Report: Optimizing Large Vehicles...

Accommodating the largest vehicles on the street- often emergency response vehicles or municipal refuse vehicles—prevents our city and county from redesigning streets for safer speeds and reduced crossing distances. We’ve seen this played out throughout Nassau County - emergency responders being less part of the solution to safe streets and more of a roadblock due to sheer size of vehicle, unnecessarily so.


Optimizing Large Vehicles for Urban Environments

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the USDOT Volpe Center released Optimizing Large Vehicles for Urban Environments, two reports detailing the effects of vehicle design on street safety, and the opportunities that public agencies—as significant purchasers of large vehicles—have to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities with improved vehicle design. Large vehicles include include freight trucks, waste management vehicle and fire trucks.

It really makes the case for vehicle downsizing - or rightsizing- to improve maneuverability and reduce conflict. A rightsized fleet increases a drivers ability to see and maneuver, thereby reducing the likelihood of a crash and will reduce lethality if a crash does occur. Smaller vehicles require a reduces turn radii, increasing opportunities for municipalities to implement traffic calming street designs and increase protected bike lanes and sidewalks.

Downsizing vehicles does not necessarily mean replacing a big truck with a small one. Many design elements can be retrofitted onto existing fleets, enhancing safety more rapidly than typical vehicle replacement cycles. These more economical design fixes include changes to wheel cut & wheelbase, steering configuration, and cab hieght, design &window placement. Benefits of downsizing vehicles includes improving drivers’ situational awareness, improving operational safety, and can leverage existing budgets & procurement cycles. The side effects of downsizing means less credentialed drivers commmandeering a municipal vehicle and a potentially long full fleet replacement time.

The second part of this release addresses Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) which use cameras, radar, and other sensors to scan a vehicles surroundings to prevent conflicts. ADAS can significantly mitigate crashes with other vehicles but are inconsistent at detecting and responding to pedestrians and bicyclists. The report favors coupling ADAS with driver training and education to avoid overreliance on the system to make decisions. It can also be linked with telematics systems to identify aggressive drivers, or contextual reasons for unsafe maneuvers.

These two reports really help people understand the opportunities for vehicle redesign for safer streets and improved safety outcomes. We’ve forwarded the reports to key decision makers in Nassau County, and will carry them in our mental filing cabinet during Legislative decisions on procurement come up.



Article: We need to Talk About Truck Design


We Need to Talk About Truck Design Right Now Before It's Too Late - hipster auto-blogger Jason Torchinsky in Jalopnik

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Let me bluntly get all up your grille when I say- how the literal fuck are we suppose to “share the road” with the face of rage and intimidation? And all you need is a crackerjack box license to commandeer one of these death machines? Insanity. We simply cannot nor should we have to jockey for space on streets with these monster trucks.

"It could just be me, but these massive, over-complicated grilles feel desperate and attention-hungry, like showing up at a barbecue slathered in blood and with your sleeve on fire so there will be no doubt as to what a badass you are."

Size matters.

 2020 death machine

2020 death machine

We are well aware that pedestrians are two-to-three times more likely to die if they’re struck by a SUV or high horse powered weapon of mass destruction, thanks to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety report earlier this year- we did a blog recap Vehicle Size Matters. Data and honest safety experts have verified that long-standing common factors in pedestrian deaths, such as alcohol and jaywalking at night, did not account for the recent growth in ped fatalities. The myth of distracted pedestrians is lazy; he reality of distracted journalists ignoring this is dangerous.

So we’re taken by surprise that this article begging the conversation of truck design was penned by Jason Torchinsky, Senior Editor of Jalopnik. He must have kids or a conscience or something.

“Most of these trucks are six feet tall or more, which means that the hood height is around four to five feet off the ground, which means that if one of these is behind you, you’re greeted with the sight of just grille, massive and hungry, filling your view. Walking by trucks like these feels more like walking past a building sometimes, confronted with vast curtain walls of vents and meshes and perforated, vertical walls. They’re starting to feel less and less like vehicles.”

Kudos.

So we now know what the big mean vehicle machine industry bigwigs have long known about this but nothing has changed except size- and not for the better. SUVs and trucks are killing us yet the grille obsession is growing - and we’re not talking work vehicles here. Anecdotal fact is most people you see driving big pickup machines are not carrying or hauling anything special and more often than not, they are the only person in the vehicle. 

