Welcome to the first Brownstoner Controversy: a quick guide to the latest and greatest kerfuffle inside and outside of Brooklyn.
Uber’s having a rough week. Not only are their French execs facing charges, but a proposed City Council bill threatens to dramatically limit the number of new cars Uber can add to their NYC fleet.
The bill is co-sponsored by Steve Levin, Councilman of District 33 in northwest Brooklyn. Levin says that capping Uber’s growth is necessary to prevent congestion and pollution. Uber says that the proposed bill looks ahellava lot like one the taxi industry proposed in March.
Already taking sides? Just wait.
The Department of Transportation recently revived plans to install bike lanes on the J.J. Byrne Memorial Bridge, which links Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint and Sunnyside, Queens. Streetsblog reported on the proposal, which would cut two Brooklyn-bound lanes of traffic down to one in order to paint buffered bike lanes on either side. Currently, cyclists either have to weave through pedestrians on the sidewalk or bike alongside cars while crossing the bridge.
The DOT first tried to install bike lanes on the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge in 2010, but Community Board 1 shot down the proposal because it eliminated too many parking spaces. Queens Community Board 2 heard the presentation last week, and Brooklyn CB 1’s transportation committee will consider the proposal on March 17.
DOT Has a New Plan for Bike Lanes on the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge [Streetsblog]
More Holdups for the Greenpoint Avenue Bike Lane [Brownstoner]
Image by DOT via Streetsblog
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.
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
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.
Photo by Axel Taferner
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?
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.”
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
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
The East River Ferry returned to India Street Pier on Saturday, just as the G train shut down between Nassau Avenue and Court Square until September 2. Greenpointers reported that the ferry will run on its summer schedule, with departures every 20 to 30 minutes and stops at Pier 11 on Wall Street, Dumbo, South Williamsburg, North Williamsburg, Long Island City and East 34th Street. But temporary shuttle buses will run between India Street and the North 6th Street pier until Wednesday. And if the ferry isn’t running, Uber is offering one free ride between the Nassau Avenue and Court Square G stops until August 31.
Photo via East River Ferry