Archive for the tag 'traffic safety'

Vision ZeroThe Vision Zero initiative to reduce traffic-related fatalities has been met with mixed reviews in car-dependent neighborhoods like those in Southern Brooklyn. Many applaud the city’s intention, but share concerns that it will unfairly penalize drivers.

Now there’s an opportunity to let legislators know how you feel about various elements of the plan, and where they can do better.

There will be a town hall meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall (209 Joralemon Street) on Tuesday, April 1, at 7 p.m., where Brooklyn residents are invited to discuss the action plan outlining how to eliminate traffic-related fatalities.

Among the initiative’s proposals is an increase in police enforcement for moving violations, implement speed and red-light cameras and reduce the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour. The plan also calls for closer scrutiny of accidents that result in critical injuries or death, and to re-engineer street designs to make them safer for pedestrians. You can see a more complete list of the Vision Zero proposals here.

Local pols have pushed for the opportunity to give voice to residents, hoping to collaborate on the implementation of proposals rather than have them handed down from up high.

“Nobody knows the streets in your community better than you do,” said Councilmember Chaim Deutsch in a press release. “This town hall meeting will give residents an opportunity to voice their concerns and speak out on potentially dangerous traffic locations.”

According to his release:

Community members who attend the meeting will be provided the opportunity to point out specific problem locations throughout the borough where they perceive hazards or additional safety concerns to exist. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and other city council members representing Brooklyn neighborhoods will also be in attendance.

 

fallingtrees

A neighbor living near Bedford Avenue and Avenue V woke to this scene today. A tree limb that weighs several hundred pounds had tumbled down from where it had loomed over his car when he parked the night before. He was lucky – it was a light grazing, and he called police to file a report, according to our tipster Marina K.

It’s a scene we see all over the neighborhood when winds are strong. And they’re pretty strong right now; in fact, we’re currently under a National Weather Service advisory warning of strong, gusty winds reaching up to 50 miles per hour. The advisory lasts until 6:00 p.m. today.

The problem is worse in the flood zone, where the salty waters or Superstorm Sandy have dried up root systems and weakened trees. We’ve seen precarious conditions on, and received lots of complaints about, tree-lined blocks in Manhattan Beach, Plumb Beach and Sheepshead Bay.

Be careful out there. Keep your eyes on the tree line, and try not to park under larger limbs. If you do, make sure to check on your car well before you have to go to work – you might find yourself calling in late to deal with the aftermath.

Source: _chrisUK/Flickr

BETWEEN THE LINES: Since the snow and ice evaporated, most drivers probably assumed maneuvering along city streets would be trouble-free. But now they have to deal with another aggravating upshot generated by this year’s severe weather — a plague of potholes. They’re not nearly as harsh as the 10 plagues God smite on the Egyptians in Exodus, but the proliferation of gaps and fissures in the pavement are, nonetheless, plentiful and problematical.

Under ordinary conditions the city’s roads are rough enough, but after two months of wicked weather and frigid temperatures, those thoroughfares have taken a licking and keep on cracking, creating one final winter souvenir — an obstacle course that scars our streets. Drivers who don’t avoid those fissures typically experience unnerving jolts or, worse, costly vehicle damage.

The only roads likely to be worse than our pothole-peppered streets may be those pitted with bomb craters in war-torn Afghanistan.

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KCC

Administrators at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard) are considering playing driver education videos on screens throughout the campus, in response to concerns from Manhattan Beach residents about reckless driving.

The announcement came from Councilman Chaim Deutsch during a recent Manhattan Beach Community Group meeting, saying that the school – whose traffic has long been a thorn in residents’ sides – affirmed during a meeting with him that they would play the videos.

Deutsch explained how he met with the school’s president to discuss the possibility of broadcasting videos that would promote safe driving, such as coming to a full stop a stop signs and always look for pedestrians.

“They agreed,” he concluded to a crowd of applause.

A spokesperson for Kingsborough, though, said that they had only agreed to look into the matter.

“We’re not doing that yet,” said Ruby Ryles, Kingsborough’s spokesperson. “It’s a matter of looking into it and evaluating the viability of it.”

Ryles noted that the school already promotes safe driving by sending emails to the student body about driving techniques.

“Kingsborough has always promoted safe driving and being a good neighbor,” Ryles said.

Deutsch, though, said he was left with an entirely different message when the meeting ended.

