Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pedestrian Killed in Crash Near New Haven Green

Excellent reporting from the New Haven Independent, on yet another Downtown tragedy, can be found here.

Bryan Neff collided with a moving car at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Neff was pronounced dead around 1:45 a.m. Saturday due to head injuries suffered in the crash.

Ongoing safety problems at this high-pedestrian-volume intersection were reported a year ago on SeeClickFix: http://www.seeclickfix.com/issues/1738 -- and are well known among local residents and business owners.

A number of the reader comments on the New Haven Independent article highlight the general consensus among New Haven elected officials and residents, expressed in the New Haven Safe Streets Petition and elsewhere, that specific actions must be taken to improve the safety of our transportation network:

AndersonCooper: "These downtown "T" intersections are a problem, and we're going to continue to have fatalities until they're addressed. The simple solution is the City Hall fix. Do what they did in front of Mayor DeStefano's office and put in a traffic light, along with a crosswalk, and pedestrian call buttons."

Streever: "It comes down to if you think the risk should be death or not. I am a big fan of calculated risk & being responsible for one's own well-being, but I question that the car was going 25 mph here. It'd be one of the few cars on Church street going the speed limit in my experience. Again, why not try to mark the road leading up to the crosswalk? I'm sure it could work, and it'd be worth trying. Make the whole section a pedestrian area & put in-road markings before the hill warning people to slow down. Drop the speed limit for that block to 15 mph. Seriously, the most impact that will have on travel time is probably 15 seconds."

Norton Street: "Look at New Urbanism, green architecture, look at what NYC has done on Broadway. This country is moving in a direction of smart growth, consolidation, walkability, and mass transit. If you aren't helping this transition, then you're evenutally gunna get run over by progress."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

SeeClickFix: Bike Corral Needed in New Haven

Interesting issue reported by a citizen on SeeClickFix (http://seeclickfix.com/issues/8847), next to the Yale campus. Bike corrals, aka on-street bicycle parking areas, are widely used in Portland, Oregon and many other cities.

SCF is a "Gov 2.0" website and mobile technology tool, initially based on FixMyStreet, that is now being widely-used nationwide by citizens, advocacy groups, governments and media organizations to foster the collaborative resolution of civic issues.

Here is one of the comments on the issue:

A ‘bike corral’ would be great to have at the NW corner of Elm and York. What’s great is that it could help pedestrians, too.

The curb at the NW corner should be extended to reduce the crossing distances across York, similar to what was done on the SW side during the mid-1990s rebuilding of Broadway.

A curb extension would significantly slow the traffic that currently flies around the corner, endangering pedestrians. A shorter distance would also make the street easier to cross. Just past that, in front of ABP, could be a perfect spot for a corral.

Currently, there is a lack of bicycle parking in this area, and bikes tied to meters reduce the space available for pedestrians on what is a very busy sidewalk.

If you agree this area should have a bike corral, please leave your testimony on the SeeClickFix "ticket" under "Add a comment."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

CEOs Study: Walkability Raises Property Values

Original Post 9/8/09: Click here for an analysis of a recent CEOs for Cities study, posted on Planning Pool. An excerpt:

CEOs for Cities just released a study showing that homes located close to shops, schools, churches, offices, libraries, parks, and restaurants are worth more than similar homes in less-walkable neighborhoods.

The report, “Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities” by Joseph Cortright, analyzed data from 94,000 real estate transactions in 15 major markets. Cortright found that in 13 of the 15 markets, higher levels of walkability, as measured by Walk Score, correlated to higher home values.

Update 10/7/09: From Streetsblog reporting at the Walk21 conference this week in New York City, more information that when it comes to walkability, money does indeed "grow on trees":

For every point on the PERS scale, neighborhoods saw a 5.2 percent increase in residential prices and a 4.9 percent increase in retail rent. Attracting more retail and consumers also means more jobs, though there should be incentives to maintain local businesses and affordable housing, Gaventa said. Having proof that making a space more pedestrian friendly will add value to it is a great way to convince those in power that change -- and a more comprehensive strategy -- is needed.

