Archive for the 'News & Features' Category

25 mph speed limit

Photo via Governor Cuomo’s office.

We know that the biggest fans of Vision Zero and the soon-to-be-reduced speed limit are right here in Southern Brooklyn. I mean, you’ve all been telling us how much you love the idea. But rather than filling up our comments section with those love notes you can finally have those notes read by the Department of Transportation.

In observance of today’s milestone of 25 days until the implementation of the new 25mph speed limit, the department has launched a social media campaign soliciting your hopes and dreams for a slower city.

Today begins our 25 day countdown to NYC’s new speed limit of 25 MPH (unless otherwise posted). Beginning today, 25 New Yorkers will tell us why they want drivers to slow down in NYC on NYC DOT’s Facebook page.

You can join the countdown by posting why you want NYC’s new speed limit to be 25 MPH – just add #25MPH to your posts and spread the word on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Yep, all you need to do to ensure an underpaid member of the Department of Transportation’s communication team sees your feedback on a new 25mph speed limit is add #25mph to your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. And, if your posts and/or accounts are set to public, the whole world will see them, too. Just like this one:

We’re sure this will not backfire in any way, and will create a useful, constructive dialog about traffic safety. Because that’s what always happens on the internet.

The new speed limit will go into effect on November 7.

B LINE

From 9:45am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, Brighton Beach-bound B trains run local from Prospect Park to Kings Hwy.

Q LINE

From 9:45am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, Manhattan-bound Q trains run express from Kings Hwy to Prospect Park.

F LINE

From 12:30am to 5am, Tuesday to Friday, 179 St-bound F trains run local from 21 St-Queensbridge to Roosevelt Av.

From 10:15am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, Manhattan-bound F trains skip Avenue U.

From 10:30am to 3pm, Wednesday to Friday, F service operates in two sections:

  1. Between 179 St and Avenue X.
  2. Between Avenue X and Coney Island, every 20 minutes.

e16thst

THE COMMUTESheepshead Bay has been the victim of over-development.

Development itself is not a bad thing. In fact, it is good for the economy. However, when development occurs, the infrastructure must also be improved.

Block after block, the neighborhood has seen one-family homes replaced by six-family condos. Several new mid-rise developments have also appeared on or near Sheepshead Bay Road and more are planned. This has placed a strain on traffic, especially along the narrow 18th Century Sheepshead Bay Road, formerly known as Shore Road.

In the 19th Century, our city forefathers planned a numbered street grid system that revolutionized our roads. Sheepshead Bay Road, however, predated that grid. The surface Manhattan Beach Railway, which operated passenger service until 1922, ran along East 17th Street south of Avenue X, (which is why that portion of the street is wider than the rest) and along the western fork near Jerome Avenue cutting through the super block soon to be developed with a luxury high-rise. The railway extended along the Brighton line and between what is now West End Avenue and Corbin Place to Manhattan Beach, serving the area’s two luxury (Manhattan Beach and Oriental) hotels.

That is the reason East 16th Street dead-ends at Sheepshead Bay Road and does not continue until the other side of Voorhies Avenue.

Normally, when superblocks are created, the adjacent streets are widened to accommodate the displaced traffic from eliminated streets. In this case, no street was eliminated, only some railroad tracks. In 1922, automobile traffic was still sparse and the word “superblock” did not even exist until large housing projects made them commonplace decades later. Sheepshead Bay Road, a street lined mostly with small hotels, was never widened, as traffic increased and those hotels were demolished or as residences were converted to storefronts.

Currently, there are a half dozen vacant storefronts on the northeast corner of Sheepshead Bay Road and Voorhies Avenue, suggesting more development in the near future, increasing traffic even more. Traffic on Voorhies Avenue is already a nightmare every Monday through Friday after 3pm, with a dozen cars lined up on East 18th Street waiting to make a right turn onto Voorhies Avenue. (A left turn is all but impossible.)

Changes are needed.

More History

When I proposed the rerouting of the B49 in 1978 from Ocean Avenue to replace the B1 along Sheepshead Bay Road, I suggested it operate on the circuitous northbound route it currently uses, including Shore Parkway and East 14th Street, because it was three or four minutes quicker than Sheepshead Bay Road. It was tabled for 30 years, and by that point the time saved had been diminished. The roundabout route is just as dreadful as along Sheepshead Bay Road. Instead it was implemented recently due to cars constantly standing in the no standing zone on Sheepshead Bay Road, and, with the lack of traffic enforcement, it became more difficult for two buses to pass simultaneously.

