The Brooklyn Paper outlined the Department of Transportation’s plans for safety improvements along the northern end of 4th Avenue, a 28-block strip from Atlantic to 15th Street. Community Board Six’s Transportation Committee just approved the proposal, and it will move to the full board next month. The plan — long in the works with the community — will shrink traffic lanes, ban eight left turns near playgrounds and schools, broaden medians from two feet to six feet, add planters to the pedestrian island between Pacific Street and Atlantic Avenue, and extend the curb on the corner of Pacific Street, right at the subway entrance. DOT also plans to install on-street bike corrals down the avenue, as well as Muni-Metered parking. This proposal is part of a huge 4th Avenue overall upgrade taken on by the DOT — they’ve enacted similar street changes in Sunset Park and are moving forward with improvements in Bay Ridge.
More Room for People, Less for Cars on Fourth Avenue in Slope [Brooklyn Paper]
Photo by the DOT, via the Brooklyn Paper
It’s not only the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge that’s getting attention from the DOT. The stretch of Cadman Plaza around the exit ramp that drivers take to access the BQE is being made more pedestrian-friendly as we write. A curb extension (or “neckdown”) is being added at the southeast corner of Middagh Street and Cadman Plaza West while an entirely new sidewalk is being installed between Middagh and where the exit ramp feeds out to Old Fulton Street. Right now a pedestrian has no way to safely continue down the east side of Cadman Plaza West towards the Brooklyn Bridge underpass. These changes should help address that.
When the Carroll Street Bridge opened in 1889, horse-drawn wagons traveled over its boards to visit local farms, wrote the Times. Its cobblestone approaches are still intact, as is an old sign that says “Any Person Driving over this Bridge Faster than a Walk will be Subject to a Penalty of Five Dollars For Each Offence.” It is one of only four retractile bridges in the U.S., and as reported, is closed for a few months while undergoing repairs. Workers are restoring the worn and rotted wooden deck; resetting the cobblestones; and repairing the beams, bulkheads, and electrical components that open the bridge. It should reopen at the end of the summer.
Antique Bridge Closed to Traffic While It’s Open for Repairs [NY Times]
Earlier today the Department of Transportation and Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced some major improvements for the access ramps to and from the Brooklyn Bridge and the FDR Drive. The first ramp, which connects the exit from the bridge’s Manhattan-bound lanes with the FDR Drive, has been expanded from one to two lanes to ease traffic backups. And the second ramp, connecting the southbound FDR Drive with the approach to bridge’s Brooklyn-bound lanes, has been expanded from one to two lanes in an attempt to ease congestion and keep cars from aggressively cutting in. The DOT also announced that they are nearly finished with work on a third ramp on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, which connects the Brooklyn-bound lanes to Cadman Plaza West and Old Fulton Street. This ramp will also be expanded into two travel lanes to expand vehicle capacity and increase safety for the surrounding streets. This is all part of the major Brooklyn Bridge rehab project, which includes repainting the bridge. The whole shebang, which started up in 2010, will cost a total of $508 million and hopefully finish next year. Click through to see more images of the ramp improvements happening. (more…)
Next week the Department of Transportation will begin installing traffic calming measures to Hicks Street as part of its Hicks Street Northbound Traffic Calming Project. The initiative includes curb extensions, bollards, planters, full-time curbside parking, and two dedicated moving lanes. In the east lane along the length of northbound Hicks Street adjacent to the BQE, the DOT will create two 10.5-foot moving lanes alongside a 7-foot parking lane/curb extension. (There’s currently a 10-foot moving lane and an 18-foot parking/moving lane there.) The new configuration narrows the street and will slow down traffic. The curb extensions allow for shorter pedestrian crossings. You can view the full DOT presentation of all the changes to come right here.
A tussle has broken out over the location of a bus zone in South Williamsburg. A City bus driver said he saw two unnamed “Jewish guys” illegally moving a City bus zone sign to make way for school bus parking in front of Yeshiva Bnos Ahavas Israel on Franklin just north of Flushing Avenue on the border of South Williamsbug and Bed Stuy, The New York Post reported. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though: According to the story, the Hasids move traffic signs around illegally all the time. Sign-swapping “is a common problem in the Hasidic community,” said Tommy McNally, a safety officer from the Transit Workers Union. “These guys are just constantly moving these signs.” The lack of a city bus zone is making it difficult for riders to safely board the bus. The Yeshiva bus drivers said they also need the parking space to safely deliver the children to school.
Fury as Hasids “Move” City Post [NY Post]
Photo by The New York Post
The Department of Transportation has determined that a dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge would not adversely affect traffic there, according to a press release from Assemblyman Joe Lentol, who has been pushing for a dedicated lane. “After all the letters and calls, I am proud to say that a dedicated bike lane could be coming on the Pulaski Bridge,” he said. “By this time next year, cyclists and pedestrians could have their own dedicated lanes and could be crossing the bridge without fear of injury.” Still to be completed by the end of the year, however, is an engineering study to determine how to design and install the dedicated lane.
