Prospect Heights

NYC Service and the Citizen’s Committee for New York City are giving out grants to help neighborhood groups spruce up their communities. The Love Your Block program awards $1,000 grants and allows groups to partner with the departments of transportation, sanitation and parks to beautify streets. The city will help with things like graffiti removal, repairing signs and streetlights and free mulch for tree pits.

Applications are due by November 7 and projects need to be started between April and June. Since the program began in 2009, 225 grants have been given out. Find out more about the program here.

Myrtle Plaza1

Officials will break ground on the long-delayed Myrtle Avenue Pedestrian Plaza on Thursday. The project will create a 25,000 square foot plaza on Myrtle Avenue between Hall Street and Emerson Place.

The plan has been in the works for many years; community meetings to develop the design began in 2010. This stretch of Myrtle has two lanes, one for regular traffic and a service road on the east-bound side. The revamp will shorten the service road from four blocks to two (a narrower road will remain between Hall Street and Grand Street Avenue) and will create a plaza with trees, plantings, public art, a water fountain and programming space.

Once completed, the space will be maintained by the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, which will coordinate with local groups to organize events there. Construction should last between 12 and 18 months. More renderings after the jump.

Myrtle Plaza Design Is Finally a Go [Brownstoner]
Delays for the Myrtle Avenue Pedestrian Plaza [Brownstoner]
Inventing the Myrtle Avenue Pedestrian Plaza [Brownstoner]
Renderings via Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership

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pulaski-bridge

After two years of planning, it looks like the Pulaski Bridge bike lane promised for this year will be delayed until sometime next year at least, Streetsblog reported.

A year ago, the city approved DOT’s plan to convert one lane of Brooklyn-bound car traffic on the Pulaski Bridge into a bikes-only path with separate lanes for Queens- and Brooklyn-bound bikes. Construction was supposed to start in the spring and wrap late this year (at the latest). But construction has not yet begun, and the city is still reviewing the final bid from the contractor. A spokesman for Assembly member Joe Lentol, who has been lobbying for the bike path since 2012, told Streetsblog that it’s “unlikely” work will start by the end of December.

Pedestrians and cyclists currently share the narrow path, with traffic going both ways in the same lane, creating hazardous conditions for everyone. Reconfiguring the traffic lanes is also expected to calm car traffic on McGuiness Boulevard by slowing down drivers as they come off the bridge.

As soon as the contractor gets the green light from the city, the DOT will announce a new construction timetable. Incidentally, the state is contributing $2,500,000 to the project with federal funds, and the city is contributing $625,000.

Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Likely Delayed Until Next Year [Streetsblog]
City Says Yes to Pulaski Bike Lane [Brownstoner]

Photo by NYC Tom

cadman plaza east brooklyn heights 82014

When we biked down Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn Heights today, Department of Environmental Protection workers were tearing up the road to repair the sewers. Workers onsite told us that they expect the project to take anywhere from three to six months. They also said they’re going to repaint the bike lane that runs next to the courthouse.

Later in the year, they plan on doing work on Red Cross Place and the southbound section of Adams Street, next to the Brooklyn Bridge approach. This section of Cadman Plaza East is closed to traffic. Cyclists who take it to get out of Dumbo will have to find an alternate route for the next few months.

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The block of Macon Street between Ralph and Howard avenues has won the Greenest Block in Brooklyn award. Competition for this honor is fierce every year, with hundreds of block associations all over Brooklyn participating.

The block of Bainbridge Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Stuyvesant Avenue in Bed Stuy and the block of East 25th Street between Clarendon Road and Avenue D in Flatbush tied for second place.

Lincoln Road between Bedford and Rogers Avenues in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Sterling Place between Flatbush and 7th Avenues in Park Slope tied for third place. For more information on the contest, check out the website of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

On Macon Street, we noticed a huge variety of plants and unusual plant combinations. Click through to the jump to see a few more snaps of Macon Street. (more…)

tree care

If you want to help make Greenpoint and Williamsburg a little greener, you can plant and take care of trees with the Human Impacts Institute every Tuesday through the beginning of September. Volunteers clean up, aerate and mulch tree beds, as well as plant bulbs in tree bed soil. For the month of August, green thumbs can meet up at P.S. 31, located at 75 Meserole Avenue (at the corner of Lorimer Street) every Tuesday morning from 10 am to noon. The one exception will be next Tuesday, when “Tree Care Tuesday” will take place in the evening from 5 pm to 7 pm. Check out the institute’s calendar for more details. Participants should RSVP by emailing info@humanimpactsinstitute.org or calling (917) 727 9761.

