T.A. StreetBeat
T.A. StreetBeat March 29, 2012   
Outside the NYPD's 90th Precinct, the jurisdiction where the most bicyclists were killed in 2011, a "Ghost Bike"
memorial was installed last week. On nearby McGuinness Boulevard, "Pedestrian Killed Here" plaques drew
attention to the New Yorkers rifely killed on foot there. On Tuesday,
T.A. released a study that gives context to the death toll.
Image courtesy Andrew Hinderaker

El Barrio Council Member ‏@MMViverito tweeted @transalt: YES!! @NYC_DOT CB11 has voted AYE a second time for bike lanes! A healthy #eastharlem community is on its way!!
#bikenyc is all abuzz about the USA's longest protected bike lane -- join in on Facebook and Twitter.

T.A. in the News

Caroline Samponaro explained that the Lower East Side/Chinatown area is, "the center of the city's transportation network" and that it will be the "epicenter" of the beginning phase of New York City's forthcoming bike share program. "The big picture," she said, "is to ensure that the community has an informed voice in decision-making."

-- "Not white and not wealthy: Taking biking beyond the usual suspects" BikePortland.org, 3/21.

"Pedestrian Killed Here"

Eleven memorials to walkers killed
on McGuinness Boulevard
appeared overnight.

Drivers on Brooklyn's McGuinness Boulevard may notice a new kind of signage appeared overnight. The residential stretch between the Pulaski Bridge and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, treated like an on-ramp by passing drivers, is now flanked with markers of the dead.

"Pedestrian killed here by motor vehicle," the signs read, beneath the image of two splayed hands. "This death was preventable. Save Lives: Drive safely and respect each other." Block upon block, the signs memorialize 11 New Yorkers killed crossing the one-mile road.

The signs weren't the product of any City department, but hung by an anonymous group of advocates, a makeshift Department of Safer Streets. When the Seventh Annual Memorial Ride and Walk traversed the length of McGuinness Boulevard last week, a group of New Yorkers stopped at each plaque to remember those killed by car and truck drivers while crossing the stretch.

Now, a new study gives context to the death toll. When local residents from the McGuinness Boulevard Working Group pointed a radar gun at the Boulevard, they found more than 60 percent of drivers were speeding. One weekday, 75 percent were speeding. According to the report T.A. released Tuesday, truck traffic was McGuinness Boulevard's most lawless. During the study period:
  • 62 percent of truck drivers were speeding.
  • One big rig was found to be traveling an alarming 47 mph. That truck would take 346 feet to stop, well over the length of a football field.
The study was a project of the McGuinness Boulevard Working Group, formed in December 2011 to put local political power behind a safer street. Summer Greenstein is a T.A. volunteer and a member of the Working Group who lives east of McGuinness Boulevard.

"Crossing McGuinness Boulevard every day is the worst thing about living in this neighborhood," she said. "The design of the street, combined with signal timing that encourages fast traffic, means that truck drivers can speed with impunity."

As to the 11 new signs that appeared on the street overnight, Summer thought they sent a powerful message. "The memorials add humanity to a street that is otherwise devoid of it, a reminder of the human life that was needlessly lost," she said. "It's a good reminder that we have some control over our streets and shouldn't be complacent. It's not easy for New Yorkers to feel empowered when it comes to their streets, so the signs are a small symbol of protest."

For a one-mile road, the campaign to make McGuinness Boulevard safe has a lot of mileage: in the McGuinness Boulevard Working Group, a powerful coalition of community groups and elected officials; in 11 new memorial signs, a staggering visual representation of the Boulevard's death toll; and in T.A.'s new report, incontrovertible proof of lawless driving. A safer McGuinness Boulevard can't be far down the road.

Voices of the Fare Hike Fight

Another New Yorker signs on to fight the fare hike. Join the conversation.

In one year, unless we fight, Albany officials and the MTA are going to raise the cost of a subway and bus ride. Unless we fight, New Yorkers are going to pay more money for dirty stations, sardine-can commutes and too few buses to carry us all.

Two weeks ago, we showed you a tool to fight the fare hike. You responded in force, and now, more than 1,000 New Yorkers have signed our petition. Here are some of those New Yorkers, explaining why they joined the fight against the fare hike:

Jaime Feliberty, the Bronx
Public transportation is not a luxury! It is a necessity! The "American Dream" shouldn't be wasted wondering where to cut corners to be able to afford public transit.

Eric Brooks, Brooklyn
We need more support from Albany and from Governor Cuomo. Governor Cuomo, where are you?

