T.A. StreetBeat

May 21st, 2009

It took her 20 minutes to ride from Sunnyside, Queens to Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Rachael Myers won the 8th Annual NYC Commuter Race this morning. The transit rider came in second and the driver came in third.

Articles and Actions

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Events and Alerts

T.A. in the News

  • Says one person who has followed New York City transportation policy for many years, "I've been in this business a long time, and I am absolutely shocked to see how a group like Transportation Alternatives is literally writing transportation policy in the city of New York--unchecked."

    -New York Magazine, 5/17

The Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez Law

Haley and Diego's Law could help bring justice to NYC streets.

Too often our most vulnerable street users suffer because those empowered by engines and wrapped in tons of steel aren't careful.

The families and friends of Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez learned this lesson the hard way when a van left unattended and in reverse on a Chinatown street hopped a curb and took the lives of those two pre-school aged children and injured a dozen more.

Hayley and Diego's law recognizes the inherent vulnerability of pedestrians, cyclists and any road users traveling outside the protection of an automobile and establishes a legal framework to bring justice in cases where these road users are seriously injured or killed. The law creates new civil penalties for motorists that fail to act with appropriate care or engage in actions that are likely to endanger a person or property.

It's a landmark piece of legislation in New York State that is a direct result of T.A.'s advocacy and the tireless efforts of those impacted by the tragedy that befell Hayley Ng and Diego Martinez. Although this legislation will not erase the pain of such horrific loss, its passage will demonstrate to the family members of the hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists killed each year that New York State values the lives of their loved ones and that government is ready to help build a new culture of respect among all road users.

In the coming weeks and months, T.A. will be pushing for the passage of this legislation and similar laws that will make New York City's streets safer for all users.

You can learn more about this legislation at transalt.org/takeaction/legislation/3235.

Biking Rules: A New Streetcode for NYC Cyclists

A new streetcode for NYC cyclists.

More than 185,000 cyclists pedal on New York City pavement each and every day, and that number is growing. As it rises and bike infrastructure improves, it is increasingly important for everyone who rides to consider how our individual behavior impacts the street and thereby shapes the opinions of others. That's why T.A. has launched a new campaign called Biking Rules.

Biking Rules is a new street code for NYC cyclists that follows a simple principle: your responsibility as a street users increases with your potential to cause harm to others. Basically that means the bigger you are, the more care you ought to take. Under Biking Rules, pedestrians have the right of way, cyclists ought to be safe and motorists need to exercise the utmost caution.

Biking Rules is also a place where people can go to find out about what's happening with cycling in NYC. There are twitter feeds, event listings, advocacy briefings and loads of other cool features that will keep you abreast of all the latest and greatest. You can even use Ride the City to map your favorite bike routes and share them with friends.

Visit BikingRules.org today, start a free user account and be one of the thousands of NYC cyclists that are taking the lead to create safer, saner streets. We need your help in making this street code catch on.

Bike Around Downtown

Get ready to pedal!

The Alliance for Downtown New York is offering workers, residents and visitors another great reason to work, live and play in Lower Manhattan. Through the second annual Bike Around Downtown program, they're providing the public with free bicycles for leisure use.

The free bikes will be available seven days a week from May 13 to Sept. 30 during three separate two-and-a-half-hour time slots each day: 9:30 am-12 pm, 12:30-3 pm and 3:30-6 pm.

Interested riders can register for sessions through an online membership program that riders can access through the Downtown Alliance Web site at downtownny.com. Registration is now open.

There is no limit to the number of times that members can reserve a bike, but reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis. Adult and children's bikes are available, and helmets will be provided. Tag-alongs, wagons and baby seats will also be provided free if needed.

Harlem River Park

Harlem River Park is finally complete, but its access-ways need a few finishing touches.

Harlem River Park, which runs between 135th and 142nd, will reopen its northern section this June, but will it be safe for people to get there?

A new T.A. study "Connecting Parks, Health, and Pedestrian Safety: Improving Pedestrian and Cyclist Access to Harlem River Park" (PDF) finds that many area residents are deterred from using the new park because of the lack of traffic calming and safety at the intersections around the park's pedestrian paths. Those who do visit enjoy it for exercising and recreation, but say that they would visit more frequently if it were easier to reach.

This situation is made even more pressing by the huge public health disparities suffered by East and Central Harlem. According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, one in three individuals is considered obese, and 25% of adults do not get any physical activity. Approximately 13% of adults in East Harlem have diabetes, compared with 9% of adults citywide.

