Fall 2000, p.11

Neighborhood Streets Network Unites Groups, Helps Solve Problems

The neighborhood streets network, founded in 1995 by Transportation Alternatives, is a coalition of more than 100 neighborhood and civic groups promoting streets that are quiet, safe, and calmed. The Network has raised the profile of pedestrian safety issues and has lent its clout to the installation of hundreds of speed humps and the passage in 1999 of the NYC Traffic Calming Law. The NSN works for citywide changes, but is also able to help some groups reclaim their streets each year.

126th St. Neighbors Look to Stanch Triboro Traffic

Harlem neighborhood groups are fed up with the speeding and illegal truck traffic on West 126th Street, and demanding that the Department of Transportation finally bring some solutions to the table. Four open lanes for traffic, poor paving, a lack of deterrents to illegal truck traffic, and a torrent of drivers using 126th Street as a shortcut from the Triboro Bridge to the West Side are creating an unsafe and at times unbearable situation. Neighborhood residents have long complained to DOT about the speeding, illegal truck traffic, and noise and vibrations, but have gotten little more than lip service, while basic issues such as repaving the street and filling in mammoth potholes go unperformed.

NSN has made several site visits to the location, and developed a proposal in conjunction with a traffic calming expert and neighborhood groups to calm traffic on the street, and to deter illegal truck traffic. NSN and neighborhood representatives will be meeting with Councilmember Bill Perkins and Community Board 11 in the upcoming weeks to get their support for the proposal.

Tenants' Association Wins Round One

Another neighborhood group in Harlem, the Riverton Tenants' Association, is working to improve pedestrian safety at the intersection of 135th Street and Madison Avenue. Earlier in the summer, the group got DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Joe Albano, Assemblymember Jeffrey Wright, and Councilmember Bill Perkins to tour the intersection and see just how hard it was to cross the street in the allotted time. In response, the group won a seven second Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) and increased crossing time from the Department of Transportation. While Riverton Tenants' Association is happy with the improvements, they need speed humps to reduce speeding on several of the side streets leading up to the intersection. The Network agrees, and continues to support the Tenants' Association in their call for pedestrian improvements.

Slope Strives for Quiet Block

Residents of 10th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in Park Slope are justifiably proud of their block. Kids play up and down the street, neighbors catch up with each other on their stoops, well-tended gardens stand in front of handsome houses. Unfortunately, speeding and noisy through traffic are dangerous and jarring intrusions. The Network is working with the 10th Street 5th/6th Block Association to design plans for a community street where pedestrians and residents are given priority, children can safely play, and cars are forced to slow down to a human pace.

Queens Odyssey for Traffic Calming

The town hall civic association in Springfield Gardens, Queens has been trying for 15 years to get solutions to the speeding problem on 140th Avenue-a straight, un-signed, nearly mile-long stretch of road between Guy Brewer Boulevard and Farmer's Boulevard. Over the years, the Civic Association has submitted countless requests to the Department of Transportation to calm traffic on the street. Meanwhile, the unmitigated speeding ensures numerous wrecks on the street each year. The Network has made a site visit to Springfield Gardens and is working with a leading traffic calming engineer and the Town Hall Civic Association and neighborhood residents to develop several different plans to traffic calm 140th Avenue and reduce speeding on the street.

If you know a local group that is fighting for safer streets, let us know. Send a note with the contact person, address, and phone number of the group you have in mind to: Neighborhood Streets Network, Attention Neel Scott, 115 West 30th St. Suite 1207, New York, NY 10001, or email: ped@transalt.org.

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