Archive for the tag 'bicycling'

brigham

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: After many years, proposals, battles and studies, the plans to begin work on Sheepshead Bay’s newest green space, Brigham Street Park, are finally unveiled.

The park will be sited at Brigham Street, sandwiched between Emmons Avenue and the waterfront. The current site is now a rubble-filled lot abutting the entrance to the bike path and greenway leading out to Plumb Beach. That entrance is about to get a whole lot more appealing with what looks like might be the new gem of Emmons Avenue’s eastern terminus.

The park will feature a playground, walking path, picnic tables and lots and lots of greenery.

Let’s take a closer look at the plans currently being circulated to local leaders by the Parks Department, and which will go for approval by the Public Design Commission later this month.

Check out the plans!

Sheepshead Bay Bicycles (Source: Google Maps)

Sheepshead Bay Bicycles located at 113 Noel Avenue in Gerritsen Beach (Source: Google Maps)

New York City is bicycle crazy these days as exercisers, sightseers and cash-conscious commuters of all stripes are hopping on bikes like never before. The bicycle craze has not gone unnoticed by Robert Ferrarin of Gerritsen Beach, who has made a killing in repairing and selling used bikes.

According to a report by Crain’s New York, Ferrarin runs his business out of his garage located at 113 Noel Avenue in Gerritsen Beach. Ferrarin, who owns a construction company, started repairing bikes as a hobby but has seen his hobby grow into a lucrative business:

Sheepshead Bay Bicycles is poised to sell 1,000 bikes this season at an average of $300 each, up from 80 bikes during his first year in business five years ago. Customers come from as far afield as New Jersey and Connecticut, he said, and so does the inventory, replenished by six retired men who scrounge for salvageable bike parts at yard sales throughout the tristate area. He performs a tune-up with every purchase, while his wife, Brenda, assembles the bikes and his friend Richie Delea manages sales.

“We thought our first year was good,” he said. “Then it just so happened that we started at the right time.”

Ferrarin’s business was nearly washed away because of Superstorm Sandy, which destroyed 200 bikes at a cost of $30,000 in damage. Despite the setback, Ferrarin noted that the city’s Citi Bike program, which lets anyone rent a bike at kiosks around the city, has added to the bike craze – and his business.

“People who are nervous about riding in the city will get more comfortable. When they get tired of [returning their Citi Bike] every half-hour, they might want to come buy a bike,” Ferrarin told Crain’s.

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.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz announced today that he will withdraw legislation he introduced in the Assembly earlier this month that would transfer oversight of a swath of sand at Brighton Beach and Coney Island from the state to New York City.

Cymbrowitz did not credit the decision to opposition from environmentalists who worried the Parks Department, less constrained by the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s more stringent oversight, would botch the job, as first reported on Sheepshead Bites. Instead, the Sheepshead Bay-Brighton Beach legislator said he did it because he himself had mounting concerns over Parks Department decision-making in light of the controversial new boardwalk comfort stations.

“I believe that giving the city any additional authority of the area near the boardwalk is a mistake. The state Department of Environmental Conservation should continue to have oversight and this legislation will not move forward this session,” Cymbrowitz said in a strongly worded letter to the mayor, according to a press release.

The bill, which can be read here, would have transferred oversight of 250 feet of sand immediately south of the 2.5-mile Riegelmann Boardwalk. It was sponsored in the Assembly by Cymbrowitz and co-sponsored by Alec Brook-Krasny. Diane Savino introduced it in the Senate.

When asked about the legislation earlier this week, Cymbrowitz told Sheepshead Bites that plans to create an already funded bicycle path adjacent to the boardwalk had been stalled for nearly eight years. Cymbrowitz said that the DEC had denied the Parks Department’s application, as well as other attempts to build community resources on the beach, and that he had hoped to free Parks from DEC’s yoke.

That upset activists who said that the DEC had more stringent standards for a reason: they serve as a watchdog over would-be projects that can contribute to beach erosion and other environmental risks.

The Parks Department told Sheepshead Bites that they did not request the bill, nor had any input into it.

Cymbrowitz has now changed his tune, saying that the plan is nixed because he has lost faith in the Parks Department’s ability to meet residents’ needs, citing the new boardwalk comfort stations as the turning point. Residents from the Oceana Condominium complex have protested the new bathrooms and comfort stations adjacent to their facility, claiming that they obstruct views and attract vagrants. Cymbrowitz sided with the residents, even sending a letter to the Parks Department.

