Transportation Alternatives Launches Crashstat 2.0

Earlier today, Transportation Alternatives announced the launch of their new website Crashstat 2.0. The website which will call Crashstat.org its home is the second version of the hugely popular Crashstat website which launched in 2004. The site is considered to be a key resource in finding out what are the most dangerous streets in regards to bicycle & pedestrian crashes. Today’s debut was marked by a press release so here is that entire press release courtesy of Transportation Alternatives:

Crashstat 2.0 Reveals NYC’s most Dangerous Streets

New Website Provides 11 Years of Bicycle and Pedestrian Crash Data

Thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists are injured or killed on NYC streets every year. With the launch of Transportation Alternatives’ newest web resource, Crashstat 2.0, New Yorkers can identify the most dangerous streets in their neighborhood and work for a safer city. This interactive website allows users to search through 11 years of bicycle and pedestrian crashes on easy-to-use Google Maps. Crashstat 2.0 displays 139,227 pedestrian crashes and 44,942 bike crashes.

Crashstat identifies East 33rd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan as the intersection with the highest number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities in NYC. The intersections with the most crashes in each borough are:

* Manhattan: Park Avenue and East 33rd Street: 156 crashes
* Brooklyn: Eastern Parkway and Utica Avenue: 120 crashes
* The Bronx: East Fordham Road and Webster Avenue: 99 crashes
* Queens: Queens Boulevard and 63rd Road: 72 crashes
* Staten Island: Victory Boulevard and New Dorp Lane: 34 crashes

“Crashstat 2.0 is an indispensable tool for New Yorkers fed up with dangerous streets,” says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “Anyone with an internet connection and a few minutes to spare can go online, research their streets and win stronger safety measures.”

Version 2.0 includes the ability to view crash data by community district, displays community facilities (schools, hospitals, senior centers, etc.) and enables users to search through yearly data between 1995 and 2005. The original version of Crashstat.org ushered in a new era of technology-driven community activism. It launched in 2004 and compiled data from 1997-2002.

Visit the site at crashstat.org.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Groundbreaking On The 7 Line Expansion Project

7 Train @ Queensboro Plaza
(Flushing-Main Street bound 7 train @ Queensboro Plaza; resized photo courtesy of Eye On Transit

According to Marlenne Naanes of AMNY, the MTA & elected officials are expected to break ground this morning on the 7 line expansion project. Here is the full article courtesy of AMNY:

The MTA and elected officials are expected to break ground Monday morning on the No. 7 train expansion project that will extend the Flushing line from Times Square to the Javits Convention Center, transportation officials confirmed.

The ground breaking will occur within the Times Square station.

The city-funded $2.1-billion project includes the construction of a new station at 34th Street and 11th Avenue. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board awarded a contract for the 1-½ mile tunnel and station in October.

The contract also includes the option for the shell of a second station at 10th Avenue and 41st street, but the MTA is still seeking $450 million in funding for that work. MTA Board members have asked the agency to include the 10th Avenue station to accommodate residential development in Hells Kitchen.

The MTA is set to finish the extension project by 2013.

I have expressed my opinion on the 7 line expansion project in the past which can be read by clicking here. For more information on the project you can click here.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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A New AMNY “Extreme Commuter”

Last month, I wrote an entry about a feature AMNY started called “Extreme Commuter”. Well AMNY is back with a new member of the “Extreme Commuter” team whose daily commute features the use of 3 different transit systems going across two state lines while traveling through 3 states! Here is the article showcasing the newest member of the AMNY “Extreme Commuter” team courtesy of AMNY:

Human resources manager Carin Dupuis is no stranger to train transfers–she does it four times a day, among three transit systems and across three states.

“The absolute worst part of the commute is being on a New York City subway,” she said during a recent morning commute. “It’s so hot and crowded. Often there isn’t even a place to stand, let alone to sit.”

A resident of Stamford, Conn., Dupuis rises each workday at 5:45 am. After dropping her daughter off at school by 7, she boards a 7:21 Metro-North train from Stamford to Grand Central Terminal. Arriving at 8:25 a.m., she makes her way through the heard of rush-hour commuters to the Nos. 4 or 5 subway trains for the ride downtown to Fulton Street.

Although it’s an express, the packed train sometimes moves at a snail’s pace, taking as long as 40 minutes to get though the three express stops to Fulton. Once she arrives, this Extreme Commuter goes above ground for a short walk over to Church Street to the World Trade Center station, where she takes the PATH train one stop to Jersey City and her job at Ana-Data Consulting, a financial technology firm.

“The good thing about the PATH is that I can take any train,” she said, nearing the end of her commute. “My stop is Exchange Place, and it’s the first stop no matter which train I take.”

Dupuis is looking forward to the eventual completion of the Fulton Street Transit Center, which will allow her to skip the walk over to Church Street and connect directly to the PATH system.

“That means I’ll be able to go all the way from Connecticut to Jersey without going above ground at all,” she said.

Out of the three train systems she rides daily, Dupuis says she prefers the PATH for the frequency of its trains and its cleanliness.

Although she also realizes that part of what makes the PATH ride to Jersey in the morning, and back to Manhattan at night, so pleasant, is that it is the only part of her trip that is a reverse commute.

I also suggest you check out the video showcasing the commute by clicking here.

