The DOT is closing some of the southbound lanes on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway at night in Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo, beginning tonight through March 29, according to an email from Community Board Two. Lane closures will happen from midnight to 5 am between Atlantic Avenue and Cadman Plaza to repair expansion joints.
One lane will be closed from 12:01 am to 1:00 am and two lanes will be closed until 5:00 am. One lane of traffic will remain open at all times.
East River Ferry service to and from Greenpoint’s India Street pier has been shut down after the ramp to the ferry collapsed suddenly into the water during this morning’s commute, The Daily News reported. Less than a minute after 10 people had crossed the ramp onto the ferry, it collapsed into the freezing East River. Shortly afterward, New York Waterways, the ferry operator, issued an alert letting customers know service to and from Greenpoint had been suspended.
“East River Ferry service to and from the Greenpoint Pier is suspended until further notice as we continue to assess the cause of a gangway that detached this morning,” the company wrote in a statement to the newspaper. “A team of engineers will be sent to investigate the cause and repairs will be made as soon as possible.”
The aging trolley cars parked behind Fairway on Van Brunt Street that were once part of a plan to revive trolley car service in Brooklyn starting with Red Hook were dragged away by a developer last night, according to Gothamist. Bob Diamond, who collected the trolleys and parked them in Red Hook (he also famously discovered the Atlantic Avenue tunnel), sent photos to Gothamist and said that neighborhood developer Greg O’Connell arranged to have them removed.
Gothamist reports conflicting rumors about whether the cars are destined for a scrap yard upstate or the Trolley Museum of New York in Kingston.
In the early ’80s, Diamond formed the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association and acquired a fleet of 16 early 20th-century trolleys, hoping to revive trolley service between downtown Brooklyn and Red Hook. Although the DOT pulled support for Diamond’s project in 2003, local groups have endorsed the plan in the last year, and he is hopeful that de Blasio will be more open than Bloomberg to the streetcar service.
Update: The O’Connell Organization donated three cars on its property to the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, Conn., according to a press release we received via email tonight.
Greenpoint City Council member Steve Levin penned a letter yesterday to incoming Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg demanding “traffic calming” measures on McGuinness Boulevard, where a woman was killed while walking last week. He suggested installing speed cameras around P.S. 34, following a state law passed last year allowing up to 20 speed cameras in a school zone.
A school zone stretches across nearly a mile of McGuinness from Greenpoint Avenue to the BQE, qualifying it for cameras, Streetsblog points out. Nearly two-thirds of all drivers exceed the road’s speed limit of 30 miles per hour, hurtling at speeds as high as 47 miles per hour, according to a study by the McGuinness Boulevard Working Group.
Levin also wants to create a neighborhood slow zone around P.S. 34, install left-hand turn signals, countdown clocks at cross walks and other traffic calming measures to prevent future crashes. His letter comes in the wake of 32-year-old Nicole Detweiler’s death, who was struck and killed December 29 by a BMW and a box truck.
Mayor Bloomberg announced Friday that the East River Ferry, which connects the Brooklyn Waterfront to Long Island City, Lower Manhattan and Midtown Manhattan, will run until 2019. This is a five-year extension to the pilot project subsidized by the city, which launched in June 2011 and was set to end in June 2014. Crain’s reported that the fares for weekend service will increase to $6 from $4, and winter weekend service will decrease.
Mayor Bloomberg said ferry ridership has tripled since 2011. “The city’s Economic Development Corporation began seeking bids to extend service last December after initial reports revealed that traffic on the ferries was vastly exceeding expectations, especially after Superstorm Sandy sidelined the subway system,” said the story. “The number of riders were twice what was projected, and weekend ferries had to turn some passengers away because of increased demand.”
The service has been especially popular and important along the waterfront in North Brooklyn to quickly connect residents of new high rise towers there to jobs in Manhattan. It has also proved a boon whenever subway service shuts down, such as along the L and R lines.
The DOT started construction last week on a pedestrian island and other safety improvements at the intersection of Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway, Kensington BK reported. The DOT has promised to repair damaged sidewalks and crosswalks and to install high-visiblity crosswalk markings, speed limit signs on Ocean Parkway and “Traffic Signal Ahead” signs along Prospect Expressway.
After the DOT conducted a study of the most accident-prone parts of Ocean Parkway, several other dangerous intersections along the six-lane road were selected for safety upgrades, including Avenue C, Cortelyou Road, Ditmas Avenue and 18th Avenue, according to Streetsblog. The work on Ocean Parkway should wrap in the spring, and the other improvements will start in 2015.
