Sneckdowns and the City: Snow Patterns Show How to Make New York Streets Safer

Categories: In the Streets
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Columbus Circle sneckdown
The bad news is it's never going to stop snowing. Sure, Friday's flurries tapered off by 6:30 a.m., but the snow will be back on Saturday to deliver another one to three inches; on Monday another inch at least is expected.

This latest storm was enough to throw us into ❄️ historic ❄️ snowfall territory: Central Park, in an average year, sees just over 25 inches of snow for the entire season. So far this season 53 inches have fallen, making it one of the 10 snowiest winters New York has ever seen, and it's not even close to over yet.

There is a silver lining though. This snow can show us how to design safer streets, and that's something that Mayor Bill de Blasio will looking to do as his administration moves to implement Vision Zero, their plan to end traffic fatalities and injuries. (De Blasio's deputies are scheduled to present the mayor with proposals to start working toward the goal by Saturday, February 15.)

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Area Man Appears to Have Lost a Terrifically Embarrassing Wager

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We don't have much context for you on this one, although we'd really like some. As with so many weird, inexplicable, faintly disturbing things, the photo to the right comes courtesy of Reddit. A Redditor named "carlaas" posted it very late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, although it was clearly taken around midday somewhere in Manhattan. It shows a man sporting what appears to be the worst housedress in the universe, a babushka tied under his chin, and some really shoddy fake breasts. His sign, according to carlaas, reads: "I lost the bet."

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A Year in the Life of a New York City Bicycle, in 51 Seconds

From our East Village blogger pal EV Grieve comes this bike video created by a branding company called Red Peak, which "conducted a unique urban experiment for Hudson Urban Bicycles." Basically, they chained a bike tricked out with bells, whistles, and other steal-worthy accoutrement (sa-weet water bottle) to a post in Soho on January 1 of 2011. They proceeded to photograph the bike daily for the rest of the year, "watching it slowly vanish before our eyes."

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More Idiots Than Ever Are Being Injured by Walking With Headphones

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Not so euphoric, young lady.
The latest in things that your mom and probably Mayor Bloomberg have been telling you are bad for you for ages (though of course you've failed to adhere to their recommendations to stop doing them) is...walking with headphones. Yep, walking around with your own very special theme song piped into your ears to the exclusion of any other sounds is not only the only way we want to live, it also might lead to your demise. According to the journal Injury Prevention, which has a vested interest in such things, "the number of people killed or seriously injured as a result of not being aware of their surroundings due to ear buds or headphones has tripled in the past six years." (Probably, the number of people traveling with personal musical devices plugged into their ears has also tripled, but no matter: Knowledge saves lives!)

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Here Are Some Guys Walking Around NYC and Rapping About Plaid


Where pastels and Nantucket reds were once the stuff of viral "rap" videos, now, in 2012, we have an ode to plaid, by way of the "Plaid Rap." Why now, why plaid? Michael Krivicka, who came up with the idea for "Plaid Rap," wrote the song lyrics, and shot, directed, and edited the video, told us, "Right now, honestly, you almost have no choice. It's everywhere and it is all the stores offer right now. I'm sure it'll pass and come back again (as a trend) but right now it's huge and that was part of the inspiration."


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Texting While Walking: The Proper Technique

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Casey Neistat, the guy who brought you that video on bike lanes in which he willingly crashed into whatever happened to be parked in said bike lanes for PSA purposes, has brought us another informative guide to living in the city. This latest Op-Ed, with video that merges the old-timey PSA-style of our youth with modern-day OMGs, published in the New York Times, is about what we like to call "death by Smartphone": the likelihood that we are going to be hit by a car, bicycle, or other fast-or-not-even-moving, heavy object (human, perhaps?) while we stare, entranced, into our phone and keep our feet moving in the direction of our hoped-for destination. Because, like rubbing your tummy and talking, or chewing gum and blow-drying your hair, texting and walking is hard! And what is difficult is often dangerous. This is why we have the Darwin Awards.

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New York City Traffic Fatalities at 100-Year Low

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This week has brought a wave of PR-department-approved good news to New York City residents. We have less crime! We are healthier! We might just live...forever! And...we're better at driving and/or walking, apparently. Mayor Bloomberg along with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan released stats today showing that New York has hit an all-time low in traffic fatalities -- the fewest since records started being kept in 1910. According to data for the year up to December 27, there were 237 traffic fatalities in 2011, 40 percent fewer than there were in 2001. This includes 134 pedestrian fatalities (involved in crashes with vehicles), 47 senior pedestrian fatalities, and 3 child pedestrian fatalities.

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Grimy Back Alleys Are the Hot New Real Estate Get in New York City

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Can we get a little more steam, here?
Nick Carr explores a modern-day conundrum in his recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, "Our Typecast Metropolis." You see, Hollywood considers New York City a sort of permanently 70s-era New York City, full of twists and dark turns and grit and danger and grime. Unfortunately, today's New York City is more full of Starbucks, Duane Reades, and Applebees than it is of gritty alleyways. Thus, hard-working Hollywood types have had to search far and wide for alleys gritty enough to resemble the "New York City" ideal. They found one -- Franklin Place in TriBeCa, portrayed in such diverse cinematic experiences as The Nanny Diaries, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. But, alas, that alleyway is being gentrified, to be turned into a luxury condo tower. Make a movie about that, Hollywood.

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A Hundred Boomboxes Will Rove the Streets of New York City in January

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Newmindspace, the brains behind street pillow fights and epic light saber battles in the park, has a new event in the works, in conjunction with Tom and Gary of Decentralized Dance Party. This event requires something slightly unusual: As many boomboxes as possible. Kevin Bracken of Newmindspace tells us they need "about 100 boomboxes" -- they have 10 so far, though one, impressively, created by Anthony D'Onofrio, is the size of a bicycle -- for an FM-transmitter party bringing together hundreds of pirate radios through one FM transmitter, which acts like a mobile radio station. He says, "We get hundreds of boomboxes and tune them to that signal, so instead of a giant speaker there are 100 different sources of sound, creating one large sound."

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Scaffolding Fall Closes 14th Street

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Robert Sietsema
From our Robert Sietsema comes this photo of the scaffolding fall at 222 West 14th Street, which occurred at around 7:45 this morning. The FDNY tells us they are still on the scene securing the area, and while they were initially concerned over injuries, there appear to be none -- except to a car that was crushed. Some residents of the building had to evacuate.


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