Tag Archives: Janette Sadik-Khan

City officials announce new pay-by-phone parking program


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File Photo

City residents can soon pay for parking on-the-go, officials said Thursday.

Motorists will be able to pay for parking via cell phone and also online at all 14,000 city parking meters, taking away the need to place paper receipts on dashboards.

The Department of Transportation (DOT), NYPD and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the new program Dec. 26.

Visitors of Arthur Avenue in the Bronx are the first to trash the receipts. The rest of the city will be on board by early 2015.

“By eliminating the need for coins, credit cards or receipts, pay-by-phone parking has already been a game-changer for drivers in the Bronx,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, DOT Commissioner. “Expanding the system across the borough will now help more New Yorkers dial in for faster, more convenient parking.”

Drivers will be able to pay by downloading a smartphone app or calling a toll-free number and identifying their location by entering the number displayed on muni-meters.

Payment information will be instantly accessible to NYPD traffic enforcement agents.

“Technology is critical to making daily interactions with government simpler and easier,” said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly. “This innovative program will allow motorists to remotely pay from their mobile devices, and it’s another way we are bringing parking into the 21st century.”

The DOT has additionally tested sensors embedded in parking lanes to deliver information on available parking spaces along Arthur Avenue and is looking to expand that system citywide as well.

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Op-ed: The spirit of giving


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER JULISSA FERRERAS

Every year, the holiday day season gives us an extra special opportunity to reflect upon our blessings and take time to give back to those we love.

With Chanukah just ending and Christmas and Kwanzaa fast approaching, it’s clear that the spirit of giving is already in the air – almost everywhere you look you see folks with shopping bags full of holiday presents just waiting to bring joy.

While I have always found truth in the age-old saying “Tis better to give than to receive,” I could not help but relish the happiness that one sizable gift brought to our community last week.

On November 26, just days before Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of joining Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and representatives from the Queens Museum and the Queens Economic Development Corp. at Corona Plaza to announce an $800,000 leadership gift from J.P. Morgan Chase to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.

This gift will not only benefit countless New Yorkers by creating 100 jobs for workers maintaining 20 of the City’s existing plazas, but it will also ensure that the DOT’s community partners in under-resourced neighborhoods, like Corona, will have the support they need to maintain clean, green and vibrant public plazas.

Since 2008, the DOT has installed 22 plazas throughout the City, and it plans to bring another 37 in the near future with the goal of putting all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of quality open space.

Corona Plaza is a perfect example of how effective and important these green spaces are to our local neighborhoods. To so many children who grow up in apartments without any front or back yards, neighborhood plazas are the only safe access they have to the outdoors.

Just 18 months ago, the site where Corona Plaza now sits was open to traffic and cluttered with parked trucks, causing a safety hazard for all pedestrians entering and exiting the nearby subway platform. Today, the plaza is a space bursting with activity, serving as the go-to destination where locals can have a cup of coffee, exercise outdoors and enjoy free family-friendly events.

Public plazas go a long way in helping our communities enhance economic activity, air quality, community safety and the overall quality of life.

Although Chase’s gift will undoubtedly go a long way in improving plazas throughout the City, it’s clear that there is still much work that needs to be done. The cost just to maintain Corona Plaza alone ranges between $50,000 and $75,000 every year, not including the hundreds of volunteer hours donated by those who want to add to the beautification efforts.

This holiday season, I urge everyone to spend time at their nearest neighborhood plaza and consider the immense benefits they generate. If you can spend just a fraction of your time investing in your local plaza, you will not only help improve these vital green spaces, but you will also create a better future for generations to come.

In the spirit of giving, please consider volunteering at your local plaza today. The gift of your time will surely be one that keeps on giving!

To learn more about the services offered by the DOT Public Plaza Program, please visit www.nyc.gov/plazas or contact 311 or plazas@dot.nyc.gov.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras represents the 21st Council District encompassing Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. Through her leadership, Corona Plaza continues to be a premiere outdoor destination for the local community.

 

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Queens kids walk to ‘Beat the Street’ in worldwide competition


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Queens kids are hitting the pavement and “beating the street” in a worldwide competition.

Ozone Park’s J.H.S. 210 is participating in the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Education (DOE) competition, “Beat the Street,” in which local students log walking trips to and from school and compete against youth from around the world.

“The Beat the Street Program has been wonderful,” said J.H.S. 210 principal Rosalyn Allman-Manning. “There is increased awareness of the healthy benefits of walking to school and reciprocal caring for others, which is what we emphasize.”

