Bike to Work Tomorrow; City Council Questionnaire; The High Cost of Off-Street Parking

Reminder! Bike to Work with StreetsPAC and the City Council's Progressive Caucus Tomorrow Morning!

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, May 17, StreetsPAC will be joining members of the New York City Council's Progressive CaucusTransportation AlternativesGet Women Cycling and Bike New York for the Progressive Caucus's 4th annual Bike-to-Work event, and we hope you'll be there with us!

There are two feeder rides that will converge at City Hall for a rally at 9:00 a.m. The first meets up on the plaza behind Brooklyn Borough Hall at 8:00 a.m., and the other will gather on the 14th Street steps at Union Square in Manhattan at 8:30 a.m.  You will be able to bring your bikes inside City Hall's gates for the rally.

Please join us for this fun, casual ride and the chance to bike commute with a number of the City Council's most committed safe-streets supporters!

Please RSVP here.

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Bike to Work Day; 4th Avenue Workshop; 2017 City Council Questionnaire

Bike to Work with StreetsPAC and the City Council's Progressive Caucus next Wednesday, May 17!

Next Wednesday, May 17, StreetsPAC will be joining members of the New York City Council's Progressive CaucusTransportation AlternativesGet Women Cycling and Bike New York for the Progressive Caucus's 4th annual Bike-to-Work event.

There will be two feeder rides, one meeting up on the plaza behind Brooklyn Borough Hall at 8:00 a.m., and the other gathering on the 14th Street steps at Union Square in Manhattan at 8:30 a.m.  The rides will converge at City Hall for a rally at 9:00 a.m. Don't miss this one chance a year to park your bike on the steps of City Hall!

Please join us for this fun, casual ride and the chance to bike commute with a number of the City Council's most committed safe-streets supporters!

Please RSVP here.

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4th Avenue Workshops; Bike to Work with City Council Progressives; Ritchie Torres Fundraiser Update

NYC DOT Announces 4th Avenue Complete Street Design Workshops

The New York City Department of Transportation has announced two public design workshops in conjunction with its proposed complete-streets update to plans for Brooklyn's 4th Avenue. The new plan, announced a few weeks ago, includes additional pedestrian islands, new landscaping and greenery, parking-protected bike lanes and protected intersection treatments.

The details of the workshops are below:
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4th Avenue Design Update Workshop – Park Slope
Tuesday, May 2nd
6:30 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas Church
249 9th Street
(enter via 4th Avenue)

4th Avenue Design Update Workshop – Sunset Park
Thursday, May 11th
6:30 p.m.
Intermediate School 136 (Cafeteria)
(between 40th & 41st Streets)

This is your chance to weigh in on the final design of the complete-streets treatments for 4th Avenue, and to show your support for calming traffic and creating dedicated cycling space on what has historically been one of the city's most dangerous streets for people on foot and on bikes.

The proposed changes have the support of the City Council members whose districts adjoin the project area – Steve Levin, Brad Lander and Carlos Menchaca – as well as the backing of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Following the public workshops, NYC DOT will present a final design recommendation to Community Boards 2, 6 and 7. It will be critical for supporters of the complete-street transformation of 4th Avenue to attend those presentations and voice support. We'll share details of the Community Board presentations, which are expected in May or June, once they're set.

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Speeding – Everybody's Doing It!; Save the Date for Ritchie Torres; Citi Bike Expansion; StreetsPoll Results

Health Department Study Reveals that 64% of Drivers Admit to Speeding on City Streets

In a study released last week by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), 64% of city drivers admitted to speeding while behind the wheel, while nearly one in five also copped to driving while distracted.

As Gothamist's David Colon reports, what makes the results of the study even more disturbing is that:

Despite the fact that all of the data was self-reported and offered ample opportunity to lie, 60 percent of drivers admitted that they sped, which was defined for the purposes of the survey as driving at least 10 miles above the speed limit. 13 percent of drivers said that they sped "often." 19 percent of drivers around the city said that they engage in distracted driving, which the survey defined as texting or emailing while driving.

Points for honesty, we guess.

DOHMH collected the data in 2015. As they point out in the prelude to the report, traffic crashes are a leading cause of preventable death in New York City, killing some 300 people a year, and speed and distraction are among the greatest contributing factors to crashes.

The report is a grim reminder of the need to re-engineer streets to protect vulnerable users, and the importance of automated speed enforcement. As Gothamist's Colon notes, "the speeding data comes at the same time as a debate is taking place around the speed limit on Ocean Parkway." State Senator Simcha Felder and Assembly Member Steven Cybrowitz have introduced legislation in Albany seeking to increase the speed limit on Ocean Parkway from 25 to 30 mph. You can sign a petition opposing that dangerously misguided effort here.

