Brooklyn R train riders will not be able to take the subway into Manhattan for at least a year while the MTA repairs the R train tunnel under the East River, the WSJ reported. The agency also plans to close the G train tunnel between Brooklyn and Queens for 12 weekends this year. Both lines need attention because of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. The G train service will be replaced by a shuttle between the two boroughs. The MTA didn’t say what R train riders should do, but transfers to the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, F, B and Q are all available from the R line in Downtown Brooklyn. In Brooklyn, the R train services parts of Gowanus, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge. There is also express bus service from Bay Ridge to Manhattan.
Brooklyn-Manhattan Subway Tunnel to Close for Repairs After Sandy [WSJ]
R Tube to Be Shut More Than a Year for Storm Repairs [NY Times]
Photo by MTA
The west-central area of Bushwick around Myrtle Avenue between Broadway and Wyckoff is gentrifying, thanks to the rerouting of the M train in 2010, reported The Brooklyn Bureau. Riders from Queens and Brooklyn can now ride the M train into midtown Manhattan without transferring. The article details a rise in rents and property prices and, most impressively, ridership. ”Between 2011 and 2012, the first full calendar year of the change, daily ridership at the Central Avenue train station in south Bushwick jumped 18.7 percent, from 2,903 to 3,445 passengers per day, the largest increase in Brooklyn, according to the MTA.” This was the area hardest hit by arson fires in the late 1970s, and now is coming back, the article notes. It also predicts that 20-somethings who now live in the loft area north of Flushing may later decide they want to settle among the brick row houses and parks below Flushing, served by both the M and L, when they have kids.
How the M-train is Gentrifying Bushwick [Brooklyn Bureau]
Photo by Triborough
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
Good news for those trying to get from Manhattan to the notoriously out-of-the-way neighborhood of Red Hook: The City announced that, starting Memorial Day weekend, a ferry will run from Pier 11 in Manhattan to Van Brunt Street and Ikea. Called the Red Hook Ferry, it will run weekends from 10 am to 9 pm through the summer. It will also be free, with free transfers available to the northbound East River Ferry. Each landing will be served every 25 minutes, an improvement from previous service which ran every 40 minutes. The Van Brunt stop is currently an unused ferry landing owned by the O’Connell Organization. Bloomberg said the main goal of the summer transportation is to bring foot traffic to the small businesses of Red Hook, many of which are still reeling from Hurricane Sandy.
Photo via the O’Connell Organization
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.
Apparently this is the season of good subway news. According to a notice from Community Board Six the refurbishment of the 4th Avenue/9th Street subway station will be completed this month. The two year project included exterior brick work, replacement of lighting and restoration of entrance globes and entrance doors. The MTA also promised to reopen the east side entrance to the station, which they did in February of last year. Perhaps the biggest news is that commercial tenants will occupy the storefront spaces under the elevated station within a matter of months. No word on what kind of tenants are coming. Community Board Six also announced that the remaining work on the $275.5 million Culver Viaduct reconstruction project should be finished by the end of the year.
More Details Emerge on 4th Ave. Subway Reno [Brownstoner]
In what may be a sign of Williamsburg’s growing importance, a group of pols yesterday asked the MTA to rethink its shutdown of the L train during key weekends for local businesses there this summer. In a letter, they requested the train run Memorial Day weekend and during the Northside Festival on June 15-17. Organizers of Bushwick Open Studios have in past years requested L train service for the first weekend in June, but we couldn’t find any info on the MTA site about whether it will be running then.
Photo by Animal New York
Finally! After two years of reconstruction, the Smith and 9th Street subway station is up and running again. Marty Markowitz came out for the ribbon cutting, held at 11 am today. This subway station, the only one for residents of lower Carroll Gardens and Red Hook, is now sporting an expanded street-level control house, a new metal escalator enclosure, rehabilitated stairs and platforms, new lighting, closed-circuit television and a fancy PA system. After the jump, check out lots of photos and details of the new artwork gracing the station. It was all designed by artist Alyson Shotz, a Red Hook resident who was inspired by local maritime history. Above is pictured the art piece surrounding the entrance to the station, which is actually the highest station in New York City. The design is based on the design of a boat hull.
Ribbon cutting photo via Twitter (more…)
Ridership is growing faster on the G train than any other line in the system, reflecting population increases in Bed Stuy, Greenpoint and elsewhere along its path as well as development downtown, including events at the recently opened Barclays Center. A coalition of politicians and subway riders yesterday called for increased service on the line, which grew 4.2 percent on weekdays last year. State Senators Daniel Squadron and Martin Dilan, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Council Member Letitia James, Council Member Brad Lander, and members of subway advocacy group the Riders Alliance were among those calling for increased service. “In recent years, the G Train has become vital to the people of central Brooklyn who commute across several neighborhoods in New York City,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke. ”The MTA should allocate resources and enhance its current transit services to accommodate the increase in ridership.” Added Riders alliance member Annemarie Caruso, “Day after day I make my way down a crowded platform and squeeze into an even more crowded train. Service is not frequent enough to say to myself ‘Oh, I’ll just wait for the next one.’ The next one could be 12 minutes away. I love my fellow Brooklynites, but I am tired of spending my mornings pressed up against them!” The MTA is already studying the issue and expects a report to be completed in June.
