Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

On October 1, 2016, Trips for Kids will host a free event, Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, in Cunningham Park. Family members of all ages and riding skill levels are encouraged to come out and have fun.

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day will give both newcomers and seasoned riders a chance to experience the sport of mountain biking in a fun and encouraging environment, at no cost. There will be several guided rides, a kid’s obstacle course, a portable pump track provided by CLIF bar, and lessons in healthy living and the environment.

The event takes place in Cunningham Park, home of the largest biking trail in New York City, from 10am to 2pm. The location in the park is on the corner of 210th Street and 73rd Ave in Queens.

Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day was founded by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) with events held internationally every year. This year’s event hosted by Trips for Kids will strive to give New Yorkers a chance to enjoy the great outdoors.

Trips for Kids Metro NY is a nonprofit organization that provides mountain bike outings and environmental education for kids who would not otherwise have these opportunities. TFK Metro New York teaches lessons in personal responsibility, achievement and environmental awareness through the simple act of having fun, enabling them to realize their full potential.

To register, visit: http://2016-take-a-kid-mountain-biking-day.eventbrite.com

For more information please contact Andree Sanders at andree@tfkmetrony.org

Mystery Sign

We recently got a tip about a new sign along the Brooklyn / Queens Greenway at 199th Street and 75th Avenue. Eric took a ride out and snapped us a picture.

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Earlier this year Tammy and Joby met with West Cunningham Civic to talk about improvements for this intersection. They followed up with the Parks Department asking for things like way-finding maps. So far we’ve only seen the corkboard, but hopefully more useful directions will be coming soon.

We also spotted one of these by Oakland Lake.

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Will these signs be completed with hiking map that show the area’s topographical features? Will they have cycling maps with bike lanes or vertical climb? Will they have driving maps to point out the closest highway? Will it be something that directs park goers to nearby nearby businesses so they can shop local?

We hope to see many more signs and maps along the Brooklyn / Queens Greenway. The Bronx River Greenway has a wonderful 46 page public document explaining their signage standards.

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If you have any more information about our mystery signs, let us know. What type of maps you want in our parks? Or would rather this become a message board where the community could post about local events? Let us know on the comments, on twitter, or on facebook.

Greenway users, tell us your story!

We already know that the greenways in New York are some of the most enjoyable, relaxing places around, especially in Eastern Queens.  We’d like to gather some stories of the variety of ways that you use the greenways or how you would like to use them if they had better infrastructure.  Do you commute to school or work? Do you go shopping or visit friends and family? Is it the easiest way to get to your doctor’s office?  By telling us your story, it really helps us build a better argument for why we need even safer infrastructure.

Just put a comment below, tweet at us, or tell us on facebook.  A few words from you could make a big difference to the community.

New Law to Protect Pedestrians across NYC

The City Council unanimously voted to support a bill that helps protect us when we cross the street.

Pedestrians signals on traffic lights help direct foot traffic in coordination with cars and cyclists.  Legally pedestrians have the right-of-way when they are obeying the “walk” signal. However section 4-03 was never updated when count down timers were introduced so pedestrians were in legal limbo once the clock starts. This is especially dangerous at intersections where the countdown clock cycle is longer then the walk cycle. Unfortunately our elderly population and other limited mobility groups are most at risk since they need the most time to cross.

In November 2015 Public Advocate Letitia James proposed a fix to this oversight.  With the support of the DoT and the NYPD the idea was brought up to the City Council who recently approved it.  The Chair of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, Ydanis Rodriguez, said that this bill helps “solidify the notion that people come first on our streets.”  It is expected to be signed by Mayor de Blasio.

In reference to the new legislation, AARP New York State President Leo Asen said:

Pedestrian safety is critical to any age-friendly community, and AARP fully supports updating our laws to better protect pedestrians in the rights-of-way between them and drivers…We thank Public Advocate Tish James for this critical, common-sense update to make our roadways safer for everyone.

Not all of the 12,460 intersections with traffic signals citywide (as of June 30, 2011) will be affected by this change, but every one with a pedestrian crossing will.

We Ride Together: Mass Bike Ride to Demand Safe Passage for Cyclists & Pedestrians

After 78 year old Michael Schenkman was killed on Northern Boulevard, advocacy group Transportations Alternatives is holding a massive ride to bring attention to street safety.  Michael’s death in August was the 16th cyclist fatality in 2016, surpassing the 15 deaths in the full year 2015.  The goal of this ride is to call on Mayor de Blasio to create better street infrastructure and to take action after a driver kills a cyclist or pedestrian.

Transportation Alternatives is calling for:

  • Immediate action on Vision Zero Priority Corridors (of the 16 bike fatalities so far in 2016, half have taken place on corridors that received a “Priority” designation)
  • Moving more quickly to redesign all of the city’s most dangerous streets with lifesaving improvements like protected bike lanes, pedestrian safety islands and greater visibility at crosswalks.
  • The incoming Police Commissioner to formulate a clear Vision Zero policy that prioritizes speeding and failure to yield.
  • The NYPD must change its policies on bike safety: stop victim-blaming after cyclist fatalities and focus on deterring the reckless behaviors that endanger people on bikes.
  • To devote more resources to improve its dismal record on hit-and-run investigations. Only 2.5% of the city’s 38,000 hit-and-runs ended with any enforcement action last year.

The ride is tonight, gathering at 6 pm at the Fountain of Pamona at E. 59th St & 5th Ave, Manhattan.  It will leave at 6:30 pm going to Washington Square Park.  This is a bike ride, but whether you ride a bike or not, all New Yorkers who care about Vision Zero are welcome to join at the start and finish.

IMPORTANT DETAILS:
– Wear yellow. Bring a bell and lights for your bike (legally required while cycling in New York after dark).
– This is a peaceful and non-violent protest ride.
– We will obey all traffic laws at all times and stop at all red signal lights, unless directed otherwise by an NYPD officer.

Cyclist Michael Schenkman Death; What Could Be Done and How It Fits Into the Big Picture

When cyclist Michael Schenkman was run over on Northern Boulevard on the morning of August 24, he became the 16th cycling fatality in New York City for 2016 so far.  This number surpassed all of the cycling deaths for the full year of 2015.  Over multiple years things have been getting safer due to efforts nationally and in parts of New York City.  However 2016 seems to have an increased number of fatalities locally and nationally so far.

National Safety Council estimates 2016 to have 9% more fatalities then this time last year and 18% more fatalities then two years ago.  This year could have the most American fatalities in nearly a decade, with an estimated 438 fatalities for this upcoming Labor Day weekend alone.

Half of New York City’s cycling fatalities have taken place on Department of Transportation Vision Zero Priority Designations, like Northern Boulevard.  Similarly, hit-and-runs were overwhelmingly in Priority Designations areas.

We have already identified the problem (105 fatalities across America every day this year) and where to fix it locally (the Vision Zero priorities seem to be well focused).  The next steps are to make real change with how we create safe environments on the road. Many calls for change have been made, but few have been implemented in Eastern Queens, even around our most dangerous streets like Northern Boulevard.

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