Archive for the tag 'transportation alternatives'

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.

Source: peds.org

Source: peds.org

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.”

Source: NYC DOT

Source: NYC DOT

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.”

Photo by Allan Rosen

The MTA is poised to unveil a slew of bus and subway service improvements this week, but the fate of the B4 bus line is still uncertain.

With finances at the authority steadily improving, MTA officials are studying service in the five boroughs to determine locations for route enhancements. A Daily News article published today said the agency has $90 million more on hand this year, and may restore devastating cuts made in 2010 to close a budget deficit.

The bulk of the service improvements are expected in Brooklyn and the Bronx – where the cuts were most severe – and the Daily News identifies the B77, B75, B61 and B64 as “top candidate[s] for a service boost.”

The B4 line, though, may not make the short list of restorations.

Find out what the MTA told Sheepshead Bites about local service on the B4 line.

Local elected officials pledged support to bringing back full B4 bus service and other public transportation improvements to the area at last night’s Sheepshead Bay Transit Town Hall, organized by Sheepshead Bites, Transportation Alternatives, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association.

More than 50 people turned out for the event to share their experiences with mass transportation in the area, emphatically expressing the community’s desire to restore the B4 to a 24/7 bus line after service cuts in 2010 eliminated the line east of Ocean Parkway on weekends and off-peak hours on weekdays. The Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association presented elected officials with a petition signed by more than 1,000 people, and when a representative from Transportation Alternatives asked the crowd how many of them were affected by the B4 cuts, every hand in the room went up.

“Over 90 percent of our residents in this community rely on mass transit regularly,” Cymbrowitz said in his opening statements. “Ideas that appear brilliant on paper often fail to deliver in practice. One example? The decision to provide B4 bus service to Knapp Street and Voorhies Avenue during peak periods Monday to Friday, leaving thousands of potential riders without viable mass transit services.”

Keep reading to find out what other concerns and proposals came out of the meeting, and what the next steps will be.

Don’t forget: Sheepshead Bites is hosting a Transit Town Hall to push for the restoration of the B4 service, as well as to convey to our elected officials how important public transportation is to our community.

The event, held in conjunction with Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association and Transportation Alternatives’ Rider Rebellion Campaign, will kick off at 7:00 p.m. at Baron DeKalb – Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue).

This is not an MTA gripe session. We’re not looking for generic complaints about the system, but proposals to fix the problems plaguing commuters. Among the issues to be discussed are:

  • Restoring full B4 service from Coney Island Hospital to Knapp Street (and perhaps tweaking the route to better serve residents)
  • Propose alterations to the B44 SBS route, which will replace the B44 Limited
  • Suggestions for better riding conditions on other bus and subway lines in the neighborhood

More information can be found on our previous post.

We live here. We shop here. Some of us even work here. So when it comes to mass transit, we know what we want, what we need, and what we ain’t getting.

That’s why Sheepshead Bites is proud to announce the Sheepshead Bay Transit Town Hall, an evening workshop for brainstorming and proposing key fixes to mass transit in our area.

The event, held in conjunction with Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association and Transportation Alternatives’ Rider Rebellion Campaign, will kick off at 7:00 p.m. at Baron DeKalb – Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue).

(TAKE OUR 3-MINUTE SURVEY AND LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON SHEEPSHEAD BAY MASS TRANSIT!)

We know what it’s like out there. If you live in Plumb Beach and want to get anywhere – good luck. Since the B4 was all but abolished (no weekend service, only certain brief hours during weekdays), the tens of thousands of residents south of the Belt Parkway and east of Bedford Avenue have no easy way to get around. If you get off the train at Sheepshead Bay train station, your only destination by bus is Nostrand Avenue or Ocean Avenue, unless you’re heading to Manhattan Beach or Coney Island. And, speaking of getting to other neighborhoods, there isn’t a single good bus option to get to Bensonhurst or Bay Ridge (or for them to get here!)

That’s why we’re asking you to come down next Thursday for the Town Hall, and help us put together a plan – by residents and for residents – to tweak the system to serve us better.

