Spring 2003, p.15

Metropolitan
News from the Metro NYC Region

New Jersey
New Jersey Pedestrian Fatalities Soar

The number of walkers killed by motorists in New Jersey increased by 37% in 2002. State officials have no explanation for why 184 pedestrians were killed in 2002 versus 134 in 2001. But an assistant Middlesex County prosecutor interviewed by the Newark Star Ledger blamed the victims. "Pedestrians get killed for all different reasons and most of the time the pedestrians contribute to the cause or are at fault," said Nick Sewitch. However, an April 1999 study by the group Right of Way of 947 NYC pedestrian deaths found motorists completely at fault in 75% of pedestrian deaths and at least partially at fault in 90% of pedestrian fatalities. No similar analysis of New Jersey pedestrian deaths has been conducted.

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Connecticut
Connecticut DOT Still Obsessed with Widening I-95

ConnDOT has revived plans plan to convert 12 miles of the I-95 shoulder into rush hour travel lanes. The added lanes would stretch from Exit 8 in Stamford to Exit 18 in Westport. The proposed widening comes as Connecticut has been unable to meet a 1997 state mandate to reduce peak period vehicle miles traveled by 5% on I-95, the Merritt Parkway and Route 1. Over that period, Vehicle miles traveled actually increased by 5%. The proposed widening is meeting fierce opposition from elected officials, transportation advocates and the general public, many of whom fought the same plan when it was first announced in 2000. A final decision on the project will likely come in 2004.

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New York
More Metro North Parking Mania Fuels Driving

The MTA is spending $10 million a year building parking for Metro North commuters. Since 1997, Metro North parking has grown 26%; the railroad built 7,300 new spaces and localities 1,500 spaces. During the same period, Metro North ridership grew just over 10%. Metro North firmly believes that building more parking is the key to increasing ridership. But a NJ Transit study found that most of its new commuter rail parking was used up by current riders who started driving instead of taking transit, walking or being dropped off at the station. Watchdog groups like the Tri-State Transportation Campaign say that instead of building costly new parking, Metro North should charge more for existing parking, improve walking and cycling routes around train stations and provide shuttle bus service.

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NYC Extends Strong HOV Policy
The New York City DOT and the State DOT recently opened the last 2.1 miles of the Long Island Expressway as an HOV lane leading to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. Previously, the special lane-part of the east-bound L.I.E., was open only to buses. But a movable barrier similar to that used on the Tappan Zee Bridge has made it safe for cars. Transportation officials require cars using the lane to have three or more passengers, mirroring the rule for the heavily used Gowanus Expressway HOV lane. The three plus rule makes sense for Manhattan-bound corridors that see significant bus traffic. It should be applied to other radial corridors where HOV lanes are in force or being considered.

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Cars No. 1 NYC Area Air Polluter
Though local politicians prefer to focus on Midwest power plants, the American Lung Association says that local motorists are the main source of ozone causing pollutants. In New York and New Jersey, motor vehicles emit 60% of total nitrogen oxides and 43% of volatile organic compounds. Indeed, because of the popularity of SUVs and light trucks, vehicle fuel economy in the United States reached a 22-year low in 2002.

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Read the Tri-State Transportation Campaign's weekly "Mobilizing The Region" at www.tstc.org/bulletin