His concerns have escalated alongside the mounting missteps of the comfort stations’ installations, according to his press release:

His appeal fell on deaf ears and, despite several well-publicized protests by Oceana residents, the original plan prevailed. During installation, the piles hit solid granite and seawater and the borings couldn’t go through, delaying the process. The Parks Department then devised an alternative construction plan that involved pouring concrete in the sand. Environmentalists and FEMA have already deemed this method unsafe, according to Assemblyman Cymbrowitz.

The legislation, however, was introduced on May 3 – at least a month or more after Cymbrowitz sent his critical letter to the Parks Department opposing the comfort stations.

Sheepshead Bites could not reach Cymbrowitz for comment on this article. We will update this post if we hear back from him.

UPDATE (4:28 p.m.): Brighton Beach resident Ida Sanoff, executive director of the Natural Resources Protective Association, which vocally opposed the legislation, is celebrating the withdrawal as a victory for the community.

“It just goes to show there’s no limit to what you can do when you shine a light on the darkness. And just the fact – politics is all about looking good – and just on the basis that this was being done so quietly raised a lot of red flags,” said Sanoff. “This would have had far reaching impacts on all the people who live and work along the shoreline. This would have put hundreds of thousands of people who would have been put at risk. This is a victory.”

She added: “Sometimes these things are resurrected in a slightly different form. I can assure you that we’re going to be very, very vigilant. We’ll keep a close eye on any piece of legislation that’s proposed that has anything to do with the shoreline … There are no secrets along the shore. If it doesn’t come out in the wash, it’ll come out in the rinse.”

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Legislation sponsored by local officials seeks to transfer jurisdiction over the sands of Brighton Beach and Coney Island from the state to the city, allowing them to move forward with a long delayed bicycle path. But local activists are calling foul play, saying that it undercuts stringent regulations that are in place for a reason.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz has introduced legislation to the State Assembly that would transfer 250 feet of property south of the 2.5-mile-long Riegelmann Boardwalk along Brighton Beach and Coney Island to the New York City Parks Department. Even though the Parks Department maintains the land, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has final say about work to be done there – and according to Cymbrowitz, the agency has repeatedly blocked a planned bike path that would run the length of the property.

“[Funding was allocated for a bike path] almost 8 years ago. It was done by [Assemblyman] Alec Brook-Krasny’s predecessor Adele Cohen. Alec and I have continued to ensure that it’s in the budget, and every time we attempt to work with Parks Department, DEC says no,” Cymbrowitz told Sheepshead Bites. “As part of the money that Alec and I gave for the redoing of the boardwalk several years ago, the plan was also to put additional play areas on the sand to make it more enjoyable for families and individuals. Again, DEC said no. So that’s where the legislation came from, because DEC is the agency of no.”

Cymbrowitz’s proposed legislation would wrest control from the state agency, and give the Parks Department total control of the area south of the boardwalk. It’s co-sponsored by Brook-Krasny and sponsored in the State Senate by Diane Savino.

Brighton Beach resident Ida Sanoff, executive director of the Natural Resources Protective Association, said the pols have their story all wrong, and says this is just an end-run around important regulations that keep neighbors safe.

For starters, the DEC has never rejected the request for a bike path. In fact, that request was never made, she said.

“Within the last six months I followed up with DEC. And according to DEC, the Parks Department never completed the application. And if I know this, why don’t they? There’s something very, very wrong here and no one can give me a straight answer as to what’s going on,” Sanoff said.

A DEC spokesperson told Sheepshead Bites they could not comment on pending legislation. Asked in an e-mail follow-up about the application for a bike path, the agency has not yet responded. Similarly, the Parks Department has not responded to a request for comment.

Brook-Krasny, however, said that he only recently learned that Parks may not have completed the application, and is considering withdrawing his support for the legislation, although he will still push for the bike path, he told Sheepshead Bites.

“One day we’ll have a bike path. But again, there’s a question about why that application was denied. We’ll have to look into it,” said Brook-Krasny.

The Coney Island legislator said that Sandy was also giving him second thoughts about transferring jurisdiction. When Sheepshead Bites noted that he signed onto this legislation more than six months after Sandy, Brook-Krasny reiterated his need to look over the proposal.

“With everything that’s happening after Sandy, I’m just rethinking what was done even after Sandy,” Brook-Krasny said after we pointed out the time gap. “Look, I’ve got to look into it and really think about it, and think together with Steve Cymbrowitz. The idea to have a bike path is a great idea, and I understand the application by the Parks Department was never completed. I just need to spend some more time on it. ”

According to Sanoff, the DEC’s more stringent regulations require any work on the beaches to include proper studies into erosion. She said that fixed structures – particularly hard ones made of concrete – increase the potential for erosion, and with it, the damage caused by flooding.

