Where is the New York City DOT headed in 2006?
Samesville, USA, judging by its short-sighted performance targets.

Articles and Actions:

Events and Appeals:

T.A. in the News

Wanted in 2006: Real Transportation Goals
(c) Transport for London 2005

London has hit its stride, thanks to improved transportation performance targets.
You can't fault the New York City Department of Transportation for not being specific about what it wants to accomplish in 2006. In 2006 the agency aims to install 1899 new parking meters, conduct 285,000 street inspections and fix broken streetlights 2.9% faster.

Completely absent from the DOT's 2006 to-do list, however, are targets for far more important indicators of surface transportation performance: crash prevention; reduced auto traffic and increased biking and walking rates; and bus speeds. New York's DOT stands in stark contrast to London's, which several years ago began adopting smart performance targets such as:

  • Traffic reduction: Reduce weekday traffic volumes by 15%
  • Road safety: Reduce the number of children killed or seriously injured by 50%
  • Bus Speeds: Reduce bus wait time by 28%
  • Walking: Increase the number of walking trips for under 2 miles by 10%
  • Bicycling: Increase cycling by 80%

These targets laid the foundation for London's successful walking, cycling and congestion pricing plans.

Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Weinshall and senior DOT officials have, on several occasions, spoken publicly about their desire to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities, improve bus service and convert driving trips to transit, walking and bicycling trips.

The time is long overdue to translate these laudable words into deeds and turn ambitions into measurable short and long-term performance targets. Until then, the DOT will continue to be good at installing parking meters and fixing streetlights, and bad at moving New York City and its transportation system into the 21st Century.

Fax the Mayor: DOT All Wrong on Central Park
Make Central Park safe for kids
all summer long.
Send Mayor Bloomberg an eFax (below) letting him know better science makes for safer streets and parks.

On November 22nd, Transportation Alternatives received a letter from DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall making a case against the three-month trial closure of the Central Park Loop drive.

The letter's argument uses, among other rhetorical oddities, kernels of "fact" picked from a fifteen year old traffic study chock-full of erroneous claims and a volume analysis done during 2005's Gates exhibit when an estimated 4,000,0000 additional people came to Central Park.

To say the least, this letter and its tactics are unacceptable. Transportation Alternatives let both Commissioner Weinshall and Mayor Bloomberg know why in our response.

A three-month trial closure of the Central Park Loop drive would give the City a chance to study Central Park traffic in a sensible and up-to-date manner while providing a summer of safe and healthy recreation for the millions of residents and visitors who crowd the park between June and August.

Help us make sure the Mayor gets the message by sending him an efax about the benefits of a three-moth trial closure—a car-free summer—in 2006. (And while you're at it, mark your calendars for a City Hall Rally on Sunday, March 26 at noon.)

If your email program does not support this eFax, click here.


Mayor Bloomberg:

Name :
Street Address:
State: Zip:

Please include your full contact information so that your message will be treated as official correspondence!

Your message will be faxed to Mayor Bloomberg, and a copy e-mailed to Transportation Alternatives.

NYC Biked the Strike!
Bicycling played a huge role in easing the impact of the transit strike. T.A. estimates that during the strike there were 600,000 cyclists on the streets each day, representing a five-fold increase over pre-strike cycling levels. Bike shops around the city reported business was up 200-400 percent during the strike.

Strike biking was aided by the City's contingency plan, which included protected bike lanes, car restriction measures and guarded bike parking in parks. Private employers and leading business improvement districts did their part by providing bikers with building access and secure parking during the strike.

What was more, the addition of hundreds of thousands of bicyclists to the streets created a discernable "safety in numbers" effect, giving cyclists a heightened sense of safety and security.

In the coming weeks, T.A. will press our city leaders to make aspects of the contingency plan permanent, namely bike access to buildings and protected bike lanes.

Take Action: Email Mayor Bloomberg to tell him the good and the bad of biking during the transit strike and ask him to make New York City safe and inviting for biking everyday!

Ask the mayor to:

  1. Mandate bike access in buildings
  2. Create more and better protected bike lanes
  3. Increase police enforcement to keep bike lanes safe and clear
  4. Create safe routes to and from greenway paths and the East River bridge biking and walking paths
  5. Install more bike racks

Plus: Win a Free Fuji Absolute Bike!

Was your ride safe? Did you have a safe place to park your bike? What was it like riding with a multitude of other cyclists?

E-mail info@transalt.org and share your strike biking experience. The best submissions will be entered in a drawing to win a new Fuji Absolute commuting bike (pictured below). Submission deadline is Monday, January 16, 2006 at midnight. The winner will be announced that week.

Ride in Memoriam, Demand Safer Streets
Join the growing coalition of NYC cycling organizations to call on the City to implement the New York City Bike Safety Action Plan and make streets safe for biking.

On Sunday, January 8 please join coalition groups on memorial bike rides in all five boroughs to honor the 21 New Yorkers who died in bicycle crashes in 2005. The rides will finish at 3:30pm with the placing of a ghost bike memorial at 49 East Houston Street, Manhattan.

Email Mayor Bloomberg and urge him to adopt the Bike Safety Action Plan and demand more safe street space for cyclists and heightened enforcement of dangerous drivers who injure and endanger New Yorkers on bikes.

The coalition includes T.A., the Brooklyn Civic Riders Bicycle Club, Century Road Club Association, Fast and Fabulous Cycling, Five Borough Bicycle Club, Free Wheels, Kissena Velodrome Committee, New York Bicycle Messenger Association, New York Bicycling Coalition, New York City Mountain Bikers, New York Cycle Club, North Brooklyn Health Network, Recycle-A-Bicycle, Right Of Way, Staten Island Bicycle Association, Time's Up!, Urban Youth Bike Corps, The Weekday Cyclists and Veloprop.

