Archive for the tag 'belt parkway'

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.

bridges

Source: DOT

Who would have ever imaged that the Department of Transportation’s ambitious Seven Bridges project would be ahead of schedule? Way back when the project began in 2009, our readers and community leaders expressed concern that the seven-year plan would stretch into the long haul.

But, gift of gifts, the reconstruction project is one year ahead of schedule, according to DOT authorities.

In an e-mail update on the project, their outreach team wrote:

Miscellaneous punch list work remains, but no restrictions of traffic are anticipated outside of the daily, permitted lane closures through the completion of the project in October 2014. NYCDOT would like to thank the public and motorist for their patience and we are glad to report that the project is a year ahead of schedule.

The agency expects to hit the latest milestone on Wednesday, August 21, when they will announce all major work is officially complete on the first three bridges: Paerdegat Basin, Rockaway Parkway and Fresh Creek Basin, covering the bridges between exits 11 and 14.

Meanwhile, work will soon begin on the dismantling of the next batch of bridges, eventually seeing the replacement of the Nostrand Avenue Bridge, Gerritsen Inlet Bridge, Mill Basin Bridge, and Bay Ridge Avenue Bridge.

Click to see illustrations of proposed Nostrand Ave Overpass

As we wrote in 2010:

The plans show the DOT is emphasizing increased safety, traffic flow, design aesthetics, and environmental protection as they go forward with the project.

Though the three bridges currently being worked on are the largest projects, commuters and boaters will likely experience the largest impact at the Mill Basin Bridge. Built circa 1940, the drawbridge has a 35-foot clearance. The new bridge will be a fixed structure with a 60-foot clearance. Lanes will be expanded by half a foot, and safety shoulders will be added in both directions. A new fender system will be installed to protect the bridge substructure from marine traffic.

Sheepshead Bay residents will also see benefits from the Nostrand Avenue overpass renovations. Currently the support columns of the three span structure blocks the view of car traffic underneath. The proposal aims to turn it into a single span, removing the supports to improve sight lines. Nostrand Avenue will be widened and realigned. Meanwhile, on the Belt itself, the road will be widened to provide safety shoulders, parapets will be installed, and the corrugated metal guide rails will be replaced with a reinforced concrete median.

The DOT has also made some alterations in response to community concerns. In Bergen Beach, residents complained that the new roadway configuration made visible to residents the rapid succession of headlights from the vehicles. The DOT has installed 392 feet of 6-foot-tall “glare fencing” to respond to the concern:

glare-fencing

Source: DOT

What do you think of the new bridges, and how the DOT has managed the project?

Photo by Allan Shweky

I understand why the girl (center) is wearing a 1-UP shirt. (Photo by Allan Shweky)

Masters of poise and balance gathered together to ride across the city on unicycles for the third annual Unicycle Festival. Sheepshead Bites reader and “Friends of Ocean Parkway” blogger Allan Shweky sent us some wonderful pictures of talented unicycle enthusiasts wobbling away by Ocean Parkway.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz finally declared this past Friday “Brooklyn Unicycle Day,” as talented unicyclists took part in a three-day long-distance ride. Allan described the path of the unicycle riders on his blog:

The long distance ride starts at City Hall in Manhattan, crosses the Brooklyn Bridge, and continues to Coney Island. The total distance of the ride is approximately 13 miles.

The ride was organized the Unicycle Bridge Tour. Here are some more pictures provided by Allan. Thanks for all the great stuff!

Photo by Allan Shweky

Photo by Allan Shweky

Photo by Allan Shweky

Photo by Allan Shweky

Photo by Allan Shweky

Photo by Allan Shweky

Photo by Allan Shweky

Photo by Allan Shweky

Photo by Allan Shweky via screwedontheboardwalk.com

Photo by Allan Shweky via screwedontheboardwalk.com

Trees damaged and left rotting by Superstorm Sandy have finally led to a full response by the Parks Department. The New York Daily News is reporting that the Parks Department is planning to inspect and cut down thousands of trees, not only because they are dying, but because they are endangering residents.

We have previously covered the scores of dead and dying trees left in the wake of Sandy. The prevailing thought is that salt water flooded the root systems of thousands of trees across Southern Brooklyn and other parts of the city, effectively killing them. We recently noted that the Parks Department has already begun the process of removing the damaged trees across Southern Brooklyn including areas along Ocean Parkway, Shore Parkway and the Belt Parkway.

