Archive for the tag 'belt parkway'

Source: retrofresh! via flickr

Source: retrofresh!/Flickr

Sixteen months have passed since Superstorm Sandy, and the damaged lights on the Belt Parkway from Knapp Street to Mill Basin remain in the dark. But not for much longer if the Department of Transportation keeps its word.

According to a Daily News item last week, the city will begin bringing lights back to the area in April. It’s a $400,000 project that should be covered with federal funds, and the project is slated to be completed in May.

“This is a huge problem, especially due to the potholes, which made it difficult for motorists,” City Councilman Alan Maisel told the paper. “It’s outrageous.”

Of course, the DOT’s word is hardly its bond. The DOT had previously promised then-Assemblyman Maisel and his Council predecessor Lew Fidler that the lighting situation would be permanently fixed by fall of 2013 – and that temporary lighting would be provided in the interim. Neither of those things happened.

Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo has stated at meetings the she was told by the DOT that the plan for temporary lighting was ultimately nixed because they required gas generators. The city did not want to dispatch employees to keep them stocked with gasoline.

Source: retrofresh! via flickr

Source: retrofresh!/Flickr

When Superstorm Sandy struck the neighborhood in October 2012, it was lights out on the Belt Parkway near Plumb Beach’s exit 9. Literally.

And then those lights stayed out for 15 months, despite promises given by the Department of Transportation to local elected officials to install emergency lighting until permanent repairs could be made.

Now Councilman Alan Maisel, who replaces Lew Fidler, has picked up the torch, firing off a letter to the DOT demanding repairs be made and pointing out that the situation is made even more dangerous thanks to the “pitted … moonscape of potholes, cracks and uneven surfaces.”

I probably would’ve gone with the “Edward James Olmos of highways,” but maybe that’s why I’m not an elected official.

Here’s the letter in full:

February 18, 2014

Commissioner Polly Trottenberg
NYC Department of Transportation
55 Water Street
New York, NY 10041

Dear Commissioner Trottenberg:

Since Hurricane Sandy, a significant section of the Belt Parkway, in the area around Exit 9 and Plumb Beach, has been without regular road lighting of any kind. This is a dangerous situation that has only become more dangerous in the past month and is in need of both a temporary and permanent solution.

It is my understanding, based on correspondence with the office of your predecessor, that flood waters had damaged underground electrical cabling, the repair or replacement of which was being undertaken but that more time was needed. At the time, I had been told that these repairs would be completed before the fall of 2013. Therefore, I had requested, as did my predecessor in the Council, emergency lighting for the interim and we were told that such lighting would be provided. Yet, the highway remains dark – the repairs have not been completed and the interim lighting has not been introduced. That is an intolerably dangerous situation for motorists.

Yet, now the situation has actually become even more dangerous. After the recent cycle of snowstorms and plowing efforts, the surface of the Belt Parkway has become pitted in a moonscape of potholes, cracks and uneven surfaces. This alone is dangerous and, as I am sure you are already aware, in need of attention. However, when combined with the absence of lighting, so that a motorist might be unable to see or avoid upcoming road hazards, the danger to all concerned is multiplied.

I believe it is imperative that emergency lighting, run off generators, be introduced to this section of the highway until permanent repairs to the lighting system can be made. This is now more urgent than ever and I ask that it be addressed as expeditiously as possible. Thank you.

Sincerely,
ALAN MAISEL
Councilman-46th District

bridge

The Belt Parkway’s lunar-like surface will see some love this weekend, but that means potential trouble for late night commuters.

As the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) continues to address damage to the highway from the active winter season, crews will be resurfacing key portions of the Belt Parkway between Knapp Street and Flatbush Avenue.

Beginning Friday evening, two of three westbound lanes will be closed between 8:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 8. During these work hours, eastbound drivers can use Exit 9A towards Knapp Street and Sheepshead Bay while westbound drivers can use Exit 11N for northbound Flatbush Avenue or 11S for southbound Flatbush Avenue and the Rockaways.

These partial closures will allow for a targeted resurfacing of areas requiring maintenance, including both milling and paving in only one evening in each direction. This one-day process eliminates any rough roadways for drivers and speeds the reopening of this stretch of the Belt. During this project, motorists are urged to avoid the area if possible and use alternate routes.