“I left the meeting thinking they were going to do it,” he said. “We’re all common sense people. I don’t see this being a big deal. I’m very confident that this will happen.”

Deutsch also noted that he wasn’t “singling out Kingsborough students,” but wanted to raise car safety awareness throughout the area and broadcasting videos in the school is one way of doing that.

Oriental Boulevard near Falmouth Street, the scene of an accident that left a 4-year-old dead in 2010. (Source: Reader submission)

The following is a press release from the offices Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

New York City Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn), at a joint hearing of the Transportation and Public Safety committees of the New York City Council, called upon Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to install a traffic light at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, a busy intersection adjacent to a playground, where fatal automobile accidents have occurred. As a result, Manhattan Beach residents have identified this intersection as requiring a more comprehensive traffic-control device than the current yellow-blinking signal.

(Previously on Sheepshead Bites:

“The people of Manhattan Beach have long recognized the need for traffic-calming initiatives, including a traffic light, at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, where recent traffic accidents on this busy thoroughfare have claimed two lives,” Councilman Deutsch stated. “Drivers have repeatedly complained that the flashing-yellow signal at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue is more confusing than helpful. As such, the existing blinking signal merely exacerbates an already hazardous environment for motorists and pedestrians alike.”

“Due to its close proximity to Kingsborough Community College, Leon Goldstein High School, MJHS Menorah Home & Hospital, Manhattan Beach Park, and private homes, it is imperative that the city take the necessary steps to heighten traffic safety along Oriental Boulevard.” said Council Member Deutsch. “Further tragic reminders are not necessary to emphasize the need for safety initiatives along Oriental Boulevard, and a traffic signal at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue would be a good place to start.”

Council Member Deutsch supports many of the initiatives proposed in the Vision Zero plan by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has pledged to take decisive and sustained action to reduce street fatalities and injuries. In the past year, 291 New Yorkers have been killed in car crashes, and 15,465 pedestrians and bicyclists were injured in collisions with automobiles. Unfortunately, some of these collisions, and even some deaths have occurred in recent years near Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue. In 2010, a four-year-old boy was struck and killed by a city bus, and, in 2008, a Kingsborough Community College student was killed riding his motorcycle. Both accidents occurred on Oriental Boulevard.

During a Joint Transportation and Public Safety City Council Committee hearing with DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg on February 24, Council Member Deutsch reminded the city agency of Oriental Boulevard’s infamous traffic safety history, and the obligation it had to replace the flashing-yellow light at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue with a traffic signal. At the hearing, Commissioner Trottenberg agreed that the flashing-yellow light might cause confusion.

“I look forward to working with Commissioner Trottenberg, and the Department of Transportation to ensure that the goal of Vision Zero, to eliminate traffic deaths and increase safety in New York City, quickly becomes a reality,” said Council Member Chaim Deutsch. “With that in mind, I implore the DOT to heed the call of the residents of Manhattan Beach to install a traffic signal at Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, and implement other traffic safety initiatives along Oriental Boulevard to insure that no other residents suffer the same heartbreaking fate as the young lives already lost.”

The Department of Transportation mapped out the speed of cars in areas near schools where

Well, the day has come. Starting today, speed cameras placed near schools throughout the city will begin ticketing people who are driving above the speed limit in school zones, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday.

City officials won’t release the locations of the new cameras, which were installed last September after New York State lawmakers passed a bill authorizing it. The “safety measure,” as the city is calling it, has been something former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration tried to pass for more than a decade, according to a city website.

As we reported last year, the bill is a five-year pilot program and it allows 20 cameras to be installed. As of today, the city installed six of them in the fall, but did not issue fines – only warnings. Now the cameras will issue $50 tickets for those who go faster than the 20 mile-per-hour limit of slow zones near schools.

The 20 cameras will be rotated around 100 schools that the Department of Transportation deemed to be danger zones based on their studies and findings. While the location of the cameras at any given time will remain a mystery, the list of target schools is available here.

“The cameras are mobile so we’ll be able to move them around and address high-speed locations that may change over time,” former Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan previously told WNYC. “Any school where there’s excessive speeding will be fair game. One of the deterrents is that people don’t necessarily know where they are.””

De Blasio also supports the “home rule,” which would allow the city to install cameras at their own discretion without having to wait for Albany to pass anything, a source of contention for the last mayor.

