This post was originally posted on Facebook on January 19, 2016 and is republished here with permission.
In order to not become too anxious by the opposition of a small minority to the Woodhaven Select Bus Service plans, we are hoping to include in the conversation, a much needed look at what causes collisions on all of our roadways.
Despite support from the DOT based on needed improvements to travel time for both motor vehicle drivers as well as bus users and with the valuable goal of a reduction in injuries and collisions, there have been many community outreach events hosted by the DOT. There have also been a select bunch of awareness events by small special interest groups who would lead one to believe that pandemonium and chaos will run the roads if SBS is implemented. All voices need to be heard, though as we've seen with DOT improvements all over the city, minuscule smatterings of civic minded neighbors can wreak havoc on a street safety improvement if it threatens their parking, need for excessive speed, or requires them to have a second look at the driver manual to understand the rules of the road. Drivers are practically unregulated on our streets, and can disregard traffic rules for years, until a new traffic pattern leaves them boggled.
As an advocacy group, we have the benefit of understand such redesign implementations on streets and roadways all over the borough and the city, and see the devastating affect of a small minority taking precedence in conversations such as these.
How can we let our neighbors know that First Avenue didn't cave, 125th St is a success, and Woodhaven can be too?
A December DOT presentation relates that 60% of residents on the corridor use mass transit to get to work, while 25% are single operators in their personal vehicles. This 25% was involved in 345 collisions on Woodhaven Boulevard between August and December 2015.
We took a look at some data on collisions and injuries from that period, and feel strongly that NYPD collision data needs a major reform, and also needs to be looked at in-depth by elected officials such as Addabbo, Mike Miller, Nidia Vasquez, Erich Ulrich, and members of Community Board 9 who are willing to be used as tools of opposition at a time when a complicated issue requires analysis, review of existing data and a commitment to enforcement of reckless driving that is killing and injuring our neighbors.
Otherwise, calling out the big voices of local politics at key times, despite their silence on issues throughout the process, is a more important tool for change, than looking at data and trying to repair our broken streets and divided communities.
More than anything, we want NYPD to look at the contributing factors of motor vehicle collisions on our roadways, and insist on full accounting of this data. To allow nearly half of the collisions on Woodhaven Blvd to be listed as having an unspecified contributing factor is a disservice to a community that needs knowledge.
Knowing that the second leading cause of collisions on Woodhaven is driver inattention and distraction should help form our direction in discussions of what is a danger on our roads. Driver inattention and distraction are consistently the lead contributing factors in all collisions on all of our roadways.
The highest cause of injury on Woodhaven? Traffic Control Disregarded.
One can blame bus lanes and delay their implementation in the process. But it ain't going to make our roads any safer.
Make Queens Safer is an advocacy group in Queens, NY, working to promote better enforcement of traffic laws, criminalization of reckless driving, and safer street designs. Follow them on Facebook or visit their website: MakeQueensSafer.org.