Have your say – Streetsblog New York City

We couldn’t help but notice that there is yet another group of so-called champions of democracy in Jackson Heights claiming to speak on behalf of the supposedly ignored majority of residents who oppose the plan. Department of Transportation’s “Paseo Park” for 34th Avenue in the field – get this – that creating plaza blocks is “unsafe” because the DOT did “NO environmental impact analysis” on the apparent danger which supposedly occurs when cars are pulled off a roadway.

The group calls itself “Voices of Jackson Heights” – and claims that the residents of the neighborhood have not been “represented”. (Although there’s some irony in that, as opponents of the Paseo Park plan also claim they’ve spoken loudly at numerous public hearings, so it’s a bit strange to hear people complaining that their voice is not heard while bragging about how much noise they made. We assume that their voices are indeed heard; but they simply lose out to other more convincing voices.)

But to get to the bottom of Voices of Jackson Heights’ complaint about allegedly unsafe no-car spaces that haven’t been properly researched: there actually is one Major impact statement that the city publishes every day. It’s called NYC Open Dataand it’s a wealth of information on the environmental impact of cars on public roads.

For instance, according to this database, there were 99 reported crashes on 34th Avenue between 69th Street and Junction Boulevard in the 2019 calendar year (before the city created the street open). These accidents injured seven cyclists, 10 pedestrians and 36 drivers. But in calendar year 2021, during the hours when open street barricades are in place, 23 crashes were reported, injuring one cyclist, four pedestrians and three motorists. This represents a 77% reduction in accidents and an 85% reduction in injuries.

This is certainly proof that the creation of the open street benefited “everyone’s safety” – although Voices of Jackson Heights uses those very words to oppose DOT plans to further reduce car traffic on the street.

The safety argument is pretty compelling, but let’s not forget that Jackson Heights has one of the lowest open spaces per capita in the city. Its only park – Travers Park – is big, but it is small. The open street has created a public space facility in a neighborhood that desperately needs it. Not everyone in Jackson Heights lives in a building with a leafy yard — and very few people have access to country homes or cottages.

Conveniently, Voices of Jackson Heights released a poll to research neighborhood voices. We hope the many Paseo Park supporters will take a few minutes to fill out the poll and tell the new group how much the open street is really loved. So Voices of Jackson Heights can indeed be a truly representative group.

In other news:

  • Nicole Gelinas writes for the NY Post and the Manhattan Institute – two outlets we often bitterly disagree with (especially on the police). Yet when it comes to demanding the dismantling of all the terrible systems that promote global warming, she is right. You can blame Joe Manchin all you want for, well, being Joe Manchin, but as Gelinas underlined in this Post column (mistitled)we are all guilty in our own way for not destroying car culture.
  • Everyone jumped on the news that Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine was going to rev up the West Side Highway diet machine again, but Levine was smart enough to hand out a super hot render to reporters. covering his letter to the DOT. We were on it, just like Clayton Guse of the Daily Newsuh,
  • Mayor Adams has named transit workers’ union boss John Samuelson to the Transit Mobility Review Board, which will decide the full details of congestion pricing later this year. (NYDN, amNY)
  • Speaking about Adams and public transit, the mayor defended his decision to cut hours on two successful bus routes by listening to “the community.” What community? Certainly not the bus drivers. (amNYStreetsblog)
  • Graphic: R. Kikuo Johnson
    Graphic: R. Kikuo Johnson

    We’ve criticized The New Yorker in the past for its pro-car agenda, as well as securing financial backing from the maker of one of America’s most violent SUVs, but this week, we give a shout out to R. Kikuo Johnson for his bike-to-the-beach cover image (right). Now can he make the Mets next?

  • Of course, the New Yorker returned almost immediately to train with this piece how awesome it will be when all cars go electric and are perfectly quiet. No disrespect to John Seabrook – the piece is fascinating – but it’s still a product of Car Culture.
  • We went out to cover the grand opening of the Portal North Bridge in New Jersey and came away with a blog post about Secretary Pete Buttigieg. gothamist played directly.
  • A 74-year-old woman was struck and seriously injured by the driver of an SUV in Bayside. (New York Post)
  • Fear of crime, fueled by media and pol, not crime itself, is undermining New York’s recovery, says Bloomberg. Equality Alec had the perfect yarn, as always:
  • Even though everyone previewed, some media outlets still covered the mayor’s presser on Monday that the city’s speed cameras would – indeed and as promised – begin covering 24/7, 365 days a year from 10 p.m. (amNY)
  • It’s two! Another Staten Island police officer has been arrested for using fake license plates. (gothamist)
  • Taxi owners and grassroots operators want more licenses. (amNY)
  • Don’t miss the three-way debate with reps Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney and challenger Suraj Patel on Tuesday night (you can catch Jacob deGrom’s return and still catch the best parts) (gothamist). Patel, says the postis booming.
  • And, finally, here’s some great public service journalism from our friend Ben Kabak, who has collected tweets from drivers unhappy that the city’s speed cameras are finally working, starting Monday night, 24/7/365. year. Too many drivers actually believe that reckless driving is okay and being held responsible for it is unfair:

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