The Parks Department has laid out greater details for their plan to deal with all the salt infected trees. They plan to cut down 2,000 trees of the 45,000 they have inspected earlier in the year. They also plan to re-inspect another 4,500 in the fall. As for replacing the trees, the Parks Department said they would wait until spring’s planting season before gauging their plans. Meghan Lalor, a Parks Department spokeswoman, listed higher priorities before they launch a full scale re-planting.

“In the interim, we have been and will continue to remediate soil, as necessary, with compost and gypsum – both mitigate salt damage – to encourage the return of healthy biological functioning,” Lalor told the Daily News.

Chuck Reichenthal, the district manager for Community Board 13, covering Coney Island and Brighton Beach, was sad to see the trees go but said it was important nonetheless.

“It is a very sad time because these trees have been here for so long, but it is a necessity for safety,” Reichenthal told the Daily News. “Everybody is hoping they make replacements because this is still Brooklyn, and this is where trees are grown.”

Source: sofianeb via flickr

Source: sofianeb via flickr

A woman died near Knapp Street last night when she lost the grip of her Yamaha motorcycle and skidded out of control.

DNAinfo is reporting that the motorcycle rider was identified as 21-year-old Jasmine Calix:

[Calix] was riding east on Belt Parkway about 8:40 p.m. when her bike skidded near Knapp Street, fell over and flung her off, according to the NYPD.

Calix suffered severe head trauma and was rushed to Coney Island Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.

A police investigation is ongoing. There were no other people or vehicles reported to be involved in the accident.

Photo by Allan Shweky via screwedontheboardwalk.com

Photo by Allan Shweky via screwedontheboardwalk.com

The city has begun the process of removing tress damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Sheepshead Bites reader Allan Shweky, who runs the Friends of Ocean Parkway posted a series of photographs on a new site of his, Screwed on the Boardwalk, showing Parks Department workers chopping down trees left dead or dying as a result of Sandy.

As we’ve previously reported, a scourge of dead and dying trees can be spotted in neighborhoods across Southern Brooklyn. The reason that so many trees died isn’t precisely known but experts have speculated that salt water dried out the roots once the summer turned up the heat.

Shweky’s photo collection shows Parks Department workers removing trees near the boardwalk entrance on Ocean Parkway and we’ve also had word that similar actions are being taken on Shore Parkway, along the Belt Parkway.

R.I.P. trees, and here’s hoping the city makes an effort to replant everything they chop down.

Photo by Allan Shweky via screwedontheboardwalk.com

Only a stump remains. (Photo by Allan Shweky via screwedontheboardwalk.com)

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

Capital New York is reporting that Anthony Weiner has proposed a slew of ferry service ideas in an attempt to steal the issue from rival Christine Quinn.

In a recent press conference, Weiner put forward a series of plans for expanding ferry service should he become mayor, starting with making the expanded Rockaway line a permanent reality. Past that, he proposed ideas that would bring ferry service to the Bronx and Sheepshead Bay.

“I’m proposing activating a line from Riverdale in the Bronx that would come down to either Lower Manhattan or a pier on the west side; a southern Brooklyn line that would service Sheepshead Bay, which would get traffic off of the Belt Parkway; reactivating service that has run intermittently to LaGuardia Airport and would also operate on busy days at Citi Field. … A line going to Kennedy Airport that could be used for cargo as well as taking passengers off of the Van Wyck Expressway and the Belt Parkway; and an East Side shuttle that would shuttle passengers up and down the East Side with greater frequency until the Second Avenue subway comes online,” Weiner said.

Weiner’s bold ferry ideas were met with skepticism from Quinn’s camp, who according to Capital New York, believes that Weiner is riding on Quinn’s coattails on the issue:

Christine Quinn has, until now, owned the ferry issue. She’s been a big booster of East River ferry service, and in April, she proposed bringing ferry service to Atlantic Avenue, Red Hook, Astoria, Roosevelt Island, 91st Street and Ferry Point Park.

“Unlike ex-Congressman Weiner, Christine Quinn didn’t just talk about ferry services, she actually delivered ferry services on the East River, from Queens to Brooklyn and Brooklyn to Manhattan, which surpassed its ridership goal for a year in 6 months and in 18 months of operation served 1.6 million riders,” said her campaign spokesman Mike Morey, in an email.