My proposed routing no longer saves three or four minutes. The rerouting from Ocean Avenue, instead of merely adding five minutes to the B49 as it did in 1978, now can add as much as 15 minutes for through riders when compared to the pre-1978 route. Therefore, I now believe we need some special buses during school hours or an additional bus route bypassing the subway station as it did prior to 1978. However, that is a subject for another article.

The point is that with each new development, traffic gets worse. What if the city decides to sell both municipal parking lots and add still more commercial development as they have done on Kings Highway and are doing in Flushing? What if the El Greco site is developed with another high-rise as has been long rumored (with no substantiation)? We will find out about it when it is too late. What will happen to traffic after five new high-rises are constructed near Sheepshead Bay Road? We could have gridlock.

Let’s Not Lose an Opportunity

Right now, with the proposed luxury condos at 1501 Voorhies Avenue, near Sheepshead Bay Road, we have the opportunity to extend East 16th Street to Voorhies Avenue and the north Shore Parkway service road. (A traffic reversal on the service road between East 16th Street and Sheepshead Bay Road would also be required. A redesign of the highway exit would also help.)

We do not need a private pedestrian walkway as currently proposed. A new street could be accomplished even with a gated entrance (though it would be a little more difficult) and should be a requirement before any development takes place there. Our local elected officials must insist on it. (Are you listening, Councilman Chaim Deutsch, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and State Senator Marty Golden?)

A continuation of southbound East 16th Street would enable a conversion of Sheepshead Bay Road to northbound only between the Shore Parkway North service road and Jerome Avenue. It would also permit a simplified B49 bus routing with northbound service returning to Sheepshead Bay Road and southbound service able to use the new East 16th Street. The northbound B4 would be able to use Sheepshead Bay Road as well, with the southbound route also using East 16th Street.

The possibility also exists to widen Sheepshead Bay Road between the Shore Parkway north service road and Emmons Avenue since the Belt Parkway Bridge is slated for reconstruction. All that is required is a slight modification of existing design plans and a few more dollars. No demolition would be required. Note that Nostrand Avenue will be widened when that bridge is reconstructed. Why not widen Sheepshead Bay Road under the Belt Parkway? Extending East 16th Street would have occurred when the Manhattan Beach Railway tracks were ripped up if the city had any foresight. Let us not condemn future generations to saying we had no foresight back in 2014.

In Other News

Last month saw the passing of transit and community activist (and my friend) Dr. John Rozankowski at age 61. If that name is at all familiar, it is because John substituted for me on The Commute on three occasions when I was on vacation. He also wrote for the blog Welcome to the Bronx for the past eight months and for Suite 101 prior to that. He received his PHD in history and was also very active in the successful campaign of Letitia James for Public Advocate, who attended the wake, spoke and stayed until it was over. Obituaries for John appeared in Welcome to the Bronx and the NY Daily News.

His wake was a tribute to race and age relations, an old white Polish gentleman with so many young black and Latino friends. At least 25 people spoke about the man, many with tears in their eyes. At least 50 attended. It was a very moving experience. He was a selfless Republican Conservative who did not let politics get in the way of what he believed in. His only interest was in making the world a better place. That is something we could all learn from.

The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).

Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI): Here are some of the big stories you may have missed this week. You can keep up with what’s going on in the neighborhood all week long. Just follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

After a busy week, here’s a chance to catch up on some of the news happening outside of our neighborhood! We’ve pulled together some of our favorite recent stories from our sister sites, as well as some other fascinating pieces that are worth a read this weekend:

Meet an astronomer who’ll show you a ring nebula in Prospect Park. [Park Slope Stoop]

A Clinton Hill police officer is alleged to have punched out an unarmed teenager walking home from school. [Fort Greene Focus]

Workers sue Vegas Auto Spa for alleged wage theft. [South Slope News]

A storm resilient community garden? Learn all about it and get involved Sunday. [Bensonhurst Bean]

A Ditmas Park landlord is one of the worst in the city, the public advocate said. [Ditmas Park Corner]

