||June 21, 2012
T.A. in the News
Transportation Alternatives argued yesterday that police should funnel resources toward combating car crashes that kill New Yorkers, the way cop crackdowns on gun violence have slowed the murder rate. “The NYPD must prioritize the crimes that hurt the most people,” the group’s director Paul Steely White said.
-- "Cars Kill More New Yorkers than Guns" Metro
Take Action: The NYPD Must Investigate
“Last July, my wife Clara was killed by a driver here in New York City,” Jacob Stevens told the crowd gathered outside Mayor Bloomberg’s City Hall last week. “If it were simply a matter of her tragic death, I would be grieving in private rather than speaking on the steps of City Hall.”
But Jacob Stevens did not grieve in private. Instead, he has taken on the New York City Police Department and their backwards policy of investigating crashes.
The death of Stevens’ wife, Clara Heyworth, after she was struck by an allegedly drunk, allegedly unlicensed driver, was the first tragedy. The second came when the NYPD’s Accident Investigation Squad called off the investigation of her death. After three long days, the NYPD returned to investigate the crash. It’s no surprise that all the evidence -- skid marks, video surveillance, wreckage -- was long erased or washed away.
Every day, traffic crashes leave New Yorkers with extreme injuries: paralyzed, limbs amputated, stalled in a coma. But under the NYPD’s current operating procedure, none of these injuries are worthy of investigation.
Clara Heyworth’s death was a tragedy. The systemic refusal of the NYPD to investigate crashes like Clara’s is an injustice. Now, Jacob Stevens has taken on City Hall to demand a change. Take Action: Join Jacob Stevens’ fight for justice.
“One of the things that I expected -- that all of us have a right to expect, as residents of this city -- was that a violent death would be investigated,” Jacob told the crowd of journalists and supporters at T.A.’s City Hall rally. “I thought that the police would go to the scene of Clara’s death, take photographs, check surveillance cameras and look for witnesses. We thought the driver was still in custody, that his car had been impounded and that he would be tested for drugs and alcohol. The New York Police Department did none of those things. Not one.”
The Real World, Local Spokes
This is the true story of nine organizations picked to work together and have their decisions model a new formula for what happens when transportation changes the neighborhood, for real.
Buttons made fresh at the
launch of Local Spokes’
Neighborhood Action Plan
Image courtesy Local Spokes
The Local Spokes Coalition is the most real world project that T.A. has ever embarked on. Nine organizations from different backgrounds -- with expertise in transportation, cultural diversity, public housing, immigration and education -- all came together to test out a new model for community organizing. The topic they undertook: A huge influx of bicycles in the neighborhood and how the community could control the upshot.
Chinatown and the Lower East Side are transportation anomalies: sister neighborhoods situated on top of one another, the former is packed with public transit and the latter lacking. Two bridges and a few major artery roads mean that traffic is dense with trucks. On top of all that, New York City’s growing population of bicyclists focus on the area, living in or traveling through by the thousands. When the Local Spokes Coalition formed, they did so knowing that public bike share would arrive in the neighborhood in just one year, changing everything.
The Local Spokes Coalition has spent that year reaching out to residents about bicycling and how it affects the communities that live and work in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. They just published the results of their conversations -- Local Spokes’ Neighborhood Action Plan (PDF) -- and it’s a model for navigating change by giving the community the reins.
“The Local Spokes Coalition talked about biking in the context of other neighborhood needs,” explains T.A.’s Director of Bicycle Advocacy, Caroline Samponaro, who represented T.A. in the Local Spokes Coalition. “We talked about bike share, for instance, in the context of the great deal of public housing in these neighborhoods. At the top of our recommendations was that Citi Bike should hire mechanics from these neighborhoods.”
The Local Spokes Coalition talked to more than 1,200 residents in the last year. From that conversation, they drew a blueprint of the future of bicycling in the community. Here’s what they found out:
This “cycling census” does more than predict the future of bicycling in Chinatown and the Lower East Side; it creates a summer to-do list for the Local Spokes Coalition. Next up: getting more youth on bicycles and opening the gates for low-income New Yorkers to access Citi Bike.
- Low-income residents are less likely to own a bike. While 65 percent of high-income residents own a bike, only 33 percent of low-income residents do.
- But the majority of residents want to own a bike, with 6.5 out of every 10 low-income residents responding that bike ownership is a goal.
- Most residents report they live near a bike lane, with 70 percent of low-income and 83 percent of high-income residents in proximity to safer bicycling.
- And if the bike lanes were better, more residents would ride. Of low-income respondents, 1 in 3 would ride more if the infrastructure supported it.
