At a recent transportation forum hosted by the New York Building Congress, New York City Transportation Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, laid-out her agenda for the city’s streets. She said implementing Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic fatalities remains the department’s first priority, but made clear that, under her leadership, the NYCDOT will be doing more than safety upgrades. Trottenberg praised her predecessor, Janette Sadik-Khan, for “cracking some eggs” and fighting for bike lanes, bikeshare, Select Bus Service, and pedestrian plazas when it was not politically popular to do so. She explained that Sadik-Khan’s commitment to these types of programs—and the Bloomberg administration’s ability to realize them—makes her job that much easier. The challenge now is keeping up with the demand for new public space. According to Trottenberg, the NYCDOT is actively pursuing ways to expand these initiatives around the city—especially farther out into the boroughs. The department's wildly popular pedestrian plazas, though, could be more difficult to implement outside of Manhattan and hotspots in Brooklyn. In places like Times Square and Herald Square, explained Trottenberg, the plazas' construction and maintenance can be supported by Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and deep-pocketed interests. This type of financial backing may be harder to secure in more middle-class and working-class neighborhoods. But while the most high-profile plazas are in Manhattan, this program has already been successfully implemented in parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. The commissioner also expressed support for congestion pricing, but did not explicitly endorse any plan. When asked about recent polling on the issue—which found modest support for the idea—she dismissed the numbers outright, saying poll respondents will always say "no" when asked about paying more for something. For congestion pricing to happen, she said, it will take politicians who can see past the politics. “If you’re waiting for a magical poll where people say, ‘yes, I’ll pay,’ it’s not going to happen,” she said. While Sadik-Khan broke significant ground on New York’s public space—physically and metaphorically—continuing to change the streetscape will not be easy. “We make things in New York very complicated,” said Trottenberg. A big reason for that is what she called the “Byzantine nature” of how the city’s infrastructure is divvied up between agencies and jurisdictions. It can be difficult, even for her, to know who oversees what road or bridge, and why exactly that is. Still, the city is in a much better place to make the case for public space than it was just a few years ago, back during the infamous bike lane wars of 2011. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Sadik-Khan blazed the path, and now their successors seem intent to pave it forward.
Posts tagged with "New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT)":
New York City’s bike infrastructure is expanding into new territory with new greenways connecting the city in a web of safer transportation options. And as it does, the Department of Transportation is working to significantly improve the bike lanes that already exist. In recent weeks, significant progress has been made on the Brooklyn Greenway—a planned 14-mile stretch of protected bike lanes along the borough's waterfront. Volunteers have been busy prepping an empty lot in the Columbia Waterfront District to become one of the Greenway’s many landscaped parks. This two-acre lot is designed by Rogers Marvel Architects. A little farther north in Williamsburg, the blog Greenpointers spotted new markings along Kent Avenue to connect one of the Greenway’s missing links. An existing on-street bike lane will be moved to create a two-lane, buffered bike path with more insulation from moving trucks and cars. And over in North Manhattan, the NYCDOT recently proposed two-miles of bike lanes for Washington Heights and Inwood. Farther south on the island, existing bike lanes in Tribeca and the East Village are being converted into protected lanes. So what will all these bike lanes mean for New York? Are drivers doomed to sit in increased traffic? Simple answer, no. As Fivethirtyeight recently explained, "bike lanes, if they’re planned for the right streets, can be created without greatly increasing vehicular congestion."
Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero is coming to another dangerous New York City corridor. NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and city officials announced that the Grand Concourse in the Bronx will become the second of the city’s 25 planned “arterial slow zones.” The speed limit on more than five miles of the busy road will be lowered to 25-miles-per-hour, and traffic signals will be retimed to protect pedestrians. The announcement comes weeks after an eight-mile stretch of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and Queens was given the same treatment.
Detroiters have heard before that the Motor City could see better mass transit as soon as 2015. Local and state leaders came together in 2012 to form the area’s first regional transit agency (RTA), but Streetsblog reported locals are losing patience with Michigan’s newest RTA. While waiting times for buses drag on, frustration grows. The RTA recommended holding off on a ballot measure for another two years, prompting a protest march from transit advocates. They marched from the Rosa Parks Transit Center to the board’s meeting place at 1001 Woodward, one of many Rock Ventures developments in the region (Read a Q&A with Rock Ventures real estate chief Jim Ketai here). We Are Mode Shift reported even members of the RTA are losing faith:
Larry Dilworth, a member of the board’s Community’s Advisory Committee and the disabilities advocacy group Warriors on Wheels, told board members he had considered stepping down from his position with the CAC due to doubts about the RTA’s short-term effectiveness.RTA’s chief executive John Hertel resigned in January in part because of concerns about funding stability—a problem that still plagues transit efforts in a region with a long history of sprawl, segregation, and steep financial challenges. Detroit’s light rail project, the Woodward Light Rail Line, got a boost last year from former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in the form of $25 million in federal TIGER funding. The 3-mile long light rail system along Woodward Avenue would include 11 stops running from the city’s downtown to New Center.