“There is a reason why there are coastal engineering studies and a coastal hazard area,” Sanoff said, suggesting that Parks would not be required to do those studies. “The way water hits concrete, the wave energy is concentrated. When it hits something soft like wood or sand, it’s weakened. If you look where the bathrooms were hit, you can actually see where the water has eroded the land under the building. Anytime you put any kind of structure on the beach, you have to be careful that it doesn’t cause erosion. That’s why you don’t have structures on the beach.”

She added that the bike path itself is a bad idea, since it’s one long stretch of hard material that will cause water to eat away at the beach – and crash into homes and businesses in the next flood.

“The main concern is putting three miles of concrete down without any engineering studies, without any oversight, and also building quote-unquote recreational facilities, which will most likely be buildings,” Sanoff said, referring to plans by legislators to add recreational facilities as part of the boardwalk renovations – which, according to Cymbrowitz, the DEC has also opposed. “This is going to be a disaster. It’s going to make Sandy look like an overflowing bathtub.”

The text of the Assembly bill can be read here.

Senator Savino’s office did not return a call requesting a comment.

Correction (10:30 a.m.): The original version of this article referred to Sanoff as the chair of the Natural Resources Protective Association. She is actually the executive director. We have amended the post to reflect this, and regret any confusion it may have caused.

5 Boro Bike Tour

Source: BikeNewYork.org

Attention drivers! There will be a number of street, bridge and highway closures all over the city this Sunday, as the Five Boro Bike Tour takes two-wheeling participants from edge to edge of New York City.

Most relevant to our area is that a portion of the Verrazano-Narrow Bridge will be closed for most of the day, as will the Gowanus Expressway and BQE.

The lower level of the Verrazano Bridge from Brooklyn to Staten Island will be closed from 12:01 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Brooklyn-bound lower level will also close at 12:01 a.m. Two lanes will reopen about 8 a.m. The upper level will be open in both directions.

From 7:45 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., the BQE/ Gowanus Expressway will be closed between BQE – West Entrance Columbia Street and the Verrazano Bridge. Beyond Columbia Street, the Bike Tour’s route is mainly on local streets, though their presence on the BQE also means traffic exiting the Hugh L. Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel in Brooklyn will be diverted to Hamilton Avenue from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

If you’re planning on driving around any other borough on Sunday, make sure you check with the DOT’s advisory.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to kick off the second phase of construction on Plumb Beach in April, but say they’ll have to close the parking lot and detour the damaged bike path until the end of the year.

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Oriental Boulevard and Amherst Street (Source: Google Maps)

A man’s claims that he was riding his bicycle on Oriental Boulevard yesterday when a white SUV struck him and then took off turned out to be phony, police sources told Sheepshead Bites. In actuality, the supposed victim was the perp – a man nabbed for allegedly trespassing in a neighbor’s yard.

Police described the 24-year-old perp as a “bad character” with a rap sheet that includes nine previous arrests.

According to authorities, a vigilant neighbor spotted the perp looking through backyards and peering into cars. She snapped a photo of him with her cell phone and called police. The suspect then took off on his bicycle, and the neighbor began following him. The suspect then took his bike and threw it down on Oriental Boulevard and Amherst Street, laid on the floor and claimed the neighbor hit him with her car.

EMS responded to the scene and found the suspect without a scratch on him, and police pieced together the story.

The 24-year-old is charged with trespassing and menacing.

UPDATE (4/25/2012): This story has been updated with information from the NYPD, indicating that the bicyclist was allegedly an attempted trespasser and was not actually hit by a car.

Original post:

A bicyclist was struck by a white SUV on Oriental Boulevard at Amherst Street at approximately 11:30 a.m.

According to a scanner report, the cyclist claims a white SUV hit him on purpose, then left the scene when he called police.

An ambulance is en route to the scene.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

Existing and proposed bicycle routes in Community Board 15. Dotted red lines are "potential bike routes." (Click to see the full map)

Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo is blasting the city’s plan to add three new bicyle routes in the Sheepshead Bay area, saying it puts cyclists’ lives at risk.

The city’s master plan for bike lanes identifies Avenue Y, Avenue T and Avenue P as potential bike routes within the boundaries of Community Board 15. The exact paths of the bike routes are:

  • Avenue Y between Ocean Parkway and Knapp Street. Knapp Street is also a proposed bike route between Emmons Avenue and Gerritsen Avenue.
  • Avenue T between Stillwell Avenue (where it branches off to Bath Beach and Coney Island) and Gerritsen Avenue.
  • Avenue P between Stillwell Avenue (where it joins another proposed bike route heading up Bay Ridge Parkway) and Nostrand Avenue. At Kings Highway there is a proposed spur that runs up Kings Highway into Canarsie.

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