Archive for the tag 'mark treyger'

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.

A DOT speed-enforcement camera sits at this location, fining people who fail to slow down after exiting the highway. (Source: Google Maps)

A DOT speed-enforcement camera sits at this location, fining people who fail to slow down after exiting the highway. (Source: Google Maps)

A Department of Transportation spokesperson refuted Councilman Chaim Deutsch’s claim that a local speed enforcement camera gave out 6,000 violations in a single day. But in a bizarre e-mail exchange, the agency spokesperson refused to provide the actual peak number, instead giving a randomly selected count that was revealed to be below the peak. (Update: The DOT said Wednesday morning that they issued 1,551 violations on July 7, suggesting that that is the peak date.)

Sheepshead Bites first reported yesterday that the controversial camera, at the base of a Belt Parkway exit ramp on Shore Parkway near Ocean Parkway, doled out approximately 6,000 violations in just one day, according to Deutsch.

The agency’s spokesperson contacted Sheepshead Bites this morning, stating that the number of violations that was publicized was incorrect, and that they would follow up with the correct number. The press officer later said that 1,015 violations were issued on the day being discussed.

Neither Sheepshead Bites nor Councilman Deutsch had specified the date in which 6,000 violations were allegedly issued.

Sheepshead Bites requested further information from the Department of Transportation spokesperson, including the date they sampled from and the number of violations given on the peak day since the camera was implemented.

The Department of Transportation spokesperson said the number given was from July 29, and that the highest number around that date was 1,266; the press officer added that most days were under 1,100. Though asked, the rep would not say if that encompassed the entire time period in which the camera was active.

We asked for the significance of the July 29 date; the spokesperson said it was given as an example. The rep did not say why they chose that date, or why they plucked a date that their own numbers suggested was below average.

Sheepshead Bites pressed on, asking for the number of violations given on the day in which the most violations were given, going back to the date of implementation.

The agency repeated their claim that the Council member was never told the number of violations issued in one day was 6,000.

Despite two additional follow-ups, the agency flack has not stated the number of violations issued on the peak day. After an attempt by the spokesperson to change the subject of the inquiry, the spokesperson has since stopped responding to our emails.

Deutsch, who supports the use of the camera on the condition that the DOT add signage to give drivers a fair chance, declined to comment on the DOT’s rebuttal. Instead, he said, it’s more important that the streets be made safe.

“When someone gets hurt or someone gets killed in a car accident, their families don’t look at statistics,” he said. “At the end of the day we need to make sure our roads are safe.”

Camera enforcement at that location remains in effect.

UPDATE (September 24 @ 10am): The Department of Transportation spokesperson told Sheepshead Bites this morning that 1,551 violations were issued on July 7, suggesting that this was the peak date.

A DOT speed-enforcement camera sits at this location, fining people who fail to slow down after exiting the highway. (Source: Google Maps)

DOT speed-enforcement camera sits at this location, fining people who fail to slow down after exiting the highway. (Source: Google Maps)

That’s some fast money.

The speed enforcement camera stationed at the base of a Belt Parkway exit ramp near Ocean Parkway issued approximately 6,000 violations in just one day, earning the city about $300,000 in revenue, according to Councilman Chaim Deutsch.

The camera earned notoriety earlier this month when Sheepshead Bites revealed its location on Shore Parkway between Ocean Parkway and West Avenue, at the very end of a 400-foot-long exit ramp from the Belt Parkway. Locals and Councilman Mark Treyger expressed outrage at the placement, calling it a trap. But the numbers have led Councilman Chaim Deutsch, in whose district the camera is located, to hail it as a success.

“There were 6,000 summonses issued in one day coming off the Belt Parkway. Now it is almost to zero, so the camera is helping,” Deutsch told members of the Manhattan Beach Community Group at a public meeting last week. “But we still want to make sure that people slow down, [that they] have enough time to slow down carefully when they come off the ramp.”

The cameras photograph any vehicles traveling faster than 10mph over the speed limit and send a violation in the mail within 30 days. The fine is $50.

