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Both Kingston and Brooklyn avenues are optimal thruways for bike lane implementation. They meet up with east-west bike lanes at multiple junctions and are in an area with a significant number of riders who commute to work via bike. So why have the DOT’s proposals for bike lanes on the stretch been rejected by three separate community boards?

Streetsblog has drawn the conclusion that the DOT is bad at communicating with community boards — and also that community boards are often nearsightedly hostile towards street safety projects.

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The Department of Transportation Monday unveiled significant improvements for pedestrian safety along Atlantic Avenue, at the three-way intersection of Atlantic, Washington, and Underhill Avenues. (Three neighborhoods meet there also: Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights.)

In the four years from 2009 to 20-2013, 99 traffic crashes occurred here, making the spot a prime candidate for changes under Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative.

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The folks who live on Macon Street between Howard and Ralph in Bed Stuy have the most creative block parties. They go way beyond the ordinary bounce house rental. (The same block won Greenest Block in 2014, BTW.)

A Brownstoner reader who lives on the block filled us in:

We had our block party this Saturday and it took a lot of planning and work. We’re just seeing a last house guest off.

Last year we had a rock wall, which was a huge success. This year we had a wrestling ring that was put up along with three wrestlers, one named Spyder. It was WWE writ small. :) And it was another hugely successful event!

Anyhow, as you can see I am still coming down from the block party high. :)

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Anyone passing by the corner of 9th Street and Prospect Park West Saturday night around 11 p.m. would have been amazed to see police shooing hundreds of people out of the park and away from the area.

Turns out a very large group of students and alumni from three Buffalo schools — the University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, and Daemon College — had gathered at Prospect Park for the annual meet-up and informal reunion known as the Ruff Buff BBQ. (more…)

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So far this year, Brooklyn has seen a total of 23 pedestrian fatalities — more than any other borough.

On Sunday night, two blocks away from the former Long Island College Hospital, 66-year-old Muyassar Moustapha — owner of Cobble Hill’s Oriental Pastry shop — had just bought a pint of pistachio ice-cream when he crossed Atlantic Avenue and was struck and killed by a car. “That car threw his body maybe 20 feet in the air,” a witness told the Daily News.

Despite the friendly competition between Moustapha’s pastry shop and Sahadi’s, across Atlantic, Charlie Sahadi only had fond memories to share when he heard of the tragic incident. “I don’t agree with some of the things Mayor de Blasio came up with, but if that car was driving at 25 miles per hour, this gentleman would not be dead today,” Sahadi told Gothamist.

This traffic collision is heart-wrenching. June’s fatal crash on Atlantic Avenue is heart-wrenching. With new developments such as LICH and Pier 6 expected to bring nearly 1,400 more apartments to the neighborhood, it’s time to think about the safety of our streets. As Brooklyn’s density increases, pedestrian safety becomes an even larger issue.

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park slope library

Earlier this month residents in seven Brooklyn city council districts had the opportunity to vote on whether or not to fund a large number of projects using money allocated by the city to each district. The process, known as participatory budgeting, is designed to give citizens more of a voice in how city funds are spent. And now council members representing three of those Brooklyn districts have announced the results of the vote.

In District 39, which runs from the Columbia Street Waterfront, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens through to Park Slope, Kensington and Windsor Terrace, eight projects were funded, including $150,000 for greening Union Street and 9th Street, $250,00 for building a story telling garden at the Park Slope Library (pictured above) and $200,000 for draining a chronically muddy path in Prospect Park. A full list of projects approved by voters in district 39 can be accessed here.

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Renderings released Tuesday by Rybak Development at a Community Board 15 meeting show the developer is planning an ambitious mall with condos above as well as a large public plaza in Sheepshead Bay.

The glass-fronted retail space is broken up with zig zagging and horizontal concrete divisions, and the whole thing comes to nearly a point at one corner, like the prow of a ship. (Perhaps the marine look is a reference to the nearby waterfront area.) The architect of 1809 Emmons Avenue is Brooklyn-based Zproekt.

The renderings were first published by Sheepshead Bites. The developer plans eight stories with 50 to 60 condos. Rybak will need a zoning variance to build that many apartments, which is where the big public plaza comes in. (more…)

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For years now, an anonymous Brooklyn Heights resident has been taking his frustration with the U.S. Postal Service to the streets. Graffitied mailboxes outside his front door remained tagged, even after he submitted unfulfilled requests to the department for refurbishment.

All of this led the sort-of street artist to take matters into his own hands and personally restore them. He estimates he’s repainted about 20 pieces of public property in recent years, including mailboxes, lampposts, call boxes, tree guards, and bike racks.

He’s been profiled in local media and is well-known in the Heights for his efforts, which are technically illegal. Here’s a peek at some of his best work, and what some of it looked like before he “tricked out” chosen objects. (more…)

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We witnessed a group of about 10 activists for safer streets wheatpasting a public art installation on the construction fence at Domino Site E at 325 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg Saturday afternoon.

Incredibly, after we left, a truck crashed into the very same fence, according to an article in the Daily News — an ironic turn of events that sounds like it might be a prank, April Fool’s Joke, or Onion article. (more…)

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A highly anticipated installation at the Flatbush Trees will happen May 18 through May 22, artist Dave Eppley told Community Board 9 last week. Eppley has been working for the last six months with students at a nearby school to design flower bouquets made out of sign vinyl that will be applied to the dilapidated 1970s-era tree sculptures, located at the intersection of Ocean Avenue, Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard, right across from Prospect Park.

Apparently made of concrete and some other weather-impervious material, the tree-shaped sculptures also serve as a street signs and mark a park entrance.

A sign maker by trade as well as an installation artist, Eppley said he does not expect the decorations to last more than a few years, and that is intentional. “I hope another artist will adopt [the Trees] as their own in a year or two,” and do something else with them, he said.

President, 7th, 8th Ave, Composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

One of the fun parts of writing this particular column is matching a vintage photo or postcard to its present-day site. Sometimes a perfect match is possible, and other times, the scenery has changed so much, it’s impossible to tell exactly where a building or event was located. The clues or markers that place or date a photo just don’t exist any longer. But that’s not the case here.

The historic photograph was taken in late February or early March of 1906 on President Street, between 7th and 8th avenues. This is the north side of the street, closer to 8th Avenue. The men are tearing up the sidewalk area to lay down new sidewalks and curbs.

My vintage photo had a caption, President Street, 1906, which narrowed down the street and date. A bit of research turned up public notices in the Brooklyn Eagle announcing road and sewer work throughout the borough, as well as the “regulating, grading, curbing, flagging and laying cement sidewalks” on many blocks, as well.

The paving and road work were spread out with great planning, so traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, could get around without too much difficulty. The notices began appearing at the end of February, 1906, and continued through March. One by one, block by block, the city infrastructure was improved. (more…)

vision zero brooklyn

The Department of Transportation released its Vision Zero plan to improve pedestrian safety across Brooklyn today. The plan calls for safety improvements at 50 high-traffic corridors and 91 intersections throughout the borough. New safety measures include increasing pedestrian crossing times, installing more speed-limit signs, creating more neighborhood slow zones, and changing traffic signals to reduce speeding during off-peak hours.

The DOT also plans to install 60 new speed bumps annually throughout Brooklyn and add more lighting underneath elevated train tracks. And there will be more speed cameras and enforcement at busy intersections. Apparently Brooklyn averages 46 pedestrian deaths each year — the highest of any borough. Read the summary or the full report over on the DOT’s Vision Zero page.