That strategy, Leinberger said, should be the development of more places where residents' everyday needs are within a maximum of 3,000 feet. We've largely run out of room to build more in the busiest urban areas -- it would be difficult for Manhattan to get much denser than it already is -- so the solution to fill that demand for pedestrian-centric space is to transform outlying areas, such as suburbs, into walkable places. ....

Having more walkable places also makes sense on a personal financial level. According to Leinberger's data, car-friendly suburban households spend anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of their income on transportation, whereas urban households spend only about 9 percent. That extra money can go into paying for housing, or even -- as Leinberger puts it -- that most Un-American of things: savings.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Knight Commission: Free Information "As Vital as Safe Streets"; Public Space Design Media Needed

A tweet today about the need to eliminate the "digital divide" (37% of Americans still do not have internet access at home!) by implementing national free broadband service, from urbandata:

Knight: Free information flow "as vital to healthy communities as safe streets" http://bit.ly/qfayF #gov20 @seeclickfix #gov20 #knightcomm

More on the Knight Commission report, from the AP coverage -- and more transportation parallels:

The nation needs to give the same urgency to making sure all Americans have broadband access as the Eisenhower administration did in building an interstate highway system a half-century ago, a report released Friday concluded... ''You have to have access in order to be socially first class, economically first class and politically first class,'' said Alberto Ibarguen, former Miami Herald publisher and president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation..

Retweet this and support the call for information equity... and safe streets, too. Given new mashup online 311 websites like SeeClickFix, the two are now closely related. In fact, one of the report's 15 specific recommendations is to create new media that supports public space design.

Update: SeeClickFix provides a link to the report via Twitter:

RT @seeclickfix #knightcomm recs: new media for com'ty info & public space design, transparent gov http://ow.ly/slQh eg @mashable @govwiki

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Updated List of New Haven Petition for Safe Streets Sponsors and Supporters

The following groups and individuals have elected to officially endorse the Petition:

12 of 12 City of New Haven Community Management Teams (CMTs):
+ Downtown-Wooster Square CMT (listserv link here)
+ Fair Haven CMT
+ Westville-West Hills CMT
+ Whalley-Edgewood-Beaver Hills (WEB) CMT
+ Hill South CMT
+ Hill North CMT
+ Newhallville CMT
+ Quinnipiac East CMT (QEMT)
+ East Shore CMT
+ East Rock CMT
+ Dwight CMT
+ Dixwell CMT (DECMT)
These endorsements per official member voting.

Advocacy Organizations and Nonprofits:
+ Yale Medical Campus Traffic Safety Group (listserv link here)
+ Elm City Cycling / (listserv link here)
+ CT Livable Streets Campaign
+ New Haven Urban Design League
+ DesignNewHaven
+ Tri-State Transportation Campaign
+ Transportation Alternatives
+ America Walks
+ Keep Kids Alive Drive 25
+ Yale Public Health Coalition
+ New Haven Environmental Justice Network (listserv link here)
+ Connecticut Bicycle Coalition
+ Sierra Club - Connecticut Chapter
+ Safe Kids Connecticut - Greater New Haven Chapter
+ Connecticut Public Health Association

Neighborhood Associations, Business Improvement Districts and Religious Organizations:
+ Chatham Square Neighborhood Association
+ Christ Church - New Haven
+ Church on the Rock - New Haven
+ Coalition for a Livable Whalley
+ Congregation Beth El-Keser Israel
+ Edgewood Neighborhood Association
+ Edgewood Park Defense Patrol
+ First Unitarian Universalist Society of New Haven
+ Friends of East Rock Park
+ New Haven Bioregional Group
+ New Haven 828
+ Quinnipiac River Community Group (QRCG)
+ Ronan-Edgehill Neighborhood Association
+ Town Green Special Services District, per unanimous vote of Board of Commissioners
+ Upper State Street Association
+ West River Neighborhood Services Corporation
+ Westville Village Renaissance Alliance
+ Whalley Avenue Revitalization (WAR)
+ Whalley Avenue Special Services District (WASSD)
+ Yale College Council (per resolution)

Individual Residents and Businesses:
+ Over 2,000 area residents have signed the petition (paper copies also available on request), along with a number of small businesses.

