traffic

Victory for McGuinness Slow Zone

Bureaucratic Victory! © Vision Zero

For a while now, we’ve been talking about the danger zone of speeding vehicles that is McGuinness Blvd, where some truly tragic incidents have happened over the last year, most notably the death of 32-year-old Nicole Detweiler, who was crossing the street in December when she was fatally hit by two vehicles.

This wasn’t an isolated incident. In 2010, a 28-year-old was the victim of a hit-and-run and later taken off life support after days of being unresponsive due to serious brain injuries.  In 2009, a 33-year-old British woman was struck and killed by a flatbed truck where Nassau meets McGuiness. And the list goes on. Continue reading

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Fatal Motorcycle Crash on Manhattan & Green

© RLJR News

Yesterday at 4pm (3/9) Jorge Rios, 47, was riding his motorcycle northbound on Manahattan Ave when he hit a car near Green Street. He passed away at Bellevue shortly after.  The driver of the vehicle is not expected to face charges, according to the Daily News.  Rios was from Queens.

This accident happened only two blocks away from the site of another fatal motorcycle crash that happened last August. The victim was 18.

This only heightens the need for safer driving/traffic regulations in Greenpoint, especially after we were already identified (with Williamsburg) as the site of the most traffic-related deaths in 2013. Continue reading

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Traffic Heroes, the Return of GIRLS, & Doughnut Romance– The Hook Up (1/13)

© Sebastian Dooris / Paris Review

Our new mayor vowed to find the killer of local landlord, Menachem Stark.  Police are following a lead from a cell phone that they found strapped to the bottom of his car, possibly a tracking device.

Transportation Alternatives is advocating for increased awareness from drivers to cut down on accidents on dangerous intersections, like McGuinness and Nassau by lowering speed limits to 20 mph (which statistically lessens the likelihood of pedestrian fatalities).  Here’s to hoping. Continue reading

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Battery Harris and the DOT: A Love Story

When opening a new bar, coming away with a positive experience from a community board meeting presided over by a group hawkishly vigilant of both new liquor licenses and rapidly-vanishing parking spaces is no small feat, especially if in addition to drinks you’re trying to serve up a new pedestrian plaza.

However, sitting down with Etan Fraiman, who recently opened bar/restaurant Battery Harris on the once-desolate corner of Frost & Meeker along with partner David Shapiro, makes it sound like the easiest thing in the world – all you need is a little help from the DOT and a willingness to see your business in the greater context of the streetscape.

The owners of Battery Harris were actually tipped off to the DOT’s Pedestrian Plaza Program by the community board itself, and had nothing but praise for the city agency that not so long ago was referred to by many as “the department of No” for their conservative attitude towards innovation in street design.  Continue reading

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Biking Safely In Brooklyn

Happy Spring finally! We posted this last year and feel that the information is still very important for cyclists and drivers to review. Stay safe!
Spring is here and everyone is dusting off their bicycles and hitting the pavement. Here are some tips on staying safe and making your bike street legal from the dudes at Silk Road Cycles. This is your life we are talking about, so take it seriously!

GP: How do we make a bicycle street legal in NY?
Silk Road Cycles: The three things we focus on are:
1. Working brakes (according to the law, a brake that is able to make your rear tire skid on level ground.)
2. Bell or other audible signal
3. Lights and reflective material – from dusk till dawn)

GP: Are there fines associated with not complying?
Silk Road Cycles: Yes. You can be ticketed for any of the above issues.

GP: What lights do you recommend?
Silk Road Cycles: Both front and rear are a must! Any light that is clearly visible to drivers, but the brighter the better (NYC has a lot of lights everywhere, so stand out). In the shop we have a penchant for USB rechargeable lights. Easier, brighter and they run about $80 for a pair. (They’ll also double as strobe lights for your next party.) Well worth it, if you ask us.

GP: Do you have to wear a helmet legally as an adult? As a child?
Silk Road Cycles: After the age of 14 you do not have to wear a helmet legally. But everyone should!