“Generously-sized grilles have always been part of truck design—well, at least front-engined, water-cooled truck design—but what we’re currently experiencing goes way beyond just having a big grille. The goal of modern truck grilles—especially the larger, Heavy Duty spec trucks—seems to be less about getting the required cooling air and more about creating a massive, brutal face of rage and intimidation.“

Our picks for organizations to support during giving season

PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING A LOCAL ORGANIZATION DURING GIVING SEASON!

Our picks for 501(c)3 organizations that are local hands-on volunteer-based community-driven and safe streets focused:

 brettsbicyclerecycle.com

brettsbicyclerecycle.com

We love Brett’s Bicycle Recycle because they do a damn good job at advocating for safe streets by putting more bicycles on Huntington streets. #SafetyInNumbers They are also the only organization on the Island working on recycling bicycles, organically growing and making a strong impact on their community.

You can meet and support the good people behind Brett’s Bicycle Recycle on Dec 10th at their End of Year event: Bowling for Brett's Bicycle Recycle Holiday Fundraiser.

What else can you do? Donate money, volunteer hours if you are a mechanic and /or donate bicycles & tools in nice condition.


 tripsforkids.nyc

tripsforkids.nyc

Trips for Kids Metro New York empowers kids and changes lives through mountain biking in Metro NY (predominantly Queens/ Cunningham Park, but also Nassau to Suffolk) What we love about this is it opens an opportunity to experience a healthy outdoor activity with a fast learning curve - and you don’t have to be fit or athletic to start. The founder is Andree Sanders, who also serves on the Executive Board of CLIMB, who has organically grown the organization so big that they actually need your end of year donation to help meet demand - they’ve dozens of events from races to club rides. And guess what parents - you can join in, too!

What can you do? Give a generous donation and / or volunteer solid time if you are an experienced mountain cyclist, coach or grant writer.

+VOTE for Trips for Kids NY via #MyGivingStory


And last but not least, Long Island Streets.

We're thankful for you always, please love us back during end-of-year giving season with a tax-deductible gift so we can continue to smack the silly out of suburban streets. 🚲 🛴🚍 

Grant Opportunities: #FundMyStreets #SafeRoutesToParks

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Zendrive together with Lyft, Uber, Lime, Bird, Juno, HopSkipDrive, and nonprofits StopDistractions.org, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and Together for Safer Roads, created a partnership — #FundMyStreets — that will award $50,000 to fund improve traffic safety around schools.

Time sensitive! Apply here.


With generous funding from The JPB Foundation, the Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program is currently accepting applications for awards for eleven grantee communities in 2019. The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program provides tailored technical assistance for eleven communities to develop Safe Routes to Parks action plans and awards $12,500 to each community to begin implementation of those plans. Application deadline: Dec 10, 2018. Click here for more info.



Fall Back

Fall back next weekend for Daylight Saving Time on Sat, Nov 4th, and be aware of the statistical increase in safety incidents. Every year during the end of daylight saving time there is an increase in traffic crashes. With increased darkness around rush hour time, and when traffic is at a peak, drivers, pedestrians and people on bicycles aren’t yet used to the decreased visibility and our internal clocks are thrown off by the change in lighting.

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Visibility. Our fabulous fall fashion is darker than our summer brights and we’re wearing hats and scarves - while this should not matter what we wear when crossing with the right of way, it does matter when you throw in a few other factors and when we’re talking about kids on their way home from after school activities. Let’s be honest here - being visible can save your life regardless of where you are walking, who has the right of way or that orange is no longer the new black (but we hear yellow is rather vogue this season). The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee of New York pedestrian safety campaign SEE! BE SEEN! is on point for this time of year.

People on bikes - this is the PERFECT time of year to look at your bike reflectors and lights.New York law states a bike must be equipped with a headlight and taillight, front and rear reflectors, spoke reflectors and pedal reflectors to be used when riding at night. (Section 1236, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law).

Drivers, check your windshield fluid, make sure your windows and mirrors are clean- if that is all it takes to increase your ability to see someone, then its worth the 5 minutes. You know driving around neighborhoods before dinner there’s always tweens on bikes and skateboards - remember they are there, even if you don’t see them. Be ready.

If you call someone on their way home from work or school and they are in the car - get off the phone with them. Not after you ask what they want for dinner, but immediately.

Sleepy, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. November 4 - 11 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week for a reason. Just like with the Spring forward Daylight Saving time, we are thrown off for a week as our bodies adjust to the change in morning and evening light. Our internal clocks being off by waking and getting home when its dark, leaving us sluggish and sleepy. Be aware of this. Have a coffee in the afternoon.

Being aware of road user dangers during Daylight Saving Time in the Fall will make you and your loved ones safer.

