25 mph speed limit

The New York City Council yesterday passed legislation that reduces the citywide speed limit on residential streets from 30 miles per hour to 25 mph, a move that lawmakers and advocates said would, if properly enforced, dramatically reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities.

After state legislators voted in June to allow the city to lower the speed limit, the Council approved the bill, sponsored by Councilman David Greenfield, that aims to slow vehicles on streets where speed limits are not posted – meaning roads overseen by the state Department of Transportation (such as expressways and parkways) will not be affected. The reduction is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to dramatically curb traffic injuries and deaths over the next decade.

“Reducing the default speed limit in New York City is the lynchpin of Vision Zero,” Greenfield said in a statement to the press.

City officials said they plan to launch a three week publicity campaign about the speed reduction on Monday, according to the New York Times, and the new speed limit will go into effect on November 7.

The nonprofit Transportation Alternatives also backed the Council’s move, saying “if properly enforced, the new speed limit could prevent more than 6,500 traffic injuries in the next year and cut the annual number of pedestrian fatalities in half.”

The group urged de Blasio to quickly give his stamp of approval to the bill – which the mayor is expected to do and sent out his own statement praising the Council’s vote – and stressed that the NYPD and city Department of Transportation need “to send a stronger message about the dangers of speeding by continuing to improve traffic enforcement and public information initiatives.”

“Unsafe driver speed is the number one cause of traffic deaths in the city, killing more New Yorkers than drunk driving and cell phone use at the wheel combined,” Transportation Alternatives said in the same statement. “A pedestrian hit by a driver going 25 mph is twice as likely to survive as a person hit at 30mph.”

While Councilman Jumaane Williams, who represents portions of Midwood as well as Flatbush and Ditmas Park, was in Cleveland for the vote, he said in a statement Tuesday he would have voted against it.

“I fully support the need to reform traffic laws in New York City, and the majority of proposals offered in ‘Vision Zero,’” Williams said. “When the issue of the citywide reduction previously came before the Council, I voted to give the City discretion on lowering the speed limit, since I believed the City deserved to make this decision. At the same time, I believe that this legislation is too broad in the form passed today and I would have voted against it.”

“Instead of an overall speed limit reduction, the better approach is to study the City’s various neighborhoods and major arteries and assess, with specificity, where a lower speed limit makes the most practical sense,” Williams continued. “For example, it makes sense to carve out school zones as necessary places to have a lower speed limit, as many young people populate these areas. Many side streets and other ‘Slow Zones’ in my district would also benefit from a lower limit. In fact, I would vehemently support lowering the speed limit on many residential streets in my district – with some areas even lower than 25 mph.

Williams goes on to say that he will “continue to support increased enforcement, through speed cameras and stepped-up enforcement of current traffic rules and regulations, and have consistently done so.”

Another local member of the Council, Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island and Gravesend, voted in favor of the bill, but expressed concerns about enforcement.

“There’s little dispute that there has been a serious number of traffic-related fatalities and there’s no dispute that speed kills,” said Treyger. “The issue that I continue to raise is the issue of enforcement … and making sure it does not become a mechanism for increased revenue, like for these cameras where some of them are problematic. I think it should be for the true intention – to save lives.”

Treyger pointed to the controversial placement of a speed camera on Shore Parkway next to a Belt Parkway exit ramp, as first reported by Sheepshead Bites, as an example of “gotcha” enforcement to be avoided.

“To me, ['gotcha' enforcement] undermines the entire program [of Vision Zero]. The intention should not be to harm working families who are just trying to get home,” he said.

Another area pol praised the legislation as potentially life-saving.

“Lowering the speed limit can drastically reduce a serious fatality. My district has a high population of seniors and reducing the speed limit could mean the difference between life and death.  No one should ever have to experience the loss of a loved one to a traffic accident,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch.

To see a copy of the bill, you can go here.

Photo via Governor Andrew Cuomo.

With additional reporting by Ned Berke.

petlakh

Petlakh (Source: Facebook)

The executive director of the Kings Bay YM-YWHA was assaulted last night by what he calls “vile anti-Semitic holligans” outside of the Barclay’s Center, following the Nets – Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball game.

Executive Director Leonard Petlakh was attacked while exiting the game with his children and friends, sending him to the hospital for a fractured nose and lacerations under his eye that required eight stitches.

According to a statement from the Kings Bay Y, anti-Israel demonstrators had attempted to disrupt the game by unfurling the Palestinian flag. Barclay’s security forced the protestors to leave after they exchanged heated words with attendees.

Outside, the protestors shouted “Free Palestine” and “Your people are murderers.” One slugged Petlakh in the face and fled.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is investigating the incident, which was caught on camera.

Petlakh said he hopes that the “vile anti-Semitic hooligans masquerading as anti-Zionists will be caught soon.” He also called for increased police presence at venues that host Israel-related events.

“I am upset that my children witnessed this unprecedented violence, but I hope it sends a strong message to them to stand up for their values as proud Americans and as those who will eventually volunteer to serve in the Israel Defense Forces,” Petlakh said in a statement.

view-tower

In a neighborhood of one- and two-family homes, with buildings that max out at seven stories, it’s really hard to get an idea of the scale of a 30-story building.

Fortunately, an anonymous amateur drone enthusiast got curious and dispatched his flying machine over the building site at 1501 Voorhies Avenue, where Muss Development is planning their luxury residential tower. The rest of us schmucks in our itty bitty homes and low-rises will appear as ants.