Ozone Park students and kids from I.S. 141 in Astoria have been logging miles and competing with students in England and China. Borough kids swipe a keycard at any “Beat Box” location, installed by the DOT at points along major pedestrian routes to each of the two schools. Students collect points based on the number of swipes.

“Good habits can last a lifetime, and we’re teaching kids to put their best foot forward early by learning the importance that walking plays in a healthy lifestyle,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, DOT Commissioner.

Manning said some of her students meet on the way to school, so there’s “safety in numbers” as they walk to the Beat Boxes. They also have begun to remind each other to swipe their cards.

The program started October 15 and will go until November 8. Each participating school and students with top scores will receive prizes, and the winning school will receive $1,000.

 

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Speed cameras to go into effect near city schools September 9


| dromano@homereporter.com

Photo courtesy of the New York City Mayor’s Office

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan have announced that the speed camera pilot program would roll out at yet-to-be-determined locations near schools citywide beginning the first day of school, Monday, September 9.

The law allows the city to install speed cameras at 20 locations within a quarter mile of schools in high crash locations and it allows the city to rotate the cameras to school locations across the five boroughs. The cameras would work much like the red-light cameras already in place; they would not photograph the driver or share the license plate number of the car.

Default penalties for speeding would be set at $25 with a maximum penalty of $50 for speeding between 10 and 30 miles above the speed limit and $100 for speeding over 30 miles above the speed limit.

The mayor and commissioner were joined by NYPD Chief of Transportation James Tuller on Monday, August 26 at W.E.B. Dubois High School in Crown Heights, one of the candidates to receive speed camera technology nearby due to a high crash rate in its vicinity.

“Keeping streets safe for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians is one of the most important public safety challenges any government faces,” said Bloomberg. “Our streets are the safest they have ever been, due in large part to our enforcement efforts and innovative traffic engineering that have brought traffic fatalities to record lows. Curbing speeding around schools will help us continue to make our city’s streets safer for everyone.”

“Over the last six years, we’ve kept an unrelenting focus on the safety of our most vulnerable New Yorkers, and with speed cameras we’re now putting an even sharper focus on safety near our schools,” Sadik-Khan added. “Motorists who play fast and loose on our streets need to learn the critical lesson that the New York City’s speed limit is 30 mph for a reason, and that it’s literally the difference between life and death.”

Transportation Alternatives has been working with the DOT and community groups to identify the best locations for the cameras. Since August 14, 72 requests have been made for 220 locations.

“New Yorkers want to save lives and they know speed cameras will do just that,” said Paul Steely White, TA’s executive director. “Just in time for the school year, several dozen school zones will be safer. We look forward to the day when every school has the same protection against reckless drivers.”

 

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State lawmakers approve speed cameras near NYC schools


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The New York State Legislature passed a bill over the weekend allowing for the installation of speed cameras near 20 schools with documented speeding issues.

Drivers caught speeding by the cameras will face $50 fines.

“The Legislature has clearly stated that the streets around our schools should be safe havens, not speed traps. Speed cameras will help put a freeze frame on the number-one killer on our city’s roads,” said Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Though the city experienced historic lows in annual traffic deaths last year, vehicle accidents increased from 49 in 2011 to 81 in 2012, and were “the greatest single factor in traffic deaths,” according to the DOT.

In March, the City Council approved a resolution calling on the state Legislature to pass a law for a city speed camera pilot program that would test 20 to 40 speed cameras at high-risk locations.

The DOT asked that priority be given to streets near schools with documented speeding problems.

But the following month, the state Legislature failed to include funding for the program when it passed the 2013-2014 budget.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has supported speed cameras along with the City Council and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, publicly lambasted local state Senators for failing to approve the pilot.

“[Speeding] remains the single greatest contributing factor in traffic fatalities in New York City, and we have long advocated in Albany for the authority to install speed cameras to help save lives,” Bloomberg said in a statement Saturday. “If a driver strikes a child at 40 miles per hour, there is a 70 percent chance the child will be killed. At 30 miles per hour, there is an 80 percent chance the child survives.”

 

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City Council passes resolution calling for speed cameras


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Local lawmakers are telling drivers to slow down.

On Wednesday, March 20, the City Council approved a resolution calling on the state Legislature to pass a law allowing New York City to set up a speed camera pilot program. It would test 20 to 40 speed cameras installed at high-risk locations across the city for five years, according to the Council, which said one in four traffic deaths in the city is caused by speeding.

“The speed cameras would not photograph the driver or disseminate the license plate number of the vehicle,” the Council said in a release.

