Speeding Kills, and 39 Percent of New York Drivers Are Doing It


NY Daily News


Drivers speed across city with tragic results, new study finds

BY Pete Donohue

Thursday, February 12th 2009, 2:21 AM

Speed kills, and drivers are ignoring the limit at an alarming rate, a study obtained by the Daily News reveals.

Nearly 40% of drivers ignore the 30-mph city street limit, says the Transportation Alternatives study, “Terminal Velocity, New York City’s Speeding Epidemic.”

“While driving 40 mph might not feel fast to a driver, it all but assures that a crash will be fatal to a pedestrian,” said Wiley Norvell, spokesman for the bicyclist and pedestrian safety advocacy group.

Using a radar gun and speed-detecting camera, the nonprofit recorded the speeds of 15,000 cars and trucks across the five boroughs.

It’s believed to be the largest survey of its kind conducted in the city.

The report – to be released today – urges the NYPD to crack down on speeders. It calls on Albany to authorize use of speed cameras, similar to those used on red-light runners.

Michael Needham will never get over the loss of his 10-year-old son, Michael Jr., killed last summer by an allegedly speeding van while riding his bike.

Needham hopes other parents are spared the agony he and his wife, Dornell, experience daily.

“It hurts,” he said of his son’s death. “It’s not something that’s going to go away as far as I’m concerned.”

Needham said police enforcement of traffic rules needs to be increased and then held constant.

“We’re hoping the authorities will do something,” he said. “I don’t want another family to go through what we’re going through now.”

Most of the speeders recorded in the survey were going between 31 and 40 mph.

A pedestrian struck by a car going 30 mph dies 40% of the time. At 40 mph, such crashes are fatal 70% of the time, the report said.

The top speed recorded was 66 mph on Webster Ave. near 195th St. in Bedford Park, the Bronx.

Street fatalities are near historic lows but the death count is still sobering.

On average, about 300 pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and passengers were killed each year over the last five years, statistics from the mayor’s office of operations and the Transportation Department show.

A pedestrian or cyclist is killed just about every other day.

Traffic fatalities have decreased steadily in New York City since 1997 when there were 494 fatalities, compared with 289 last year – a decrease of 42%, said a police spokesman.

The NYPD issued more than 70,000 summonses for speeding last year and it has consistently favored legislation to permit cameras to capture speeders, he added.

“New York City can’t keep looking the other way while speeding takes the lives of children, grandparents and neighbors by the dozens,” Norvell said.

“Speeding contributes to three times as many crashes as drunken driving, and yet Albany has denied New York City the one tool needed to enforce against this crime: speed enforcement cameras.”


DOT Tells Motorists & Pedestrians Where To Go But Won’t Let Them Get There Safely

Unsafe at any speed.

Unsafe at any speed.


DOT Tells Motorists & Pedestrians Where To Go But Won’t Let Them Get There Safely.

Avella seeks traffic signal at 19th Ave. and Utopia Pkwy.

By Nathan Duke
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 5:05 PM EST

Councilman Tony Avella says he is upset that the city denied his request to place a traffic signal at the intersection of Utopia Parkway and 19th Avenue, which he says is dangerous.
City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) slammed the city Department of Transportation last week for denying his request for the installation of a traffic signal at an intersection on the border of Bayside and Whitestone that has been the site of numerous accidents.

Avella said there have been multiple accidents in recent years at the intersection of 19th Avenue and Utopia Parkway, located along the border of Bayside and Whitestone. But he said the DOT has repeatedly decided against putting up a traffic signal at the site, the councilman said.

“Time and time again, there have been accidents at this location, demonstrating the need for additional traffic controls,” Avella said. “It is completely unacceptable for the DOT to continue to ignore numerous requests from myself and the community for an all−way−stop or traffic signal, which would truly safeguard the lives of motorists, pedestrians and residents of this community.”

A spokeswoman for Avella said the DOT rejected the councilman’s latest request on Jan. 16. She said the most recent accident at the site took place in August, when a driver crashed into an apartment building at the corner of the intersection. She said the driver suffered minor injuries.

A DOT spokeswoman said the intersection did not meet federal regulation standards for the installation of a traffic signal, but that the agency has narrowed driving lanes on Utopia Parkway in an effort to increase safety along the roadway. She said there have been no fatalities at the site during the past five years and only two reported accidents that produced more than $1,000 in damages. She said there have been about three crashes per year for the past five years at the intersection.

Avella said the city uses federal DOT standards when it comes to analyzing accidents, using the same criteria for states like Wyoming and Idaho.

“New York City is extremely large and experiences a lot more traffic than your average city and, as a result, should apply our own traffic control standards.”

In 2002, the councilman introduced two bills that would require the city’s DOT to create its own standards for accidents based on traffic situations in the five boroughs. He reintroduced the proposed legislation in 2006 and amended it to require insurance companies to provide the DOT with statistics for all motor vehicle accidents on city streets and highways.

Idling Parents and Idle Minds

Protect our children - Turn off your engine

Protect our children - Turn off your engine

From the NY News

Motorists who idle their engines by a school for more than a minute will risk a $100 fine under a City Council bill passed yesterday. The measure is aimed at curbing exhaust pollution that feeds the city’s asthma epidemic, backers say.

Opponents blasted the one-minute rule as another excuse to slap motorists with revenue-raising tickets. “I’ve seen school parents victimized,” City Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx) said in voting against the bill.

“I’ve seen traffic agents waiting like locusts,” he said.

