Friday, May 1, 2015

Vision Zero update: New traffic signals planned for NYC's Hell's Kitchen

According to Chelsea Now, the NYC DOT plans to install "six to ten split-phase traffic signals in Hell’s Kitchen as well as tweak traffic flow in the surrounding area in order to ease rush hour congestion. The signals are also known as Protected Only Phase Signal (PROPS), a term coined by Community Board 4 (CB4) Chair Christine Berthet." The signals "separate the allotted times for pedestrian crossing and vehicle turning, the combination of which leads to a large share of traffic collisions." 

Other Vision Zero initiatives being proposed include: 

  • Exempting city bus drivers from the new law that charges a driver with a misdemeanor if they hurt or kill a pedestrian with the right of way in a crosswalk
  • Requiring large trucks to install metal guards that would prevent pedestrians from falling underneath the vehicle in the event they were struck
  • Requiring taxi passengers to wear seat belts
The DOT plans to complete approximately 50 Vision Zero safety projects in 2015.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Parking ticket agents found to be illegally parking in NYC

According to PIX11, local business owners and truck drivers complained to PIX Investigates a few weeks ago about the lack of parking spaces available on 38th Street between 8th & 9th Avenue.  The cause of the parking problems?  New York City traffic enforcement agents (the same agents that issue parking tickets) were illegally parking their own private cars on this particular block.  

Agents were apparently displaying parking permits in their vehicles to avoid being ticketed.  However, business owners claimed those cars were creating problems by causing extra congestion and forcing their trucks to double park when making pick ups and deliveries.  

PIX11 contacted the NYPD about the situation, and they issued a statement stating that particular block of West 38th Street is not an authorized parking area for traffic agents to park personal vehicles and that the agents would be reminded as such.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Diplomats owe $16M + in unpaid NYC parking tickets

According to the NY Post, diplomats have amassed over $16 million in New York City parking tickets, despite having 529 legal parking spots.  In 2002, an agreement between the city and the US State Department "gave each UN mission two designated spots and one or two spots to each consulate."  Despite access to these parking spaces, diplomats continued to illegally park elsewhere, resulting in over 42,000 tickets.  

Although some of these tickets date back to 2002, and most of the outstanding debt was incurred prior to the NYC/ UN agreement, Penny Abeywardena, commissioner for the Mayor's Office of International Affairs, says,"We will continue to enforce the program in a way that works together with diplomatic community members to hold them to the same standards as any other New Yorkers."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NYC's Vision Zero speed cameras - lifesavers or moneymakers?

New York City officials are calling Vision Zero's speed camera program a big success, while some city drivers are calling out the cameras as money makers with no effect on pedestrian safety. According to NBC and WNYC, it looks like they're actually both.  Using speeding ticket data, WNYC was able to pinpoint the 51 speed cameras across the city (see map below) and found some interesting trends.

The top ticket issuer is a speed camera located on the Shore Parkway in Coney Island off the Belt Parkway.  It issued over $2.75 million in tickets last year - 100 times what ticket officers in that area's precinct wrote by hand.  WNYC found that "the three top-ticketing cameras were all just off major roadways: the Long Island Expressway, the Belt Parkway and the Staten Island Expressway. All were in places where pedestrians don’t cross, because there’s nothing to cross to. The roads have fences on one side, blocking off the highways."

However, the rest of the speed cameras were found to be in legitimate areas where pedestrians cross. There was also evidence that the number of tickets issued by each camera consistently decreased over time, suggesting drivers were finally slowing down. Accidents in camera areas also dropped by about 13%.

What do you think of the speed cameras?  Are they effective in achieving pedestrian safety or are there better methods that could be implemented instead?

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Will red curbs help cut parking confusion in NYC?

According to CBS, New York City Councilman Vincent Gentile has introduced a bill to paint the city's curbs red in No Parking zones at fire hydrants and bus stops to make them clearer for drivers. "New Yorkers usually don’t carry a tape measure with them to measure how far away they are from a hydrant or whether they’re within a bus stop,” Gentile said. “Why can’t we go back to what we used to have and revive the old system where you actually paint the curb by the fire hydrant or the bus stop, showing where you cannot park?”  

Gentile has not yet estimated the cost of the project.  The Department of Transportation says it will review proposal

What do you think about red painted curbs?  Beneficial to drivers or not worth the cost?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Vision Zero: One year later

NYC's Vision Zero - Mayor deBlasio's action plan to end traffic fatalities - has had some success in its first year, including reducing pedestrian fatalities from 180 in 2013 to 132 in 2014.  Along with lowering the city speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph, Vision Zero also added 120 speed cameras, widened pedestrian sidewalks, protected bike lanes, and neighborhood slow zones. The city tackled  a total of 50 dangerous intersections last year, and plans to improve another 50 this year, including Queens Boulevard, a notoriously dangerous street for pedestrians.  

Thursday, January 22, 2015

NYPD slowdown ends; cost NYC $5 million in parking ticket revenue

ny city parking ticket slowdown

According to Slate, the alleged NYC ticket writing slowdown has come to an end and the city lost approximately $5 million in parking tickets alone.   This figure is only the estimate for parking tickets - it does not include the other areas where revenue was lost due to unwritten tickets, such as moving violations and petty crimes.  The City Comptroller's Office has not yet issued a statement on how much the city lost to the slowdown.
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