Fines would range from $25 to $50 for speeding between 10 and 30 miles above the speed limit and $100 for driving more than 30 miles above the speed limit.

“If we can save the life of just one child by reducing the speed of vehicles in our city, this pilot program will have served its purpose,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who sits on the Council’s Transportation Committee and helped spearhead the resolution. “We are obligated to protect the lives of our city residents and introducing a speed camera pilot program in New York City will help reduce excessive speeding in areas that have been plagued by drag racing, excessive vehicular crashes and pedestrian collisions.”

One accident where speed may have been a factor is the death of a nine-year-old Sunnyside girl, Hallie Geier, who, in 2004, was hit by an SUV in front of Van Bramer’s home.

Following the incident, Van Bramer and the Council worked to have the Department of Transportation (DOT) install speed humps on the block.

But more needs to be done according to the Council, and the DOT agrees.

After releasing 2012 traffic safety statistics this week, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is calling for “swift state authorization for the city to use speed-camera enforcement for the first time, with a priority given to streets near schools with documented speeding.”

Although the city experienced historic lows in annual traffic deaths last year, “fatal crashes overwhelmingly involved speeding (increasing from 49 in 2011 to 81 in 2012),” and were “the greatest single factor in traffic deaths.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly is also behind the speed camera plan, according to reports, and sent a letter to state legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo expressing his support.

But the New York City Police Benevolent Association (PBA) strongly disagrees with Kelly, and believes money for the program would be better used for other speed mitigating measures.

“Speed cameras are no substitute for live policing. Many speeders are unlicensed, some are operating under the influence and sometimes they are fleeing crime scenes or carrying weapons,” said PBA president Patrick J. Lynch. “Cameras let all those dangers slip by. Money spent on speed cameras would be far better used to improve public safety by hiring more fully trained police officers to interdict speeders.”

Photo courtesy of DOT

DOT’s ‘LOOK!’ campaign gets mixed reviews


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the DOT

A newly-launched Department of Transportation (DOT) campaign urges drivers and pedestrians to keep their peepers on the street.

The first in a series of safety initiatives, the LOOK! campaign highlights the importance of vigilance on the road by establishing pavement markings depicting the word “LOOK.” Each insignia features eyes drawn into the Os, staring in the direction of oncoming cars to alert walkers to the flow of traffic. The rear advertising panels of MTA buses will feature driver-tailored signs, reminding motorists to stay alert while behind the wheel.

A DOT spokesperson said the signs will cost a total of $60,000.

“New Yorkers are driven to distraction with their smart phones, and the simple act of looking can prevent thousands of crashes and injuries every year,” said DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “LOOK! is a message to all New Yorkers that safety is in the eye of the beholder and everyone needs to keep an eye out for each other on our streets.”

According to Michael Murphy, a representative from Transportation Alternatives, Queens has seen 55,320 accidents over the past 12 months — some of which caused 75 fatalities. According to the DOT, half of all New Yorkers killed last year by cars at the crosswalk had a green light.

The LOOK! markings currently adorn crosswalks at 110 intersections and bus kiosks citywide and will be expanded to nearly 200 intersections and more than 300 buses. According to the DOT, the signs will be placed at locations with a history of accidents including Steinway Street and 34th Avenue in Astoria, Queens Boulevard and 67th Road in Woodside and 71st Avenue and Austin Street in Forest Hills.

Flushing resident Frankie Alberto believes the signs are a great idea. The 31-year-old, who said he doesn’t text behind the wheel and limits texting while walking, said many motorists and pedestrians are overly engrossed in their gadgets while en route.

But some Queens residents feel the signs won’t catch pedestrians’ attentions in the right way.

“[The signs] will make me laugh at their ingenuity, and then I’ll continue to do whatever it was that I was doing,” said 22-year-old Shiv Galav from Holliswood. “Just like I wouldn’t respond to an ad against jaywalking. If anything I’ll probably trip, stumble, and slam into a pole looking at these ads. Hardly helpful.”

Murphy said that while the signs are a good first step, increased accidents are not due to lack of awareness, but instead diminished enforcement by the NYPD.

“Illegal driving is responsible for 60 percent of crashes fatal to pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Murphy. “If certain drivers can’t operate their vehicles without killing and injuring the people around them, it’s a police issue. But the police aren’t keeping up with it.”

Murphy said current legislation, such as the Crash Investigation Reform Act, could assist in preventing future collisions.

Additional reporting by Sweetina Kakar

City installs Slow Zones in Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the mayor's office

New Neighborhood Slow Zones in four Queens communities will give pedestrians a break as the city applies the brakes to speeding drivers.