Val Pekar, Queens
On a fixed income and still working and paying taxes. Can't afford another penny. Service is bad, rats run wild on the tracks and you want more? You're crazy! NO MORE INCREASES.

Asad Syrkett, Manhattan
Being asked to pay more money for increasingly spotty service is unconscionable and unfair!

Jonathan Howell, Brooklyn
I'm fed up with fare hikes being borne completely by users, while I'm still paying NYC taxes that apparently are going to "other things." Start using my tax money on something that is useful to me -- or get voted out of office. That's your choice, and it WILL happen.

There are 7.5 million public transit riders in New York City. If less than seven percent of them join us in the fight against the fare hike, we will be 500,000 strong when we take our demand to Governor Cuomo. Why are you going to fight the fare hike? Join the conversation.

The Bronx Helpers Sound Off

In the Southwest Bronx, the Bronx Helpers' Pedestrian Safety
First Committee made this corner a safer place to cross.
Image courtesy Andrew Hinderaker

Critical Newsflash: Two new parking signs are about to be installed at 172nd Street and Townsend Avenue, in the Mount Eden neighborhood of the Bronx.

We're not kidding. That little change is going to mean something big, and not just for the young men who fought for it. Community organizations around the city should take note: With a little sweat and T.A.'s help, you can change your street.

The change coming to Mount Eden is known as "daylighting," a city planner's term for better visibility at an intersection; vehicles are forced to park further back from the crosswalk. At the dangerous intersection outside the New Settlement Apartments, the change is going to clear the line of sight for walkers waiting to cross.

The young men of the New Settlement Apartments' youth group, the Bronx Helpers, were fighting for a calmer street. T.A. sat down to ask what they think of what they got instead:

Julio Cruz, age 16
I think it is progress from all the work that has been done. It is something we can show. We can be happy, for now.

Jose Bustamante, age 13
Daylighting won't be enough because cars will still speed.

Rafael Gonzales, age 12
I am happy now. But if I keep seeing cars going fast, and people breaking the rules, I want another meeting with [DOT Bronx Borough Commissioner] Constance Moran.

In every borough, T.A. acts as a megaphone for community organizations and concerned neighbors. It's more than at-your-service amplification. T.A. can connect your community to tens of thousands of like-minded New Yorkers. With fresh data and access to the halls of power, we are able to usher in local change because the dangerous street in your neighborhood is the same as every other dangerous street in New York City: fixable. The next step is getting started.

The solution in Mount Eden is far from ideal. Daylighting puts the onus on walkers, rather than a stop sign, which would make safety the responsibility of the drivers who often blow through the intersection. That's why these young men aren't done asking.

Last week, the Bronx Helper's Pedestrian Safety First Committee released a report with T.A. It chronicles their big effort to change a little street in Mount Eden, and the more than 1,000 community members who signed in favor of local traffic calming. The youth group has applied to the Department of Transportation's Slow Zone program, and with T.A. as their megaphone, their next steps toward a safer street will be heard loud and clear.


Image courtesy Patrick Schmidt

Bike ownership can make it difficult to get away. Between bicycle kenneling fees and knowing how your bicycle whimpers when you leave, a vacation can seem like more of a burden than a break. Now T.A. members can get away without ever leaving their bike, thanks to Bike Escapades. Bike Escapades offers scenic, inclusive bike tours on great routes around the country, led by experienced local guides. Travel with Bike Escapades to salty Cape Cod in September, the autumnal Hudson Valley in October or sunny Arizona in November. T.A. members get $150 off the cost of all Bike Escapades' tours, and for every T.A. member who tours with Bike Escapades, the company will donate $150 to T.A.'s campaigns for better bicycling, walking and public transit.

Not a T.A. member, but desperate to get away with your bicycle? Join T.A. today.

Elmhurst Transit Town Hall

In Queens, getting on the bus can
be an exercise in patience.
Image courtesy Nicole Rosenthal

In Elmhurst, Queens, buses are very critical and very crowded. That's why Representative Joseph Crowley and Council Member Daniel Dromm are taking on transit at the local level. Because T.A. has serious skills organizing transit riders, and the expertise to advocate for a better way, Representative Crowley and Council Member Dromm asked T.A. to help bring Elmhurst residents to the table.

These elected officials are all-ears on local transit issues, and at the upcoming Elmhurst Transit Town Hall, they'll be on hand to hear how public transit is functioning for local residents. The call to re-open the Long Island Rail Road station at Broadway and Whitney Avenue is on the agenda, as is everything else transit that Elmhurst residents would like to discuss.

