THE COMMUTE: My article about traffic congestion last week sparked a lot of criticism, specifically on SubChat, from those accusing me of being an automobile lover and bicycle hater. Of course, those advocating that we dedicate more street space to bicycles and pedestrians, and who do everything possible to discourage automobile use, misinterpreted my comments.
Archive for the tag 'traffic'
In New York City, the streets are dangerous. If you are young and have all your faculties, sometimes you forget how important it is to be able to sprint or hop at the last second to dodge a speeding car or step out of the way of a bicycle. These feats of agility are not always an option to many seniors, and as a result, they are most at risk for getting killed on the streets. A study released by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign revealed that people over 60 years old are disproportionately at risk of being killed in collisions with vehicles while walking.
The key findings by the report paint clearly how in danger seniors are when they go out walking:3
- 413 older pedestrians (60 years and older) have been killed in collisions with cars in our region from 2009 through 2011.
- Older pedestrians in the tri-state region represent 18.7 percent of the population, but account for 33.3 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.
- Older pedestrians in the tri-state region are more than 2.2 times as likely to be killed in a collision with a vehicle than those under 60.
- Almost 60 percent of older pedestrian fatalities occurred on arterial roads [the most dangerous roads].
For Brooklyn specifically, 51 seniors died in accidents between 2009-2011, tying us with Queens for the highest number of deaths in the Downstate area. More importantly, that boils down to a fatality rate of 4.05 per 100,000 seniors, making the area the 8th most dangerous spot for seniors in the entire Tri-State area. Read that again: out of every 100,000 seniors living in Brooklyn, more than four will die after being hit by a vehicle. That could be your grandma, your grandpa, an aunt or uncle or a parent. Or you.
The good news here is that the number of seniors killed in collisions has actually decreased since the last study was conducted, covering the years 2006-2008. Brooklyn was ranked the 4th most dangerous in that last study. Still, seniors are still getting killed at a disproportionate rate to the rest of the population.
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign has suggested a number of general solutions to address the problem, such as installing more curb ramps, making sure cross-walks are well marked, increasing pedestrian crossing islands and installing pedestrian countdown clocks.
However the problem gets tackled, the number one thing everyone can do to reduce street fatalities is to drive responsibly and carefully, an otherwise obvious observation that Southern Brooklyn drivers can’t seem to wrap their heads around.
Last night, beginning at 10:00 p.m., the three lanes of the eastbound Belt Parkway between the Paerdegat Basin Bridge and Fresh Creek Basin Bridge (between exits 11 and 13), shifted right – leading commuters from the existing roadway to the newly completed roadway. That’ll allow a smoother transition onto the recently constructed eastbound bridge.
Have you been on the new road and bridge yet? Better? We hope so. ‘Cause it’s taking long enough, and the entire project – which includes replacing a total of seven Belt Parkway bridges – isn’t slated to be completed until 2017.
THE COMMUTE: Sure there are a lot of cars on the road, but just to say that’s what causes traffic congestion is overly simplistic. Yet that’s what many believe. Just get rid of all the cars, encourage the use of bikes by building more bike lanes, and improve mass transit, and all our congestion problems will be solved. We will all be healthier breathing in fewer pollutants and we all would be better off. Hogwash.
The following is a notice from the National Weather Service.
Notification issued on 7/1/13 at 10:18 AM. The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning citywide until 1:00 PM. Excessive runoff from heavy rainfall will cause flooding of urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses as well as other drainage areas and low lying spots. Do not drive your vehicle into areas where the water covers the roadway. The water depth may be too great to allow your car to cross safely. Move to higher ground. For the latest information visit: http://www.weather.gov/nyc.
Stay safe and be smart everybody.
UPDATE (1:15 p.m.): The Flash Flood Warning has been extended until 3 p.m.
It is now nearly nine months since Superstorm Sandy caused an almost unprecedented level of destruction and everything has still not been put back together. NY 1 is reporting that residents in Brighton Beach are growing increasingly angry over the city’s failure to replace street signs lost in the storm.
The loss of the Brighton 2nd Lane sign at the intersection of Brighton 1st Street has caused confusion for residents, frustration compounded by the lack of a sign one block east at the intersection of Brighton 2nd place.
“I’ve had problems with UPS deliveries, I’ve had problems with people trying to find the house. They know the address but they can’t find the street,” resident Francis Caccavo told NY1.
Resident Lenny Shtab claims that he has contacted 311 numerous times but “nothing has been done.”
NY1 contacted the Department of Transportation which promised an inspection of the area, until then, good luck finding Brighton 2nd Lane.
Speed enforcement cameras are coming to select school zones across the city. The New York Times is reporting that the state legislature passed a bill that would install the controversial cameras in 20 school zones as part of a five-year pilot program.
