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A donated cell phone can become a lifeline for an isolated or otherwise vulnerable individual who needs to call 911. Secure the Call is a charity with a single mission: to collect and convert as many old cell phones as possible into 911 emergency access phones. Bring your used cell phones to Assembly Member O’Donnell’s Community Office, 245 West 104th Street (between Broadway and WEA) any time during the month of June. For more information, please visit www.securethecall.org.
<strong>Community Issues: Our Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell has been active on issues important to our community.</strong>
Assemblyman O’Donnell has introduced three bills which may interest you. First, Mr. O’Donnell introduced a bill that would protect vulnerable populations from damaging solitary confinement. This bill would reduce the use of solitary confinement for youth under the 21 years of age. Second, a bill was introduced that would limit solitary for pregnant inmates. These two types of populations are known to be harmed by the isolation and lack of sufficient medical care, exercise, and educational programming. Both bills await further action in the State Assembly.
In response to recent pedestrian fatalities in our area, Mr. O’Donnell introduced a bill to reduce NYC’s default speed to 20 mph, a speed at which traffic accidents are much less likely to be fatal. After negotiation with the Mayor’s Office and City Council, the bill was modified to reduce the default speed limit to 25 mph, still providing the City Department of Transportation the authority to reduce it to 20 mph.
Rooftop additions have become a threat to Historic Buildings on the Upper West Side. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has seen an increase in applications for rooftop additions due to the recent surge in the housing market. The additions are problematic because they will be highly visible from the street, block sightlines, create shadows, and drastically alter the essential character of the landmarked building. Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal has called upon the LPC to require that the public should have an opportunity to provide comments and ensure the process of approving rooftop additions is as transparent as possible.
Information on Current Community Issues
Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety
As many of you are aware, we have had three pedestrian fatalities which occurred on Broadway, 96th Street and West End Ave. Wide, car-centric streets are the most dangerous to walk in New York City and Broadway has been deemed the most dangerous road according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s study of the number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities from 2010 through 2012.
Based on NYPD preliminary figures, 168 pedestrians and 10 cyclists were killed by city motorists in 2013 and 16,059 pedestrians and cyclists were injured. In the 24th Precinct, 15 pedestrians and 2 cyclists were injured in 2013. While our seniors make up 12% of the population in New York City, they account for 39% of the pedestrian fatalities. The causes of these accidents include, in order of occurrence: speeding, driver inattention or distraction, failure to yield right-of-way, alcohol/drug use, and improper lane changes or backing up.
On January 30, 2014, DOT presented a proposal for safety improvements at the intersection of Broadway and W. 96th St at a special meeting of Community Board 7. The proposal will reduce conflicts between pedestrians and motor vehicles at the busy intersection while increasing pedestrian crossing options and reducing wait time. On February 4, 2014, Community Board 7 passed a resolution incorporating the DOT’s proposals which include:
For more information on the resolution, visit the CB7 website at:
There are many initiatives underway to address the problem of pedestrian and cyclist safety. We are human and despite our best intentions, we make mistakes. The purpose of these initiatives is to mitigate the “human factor” so that our streets are set up to be safe despite human error.
Mayor de Blasio has proposed the Vision Zero Action Plan, which is the Swedish approach to road safety and is summarized in one sentence: No loss of life is acceptable. The Mayor’s Plan defines the initial steps that the City Police (NYPD) and Transportation Departments (DOT), Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) and other agencies will take. These initiatives will be continually analyzed for their effectiveness.
The New York Police Department plans to increase enforcement against dangerous moving violations, including speeding, failing to yield to pedestrians, signal violations, improper turns/disobeying signage, and phoning/texting while driving. The recognition of the disproportional representation of the senior population among severe pedestrian injuries and fatalities led to the development of the Department’s Safe Streets for Seniors (SSS) program. More information may be found at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot
The TLC will create a safety enforcement squad, to enforce speed and safety regulations and pilot a program to place black box data recorders in TLC-licensed vehicles.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will conduct public health surveillance on traffic-related hospitalizations and injuries. The analysis of this data will assist in determining the direction of future initiatives.
In the meantime, here are some guidelines from the Department of Transportation:
The implementation of these city-wide initiatives as well as educated pedestrians and cyclists will ensure safe and enjoyable travel on our city streets.