Approximate location of the camera, between the exit and entrance ramps. (Source: Google Maps)

Approximate location of the camera, between the exit and entrance ramps. (Source: Google Maps)

Deutsch brushed off concerns that the camera could be a speed trap, saying that the steep reduction in the weeks it has been there shows that drivers are changing their behavior. To make sure it’s not all about revenue, he’s urging the Department of Transportation to add signage on the Belt Parkway just before the ramp indicating that there is a speed camera in the vicinity.

“I support that if anyone is speeding, enormous amount of speeds, they deserve a summons,” Deutsch told Sheepshead Bites. “But I dont want it to be a ‘gotcha’ camera, and people need to be aware there’s a camera and they should exit the ramp safely.”

He also said that while locals have learned the location and adjusted accordingly, the next season of visitors to Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay would benefit from the early warning while also achieve the goal of safer driving.

“Coming next summer when people come to visit the waterfront communities you’re going to have new people coming in, fresh faces to the area, so at the end of the day you want to slow traffic down when they come off the ramp,” he said. He also doesn’t want drivers slamming on the brakes when they see the camera at the last moment. “They’ll slam on the brakes. So if you have signage several hundred feet before the ramp it gives the driver a chance to slow down and get off safely.”

He said the DOT is studying his proposal.

The DOT did not return several messages requesting confirmation of Deutsch’s numbers, or whether or not they were considering additional signage.

Previously, the DOT told Sheepshead Bites they were not currently planning to relocate the cameras as Councilman Treyger had requested. They added that, at 400 feet long, the Belt Parkway’s exit ramp provided drivers with sufficient space to safely reduce speed.

UPDATE (September 23 @ 4:15pm): A Department of Transportation spokesperson said Deutsch’s claim is incorrect, but refused to reveal the peak number.

UPDATE (September 24 @ 10am): The Department of Transportation spokesperson told Sheepshead Bites this morning that 1,551 violations were issued on July 7, suggesting that this was the peak day.

Treyger and 61st Precinct Commanding Officer Carlos Valdez at the scene. (Source: Conor Greene)

Treyger and 61st Precinct Commanding Officer Carlos Valdez at the scene. (Source: Conor Greene)

After Sheepshead Bites’ report yesterday about a swastika appearing on the American Legion building at 300 Avenue X, elected officials condemned the hateful act and authorities rushed to have it investigated and removed today.

Members of the Marlboro Memorial Post 1437 American Legion chapter were apparently unaware of the graffiti. Councilman Mark Treyger’s office visited the site to inform them, and the pol called the NYPD’s 61st Precinct commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez, to the scene to report the incident as a hate crime.

The pol then called the mayor’s office to dispatch the Economic Development Corporation’s graffiti removal service. As of 1:45pm today, police and the EDC were on the scene. When the police wrapped up their investigation, the graffiti was immediately removed.

Treyger said he spoke to members of the American Legion post, which included World War II veterans who were glad to see the symbol of hate eliminated.

Source: Michael S.

The swastika before it was removed. Source: Michael S.

“A swastika is not just offensive to the Jewish community, it’s offensive to everybody,” Treyger said. “An attack against one part of our community is an attack against us all. We have a zero tolerance policy on that.”

He added: “I do want to commend the precinct for coming down quickly, and the mayor’s office for sending the graffiti removal van immediately.”

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz expressed his outrage at the vandalism on Facebook yesterday evening.

“I condemn the spray-painting of a swastika on American Legion Marlboro Memorial Post 1437, whose members include World War II veterans who saw the Nazi atrocities firsthand,” he wrote. “I will continue to work with authorities to ensure that the perpetrator of this hate vandalism is swiftly brought to justice. As the son of Holocaust survivors, I believe we must continue to educate people about this terrible period in our history. Ignorance is no excuse for spreading messages of hate.”

