Reclaiming the Streets
Communities Call For Traffic Calming: Neighborhood Streets Network Gains Members--Quieter, Safer, Friendlier Streets Gain Momentum
Manhattan Community Boards 10 (Harlem) and 2 (Greenwich Village) have asked the city to create 15 mph streets in their communities. The requests bolster the Neighborhood Streets Network's call for 15 mph side streets and traffic calming citywide. The need for slower speeds is clear. When the Austrian city of Graz reduced its speed limit from 31 mph to 19 mph, pedestrian injuries dropped by 30 percent. Meanwhile, 12,730 New York City pedestrians were hurt in 1994.
The Network is spearheading action to protect communities from heavy traffic and speeding cars. A recent Queens Newsday story explained the Network's efforts to protect neighborhoods from traffic and featured Robert Holden, President of the 1,500 family Juniper Park Association. The Network also teamed with another member group, Brooklyn Heights Association, to set up a forum with DOT Commissioner Sander.
TA's long push to get the DOT to value more than just moving cars is starting to pay off. Get your block association to join the NSN!
After a year of growing pains, the Department of Transportation's new Borough Commissioners are moving ahead with projects that help cyclists and pedestrians. Manhattan Borough Commissioner Ruben Ramirez successfully pushed for community board approval of the Northern Manhattan Bike Lane and is working with Harlem's Board 10 to create a network of traffic calmed, 15 mph streets. Bronx Commissioner Leon Hayward helped refurbish the Pelham Greenway and has been responsive to T.A's Bronx Committee.
On Staten Island, the
energetic Jack Larson pushed DOT engineers to develop an innovative solution
to Midland Avenue residents' complaints about speeding. Initially, engineers
considered installing a traffic circle but realized the intersection was too
small. Larson pressed on, and the engineers created the "Staten Island
Teardrop," an elongated traffic island. The teardrop has reduced speeds
as much as 12 mph.
Sometimes referred to as neckdowns or bulbouts, sidewalk extensions are just that, an extension of the sidewalk into the parking lane at the corner. Sidewalk extensions are in use here in New York City on Manhattan's Restaurant Row (47th St.), and in Sunnyside (46th St.) and Jackson Heights (82nd St.) in Queens. Extension can be landscaped with plants and trees or used as bus stops on busier streets. Although sidewalk extensions are usually installed when a street is reconstructed, Los Angeles and other cities use temporary sidewalk extensions that can be installed as soon as a community requests them.
Here's bow sidewalk extensions work:
TA. Member and Trees Not Trucks founder Carl Rosenstein is organizing support for a new Soho car-free space and Greenmarket on Lafayette Street between Spring and Kenmare. CB 2's transportation committee has asked DOT to study turning over the lightly trafficked block to farmers, and the Greenmarket folks are interested. Call Carl Rosenstein at Trees Not Trucks: 212-431-4319.
After enduring speeding cars
for years, Lower East Side residents got a forward-thinking answer from DOT
Commissioner Elliot Sander. Residents, the Community Board, and even State
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had asked for a traffic light at the corner of
Cherry and Montgomery Streets. Instead, Sander proposed the kind of traffic
calming solution T.A. has been pushing DOT to use.
Kudos to Commissioner Sander and DOT for a progressive solution.