Archive for the tag 'traffic'

Nostrand Ave and Ave W. (Source: Google Maps)

Nostrand Ave and Ave W. (Source: Google Maps)

I get it. New York City is a massive place with millions of people and drivers, so accidents are bound to happen. Still, it is upsetting to continually read about weekend car accidents that keep sending people to the hospital, sometimes killing them, especially when three accidents occur within a span of 90 minutes, sending four to hospitals across the city.

The New York Daily News reported on an accident that took place here in Sheepshead Bay this past Saturday night:

In the first incident, in Sheepshead Bay, a 43-year-old man was hit while crossing the intersection of Nostrand Ave. and Ave. W shortly after 10 p.m., authorities said. The man was unconscious when he was rushed by ambulance to Coney Island Hospital.

I write about these crashes all the time so perhaps my view on accidents, reckless driving and drunk driving is a bit jaded. I know that many accidents are just that and no one is really at fault. Still, is it possible for all motorists to take three seconds before they turn the keys of their automobiles and realize they are about to go hurtling through our city streets in 4,000-pound machines? Is it possible to just spend a moment contemplating your responsibility as a motorist to drive safely before you ruin your life and the lives of others when taking to the road?

I understand that there are a lot of pedestrians who jaywalk, especially on that stretch of Nostrand Avenue, and bicyclists who dart dangerously in front of traffic. But, still, those people aren’t behind the wheels of machines that could break every bone in your body and liquefy your internal organs. Maybe if we all took some time to realize the reality of operating a fast moving vehicle before we jet off to our jobs, next party, or mundane task, there might just be a few less accidents and a few more lives saved.

(UPDATE 1:20 p.m.):  The Daily News is reporting that the 43-year-old victim’s name was Jose Santiago and that he has died of his injuries at Coney Island Hospital. According to a poster on our Facebook page, the person who hit Santiago was allegedly talking on their phone at the time of the incident. Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Santiago.

A home in Sea Gate damaged (in the rear) by Sandy. Photo by Erica Sherman

Damaged schools, health facilities, libraries, abandoned storefronts and treacherous sinkholes. These are some of the major problems still afflicting Coney Island since Superstorm Sandy thrashed the area over eight months ago. Gotham Gazette is reporting that all the damage hasn’t come close to being repaired and that local residents are at their wits’ end in trying to live with them.

On our sister site Bensonhurst Bean, we have covered some of the frustration plaguing Coney Island locals. City Council candidate Mark Treyger was furious over the conditions at Carey Gardens (2955 West 24th Street), a New York City housing complex suffering from leaking roofs, the loss of its community center, a broken playground and the sinkhole problems on Neptune Avenue that could attract West Nile mosquitoes.

In another report, we tracked other frustrations facing Coney residents, namely the surging popularity of the pristinely restored beach area that has caused an uptick in traffic and congestion in the area. The restoration of the beach, Luna Park and other fun spots has been a sore spot for locals not buying the reports that Coney Island has fully rebounded:

“They say Coney Island is open for business. Sure, the entertainment district is, but no one talks about the parts of Coney Island where people actually live. They don’t talk about the neighborhoods,” said Ed Cosme, a resident who formed The People’s Coalition of Coney Island to raise awareness about the problems in the parts of the neighborhood that don’t normally draw tourists and bathers.

The Gotham Gazette described the state of a massive sinkhole present on Neptune Avenue:

On Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, state Sen. Diane Savino and a group of community activists walked a cracked and broken sidewalk on a recent day this summer — taking a tour of damage that remains nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy pummeled some of the city’s notable coastal neighborhoods.

At one point, the group stopped to look past a contorted chain-link fence at a massive sinkhole filled with bags of trash, milk cartons and diapers. The crevasse yawned with fault lines that zigged and zagged onto the sidewalk and towards the street. It looked to be growing.

“That thing goes down a ways,” said Ken Jones, a longtime community activist, referring to the sinkhole. “It’s probably right under the sidewalk.” The fact that it has apparently been used on more than one occasion as a dump only added to the activists’ concern that no one — not the state, not the city — is paying enough attention to their neighborhood…

Councilman Domenic Recchia, whose district includes Coney Island, said he has been in contact with multiple city agencies that are working together to study the sinkhole problem in particular.

“They are trying to find out why we are having this problem,” Recchia said. “It isn’t clear if the earth is moving or the sand got pushed out from under the pavement by the flood. But I know it is a problem for a lot of people. They are getting them in their driveway or backyards. I get calls about it all the time.”

While the problems afflicting Coney residents are extensive, a small measure of relief is coming in the form of a $6 million grant provided by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program. The plan is unique in that it allows local community leaders and officials to decide the best way to spend the federal money allotted to them, removing the sometimes disconnected overreach of authorities with no sense of what’s going on the ground.

The report goes on to describe other problems facing the area, including abandoned storefronts, broken docks and lost community outreach programs:

But it isn’t just the sinkholes that have residents concerned that their part of Coney Island is being ignored. Looking past the massive sinkhole on Neptune Avenue, the tortured skeleton of a wooden dock uprooted and smashed by Hurricane Sandy could be seen. A number of boats remained lifted out of the water, stranded on rocks, water-damaged and rotting. “No one has claimed them yet?” Savino asked rhetorically.

The owners are likely long gone. Just like the proprietors of the closed Chinese food restaurant and bodega across the street. “They were just hanging on before Sandy,” Savino said. “They were already in debt. After that storm, another loan wasn’t going to save them.”

Aida Leon is the executive director of the Amethyst Women’s Project, a group that helps women struggling with substance abuse, domestic violence and HIV/AIDS.

As the tour of Coney Island progressed, she said she was concerned that established charitable organizations had been ignored by the larger groups that came in with funding to address problems caused by Sandy.

“They haven’t been on the ground like we have,” she said. “We lost a lot of people after Sandy. They didn’t come back to the programs and I don’t think they are coming back because the people with funding don’t know how to reach them.”

Councilman Domenic Recchia tried to find bright spots in the otherwise bleak picture, claiming that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) was out fixing the sinkholes and that not all of the community programs were gone.

“We have summer programs like the Cornerstone program and others out of Kaiser Park. They may not all be open but there are programs,” Recchia told the Gotham Gazette.”Compared to other parts of the city, I think we’re doing pretty good. Take a look at the NYCHA facilities — they are working on them. It’s not like the work isn’t happening.”

Photos (see inset) by Allan Rosen. Click to enlarge

Photos (see inset) by Allan Rosen. Click to enlarge

THE COMMUTE: As the MTA contemplates today and on Wednesday how many more service reductions from 2010 they will restore, let’s focus today on a local matter.

During the past two weeks, NYCDOT repainted the much maligned and nearly totally worn out zebra stripes and bicycle lanes on Oriental Boulevard. This was the first restriping in about nine years since four traffic lanes were reduced to two.

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Traffic. Ugh. Source: Samuel Leo / Flickr

Traffic. Ugh. Source: Samuel Leo / Flickr

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.

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East 14th and Ave. Z

East 14th and Ave. Z

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.

bridge

Source: DOT

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.

Source: Dave Paco Abraham / Flickr

Source: Dave Paco Abraham / Flickr

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.

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Source: Jacinta Quesada via Wikimedia

Source: Jacinta Quesada via Wikimedia

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.

brighton1

Brighton 1st Street and Brighton 2nd Lane (Source: Google Maps)

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.

Source: ell brown via flickr

Source: ell brown via flickr

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.

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