Archive for the tag 'pedestrian safety'

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.

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.

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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.

bedford

As our tipster Andrey G. wrote to us with the photo above, “Finally, a left turn signal on Bedford & Emmons – It’s finally here!”

A new left turn signal is the first of a few traffic safety improvements coming to Emmons Avenue and Bedford Avenue after years of complaints from residents that low visibility at the intersection frequently causes accidents.

The signal was installed some time in the last week. It was approved months ago, according to Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo.

The agency agreed to a traffic study at the intersection in 2012. Previous requests to get additional safety measures had been denied by the agency, but they finally reversed course after a spate of accidents that year – including one that left several people injured just a week after receiving the request from the Community Board.

Now that the signal is installed, the Department of Transportation will implement daylighting at the median. Daylighting involves eliminating one or two parking spaces from the edge of the intersection so that turning cars can better see oncoming traffic.

Scavo said the agency is likely just waiting for the weather to improve a bit before laying down the stripes and “no parking” signs.

Source: jeweledlion/Flickr

Councilman Chaim Deutsch has advised us that there are nearly 100 vacancies for crossing guard positions across New York City, making a potentially dangerous situation for children – and creating an opportunity for those looking for part-time employment.

Crossing guards are employed by the New York Police Department, and keep the streets safe for crossing children at both public and private schools. According to Deutsch, the NYPD had 92 vacancies as of mid-January. He’s encouraging residents to visit their local precinct and sign up.

“Establishing public safety in my community has always been my top priority,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “By applying for a position as an NYPD Crossing Guard, you will be helping to protect neighborhood children while getting paid and obtaining excellent benefits, a win-win situation.”

Here are the details on the job:

There are no formal requirements of education or experience. School Crossing Guards work five-hour days for a maximum of 25 hours per week. Schedules may vary by school, but are generally from 7:00 am to 9:30 am, and 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm. The starting rate of pay is $9.88 per hour. Every effort is made to assign guards to a school within the precinct where they reside. School Crossing Guards are eligible to enroll in a city-sponsored health insurance program if they work 20 hours per week on a steady basis. All candidates must be able to understand and be understood in English, in addition to passing a qualifying medical examination and a character investigation.

In addition to visiting your precinct, you can find the application here.

Source: formulanone/Flickr

Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday unveiled the 63-points of his Vision Zero proposal aimed at eliminating pedestrian deaths, and some of the steps make Michael Bloomberg look like a Detroit industry lobbyist.

De Blasio’s plan pushes a citywide reduction of the speed limit to 25 miles per hour from the current 30, as well as the installation of more speed and red light cameras, more cops focused on moving violations, and – everyone’s favorites – more speed bumps, bike lanes and possibly pedestrian plazas across the five boroughs.

It’s not all bad news for me-first drivers; the plan also calls for widening parking lanes to keep delivery vehicles out of travel lanes, and investigating an automated system that would penalize taxicabs by pausing their meters if the driver exceeds the speed limit. They’re also looking at improving street lighting at more than 1,000 intersections.

Here’s some background from the New York Times:

Some of the mayor’s proposals — like lowering the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour from 30 and expanding the installation of red-light and speed-tracking cameras that issue tickets — require approval in the state capital, where the administration is asking lawmakers to approve a tax increase on the city’s top earners to finance prekindergarten programs.

Though the Bloomberg administration pressed the Legislature for years, with mixed success, to approve the expansion of automated enforcement cameras, Mr. de Blasio predicted “a receptive audience in Albany” this time around.

Pursuing jaywalkers will not remain a part of the plan, de Blasio noted, although the city has issued 215 summonses for jaywalking in a little over a month, compared to 27 over the same period last year.

More cops are also proposed, particularly to crack down on bad turning. amNY reports:

Citing police statistics that speeding and “inappropriate turning” were to blame in 70% of pedestrian fatalities, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the department would increase the number of officers devoted to deterring bad driving and investigating crashes.

There are about 250 pedestrians deaths and 4,000 serious injuries a year, the report says.

Some more stats from the Wall Street Journal:

Since Mr. de Blasio took office Jan. 1, more than 20 people have been killed in traffic crashes, he said. In 2013, according to a preliminary tally, there were 286 traffic deaths, a 3% increase from 2012 and a 15% increase from 2011.

On a related note, the city doled out nearly 4,000 speeding tickets since the installation of speed cameras last month, the mayor said.

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A woman attempts to pass beneath the B/Q line at Avenue Y, a daunting task.

New York City residents and business owners are required to clear their sidewalks after snow storms or face heavy fines from city authorities. But city agencies have failed to clear many public sidewalks and those abutting government property, suggesting a double standard that puts pedestrians at risk.

With 48 inches of snow falling over the course of 22 days since January 1, deadbeat landlords who’ve failed to shovel paths have become a reviled caricature in New York City. Currently, they could face fines of $150, and a local City Council member has introduced new legislation that would direct city workers to clear private sidewalks and forward the bill to the property owner.

But while city workers may one day be deployed to clear private sidewalks, Sheepshead Bites has found a number of government-owned sidewalks that those same city workers have failed to clear.