The concrete barriers that protect bikers from speeding traffic on Williamsburg Street between Kent and Flushing Avenues had been covered with graffiti for quite some time, so the nice people at the great volunteer organization New York Cares took it upon themselves this weekend to spiff them up with some colorful hand-painted designs. Quite an improvement!
At last night’s community meeting about the bike sharing program called by Council Member Tish James, concerns about corporate branding in historic neighborhoods were downplayed, and instead the meeting focused on the location of the bike share stations. The current locations are not permanent and may be changed later after the DOT evaluates which ones are most popular, DOT reps said. The location of the Willoughby Walk station proved most controversial, with many attendees objecting to it, according to a reader who attended. Here is what he had to say about the gathering: “Tish came on at 6:30 and like the excellent, strong civilized woman that she is, she insisted to one and all that civility reign over the meeting. Throughout she was strong and asked folks not to interrupt others and to be polite. She stated front the start that she is favor of the BikeShare program and that she certainly fully understood some of the valid concerns of those who had issues with it. Some of the commenters mentioned corporate branding and landmarking issues, but…Tish herself dismissed these concerns. She felt the concerns that DOT ought to hear were the concerns of community members about placement, near entrances of buildings whose residents (at least of those who attended the meeting) seemed not likely to be riding these bikes anytime soon, or near very heavily trafficked intersections such as Clint and Myrtle at perhaps not the ideal corner (though maybe the best available), and also the issue of parking places displaced by the bike share stations.”
Meanwhile, Streetsblog has published a story critical of objections about corporate advertising on the stations in historic neighborhoods, pointing out that similar bike sharing systems are working well in historic sections of Boston, D.C. and London.
Anti-corporate messages have appeared on Citi Bike stations in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, and some Brooklyn residents are calling for removal of the stations on the grounds that they are inappropriate in historic neighborhoods, or that residents were not consulted about the locations. Above, flyers on a station on Clermont near Lafayette, near the Brooklyn Flea, point out that advertising is not allowed on landmarked residential blocks. Brooklyn Councilwoman Tish James has scheduled a town hall meeting on the matter Wednesday at 6:30 at the Benjamin Banneker Academy at 71-77 Clinton Avenue. Supporters of the program are urging people to attend to defend it. (more…)
Brooklyn parents are embracing “elimination communication,” according to DNAinfo, which involves trying to anticipate a baby’s or child’s need to use the toilet instead of relying on diapers. ”Sometimes the thrill of being able to go outside and pee is just what [babies] need,” said Sarah Longwell-Stevens, a postpartum doula who leads meet-ups on the topic at Greenpoint’s Caribou Baby store. A Brooklyn factory makes split pants that make it easier for babies to go diaper-free since they don’t have to remove layers of clothes. The practice can help cut down on the number of diapers to wash, but can also lead to lots of spills and mishaps, said some parents. “I kept seeing him leave a trail of pee,” said one parent of her son, whose terrible diaper rash led her to try elimination communication. “The dog looked at me and said, ‘This isn’t fair. Why can he do that?’”
Parents Ditch Diapers for Au Naturel Toileting Trend [DNAinfo]
Photo by Amy Zimmer for DNAinfo
One week from today the Fulton Avenue Bid is holding a workshop on the future design of Fowler Square. The DOT made Fowler Square, previously a temporary pedestrian plaza, a permanent fixture in December. The workshop will discuss ways to improve the public space, new permanent design elements, and plans for safer surrounding streets. They are also looking for community feedback on the paving, lighting, plantings, and whatever else is on your mind. The meeting will be held Wednesday, April 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at 85 South Oxford Street.
More bike share stations are going in, and you can already buy a membership now, as multiple outlets have reported. A reader sent in the photo above of a station going in on Bond Street at Livingston Downtown.
Bike Share Debuts Next Month But You Can Buy a Membership Now [Gothamist]
City’s Bike Share Program Starts Signing up Customers [NY Times]
Community Board 1 in Williamsburg last week greenlighted two pedestrian plazas and bike parking proposals that had been kicking around for a while, Brooklyn Paper reported. Above, the triangular extra space at the intersection of Broadway and Bedford is going to be transformed with chairs, benches and planters. This is just west of the Williamsburg Savings Bank, which will soon be open as an event space, across the street from Peter Luger and near a forthcoming 40-story boutique hotel. A block down the street, the restaurant Marlow and Sons will get a bike corral for about 36 bikes in place of two parking spots for cars. (And just down the street from Marlow is 25 Broadway, a huge residential build that is nearing completion — this corner of Williamsburg is going to be transformed from sleepy to very busy in a few years.) The community board also OK’d a pedestrian plaza on Frost Street near Meeker, at the request of the owner of the forthcoming restaurant Kingbird. He plans to chip in for part of the construction and maintenance via Kickstarter funding. Williamsburg Cinemas also requested a bike corral, so one of those will be going in at Driggs Avenue and Grand Street.
Pedestrian Plazas With Chairs, Benches, Planters Coming to W’burg [Brooklyn Paper]
City Proposes Plaza for South Williamsburg [Brownstoner]
Photo by Google Maps
Tonight the Department of Transportation will present new safety design concepts for 4th Avenue between Pacific Street and 15th Street in Park Slope. They’re also asking that attendees submit comments on the proposals. This open house piggybacks off a public workshop in February at which the community created a “wish list” for implementing safety measures along 4th Avenue. The DOT has focused on reducing speed along the avenue, creating safer pedestrian crossings, simplifying turns, and generally improving safety for all street users. The meeting is tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at St. Thomas Aquinas Church at 249 9th Street.
