Tell the City to #UnblockNYC

New Yorkers who take the bus or ride a bicycle know that one of the most infuriating and dangerous aspects of their trip is cars and trucks parked in a designated bicycle- or bus-only lane. These illegally-parked vehicles slow commute times and contribute to congestion by forcing buses to stop and merge into another traffic lane and force bicycle riders into traffic, jeopardizing their safety and antagonizing drivers.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of commuters are slowed and inconvenienced so that a small minority of drivers can walk a little less. It’s unfair and unsafe. We must — and can — do better.

Thankfully, there’s a solution. New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) cameras can both identify and enforce bus- and bicycle-lane violations. The City must use these tools to stop bus- and bicycle-lane parking and #UnblockNYC.

Last year, I wrote a computer algorithm using machine learning to study publicly-available NYC DOT video for ten days in December, and classify the vehicles on the road and where they parked.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays during the period of study, the bicycle lane in front of the traffic camera was blocked 57 percent of the time, and the bus stop was blocked 55 percent of the time. Across the full ten-day period, 24 hours a day, the bicycle lane was blocked 40 percent of the time, and the bus stop was blocked 57 percent of the time.

This investigation definitively shows that a small number of drivers are wreaking havoc on New York City streets. But this system also offers the city a tool to equitably enforce its existing traffic laws, reduce congestion, and increase safety for drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transit riders. The City should build off of this research and evaluate the feasibility of installing four cameras at every intersection in the city. Such a system would cost less and be more effective — and more equitable — than the current system.

We demand that the City stop drivers who are breaking the law, slowing traffic, and endangering lives by blocking bus- and bicycle-lanes. The City must #UnblockNYC.

This petition will be delivered to
DOT, NYPD
New Yorkers who take the bus or ride a bicycle know that one of the most infuriating and dangerous aspects of their trip is cars and trucks parked in a designated bicycle- or bus-only lane. These illegally-parked vehicles slow commute times and contribute to congestion by forcing buses to stop and merge into another traffic lane and force bicycle riders into traffic, jeopardizing their safety and antagonizing drivers.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of commuters are slowed and inconvenienced so that a small minority of drivers can walk a little less. It’s unfair and unsafe. We must — and can — do better.

Thankfully, there’s a solution. New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) cameras can both identify and enforce bus- and bicycle-lane violations. The City must use these tools to stop bus- and bicycle-lane parking and #UnblockNYC.

Last year, activist Alex Bell wrote a computer algorithm using machine learning to study publicly-available NYC DOT video for ten days in December, and classify the vehicles on the road and where they parked.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays during the period of study, the bicycle lane in front of the traffic camera was blocked 57 percent of the time, and the bus stop was blocked 55 percent of the time. Across the full ten-day period, 24 hours a day, the bicycle lane was blocked 40 percent of the time, and the bus stop was blocked 57 percent of the time.

This investigation definitively shows that a small number of drivers are wreaking havoc on New York City streets. But this system also offers the city a tool to equitably enforce its existing traffic laws, reduce congestion, and increase safety for drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transit riders. The City should build off of this research and evaluate the feasibility of installing four cameras at every intersection in the city. Such a system would cost less and be more effective — and more equitable — than the current system.

I demand that the City stop drivers who are breaking the law, slowing traffic, and endangering lives by blocking bus- and bicycle-lanes. The City must #UnblockNYC.
Read the letter