Chicago’s Divvy bikesharing program wants your help placing new bicycle rental stations throughout the city. The Divvy Siting Team will consider your suggestions at suggest.divvybikes.com—they’ve already mapped many public suggestions alongside the 300 existing stations. Last month the program announced its intent to become North America’s largest bikesharing system. Divvy will add 175 stations by the end of 2014 and, pending state and federal funding, bring another 75 online after that, raising the total to 550 stations. As it expands, Divvy could address previous criticisms about equal access. Though it started by focusing on the Loop and other high-density downtown areas, the program has expanded into many neighborhoods. Still, many are unserved—Uptown is the northern terminus, while much of the West, Southwest, and South Sides have no stations.
For the past five years under the leadership of Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has re-appropriated underused street space as public plazas for pedestrians. The Bloomberg Administration–initiated projects have been well received in neighborhoods like Herald Square and Tribeca; however, some of the less affluent neighborhoods who would like to have a plaza have been hindered by the cost. Each plaza is sponsored by local businesses and fundraising for construction and regular maintenance can seem a daunting task. Until now. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that NYCDOT launched a plaza assistance program for neighborhoods currently inhibited by the space's price tags. Instituted after an $800,000 grant acquisition from J.P. Morgan Chase, the program will give financial instruction to local sponsor groups and provide maintenance workers at subsidized costs. Expanding the current program into the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a collaborative effort by NYCDOT and the Horticulture Society of New York, will allow public plaza initiatives to reach lower-income areas of the city. Although the current program creates plazas of inexpensive materials chosen by their communities’ budgets, partially alleviating sponsors of the continued cost of care will encourage more hosts to apply. “We can’t have a public space program that’s only in areas that have the financial resources to do it,” commented NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in a press conference about the expansion at Corona’s Plaza in Queens. “It can’t be only in areas with a business improvement district. We actually have to have a public space program that works in every single community.”
We hope you’ve stretched your hamstrings—there have been a lot of developments in U.S. bike sharing programs lately, and we’re taking another whirl through them now. Although not without hang-ups, New York’s Citi Bike has at least not killed anyone yet. People love to joke about clueless tourists riding on the sidewalk, or on heavy-traffic avenues, or “salmoning” the wrong way down one-way streets — that’s true in Chicago as well as New York — but the fact that no bikeshare has so far produced little to no traffic carnage should come as no surprise, writes Charles Komanoff for Streetsblog. Crunching the numbers, Komanoff points out “for each day in 2012, all NYC cyclists racked up 16 times as many miles as have Citi Bikers on each day to date.” So while Citi Bike ridership has exceeded expectations, it’s still only a small bump in the city’s total bike ridership. The bikes themselves could be a contributing factor, too — they aren’t racing bikes, and crowds of bikers further leaden their slow pace. The naturally lower car speeds in popular Citi Bike areas of Manhattan and Brooklyn may also play a role. Meanwhile in Los Angeles, a proposed bikeshare system was stymied by existing restrictions on street furniture advertising. Smaller systems may move forward in some of L.A.’s municipal fiefdoms — Long Beach and Fullerton are apparently moving ahead, while West Hollywood and Santa Monica are conducting reviews. For now, though, what was once proposed as the nation's second biggest bike sharing program seems to have hit the brakes. Instead Chicago’s Divvy bike share is poised to become the largest such program in North America after announcing the addition of another 75 stations. Divvy already has 300 stations, with plans to add 100 more in 2014 (the additional 75 brings it to a total of 475). Federal funding enabled the $3 million expansion. CDOT also announced that it has applied for $3 million in state money to fund another 75 stations, which would bring the grand total to 550 stations. “As Divvy expands into more neighborhoods, and we build a 650-mile bikeway network throughout our communities, Chicago is quickly becoming the best biking city in North America,” said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein in a press release. It will be one of Klein’s last as Chicago’s transportation commissioner — he announced his resignation effective at the end of the month. Klein oversaw Divvy’s development and implementation, and was known for riding his bike to work. Sustainable transportation advocates told Streetsblog Klein’s successor will have big shoes to fill.
In Brooklyn, a new temporary public artwork brings the asphalt plane of 4th Avenue to a playful, three-dimensional life. On the avenue’s concrete median between 3rd and 4th streets, the New York City Department of Transportation’s Urban Art Program has chosen work by artist Emily Weiskopf for its latest public art installation. Unparallel Way is a 120-feet-long sculpture comprised of two parallel aluminum strips in the same bright yellow as the double traffic lines guiding vehicles driving on adjacent roads. In a clever distortion of those painted stripes, Weiskopf’s parallel lines sweep from the ground at irregular heights, creating parabolic curves that rarely match. The installation piece is a public art extension of Brooklyn Utopias: In TRANSITion, a current exhibition at Old Stone House (OSH) exploring 19 artists’ visions of New York City public transportation and its relationship to public space. DOT has partnered with OSH for the display of these utopian artistic ideas addressing issues within urban public transit. Unparallel Way underwent an official on-site unveiling ceremony this morning with presentations by associates from OSH and DOT.