Elmhurst Transit Town Hall
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
6 - 7:30 pm
St. James Episcopal Church
84-07 Broadway

Fordham Area Transit Town Hall

At T.A.'s last Transit Town Hall in the Bronx, the
Vice President of the Bronx River Houses'
Tenant Association explained why his
community needs better public transit.
Image courtesy Nat LaPier

In the Fordham area of the Bronx, Select Bus Service on the Bx12 Bus has dramatically shortened commutes, but other local bus lines are still lacking. That's why T.A. has brought State Senator Gustavo Rivera to the table with Bronx residents.

At the upcoming Fordham Area Transit Town Hall, the senator will be on hand to hear how local residents are using public transit. On the agenda is a rider survey on Select Bus Service and other transit issues Fordham area residents would like to discuss.

Fordham Area Transit Town Hall
Thursday, April 12, 2012
6 - 7:30 pm
Federation Employment and Guidance Service
2432 Grand Concourse -- Suite 506

Ride to Nyack

Take the foreground on the
background and all the way
to Nyack with Team T.A.
Image courtesy Shinya Suzuki

Team T.A. is hitting the hills this weekend, and they'd love for you to come along. The ride will traverse the epic George Washington Bridge, climb New Jersey's famed River Road and take a break in bicycling-hub Nyack, New York.

Team T.A. is our in-house bicycling club: a group of fun-loving bicyclists who support T.A. by fundraising and bike riding. But there's no fundraising necessary for this bicycle adventure, just two-wheels and a fair amount of endurance. Note: This ride is best undertaken by experienced bicyclists in good shape. Cancellations will be displayed on the event page. Rain cancels the ride.

Ride to Nyack with Team T.A.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
9 am
West Side Greenway and West 79th Street

Bikelandia at the New Amsterdam Bike Show
The New Amsterdam Bike Show is a whopping 21,000 square feet of bikes, bikes, bikes -- and proceeds from New York City's only bike show benefit Transportation Alternatives.

This just added: The New Amsterdam Bike Show will feature Bikelandia, starring the original sardonic bicyclist, Bike Snob NYC. Bikelandia is a brimming schedule of talks, slideshows, panels and films. Everyone from T.A.'s own Caroline Samponaro to Rivendell Bike Works founder Grant Petersen to Hollywood Rides a Bike author Steven Rea will be on hand to present their expert, insider knowledge.

The two-day event will feature bicycle-makers, every kind of gear and events that connect your ride to New York City's growing bicycle community. Tickets are now on sale, and for everyone who is not yet a T.A. member, membership to T.A. is free with your entrance to the New Amsterdam Bicycle Show.

New Amsterdam Bicycle Show
April 28-29, 2012
Skylight Soho
275 Hudson Street
Buy Tickets

Slideluck Bikeshow: Call for Submissions
Slideluck Bikeshow is the bike-bonanza version of Slideluck Potshow, an international event series that brings the likeminded together around food and art. If you're not proficient in mirror reading, it's a potluck dinner and slideshow with bicycling as the theme, and if you act now, you can be featured on the big screen.

In honor of Bike Month this May, T.A. is sponsoring Slideluck Bikeshow as they point their projector at New York City's bicycling scene. Bicycling-inspired art, custom bicycles, bicycle sculpture or even your helmet cam footage are fair game. After the slideshow, Peloton Magazine will publish one featured piece. Submit your bicycling-inspired images today.

Brooklyn Brewery will provide the beer and local restaurants will serve the fare. You can be the entertainment, but only if you submit now. The submission deadline is April 30th.

Slideluck Bikeshow
Saturday, May 19, 2012
6 pm
Hosteling International Flagship
891 Amsterdam Avenue
Buy Tickets

Hiring The Kitchen Sink: 18 New Jobs

Think we can pack a few more in?
Image courtesy Andrew Hinderaker

With spring just about sprung, T.A. is turning all the sunshine and rain into a major growth spurt. We're hiring in a big way. Do you have what it takes to help the city's leading advocate for bicycling, walking and public transit succeed?

T.A. is hiring a Membership Manager, a Transportation Research Intern, a Volunteer Program Intern, a Bicycle Advocacy Design Intern, a Play Streets Research Fellow, a Director of Finance, plus a Lead Organizer, a Street Canvasser and ten enthusiastic, personable New Yorkers for our Bicycle Ambassador program.

Next up: More desks!