The Staten Island Transportation Task Force today convened to discuss the progress made on the more than forty initiatives announced in March to address traffic congestion on Staten Island. At Community Board 2's offices in Sea View, task force co-chairs New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Commissioner Iris Weinshall and Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Amanda Burden presented the Task Force with progress reports on 17 short term recommendations, which are scheduled to be completed within one year of their March 27th announcement, and highlighted important milestones reached on 12 medium and long term recommendations.
"It's been a busy 12 weeks since this Task Force first made its recommendations and we've made a lot of progress," said DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall. "We've been able to complete many of our short term goals and we're making real progress on achieving some of the medium and long term projects that will make it easier for the people who live and work on Staten Island to get around."
City Planning Director Amanda M. Burden said, "In January the Mayor made a commitment to improve the flow of transportation on Staten Island. Through unparalleled effort, dialogue and consensus building we have continued to push these vital initiatives forward. We cannot afford to assume that the traffic problem will take care of itself. City Planning is committed to working with our transportation partners. We are actively studying solutions for better travel in commercial corridors and future transportation impacts of land use development."
||In June, NYCDOT completed work on the 2 of 10 intersections being analyzed for comprehensive design modifications. At the intersection of Forrest and South Avenues, NYCDOT installed dedicated left turn bays on the Eastbound and Westbound approaches to the intersection and added a dual left turn signal (green arrow) that provides motorists making a left onto South Avenue with 12-20 seconds of exclusive turning time. NYCDOT has also conducted work at the intersection of Richmond Avenue and Draper Place. The next intersection to be upgraded is Victory Boulevard and Jewett Avenue and 6 other intersections currently undergoing analysis.
||To increase intersection capacity and provide motorists with better visibility, NYCDOT installed parking prohibitions (daylighting) at 36 intersections through June. Over the next year NYCDOT plans to continue daylighting intersections around the island at a rate of 12 per month. NYCDOT has also hired Gannett Fleming to analyze the more than 500 signalized intersections on Staten Island for the feasibility of allowing right turns on red and expects the assessment to be completed in September, 2007.
||In early July 2006 NYCDOT will release the findings of the Hylan Boulevard Traffic Safety Improvements/Left Turn Prohibition Study. The study, which looked at 110 intersections, recommends modifications to 34 intersections along Hylan Boulevard. In the short term left turns will be prohibited at 18 intersections. In the long term NYCDOT plans to install 10 additional turn bays and permanently prohibit left turns at 6 additional intersections.
||In the 90 days since the Task Force first announced its recommendations, NYCDOT has completed 4 safety projects and began making improvements at 3 or the island's 8 Safe Routes to School locations. At the intersection of Forrest and Bard Avenues, NYCDOT extended the raised median to prevent illegal turns. To reduce speeding on Henderson Avenue, 4 new speed boards were installed. On Van Duzer Street, where speeding was also a concern NYCDOT installed roadway markings to narrow the road (channelization.) At the Annandale SIR Station 250 feet of sidewalk was installed along Sneden Avenue to enhance pedestrian safety and provide better access to the station.
||NYCDOT has established a protocol for coordinating the review of waiver requests for builder's pavement plans with the DCP and the Parks and Buildings Departments. NYCDOT has also adopted a policy that maintains existing roadway widths and encourages developers to make safety and traffic flow improvements.
||DCP's Town Center Study is analyzing the parking, legal and design issues related to providing drivers access between parking lots in shopping centers. Opening driveways/cross easements between parking lots would prevent many unnecessary trips on local streets. This study will review the feasibility of a zoning text amendment to solve this issue. Recommendations are targeted by Summer/Fall 2006.
||Capital reconstruction to realign and improve traffic flow on Seguine Avenue and Amboy Road is underway and NYCDOT anticipates the project will be completed, as scheduled, by fall 2006. However, improvements on Victory Boulevard and Travis Avenue, which include widening the roadway and the installation of turn bays and bus pads is facing delays due to a project redesign and acquisition process steps.
||In May, commissioners from NYCDOT, DCP and the Departments of Design and Construction (DDC), Environmental Protection (DEP) and Law met and established work groups to better coordinate and streamline capital projects on Staten Island. The work groups, which will be staffed by members of each agency will focus on Project Planning and Coordination, Property Acquisition, and Environmental Review and will be overseen by DDC.
||DCP and DOT have been working to identify new travel corridors to be developed in the Charleston area. DCP's West Shore Land Use and Transportation Study will identify longer term infrastructure needs. In addition, the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is examining capacity and operational improvements to the West Shore Expressway and its service roads and expects to complete their study in June, 2007.
||Since April NYPD has increased overtime for traffic enforcement by 20% and has issued 1100 moving violations on Hylan Boulevard. They are also working with NYCDOT and Traffic Enforcement to strategically deploy resources and identify areas of need. Beginning in fall, 2006 NYPD will begin a school safety initiative focused on pick up and drop off areas around schools.
||The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will complete construction of 12 miles of railways and the refurbishment of the Arthur Kill Life Bridge this month. However, improvements to the rail line in New Jersey are taking longer than expected. The railroad is expected to be operating for commercial service in the fall of 2006.
||MTA NYC Transit is currently studying various options to extend local bus service in the South Shore. NYC Transit is in the process of conducting public outreach to identify market opportunities and plans to implement a service plan by summer, 2007.
||On September 3, 2006, MTA NYC Transit will introduce new eastbound limited stop service on the S90 and S96 in the morning to complement the limited stop service that currently operates on these routes in the afternoon. A new S93 will also be introduced with limited stops from Staten Island to Brooklyn in the morning and from Brooklyn to Staten Island in the evening.
||MTA NYC Transit is evaluating demand for a bus service between Staten Island and the 34th Street Hudson Bergen Light Rail station in Bayonne, New Jersey and expects to complete its evaluation by fall, 2006. If the study determines a viable market exists, the project would be scheduled for implementation by the end of 2009.
||On July 17, 2006 MTA NYC Transit will introduce a new, enhanced weekday schedule on the Staten Island Railway which has been designed to provide faster travel during peak periods, increase the reliability of service, add new local trips to accommodate school rider ship and improve reverse-peak ferry connections.
||NYCDOT recently completed construction of the Great Kills Park and Ride which has a capacity of 35 vehicles and will provide improved access to the Staten Island Railway.
||NYCDOT has met with each of the Island's community boards to get feedback on the Task Force recommendations and held separate meetings to discuss NYCDOT engineering standards. In addition, the Commuterlink Outreach Campaign to encourage carpooling is underway and the Task Force has responded to more than 600 suggestion from the survey published in the Staten Island Advance.