Archive for the tag 'friends of ocean parkway'

Source: Sébastien Santoro via Wikimedia Commons

A report from the American Automobile Association (AAA) came out last month stating that red light cameras rigged to traffic lights on Ocean Parkway and Emmons Avenue are 15 percent shorter than the average three second time for a yellow light to change into a red light.

The nationwide not-for-profit group called for widespread changes in New York’s yellow traffic light timings based on their findings. New York does not have a legal time requirement for a yellow light, and AAA claimed that this is a danger for pedestrians and drivers.

Now, information has come from the Department of Transportation that states the study done by AAA was completely bogus because the intersections they claim to have surveyed are timed at three seconds, an appropriate duration, while some of the intersections in question don’t even have red light cameras.

AAA is now saying it’s study wasn’t all that much a study at all.

“It wasn’t really a study,”said AAA Spokesperson Robert Sinclair, in a story published by Streets Blog. “It was an ad-hoc survey.”

What is factual is that the cameras brought in a lot of money from tickets issued, up to $235 million in funds in the past five years. As we’ve stated before, many drivers and advocates say that the cameras and quick-to-change lights are a danger and a way to collect quick revenue, rather than a means to control traffic safety.

After the AAA reports surfaced, DOT claimed they did their own survey on the intersections AAA mentioned and found them to be within regulation. They also put up a frequently-asked-questions post on their site refuting the claims that AAA made:

Myth: Traffic signals are timed with shorter yellow signals to snare motorists.

Fact: New York City’s traffic signals are all timed to provide a minimum of 3 seconds of yellow light, which is consistent with national guidelines. Red-light cameras take pictures 0.3 seconds after the light has turned red.

Myth: A news report found four camera locations where signals were timed to less than 3 seconds.

Fact: All four locations reported on were immediately inspected and all were found to have appropriate timing. Two of the four intersections reported on didn’t even have red-light cameras. There has been no substantiation that any red-light cameras in this report were improperly timed or led to any violation being issued incorrectly.

AAA still states that the unregulated lights need to be addressed.

“Whatever it takes — if it’s a city law, if it’s a state law, there need to be some standards put into place,” said Sinclair.

(Source: DaveBleasdale/Flickr)

If you find yourself waiting at a traffic light on Ocean Parkway or Emmons Avenue and feel the need for speed, it might be wise to cool your engines.

According to the New York Post, the city’s newly installed red light cameras are rigged to traffic lights with faster than average yellow lights. The duration of a “regular” yellow traffic light is three seconds, while lights rigged with cameras that catch speeders and red light violators have been clocked as low as 2.53 seconds, according to a study done by the AAA.

As you might already expect, these shorter yellow lights have brought in a boatload of revenue, racking up $235 million in funds in the past five years, and upwards of $47 million last year alone.

DOT spokeswoman Nicole Garcia suggested there’s no discrepancy between camera-monitored intersections and others, but did note that, if there was, the city has every right to do so.

“There is no legal requirement for the length of a yellow signal … Our practice is consistent with federal guidelines that ‘the yellow … should have a minimum duration of three seconds.’ This provides adequate time for a motorist traveling the speed limit to come to a stop.”

As we’ve covered previously, some say the cameras attached to the lights show no mercy when recording violators, punishing motorists with $50 tickets for cruising through the light a fraction of a second too late.

The city insists that the cameras promote safety, but when the lights are rigged, all signs seem to point towards a cheap source of massive revenue, not protection.

[via Friends of Ocean Parkway]

The Brooklyn Half Marathon kicked off on Saturday, bringing a brigade of 15,000 runners to Ocean Parkway and the Coney Island boardwalk.

For many, it was a great day of fun and sun, as runners finished up before noon and chowed down at Coney Island restaurants. But drivers and residents around the parkway groaned at the inconvenience, and found the communication about road closures and detours to be lacking.

Allan Shweky, founder of Friends of Ocean Parkway, sent in the photos in this post that show both sides of marathon: runners having fun, and drivers getting screwed. He writes with the following suggestion for future years:

Traffic gridlock along the southbound service road of Ocean Parkway could have been eased on Saturday if there was a plan to find the best detour routes for drivers (probably most of them) who wanted to go to the eastbound Belt Parkway..  For example, in one of the photo drivers should have been diverted at this point to take the belt service road west to Shell road, turn left and swing back around to the eastbound Belt service road that leads directly to the onramp of the BP.  But traffic was kept in this ridiculous single file which forced drivers to go past Lincoln HS before they could turn right to find the Belt entrance to go east. Here are a few photos of gridlock on Neptune Avenue, Seabreeze Avenue, Coney Island Avenue and the Belt.  The photo of people waiting in front of Coney Island Hospital for a bus (B1,B36, or B4) without any information posted on the detour.  What happened with the “service changes” that the MTA is so diligent in posting at all affected subway stations. (I spoke to one bus driver who was just given the new route but didn’t know how to get to the Belt).   Down near the Belt the buses would get to the other side of OP by taking the Belt Pkwy. I can’t speak for bus routes further north on Ocean Pkwy.   Did you get any feedback on the marathon impact on the residents of our community?

And as far as I know only your newspaper listed the new bus routes.  Signs should have been posted on all bus shelters in the affected areas.

A real failure to communicate.

What did you think of the marathon? Could planning have been improved?

Check out the rest of Allan’s photos.

A photo of a car-less Ocean Parkway, after the 2010 Half Marathon (Source: AMRosario/Flickr)

Fifteen thousands runners will trot down Ocean Parkway from Prospect Park to Coney Island Avenue on Saturday, as a larger-than-ever Brooklyn Half Marthon takes to the streets.

The marathon will spur rolling street closures down Ocean Parkway as runners arrive on the block. They’ll reopen as the last participants come through, with every street expected to fully reopen by 11:30 a.m. The marathon ends on the Riegelmann Boardwalk, an element that, along with the street closures, drew the ire of local residents.

Along with the street closures, the following buses will be detoured from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.:

  • B1, B11, B3, B35, B36, B4, B41, B6, B68, B8, B82, B9

Full details of each detour provided after the jump.

A photo of a car-less Ocean Parkway, after the 2010 Half Marathon (Source: AMRosario/Flickr)

As organizers at the New York Road Runners plan to nearly triple the number of participants in the Brooklyn Half Marathon this year, which runs down Ocean Parkway, locals are fuming over potential traffic snarls and damage to the Coney Island Boardwalk.

Sizable changes were made to the route of this year’s Brooklyn Half Marathon to accommodate as many as 15,000 runners – up from 5,921 last year. The race, scheduled to take place on May 19, takes runners down a long stretch of Ocean Parkway, ending on the Riegelmann Boardwalk in Coney Island – sparking concern from residents and preservationists.

“What is the plan for Ocean Parkway? How will pedestrians be able to cross the street and how will traffic get around?” asked Allan Shweky, founder of Friends of Ocean Parkway. “The only other alternative is really the Belt Parkway.”

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