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Public Advocate de Blasio Letter to Department of Transportation on 34th Street Proposal

Public Advocate de Blasio Letter to Department of Transportation on 34th Street Proposal

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Published by Bill de Blasio

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Published by: Bill de Blasio on Mar 14, 2011
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10/21/2013

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 THE PUBLIC ADVOCATE FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORKBill de Blasio – PUBLIC ADVOCATE
March 9, 2011
Commissioner Janette Sadik-KhanNYC Department of Transportation55 Water StreetNew York, NY 10041Dear Commissioner Sadik-Khan:Over the last four years the Department of Transportation (DOT) has implemented numerousmajor changes to our City’s traffic system, from bike paths to pedestrian plazas. Each of theseproposals is subjected to a DOT-led evaluation to determine its success; in some cases theseevaluations are used as the principle factor in whether pilots are made permanent. However,these DOT-led evaluations have also provided a rubber stamp on every single one of its majorproposals, even in cases where findings were not universally supportive of the project’s goals.For this reason, I urge the DOT to subject future projects, especially the 34
th
street bus rapidtransit proposal to a full Environmental Impact Assessment with an independent contractor.Every project the DOT put forward which represented a major experimental change to our trafficsystem has been supported by its post implementation evaluations. When the DOT put in thefirst bike lane on 9
th
Avenue, its evaluation claimed the project was a success, noting increases incycling, but it failed to include what impact the project had on traffic and congestion.
1
Similarlyits first evaluation of the Bx12 Select Bus Service,
2
the first attempt at bus rapid transit, failed tomeasure whether changes had any impact on traffic flow. In addition, evaluations of TimesSquare and Herald Square Pedestrian Plazas
3
, Broadway Boulevard
4
, and Prospect Park Westbike lanes,
5
all universally supported the DOT’s proposals, no matter the impact they had onsurrounding areas.To make matters worse, in at least one case the DOT presented an evaluation to the public thatwhich ignored City data critical of the project. A study for Times Square and Herald SquarePedestrian Plazas entitled “Green Light for Midtown Evaluation Report” claimed the project hadimproved traffic flow, emphasizing GPS data from taxicabs. However, the DOT’s study left outdata collected by New York City Transit for the report which found that riders trying to getdowntown through the Times Square area have experienced longer travel times on four out of 
1
 http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/20100511_columbus_ave_cb7.pdf  
2
 http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/beaton_presentation_sbs_2010trb.pdf  
3
 http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/broadway_report_final2010_web2.pdf  
4
 http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/broadway_0223409.pdf  
5
 http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/20110120_ppw_data.pdf  

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