Despite Weiner and Quinn’s dreams of connecting the boroughs with a fleet of ferries, studies made by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) have pointed out that expanding the service would not be economically viable. As we’ve previously reported, the EDC noted many problems with bringing a ferry to Sheepshead Bay, including issues with parking, inclement weather and high costs.

Weiner has subsequently argued that federal dollars could be used to subsidize the prohibitive cost of ferries and that overall, adding extra mass transit options will save the city in the long run.

“We are gonna have to subsidize ferries, but remember, it is not a cost, it is also a savings that we have: the wear and tear on our city, the efficiencies that we gain by having traffic move more quickly and also the availability of federal funds in the form of the national gas tax, one of the few taxes that we actually take more in than we pay out,” Weiner said.

bridge

Source: DOT

Last night, beginning at 10:00 p.m., the three lanes of the eastbound Belt Parkway between the Paerdegat Basin Bridge and Fresh Creek Basin Bridge (between exits 11 and 13), shifted right – leading commuters from the existing roadway to the newly completed roadway. That’ll allow a smoother transition onto the recently constructed eastbound bridge.

Have you been on the new road and bridge yet? Better? We hope so. ‘Cause it’s taking long enough, and the entire project – which includes replacing a total of seven Belt Parkway bridges – isn’t slated to be completed until 2017.

Plumb Beach Bike Path Destroyed By Hurricane Ida

Plumb Beach immediately after Hurricane Ida in 2009. The stretch of bike path has since been removed, and erosion has beaten back the shoreline even more.

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: The money’s finally in the pot to make long-awaited repairs to a section of bicycle path that crumbled into the waters off Plumb Beach nearly four years ago.

Councilman Lew Fidler informed Sheepshead Bites that he has allocated $450,000 in the Fiscal Year 2014 city budget to shore up and lay new asphalt to approximately 300 feet of bike path at Plumb Beach, after Hurricane Ida caused the stretch to fall into the sea in 2009. The path is currently closed, and has long been neglected as officials slowly rolled out plans to fight erosion at the beach, and quibbled about whether or not funding was available.

The money was allocated to the Parks Department, which is responsible for maintaining the path, Fidler said, and it should cover the entire job. But if $450,000 seems to be a high price tag for 300 feet of asphalt, Fidler said the funds were justified by the path’s important location as a physical barrier between the water and the Belt Parkway.

“Anyone who thinks it is no more than laying asphalt isn’t remembering why it needs to be done to begin with. It collapsed. It needs to be rebuilt,” he said. “If it doesn’t cost $450,000, the excess money will be returned. Better than if the amount is short, which delays the project for another fiscal year.”

It’s unclear, however, when work will begin on project. Parks projects often take three to four years before the first shovel hits the ground, as the department engages in surveys and studies in the run-up to construction. Representatives from the Parks Department said it’s too soon to tell if the bike path will follow the same schedule.

“It’s too early right now to have details on this since FY 2014 doesn’t begin until July 1. After the funding is confirmed we will start the process of survey and design, then develop a bid and procure a contractor. Next month we should have a better idea of when work is expected to begin,” Parks spokesperson Meghan Lalor wrote in an e-mail to Sheepshead Bites last week.

Fidler, though, is more optimistic.

“I assume it will go forward more expeditiously than most jobs once the Plumb Beach restoration is done,” he said.

Fidler said in 2012 that funding for the project would come from $9 million he allocated for the construction of nearby Brigham Street Park. At the time, however, Parks claimed that those funds would only go to the park itself, and there remained no funding for bike path repairs.

The Plumb Beach parking lot and bicycle path are currently closed, as contractors secured by the Army Corps of Engineers continue the second and final phase of erosion protection at the beach. The site – a former channel that separated Plumb Beach from the mainland and allowed water to pass through into Shell Bank Creek before the creation of the Belt Parkway – has long been victim to nature’s fury. After years of erosion ate away the coastline in an attempt to reclaim the channel, the beach was shored up in 1992. Over the next decade, the new sand washed away, reviving calls from groups like the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association for a long-term fix. After Hurricane Ida pummeled the beach in 2009, when water threatened the Belt Parkway’s resiliency and obliterated the bike path, Army Corps began studying possible fixes, and determined it would restore the sand, add vegetation that would hold it in place, and construct two stone groins and a breakwater that would keep sand from drifting away.

Contractors closed the parking lot and bike path to stage their equipment as they begin the second phase of the project – constructing the groins and breakwater, and planting vegetation.

The plan to protect Plumb Beach includes a breakwater and two stone groins at both ends of the beach.

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