Purchase a helmet that is bicycle specific and approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

You should replace your helmet immediately after a crash and/or after 3 years of use. Over time the foam in the helmet deteriorates. Now and again, look over your helmet – make sure the plastic is still entirely connected to the styrofoam and check for cracks in the foam.

GP: Can you wear a skateboard helmet instead of a bike helmet?
Silk Road Cycles: Legally: yes. With confidence in your safety: no. Bicycle helmets are made for single use high impact. Skateboard helmets are made for multiple impacts at much lower speeds.

Continue reading

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How Many Seconds Before You Die? McGuinness Blvd. Crossing Guide

This isn’t a joke. Crossing McGuinness Blvd. can often be a near death experience and for some deadly. A speed survey confirmed that speeding cars are out of control with over 66% of cars going over the speed limit with accidents averaging at over one per month involving mostly cars and pedestrians. According to the DOT report:

From 2005 to 2009 there were 57 crashes on McGuinness involving pedestrians or bicyclists … Of those, 44 crashes involved pedestrians, with one resulting in death. The remaining 13 crashes, involving cyclists, resulted in three fatalities.

Some of the more dangerous intersections are getting a make-over, with narrowing lanes and countdown signals, plus speed cameras are going to be tested. It’s a start.

Still, McGuinness is a very anti-pedestrian street. The very location of the roadway, flanked by the LIE and BQE, leaves drivers in highway speed mentality and the lights don’t give pedestrians much time to cross.

Even though safety measures are being created, as pedestrians we need to look out for ourselves and carefully cross the street.

I hung out on McGuinness Blvd at Driggs Ave with a stop watch at about 10am on a Friday morning, when there is a decent amount of foot and car traffic, then went again at 10pm the same night.

How much time do you really have to safely cross McGuinness Blvd?

GREEN LIGHT: During the day, cars on McGuinness have about 1 min. 5 sec. to pass before it turns red, and about 1 min at night.

Meanwhile…

RED HAND: Pedestrians, wait over 1 minute.

I know it’s obvious, but we are all guilty of running against the light. Don’t be an idiot! It’s better to be late than dead. When you see that red hand, don’t risk it – even if there is no traffic.

TOTAL TIME TO CROSS FOR PEDESTRIANS = *45 sec. in am, 55 sec. in pm
*includes white hand signal plus countdown

WHITE HAND: Lasts 20 sec. before countdown signal begins in am, 30 sec. in pm

25 SECOND WARNING: At a normal pace, you can make it safely across the two lanes without having to wait on the dangerous divider.

17 SECOND WARNING: At a fast paced walk, you can make it safely across.

9 SECOND WARNING: At a fast jog you can make it across, but don’t risk it.
What if you trip?

RED HAND BLINKING: 3 sec. DO NOT CROSS
The most appalling moment I ever witnessed in Greenpoint was a man who ran to make the light while pushing a stroller in front of him.

mcguinness blvd greenpointDON’T WAIT ON DIVIDER
If a car skips the curb you are dead meat. Don’t risk it.

WAIT ON THE SIDEWALK, NOT IN THE STREET
Impatiently standing on the street is just as dangerous as waiting on the divider. Stay on the sidewalk as far from the edge of the curb as possible. In the event of a crash be as far away from McGuinnes Blvd. as possible.

This article was created with pedestrian safety in mind, but I hope drivers who read this realize that they pedestrians, too. As drivers, if we keep that in mind, and as pedestrians if we safely follow street crossing guidelines, McGuinness Blvd. can be a much safer place for everyone.

How about we rip up the pavement and replace it with sod and turn McGuinness Blvd. into a pedestrian walking mall, with a lane for bikes and emergency vehicles?

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More Nassau Ave Insanity – New Traffic Pattern

Via Greenpoint Gazette, traffic on Nassau will be running eastbound beginning Monday July 23rd. If my brain compass is working that means the opposite direction of how it is running now. I hope not to see anymore almost head on collisions.

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