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The Citywide Ferry Service is slated to begin in 2017, offering five new ferry routes from the outer boroughs to Manhattan for the price of a MetroCard swipe. Three of the lines will start operating that year, followed by two more in 2018.

A part of Mayor de Blasio’s goal to bring more affordable transportation options to underserved communities, the planned South Brooklyn ferry route will service the historically difficult-to-access areas of Red Hook, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge.
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The first Manhattan-to-Coney Island subway ride took place 100 years ago this week, as a train left Chambers Street, crossed the East River on the Manhattan Bridge, and headed south along 4th Avenue, to the cheers of 10,000 school children and other onlookers.

It was the inauguration of the 4th Avenue Subway line, opened by the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, which a few years later would become the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation — the BMT. (The photo above shows the tunnel being built between 9th and Union streets, circa 1912.)

This weekend you can celebrate the 100th anniversary of the subway’s arrival in Brooklyn with rides on a quartet of vintage trains, which will run continuously from the Brighton Beach Station from noon to 4 pm, both Saturday and Sunday.  There will be a handful of different car models to ride on, the oldest being the BMT Standard cars, put into use in 1917. (more…)

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Mayor de Blasio will propose building a new subway line running under Utica Avenue in a speech today about sustainability, according a report in Capital New York. The avenue, currently served by the B46 bus, is “one of the densest areas in the city not directly served by the subway,” said a draft of the speech quoted by Capital New York.

The B46 bus currently runs along Utica from Marine Park up through East Flatbush and then through east Bed Stuy on Malcolm X Boulevard to Williamsburg near Marcy Avenue and Broadway. A story in the Daily News said it’s all posturing and will never happen.

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Williamsburg and Greenpoint are getting 53 new Citi Bike stations! Wow. Brooklyn Paper reported that the bike sharing program will install the blue bikes later this year as part of its $30,000,000 expansion.

Stations will be scattered every few blocks in an area from Flushing and Marcy at the southern end of Williamsburg to Franklin Avenue and Dupont Street in Greenpoint, including in transit-starved spots but also along major transit corridors. Highlights include a station for the India Street Pier and ones at either end of McGolrick Park.

What do you think of the plan?

New Citi Bike Locations in Williamsburg, Greenpoint Revealed [BK Paper]
Map via Brooklyn Paper

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.

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Never mind increased tolls — how about a new subway line for the outer boroughs? The proposed Triboro Rx line, aka the X, would knit together now hard-to-reach spots in Brooklyn — and make it easier to zoom over to Queens and the Bronx.

Anyone who lives here knows only a car or bike are practical on certain routes — say, when traveling from Park Slope to eastern Bed Stuy, or from Bushwick to Jackson Heights, Queens. The latter route is 15 minutes by car but an hour and a half via subway and requires two transfers and three lines.

According to a report the Regional Plan Association published this month, detailed by Capital New York, the line would be relatively easy and affordable to create because it will run mostly above ground on existing freight train routes. The idea was first floated in the mid-1990s, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer advocated it when he was Manhattan borough president.

One thing the planners seem to have left out, though: It doesn’t go to Red Hook. But it does knit together Bay Ridge, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Sunset Park, Brooklyn College, East New York, the far end of Bushwick, Jackson Heights and other parts of Queens, up to Co-Op City in the Bronx! To put it another way, the 7, the L, the 2, and the F — among many others — will now be connected (in the outer boroughs).

Imagine how easy this would make commuting to, say, factory jobs in industrial areas for folks who live in what are now relatively affordable areas.

What do you think of the proposal? What effect do you think it would have on rents and property values in the areas served?

R.P.A. Calls, Again, for Outer-Borough X Line on Freight Tracks [Capital]
Report: Overlooked Boroughs [Regional Plan Association]
Map via Capital NY

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Former transit commissioner Sam Schwartz will present transit group MoveNY’s plan to charge tolls on East River bridges tomorrow at a public forum in Downtown Brooklyn. Neighborhood groups, community boards, and elected officials are organizing the forum to discuss how to reduce congestion in Downtown Brooklyn and Brownstone Brooklyn, modernize and expand the mass transit system, and fix roads and bridges.