The slow zone program reduces speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph in designated residential neighborhoods while also adding safety measures such as speed bumps. A pedestrian has a 95 percent chance of surviving if struck by a car traveling 20 mph, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

“One quarter of all fatalities in New York City are caused by speeding,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Today we’re continuing the fight to put the brakes on dangerous speeding.”

The program expansion was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Tuesday, July 10 press conference in Corona, which along with Auburndale, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights are among the 13 neighborhoods throughout the city that will have a slow zone installed. Three of the four Queens areas are more dangerous than 70 percent of borough streets, according to DOT statistics.

“We are continuing our assault on the number one traffic killer: speeding. We’ve seen success already where we have installed slow zones and we expect safety will improve as speeding is reduced in these communities,” Bloomberg said.

Blue gateway signs will be installed at entry points of the approximately quarter square mile zones along with signs noting the new speed limit. Construction should be completed by the late summer.

The 13 neighborhoods will join the Claremont section of the Bronx, which was the first community in the city to install the program in November. Since that time, speeding is down 10 percent in the area, Khan said.

Bloomberg said he is looking to build on the safety gains the city has made in protecting residents and drivers. There are 30,000 fewer accidents (80,000 versus 50,000) resulting in injuries than in 2001 and over that span the number of drivers that perish in accidents is down nearly 40 percent.

Crash rates, community support, number of schools, senior centers and day care centers are considered when examining areas for slow zones.

Five Boro Bike Tour to close streets throughout Queens on Sunday


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TourdeQueens_02w

The Five Boro Bike Tour, America’s largest cycling event, will pedal through each borough this Sunday.

“The Five Boro Bike Tour and Bike Month activities are the perfect way to explore the city by bike,” said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Our growing bike network makes getting around easy, safe and fun.”

The 40 mile tour kicks off just north of Battery Park at 7: 45 a.m., passing through the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, before stopping in Staten Island for a festival. The 32,000 cyclists finish up with a trip back to Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry.

There will be rolling street, bridge and highway closures on Sunday as a result of the tour beginning at 6:30 a.m. and lasting until 6 p.m.

In Queens, there will be the following closures:

From 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

• 21st Street from Queens Plaza North to Hoyt Avenue: 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

• Hoyt Avenue from 21st to 19th streets (Astoria Park)

• Shore Boulevard from Astoria Park South to Ditmars Boulevard

• Astoria Park South from Shore Boulevard to 14th Street

• 14th Street from Astoria Park South to 31st Avenue

• 31st Avenue from 14th Street to Vernon Boulevard

• Queens Plaza South from 34th Street to Vernon Boulevard

• Vernon Boulevard from 31st Avenue to 44th Drive

• 44th Drive from Vernon Boulevard to 11th Street

• 11th Street from 44th Drive to the Pulaski Bridge

From 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

• Astoria Park

From 8:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

• Pulaski Bridge

For the tour’s exact route visit bikenewyork.org.

 

Pedestrian countdown signals saves lives on Queens Boulevard


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Bye-bye “Boulevard of Death.”

Sixty-six intersections along Queens Boulevard have acquired pedestrian countdown signals (PCS), the latest safety improvement made by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) throughout the borough. These fixtures, among over 2,100 new countdown signals installed in Queens in 2011, inform walkers of how much time is left before the light changes, keeping them from stepping into oncoming traffic.

“Safety numbers are more than statistics, safety is a nonstop campaign to prevent unnecessary, avoidable tragedies on our streets,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who announced the introduction of the new PCS devices on Tuesday, January 24. “Though these tragedies are less common for pedestrians on Queens Boulevard today, we do not take these gains for granted and continue to take aggressive steps to make our streets even safer.”

The seven-mile stretch of Queens Boulevard now adorned with PCS devices was once an infamously dangerous street, the backdrop for 18 pedestrian fatalities at the height of its peril in 1997, according to the DOT. Since 2004, there have been one or two such fatalities a year and zero pedestrian fatalities in 2011 — the first time no pedestrian deaths were recorded since 1983, the first year detailed casualty records were kept.

The installation of PCS fixtures are part of the DOT’s Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan, an initiative stemming from the study of over 7,000 crashes causing serious injuries or fatalities to pedestrians. The research analyzed the underlying causes of these accidents, discovering that pedestrian crashes are about two-thirds deadlier when they occur on wider streets.

As of October 2011, the DOT installed countdown signals at 842 of these broad intersections throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including major traffic ways such as the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island and Broadway in Manhattan.