Among the worst spots this publication surveyed yesterday are the underpasses of the B/Q Brighton line, all located between East 15th Street and East 16th Street. From Sheepshead Bay Road to Kings Highway, not one of the half dozen underpasses without a subway station had clear paths shoveled on both sides of the street, and even some of those with a subway station were left uncleared. In most locations, the northern side of the street was partially shoveled, while the southern side remained untouched.

Keep reading to learn whose responsibility it is, and view the pictures of their neglect.

Eric Adams

Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams issued a statement yesterday afternoon urging fellow Brooklynites to “take extra precautions” for their safety. The statement came hours after a second death in Brooklyn to be caused by a snow removal vehicle in just 10 days.

“Today, Brooklyn mourns the passing of Min Lin, who was fatally struck by a snowplow vehicle in Bay Ridge, as well as prays for the health of her newborn child. Death is always a tragic occurrence, and it is heightened here because, just ten days ago, our borough lost Stanislav Chernyshov when a backhoe pushing snow fatally struck him in Brighton Beach,” said Adams. “These incidents underscore the need for motorists, as well as cyclists and pedestrians, to take extra precautions in hazardous weather conditions, such as we have experienced this winter. Additionally, we must further impress the importance of safe driving and operation of snow removal vehicles, which must include proper training for operators.”

Both incidents occurred in Southern Brooklyn, and the vehicles were both privately operated plows clearing snow from private property. In yesterday’s incident, 36-year-old Min Lin, who was pregnant, was hit by a plow clearing the parking lot of Fei Long Market at 6301 8th Avenue. The unborn child survived the accident but is in critical condition at Maimonides Hospital.

On February 3, Stanislav Chernyshov was killed by a CAT vehicle removing snow from the Oceana condominium complex in Brighton Beach.

In another incident on February 5, a man suffered minor injuries after being knocked down on Coney Island Avenue by a wall of snow as a speeding Department of Sanitation snow plow passed - an incident caught on video that went viral. The driver has been disciplined by the agency, according to reports.

File photo

A man is in serious condition after being struck by a snow plow in Brighton Beach.

The incident happened around noon. The man, believed to be in his 60s according to the Daily News, was walking on Oceana Drive West near Brighton Beach Avenue outside of the Oceana Condominium complex when the plow hit him.

Scanner reports indicated the man was pinned under the plow. He has been taken to Coney Island Hospital in serious condition. The NYPD’s Highway units are on the scene investigating the circumstances.

We are awaiting more information from authorities.

UPDATE (1:58 p.m.): Facebook reader Sabina S. tells us that the man has died. We are still awaiting confirmation from official sources

UPDATE (2:04 p.m.): Councilman Chaim Deutsch has followed up, informing Sheepshead Bites that the man did pass away. The councilman is expected to issue a statement shortly, but confirmed that it was a privately operated caterpillar contracted by the Oceana complex for snow removal operations that struck the man.

Our thoughts here at Sheepshead Bites are with the victim’s family

Correction: A previous version of this post indicated that it was confirmed to be a Department of Sanitation vehicle that struck the man. That information, which was live on this site for less than 5 minutes, has been amended.

Photo from the scene, submitted by Sabina S.

Photo from the scene, submitted by Sabina S.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

Lamborghini Aventador Crash in Brooklin Splits Car in Half

Source: AutoEvolution.com

mapA frustrated Mill Basin resident has started a petition to add stop signs on a residential block after the latest in a series of accidents left at least one man injured and a $400,000 Lamborghini Aventador split in two on Saturday.

The accident occurred at East 66th Street and Gaylord Drive North, when a speeding white Lamborghini and a four-door sedan collided as the sedan turned to enter a driveway. The Lamborghini veered off, hitting a utility pole, and ripping into two parts, one of which was sent barreling 30 feet away into a neighbor’s fence.

The neighbor caught the collision on his security video, which you can see below:

The condition of the Lamborghini driver and any potential passengers remains unknown at this time. The driver of the sedan was hospitalized but is expected to recover, according to a post on Instagram by his sister:

I’m so thankful that my brother is alive and well after this tragic accident he had tonight. He was hit by a Lamborghini doing 100mph. The Lamborghini hit him then spun out into a tree and split in half and my brother was hospitalized he’s lucky to be alive right now after something like this. I thank God he’s ok

She also posted more photos of the wreckage, which you can see at the end of this post.

The neighbor who recorded the video, Michael Yuryev, said this kind of accident is becoming typical in the community.

“It seems to be a major problem that cars race down E66th st all the time because last year, another accident happened on the same corner and hit a Electric pole,” Yuryev wrote to Sheepshead Bites. “The most disturbing fact is that MANY of these individuals who race down e66th are Mill Basin Residents and I have seen the same cars racing/speeding and parked in people’s driveways and garages.”

To make the community safer, Yuryev suggests adding stop signs or speed bumps throughout the neighborhood, which would help reclaim the streets from would-be drag racers. Yuryev has sent a letter to Assemblyman Alan Maisel and Councilman Lew Fidler requesting the change, and has also kicked off an online petition.

“Remember, it is only a matter of time before someone gets injured or killed by another reckless driver speeding down our neighborhood where our loved ones and friends walk up and down everyday,” Yuryev writes in the petition.

See more photos from this dramatic accident.

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