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer also reached out to Sheepshead Bites by e-mail following our report, also to condemn the graffiti. He wrote:

I condemn hate crimes—from the five boroughs of New York City to every corner of the globe. Our extraordinary diversity is one of our greatest strengths. As such, any and all acts against people based on their sex, race, religion, color, or creed are attacks that cut to the very core of who we are as New Yorkers and what this City has meant and always will mean to people around the world. We stand united against these crimes, confident that the light of peace and justice will always triumph over the darkness of hate and prejudice.

While Treyger and others expressed gratitude to Sheepshead Bites for bringing attention to the anti-Semitic vandalism, the real credit goes to tipster Michael S. who was the first to speak up about it.

If you see an issue in the neighborhood that’s not getting the attention it deserves, send details and, if available, photos and video to editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Jamaica F Train

Local leaders are putting pressure on the MTA to restore express service on the F train in Brooklyn, last experienced by commuters in 1987, while the MTA remains a bit iffy on the issue.

In a letter sent to MTA Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast today, a bipartisan group of 14 city, state, and federal leaders said that the “benefits of restoring the F train express service in Brooklyn would be felt throughout the borough with decreased travel time to Manhattan, decreased delays along the entire line, and a better quality of life for all subway riders in our communities.”

To that end, they’d like to see limited northbound F express service restored in the mornings and southbound F express service in the evenings, saying this could also help ease crowding caused by an increase in ridership over the past year at 19 of the 22 Brooklyn F stops.

The MTA has been studying the possibility, but says that track work on the Culver Viaduct would have to be completed before they could do it — and they don’t have an end date for that, reports AM New York. Additionally, there are other challenges to restoring express service — track space for when the rails merge between the Bergen St and Jay St stops, as well as figuring out how riders at different stations will be impacted by the change.

“The largest volumes are getting on at some of the stations closer in anyway,” MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg told AM New York. “How much savings is there really? That’s why we’re doing the study, to find out.”

2009 review of the F line that State Senator Daniel Squadron created with the MTA cited those issues, and added that express service “would require additional trains and cars; such a service increase would increase operating costs.”

The elected officials who sent the letter are Borough President Eric Adams; Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Jerrold Nadler, and Michael Grimm; State Senators Martin Golden, Diane Savino, and Squadron; Assembly Members James Brennan, Steven Cymbrowitz, William Colton, and Joan Millman; and Council Members Stephen Levin, David Greenfield, and Mark Treyger.

They all believe the benefits outweigh the costs — what do you think, do we need express service back on the F?

missingThe search for a missing 73-year-old woman may have come to a tragic end, with a body believed to be Crucita “Lucy” Alvarado found on the roof of a Coney Island building nearly a month after she went missing.

Police found a decomposing body on the roof of 2930 West 30th Street last Thursday. The corpse was so decomposed the first responders could not identify it, or even determine its gender.

The medical examiner is still working to identify the body and the cause of death as of this morning, but investigators believe it to be that of Alvarado, an Alzheimer’s sufferer who went missing August 12. Alvarado lived around the corner from the West 30th Street building between Surf Avenue and Mermaid Avenue, where the body was found.

The corpse was wearing black sweatpants and a dark-hooded sweatshirt, the same clothing Alvarado was last seen wearing, amNY reports.

The body was found by a maintenance worker just after 10am, police said.

Since Alvarado went missing last month, family members and friends have plastered the Southern Brooklyn area with fliers of the missing woman.

“It’s been hell, day in and day out, nights and weekends,” Pedro Delvalle, Alvarado’s son-in-law, told the Post.

Councilman Mark Treyger, who said his office has been assisting the family in their search, released the following statement after the discovery was made.

“I am very sad to hear this terrible news, especially knowing how many loved ones have been searching for Lucy and praying for her return over the past few weeks. I send my truly heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Alvarado and will continue pray for them and assist them in any way possible,” Treyger said. “Nobody should ever face the type of ordeal that Mrs. Alvarado’s family and friends endured over the past month. Thank you to everyone who cared enough to look out for Mrs. Alvarado and help spread word of her disappearance. We must come together now as a community to be there for this family as they grieve their loss, and work as a city to find ways to help prevent this from happening to any other families.”

