Matthew von Ohlen Petition; LPI-for-Bikes Bill; Vote November 8; Ben Kallos Fundraiser

Petition: Ask NYPD to Release Details of the Investigation into the Crash that Killed Matthew von Ohlen

Last week, we launched a petition asking NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill to order the department's Collision Investigation Squad and Brooklyn's 90th Precinct to update the public on the investigation into the July 2, 2016 hit-and-run crash that killed 35-year-old Brooklyn resident Matthew von Ohlen.

vonohlennydn.jpgVon Ohlen was struck and killed by the driver of a black, late-model Chevrolet Camaro as he was riding his bike home from work in Williamsburg's Grand Street bike lane. Police who reviewed surveillance video of the crash told WPIX TV that the driver appeared to slow down and steer into the bike lane, intentionally striking von Ohlen before running him over and dragging him 30 feet, then speeding away. Von Ohlen died in the hospital not long after, the victim of severe trauma.

Four days later, the NYPD's 90th Precinct took to Twitter to announce that police had located the car involved in the crash. But that was the last public announcement made regarding the investigation into von Ohlen's death. More than four months have passed since.

The NYPD's failure to apprehend von Ohlen's killer fits a pattern. As Gothamist reported last week, police have made arrests in just 34% of the fatal hit-and-run crashes that occurred in New York City between July 2015 and June 2016. When hit-and-run crashes in which the victim suffered an injury are included, the arrest rate drops to a meager 8%.

You can add your name to the petition here – and please share it widely. Matthew von Ohlen, and all the victims of hit-and-run crashes, deserve justice.

City Council to Hear Bill that would Allow Bicyclists to Follow Pedestrian Signals

The New York City Council's Committee on Transportation will hold a hearing on November 15 on a bill that would make it legal for people on bikes to follow pedestrian signals at intersections.

Intro 1072, sponsored by StreetsPAC endorsee Carlos Menchaca, would affect intersections with Leading Pedestrian Intervals, or LPI's, which provide pedestrians with a head start so they can establish their presence in crosswalks ahead of turning motor vehicles. It's a maneuver that's already common in New York City, as documented below by StreetsPAC Board Member Doug Gordon, and Menchaca's bill would codify the practice if signed into law.

Allowing people on bikes to establish a little space between themselves and motorists will help reduce one of the most common and dangerous of road conflicts, the "right hook" in which a driver turns into the path of a cyclist proceeding straight ahead. Pedestrians would maintain their right-of-way primacy in crosswalks, with turning cyclists having to yield to people crossing on foot.

The hearing on Menchaca's bill – and several other pieces of legislation aimed at making walking and biking safer and more efficient – will take place at 10:00 a.m. on November 15 in the Council chambers at City Hall. Members of the public may testify in support of the legislation; testimony is limited to three minutes, and the Council requests that you bring 20 double-sided copies of your prepared remarks. Public testimony will likely begin around noon.

Vote November 8!

Vote.jpgOur next email update isn't scheduled until Wednesday, November 9, at which point, if there is a God, the 2016 Presidential election will have been decided once and for all. So consider this your final reminder to VOTE!

While the Presidential contest has been getting all the oxygen (StreetsPAC isn't registered to endorse in Federal races), there are many down-ballot races that are relevant to New York City residents. We did endorse a handful of candidates in September's primary, and four of them are running in the general election:

Robert Carroll, Assembly District 44, BrooklynRobertCarroll.jpg

Carroll, an attorney and former president of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democratic club, has been a fixture in local politics since his teens. He has a good command of the issues facing the MTA, and is determined to find a win-win solution to the contentious issue of restoration of express service on the F subway line, which runs through the 44th District.


CarmendelaRosa.jpgCarmen De La Rosa, Assembly District 72, Manhattan/Bronx

De La Rosa, who was until recently Chief of Staff to City Council Member (and Transportation Committee Chair) Ydanis Rodriguez, is challenging incumbent Assembly Member Guillermo Linares. While working in the Council, De La Rosa played a key role in the passage of a number of pieces of legislation related to Vision Zero, and she’s firmly committed to improving public transit and street safety throughout her district.


FelixOrtiz.jpgFelix Ortiz, Assembly District 51, Brooklyn

Ortiz, the Assembly’s Assistant Speaker, has represented his district for more than two decades. His bill banning the use of handheld cell phones by drivers became the first such state law in the entire country in 2000. Ortiz also introduced a “textalyzer” bill this past April, which would enable police to field-test motorists’ cell phones following a crash.


Jo Anne Simon, Assembly District 52, BrooklynJoAnneSimon.png

Simon, who won her Assembly seat in 2014, has a long, distinguished record of advocacy for better transit and safer streets. She is a member of the Assembly’s Committee on Transportation, and is an original co-sponsor of a bill supporting the Move New York Fair Plan, along with Felix Ortiz.

You can confirm your polling site, and preview the ballot, using the New York City Board of Elections' Poll Site Locator.

If you're unsure of your voter registration status, you can check it here.

Save the Date: Ben Kallos Fundraiser, November 21

On November 21, we'll be hosting a fundraiser for Manhattan City Council Member Ben Kallos. We haven't settled on a time and location yet, but it will likely take place between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. somewhere in his Upper East Side district.

Stay tuned for details, and please plan to join us!


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StreetsPAC supports candidates for public office who will champion Safe, Complete and Livable Streets.