E-Scooter Campaign

Long Island Streets has launched a campaign to insert electric scooters and e-bikes into the daily options of transportation choices on Long Island. Elected leaders are more responsive when given an opportunity to give these small transportation modes a whirl when with their constituents. We know when the opportunity to officially bring these options in comes across their plate, they’ll be more likely to bite. You know what? We barely even have to ask elected leaders and decision makers to give this a whirl - they’re asking us!!!

In the Village of Valley Stream, Deputy Mayor Vincent Grasso all but drove away with the scooter. Grasso was beaming at the potential for commuters in Valley Stream who might otherwise take their car to the LIRR or other destinations. The affordability and ease of use is a perk.

 Village of valley stream deputy mayor vincent grasso

Village of valley stream deputy mayor vincent grasso

 TOH Councilman D’esposito

TOH Councilman D’esposito

Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony D’Esposito recently posted this video and commentary on social media:

“Always interested in reading about and learning more about transportation options/alternatives here in America's largest Township. Studies show that non-vehicular traffic actually increases success of local business. Bike/scooter sharing has aided in the growth of some downtowns and makes them more environmentally friendly! The technology involved with many of the options is pretty cool. All application based, making it easy and efficient to use. Spent some time with Allison Blanchette from Long Island Streets taking a spin on her scooter and chatting about improving #SafeSidewalks here in the Town of Hempstead!”

 NYS Assemblywoman missy miller

NYS Assemblywoman missy miller

NYS Assemblywoman Melissa “Missy” Miller tried the scooter at a recent function and requested we return to her headquarters so she can spend more time hearing about scooters as a transportation mode.

Bird Scooters have been making the rounds in New York, with rumors of pilot potential in the Town of Hempstead. We are all for micro-mobility options on Long Island but to be clear here - we are lobbying for the ability to use electric scooters as part of both a share mode and for private ownership. We want people to invest in a person electric scooter like we want people to invest in their own bike - it gives you more skin the game and the likelihood you’ll demand safer infrastructure, programs and outreach. At least we think so.

E-Scooters would make sense on the Long Beach barrier island, which has the largest number of commuters accessing the LIRR via bicycle on Long Island. From Point Lookout to Atlantic Beach, residents are known for walking, skating and biking to their destinations, often because parking is difficult plus bars are plenty. During rush hour, the buses are packed with city workers. One of those commuters is City of Long Beach City Coucilman John Bendo, who jumped on our e-scooter after a recent City Council meeting. Imagine not having to wait for a bus and getting to the station quicker during rush hour in the evening? Yes, a scooter has been timed to beat the bus and don’t you know about the “parking crisis”?

 City of long beach city councilman john bendo, outside the lirr and bus station

City of long beach city councilman john bendo, outside the lirr and bus station

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Atlantic Beach Mayor George Pappas has been incredibly receptive to taking part in our e-scooter campaign, photo’s will be added to our social media when we get to make that connection, but in the meantime here is an Atlantic Beach bike lane:

The scooter we are using is a Xiaomi Mi, same model as several e-scooter share systems. Thoughts? Email: contact@longislandstreets.org

For more info on current programs around the country, Smart Cities Dive’s “Mapping the impact of dockless vehicles” is a comprehensive update on who’s who and where in the dockless industry…although they’ve left Long Island bike share off the map (of course we sent an email). We have had Social Bikes (bought by JUMP, then Uber) for over 3 years in the City of Long Beach and Suffolk has brought in Zagster, though not fully operational yet.

Island Now Editorial on E-Scooters

Blog post by Allison Blanchette

Adam Haber wrote about e-scooters on Long Island in an Island Now Editorial, which I responded to in the comment section (and the LI Press deleted - what’s up with that?). One thing missing is a safe space to ride and a massive culture change to allow it. 
This week the Baldwin Grand redesign - the one I actively secured $4.3 million in expired federal earmarks as a side project while freelancing at NYBC- has faced massive bikelash by people who prioritize storing idle cars, preserving some false sense of speed entitlement and antiquated road user hierarchy over, like, sharing space with human bodies who lack the privilege, ability, interest and/ or level of laziness in commandeering a 4-ton vessel to get from point A to point B. 
Yes, we need a more green transportation future but it first/also requires big picture thinking decision makers like Adam, and elected leaders with the courage to stand up to the status flow of dinosaurs on Long Island streets. Me thinks it's time to bring the outlaws in as inlaws, and pull some advocates on board. 

These are two big asks for Nassau - having the stomach for road diets, and to hire advocates in lieu of political appointee's...but hey, if Adam Haber can dream of e-scooters on Long Island then I can dream big, too.