Photo by *Bitch Cakes*
The reopening of the Smith and 9th Street subway station is less than two weeks away. Above, a photo from a reader of the almost-finished entrance. Last month the MTA announced that the station would reopen on April 22 after closing in 2011. Once it’s open, the $32.3 million restoration will boast new lighting, an enclosed escalator, and a 14-foot-tall mosaic.
Smith and 9th Streets Stop to Finally Open April 22 [Brownstoner]
Smith-9th Streets Station Closed Until April! [Brownstoner]
Bummer: Smith-9th Station Reopening Delayed [Brownstoner]
The MTA confirmed in a Wall Street Journal story today that the long-closed subway station at Smith and 9th streets in Carroll Gardens will open on April 22. That’s consistant with the timeline they promised back in December, definitely a good sign. The station closure was caused by the $320 million restoration of the Culver Viaduct, which carries the F and G trains aboveground. The station will open with new lighting, an enclosed escalator, and a 14-foot-tall mosaic. Said upgrades cost the MTA around $32.3 million, according to the Journal. The station first closed in June 2011; it was originally supposed to open around March 2012.
After Delays, Smith-9th Street Subway Station to Reopen [WSJ]
Smith-9th Streets Station Closed Until April! [Brownstoner]
Bummer: Smith-9th Station Reopening Delayed [Brownstoner]
Yesterday The New York Times took a look at the Barclays Center five months after opening and finds that overall it has not had the negative impact on the neighborhood that many had feared. According to the story, most visitors arrive and leave relatively quickly and many do use public transportation: the four subway stations in the area had an average of 6,400 more riders on event nights than on other nights. The Long Island Rail Road reports that 3,300 more riders arrive and depart through Atlantic Terminal on event nights than before the arena opened. Crime has also not been a problem though more than a million people have attended the 93 events there since it opened. The 78th Precinct registered six “felony episodes” that were connected to the arena and 36 misdemeanors. While the story does acknowledge issues with parking, illegally parked limos, noise complaints, the fine for exceeding noise limits and the trees soon to fall on Pacific Street, it finds that overall the arena has hardly been the harbinger of doom many predicted. What do you think? Is the arena a good neighbor?
Smooth Debut for an Arena That Rocked Brooklyn [NY Times]
Residents Unhappy With Tree Removal Near Barclays [Brownstoner]
Barclays Center Fined for Noise Violations [Brownstoner]
Bars Near Barclays Center Booming, Others Not So Much [Brownstoner]
Photo by Kuyata
The M train station at Knickerbocker Avenue and Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick is open after closing for nearly six months for an $11 million restoration. The MTA put in a new control house, stairs, concrete floors and windscreens on the platform among other upgrades. This is the first of a planned five station renovation along the M line in Bushwick budgeted for nearly $50 million. Next up is the Central Avenue station which will close for five months starting March 13.
MTA Finishes Renovation of Knickerbocker Ave. Station [NY Daily News]
Photo by MTAPhotos
Yesterday local politicians and the grassroots group Riders Alliance gathered to rally for better G train service at the Metropolitan Avenue G stop. They asked for a comprehensive study of the line as well as free transfers at the Broadway G to the Hewes or Lorimer stops of the J line and also from the Fulton G stop to the Atlantic Avenue station; now riders must exit the system and pay again for these transfers. DNA Info reported that prior to the rally, the Riders Alliance collected more than 200 signatures on a petition calling for more regular service, screens showing the train arrival times and free transfers. The alliance also sent a letter to the MTA with a list of suggested improvements. And here’s a letter that Senators Daniel Squadron and Martin Dilan sent to the MTA. As Senator Squadron said in a press release, “as the Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods surrounding the G continue to grow, their lifeline must grow with them.”