The Department of Transportation is making progress on piecing together permissions for the greenway along the Brooklyn waterfront uniting the borough from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint, with construction scheduled to start in Red Hook this summer, The Wall Street Journal reported. When complete, the pedestrian and bike way will run for 14 miles and eventually, it is hoped, connect to Queens.
Three more sections of the envisioned 14-mile Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway have been placed on the construction calendar by the city Department of Transportation, advancing a project that eventually will make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to travel between Greenpoint and Bay Ridge. The DOT said it hopes to start construction on the pedestrian-and-bike path in parts of Red Hook this summer. Preliminary plans for two other portions of the greenway have also been approved in Greenpoint and by the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
The Red Hook portion should make the neighborhood more accessible to cyclists by extending the existing Columbia Street bike lanes to a park near Fairway. Van Brunt Street is also slated to receive bike lanes. The Red Hook additions are estimated to cost about $12.5 million, the Journal reported. The Navy Yard will also be transformed, if the plan is carried out, with bike lanes along Flushing Avenue and new parks and paths inside the Yard. One idea being floated is a meadow of native plants with a raised walkway. A little background for those who have not been following the greenway’s progress: The DOT officially announced the plan, consisting of 23 separate capital projects, in June. Five miles of the path already exist. The whole thing is expected to cost $150 to $200 million, and is being funded in every which way, from city agencies to private sources to federal funding. Meanwhile, the DOT plan to remove some of Vinegar Hill’s historic cobblestones is not part of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, according to the Journal.
Piecing Together Brooklyn Greenway [WSJ]
Closing Bell: Brooklyn Greenway Comes to Red Hook [Brownstoner]
The North Flatbush Avenue BID recently shared an update about its streetscape improvement project, which has been in the works for a few years now. (The area currently has temporary improvements up until the full capital project can be completed next year.) City agencies submitted comments on the proposed design, and Parsons, which is a partner on the project, will incorporate the suggestions into a new design that will be available shortly. And the DEP, which plans to install bioswales on the triangles at 6th, 7th and 8th avenues, will begin soil testing to make sure the areas can support them. The entire project involves turning the Flatbush Avenue triangles into pedestrian spaces, improving crossings, and adding open space, trees, plants, and cafe tables and chairs.
Looks like that Change.org petition asking for a bicycle and pedestrian lane across the Verrazano Bridge has gained some traction. The Brooklyn Daily reports that the MTA is considering conducting a feasibility study for allowing cyclists and peds on the bridge, although it wouldn’t happen until 2014 or later. Building the route, which would mean installing a platform between the suspension cables, would cost as much as $26.5 million, according to a 1997 feasibility study that was already conducted by the Department of City Planning. The good news: It would not require removing any car lanes. The Change.org petition now has more than 1,000 signatures.
Cyclists Push for Verrazano Bike Lane [Brooklyn Daily]
Pedestrian Access for Verrazano Bridge? [Brownstoner]
Photo by Frank Hymus
This Wednesday the Atlantic Avenue BID, as well as Community Boards Two and Six, will hold a public meeting regarding the Atlantic Avenue Gateway Project. The BID received $75,000 late last year to transform the bridge overpass along Atlantic Avenue underneath the BQE. They recently put out a Request for Proposals for a safer, redesigned pathway that would serve as a “meaningful transition zone” to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The meeting, which will give the public an opportunity to discuss the plans for the gateway, is scheduled for this Wednesday at 6 pm at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Room 3306.
An RFP out to Redesign the BQE Underpass [Brownstoner]
Community Board One’s land-use committee will hear a very interesting proposal from the Open Space Alliance at its meeting on Wednesday night. The OSA and the Parks Department want to close off streets around McCarren Park, in Williamsburg, to expand the park and to connect sections of the park currently separated by a road. The proposal asks for “the discontinuance and closing of Union Avenue from North 12th Street to Driggs Avenue,” “the discontinuance and closing of a portion of Driggs Avenue at its former intersection at North 13th Street,” “the establishment of an addition to McCarren Park,” and “the adjustment of grades necessitated thereof.” As the Brooklyn Paper reported, by “demapping” one block between Driggs Avenue and North 12th Street, the park would gain 33,8000 square feet. The plan would also connect the triangular section of the park, home to the dog run and farmers market, with the park’s southern end. The roadway would be replaced with planting beds, shrubs, loading zones and catch basins. But because the plan takes away 34 parking spaces, it is facing some resistance from neighborhood drivers. Should make for an interesting meeting! If you’re interested in attending, the land-use committee is meeting Wednesday at 6:30 pm at 435 Graham Avenue. Jed Walentas is also on the schedule to present some information about the Domino Sugar conversion.
Plan to Expand McCarren Isn’t Getting a Greenlight from Drivers [BK Paper]
Union Avenue and North 12th Street, via Gmap