Archive for the tag 'traffic'

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.

belot

Two lanes of the eastbound Belt Parkway at Gerritsen Inlet Bridge will be closed for road repairs beginning tonight and lasting through the weekend.

The first lane, between Exit 9 and Exit 11, will close at 10pm tonight, followed by a second lane at 1am. During the closure, one lane will remain open to traffic at all times, and all lanes will reopen at 5am.

Weather permitting, this pattern will continue each night for approximately five nights, according to the Department of Transportation.

These closures are being done to facilitate the replacement of the bridge, which is part of the city’s Seven Bridges project, a large-scale renovation of seven spans on the Belt Parkway that began in 2009.

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

Source: Allan Shweky

The New York City Department of Transportation on Friday announced 14 new “arterial slow zones,” major corridors that will see speed limits slashed by five miles per hour as part of the Vision Zero initiative. Coney Island Avenue and Flatbush Avenue are both on the list, with implementation to begin this fall.

The first slow zones were implemented yesterday on Jerome Avenue in the Bronx and 7th Avenue in Manhattan, the first phase of the program. The speed limits will be lowered to 25 miles per hour from 30, with new “distinctive” signs with blue-and-white coloring and the name of the corridor to complement the DOT’s existing Neighborhood Slow Zone program. Alongside the signage, the streets will see increased police enforcement and temporary lighted speed boards.

The entirety of Coney Island Avenue will be converted to a slow zone in September, with Flatbush Avenue from Concord Street to Hendrickson Place (near the Belt Parkway) to follow in October.

The program is part of the Vision Zero initiative, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities citywide. Ultimately the agency will create a total of 25 arterial slow zones, according to the Vision Zero website.

Arterial roadways make up only 15 percent of the total road system but account for 60 percent of the fatalities, according to the DOT. These 14 corridors make up only 65 miles of roadway, but account for 83 fatalities.

Coney Island Avenue is 5.5 miles long, and accounted for six fatalities between 2008 and 2012, while Flatbush Avenue is 7.1 miles long and accounts for 11 fatalities.

The speed reduction required approval from Albany, which it received in June. You can find the list of all 14 arterial slow zones here.

Local pols are praising the measure, saying it will help reduce deaths at some of their district’s busiest intersections.

“Coney Island Avenue has long been a dangerous thoroughfare for seniors and others attempting to cross with a constant flow of traffic whizzing by. I’m pleased that the city is implementing these forward-thinking measures that will succeed in calming traffic and, most important, saving lives,” said Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz, in a DOT press release.

“Improving safety on our streets benefits all New Yorkers, and anyone who has crossed Coney Island Avenue knows how hectic and dangerous it can be. I am very pleased that pedestrian safety continues to be a priority for our city and that one of southern Brooklyn’s busiest streets is included in this plan,” said Councilman Mark Treyger in the same press release.

“This second phase of Vision Zero being implemented along Coney Island Avenue is an indication that my voice, in advocating for traffic calming measures, was heard,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch, also in the press release. “I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Trottenberg for improving the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists throughout my district.”

Source: NYCIBO

Source: NYCIBO

While the news that New York City will expand speed camera enforcement across the five boroughs was met with conspiratorial sneering from local drivers, revenue data suggests that the overall amount of funds collected for traffic fines has declined every year for the past four years despite the expansion of camera-enforcement programs.

That’s not to say there’s not money being made: the city pulled in more than $55 million in fiscal year 2014 (which ended on June 30), and 75 percent of that was from camera-based enforcement. The city budget for 2015 already presumes a jump to $62 million in revenue, with an even larger percentage coming from camera enforcement.

The New York City Independent Budget Office released a new infographic yesterday that charts the amount of revenue collected from traffic fines from 1999 to the present, and also shows the share of those collections that came via police-issued violations, red-light cameras, bus-lane cameras and the newest enforcement tool: speed cameras.

Some of the takeaways?

