Archive for the tag 'department of transportation'

Signage for bus lane enforcement (Source: DOT)

Signage for bus lane enforcement (Source: DOT)

Councilman Chaim Deutsch is set to introduce legislation that will create a five-minute grace period in the hours of enforcement of the city’s dedicated bus lanes, which he said has created an onslaught of unfair violations for drivers caught in the lane just seconds after the cameras turn on.

Camera enforced bus lanes are the norm for the city’s Select Bus Service routes, including the B44 SBS traveling on Nostrand Avenue. Though some bus lanes are in effect all day, many are only in operation during peak commuting hours. The councilman said his office has received several complaints from constituents that they’re being ticketed just seconds after the enforcement rules begin, a “gotcha” practice that levies fines on drivers whose dashboard clocks are slightly out of sync.

“I always say ‘no two watches have the same time,’” said Deutsch. “That’s why I’m proposing a five-minute grace period, so that people wont get ticketed.”

Deutsch said one of his constituents showed him a $125 ticket for being in the Nostrand Avenue bus lane – just 10 seconds after cameras were set to turn off.

“It’s ludicrous because if someone’s watch is a minute or two off, or five minutes off … people should have a fair shot,” he said. “Same goes for if a cop pulls you over in a bus lane. On his watch, it should be at least 7:05 [if cameras turn on at 7:00].”

The bill is currently being drafted and should be introduced to the City Council in approximately 30 days. It will be sent to the Transportation Committe, which will hold a hearing on it before putting it to a vote.

Deutsch previously battled issues stemming from SBS bus lane enforcement, which first came into effect late last year. Over the summer, dozens of constituents complained that they were unaware of the new regulations and were busted driving in the lanes. But bureaucratic bungling at the Department of Transportation and Department of Finance caused a delay in mailing out the violations, so many received multiple fines before they were aware of the law. The city later agreed to waive all but the first fine during the backlogged period.

With additional reporting by Rachel Silberstein.

Source: DOT

Source: DOT

Starting tonight, there will be several nighttime closures on eastbound and westbound lanes of the Belt Parkway to accommodate construction. The work is part of the Seven Bridges Project, a renovation of the highway’s seven bridges and overpasses that began in 2009, and will continue through March 2015.

Bay Ridge Avenue (Exit 1)

At 11pm, the westbound lanes of the Belt Parkway at Bay Ridge Avenue (Exit 1) will be shifted right, to the newly completed section of the Belt Parkway Bridge at Bay Ridge Avenue. The two lanes of the eastbound roadway will remain in their current configuration. This traffic shift will allow for a work zone in the center of the bridge in order to begin the second stage of the bridge rehabilitation.

Source: DOT

Source: DOT

Gerritsen Inlet Bridge

Beginning tonight at 10pm, and continuing for approximately three weeks, overnight roadway paving will take place on both the eastbound and westbound Belt Parkway at the Gerritsen Inlet Bridge (between Exit 9 and Exit 11).  Closures will begin in the first lane at 10pm, followed by the second lane at 11:30pm. During the paving operation, one lane will remain open to traffic at all times, however delays should be expected. All travel lanes will re-open at 5am each morning, and all work will be completed in one direction before the opposite direction begins.

Work will be suspended for the holidays, on Friday, November 21, from 6am to 11:59pm, and again from Monday, November 24, 6am through Thursday, January 2, 11:59pm.

Source: peds.org

We don’t have these. But wouldn’t they be cool? (Source: peds.org)

A citywide speed limit reduction goes into effect tomorrow, November 7, dropping from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.

Part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and make streets safer, the speed limit bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support over the summer.

The new 25 MPH speed limit will affect all streets in the five boroughs, except those where a different speed limit is posted. Speed limits on highways will remain the same, and some “big streets,” which the DOT says have been designed to accommodate faster speeds, will remain at 30 MPH. Other streets — like those near schools — may have lower speed limits posted.

Eighty-nine new speed limit signs arrived at the city’s sign shop in Queens today, and workers will begin installing them on bridges, highways, and at city borders–all the “gateways” of the city. Over 3,000 signs are set to go up in the next year, costing the city over $500,000.

Initially, some local politicians criticized the bill. Councilman Jumaane Williams, who represents portions of Midwood, Flatbush, and Ditmas Park, argued it was too broad to implement citywide, while Councilman Mark Treyger, representing Coney Island and Gravesend, argued it would negatively impact working class people on their daily commutes. But no one is more furious than Denis Hamill, who suggested in a fiery Daily News editorial this week that road rage over the law may cause traffic deaths.

The NYPD vowed to use “discretion” while enforcing the law, but warned that anyone who exceeds the 25 MPH limit after today may be issued a summons.

voting

Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations will be suspended Tuesday, November 4 for Election Day. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

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

via Citizens Committee for New York City
Does your area have a project that needs some love — maybe a vacant lot that needs cleaning up, a street that needs more trees planted, walls that need graffiti removed? Show your love for your block by applying for a $1,000 grant to transform and beautify it.

