Category Archives: People vs Motor Vehicles

Vanderbilt Ave. to Get Median!

prospect heights

Originally uploaded by fonem.

stacey writes in the Prospect Heights Message Boards to report on an e-mail she received from the Prospect Heights Parents group:

“…The DOT found that our concerns were justified: speeding is rampant on Vanderbilt and the road is wider than necessary to accomodate traffic. They agreed to create a median that begins between Sterling and Park Pl. and ends between Bergen and Dean Streets. It will be one lane wide and include cuts for left turns….”

According to the e-mail, the median should be painted by the end of spring, and a raised and planted median might be built if funds can be raised.

Get more details: Prospect Heights Message Boards

Stroller Survey: Cross "Improved" GAP at Your Own Risk

363-stroller.JPGElizabeth Hays writes in the Daily News: “It’s a jungle out there for frazzled city parents forced to push a stroller along bumpy, treacherous streets, a new (Transportation Alternatives) survey shows.”

Grand Army Plaza was hands down the most notorious Brooklyn spot. The busy traffic circle is near stroller-heavy destinations, such as the Brooklyn Public Library and Prospect Park.”

QUOTES FROM PARENTS who answered the TA survey:

“The corner of Flatbush and Grand Army Plaza in front of the library is a KILLER. Please fix.”

“You feel you are risking your child’s life on a daily basis [at GAP].”

“My son flew out of stroller flat on his face (with a ‘thunk!’) when we hit a bump once.” (This one was actually regarding a treacherous situation in Park Slope proper, not GAP)

Daily News Photo (Bales): Cecilia Varas, of Prospect Heights, uses a pedestrian crossing to wheel 2-month-old son, Aedan, across Grand Army Plaza: “I pray and hold on to my stroller because I’m scared.”

BONUS:Is GAP really that much better?? KAY SARLIN of the Transportation Department claimed that Grand Army Plaza has already been improved, with longer crossing times (huh??), added sidewalk space (you mean the pedestrian island? that’s so far outside of any traffic path that it’s still as pristine as the day it was poured), ramps (about time), and pedestrian barriers (the bollards are a huge improvement, even if the vast majority of them protect that no-mans-land that Sarlin described as a “sidewalk”).

Discuss: Prospect Heights Message Boards

Bollards: Will Pedestrian-Hostile NYC Join the Rest of Western Civilization?

Must read: Aaron Naparstek’s lengthy treatise on Bollards, the hardened steel, concrete or stone posts buried into the pavement of city streets and sidewalks:

corner.jpg-762414.jpg“In Northern European cities, you see bollards all over the place. They are used to make sure that if a motor vehicle accidentally jumps up on to a sidewalk, pedestrians are protected. Bollards are a kind of urban preventative medicine. They stop crashes before they happen.”

“We have bollards in New York City. But … rather than using them to protect people, we use them to protect things — fire hydrants, pay phones and important buildings into which we believe terrorists might want to drive car bombs.”

“…There is often a sense in New York City that motor vehicle traffic is akin to a natural phenomenon… we’ve become conditioned to motor vehicle carnage as the natural order of things … It’s no wonder. In the same week that the Reyes family was run over there were at least three incidents of vehicles jumping up onto the sidewalk and doing serious damage to people and property in Park Slope, Brooklyn, my neighborhood.”

“Bollards are cheap and easy. Even some of the most run-down and industrial parts of East Berlin have pedestrian bollards … We could afford this if we wanted. We could show they are successful and worth it …”

GAPtraffic.jpg-730043.jpg“This sad state of affairs on NYC’s streets is slowly beginning to change. Last year, a group of Park Slope advocates, myself included, teamed up with the Prospect Heights Parents Association and Transportation Alternatives and successfully lobbied DOT to install protective bollards around the intimidating traffic island in the middle of Flatbush Avenue between Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library.

“It’s not ideal. The traffic signals are still timed in such a way that they trap pedestrians on the island in the middle of Flatbush. They could have done much better.”

LINK: Making NYC’s Streets Safe for Hydrants & Pay Phones []

DISCUSS: Park Slope Message Boards

Those "Partybikes" in Times Square and Other Tourist Meccas…

partybike.jpg… seem like a disaster waiting to happen.