Councilman James Oddo (R-S.I.) voted for the bill, saying it might help control parents who swoop down on local schools twice daily to deliver or pick up their kids.

City law sets a three-minute idling limit at schools, but it’s enforced largely by the Department of Environmental Protection against diesel-fueled vehicles.

The new one-minute rule will cover idling by autos and trucks “adjacent to any public or nonpublic school providing instruction from pre-K through 12th grade.”

A companion bill, passed 40 to 6, gives ticketing authority for idling to the NYPD, Parks Department, Sanitation Department and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Mayor Bloomberg will sign both bills, a spokesman said.

Still lots of parking spots for big shots, despite Mayor Bloomberg’s cuts

Still lots of parking spots for big shots, despite Mayor Bloomberg's cuts

Still lots of parking spots for big shots, despite Mayor Bloomberg's cuts


Monday, January 26th 2009, 4:00 AM
Adams for News

Mayor Bloomberg said last year he’d crack down on elected officials who have designated parking spaces for themselves or their staffs outside their offices, but some pols still have the perk.

Mayor Bloomberg yanked free parking spots from a handful of elected officials last year – but borough presidents, the city controller and other pols still enjoy the perk, the Daily News found.

Bloomberg ordered the crackdown after the Daily News reported exclusively last summer that four City Council members had signs outside their district offices reserving spaces for “Council Vehicles.”

But city officials decided to leave in place nearly 200 spaces near City Hall and borough offices for borough presidents, the city controller and state officials like the governor and attorney general.

“We eliminated unnecessary parking privileges for elected officials’ offices, retaining spaces only at municipal hubs that have a high number of employees conducting official business,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement.

The explanation didn’t sit right with advocates who rail against the impact of cars on city streets.

“Frequently, the major government hubs are also major transit hubs,” said Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that’s done studies showing city employees are more likely to drive to work than private employees.

“It’s an indefensible perk for a preferred few.”

Some pols lost the parking perk, including Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens) and Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan); Councilwoman Helen Foster (D-Bronx), and Councilmen Al Vann and David Yassky, both Brooklyn Democrats.

Most of the spaces were installed before the current officeholders were elected.

“It’s not something she lobbied for,” said spokesman Dan Andrews of the 31 spots reserved for Queens Borough President Helen Marshall near her Kew Gardens office. “If you get elected and the spot is here, you may as well use it.”

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, whose office has 12 spaces in downtown Brooklyn, said his staff needs the spaces to access the sprawling borough.

Other pols disputed the city’s count of parking spaces.

A spokesman for state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said his office gets only seven spaces for hundreds of investigators (the city puts the number of spaces at 13).

A spokeswoman for state Controller Thomas DiNapoli said the controller didn’t even know about the four spots in lower Manhattan that are a relic from before the controller’s office moved to midtown.

City Controller William Thompson, a mayoral hopeful, says he has far fewer than the 26spots the city claims are setaside for his staff and suggested that politics are behind the discrepancy.

“The material you received from Mayor Bloomberg’s administration is clearly wrong and one could easily question the motive,” Thompson spokesman Jeff Simmons said.

Thompson himself parks off the street in a spot reserved for him at the Municipal Building.

Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer also have off-street spaces adjacent to that building.


With Rachel Monahan

New York Daily News

New York City Council Seeks Grace Period for Parking Violations

The New York Times reports that several City Council members announced on Sunday that a bill had been introduced that would create a five-minute grace period before drivers are issued summonses for parking violations like expired meters and alternate-side parking rules.

The bill addresses a longstanding pet peeve among many city lawmakers, whose constituents often complain of feeling victimized by unforgiving traffic agents.

Will a 5 minute grace period actually make a difference?

Will a 5 minute grace period actually make a difference?

“When people park, they shouldn’t have to feel that there are vultures, certain agents, waiting to give them a ticket the moment they are in violation,” said Councilman Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who sponsored the legislation, which was introduced on Wednesday.

The grace period would apply to parking meters and to places where parking is prohibited during certain times of the day — when streets are being cleaned, for example, or when school is in session — and in periods when parking is allowed only for commercial vehicles or for loading and unloading.

An analysis by The New York Times in November of more than 10 million parking summonses issued in New York City in 2007 found that at least 276,000 drivers received tickets for breaching alternate-side parking rules within five minutes of the rules’ going into effect. Of those, 28,000 were written precisely as the rules took effect, the analysis showed.

Here in the Cafe, we wonder if this proposed bill will actually make a difference or is it merely more in a long list of “feel good” legislation. There is an excellent chance that car owners who violate parking meter rules by not returning to their vehicles on time, would also ignore a 5 minute grace period. What happens then, is the grace period extended to 10 or 15 minutes? When does it end?

Workers Ordered to Give Up City-Owned Cars

“As the Bloomberg administration scrambles to cut spending, it is ordering city agencies like the police, parks and health departments to give up nearly 700 city-owned cars, a cherished perk for their workers.”

“Many city agencies operate their own fleet of cars, which they assign to employees for official use. Buildings inspectors use city-owned cars to travel to construction sites, for example. And supervisors at the Department of Parks and Recreation use them to get to far-flung city properties.

For many of these employees, mass transportation may add hours to their travel schedule.”


Don’t you feel bad for these managerial and supervisory personnel? This will hit the Parks Department hardest of all – Without their agency cars, how will they get to the ballpark in order use their free tickets to Met’s and Yankee’s games? Life is so unfair.