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Transportation Budget Testimony; Sign Our Snow Petition; Flatiron Shared Space; Simcha Felder's Zero Vision

StreetsPAC Testifies at City Council Transportation Budget Hearing

Yesterday, the City Council's Committee on Transportation held a hearing on Mayor de Blasio's preliminary fiscal year 2018 budget, and we were there to testify.

The Mayor announced two months ago that he was boosting his administration's spending commitment to Vision Zero by $400 million, to a total of $1.6 billion over five years, and a fair portion of those funds will kick in during the coming fiscal year. In our testimony, we praised increased spending on replacement and refurbishment of street markings like crosswalks and bike lanes, and other important improvements like more crossing guards, safer intersection design and better street lighting.

But it wasn't all praise. We urged the City Council to push the Mayor to allocate public funds to Citi Bike expansion, to creation of a Fair Fares program that would provide half-priced Metro Cards to New Yorkers living below the poverty line, and on improving the delivery time of safe-streets capital projects.

And of course, we urged complete reform of on-street parking in New York City, which would have the double benefit of reducing congestion and increasing revenue.

You can read our complete testimony here.

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StreetsPAC Urges Funding for Citi Bike Expansion, Fair Fares; Praises Increased Vision Zero Spending

StreetsPAC testified at yesterday's New York City Council Committee on Transportation hearing on the Mayor's preliminary budget for fiscal year 2018. Here's what we had to say:

The additional $400 million for Vision Zero that Mayor de Blasio announced in January provides a major boost for safety on city streets. While those funds will be spent over several years, they’ll begin to have an effect right away, especially on critical initiatives like the replacement and refurbishment of street markings. The major capital commitment to shortening the replacement cycle for crosswalks and bike lanes, and the Department of Transportation’s improved ability to handle restriping, is vital to better street safety.

Likewise, more spending on crossing guards, additional funding for implementation of hardened center lines for left turns, enhanced street lighting, and upgrades to intersections along the bike network will similarly have an immediate effect in improving safety for vulnerable street users. We applaud this commitment to Vision Zero spending.

This commitment is especially important in light of a brand new Health Department report that reveals that pedestrian fatality rates in poor neighborhoods are triple those in wealthy communities. It should be a moral imperative that we prioritize Vision Zero spending in high-poverty areas, which would be very much in keeping with the Mayor’s goals of addressing inequality.

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Sign our Snow Petition; Stop Legalized Speeding on Ocean Parkway; Big 4th Avenue News; Donate!

Sign Our Petition: NYC Needs a Comprehensive Snow-Removal Protocol!

Last week's snowstorm – while thankfully not the blizzard that many outlets had predicted – served as yet another reminder that New York City lacks a comprehensive system for clearing snow from intersections, crosswalks and catch basins.

While the Department of Sanitation did its usual bang-up job of plowing and salting the city's streets, too much of that plowed snow ended up creating headaches for pedestrians – and for less able-bodied New Yorkers, dangerous and impassable obstacles.

SlushPuddleNYT.jpgAs LTV Squad's Joseph Anastasio pointed out a year ago, snow removal at intersections falls into a responsibility black hole, while too many property owners take their time (or altogether skip) shoveling their sidewalks because fines are low and enforcement is almost nil. He offers up a plan that largely puts the onus on the citizenry, which may or may not be the ideal solution – but at least it's a plan! And here are three suggestions from Streetsblog's Ben Fried for improving upon the current situation.

Given its role in creating laws, the City Council needs to tackle this nagging problem head-on. Please take 30 seconds to sign our petition asking the Council to initiate a comprehensive plan for improving snow removal in New York City, one that puts the mobility of pedestrians, transit riders and cyclists on par with that of drivers.

Tell Albany: NO Higher Speed Limit on Ocean Parkway – or Any Other NYC Street!

As Streetsblog's Brad Aaron reported Monday, State Senator Simcha Felder has introduced a bill in Albany that would raise the speed limit on Brooklyn's Ocean Parkway to 30 miles per hour, exempting it from New York City's life-saving 25 mph speed limit.

The bill, first brought to light by City Council Member Brad Lander in a Facebook post on Saturday, has also been introduced in companion legislation in the Assembly by Brooklyn Democrat Steven Cymbrowitz.

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Help Jumpstart Our 2017 Election Effort – Donate Today!

Help Jumpstart StreetsPAC's 2017 Election Effort – Donate Today!

No beating around the bush – we need your financial support right now.