  • The proportion of revenue generated by cameras has grown from just 38 percent in 1999 to 75 percent in 2014.
  • The amount of revenue in 2014 is nearly double that collected in 1999. (Adjusted for inflation, the jump is less stark; the increase is just under $13 million.)
  • Since 2004, actual revenue from police-issued traffic violations has been on a steady decline, marginally offsetting some of the increases from camera enforcement.
  • Red-light camera revenues are the lowest they’ve been since 2007, the year before a massive expansion of the program, suggesting that camera enforcement won’t drive revenues forever.

There are two big spikes in the graph, one in 2008 and another in 2011.

The first coincided with an increase in the number of red light cameras installed around the city. After the increase, there’s a drop again. That’s probably because once drivers figure out where the cameras are, they make sure to abide by the law.

The 2011 spike came as a result of a ruling that unpaid red light summonses can count towards the threshold needed for the city to tow your car for unpaid tickets. Delinquent motorists who saw their cars impounded had to pay back those fines that year to reclaim their vehicles.

The two newest forms of camera revenue are also seeing pretty rapid growth as drivers have yet to adjust to them. Bus-lane cameras were introduced in 2011 as part of the Select Bus Service program. As that program has steadily expanded across the five boroughs, so has the number of cameras, and thus the number of violations.

Speed cameras were introduced in early 2014, with just 20 in school zones around the city. That led to $2.1 million in fines collected. But the program has been approved for massive expansion, with 120 new cameras on the way.

The city is projecting it will put $7.6 million in city coffers, but if the historical spikes from the expansion of red light cameras are any indication, it’ll probably rake in more than that before falling off over a few years.

So is it about money? It’s anybody’s guess. There’s definitely a historical increase in revenues collected but it’s not as staggering as one would think, given the massive expansion of these programs. And the data here suggests the gains appear short-lived as drivers learn to follow the rules of the road.

Here’s the above chart in an interactive format. Hover over each of the bars to see how much actual revenue was received for each method:

Source: formulanone/Flickr

Mayor Bill de Blasio won a victory in Albany early this morning when both houses of the state legislature gave the green light to lowering the New York City speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.

After concerns earlier this week that Senate Republicans could prevent the bill from coming to a vote, it passed overwhelmingly in both houses and has been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature.

The measure is a key item of de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which seeks to make streets safer and eliminate traffic deaths citywide. Several of the initiative’s proposals require approval from state lawmakers, including speed limits and the installation of speed cameras.

The idea was first floated by the mayor earlier this year, but received a tepid response from lawmakers. It became increasingly politicized, with Senate Republicans threatening to block it from coming to a vote as retribution for de Blasio’s calls for returning that legislative body to Democratic control. Senator Andrew Lanza, a Republican representing Staten Island, suggested as recently as yesterday afternoon that he would oppose the measure if it did not fold in his proposal to require stop signs be installed around all city schools.

Ultimately, de Blasio and traffic safety advocates won out in a down-to-the-wire vote during the season’s final legislative session in the capital. The bill was passed 106-13 by the Assembly in a late night session, while the Senate took it up early in the morning, passing it 58-2.

An earlier version of the bill called for the speed limit to be reduced to 20 miles per hour, but was quickly squashed by legislative leaders.

bridge

The Belt Parkway is about to get a little more congested, as the highway is slated to lose one lane at Bay Ridge Avenue beginning tomorrow night.

The lane closures will begin at 11:00 p.m., on Friday, May 30. The eastbound and westbound lanes of the Belt Parkway at Bay Ridge Avenue Bridge (Exit 1) will be shifted. The eastbound roadway, currently three lanes, will be reduced to two travel lanes. Meanwhile, the two travel lanes of the westbound roadway will be narrowed and shifted to the left-center of the bridge.

These changes are being done to allow for the establishment of a work zone at the existing right and center of the Bay Ridge Avenue Bridge in order to begin the first stage of the bridge rehabilitation.