Local and State Elected Officials:
+ New Haven Ward 1 Alderwoman Rachel Plattus (Downtown/Yale)
+ New Haven Ward 2 Alderwoman Gina Calder (Dwight)
+ New Haven Ward 3 Alderwoman Jacqueline James (Medical District/West River)
+ New Haven Ward 5 Alderman Jorge Perez (Hill)
+ New Haven Ward 6 Alderwoman Dolores Colon (Hill)
+ New Haven Ward 7 Alderwoman Bitsie Clark (Downtown)
+ New Haven Ward 8 Alderman Michael Smart (Wooster Square)
+ New Haven Ward 9 Alderman Roland Lemar (East Rock)
+ New Haven Ward 10 Alderman Allan Brison (East Rock)
+ New Haven Ward 14 Alderwoman Erin Sturgis-Pascale (Fair Haven)
+ New Haven Ward 15 Alderman Joseph Rodriguez (Fair Haven)
+ New Haven Ward 16 Alderwoman Migdalia Castro (Fair Haven)
+ New Haven Ward 17 Alderman Alphonse Paolillo Jr. (Annex)
+ New Haven Ward 18 Alderwoman Arlene DePino (East Shore)
+ New Haven Ward 19 Alderwoman Alfreda Edwards (Newhallville/Prospect Hill)
+ New Haven Ward 20 Alderman Charles A. Blango (Newhallville)
+ New Haven Ward 21 Alderwoman Katrina Jones (Dixwell/Newhallville)
+ New Haven Ward 22 Alderman Greg Morehead (Dixwell)
+ New Haven Ward 23 Alderman Yusuf I. Shah (West River)
+ New Haven Ward 24 Alderwoman Elizabeth McCormack (Edgewood)
+ New Haven Ward 25 Alderwoman Ina Silverman (Westville)
+ New Haven Ward 26 Alderman Sergio Rodriguez (Westville)
+ New Haven Ward 27 Alderman Tom Lehtonen (Westville)
+ New Haven Ward 29 Alderman Carl Goldfield (Westville)
+ New Haven Ward 30 Alderwoman Michelle Sepulveda (West Hills)
+ New Haven Democratic Town Committee Chairwoman Susan Voigt
+ State Senator Toni N. Harp, Deputy President Pro Tempore, 10th Senatorial District (New Haven/West Haven)
+ State Senator Martin M. Looney, Senate Majority Leader of the General Assembly, 11th Senatorial District (New Haven/Hamden)
+ Representative Juan Candelaria, 95th Assembly District (New Haven)
+ Representative Patricia Dillon, Assistant Majority Leader, 92nd Assembly District (New Haven)
+ Representative Gary Holder-Winfield, 94th Assembly District (New Haven)
+ Representative Robert W. Megna, Assistant Majority Leader, 97th Assembly District (New Haven)
+ Representative Toni E. Walker, Deputy Majority Leader, 93rd Assembly District (New Haven)

Local and State Candidates for Elected Office:
+ Katie Harrison, Candidate for Ward 1, New Haven
+ Mike Jones, Candidate for Ward 1, New Haven
+ Minh Tran, Candidate for Ward 1, New Haven
+ Justin Elicker, Candidate for Ward 10, New Haven
+ Moses Nelson, Candidate for Ward 21, New Haven
+ Lisa Hopkins, Candidate for Ward 22, New Haven
+ Greg Dildine, Candidate for Ward 25, New Haven

Additional sponsors will be posted as they are officially confirmed.