This is not an MTA gripe session. We’re not looking for generic complaints about the system, but proposals to fix the problems plaguing commuters. Among the issues to be discussed are:

  • Restoring full B4 service from Coney Island Hospital to Knapp Street (and perhaps tweaking the route to better serve residents)
  • Propose alterations to the B44 SBS route, which will replace the B44 Limited
  • Suggestions for better riding conditions on other bus and subway lines in the neighborhood

Better service not only means it’s easier for us to get around, but that it’s easier for residents from other Brooklyn neighborhoods to come here, shop here, eat here, sail here and support our local institutions. Better business for the Bay means better living conditions for its residents.

But we need your help. We need your ideas, and we need your presence. Once we as a neighborhood have developed a plan, our elected officials will take it to Albany and to the MTA. And, here at Sheepshead Bites, we’ll keep the pressure on with ongoing coverage.

So join us on May 17, and improve mass transit for all of Sheepshead Bay! (Don’t forget to take our survey, as we’ll be using the results at the Town Hall.)

WHEN: May 17, 2012 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Baron DeKalb – Knights of Columbus (3000 Emmons Avenue)
Refreshments will be served.

The “transportation advocacy organization,” Transportation Alternatives — whose mission it is “to reclaim New York City’s streets from the automobile, and to advocate for bicycling, walking and public transit as the best transportation alternatives” — will be bicycling over to our neck of the woods this weekend, and I know all of you will give them a hale and hearty welcome… right?

According to the TA Brooklyn Committee calendar, for its “Monthly Ride,” members of the group will ride this Sunday, January 29 at 11:00 a.m., to Emmons Avenue, “since there has recently been discussion about problems for cyclists there and recommendations for improvement.” From the calendar item:

The riders will meet at the corner of Washington Ave/Eastern Parkway in front of the Brooklyn Museum at 11AM. We will ride a couple of blocks on Eastern Parkway, then make a right on Bedford Avenue and ride Bedford all the way to Emmons Avenue, where we will get a chance to see first-hand the current layout and what we can suggest to improve the situation for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. We will make a left on Emmons and ride until Knapp St, where we will make a left, go a few blocks and wind up at Jordan’s Lobster Dock, where we can warm up with some clam chowder, lobster rolls, grilled salmon sandwiches or other delights. Be sure to bring a lock so you can comfortably leave your bikes and head inside to eat. Heading back, we can take Bedford Avenue again, or we can ride Emmons a little further and hook up with Ocean Parkway. The ride will be 16-17 miles round trip including the lunch stop. Approximate time for people heading all the way back to the Brooklyn Museum location would be 2.5-3 hours.

For additional information, call (212) 629-8080 or go to www.transalt.org.

An example of a speed camera (Source: DaveBleasdale/Flickr)

Community Board 15 overwhelmingly voted down a proposal to place cameras automating speed limit enforcement along the city’s most dangerous roadways, citing Big Brother and revenue manipulation concerns.

A five-year trial program is being pushed by Transportation Alternatives, a non-profit advocacy group for mass transit, bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The plan would place a maximum of 40 cameras, similar to the currently installed red-light cameras, throughout the five boroughs in locations where speeding and speed-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities are prevalent. Owners of vehicles found to be driving in excess of the posted speed limit would receive fines, and the violations will be administered under the Parking Violations Bureau. The penalty will not include points against the violator’s insurance.

But the idea of more cameras keeping tabs on residents has some leaders feeling uncomfortable.

“It’s becoming a little too many cameras watching what individuals are doing, and on top of that you’ve already got red light cameras, you’ve got the police with license plate readers,” said Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo, “How many more cameras do you need?”

Keep reading for the pros and cons of this program.

Help make the roads of your neighborhood safer!

Transportation Alternatives, a transportation advocacy group, just released their “Neighborhood Traffic Monitoring Toolkit.”

The toolkit offers tips on choosing an intersection in a neighborhood to document, working with community boards, precinct community councils, and recruiting volunteers. There are also sample letters to send to community leaders, police precincts and elected officials.

“Everyone knows exactly where the most dangerous street corner is in their neighborhood. With this toolkit, community members can shine a spotlight on those lawless intersections,” said Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives Paul Steely White.

So… which intersection should we start with?

Next »