Bridging the digital divide: the number of computers for adults at Windsor Terrace Library doubles. [KensingtonBK]

Those damn 1920s hipsters, all moving to Brooklyn and stuff. [Brownstone Detectives]

Threes Brewing will serve up beers and bites in Gowanus when it opens next month. [PSS]

The 16th annual Great PUPkin doggie Halloween costume contest is coming to Fort Greene Park on October 25, and we’re judging! [FGF]

A campground for the homeless in Brooklyn. [New York Times]

Cops are looking for a man who opened fire in a Fort Greene grocery store. [FGF]

A Bensonhurst pol wants the city to buy more “Clean up your dog poop” signs. [BB]

How’s the mayor’s promise to give small businesses a break from fines going? Not so great. [NY Post]

An intimate new concert series comes to South Slope by way of North Carolina. [SSN]

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks turn Ditmas Park into Old New York. [DPC]

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our daily newsletter. If you have any news tips, story ideas, questions or anything else, e-mail us at editor [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Source: Good Shepherd

Source: Good Shepherd

The annual “Music from Good Shepherd” chamber music series kicks of this Sunday, beginning yet another season of free recitals open to everybody in the neighborhood.

The series of concerts, under the leadership of Musical Director Michael Fontana, takes place over the course of 10 consecutive Sundays at 6:00pm in Good Shepherd Church, Avenue S at Brown Street, in Marine Park. T

The series’ concluding concert will be a rousing performance of George Frideric Händel’s “Messiah,” December 14, featuring a full orchestra, choir and soloists.

Admission is free and open to the public. Donations for the performers, however, are encouraged and greatly appreciated.

For information, call (718) 998-2800 or email mforgan@aol.com.

The schedule

  • October 12, Tom Piercy, clarinet
  • October 19, Kate Amrine, trumpet
  • October 26, Tanguera Tango Ensemble
  • November 2, Duo Cantabile, guitar and soprano
  • November 9, 8 Strings & a Whistle, violin, cello, flute
  • November 16, Daniel Lippel, classical guitar
  • November 23, Brooklyn Baroque, flute, cello, harpsichord
  • November 30, Roger Verdi, trombone
  • December 7, Joe Brent and 9 Horses, mandolin, violin, bass
  • December 14, Handel’s “Messiah,” choir, soloists, orchestra

Today, Friday, October 10, is the last day to register to vote in the November 4 general election. Here’s what you need to know:

• If you’d like to print off and mail your registration, the form can be found here in English and here in Spanish. Forms must be postmarked no later than October 10 and received by a board of elections no later than October 15 to be eligible to vote in the general election.

• You can also register in person at our Kings County Board of Election office, but this also must be done by October 10. That said, if you have been honorably discharged from the military or have become a naturalized citizen since October 10, you may register in person at the board of elections up until October 24.

• You can register via the DMV online if you have a NY state-issued ID, though you have to set up an account.

• Not sure if you’re registered? Check on your current voter registration here.

Source: dtanist/Flickr

Q LINE

There are no service advisories scheduled at this time.

F LINE

From 12:01am Saturday to 5am Monday, F trains run local in Queens.

Assemblyman Brook-Krasny (left) and challenger Lilikakis (right). Photo by Bailey Wolff.

Assemblyman Brook-Krasny (left) and challenger Lilikakis (right). Photo by Bailey Wolff.

By Bailey Wolff

The Bay Ridge Real Estate Board hosted a “Meet the Candidates Event” Wednesday night at the Dyker Heights Golf Course. Present at the forum was four-term incumbent of the 46th District, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, and his opponent, first time political hopeful, Stamatis Lilikakis.

Vice President of the Bay Ridge Real Estate Board Aldo Iemma and his wife Deborah organized the forum in order to establish communication between members of the community and elected officials who represent them in government.

“We want to educate, and encourage connections so that everyone is involved with the political process,” said Deborah Iemma.

Stamatis Lilikakis was the first of the two candidates to speak. He discussed the need to lower taxes to stop the “exodus” of businesses from New York State.

“I actually know what most people in this room feel,” said Lilikakis. “And I’m running for office because I’ve had enough of being a blank check for Albany and for our federal government … my goal is to try and lessen some of that burden.”

The 46th Assembly District spans the waterfront from Brighton Beach to Bay Ridge.