Speeding across the city, especially in Brooklyn, has been a lightning rod of controversy in recent months. State Senators Marty Golden, Dean Skelos and Simcha Felder led the opposition against the plan to install speed enforcement cameras citywide, arguing that they wouldn’t be effective and might cost police jobs. Their opposition led to an explosion of rage from camera proponent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who demanded that constituents personally hold them responsible the next time someone dies in a speeding accident.
The fight for speed enforcement cameras was further politicized when it was revealed that Golden and Felder were willing to trade support for the cameras if Bloomberg supported a plan to pay for busing for private yeshivas. Bloomberg rejected that plan.
The Times described that the fight over speed enforcement cameras underscored the ongoing problem of requiring Albany to legislate city matters:
The fight over the speed cameras — similar proposals had stalled in Albany for years — was yet another example of how what are considered local issues often require state approval, to the frustration of city officials. New York City’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, said on Saturday that the city should be given the authority to install speed or red-light cameras “without the need for an all-out legislative campaign in Albany.”
A school zone is officially defined as a quarter-mile space surrounding a school. In New York City, there are 1,700 public schools, not counting the private ones, so the approved legislation is serving as a five-year test to possibly pave the way for a broader citywide plan.
“Once parents realize, ‘Hey there’s this great option, but the city isn’t going to be able to bring it to me for who knows how long,’ I think there’s gonna be a lot of pressure from all over the city,” Juan Martinez, the general counsel for Transportation Alternatives, told Capital New York.
As we previously reported, those caught by the cameras would be subject to a $50 fine and the cameras will only be active one hour before and after the school day starts and ends.
Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the legislation into law.
Here’s a story that I think most area residents can file under “No shit.” Still, while we knew the truth through our own experience, there’s now some data that proves Brooklyn has some of the city’s most reckless drivers.
WNYC is reporting that a study conducted by Transportation Alternatives (TA) found 88 percent of Brooklyn drivers broke the speed the limit. As a result of practically everyone in Brooklyn gunning it up and down the avenues, traffic deaths in Brooklyn rank the highest citywide.
We previously reported on the crazy speeding statistics that placed the 61st Precinct, which includes Sheepshead Bay, as the second most ticketed area in all of Brooklyn. As a result of all the lead-footed driving, traffic deaths have ballooned and a political battle has broken out between lawmakers looking to solve the problem. As politicians remain gridlocked over the issue of installing speed enforcement cameras citywide, Juan Martinez, a TA representative, put the speeding problem in stark terms.
“Speeding is the number one cause of death in traffic. Speeding drivers kill more New Yorkers than drunk drivers and drivers on cell phones combined,” Martinez told WNYC. According to a New York Daily News report, 79 people died in crashes in Brooklyn in 2011 (the most recent available data), eclipsing Queens (67), the Bronx (65), Manhattan (45) and Staten Island (12).
The most dangerous roads in Brooklyn include Kent Avenue in Williamsburg and Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge where cars are routinely clocked at 60 mph, twice the legal limit. Despite all the twisted metal and carnage, State Senator Marty Golden remained adamant in his opposition to speed enforcement cameras.
“Cameras won’t stop speeding in New York,” Golden told the Daily News. “You need a combination of things … speeding zones by schools, more stop signs.”
The proposed installation of speed enforcement cameras across the city has been touted by some legislators and opposed by others, but now there is a chance that a slimmed down version of the plan has a chance of actually happening. Streetsblog is reporting that legislation to install cameras in school zones might have enough support to pass.
The battle over installing a network of speed enforcement cameras across the city has been between politicians like Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who believes it’s a common sense measure that will cut down on accidents and hit-and-runs, and politicians like State Senator Marty Golden, who believes that the cameras will make mistakes and also serve as an excuse to cut cop jobs. A deal to approve the cameras was nixed when Bloomberg refused to back funding that would pay for private Yeshiva busing in the districts of Golden and State Senator Simcha Felder.
Now, a new deal might get passed that is significantly less extensive then a comprehensive citywide installation of cameras. Under the new legislation, only 20 cameras would be installed and only in school zones and would only be active one hour before and after the school day starts and ends. Fines for drivers caught on the cameras would be $50 and they would receive no points on their licenses. While limited, proponents of speed enforcement cameras see this legislation as a necessary first step.
“What we are doing is getting our foot in the door. This is the start of the program,” Transportation Alternatives general counsel Juan Martinez told Streets Blog. “The key is to get the authorization so we can start eliminating these needless deaths.”
While Golden has not yet thrown his support behind the new measure, Martinez believes there is hope that he will change his mind on this slimmed down version of the legislation.
“He’s been on the right side of these issues for a long time,” Martinez told Streets Blog. “I think he gets the speeding issue.”
The MTA has announced scheduled overnight closures of the pedestrian walkway at Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.
The walkway will be closed each night between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. beginning Monday, May 20 through Friday, May 24. Workers will be replacing 2,500-square-feet of protective overlay along the walkway.