We're beginning to gear up for New York City's 2017 elections. Every citywide officeholder is up for re-election – the Mayor, Public Advocate and Comptroller – as is every member of the City Council, all five Borough Presidents, and the Brooklyn and Manhattan District Attorneys. 61 races in total. We aim to be a player in all of them.
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But we can only do it with your help. In 2013, your contributions made it possible for StreetsPAC to back winning candidates in 13 of 18 Council races on primary night. Not to mention the eventual Mayor, Public Advocate and Manhattan Borough President. The message was crystal clear – support for safe and livable streets, and robust public transit, had arrived as a political force.

Our endorsees went on to fill a majority of seats on the City Council's Transportation Committee, which has been a force for progressive initiatives these past three years – and a far cry from its predecessor. Vision Zero became official city policy. Traffic deaths are at an all-time low.

But as we saw in the starkest possible terms on November 8th, life as we know it can change in an instant. You can bet that the same people who voted for Donald Trump last November would love nothing more than to tear out protected bike lanes, rip up public plazas, and restore New York City's speed limit to 30 mph. Or higher.

We can't let that happen. Which is why your financial support, today, is so critical. Money talks in elections. It allows us to hire field staff to register voters, to fund candidates in every key race, and to produce campaign literature supporting true champions for safe and complete streets. Together, we can make an enormous, and life-saving, difference.

Please give generously. Help us make our streets safe for every New Yorker.

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Citywide Transit Plan; Complete George; Freedom Ticket

NYC DOT Kicks off Citywide Transit Plan Workshops

Yesterday, the New York City Department of Transportation kicked off a series of public workshops aimed at developing a citywide transit plan.

The Brooklyn borough workshop took place last night at Brooklyn College, but NYC DOT will hold workshops in the other four boroughs over the next month (Queens even gets two). The goals of the Citywide Transit Plan, as it's being called, are to help guide the future of transit planning in New York City, and to understand where people want and need to go, how well they're being served currently, and where new transit options are needed.

The transit system's struggles have been well documented. While overall ridership is at an all-time high, the subways are bursting at the seams while entire lines face lengthy shutdowns for repairs, and bus ridership is actually falling, due, most likely, to the unreliability of the bus system. At the same time, there are many city residents who don't have easy access to transit. All while the city's population continues to grow.

Missing from the planning, of course, is the 800-pound gorilla: the MTA. But there's a fair amount that NYC DOT can accomplish on its own, especially when it comes to surface transit, by redesigning streets and promoting alternate modes of transportation, like Citi Bike.

You can let NYC DOT know about your vision for the future of transit in New York City by attending one of the upcoming borough workshops – more info at transitplannyc.org/events/ – or by taking the online survey today at transitplannyc.org.

Let's build a safe, convenient and reliable public transportation system that's accessible to all New Yorkers!

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Vision Zero Budget Boost; City Council Hearing; Kallos Fundraiser Thanks; StreetsPoll Results

Mayor de Blasio Ups the Ante for Vision Zero

Yesterday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would increase its financial commitment to Vision Zero by about one-third, adding more than $400 million to a five-year budget that will now dedicate some $1.6 billion to improving the safety of city streets. He announced the new spending just steps from the notorious Brooklyn intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, one of the city's deadliest – now slated for significant safety upgrades beginning this year.

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About 80% of the new spending will be dedicated to the most important work – major street safety reconstruction. According to the city's press release, these capital dollars will fund...

...major street construction projects that often include full reconstruction of the roadbed, sidewalks and underlying infrastructure. These projects can completely realign complex intersections or provide permanent safety improvements like raised medians, while enhancing the livability of communities. These dollars represent a major long-term commitment to building out safer corridors and intersections for years to come.

But there's much more. The city will commit more than $25 million over several years to hire 100 full-time crossing guard supervisors and 200 part-time crossing guards, ensuring that all school crossing posts citywide will be staffed – with enough replacement guards to cover absences.

Another $70 million over five years will be dedicated to the faster replacement and refurbishment of street markings and crosswalks, shortening the current replacement cycle by 25% and making high-visibility crosswalks the standard citywide. Faded crosswalks and bike lanes have been the bane of many a street-safety advocate, and these funds will enable the striping of 15 million linear feet per year.

In addition, the budget increase will fund intersection upgrades along the city's bike network, left-turn traffic-calming measures at hundreds of intersections, more enhanced pedestrian crossings, brighter lighting at some 1,000 dangerous intersections, and a 50% increase in speed-detection equipment for the NYPD.

We commend Mayor de Blasio for this major step up in the city's commitment to Vision Zero – and the Council Members and fellow advocates who've pushed for this increased spending. One can't put a price tag on saved lives, but it's safe to say that this new funding will be well worth the cost.

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