The 46th Assembly District spans the waterfront from Brighton Beach to Bay Ridge.

Running as a Republican-Conservative, Lilikakis said that he has united “different factions” in his party, and if elected, wants to create more opportunities for business and education in the district.

He also spoke about illegal conversions—the process of turning singe-family homes into multi-family, non-permitted housing units. “They’re illegal. They shouldn’t be here. There should be a task force, by the police department and fire department to go in and stop these things.”

Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny took the floor after Lilikakis and defined the 46th voting district as “very diverse.”

“From very liberal Coney Island to the more conservative part in Dyker Heights … you have people speaking more than 50 different languages with many different political opinions.” Because of these reasons, Krasny stated, the district needs a “balance minded politician” to represent every member of the district.

“One of the first priorities of every government,” said the assemblyman, “should be supporting the economy and increasing the number of jobs in his district.” He pointed to low state income taxes and universal Pre-K as two of his achievements, but also quoted the statistic that 70 percent of his constituents rely on government funding “in one form or another.” For this reason, he said, “I have to be very careful when cutting taxes.”

When a member of the audience asked Krasny about government funds to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, he quoted recently announced numbers of $25 million to build jetties and $2.9 million for a seawall to protect his district’s waterfront.

“Some services, some departments, some programs—like Build it Back—they didn’t do the right job,” the assemblyman said. “I know as a private citizen what is going on with Build it Back. It’s terrible. But it’s getting better.”

These two opponents will debate at 7:30pm on October 14, at St. Phillip’s Church in Dyker Heights. The church is located on 80th Street and 11th Avenue. The General Elections will be held November 4, 2014.

brawlA group of Kings Plaza Mall security guards are on suspension pending an investigation after video surfaced showing them punching and kicking a teen in what they say was an attempt to control a brewing brawl.

Cell phone footage recorded on Sunday at around 4:30pm appears to show a group of security guards pinning a teen to the ground and punching him repeatedly in the face.

ABC News reports:

In the video, at least four mall security guards are seen trying to subdue a 16-year old boy, and not just tackling him.

The boy is punched and kicked and grabbed by the throat, by grown men more than twice his age.

“They threw him on the floor, they choked him, about three of them that actually choked him, and they were kicking him in the head,” said eyewitness Shaunternette Melton.

But the video does not show the entire episode. Police say the teen, identified as Christopher Henry, had just assaulted one of the guards after he had been asked repeatedly to leave the mall.

WPIX11 reports that Henry and another teen were arguing with each other. The security team said that the 39-year-old guard approached Henry and repeatedly asked him to leave. Instead, Henry refused and allegedly jumped on the guard and punched and kicked him. Other guards responded and took Henry into custody.

Mall officials released the following statement:

We find the images captured in the video disturbing. We are cooperating with law enforcement and AlliedBarton Security Services, who employs the security officers involved, to fully investigate the entire incident so that appropriate action can be taken.

AlliedBarton Security Services, the contractor that provides security to the mall, also issued a statement:

AlliedBarton Security Services shares the community’s concern about the video and the events shown,” the statement read. “We are investigating what is shown in the video, as well as the events that occurred before the video began. The security officers involved have been suspended pending investigation. AlliedBarton’s responsibilities at Kings Plaza Mall are to help create and maintain a safe and secure environment. It is imperative that these duties be conducted in a safe and respectful manner and we accept nothing less from our teams.

NBC New York reports that the teen was arrested and charged with assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

He has previous arrests for petit larceny, intent to defraud the transit system, and robbery. Other arrests are sealed due to his age.

Though security insists that the teen has a history of bad behavior in the mall, in addition to the arrests listed above, activists say that the response was excessive.

“Irrespective of what led into this, the actions of those security guards in this community is appalling, and that can’t be tolerated,” said activist Tony Herbert. “We can’t tell these kids to act civil and professional in society when those who have the authority and are trained professionally can’t do the same.”

The mall has been the scene of several violent brawls between large groups of teens, including a December incident that saw as many as 500 teens screaming and fighting in the shopping center. Another “teen riot” occurred in February with approximately 100 teens, which led to arrests. Neighbors say there have been at least two other incidents.

Members of local community groups have put pressure on the NYPD and the mall’s security to bring the situation under control.

Sources: NBC New York, News 12, ABC News, CBS News.

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