Photo via Human Impacts Institute

ps261trash

PS 261 in Boerum Hill has a garbage problem, say local residents who are getting tired of seeing, and, this time of year, smelling, trash strewn in front of the school. According to DNAinfo, the school, at 314 Pacific Street, has been leaving piles of garbage bags out on the sidewalk for years. One 21 year-old woman the reporter spoke to remembers avoiding the stacks of refuse on school’s side of the street when she was just 9 years old. (more…)

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A project to create a Medgar Evers campus quad by narrowing a Crown Heights street proposed 20 years ago is finally moving forward. Crown Street between Bedford and Franklin will be narrowed to one lane with no parking to create a lounge area with a big lawn where students can “lie on the grass and attend classes, lectures and concerts,” said The New York Daily News. (more…)

kosciuszko bridge renderings

The rickety Kosciuszko Bridge between Greenpoint and Queens could be replaced by this elegant-looking suspension bridge, a $770 million project that the DOT presented at a community meeting on Wednesday. DNAinfo reported that community members were concerned about how five years of bridge construction would affect their day-to-day lives. They’re worried about noise, transporting construction dirt, and whether construction could shake or damage their homes.

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The city and a group of developers are planning to spend $3,000,000 on fancy sidewalks to demarcate the newly renamed Brooklyn Cultural District, aka the area around Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in Fort Greene. The new sidewalks will have moody footlights embedded in them and, in some areas, a design scored into the tinted cement. Above, before-and-after images showing the new sidewalks. There will also be new tree pits, trees and benches.

The idea is to let people know they’re in the Brooklyn Cultural District, both The Brooklyn Paper and Crain’s reported. The sidewalk revamp will take several years.

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership helped push the proposal through the review process, said Brooklyn Paper. Half the cost will be fronted by developers who are putting up new buildings in the area. The other half will come from the city.

Do you think this will enhance the area?

Fort Greene Gets Fancy-Schmancy Sidewalks [Brooklyn Paper]
Brooklyn Cultural District Will Get a Makeover [Crain's]
Image by WXY Architecture and Urban Design via Brooklyn Paper

On Tuesday night, Community Board 2′s transportation committee unanimously approved the DOT’s plan to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists on Park Avenue between Navy and Steuben streets. Park has long been one of the borough’s most dangerous streets. It’s situated directly underneath the BQE and includes several parking areas in the middle of the road. Drivers often pull out of these parking areas into fast-moving traffic where nearly three quarters of drivers are speeding. The mile-long corridor has 13.6 fatalities or series injuries per mile, and a third of all crashes happen at a right angle, usually involving a driver running a red light, according to DOT data.

The DOT adapted much of its plan from one released by the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Project and Architecture for Humanity in 2012. Safety improvements include painting parking lanes and a buffer on the eastbound side of the street, another parking lane on the westbound side, and painting a buffer on the westbound side to narrow it down to two lanes (from three) at Williamsburg Place. Pedestrians will also have more time to cross the street and gain some protection from barriers installed on one side of the parking areas. The city hopes to implement the new safety measures in September. You can see the full presentation here.

Image via DOT

Street safety advocates will have a chance to make their voices heard at two upcoming Vision Zero workshops in Brooklyn Heights and Flatbush. Anyone can attend and suggest street safety improvements, bike lanes, or slow zones in neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn. NYPD and DOT staff will split attendees into small discussion groups and use maps to help pinpoint the borough’s most problematic streets.

The first meeting is happening from 6:30 to 8:30 pm tonight at Plymouth Church, located at 75 Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights. And next Tuesday, April 29, there will be a second workshop from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on the second floor of the Brooklyn College Student Center at Campus Road and East 27th Street. There’s more info about the workshops on the Vision Zero page.