A DOT speed-enforcement camera sits at this location, fining people who fail to slow down after exiting the highway. (Source: Google Maps)

A DOT speed-enforcement camera sits at this location, fining people who fail to slow down after exiting the highway. (Source: Google Maps)

While opponents of a camera-enforced speed trap on a Belt Parkway exit ramp cry foul, the Department of Transportation says “tough luck.”

The agency said it has no plans to move the speed enforcement camera placed on Shore Parkway at the end of the highway’s Ocean Parkway exit ramp, despite complaints from neighbors and a local City Council member that it’s unfair and undermines the program’s credibility.

A spokesperson for DOT would not confirm the placement of the camera, saying it’s the agency’s policy not to disclose camera locations. However, the spokesperson added that there are no plans to relocate any cameras in Southern Brooklyn.

Moreover, the spokesperson disputed the assertion that it’s a “gotcha” location, noting that the ramp is approximately 400 feet long, enough distance to slow down from highway speeds, and that a sign has been placed indicating that the speed limit is 30 miles per hour.

Violations are not issued to motorists going 10 miles or less over the speed limit, the spokesperson added.

That answer isn’t good enough, said Councilman Mark Treyger. The pol’s office has been flooded with complaints from ticket recipients and yesterday he called on the agency to move the camera closer to Ocean Parkway.

“I don’t think that [the DOT] even addressed my concern. No residents asked them to measure the length of the exit ramp,” said Treyger. “We didn’t ask them to measure how long it is. We asked them, in the interest of public safety, to move it where pedestrians are actually using [a crosswalk].”

Treyger said he’s going to appeal to the agency to reconsider the location. His office will also begin notifying residents to be aware of the camera.

The councilman, a former school teacher, said the placement of the camera does little to protect students at nearby Lincoln High School or other pedestrians, since it’s not placed near a pedestrian crosswalk.

“To my knowledge I don’t believe any pedestrians are crossing near exit ramps for highways,” Treyger said. There is no sidewalk on the highway side of Shore Parkway where the camera is placed.

By moving it just a few hundred feet up the block to the Ocean Parkway intersection, they can catch motorists who are speeding through crosswalks. The current placement instead has the appearance of enforcement for revenue-generating purposes, the pol suggested.

“The goal of the speed cameras is to protect public safety and make sure people are abiding by laws. But when you place them in these ‘gotcha’ locations it really threatens to undermine the credibility of this program. We want to save lives, but ‘gotcha’ locations in my opinion don’t accomplish that goal,” he said.

Clarification (3:00 p.m.): The camera itself is in Councilman Chaim Deutsch’s district, not Treyger’s – although many affected by it are in Treyger’s district. We are reaching out to Deutsch’s office as well.

camera-1

Neighbors are crying foul over what appears to be a high-tech speed trap, after learning that the Department of Transportation placed a speed enforcement camera where they say speeding is unavoidable.

The camera is placed adjacent to Lincoln High School on Shore Parkway, between West Avenue and Ocean Parkway. It’s perched just above where the Belt Parkway exit ramp leads into the service road – catching drivers while they’re still decelerating from highway speeds.

“This camera seems to be conveniently placed so close to the exit ramp that you are almost guaranteed to set off this speed trap,” said neighbor Connie C., who was shocked to find a $50 ticket in the mail for a July 22 drive past the location. “[It's] positioned right in between the exit ramp and the entrance ramp, so basically they have you either way. As you are accelerating to get onto the ramp to enter the highway or coming off the highway at 50mph. I thought is seemed quite fishy.”

(UPDATE [September 4, 2014]: The DOT will not relocate the camera. Read that story here.)