6th Annual Car Free Day Long Island

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Long Island’s 6th Annual Car Free Day is coming on Friday, September 21, 2018! Join your friends, neighbors and co-workers as Long Island goes car free or car-lite for the day! Visit www.CarFreeDayLI.com for more information.

 

Car Free Day is an international event celebrated every September in which people are encouraged to get around without cars and instead ride a train, bus, bicycle, carpool, subway or walk. 

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US National Park Service Active Transportation Guidebook

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The US National Park Service has released a report that guides parks and their partners on how to identify and pursue opportunities that enhance active transportation to and within national parks- and much of it is relevant to state and local parks.The guidebook includes information about managing vehicle congestion, promoting resource preservation, and accommodating increased visitation by providing alternatives to driving. Chapter 3 is a must-read for anyone interested in skimming through.

Link to the Active Transportation Guide here.

Making Strides: 2018 State Report Cards on Support for Walking, Bicycling, and Active Kids and Communities...

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the Y have released Making Strides: 2018 State Report Cards on Support for Walking, Bicycling, and Active Kids and Communities, a report that helps state leaders and decision makers prioritize transportation investments, resources, and policies that support walkable communities. The report cards were generated by evaluating 27 indicator areas across four core topics: Complete Streets and Active Transportation, Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Funding, Active Neighborhoods and Schools, and State Physical Activity Planning. The funding section examines how states can use federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funding to support biking, walking, and Safe Routes to School.

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New York State ranked 123/200, broken down as follows:

Complete Streets and Active Transportation 50/65;

Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Funding 32/55;

Active Neighborhoods and Schools 32/55;

Physical Activity Planning 15/15.

What is clear looking at the New York report card is our state does well with overall physical activity, needs to improve on active transportation and is close to failing when it comes to providing safe routes to schools and through neighborhoods- and that is a more county-local issue to work on and champion.  

You can read the full report by clicking here

Vehicle Size Matters for Pedestrians

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An adult is 2-3 times more likely to be killed when struck by an SUV than by a typical passenger car. Children have a 4x fatality risk when hit by an SUV than a passenger car. 
The increased sales of SUVs and small trucks which overrun our streets helps to explain the massive uptick in pedestrian deaths over the past couple of years - not pedestrian distraction.

Data and honest safety experts have verified that long-standing common factors in pedestrian deaths, such as alcohol and jaywalking at night, did not account for the recent growth in ped fatalities. The myth of distracted pedestrians is lazy and dangerous. 

 

"SUVs and pickups account for closer to 40 % of pedestrian fatalities, which suggests that more severe injuries sustained in crashes are also from these vehicles. According to a recent study, a pedestrian is 2-3 times more likely to suffer a fatality when struck by an SUV or pickup truck than when struck by a typical passenger car.  The fatality rate for small children is four times greater.

 

If you're wondering why SUVs, pickup trucks and small trucks are so deady - it's the point of impact being the chest, which will knock you down, versus the leg where you may be more likely to land on the hood. 

 
 
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The perils of pedestrianism on Long Island, which seems to be SUV-land, is two-fold: dangerously designed suburban streets and highways + obsession with owning SUVs and smaller trucks. Engineers dropped the ball throughout Long Island, designing wide streets to accommodate painting 14'+ width lanes and intersections so wide that a driver need not remove their foot from the pedal. Residential streets mimic highways, incentivizing speed. 

 

 

Call to Action: Port Jefferson to Wading River path is in limbo!

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Funding for the 20% match of the federal grant that will be used to build the Port Jefferson to Wading River Shared Use Path is in limbo!

Call and email Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and ask he separate funding for the Port Jefferson to Wading River Shared Use Path from the general budget. 

Steve Bellone
Phone: (631) 853-4000
Email: county.executive@suffolkcountyny.gov
H. Lee Dennison Building
100 Veterans Memorial Highway
P.O. Box 6100
Hauppauge, NY 11788-0099


BONUS POINTS: Call these legislators, tell them you are a registered voter and you will vote for someone who supports building bicycle infrastructure in your county:

 

· Legislator Rudy Sunderman: 631-852-1300

· Legislator Tom Muratore: 631-854-9292

· Legislator Tom Cilmi: 631-854-0940

· Legislator Steven Flotteron: 631-854-4100

· Legislator Leslie Kennedy: 631-854-3735

· Legislator Robert Trotta: 631-854-3900

· Legislator Kevin McCaffrey: 631-854-1100



NEXT MEETING: July 17th at 9:30AM at the William H. Rogers Building 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge, NY 11787