Archive for the tag 'traffic'

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.”

Gerritsen

As the flier above shows, there will be late-night lane closures on the westbound Belt Parkway at Gerritsen Inlet every night this week, from Tuesday to Friday, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

There will also be lane closures on the eastbound Belt Parkway on Thursday night, during the same time period.

Consult the flier above for more information.

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.

bridges

Source: DOT

Who would have ever imaged that the Department of Transportation’s ambitious Seven Bridges project would be ahead of schedule? Way back when the project began in 2009, our readers and community leaders expressed concern that the seven-year plan would stretch into the long haul.

But, gift of gifts, the reconstruction project is one year ahead of schedule, according to DOT authorities.

In an e-mail update on the project, their outreach team wrote:

Miscellaneous punch list work remains, but no restrictions of traffic are anticipated outside of the daily, permitted lane closures through the completion of the project in October 2014. NYCDOT would like to thank the public and motorist for their patience and we are glad to report that the project is a year ahead of schedule.

The agency expects to hit the latest milestone on Wednesday, August 21, when they will announce all major work is officially complete on the first three bridges: Paerdegat Basin, Rockaway Parkway and Fresh Creek Basin, covering the bridges between exits 11 and 14.

Meanwhile, work will soon begin on the dismantling of the next batch of bridges, eventually seeing the replacement of the Nostrand Avenue Bridge, Gerritsen Inlet Bridge, Mill Basin Bridge, and Bay Ridge Avenue Bridge.

Click to see illustrations of proposed Nostrand Ave Overpass

As we wrote in 2010:

The plans show the DOT is emphasizing increased safety, traffic flow, design aesthetics, and environmental protection as they go forward with the project.

Though the three bridges currently being worked on are the largest projects, commuters and boaters will likely experience the largest impact at the Mill Basin Bridge. Built circa 1940, the drawbridge has a 35-foot clearance. The new bridge will be a fixed structure with a 60-foot clearance. Lanes will be expanded by half a foot, and safety shoulders will be added in both directions. A new fender system will be installed to protect the bridge substructure from marine traffic.

Sheepshead Bay residents will also see benefits from the Nostrand Avenue overpass renovations. Currently the support columns of the three span structure blocks the view of car traffic underneath. The proposal aims to turn it into a single span, removing the supports to improve sight lines. Nostrand Avenue will be widened and realigned. Meanwhile, on the Belt itself, the road will be widened to provide safety shoulders, parapets will be installed, and the corrugated metal guide rails will be replaced with a reinforced concrete median.

The DOT has also made some alterations in response to community concerns. In Bergen Beach, residents complained that the new roadway configuration made visible to residents the rapid succession of headlights from the vehicles. The DOT has installed 392 feet of 6-foot-tall “glare fencing” to respond to the concern:

glare-fencing

Source: DOT

What do you think of the new bridges, and how the DOT has managed the project?

Photo courtesy of Raffi Greenstein

Photo courtesy of Raffi Greenstein

Parking is one of the more horrible pastimes that New Yorkers have dealt with in the past century. There are a million rules, fines and, what is worse, so few precious spots to cram your car into. Sheepshead Bites reader Rafi Greenstein sent us this message along with the two photographs:

Reason number #50058 to hate NYC. I spend up to 20 minutes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday looking for a parking space on the correct side of the street sometimes I get lucky but sometimes I have no choice but to park on the side where I will have to move at 12 p.m. At 12 p.m. I have no choice like many other drivers to double park I leave a big note with my phone number in case somebody needs to move. Now alternate side ends at 1:30 p.m. If I do not move at exactly that moment or sit in my car for 5 minutes before I get $150 ticket. If I had decided to stay on the wrong side of the street I would have gotten a $65 ticket and 5 minutes leeway both before and after alternate side.

Now, this is something I’m on the fence about. While the standard is obviously screwed up – Rafi should not have been penalized more than if had more blatantly broken rules by refusing to move for street cleaning – I’m also continually irked by those that think it’s okay to double park on street cleaning days. What do you think?

Photo courtesy of Raffi Greenstein

Photo courtesy of Raffi Greenstein

Photo By Allan Shweky

Photo By Allan Shweky

The shark-painted walkway stretching over Surf Avenue at the corner of West 8th Street was torn down over the weekend, just like the city promised.

Last May, we reported that the rusted bridge was being dismantled for safety reasons. Originally, the bridge was put up 50 years ago to transfer people coming off of the Culver and Brighton lines into the then newly built aquarium.

Critics, including City Council candidate Todd Dobrin, charged that the removal of the overpass would make the intersection less safe, as pedestrians would have to contend with traffic. Allan Shweky, who runs Friends of Ocean Parkway, a blog focused on pedestrian safety, provided us with the images of the now removed overpass and lent his thoughts.

“As you know a traffic light will replace the bridge. There will be a new entrance to the Boardwalk on West 10 Street but the walk from the subway will force subway riders to cross a crowded Surf Avenue to get to the beach. Will be as safe as the Stillwell Avenue intersection which is not saying much,” Shweky told us.

coney island walkway 2

Photo By Allan Shweky

coney island walkway 3

Photo By Allan Shweky

Avenue Z between E. 7 St and Coney Island Avenue (Source

Avenue Z between East 7 Street and Coney Island Avenue (Photo via Allan Shweky)

Sheepshead Bites reader and Friends of Ocean Parkway blogger Allan Shweky sent us this photo of Avenue Z between East 7 Street and Coney Island Avenue with the following message:

Here’s a pic that I shot using my new telephoto lens. Sign congestion.  There are over 30 signs of every type, shape and size on both sides of Avenue Z between E. 7 St and Coney Island Avenue. Feel safer crossing CIA?

Good question Allan.

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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