They’ve been around for more than a year. I was just wondering why they seem so much more prominent recently… turns out the guy who owns the company just bought 9 more in June, which means there could be 16 of these things hurtling around the city streets (or maybe a few in Niagara–not clear from the article)!

“Operators of the Partybike — a circular bicycle built for seven — say they’re being unfairly targeted by cops, who’ve ticketed the big red tourist-mobiles more than 100 times in their 16 months of operation.”

Of course, this guy says the tickets are part of a “war on bikes” in New York…

Comment on this post [click here]

TONIGHT: Hear about Vanderbilt Ave. "Redesign", G.A.P. Safety Improvements …

stacey posted a notice about the meeting of the Prospect Heights Parents Association’s traffic-calming committee, tonight at 267 Park Place: “We will be discussing our efforts to work with the borough president’s office to include Prospect Heights in the Downtown Brooklyn Traffic Calming Blueprint as well as to propose a fundamental redesign of Vanderbilt Avenue. We will also discuss ways to put further pressure on the DOT to make safety improvements at Grand Army Plaza. All are welcome …”

Get details on the meeting here.

ANOTHER BIKER DOWN: Prospect Pl. and Vanderbilt

daveb writes in the Daily Heights Forums: “Does anyone know anything about the accident today (Sun. 26th) on Vanderbilt and Prospect? Looked like someone on a bike got hit. Saw a lot of blood on the ground and what looked like more than one person being taken away by ambulance. It didn’t look good.”

Follow-up from anonymous Guest: “I saw the accident (heard it and then looked). It looked like a young woman was hit by a car on a bicycle. It did not not look good for her. There were also a few people in the car that hit her, it was a hard impact, so I would not be surprised if the driver or other passengers were injured/shook up.”

“Say a prayer for the woman who was hit. I could not bear to stay and watch….it shook me up too much.”

UPDATE! Looks like the prayers worked. We just got an anonymous tip that the biker passed through a local ER today and is doing fine.

Accident on Vanderbilt [Daily Heights forums]
Elizabeth Padilla Killed by Ice Cream Truck on 5th Near Flatbush [Daily Heights]

Bike Deaths Up 50%; Elizabeth Padilla "Vigil Ride" THIS THURSDAY MORNING 2005-06-10-bklyncm-memorial.jpg[Image:]

At 8 am this Thursday, June 16, cyclists will embark on a Vigil Ride from 5th Avenue and Warren Street in Park Slope (Where Elizabeth Padilla was killed) to the steps of City Hall to memorialize 200+ NYC bicyclists killed since 1995.

NYPD data: 9 cyclists have perished in crashes this year, representing a 50% increase in fatalities over the same period in 2004.

PAUL STEELY WHITE (Transportation Alternatives): “The sheer volume of vehicles and the heedlessness of drivers leave no room for error on these streets … the City must create more greenways and protected, on-street bike lanes … Bike routes must be at least 5 feet wide with a 2-foot buffer …” Details after the jump.
Read more …

Ice Cream Truck Crushes Biker in Park Slope

UPDATE: IMPROMPTU MEMORIAL SERVICE Brooklyn bikers are planning to converge on the intersection of 5th and Warren [Google Maps] at approximately 8 PM tonight to pay their respects to Elizabeth Padilla.

From the be-careful-out-there dept.

NANCY DILLON and JONATHAN LEMIRE wrote in the DAILY NEWS: “A bicyclist who tried to squeeze between two trucks on a bustling Brooklyn street was crushed to death yesterday after she fell underneath one of the rigs, police said.”

“As Elizabeth Padilla, a 28-year-old lawyer, attempted to pass a 10-wheel Edy’s Ice Cream truck, the driver of another truck parked on Fifth Ave. in Park Slope opened his door, witnesses said … Padilla swerved to avoid the door but hit the side of the moving ice cream truck, causing her to topple under the vehicle’s large rear wheels … She was killed instantly, just six blocks from her apartment.”

The uncle of Padilla’s husband told the Daily News that she was a Cornell Law graduate and that she worked as an attorney for a nonprofit group: “She was a guide for a blind man in a bike race … That says it all. That’s the type of person she was.”

Read more…

BIKE LANE BLOCKED? Too bad the Daily News article doesn’t list the cross street. According to J., writing on a local biker’s list, there’s a pretty good chance that she was riding in a marked bike lane… more than half of 5th Ave. from Flatbush Ave. down to 20th St. is well-marked as such.