Friday, May 16, 2014

Spending some time at a Vision Zero town hall meeting

EDITOR'S NOTE:  The comments and observations in this blog (or any other blog I write) are my own personal viewpoints and are not the viewpoints or comments of NYC Department of Transportation.  Also specifically for this blog post, I volunteered to visit this workshop on my own time and no one had asked or suggested to me in attending this or any NYC DOT workshop.

I attended a NYC DOT Vision Zero workshop inside Herbert H. Lehman College of CUNY last Tuesday, May 6th.  There were plenty of wayfinding signs from the Bedford Park IRT 4 station, along Bedford Park Blvd and through the campus to the music building where the town hall took place.   I checked in then was directed to a specific table, one of 30 inside this building.   At table #28 where I was assigned to, a DOT employee was seated along with 4 other people.  The employee provided a visual demonstration on what NYC DOT does to make NYC streets safer with a manual slide show along with explanations on the many traffic calming methods they use to reduce accidents and fatalities. Then he went on to explain how Vision Zero works.  There was ample time for a Q and A session of which I raised the issue about STOP signs and how STOP sign running is not among the 10 reportable safety conditions in the Vision Zero homepage.  (I should have also talked about cell phone use which is much more serious than disobeying STOP signs.) The DOT employee showed us some pictures which I could easily identify the locations, including Bruckner Plaza at White Plains Road and The Hub intersection.  We also had an opportunity to fill out a survey form and a Vision Zero worksheet where I could write down the intersection or street and identify the appropriate safety conditions.   Finally, we were directed to a workstation where different NYC maps were shown to pinpoint the offending locations along with a iPad station to record and share the issues on their webpage.

 I cannot stress enough that safety is to be shared among all stakeholders: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, truck and bus drivers as well as engineers who redesign NYC streets, community boards and elected officials who raise certain issues to NYC DOT as well as the consequences who fail to drive or walk safely.  Just see what happens when an impatient driver goes against traffic to cut in front of the left turn line on northbound Baychester Ave at Boston Road and end up kissing the KFC parking lot and store with 1 adult and 2 children injured in the chaos.  At least that's what my reliable source tells me about the cause of that accident.  Or last weekend when this drunk driver flips and slams his minivan into a flower shop, then runs away from the accident scene near the intersection of White Plains Road and the Cross Bronx Expressway.  The driver was caught by witnesses chasing him and turned the soused driver over to police who arrived at the scene moments later.  You can say anything negative about Vision Zero, including a new bill to the NY State Legislature authorizing NYC under NY State Vehicle and Traffic Law, Section 1642 as a city with more than 1 million residents (and the only city in NY State, so far) to lower the citywide speed limit from 30 to 25 MPH (unless otherwise posted, lower or higher than 25 MPH, of course), but we need safer roads for everyone.  That and stiffer penalties for the most serious offenses like cell phone use or speeding, take their cars and licenses away from these idiot drivers - - permanently.

And before I say good night - - look who I caught this morning, texting while driving, on State Street near Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan: 


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