On this Valentine’s Day weekend, why not show your love for your neighborhood by applying for a Love Your Block grant, which offers up to $1,000 for city residents to beautify their surroundings? In addition to the cash, grant recipients get access to city services from the Departments of Transportation, Parks, Recreation and Sanitation.
Past grantees have focused on projects like graffiti removal, vacant lot cleanup, trash collection, tree planting, traffic safety surveys and other civic-minded improvements. The Citizens Committee for New York City partnered with NYC Service to make the grants a reality. You can find the applications on the committee’s website. The deadline for submission is next Thursday, February 20.
Over the weekend, The New York Times took a look at 4th Avenue, the traffic-choked thoroughfare, above, where low-slung industrial buildings are yielding to rapidly sprouting glassy residential luxury towers. The new apartments rent for unheard-of amounts, but the avenue remains an eyesore.
With no room left to develop Park Slope, spillover — and a rezoning about a decade ago to allow tall buildings — is driving a frenzy of construction. New one-bedrooms rent for about $2,500 a month and up; a three-bedroom typically starts at about $3,200, according to a survey from Aptsandlofts.com cited in the Times story. Apartments in older walkups in Park Slope go for much less, but the luxury apartments appear to be driving up prices there too. The story quoted a young professional whose landlord recently notified her and her roommates that their rent would be going up.
“The landlord is going to renovate and, quote, ‘raise the rent substantially,’ which will make it cost-prohibitive for three young professional women who make perfectly good money to rent the apartment,” she said. “The price of a one-bedroom in one of the new buildings is equivalent to the price of the three-bedroom we’re renting now, and it’s more than I bring home in a month.” (more…)
Councilmember Stephen Levin and several community groups are organizing a forum on improving street safety in Boerum Hill next Tuesday evening. A variety of speakers will present, then the meeting will break into small groups for attendees to discuss their ideas for creating safer streets.
The Boerum Hill Association, Transportation Alternatives, Atlantic Avenue BID, Community Board Six and Park Slope Civic Council will attend the meeting, which will take place February 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Belarusan Autocephalic Orthodox Church at 401 Atlantic Avenue.
There has already been one victory in the fight for improved pedestrian safety: The speed limit on Prospect Park West where 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein was killed last year was reduced to 25 miles an hour earlier this month. A long, sad story in the New York Times over the weekend about how his death galvanized his parents to become traffic safety activists put ped fatalities into perspective.
Every 30 hours, someone dies from a traffic crash in New York City. Fatalities decreased during the Bloomberg years but increased in the last two years to about 286 in 2013. The majority of deaths are pedestrians and cyclists.
But it used to be worse. In 1990, 701 people died in traffic crashes. In 1929, 1,390 died.
Now activists are pushing to “bring the number to zero, or close to it. It’s a Swedish concept called Vision Zero, and Mayor de Blasio embraced the idea at a news conference in mid-January,” said the Times. The story summarizes the cases of children killed recently by cars, and talks about de Blasio’s support for the initiatives. But it doesn’t mention that the recent targeting of jaywalkers on the Upper West Side led police to rough up an 84-year-old pedestrian.
The Daily News has more details on the manhole explosion at Court and Union streets in Carroll Gardens we told you about yesterday. The manhole exploded around 1:40 pm Wednesday afternoon with a lick of flame and copious smoke, shocking residents and businesses, and leaving the block without power until Thursday afternoon. A reader sent in this photo showing the fire.
The marketing manager at Body Elite Gym, which sits right on the corner at 348 Court Street, told the Daily News he heard the big explosion and then two smaller ones. Fire officials evacuated nearby buildings so they could investigate the source of the blast, which was apparently caused by a defective cable. Con Ed shut down Court Street between Union and President streets for several hours afterward while they repaired the faulty line.
A reader sent us these photos of a manhole explosion yesterday afternoon at Court and Union Streets in Carroll Gardens. Can anyone give us any more details about what happened? More pictures after the jump.
“This is the scene on my block at Dennett Place right now,” emailed a reader Sunday at 2:37 in the morning. “Evidently there was a water main break and this truck sunk into a hole.” So far, there does not appear to be any damage to the water pipes going into the houses, said our tipster. Dennett Place is a one-block-long street between Luquer and Nelson streets in Carroll Gardens.
“Bed Stuy’s a pigsty,” declared DNAinfo, based on the latest report from the mayor’s office. Borough Park, Midwood, Kensington, and parts of Crown Heights and Flatbush weren’t much better, according to the report. In contrast, the Bronx, Queens, and the Upper East Side were sparkling clean.
In Community Board 83, which includes Stuyvesant Heights, only 85.1 percent of the streets were deemed “acceptable.”
Really? We live in Bed Stuy and the streets look pretty good to us, especially in Stuy Heights. Bed Stuy is a huge area, and includes busy areas such as Fulton Street and Nostrand, above, but seems clean compared to the rat- and litter-covered Upper East Side. Maybe the marks are some kind of temporary aberration: Bed Stuy scored 92.8 percent in the early part of the year.
What parts of Brooklyn do you think need cleaning up?
We’re only three days into the new administration, but it looks like one really big change is in the works for Brooklyn: Safer streets for pedestrians. As you may recall, the shocking deaths of several children hit by cars near the end of the year in Fort Greene, Park Slope and other neighborhoods galvanized a movement to increase pedestrian safety in the borough. Activists attended the inauguration, where newly appointed DOT chief Polly Trottenberg said pedestrian safety is top of her to-do list, reported the Brooklyn Paper.
When de Blasio was campaigning, he promised to create more 20-mile-an-hour zones, improve at least 50 dangerous intersections and areas, and “prioritize traffic enforcement.” Above, traffic along 4th Avenue.
We think these things would go a long way toward ending these senseless, unnecessary and totally unacceptable pedestrian deaths. Perhaps New York should also consider changing the law to give pedestrians the right of way at all times — in other words, making drivers automatically at fault if they hit a pedestrian. It works in California. What do you think?
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership wants to make over Flatbush from the Fulton Mall to Barclays Center, DNAinfo reported. The group is asking local politicians for their support and help drumming up about $7,000,000 for the project. The improvements would extend Phase I of the Flatbush Avenue streetscape project, which is now complete (and cost $23,000,000) from Dekalb to 4th Avenue.
Upgrades would include new sidewalks, benches, plantings, streetlights, and a new median. Phase I of the project brought similar changes to Flatbush Avenue Extension between Tillary and Fulton, pictured above. The DOT has been working on streetscape improvements on the other side of Flatbush in Park Slope since 2010.
Street safety activist group Right of Way installed 20-mile-an-hour speed limit signs over official city signs on Prospect Park West in Park Slope Sunday night to bring attention to traffic safety as the City Council prepares to vote on speed limits today, numerous outlets reported.
Several children have been killed in recent weeks by drivers who were going the posted speed limit or who jumped the curb. The group said reducing the speed limit from 30 to 20 would significantly reduce pedestrian deaths. The city removed the signs immediately, The Daily News reported.
The Fort Greene Association and Make Brooklyn Safer are organizing a march tonight to raise awareness about pedestrian safety. The march will begin at 6:15 pm at the Dekalb and Cumberland entrance to Fort Greene Park and end at the 88th Precinct Community Council meeting. The Fort Greene community has banded together in the two weeks since nine-year-old Lucian Merryweather was killed in a car crash at Dekalb and Clermont. All the information about tonight’s event and future ones is available on Make Brooklyn Safer’s Facebook page.