In Push for Better G Train Service, Politicians Get on Board [DNA Info]
Photo via Sen. Daniel Squadron’s Twitter
Maps not working on your smart phone? No problem. The Department of Transportation is coming to the rescue with a city-wide pedestrian wayfinding system in March. Crown Heights and Prospect Heights will be the first neighborhoods in Brooklyn to receive the outdoor maps and signs. Wayfinding stations are planned for Prospect Park (at the zoo and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens), on Washington Avenue, and near the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. According to Jon Orcutt, the project manager for this program, the DOT will install all this in May. The signs, pictured above and after the jump, will show pedestrian walkways, the public transportation layout, and neighborhood destinations. According to the article in today’s New York Observer, the maps are laser printed directly onto the glass signage, and the ink can be wiped away and the glass reprinted as the map changes. Unlike the wayfinding signage now up in Downtown Brooklyn, this program will be city-wide and uniform. The other pilot programs are slated for Long Island City, Midtown and Chinatown. The DOT will also install maps at the forthcoming bike share stations. The Heart of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum teamed up with the DOT to make it happen in Crown Heights. The Heart of Brooklyn has been pushing for a wayfinding system in the neighborhood for almost a decade, and they’re excited to test it in the neighborhood. The DOT met with Community Board Eight last week and will meet with Community Board Nine later this month.
Photos by the DOT (more…)
Yesterday Senator Daniel Squadron set up a petition to make sure the East River Ferry service will stop at Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue all year round. The New York City Economic Development Corporation recently released this request for proposals for ferry operators. The petition asks, “We, the undersigned, urge NYCEDC to encourage respondents to the RFP for an East River Ferry operator to include year-round service to and from Atlantic Avenue/Pier 6 in their proposals and only award a contract to an operator that includes this service.” Here’s the full letter to NYCEDC, which includes lots of support from local pols, Marty Markowitz, and community groups. You can sign the petition here.
Join the Call for Year Round Ferry Service at Atlantic Ave/Pier 6! [NYSenate.gov]
Photo via NYSenate.gov
The Department of Transportation has formally responded to Assemblyman Joseph Lentol’s request for a dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge connecting Brooklyn to Queens via Greenpoint and Long Island City. In late November, the DOT revealed it was undertaking a feasibility study, and that is pretty much what they told Lentol, but with more details: The DOT investigation is being conducted by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs unit. It will examine “traffic conditions on the roadway, the structure of the movable bridge and the connections on the Brooklyn and Queens sides of the bridge,” according to a press release on the matter sent out by Lentol’s office. The investigation will be completed by March 2013. The bridge currently has a lane that both pedestrians and cyclists share. Lentol has said he hopes that decreasing the three lanes of car traffic to only two would slow cars on the bridge. “I have long advocated for traffic calming measures on McGuinness Boulevard and this proposed bike lane would undoubtedly slow drivers down, while making the Pulaski Bridge safer for pedestrians and cyclists who travel along this road everyday,” he said.
Photo by New York Shitty
This Saturday, the Riders Alliance will host a petition drive to ask for better service on the historically slow, spotty G train. According to Brokelyn, “The petition is asking for more frequent G train service and free out of system transfers between the Broadway stop and either the Hewes or Lorimer J stops and between the Fulton stop and the Atlantic Terminal subway hub.” The group (which is accepting volunteers) will meet to petition at noon this Saturday at the Second Stop Cafe in Williamsburg. As an added bonus, Riders Alliance buys lunch for petitioners after the group hits the streets.
Petition for a Better, Cheaper G Train This Saturday [Brokelyn]
Volunteer to Improve the G Train! [Riders Alliance]
Photo by marcgg
Opponents of the Prospect Park West bike lane offered to drop their lawsuit against the lane if the City if an “independent” study of the bike lane showed injuries and accidents were down since it was installed. But if the study were to show conditions worsening, the city would agree to remove the bike lane. The City rejected the offer. A previous DOT study found significant “calming” effects from the bike lane: Accidents reduced 63 percent, speeding down 74 percent, and the number bicyclists riding on the sidewalk decreased 46 percent, according to the Observer. Opponents obtained DOT data and said crashes and injuries slightly increased after the lane was installed, according to the New York Post.
City Dismisses PPW Bike Lane Foes’ Unusual Settlement Offer [NY Observer]
City Rejects Offer to Have Independent Study Decide Bike Lane Debate [NY Post]
The bike lane wars are back on. Yesterday, the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court ruled that a lower court has to reconsider the Prospect Park West bike lane case on technical grounds. In a nutshell, the lower court had already thrown out the case on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired. But bike-lane critics charge that the bike lane was always meant to be temporary, and therefore the deadline didn’t apply. Opponents of the bike lane have some surprising and powerful backers: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Iris Weinshal, a former DOT commissioner who is married to Senator Chuck Schumer. But the bike lane is overwhelmingly supported by locals in surveys and at community board meetings, the Observer noted. On Prospect Park West, car lanes were cut from three to two to make way for the bike lane. Bike supporters said the lane has reduced speeding and reduced car use. Critics said accidents increased after the lane was added, the New York Post said.
Flat Tire! PPW Bike Lane Suit Returns to Court [NY Observer]
Panel Rules PPW Bike Lane Suit Was Erroneously Tossed [NY Post]
Bike Lane Ruling [NY Supreme Court]
Prospect Park West Bike Lane Foes Appeal [Brownstoner]
Photo by joefenstermaker