But there’s a product here more important than jobs and infrastructure. Local Spokes took a neighborhood sidelined in the street planning process and built an example of community empowerment. Read their Neighborhood Action Plan to learn how to take the reins in your community (PDF).
Alpine Hill Gets Repaved
This just in from the Department of Waiting for the Asphalt to Dry:
T.A. advocacy traversed the George Washington Bridge to make bicycling better on New Yorker’s favorite recreational route.
Image courtesy J. Brazito
Just across the George Washington Bridge, New Yorkers’ favorite recreational bike route is getting repaved. After months of T.A. advocating across state lines, the once washboard Alpine Hill -- a critical connector to Route 9W -- is undergoing a repaving.
According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation, traffic on U.S. Route 9W is more than 47 percent bicycles. A major state highway with a near majority of bicycles over cars? Now that’s sharing the road! Route 9W, River Road and Alpine Hill are more than New York City bicyclist’s favorite recreational route; they’re a prophecy for the future of New York City’s roads and bridges.
The number of daily bicyclists in New York City grows by double-digits every year. With Citi Bike’s July debut, 10,000 public bicycles will be instantly available on local streets and hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will try bicycling for the first time. At this rate, Route 9W is a prediction for New York City: an equal number of bikes and cars may be in our future.
Like a kudzu with a cause, T.A. advocacy can root around major obstacles to win changes that affect New Yorkers. This time, we traversed the Hudson River and breeched state lines to make the asphalt smoother on Alpine Hill and made bicycling better for tens of thousands of recreational New York City bicyclists.
This July, bike share cometh. But until it arriveth, Bike & Roll is a peripatetic New Yorker’s best friend. Even after 10,000 Citi Bikes hit the streets, Bike & Roll is the most affordable choice for bike rides over an hour. For T.A. members, that affordability is majorly multiplied. At Bike & Roll, New York City’s largest bicycle rental company, T.A. members get a discount on all rentals. Bike & Roll’s extensive fleet means you can choose the bike size and style that’s right for you.
T.A. members save a whopping 75 percent off all bicycle rentals from Bike & Roll. Want to rent before you buy? Out-of-town guests you want to tour around New York? Join T.A. today and you save big on all your bike rentals tomorrow.
Tour de Queens
Registration is now open for the Tour de Queens! This family-friendly 20-mile bike ride -- now in its fifth year -- sells out every time, so register today.
Taste the lemon ices at the Lemon Ice King of Corona! See the Unisphere at the historic grounds of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs! Tour New York City’s biggest borough!
Top-notch attractions are a guaranteed part of the Tour de Queens. The Little Bay Park Rest Stop has Queens' most scenic waterfront view. And Flushing Meadows Corona Park isn't only Queens' largest; it's the best place outside a movie theater to see where Men in Black was filmed.
Grab your bicycle and on July 8th, take a ride with T.A. on the serene, green 20-mile Tour de Queens. Thousands of New Yorkers will tour the best of Queens with you. Register today to reserve your spot.
Tour de Queens
Sunday, July 8, 2012
NYC Century Bike Tour
T.A.’s premier bike tour -- the NYC Century Bike Tour -- will take you through four boroughs, 16 parks and seven scenic rests stops. Whether you choose to ride 15, 35, 55, 75 or 100 miles, you’ll see skyline vistas, grand avenues and neighborhoods streets, protected bike lanes and stretching bridges. Our rest stops are stocked with high-energy snacks to keep you pedaling.
The NYC Century Bike Tour hits the streets in September, but now’s the time to decide to ride. Register today and you’ll get $25 off.
NYC Century Bike Tour
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Central Park, Manhattan or Prospect Park, Brooklyn
T.A. at the Museum
Here in the year 2012, T.A.’s 1973 founding is storied enough for the history books, or at least, the history museum. The Museum of the City of New York has featured T.A. in their exhibit, Activist New York, which expounds a selective history of activism in the name of the bicycle. Nestled in next to our friend’s at Times Up’s donation jar are ancient, archival copies of the paper-predecessor of this very newsletter (the StreetBeat was once City Cyclist), along with other historic memorabilia.
At the opening of Activist New York, T.A.’s
history ranked among the storied lore of
New York City’s greatest battles for
Image courtesy Andrew Hinderaker
This weekend, you can see the exhibit in style when Guest Curator Steven Jaffe escorts guests through a tour of the gallery. Check out the exhibit and learn all the circumstances that have made New York City historically ideal for activism to brew.
Activist New York: Gallery Tour
Saturday, June 23, 2012