The City Council approved two transportation measures on Tuesday, one of which will require more community input before streets can be reconfigured, while the other will require reports on street changes within 18 months of their implementation, according to the Gotham Gazette.
In other words, every proposed pedestrian plaza and bike lane will now go through a much more rigorous review and follow-up process.
“The days when the Department of Transportation could unilaterally reconfigure our streetscapes are gone," James Vacca, transportation committee chair, told the Gazette. Vacca sponsored both bills.
The first measure would require a consultation between the DOT and Small Business Services, police and fire departments and other city agencies, before streets can be reconfigured. The Council and local community boards would also be involved in the planning process.
The second measure will require the DOT to provide reports on street changes within 18 months, which will include statistics on traffic, accidents and emergency vehicle response times.
Will all of these extra steps slow the implementation of initiatives to make New York City’s streets friendlier for pedestrians and bikers? Or will they help to curb problems that have spring up because of poor street planning? The Gazette notes that pedestrian plazas have been hard for the disabled (especially the visually impaired) to navigate, have hurt small businesses and have made routes tougher for emergency response vehicles.
New pedestrian islands and crosswalks have made while also helping the flow of traffic for cars. Residents lauded the changes last month. The DOT also recently redesigned nearby Washington Avenue to makr it .
But in Clinton Hill over the summer, residents like community organizer Schellie Hagan at Putnam Triangle, saying that the plans were “forced” on them “without any proper research.”
Fellow protestors believed that the use of $400,000 of city money for the plaza was “a waste of taxpayer money.”
, between Flatbush and Broadway, hoped to calm traffic earlier this year, but many residents were skeptical that it would help.
“There are traffic-calming needs on Lafayette Avenue,” John Dew, chairman of Community Board 2 told Patch in February. “But we feel that [the city] should look at other alternatives besides just a bike lane.”
Do you think the DOT needs to slow down it’s street re-configuring plans, or has the agency been making New York City’s streets friendlier?