Since the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) was constructed nearly 70 years ago, the inelegant thruway has callously split apart neighborhoods, leaving beneath it deserted stretches, visually unappealing and often vulnerable to crime. DNA Info reported that Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership is trying to revive one such blighted area in the Wallabout district of Clinton Hill. The strip right at Steuben Street and Park Avenue, which has been a site for dumping illegal trash, could soon host a farmer's market, public art, dog run, and live music. The partnership is proposing a range of uses and looking to collaborate with local businesses—such as the creators of the now defunct DeKalb Market—to help bring activities and services to the area. The effort to revamp the inhospitable corridor beneath the BQE has been part of an ongoing endeavor that has involved a number of organizations, spearheaded by the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project (MARP). MARP launched a planning initiative in 2009 utilizing experimental art collective, raumlaborberlin’s Spacebuster, and partnering with local institution Pratt Institute’s Planning Department to hold mini-visioning workshops. Later MARP partnered with Architecture for Humanity New York (AFHNY) to work on a 2-year planning effort called “Under the BQE” that helped to engage the community and re-imagine new uses for the spaces in addition to creating a plan to improve pedestrian and traffic safety. First the partnership needs some funding to jump start any changes to the space. They are currently hoping to receive a NYCDOT Public Plaza grant. A wining application will be selected by January 2014.
When it comes to making the most out of city space we've all heard and witnessed the old adage "If you can't build out, build up." But what about building down? The Design Trust for Public Space, a non-profit organization that promotes innovative public spaces such as the High Line, has recently announced the launch of a new project titled Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities. In collaboration with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), the Design Trust has just named a team of five fellows that aims to transform the 100 million square feet of dark, dingy, and neglected space that currently exists beneath New York City's elevated train and highway infrastructure into functional, vibrant, and inviting public spaces. “When you look at the impact the mile-and-a-half-long High Line has created, and then consider the potential of these spaces in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, you understand the magnitude of this undertaking,” said Susan Chin, executive director of the Design Trust, in a statement. In order to carry out this enormous task the Design Trust invited professional architects, engineers, designers, and urban planners to apply for five fellowships in Urban Design, Particapatory Design, Policy, Graphic Design, and Photo Urbanism. The Design Trust fellows were selected according to their experience in delivering solutions for projects similar to this undertaking, their ability to work independently and collaboratively, and their willingness to commit significant amounts of time to this project. Susannah Drake, AIA, ASLA, principal of dlandstudio architecture + landscape architecture, was awarded the Urban Design Fellowship. Drake joins the team with experience working on projects such as the BQE Trench: Reconnection Strategies for Brownstone Brooklyn, Rising Currents: A New Urban Ground, and Gowanus Canal Sponge Park. Chat Travieso, a Brooklyn-based artist and architectural designer known primarily for his interactive public art installations that challenge viewers to question their built environment, won the Participatory Design Fellowship. The Policy Fellowship was awarded to planner and urban designer Douglas Woodward, who is currently working on a project titled “The Under Line,” which aims to re-open 33 vacant lots under The Highline for public use. The Graphic Design Fellowship was bestowed to Neil Donnelly, maker of books, posters, websites, and exhibitions often within the art and architecture industry. Finally, a fifth Photo Urbanism Fellowship was awarded to Krisanne Johnson, a Brooklyn-based photographer who primarily shoots powerful images in black and white. Johnson not only won a $5,000 stipend, but will also have her photographs published at the conclusion of the project. Together the Under the Elevated project team will significantly transform New York City by cleaning up and enlivening the gloomy, underutilized spaces that currently define areas such as those beneath the BQE and Harlem's 1 train.
It's finally here! Well, in a few more excruciating days, New Yorkers will be able to hop on a bright blue City Bike and cruise through the city (or at least those 12,000 or so founding members, the rest of us will have to wait one more week). While some locals haven't taken to the alien bike docking stations popping up on city streets quite yet, it appears that the vast majority of the city is ready to roll. With the docking stations in place, crews are now distributing bikes. According to a tweet from the NYC DOT this afternoon, some 850 bikes have already been docked around the city, and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and a few of the bike share team took the opportunity to pose on some of the bikes today. The official opening day is May 27.
New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn unveiled Blotto today, a temporary installation by Atlanta/New York City-based artist John Morse meant to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. The artwork, which was inspired by ink-blot tests and depicts two cars crashing into a martini glass, has been placed in more than 100 phone kiosks in locations in Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx with high concentrations of drunk driving collisions. The installation is part of NYC DOT's ongoing campaign to curb instances of driving while intoxicated, which has contributed to at least 46 deaths in New York City streets and led to more than 19,000 arrests in the past two years alone. "We're using creative imagery to help motorists recognize there is no room for interpretation when it comes to drinking and driving," said commissioner Sadik-Kahn in a statement. "Drunken driving is reckless driving and when motorists raise a glass, it's the lives of other New Yorkers they have in their hands." The installation will be on view until June 17. AN publisher Diana Darling lost her sister, Teresa Wallace (age 36), nephew, Rhea Wallace (age 6), and niece, Kenzi Wallace (age 3 months), when they were killed by a drunk driver in July 1996 in Dallas, Texas. Ms. Darling supports Mothers Against Drunk Driving and any other initiative that seeks to stop drunk drivers.