T.A. StreetBeat

Transportation Alternatives
STREETBEATFebruary 13, 2014  

The snow reveals how our streets give car drivers more space than they need
and inspires visions of how you could better use that space.
Image courtesy Doug Gordon

Articles and Actions
 What Snow Reveals About Streets
To Do List for Vision Zero
UPDATE: Boogie on the Boulevard

Events and Alerts
 Staten Island Activists Plan for Summer & St. Pat's
Political Action Center at the Youth Bike Summit
Talking Safe Streets in the Bronx
Talking Safe Streets in North Brooklyn
Vision Zero Forum

T.A. in the news
Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said half of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities were to blame on these arterial roads, which are 10% of the city’s streets.

“Mayor de Blasio’s interagency Vision Zero task force must prioritize the redesign of these dangerous corridors,” White said in a statement.

 “Report lists city’s most dangerous streets for pedestrians” am New York, 2/5.

What Snow Reveals About Streets
The best sneckdowns of 2010 appear in this vintage Streetfilm.
Image courtesy Clarence Eckerson
Walking (and maybe even biking, you brave soul!) through the slush these past few weeks, you may have spotted a pattern: a tire-marked path through the snow surrounded by untouched white.

The phenomenon was first branded a “sneckdown” by T.A. activists in 2001. It's a neckdown of untrod or plow-piled snow. (If you left your urban planning manual at home, a neckdown is when the width of a street at an intersection is made narrower to calm traffic.)

Drive-lines provide a clear message about how streets can work better. The prospect of wider sidewalks, new public plazas and bike lanes are revealed in the space where no one has driven.

The wider a street, the safer drivers feel exceeding the speed limit. Streets narrowed by snow have the opposite effect, encouraging drivers to behave. Where normally drivers are jockeying for position, snow banks both sides of the street keep drivers in line and in their lane, demonstrating how narrow the street could be.

Long, wet winters reveal a lot about local streets. Has the snow shown you how any streets in your neighborhood could be safer? Snap a picture and post it on Twitter. Don’t forget the geeky hashtag: Make my #sneckdown reality!

To Do List for Vision Zero
In the schoolyard of P.S. 152 in Queens, Mayor de Blasio meets the family of 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, a student at the school who was
killed by truck driver in December.
Image courtesy Cassandra Giraldo
With his mayoralty just two weeks old, Bill de Blasio made a historic announcement: Vision Zero for New York City -- by 2024, he would prevent the traffic crashes that injure 70,000 and kill 300 New Yorkers every year.

Last month, Mayor de Blasio set a fire under his promise: On February 15, he said, a task force of transportation, health and enforcement experts would release a to-do list about how to get to Vision Zero.

Here’s what Transportation Alternatives knows must be on that to-do list for New York City to reach Vision Zero:
  1. Fix Major Streets First
    Multiple lanes, highway speeds and a long walk to cross the street -- your neighborhood probably includes a scary Major Street. First Avenue is a shining example of how to fix it, with protected bike lanes, pedestrian refuges and Select Bus Service turning that Major Street into a safe space.

  2. Lower the Speed Limit to 20 mph
    Speeding drivers are the #1 cause of fatal traffic crashes in New York City. But even at 30 mph, speed is a killer. Studies show a person is 10 times more likely to be killed if they’re struck by a car going 30 mph, which is why the speed limit must be lowered to 20 mph.
There are two mile markers on the road to Vision Zero: Establish a 20 mph speed limit and fix New York City’s major streets. If we don’t secure these critical changes, New York will remain a city where 70,000 people are injured in traffic every year.

UPDATE: Boogie on the Boulevard
On Park(ing) Day this summer, Bronx activists showed local kids how great a car-free Grand Concourse can be. Sign the petition for car-free Sundays on the Grand Concourse.
Activists in the Bronx are tired of the status quo on their borough’s most iconic street -- the Grand Concourse is packed with traffic, reckless driving and crowded sidewalks.

But it takes more than moaning to make change. That’s why T.A.’s Bronx Activist Committee came up with the idea for Boogie on the Boulevard.

Boogie on the Boulevard is a campaign to bring a temporary street closure to the Grand Concourse -- and to show Bronx residents how much better the street would be with less car traffic. It could be the first step toward a wholesale redesign of how the Grand Concourse works.

Now, the campaign is heating up. More than 1,400 New Yorkers signed a petition in support of Boogie on the Boulevard. Activists teamed up with the Bronx Museum of the Arts to ask the local community board to support a car-free Grand Concourse.