The Select Bus Service on Nostrand and Rogers Avenues between Bed Stuy and Sheepshead Bay starts November 17, according to an email from the MTA and DOT. When SBS service begins, the B44 Limited will become the B44 SBS, and the B44 local will continue service at all its current stops. For the first two weeks after SBS launches, the DOT will have Customer Ambassadors at every SBS station to explain the service and the new prepayment system. The DOT recently finished painting the bus lanes and installing the new wayfinding signs and prepayment kiosks throughout Crown Heights and Prospect Heights.
The SBS project team is holding a meeting next Thursday, November 7, at 6:30 pm to present all the planned and finished improvements, which include dedicated bus lanes, enhanced SBS stations, fare prepayment, end-to-end limited stops, signal optimization, transit signal priority, street resurfacing, pedestrian wayfinding signs, truck delivery windows, and new high-capacity, low-floor, three-door articulated buses. The meeting will take place in the Bedford Lounge on the second floor of the Brooklyn College Student Center at Campus Road and East 27th Street.
You can learn more about the SBS project here on its nyc.gov page.
The DOT is finally painting the long-promised Select Bus Service Lanes on Nostrand Avenue in Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, and Flatbush. The project is part of the Department of Design and Construction’s larger reconstruction of Nostrand between Flushing Avenue and Eastern Parkway and from Empire Boulevard to Farragut Road. Above, a stretch of Nostrand between St. Johns and Sterling. The Select Bus route, currently served by the B44, will run from the Williamsburg Bridge to Sheepshead Bay and carry an average of 41,000 weekday riders, according to the DOT.
Select Bus Service features off-bus fare collection, limited stops and special lanes to speed up the buses. After all the construction is finished, Nostrand will have the Select Bus lanes and stations, major roadway reconstruction; new pedestrian ramps, curbs, and sidewalks; the installation of a water main; as well as new traffic lights, trees, tree pits and lighting.
On the heels of a community campaign, the New York State Department of Transportation has greenlighted safety improvements for the corner of Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue, where a 73-year-old woman was struck and killed by a semi truck in June. The community voted to allocate $200,000 to safety upgrades at the intersection in last year’s Participatory Budgeting process and, led by City Council Member Brad Lander, petitioned the DOT for a pedestrian safety island and to repair damaged sidewalks and crosswalks on the six-lane road. Now the DOT has signed off on several new safety measures, which will include a pedestrian island with new signals and protective barriers, high-visiblity crosswalk markings, speed limit signs on Ocean Parkway and “Traffic Signal Ahead” signs along Prospect Expressway, according to an email blast from Lander.
Construction could start as soon as this fall at the intersection, which is considered one of the most dangerous in Brooklyn. Six pedestrians were killed on Ocean Parkway between 2009 and 2011 — more than any other road in the borough, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s “Most Dangerous Roads for Walking” report.
The Department of Transportation is wasting no time in implementing improvements on 4th Avenue in Park Slope now that the community board finally approved it last month. Construction will begin August 19, according to a flyer sent out by the DOT. The main point of the changes is to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians. Toward that end, left turns will be eliminated at six intersections, including 9th Street and 3rd Street. Speed humps and painted curb extensions will be added at 5th Street. Pedestrian medians at 9th Street will be widened to allow safer crossing near subway stations. South Slope News was the first to note the construction date.
Tonight around 11:30 pm, the R train will stop running between Brooklyn and Manhattan for as long as 14 months. The MTA is shutting down the Montague Tube, the underwater tunnel that connects the R train from Brooklyn to Manhattan, to repair Sandy-related damage. (The cost of repairs is a massive $309 million.) WNYC posted a helpful “survival guide” yesterday and the MTA broke down the closures as well. On weekdays, the R train will run from Whitehall Street-South Ferry in Manhattan to Forest Avenue-71st Avenue in Queens, and from Court Street in Brooklyn to Bay Ridge-95th Street. The MTA implemented a ferry service from Sunset Park into Lower Manhattan and is increasing service on the X27 bus by around 25 percent. The R train will run between the boroughs on weekends, although Court Street and Jay Street will get skipped. Yikes. What are R train riders out there planning to do?
Nice news for Sunset Park residents who make the commute into Manhattan every day: Starting Monday, August 5, the existing Rockaway Ferry Service will make a stop at 58th Street, next to the Brooklyn Army Terminal. The city is providing the expanded transit options for Brooklyn commuters who are affected by disruptions to the R train service. The ferries will depart from Beach 108th Street in the Rockaways, stop in Sunset Park, then continue to Pier 11 in lower Manhattan and 34th Street in midtown. The trip from Sunset Park to lower Manhattan should take 15 minutes. Ferries will run about once every hour and a ride will cost $2. The Economic Development Corporation plans to evaluate ridership in a few weeks and then decide whether or not to continue the service. If the temporary service is a success, local pols and residents plan to make a larger pitch for permanent service at 58th Street.