Source: MovieClips

Source: MovieClips

THE COMMUTE: Last week, Sheepshead Bites reported on legislation being considered by the City Council to lower the speed limit on city residential streets narrower than 60 feet wide from 30 mph to 25 mph. It is a compromise to legislation proposed by City Councilmember David Greenfield to lower the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph. The City Council is currently revising the language of the law, which they hope to enact before Mayor Bloomberg leaves office.

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Source: formulanone/Flickr

The New York City Council is considering legislation that would cut the speed limit citywide from 30 mph to 25 mph, and the legislative body’s leadership is hoping to see it passed before the end of the year.

The new bill took shape last week, evolving from legislation originally proposed by Councilman David Greenfield that called for 20 mph limits “on all streets fewer than 60 feet wide in areas zoned for residential purposes.” It would only affect single lane, one-way streets.

A state law, though, interfered with the lower limit. Streetsblog writes:

DOT told the council in October that state law permits the city to set speeds at 15 to 24 miles per hour only if other physical traffic-calming treatments are also implemented, or if a street is within a quarter-mile of a school.

To set speed limits at 20 mph citywide, DOT suggested lobbying Albany to change the state law before passing a local law.

(WNYC created a map showing that most streets are close enough to a school. Still legislators sought to up the limit.)

In addition to slashing the speed limit, the bill will require the Department of Transportation to introduce at least seven new “slow zones” every year, each covering five blocks. Slow zones are areas of reduced speed limits to 20 mph on roadways selected for a history of accidents, proximity to schools and community concerns.

According to the New York Times, Council Speaker Christine Quinn is hoping to see the bill passed before the end of the year, when much of the Council’s members will be ousted by term limits. The paper also reports that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is supportive of the effort and waiting for the final bill. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is likely also in favor, given that he has called for an expansion of slow zones, but a spokeswoman said it is still being considered.

Some in the taxi industry are apparently opposed to the bill, reports the Daily News. One representative testified to the Council, saying that changing the speed limit would cause confusion for drivers and give the city an opportunity to dole out more revenue-generating tickets. (Updated)

UPDATE (December 4, 2013): A representative for the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade e-mailed to say that not all in the taxi industry are opposed to the proposal. The MTBT is the largest taxi trade group in the city, and issued the following statement of support:

For over 60 years, MTBOT has made safety a priority for the thousands of drivers it represents and the millions of passengers they serve. That is why we strongly support Int. 535, a life-saving measure that would reduce the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph exclusively on residential side streets, making the City safer for our drivers, passengers and neighbors.

This important bill should not be used as an excuse to target drivers for tickets, but rather it should bring all New Yorkers together for a common goal, to make our streets safer, especially for our children and elderly residents. Research shows that 20 mph residential speed limits work—including in London and Tokyo, where reduced speed limits have cut the number of fatal crashes on residential streets by as much as half.

It’s time New York joined other major cities in passing this sensible, life-saving legislation. MTBOT calls upon the Department of Transportation to support Int. 535 and make our streets safer for all New Yorkers.

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.

Source: Kagan campaign

Source: Kagan campaign

City Council candidate Ari Kagan is reviving a several-year-old demand made by other local leaders, including one of his opponents, to improve traffic and safety conditions at the congested intersection of Coney Island Avenue, Guider Avenue and Banner Avenue on the Sheepshead Bay – Brighton Beach border.

The candidate issued a press release on Friday saying that cars making a left turn on the Belt Parkway on-ramp at Guider Avenue, from northbound Coney Island Avenue, are causing congestion and dangerous conditions.

“For drivers using Coney Island Avenue or the Belt Parkway, the intersection of Coney Island Avenue, Guider Avenue and Banner Avenue is a dangerous mess, and we are fortunate that no one has yet been badly injured in an accident at this location,” said Kagan. “Cars seeking to make a left turn must wait for cars going southbound on Coney Island Avenue to clear the intersection. Cars coming southbound that want to make a left turn onto Guider Avenue are often completely blocked off by cars waiting to turn onto the Belt Parkway. And all this happens while pedestrians are looking to cross!”

Kagan is calling on the Department of Transportation to install a left turn signal on the northbound side of Coney Island Avenue, and a clearly marked left turn lane.

“This will give northbound traffic a safe opportunity to turn left, and the marked lanes should help traffic clear the intersection quickly and safely,” he said in the press release.

The proposal puts him on common ground with one of his opponents in the race to replace term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson: Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo.

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