Thursday, June 15, 2017

Council Member Rodriguez Announces Legislation to Prevent Cars from Jumping onto Sidewalks, Less than One Month Following Times Square Attack

Council Member Rodriguez & Transportation Alternatives' Paul Steely White Announce Legislation Expanding Use of Safety Bollards at Schools, Pedestrian Plazas and Along Unsafe Corridors

  Less than one month after a driver killed a young tourist and injured 20 pedestrians in Times Square, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez announced legislation to take action and prevent similar tragedies. The legislation would require widespread installation of safety bollards by NYC DOT, like the one that stopped the Times Square driver from taking more lives. The focus would be schools, pedestrian plazas and priority safety corridors, as determined by DOT. 

Council Member Rodriguez stood today with Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives and Council Members Menchaca and Levine to announce the legislation. It will be introduced next week on June 21st and will have a public hearing on June 22nd, where NYC DOT is expected to testify.

"Whether a driver has the intention to kill or not, pedestrians must be safe on our sidewalks and plazas," said Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "Bollards have proven they can save lives, as we saw in the Times Square attack less than a month ago. This bill will expand their use to more parts of our city to prevent avoidable tragedies."

"Since 2014, 40 New Yorkers have been killed by curb jumping drivers," said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "Sidewalks should be the safe-havens and Council Member Rodriguez is taking a proactive approach to protect pedestrians by encouraging more widespread use of bollards. This is a valuable safety feature in crash prone areas and we are proud to support its passage through the City Council."

"The safety of New York City's residents and visitors is the most important responsibility we have as a City government," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "By not waiting for another tragic incident to occur and installing protective bollards near pedestrian plazas and walkways right away we are deterring another situation involving a vehicle being used as a  weapon from occurring and minimizing the effects of a possible incident. Thank you to Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez for his leadership and foresight on this very important issue."

The legislation is also a response to the recent and troubling frequency of vehicles being used as a weapon of choice in terror attacks around the world. As New York City remains a perpetual target for terrorist activity, fortifying our most vulnerable points where pedestrians gather in large numbers is a key goal of the legislation. 

Immediately following the press conference at City Hall, an SUV was in a crash that caused it to jump the curb at 38th Street and 9th Avenue in Manhattan. The number of instances where this occurs has reached an alarming rate and shows that pedestrians need protection not just from deliberate attacks but unintentional crashes as well. Council Member Rodriguez visited the scene following the press conference.

We agree 100 Percent with the above statements, however there are several items that have been left out be it purposely or by accident.

1 - Has the City Council and especially Traffic and Transportation Committee Chair Rodriguez looked at the way streets are being milled by some outside contractors who leave broken sidewalks that have not been repaired by the DOT in over one year and some months. I would be happy to show Councilman Rodriguez exactly where this has happened. Yes a car jumped the broken curb onto the sidewalk into two storefronts only to be stopped by a metal gate post. It was a good thing this happened in the summer when school was out, or many school children might have been in that exact spot.
2 - Have the above realized that there are less police on the streets, and are giving out less moving violations. This has been city policy since the use of Speed Cameras has begun. A camera can not do what a police officer in a police car can do.
3 - Where would any new safety bollards be placed on the sidewalk?
4 - Would they only be placed in the important sections of Manhattan, and not in the other four boroughs?
5 - Would these safety bollards be placed in residential or only business areas?
6 - Has there been a study done by the DOT as to the street design or redesign which may of lead to even one of the 40 fatalities?
7 - With electric bikes having the capacity now to go over the stated NYC speed limit of 25 MPH how are pedestrians going to be protected from these and other bikes capable of injuring or even killing several people as bikes will be able to go in and out of the safety bollards and on sidewalks as many do? 
8 - Why is the city council not looking into regulating electric bikes, as to registration of the bike, insurance requirements, and even licensing of the riders?

I am sure that there are many more questions, but these few came to mind. Just placing more safety bollards would be the quick fix, but trying to look at the whole problem was probably not done.

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