Backed by a coalition of 29 public health and cultural institutions, and every business on a four-block stretch of the Grand Concourse, it was impossible for the community board to say no. In January, Bronx Community Board 4 voted in support of a car-free Grand Concourse for three weeks this summer. Activists recently submitted their request for a permit to the city.

Congratulations to the Bronx Activist Committee on this success! See you on the Grand Concourse this summer? Just look for the people dancing in the street.

Staten Island Activists Plan for Summer & St. Pat's
Kids fix their BMXs on Forest Avenue, where local activists are launching a campaign to make the street safer for bicycling and walking.
Image courtesy Karen Foto
Forest Avenue borders two of Staten Island’s largest parks. It’s packed with schools, playgrounds, churches and neighborhoods where New Yorkers live. Two critical commuter buses rely on the route, and the giant parking lots of big box stores connect here, too.

That means a lot of car drivers are interacting with a lot of pedestrians and bicyclists on this narrow street, making conditions seriously dangerous.

Recently, activists in Staten Island identified Forest Avenue as a hot-spot for crashes. Now, T.A.’s Staten Island Activist Committee is challenging the status quo on this dangerous street.

Join activists on Staten Island to plan a summertime rally for a safer Forest Avenue. They’ll be figuring out the best ways to pitch their campaign at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Forest Avenue, too. This is a great time to get involved at the ground level of this exciting new campaign.

Staten Island Activist Committee Meeting
Thursday, February 20, 2014
6:30 pm
Staten Island MakerSpace
450 Front Street
Staten Island
Please RSVP

Political Action Center at the Youth Bike Summit
This crew of T.A. Bike Ambassadors knows how to turn an idea into an on-street reality. Learn the skills behind the blue shirts at the Youth Bike Summit.
Could streets in your neighborhood work better? Are crowds of people walking on narrow sidewalks? Do your neighbors ride bicycles without bike lanes? Is speeding common where you live?

These are problems you can solve by launching a campaign in your neighborhood. T.A. has a team of experts to teach you how.

Meet up with T.A.'s crew of on-street campaigners, the NYC Bike Ambassadors, at an interactive “Political Action Center” at the Youth Bike Summit. You can learn the ins and outs of campaign planning and launch your own campaign for change in your neighborhood.

Political Action Center at the Youth Bike Summit
Saturday, February 15, 2014
12 pm to 3 pm
The New School
66 West 12th Street

Talking Safe Streets in the Bronx
This little activist wishes the Grand Concourse was a safe way to get to school. Want to be her Jiminy Cricket? Just come meet the Bronx activist crew!
In 2014, activists in the Bronx are going to fight to reduce deaths and injuries caused by traffic across the borough. At the Bronx Parks Speak Up, an annual get-together for people who love parks and care about New York City's northern ecosystems, T.A.’s Bronx Activist Committee will be chatting up their neighbors about how Bronx streets could be safer -- the first step toward a more sustainable borough.

This meet-and-greet event is a great opportunity to get involved with bringing Vision Zero to the Bronx. Will you come meet your new activist friends?

Bronx Parks Speak Up
Saturday, February 22, 2014
11 am to 5 pm
Lehman College Music Building
250 Bedford Park Boulevard West

Talking Safe Streets in North Brooklyn
It’s indelible: This Brooklyn tattoo parlor supports safe streets. Who can you talk into standing up?
The Brooklyn activists who are fighting for safer thoroughfares in Bushwick, Williamsburg and Greenpoint are taking it to the streets this weekend.

Meet local activists at North Brooklyn bar and brunch spot Enid’s. There you can help set a plan of attack to convince local businesses to sign on in support of the campaign for a Traffic Safety Forum about North Brooklyn streets. Once you’re prepped, you’ll head out in teams to talk safe streets with local business owners.

This is a critical campaign to shine a light on a network of dangerous streets in North Brooklyn. Will you use your charming demeanor and prowess with local business owners to help it succeed?

Talking Safe Streets in North Brooklyn
Saturday, February 15, 2014
560 Manhattan Avenue
Please RSVP

Vision Zero Forum
Is Vision Zero a politician’s pipe dream or a reality on New York City’s horizon? Find out at “Counting Down to Vision Zero: A Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Town Hall” sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, with T.A. on the presenters’ deck.

Transportation Alternatives’ Manhattan Organizer Thomas DeVito will be on-hand to answer your questions and explain how New York City can reach Vision Zero. Representatives from the New York Police Department and the New York City Department of Transportation will be in the room to make it official.

Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP to reserve your spot in the room.

Vision Zero Forum
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
6 pm to 8 pm
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 West 59th Street
Please RSVP