This work marks the first of several targeted, overnight maintenance efforts along the Belt planned for the coming weeks, and details on those will be announced as they become available. This resurfacing comes as DOT roadway crews ramp up their seasonal pothole and street maintenance work as part of their continuing response to this season’s heavy snow. Already this year, DOT has addressed more than 61,000 potholes across the city, including nearly 17,000 in Brooklyn and more than 24,000 on arterial roadways like the Belt.

Gerritsen

As the flier above shows, there will be late-night lane closures on the westbound Belt Parkway at Gerritsen Inlet every night this week, from Tuesday to Friday, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

There will also be lane closures on the eastbound Belt Parkway on Thursday night, during the same time period.

Consult the flier above for more information.

Source: MovieClips

Source: MovieClips

THE COMMUTE: Last week, Sheepshead Bites reported on legislation being considered by the City Council to lower the speed limit on city residential streets narrower than 60 feet wide from 30 mph to 25 mph. It is a compromise to legislation proposed by City Councilmember David Greenfield to lower the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph. The City Council is currently revising the language of the law, which they hope to enact before Mayor Bloomberg leaves office.

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The misinformed sign. (Source: DNAinfo).

The stupid sign. (Source: DNAinfo)

Plumb Beach, the Brooklyn beach of…plumbs, has been labeled as part of Rockaway Beach, annoying anyone that knows the difference between Queens and Brooklyn. DNAInfo is reporting that a sign placed along the Belt Parkway has claimed that Plumb Beach is now part of Rockway Beach, even though the beaches are separated by different coastlines and a stretch of water.

While some might think that the sign is the result of a silly error, DNAInfo noted that there is an heir of authority behind connecting the eastern most part of Sheepshead Bay with the Rockaways:

A spokesman for the city Parks Department said the “Rockaway Beach” sign is correct, though, saying Plumb Beach is part of the new Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, which is an agreement between the city’s Parks Department and the National Parks Service.

The signage, which was put in place after Hurricane Sandy, is part of a consistent layout, and “Rockaway Beach” reflects the partnership, the spokesman said.

Is there no end to the evil and wrath of Superstorm Sandy?

A local community advocate took to YouTube to express the frustration felt by the encroaching maw that is Queens and Rockaway Beach. We have presented his unedited remarks below.

No it will not, dude. No it will not.

Four Sparrow Marsh, Flatbush Avenue near the Belt Parkway (Photo by Adrian Kinloch via Slate).

Four Sparrow Marsh, Flatbush Avenue near the Belt Parkway. (Photo by Adrian Kinloch via Slate)

English photographer Adrian Kinloch submitted a gorgeous photo essay detailing the strange fringe between the end of the city and the edge of nature, which is, apparently, a place called Southern Brooklyn. Kinloch’s dazzling photo essay, submitted to Slate, covers the areas near the Belt Parkway, Coney Island Creek, Mill Basin and Marine Park Beach and includes an interesting rumination on local history, environmental concerns and the unique way nature reabsorbs man-made objects.

One passage I found particularly interesting was Kinloch’s exploration of Coney Island Creek, where he touched on its history and the challenges the city faces in trying to clean it up:

For the barges of Coney Island Creek, it was containerized shipping, not the railways, that spelled the end of their working life. In the 1960s, their owners scuttled or burned the vessels, and they have been there ever since. Industry on the creek dates back as far as the 1660s, when Dirck De Wolfe opened his saltworks. The saltworks were burned to the ground, too, by furious locals after De Wolfe refused to let them pasture their cows nearby.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to clean up Coney Island Creek and its environs, restoring them to their original pristine state. But when I ran into some guys from the Army Corps of Engineers, they said this task is nearly impossible—if you move any of those rotting barges, all the diesel and toxic chemicals encased in the silt will escape up to the surface.

Interesting, yet depressing, stuff. To see all the images and read the entirety of Kinloch’s observations, click here.

Chair and miscellaneous objects, Marine Park Salt Marsh. (Photo by Adiran Kinloch via Slate)

Chair and miscellaneous objects, Marine Park Salt Marsh. (Photo by Adiran Kinloch via Slate)

Source: retrofresh! via flickr

Source: retrofresh! via flickr

It’s been nearly a year since Superstorm Sandy and there are still stretches of the Belt Parkway bathed in darkness as a result of the storm. CBS NY is reporting that overhead lights near Knapp Street and Flatbush Avenue remain damaged, creating dangerous driving conditions for motorists.