T.A.'s recommendations on remedying access to the park--fully outlined in the report and developed with the Harlem River Park Task Force--are based on a survey of residents living near the park as well as site visits. They include short-term and inexpensive changes that can be implemented at the intersections and at the access-ramps that would enhance pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Manhattan Community Boards 10 and 11, as well as Council Member Inez Dickens support the recommendations. All have written letters in support to the DOT, and all of them, along with T.A., are eagerly awaiting a response from the transportation department.

Bike Month's Swan Song

Believe it or not, it's still Bike Month. That means there are scores of great bike-themed events happening all over the city. Why not stop by BikeMonthNYC.org and see what's happening near you?

One event that's not to be missed is Car Free Saturday in Crotona Park on May 30th from 12-5pm. It's half a mile of open road to ride your bike, run and play games brought to you by the Car-Free Bronx Coalition.

Block Party Season Begins

Click here to watch a video about last year's Block Parties.

This Monday is Memorial Day, which means that summer is (un)officially here. The pools are opening, the schools are closing and everyone's ready for a little relaxation. And there's no better place to relax than on a car-free street, which is why over 3,000 blocks around NYC will have a block party this year.

Interested in having a block party on your street but not sure where to start? Confused by the permits? Are you already planning a block party but want a way to let your friends know about it? Check out Block Party NYC, a great new resource that covers everything from who to call to what to buy. There's nothing to stop you from turning your street into your street and making 2009 a summer to really remember.

BRT Community Forum

Click here to watch a video about BRT in NYC.

New York City Transit and the DOT have finally heard what T.A. has been saying for years: "It's all about the buses, baby!" Well, maybe we didn't say that exactly, but we meant to...

Anyway, the administration is looking for ways to dramatically improve transit service through a comprehensive Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network across New York City--complete with links to subways, ferries, and major destinations. To this end, NYCT and DOT are inviting the public to take part in interactive workshops that will lay the groundwork for the next phase of a BRT program for New York City.

Given the magnitude of the MTA's current fiscal constraints, it is imperative that all stakeholders work to expand high performance bus service--an approach that will allow for cost savings realized from improving bus speeds, attracting more customers and providing more efficient bus operations.

There will be at least one forum in each borough, starting May 28th in The Bronx and running through June 18th. For the full schedule, go to nyc.gov/html/dot/html/ferrybus/selectbusservice.shtml.

Manhattan District Attorney Candidate Debate

Transportation Alternatives and the Criminal Justice Society of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law are pleased to announce a round-table debate featuring the three currently announced candidates for Manhattan District Attorney. The candidates will discuss their views on vehicular crimes and the role of the District Attorney's office in protecting New Yorkers from reckless and dangerous drivers. Aaron Naparstek, the editor-in-chief of Streetsblog, will deliver introductory remarks. Jonathan Oberman, Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic and Professor at the Cardozo Law School, will moderate the debate.

Manhattan D.A. Debate
Wednesday, June 3rd
8:30-9:30 am
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
55 Fifth Avenue (at 12th Street)

Volunteer University: Bike Tour Edition

T.A.'s bike tours require all kinds of skills to keep things running smoothly, so bring your talents and your interest to a very special bike-tour-volunteer orientation where you can learn how to hazard ID, route mark or marshal riders safely. It will be a fun and relaxed way to become fully armed with the knowledge you need to be the best volunteer you can be!

Wednesday, May 27th
6:30-7:30 pm
T.A. Office
127 W. 26th Street, Suite 1002

NOTE: This training session is mandatory for all Tour de Brooklyn marshals. If you have a scheduling conflict, please coordinate with Elena at volunteer@transalt.org to make alternative arrangements.

Bike to MoMA Monday Nights

Enjoy a warm-weather MoMA Monday Nights on June 8. PopRally presents an evening of site-specific performances by the unpredictable Brooklyn music collective Stars Like Fleas.

On June 8, MoMA stays open until 8:45 pm. Drop in after hours for exhibitions, films, music, and cash bar--plus the first 600 ticket buyers after 5:30 p.m. get a free return pass for their next visit. Music begins at 6 pm. in the Abby Aldrich Sculpture Garden, with sets throughout the evening both outdoors and inside the Museum. (In the event of rain, all performances take place indoors.) Bike to the event to receive free bicycle valet parking and half-price admission. Bicycle valet parking (in the lot west of MoMA; enter on 53rd Street) courtesy of T.A.

Exhibitions on view include the provocative installations of Dutch artist Aernout Mik and the final week of Tangled Alphabets: Leon Ferrari and Mira Schendel. In the theaters at 8 pm, see a screening from the film exhibition The New India, with actor Abhay Deol introducing the upbeat caper Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!

MoMA Monday Nights
Monday, June 8th
5:308:45 pm
11 W 53rd Street