Members of the public will be invited to discuss the proposal in breakout sessions after the presentation. The town hall meeting will take place from 6 to 8 pm at the Brooklyn YWCA at 30 3rd Avenue. RSVP or find out more details here.

Yay or Nay to Tolls on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges? [Brownstoner]

Photo by Axel Taferner

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If transit group Move NY has its way, moving between boroughs via car will become dramatically more expensive. The group is pushing to revive its failed plan to charge a toll of $5.54 in each direction when crossing the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. (The plan also calls for a toll on the Queensboro Bridge, as well as crossing 60th Street in Manhattan or taking the West Side Highway or FDR, and to lower tolls slightly where they already exist.) What do you think of the idea?

Transit Group Would Add Tolls to Four New York Bridges [NY Times]
Proposal to Add Tolls on Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg Bridges [Eagle]
Photo by Anne Holmes

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is seriously considering basing her second presidential campaign here in Brooklyn, The Hill reported. The borough’s diversity will help attract young and minority voters, and Brooklyn’s transformation over the last decade could be a useful symbol for the campaign. Her team plans to formally launch her 2016 campaign in July, according to the paper.

In other Brooklyn political news, Mayor de Blasio gave his State of the City speech today, focusing once again on affordable housing. While he didn’t spend much time on Brooklyn specifically, he did mention East New York is one of the neighborhoods that will be rezoned for mandatory affordable housing, and he plans to expand ferry service to southern Brooklyn. DNAinfo reported that the new routes would include service to Red Hook, Brooklyn Army Terminal, Bay Ridge and Coney Island.

Hillary Eyes Brooklyn for Campaign HQ [Politico]
Photo by Olivia Boddie

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The latest from the National Weather Service predicts Brooklyn could get hammered with up to three feet of snow thanks to the nor’easter rolling through tonight and tomorrow, and the city will effectively shut down tonight. Cuomo declared a state of emergency around 1 p.m. today for New York City, along with Rockland, Ulster, Suffolk and Westchester counties. Subway trains will run on local tracks only after 8 p.m., as the MTA will use the underground express tracks to store trains.

City public schools will be closed tomorrow, and all non-emergency vehicles are banned from the roads starting at 11 p.m tonight. Parks will close at 6 p.m., and public libraries will shut at 5 p.m. Alternate side parking rules are also suspended today and tomorrow while plows clear the streets. And for those of you in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and southern Crown Heights, the CB 9 ULURP meeting is cancelled! For current updates, follow the Times’ live blog and WNYC’s Transit Tracker. And of course, steer clear of the long line just to get into the Court Street Trader Joe’s.

Update: All MTA service, including subways, will shut down at 11 p.m. tonight. From the MTA’s website: “The MTA is committed to the safety of its customers and its employees, and due to the forecast, will be suspending service on all bus, commuter rail and subway service at 11:00 p.m. this evening.”

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The R train will finally run between Brooklyn and Manhattan on Monday morning, after 13 months of repairs following Hurricane Sandy, the Post and the Daily News report. The MTA shut down service in the Montague tube last August so workers could replace tracks, signals and communications equipment that was devastated by the storm. Since then, R trains have run only between Bay Ridge and Court Street in Brooklyn, and between Whitehall Street in the Financial District and Forest Hills-71st Avenue in Queens.

Photo by Alex

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The MTA announced last week that the lengthy renovation of the 4th Avenue – 9th Street subway station will continue with the closure of the northbound R train stairway on the northeast corner for three months, beginning September 1. It’s going to replace the staircase. After that work finishes, the MTA will close the southbound R train entrance on the northwest corner, in order to replace that staircase.

Councilmember Brad Lander released a statement about it today, chastising the MTA for blowing all of its deadlines and not communicating with the community about construction plans.“While I am glad that the MTA is making necessary investments in our public infrastructure, I am disappointed that the delays plaguing the Culver Viaduct Rehabilitation will now cause more commuters to regularly traverse a construction zone,” Lander said in the press release.

Photo by Gryffindor via Wikimedia Commons