All I can say is wow at 6:35 a.m.! This woman is sure dedicated & some might say crazy. I am glad I don’t have to deal with her commute. I don’t even want to think what her commute must be like during the winter months! Depending on not 1, not 2, but 3 different transit systems is a scary proposition on a clear day much less the winter!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Riders Speak Out Against The MTA’s Recent Proposal

Sticking with news from over the weekend, riders have come out against the MTA’s proposal to eliminate elevator operators. Here is the article courtesy of the New York Daily News:

Straphangers said they feel shafted by the MTA’s proposal to remove operators from subway system elevators.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to transfer the workers from the five manned elevators as part of its cost-cutting proposal.

The manned elevators are at the 191st, 181st and 168th St. stations on the 1 line and 190th and 181st St. stations on the A line.

“I won’t even get into an elevator if there’s not an operator in it,” said Maria Trevino, 54, a home attendant who said she has been stuck in an elevator at the 181st St. station.

“If it stops, people panic, people get respiratory problems, they think they’re going to die. You need somebody there with you to calm them down.”

Other passengers said safety was a concern.

“If someone strange comes in, you want someone there with you,” said student Jennifer Cerda, riding the 168th St. lift yesterday.

“They also control crowds of people,” said Kathy Corbera, a 60-year-old doctor at 168th St.

“You get long lines of people stretching down the corridor onto the platform. You need someone to direct those crowds, and people respond to authority.”

The elevators are manned in stations so deep that taking the staircase is not an option. They are usually operated by MTA employees with disabilities, staff said yesterday.

“I expect we’d be transferred into other nonstrenuous jobs,” said Claude Herbert, 70, who has an injured knee and operates the 181st. St. elevator.

“I don’t know what else I could do.”

This really is a tough call as I said in a prior entry, I can see both sides of the issue. The safety issue is definitely a legitimate one when it comes to riding these specific elevators. The crowd control is also a big issue considering how out of control it would be if no operator was present. However I can also see where the MTA can save much needed money. Quite frankly I think it would be fair for the MTA to look at possible cuts in other areas before going through with this proposal. I am sure they can find plenty of other areas where they can save the same amount of money if not more.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA Plans To Eliminate Program & Safety Workers

The New York Daily News is still going strong with their “Halt The Hike” campaign. Saturday’s edition of the paper featured an article on the MTA’s plan to eliminate a subway evacuation program along with safety workers. Here is the article courtesy of the New York Daily News as part of their “Halt The Hike” campaign:

The MTA is eliminating a program to help subway riders evacuate in emergencies and closing several token booths – at the same time it is pushing for higher fares.

After the 2005 London subway bombings, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority placed approximately 100 workers in stations to usher riders to safety if needed.

The posts at 20 key hubs are no longer needed because NYC Transit – the MTA’s bus and subway division – has improved subway station exits throughout the system, managers claim.

“Panic bars” have been installed on locked swinging-door gates that lead to sidewalk stairwells.

Riders can unlock the gates themselves and no longer need token booth clerks to open them up, NYC Transit spokesman Charles Seaton said.

The upgrades “add a significant amount of exiting capacity to the system,” he added.

Councilman Peter Vallone, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, accused the MTA of “jeopardizing the lives of their riders” by taking the extra workers from stations.

He added that the safety workers are still needed because riders could be slowed by ceiling-to-floor revolving door turnstiles.

The elimination of the posts are part of the MTA’s preliminary 2008 budget, which has come under fire because it calls for imposing higher fares and tolls next year.

Eliminating the “heightened security coverage” will save the MTA $6.5 million next year, according to the proposed budget.

Closing four booths at three Manhattan stations, and eliminating 11 clerk positions, will save more than $730,000, according to the plan.

Critics contend the MTA can do a much better job of finding fat that can and should be cut.

All told, the MTA’s “Program to Eliminate the Gap” for next year calls for $50 million in savings, including not filling some vacancies or leaving posts unfilled. That’s less than one-half of 1% of the $10.8 billion budget plan.

“It is important for the MTA to continue to explore opportunities to reduce its spending and limit costs without adversely affecting services,” said state Controller Thomas DiNapoli.

This might come as a surprise to some but I am not against the elimination of this program & its safety workers. In a time where the MTA is desperate for cash, I see this program as a waste. I know some will say what about emergencies or bring up the biggest fall back crutch of all time 9/11, I say to them sit down & think for a minute.

Can you really justify the costs of this program along with the employees involved with it? Why should should the MTA spend millions of dollars for this when it can be spent better elsewhere? Do we really need to have a dedicated amount of workers to help in case of an emergency? Why can’t the current fleet of personnel working on the bus & train do the job?

If you sit down & think about it, emergency situations should be a legitimate part of their job description. They are the first line of defense & should be trained as such. Instead of spending money on wasteful posts, spend the money elsewhere for legitimate projects such as increased training to the personnel who are our first line of defense. If you properly train the current personnel who are the first line of defense in all aspects of emergency protocols, you not only make things safer for all riders, you also save money on needless jobs. Last I check wasn’t the MTA spending money on extended training for current personnel anyway?

We are in a new world when it comes to the MTA & its finances, here is one plan that showcases a vision to better maximize available resources while saving money. Instead of automatically saying no, this is a bad idea or championing against it to score points with your constituents, look at the bigger picture & understand how this is actually a good idea. Will it cure all of their financial woes? No, it won’t but it can be a good start & hopefully it will get better as we move forward.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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