Approximate location of the camera, between the exit and entrance ramps. (Source: Google Maps)

Approximate location of the camera, between the exit and entrance ramps. (Source: Google Maps)

Connie, who said she generally supports the use of speed cameras, isn’t the only neighbor to notice. Councilman Mark Treyger’s office said they’ve received numerous complaints and the pol is outraged at the apparent money grab.

“The role of speed cameras is to reduce speeding and increase safety in appropriate locations around our neighborhood. They should not be placed in locations like the start of an exit ramp because this ‘gotcha’ location plays into fears of many that these cameras are solely revenue generating machines,” said Treyger.

The pol is urging the DOT to move the camera closer to Ocean Parkway, where they’ll have more time to slow down after exiting the highway.

“Speed cameras can have an important role to play in our efforts to eliminate fatalities on city streets, but placing them in highly questionable locations threatens to undermine this program’s credibility,” he said.

Per a report this week, there are 23 active speed cameras operating near school intersections. They’ve issued 183,000 tickets since the first cameras came online in January. That number is about to skyrocket to 140 total speed cameras after Albany approved the expansion earlier this year.

The Department of Transportation did not return a request for comment on this article. The DOT said they will not move the camera, as the 400-foot-long ramp provides enough room to slow down safely.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Bill Colton:

Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member Bill Colton are calling on the MTA to provide public notification within 24 hours of cases of confirmed bedbug sightings on any trains, buses or in stations. The proposal comes after a number of incidents involving bedbugs on several trains along the N line, in addition to trains on the Q and 6 lines. On Monday, an N train was taken out of service at DeKalb Avenue and a conductor received medical attention as a result of bedbugs. Currently, the MTA does not have a formal policy for informing the public about these incidents.

In response, Treyger and Colton are proposing state legislation, supported by a City Council resolution, requiring the MTA to take the same steps to inform its customers as it does for other emergencies or service delays, including social media outreach. In addition, the MTA would have to detail the steps it is taking to remedy these situations and protect the public’s health while using public transportation. This proposal has support from the Transport Workers Union (TWU), whose members have been impacted by the outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Assembly Member Colton were joined at today’s press conference in front of the N train station on Kings Highway by District Leader-elect Nancy Tong and a number of residents who regularly use this line and are concerned about the lack of information from the MTA about the recent outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Colton now plan to move forward with this legislation, putting a formal procedure in place to respond to outbreaks and notify the public.

“This is an important issue that the MTA has to take much more seriously on behalf of the millions of New Yorkers that ride its buses and trains, as well as its employees. The MTA has an obligation to inform the public of any bedbug sightings or outbreaks due to the health implications that are involved. However, the MTA must also consider the economic consequences of bedbug infestations in a home, especially for working New Yorkers who cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars in fumigation or cleaning bills. The MTA can easily inform the public in much the same manner it does for service delays, and we deserve to know exactly what steps it is taking to respond to bedbug infestations,” said Council Member Treyger.

”The public has a right to know if there is a confirmed detection of bedbugs on trains or buses. The families of riders and transit workers must be given the opportunity to take protective measures to minimize the chance of bedbug infestation being transported to their homes and places of work,” said Assembly Member Colton.

“Families are rightfully worried about the disruption and large economic costs that bedbugs can cause, if carried into their homes. Families have a right to be informed as to how to protect themselves from this risk,” said District Leader-elect Tong.

West 23rd Street and Mermaid Avenue, the scene of the shooting (Source: Google Maps)

West 23rd Street and Mermaid Avenue, the scene of the shooting (Source: Google Maps)

Following a shooting yesterday in broad daylight that left one dead, and other recent violence in the neighborhood, fed up residents of Coney Island are holding a rally to call for an end to area violence.

The rally will kick off today, August 27, at 6:00 p.m. on West 24th Street and Mermaid Avenue – the site of yesterday’s fatal shooting.

It is being organized by the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative, which formed in December after a spate of fatal shootings in Coney Island around Christmas last year.

Local elected officials were slated to hold a legislative softball game at MCU Park this evening, but they canceled it out of respect following the shooting. Several, including Councilman Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, will attend the rally instead.

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