Our tipster filmed during one of last week’s overcast days. He said he hopes to visit the site again during clearer weather. But even with the foreboding clouds obscuring the view, the drone hovered at just under 330 feet, illustrating the views to be enjoyed by the residents of the building’s penthouse. It clearly dwarfs all buildings in the area, making even the tallest structure – the St. Mark Roman Catholic Church steeple – look like a children’s toy.

The jaw-dropping view goes out for miles, and the thin outline of One World Trade Center makes an appearance in the video. On a clear day, this tower will be visible from just about anywhere you can see the skyline south of Prospect Park.

Our tipster also turned the camera down, snagging an aerial shot of the lot.

drone

Source: Ephox Blog

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Thursday and Friday, October 9 and 10, for Succoth. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

You can check out the rest of the 2014 parking calendar here.

Happy Succoth, Sheepshead Bay!

Photo by Joseph Akbrud

Photo by Joseph Akbrud

Photo by Joseph Akbrud

Source: DOT

Source: DOT

Department of Transportation contractors have wrapped up repairs to the eastbound portions of the Belt Parkway between Flatbush Avenue and Rockaway Parkway, and last night kicked off repaving of the westbound lanes on the same segment.

Crews will be milling and resurfacing portions of the westbound Belt Parkway between Rockaway Parkway and Flatbush Avenue from 11pm until 5am, beginning last night.

Full closures of all westbound lanes will occur every night of the week except Saturday night to Monday morning, and will last for approximately two weeks.

Drivers will be directed to a detour that exits at Rockaway Parkway, makes a left onto Flatlands Avenue, continues to Utica Avenue, and then proceeds south onto Flatbush Avenue. See the map above for additional details, including the alternate route using Pennsylvania Avenue.

Work will not occur on the night of Monday, October 13, in observance of Columbus Day, but it will resume Tuesday night.

 

Photo by Erica Sherman

I’d wager a bet that I already know the answer many of our readers will give to the question posed in our headline. But Gotham Gazette is the one asking the question, and we thought we’d get in on the action.

The news outlet dispatched more than a dozen reporters to Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Brooklyn’s Red Hook earlier this month asking that question. It’s part of a larger report that includes a more comprehensive survey that will be released in a few weeks. They live-blogged the initial responses, and the answers were fairly diverse.

Some said they were still going through it. Others expressed concern that there’s little to do to reverse rising sea levels, though others still pointed out that they were somewhat comforted by the measures they’ve taken to be better prepared and minimize damage. Several expressed confidence in the government’s mitigation projects, while others didn’t seem to know a lick about them.

That’s the Lower East Side and Red Hook. What about Southern Brooklyn? Do you feel like we’re better positioned to withstand severe weather now than we were two years ago?

Let us know in the comments, and take Gotham Gazette’s survey.

Click to enlarge

THE COMMUTE: In parts 1 and 2, we specifically discussed routing deficiencies in Brooklyn and hinted at similar deficiencies in Staten Island and Queens that are even more severe. This week, we will discuss…

Routing Problems In Borough Park And Bensonhurst Go Back To The 1940s!

There has been a need for through Fort Hamilton Parkway and 13th Avenue routes since the 1940s. Instead, one route fulfills the need for two. However, there was an obstacle that prevented a through 13th Avenue route. There was no bridge over the Sea Beach cut at 62nd Street until 1937, which separated the two portions of 13th Avenue. A trolley line operated over the former B1 route along 86th Street, 13th Avenue and Bay Ridge Avenue to access the ferry to Manhattan since the 1890s. The B16 bus route was added in the early 1930s along Fort Parkway and 13th Avenue to Ocean Avenue, a logical route back then. Israel Zion Hospital, a small institution located at 49th Street and 10th Avenue, did not require a north-south bus route. However, during the last 70 years it has greatly expanded, serving all of southern Brooklyn and changed its name to Maimonides Medical Center. Still, it has no north-south bus service.

Continue Reading »

Denis Volchkin (Source: Facebook)

Denis Volchkin (Source: Facebook)

She called police to defend her from her own son, and now says they went too far.

Liliya Pilipenko, 54, said cops didn’t need to kill her son, 28-year-old Denis Volchkin, when he lunged at officers armed with a knife.

“It’s not a gun, it’s not a big knife, why shoot him?” Pilipenko said to the Daily News. “It’s a horrible situation.”

Volchkin was shot dead Friday evening after police responded to Pilipenko’s 911 call of a domestic dispute. Officers had been at the East 26th Street home earlier in the day when Pilipenko said Volchkin was choking her. Volchkin fled, and returned around 7:10pm armed with knives.

Pilipenko met officers in front of the house, led them through the back door to Volchkin, who was brandishing the weapons. Cops ordered he drop the blades. Instead, he lunged, police said.

Photo by Clare K

The scene outside of Volchkin’s East 26th Street home on Friday night. Photo by Clare K.

The officers opened fire, hitting Volchkin in the chest. He was pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital.

The Daily News adds that Volkchkin had a checkered history with his family:

Between 2004 and 2009, cops were called four times to his home by Volchkin’s parents, police said. They arrested Volchkin twice for assaulting his mom, including once with a knife.

He has 11 unsealed prior arrests, cops said. Open cases include two Brooklyn busts for speeding drunk without a license that landed him in jail for 11 months, records show.

TMZ reports that back in May, Volchkin allegedly came at “Keeping up with the Kardashians” regular Jonathan Cheban with a knife in Mikasa sushi on Gravesend Neck Road, before Cheban’s bodyguard punched him.

Photo by Barbara Pearson

Photo by Jim Pearson

Shot in the parking lot outside of Party City on Nostrand Avenue.

Photo by Jim Pearson

Morning Mug is our daily showcase of photographs from our readers. If you have a photograph that you’d like to see featured, send it to photos@sheepsheadbites.com.