Since Sandy struck late last October, Sheepshead Bites has received numerous complaints about the non-functioning lights along the Belt Parkway. According to CBS, 150 lights went dark after the electrical system that operates them got destroyed in Sandy’s wake.

Councilman Lew Fidler is taking the charge, arguing that it is about time that the lights get fixed:

“This is starting to get dangerous,” City Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Brooklyn) told [CBS reporter Tamara] Leitner.

Fidler said he reached out to the New York City Department of Transportation seven months ago, but he is still waiting for the problem to be fixed.

“It’s just going to take one accident and one lawsuit,” Fidler said. “It’s going to cost the city more money than replacing the lighting from scratch.”

The Department of Transportation told CBS that they are working to bring in temporary lighting in the coming weeks. The also defended themselves by saying they can’t replace the broken lighting system until federal dollars start to roll their way.

Better late than never, I guess?

bridge

The borough of Brooklyn has a serious bridge problem, as 240 of them, which is more than half, need serious repairs, according to a new report. The New York Daily News is reporting that some of the worst bridges in the borough include the seven bridges along the Belt Parkway that are in the process of rehabilitation.

Of the 240 Brooklyn bridges cited for serious repair, 15 were designated as “fracture critical” and “structurally deficient” by the Federal Highway Administration. Bridge expert Barry LePartner told the Daily News that analysis such as this spells bad news.

“Every time you see a bridge classified as structurally deficient and fracture critical it means that bridge could fall at a moment’s notice,” LePartner said, ““It’s extremely dangerous for people going over these bridges.”

The Daily News reported that in the time of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reign as mayor, the federal government has given New York City $6 billion for bridge repair with an estimated $1 billion designated for Brooklyn. A majority of that money has gone to the Brooklyn Bridge ($500 million) and the seven bridges of the Belt Parkway ($365 million) but experts say that more money and effort are needed to repair and restore many of the crossways, many of which were built over 70 years ago:

A large number of the bad bridges date back to the 1930s and 40s, and take years to fix.

For example, it has been four years now since the city undertook a $365 million project to rebuild seven crumbling bridges along the Belt Parkway. Those crossways carry an estimated 150,000 cars a day through Brooklyn and Queens to John F. Kennedy Airport and Nassau County to the east, and to the Gowanus Expressway and Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the west.

Those bridges are located at the Paerdegat Basin, Gerritsen Inlet, and by Bay Ridge Ave., as well by the Fresh Creek Basin and Rockaway Parkway in Queens.

Councilman Lew Fidler told the Daily News that the city was working to repair the bridges but that the issue is serious and costly.

“We all know those bridges are the worst of the worst. Those bridges have launched the careers of so many personal injury lawyers,” Fidler told the Daily News.

Photo By Erica Sherman

Photo By Erica Sherman

Plumb Beach is considered one of the most vulnerable stretches of coastlines in the city, and the overall sand replenishment and long-term restoration effort undertaken by federal and city officials is being considered as a model for rehabilitating Sandy-devastated areas. NY1 is reporting on the progress and the specifics of Plumb Beach, an effort expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Previously, we reported on the Army Corps of Engineers work on Plumb Beach, noting that the first phase of the operation, which was sand replenishment, had been completed. Phase two involves the construction of two terminal groins and one offshore breakwater and the installation of 1.2 acres of beach grass. Army Corps engineer John Knight described the purpose of the stone groins to NY1.

“The eastern groin right there acts as a catch for sand movement along the beach, keeps the sand and the protection in place on the shoreline itself,” Knight said.

The report also described how, as work continues, the project is laying the foundation for other shore restoration projects needed following Sandy:

Officials say the work here needs to be replicated in Sandy-devastated areas.

“This was a success story. It’s a wonderful model for the type of work that we must do,” [Representative Hakeem] Jeffries said.

“It’s going to allow us to do this very similar work in the Rockaways, which we already started with 4 million cubic yards of sand that will be laid there, and very shortly after that, right here in Brooklyn’s Coney Island,” Jeffrey said.

To see video of the construction effort being undertaken by the Army Corps, click here.

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