The Love Your Block Grant from the Citizens Committee for New York City and NYC Service provides offers resident-led volunteer groups the chance to receive a grant of up to $1,000, as well as access to city services from the Departments of Transportation, Parks and Recreation, and Sanitation.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The applicant has to be a volunteer-led group (can be long-established, or even in the process of forming), no individuals, for-profit projects, businesses, etc.
  • The project should strengthen your community — they’re looking for things that address important community concerns, contribute to building stronger communities through neighbors working together, and result in concrete and sustainable improvements.
  • The project should be able to be carried out between April and June 2015.
  • In your application, you have to provide a budget totaling up to $1,000, and indicate which city services your group is requesting.
  • Applications are due Friday, November 7 at 11:59pm.

Any questions? Contact Imani Brown at 212-822-9567 or ibrown@citizensnyc.org.

Photo via Citizens Committee for New York City

An example of Diwali decorations. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Thursday, October 23, for Diwali. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

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

Diwali is a Hindu festival that signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil and hope over despair. The five-day event culminates with the new moon. In the days leading up to it, the approximately 80,000 Hindus in the New York metropolitan area will clean and decorate their homes, light lamps and candles, before gorging on a family feast and exchanging gifts.

It sounds like fun, and this editor is accepting invitations.

Source: Ephox Blog

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Thursday and Friday, October 16 and 17, for Shemini Atzereth and Simchas Torah. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

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

Hag Sameah, Sheepshead Bay!

crane

Avenue U between East 15th Street and East 16th Street is currently closed to traffic after a crane struck the Brighton line subway overpass.

At approximately 11:15am, a large flatbed truck carrying the crane and two concrete cylinders attempted to pass under the overpass, but it just didn’t have the clearance. The crane slammed into the overpass, ripping the bolts free from the truck and tumbling to the ground – where it’s now jammed several inches into the newly paved asphalt.

“The truck is about 35 feet away from the crane – it really smashed it. The crane is embedded into the asphalt. The bolts that were holding it onto the truck are probably a good three or four inches into the street,” said tipster Randy Contello.

crane2

FDNY responded to the scene and is still there, closing the street as they look to extract the stuck machinery from beneath the overpass.

DOT has also been summoned to the scene, but there have not been significant delays to B/Q service. Engineers are on-site determining the best strategy to remove the equipment.

No injuries were reported.

crane3

Photos by Randy Contello.

Updated 12:25pm with additional details.

Update (12:55pm): They’ve brought in a crane to remove the crane. “Craneception,” said our tipster, Randy Contello.

crane4

Update (1:56pm): The MTA said there’s been some damage to the overpass, but nothing significant. They also noted that the crane was still functional, which speaks volumes to its craftsmanship, I guess. Additionally, our tipster said that as of a minute or two ago, the crane has been loaded onto a flatbed and the street should reopen soon.

Update (2:02pm): The MTA has confirmed that the crane is owned by the MTA. They have not yet said whether the truck was being driven by an MTA employee. Portions of the above article have been edited to reflect this.

Correction/Update (3:30pm): Apparently it’s a bad day for cranes, and the MTA is getting all mixed up. They’ve retracted the previous information about this crane being owned by the MTA, and now note that that was about a similar incident in the Bronx. This appears to have been a private crane, and our tipster said the truck driving it was owned by Stillwell Construction.

View more photos.

25 mph speed limit

Photo via Governor Cuomo’s office.

We know that the biggest fans of Vision Zero and the soon-to-be-reduced speed limit are right here in Southern Brooklyn. I mean, you’ve all been telling us how much you love the idea. But rather than filling up our comments section with those love notes you can finally have those notes read by the Department of Transportation.

In observance of today’s milestone of 25 days until the implementation of the new 25mph speed limit, the department has launched a social media campaign soliciting your hopes and dreams for a slower city.

Today begins our 25 day countdown to NYC’s new speed limit of 25 MPH (unless otherwise posted). Beginning today, 25 New Yorkers will tell us why they want drivers to slow down in NYC on NYC DOT’s Facebook page.

You can join the countdown by posting why you want NYC’s new speed limit to be 25 MPH – just add #25MPH to your posts and spread the word on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Yep, all you need to do to ensure an underpaid member of the Department of Transportation’s communication team sees your feedback on a new 25mph speed limit is add #25mph to your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. And, if your posts and/or accounts are set to public, the whole world will see them, too. Just like this one:

We’re sure this will not backfire in any way, and will create a useful, constructive dialog about traffic safety. Because that’s what always happens on the internet.

The new speed limit will go into effect on November 7.

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.

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