The bridge’s overhaul is part of the city’s Seven Bridges project, a large-scale renovation of seven spans on the Belt Parkway that began in 2009. Several of the bridges are already near completion, and the beginning of the Bay Ridge Avenue work marks the final phase of the project.

The existing bridge at Bay Ridge Avenue will be reconstructed using pre-cast concrete deck sections. The clearance will be increased to 14-feet 6-inches, which removes the need for clearance signs currently posted for a substandard condition. Also the new deck will eliminate the need for under deck wood shielding, according to a DOT fact sheet on the project.

According to the fact sheet, work on this bridge was slated to begin in June 2013 and wrap up in February of 2015, but a DOT representative told this outlet that it will now be closer to the beginning of 2016. All construction related to the seven bridges project is expected to be completed by mid-2017, with landscaping wrapping up in 2019.

An illustration of the extent of the lane shifts. (Source: DOT)

An illustration of the extent of the lane shifts. (Source: DOT)

Runners on Ocean Parkway during the 2012 half marathon. Photo by Allan Shweky.

Drivers, beware: this Saturday, it’ll be runners who own the road.

The 2014 Brooklyn Half Marathon kicks off tomorrow, and with it there will be a slew of road closures around the borough. The event starts near the Brooklyn Museum, and heads past the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, then around Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza before entering Prospect Park. After a loop around the park, runners turn down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island, finishing on the Riegelmann Boardwalk.

Locally, the following streets will be closed from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., as tens of thousands of participants take to the streets.

  • Ocean Parkway between Ocean Parkway Entrance Ramp and Surf Avenue
  • Surf Avenue between Ocean Parkway and West 12th Street
  • Boardwalk between West 10th Street and Stillwell Avenue
  • West 10th Street between Surf Avenue and Boardwalk

Note that there will be several bus detours because of this. Make sure to check the MTA website if you plan to take a bus that crosses Ocean Parkway this Saturday.

Additionally, on Sunday, eastbound Emmons Avenue between East 28th Street and Ocean Avenue will be closed from noon to 6 p.m. for BayFest.

Source: tim caynes/Flickr

The New York Police Department kicked off a citywide crackdown on inattentive drivers today, and will be doling out tickets to drivers talking on cellphones, texting and failing to yield to pedestrians.

SILive.com reports:

The first day of the initiative begins [at 12:01 a.m.], Tuesday, and concludes after 24-hours.

Drivers can expect to see the same type of police presence on Friday, as the NYPD again launches its crackdown for another 24-hour period.

The intense NYPD ticketing measures comes on the heels of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to crack down on pedestrian deaths, known as “Vision Zero.”

NBC New York notes that extra patrols dedicated to busting such drivers are being dispatched across the city.

Why do they announce such things? We don’t know. In fact, nevermind this report. If you’re someone who texts and drives, keep on keepin’ on today and Friday, ’cause you deserve that ticket.

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.

Photo by Alex S.

Photo by Alex S.

It’s been a bad day on Avenue U. Shortly after police reopened the roadway following an accident on Ocean Avenue near Avenue U, another car lost control and slammed into the building at 1907 Avenue U, just narrowly missing the busy storefront of Trio Ristorante Pizza and Grill.

The incident happened at approximately 4:45 p.m.

The section of sidewalk has been closed off with police tape.

It’s still unclear if anyone was injured, as is how the driver lost control.

Just two hours earlier, another driver lost control one block away, slamming into a parked car being loaded up with groceries, injuring that car’s owner.

The accident at Trio’s brought back memories of the 2006 incident, in which a woman lost control of her SUV and plowed into the same storefront. That accident severely wounded a deliveryman, who was pinned to the counter and saw his right leg crushed. A 71-year-old pedestrian was also injured in that accident.

Photo by Laura S.

Photo by Laura S.

Photo by Laura S.

Photo by Laura S.

Photo by Randy C.

Photo by Randy C.

Photo by Randy C.

Photo by Randy C.

Photo by Randy C.

Photo by Randy C.

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