Why a Mandatory Helmet Law is a Bad Idea
21 bicyclists were killed on New York City streets in 2005.

In response to pressure from T.A. and a coalition of NYC cycling organizations, the City of New York has agreed to do some smart things to make bicycling safer, such as adopting new bike lane designs, developing a bike safety public outreach campaign and undertaking a study of bicyclist fatalities.

But word is that the City DOT and the Department of Health are also considering something not so smart: a mandatory helmet law. While T.A. strongly encourages cyclists to wear helmets, mandatory helmet laws have been proven to decrease the number of cyclists on the street, greatly diminishing the "safety in numbers" effect and thus make cycling more dangerous. Before and after studies from the U.S. and abroad support this.

Helmets do not prevent collisions. Safe space for cycling and safe and respectful drivers and cyclists do. For more information about why bicycle helmet laws are a bad idea, see this recent article published in Governing Magazine.

Speeding: There's No Excuse
It seems so obvious: Speed Kills.

But somewhere in the rush to reach reservations, rehearsals or requirements of the day, a deadly outcome is veiled by thirty seconds here, a minute there: one human life for another human's time.

Transportation Alternatives is working to uncover the horrible consequences of speeding. In partnership with Staten Island City Council members James Oddo and Michael McMahon, Madison Avenue's Y and R Brands, and Staten Island University Hospital, we will launch the "Speeding: There's No Excuse" campaign, an anti-speeding education and advertisement campaign targeting Staten Island but visible throughout the City. The ads will be on bus shelters and phone booths across Staten Island, at the ferry's southern terminus and on a few select Subway lines starting in February.

The consequences of speeding are serious: About 90 percent of pedestrians struck at 40 miles per hour will be killed in comparison to about 45 percent for those struck at 30 miles per hour, New York City's speed limit (Ashton and Mackay, 1979). As T.A. speed studies have shown, speeds approaching 40 mph are typical in 30 mph and even 25 mph speed limit zones.

Despite its consequences, speeding has proven a silent killer, muted by its frequency and up-staged by issues like drunk-driving and seatbelt use.

By focusing the public eye on the real consequences of speeding, Transportation Alternatives and our partners in the "Speeding, There's No Excuse" campaign will create public support for anti-speeding enforcement and engineering strategies to prevent injuries and fatalities related to speeding.

To find out more about the campaign or to get involved email Graham at communications@transalt.org.

Landslide Closes NJ's River Road
In mid-December, a landslide closed the popular cycling route "River Road" (aka Henry Hudson Drive/Alpine Approach Road) in Palisades Interstate Park, on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge. The Palisades Interstate Park Commission is working on clearing debris and repairing the road, and River Road should re-open by this spring. For updates see www.njpalisades.org.

Do Good in 2006: Volunteer for T.A.
Make good on your do-gooder New Year's resolutions by joining T.A. staff and volunteers for our first Volunteer Nights of 2006. We'll be stuffing, stamping and sealing membership materials and campaign literature in our office on Wednesday, January 11th and Wednesday, January 25th from 6-9pm.

Come by next Wednesday for snacks, beverages, music and a convivial night of activism. No need to RSVP.

Good Times, Great Rides Predicted for 2006
An early morning start at the 2005 NYC Century Bike Tour.
Put these great events on you Blackberry/Outlook Calendar/Index Card today!
  • Car-Free Central Park Rally at City Hall: Sunday, March 26th at 12 pm
  • Bike Month NYC: May 1st-31st
  • Tour de Brooklyn: Sunday, June 4th
  • Transportation Alternatives' NYC Century Bike Tour: Sunday, September 10th
  • Tour de Bronx: Sunday, October 22nd
T.A. in the News

Directing Traffic New York Press 12/28

A Bumpy Grind New York Post 12/28

Time for City to Stop Spinning its Wheels on Biking The Villager 12/28

Pensions Key in Transit Talks Newsday 12/24

Cycle Use Soars 500 Percent in New York City BikeBiz.com 12/23

Bike Business Increases in Wake of Strike as New Yorkers Wheel to Work New York Sun 12/22

Cyclists Get Frozen Out New York Daily News 12/22

Looking on the Bright Side Gotham Gazette 12/22

Cycling Soars but Rules Hamper Riders Newsday 12/22

Extra, Extra - The Last Hours of the Transit Strike gothamist 12/22

They Walked, We Walked: Tales From the Strike New York Times 12/21

Bike the Strike: Tips, Pools, Etc. Village Voice 12/21

The Brian Lehrer Show: Strike! WNYC 12/21

Always a Rough Road for Pedestrians Park Slope Courier 12/19

Predicting the Big Stories in 2006 Gotham Gazette 12/19

Strike Threat Heightens Interest In Ferries, Bicycling, Jogging The Brooklyn Eagle 12/17

Commuters Get Creative with Transit Alternatives Newsday 12/16

Preparing for NYC Transit Strike Gotham Gazette 12/15

Slideshow: The 1980 Transit Strike New York Times 12/15

Gristmill: Biking in Manhattan Grist Magazine 12/15

New Yorkers Prepare to Trek to Work as Transit Strike Looms Bloomberg 12/15

Transit Union To City: Show Us The Money Queens Chronicle 12/15

Alternative Tips For Getting To Work In The Event Of A Transit Strike NY1 12/14

Not So Fast, Neighbors Say to One-Way Avenue B The Villager 12/14

Police Blotter: Fatal Canal St. Accident The Villager 12/14

Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Transit Strike Fear gothamist 12/14

© 1997-2005 Transportation Alternatives
127 West 26th Street, Suite 1002, New York, NY, 10001
info@transalt.org; Phone: 212-629-8080; Fax: 212-629-8334