are more than welcome to drive as much as you like, but please abide by the rules that are in place to protect other people’s lives. If you choose to ignore those rules, then you are one of those bad turds who absolutely should be penalized. I applaud the city for finally beginning to take the problem seriously, even as it incurs the wrath of motorists who have become accustomed to their unsafe driving tactics.

          By the way, the word “right” does not legally apply to driving. That’s why, for instance, licenses are required. Walking, on the other hand, is a basic legal right. (No, Allan, before you ask, that doesn’t mean it’s unrestricted. But it does mean that the law treats pedestrians and motorists differently.)

          • BrooklynBus

            He said drivers have a right to get where they are going. No one said anything about legal issues. You are just avoiding the issue. Are you saying drivers do not have a right to get where they are going?

            You won’t say anything about bicycles, but how about motorcycles? Yesterday in heavy traffic, motorcycles were constantly flying by between lanes at 30 mph as cars were going 10. You would have no warning they are coming. You would just hear a loud whoosh as they passed. If any car would have tried to change lanes, chances are one of them would be squashed. They were only in you rear view mirror for about a half second. It would have been very easy to miss them.

            What they were doing (at least ten of them) was plain dumb, but in your book, the driver of the car would have been at fault although driving between lanes is illegal because cars are always wrong.

          • Andrew

            He said drivers have a right to get where they are going. No one said anything about legal issues. You are just avoiding the issue. Are you saying drivers do not have a right to get where they are going?

            I said that “You are more than welcome to drive as much as you like.” How much clearer can I get?

            What you refer to as “legal issues” are an aside that I made about the technical term “right.” There is no right to drive, period. Driving is a privilege granted, under limited circumstances, to licensed drivers who agree to follow the rules of the road. And I have no objection to drivers who follow the rules of the road. I seriously object, however, to drivers who break the rules of the road in ways that endanger my life, my family’s lives, my friends’ lives.

            You won’t say anything about bicycles,

            I won’t? I’m pretty sure I’ve said quite a bit about bicycles, including one comment in this very thread.

            but how about motorcycles?

            Why are you changing the subject again?

            Yesterday in heavy traffic, motorcycles were constantly flying by between lanes at 30 mph as cars were going 10. You would have no warning they are coming. You would just hear a loud whoosh as they passed. If any car would have tried to change lanes, chances are one of them would be squashed. T hey were only in you rear view mirror for about a half second. It would have been very easy to miss them.

            What they were doing (at least ten of them) was plain dumb, but in your book, the driver of the car would have been at fault although driving between lanes is illegal because cars are always wrong.

            I’m sorry, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

          • ES

            I agree with you, Andrew. My bicycle is my primary form of transportation, and I see fellow bicyclists, motorists and pedestrians alike all disobeying rules of basic traffic safety. Between motorists neglecting to stop at stop signs, pedestrians darting out into the middle of the street from between two cars, and bicyclists driving the wrong way down a street (and neglecting to stop at stop signs!), it is a veritable snake pit out there.

          • anotherguest

            “You are more than welcome to drive as much as you like, but please abide
            by the rules that are in place to protect other people’s lives.”

            So all drivers are bad? Is that what you are saying?

            “If you choose to ignore those rules, then you are one of those bad turds who absolutely should be penalized.”

            Thanks for clearing that up for everyone Captain Obvious.

            “By the way, the word “right” does not legally apply to driving.”

            You realize that a license grants the person the right to drive correct?
            Listen buddy, if you want to live in a fantasy world where only drivers are in the wrong, that’s your business. But out here in reality, we understand that EVERY mode of transportation has it’s morons which includes pedestrians and cyclist. This is true whether you care to agree or disagree.

          • Andrew

            “You are more than welcome to drive as much as you like, but please abide by the rules that are in place to protect other people’s lives.”

            So all drivers are bad? Is that what you are saying?

            Of course not. What I’m saying is that some drivers are good and others are very, very bad (including many who think they’re good). Plenty of drivers obey speed limits, are careful to stop for red lights and stop signs, signal their turns, and yield to pedestrians – but unfortunately plenty of other drivers don’t.

            “If you choose to ignore those rules, then you are one of those bad turds who absolutely should be penalized.”

            Thanks for clearing that up for everyone Captain Obvious.

            I’m glad it’s obvious to you. It’s obvious to me as well. But some other people around here seem to think that yielding to pedestrians is optional and who argue that red light and speed laws should be enforced only sporadically rather than automatically and consistently.

            “By the way, the word “right” does not legally apply to driving.”
            You realize that a license grants the person the right to drive correct?

            No, a license grants the person the recovable privilege to drive.

            Listen buddy, if you want to live in a fantasy world where only drivers are in the wrong, that’s your business. But out here in reality, we understand that EVERY mode of transportation has it’s morons which includes pedestrians and cyclist. This is true whether you care to agree or disagree.

            Who ever said that only drivers are in the wrong?

            According to 2008-2012 Collision Reports (which, compiled by NYPD officers, are almost certainly biased in favor of motorists), motorists are solely in the wrong in 53% of pedestrian fatalities, pedestrians are solely in the wrong in 30% of pedestrian fatalities, and both parties are in the wrong in the remaining 17% of pedestrian fatalities.

            In 100% of pedestrian fatalities (whether the pedestrian is entirely, partially, or not at all at fault), the pedestrian is penalized – by death. Pedestrians have a strong incentive to avoid doing stupid things that kill themselves. I would like to see the motorists in the 70% of pedestrian fatalities who are at full or partial fault to be penalized as well, so that motorists also have strong incentives to avoid doing stupid things that kill pedestrians.

            I would furthermore like to see motorists penalized when they do stupid things that have the potential to kill pedestrians, even when the pedestrians manage to avoid being killed.

          • fdtutf

            “But some other people around here seem to think that yielding to pedestrians is optional and who argue that red light and speed laws should be enforced only sporadically rather than automatically and consistently.”

            AND these same people think they’re good drivers. That’s the really galling part.

        • fdtutf

          In one sense, everybody does have the right to get where they need to go. That right certainly is not unlimited, but it’s also important to note that there is no right to get where you’re going using any specific mode of transportation.

  • smartblond1218

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Arthur Borko

    Why don’t they just license the traffic information that Google collects from nearly every cellphone. And Apple.

    Fools.

    • Andrew

      The opening paragraph of the article: “Back in April, the city launched an interactive Vision Zero map for neighbors to get involved with making street conditions safer. The map allows you to pinpoint problematic roads and intersections, reporting a range of conditions including double parking, frequent speeding, irresponsible cycling or even crosswalk timers that take too darn long.”

      Google and Apple collect information on these sorts of safety issues? News to me. (This is not a tool to report traffic congestion, much as Allan Rosen wishes it were.)

      • BrooklynBus

        Well then, how does Google show current traffic congestion on its maps?

        • Andrew

          I repeat: “This is not a tool to report traffic congestion, much as Allan Rosen wishes it were.”

          Nobody said that Google can’t estimate traffic congestion.

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