Archive for the tag 'biking'

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.

Source: h-bomb via Flickr

Earlier this month we reported on plans by the Parks Department and the National Parks Service (NPS) to introduce more tourist-friendly elements to Jamaica Bay, like bike rentals and food concessions. Now it looks like the Parks Department and the NPS have announced three Requests for Proposals (RFPs) that further detail their plans to attract more visitors via a press release.

The leaders behind this effort cited the success that the Rockaway Beach Club has experienced since their introduction of diverse food carts and offerings.

“We are excited about this opportunity to partner with the City to expand visitor services at our beaches through the wonderful food found in New York City’s mobile food trucks,” said Linda Canzanelli, Superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area. “Expanded opportunities for biking, canoeing and kayaking are great ways to help everyone experience America’s great outdoors and the wonders to be found around Jamaica Bay.”

The Parks Department and the NPS are seeking food vendors for “a one year term, with three, one year renewal options – exercisable at NYC Parks’ and the concessionaires’ mutual discretion.”

If you have a food truck business and would like to get on the ground floor of the emerging Jamaica Bay tourist scene, the Parks Department and the NPS are accepting proposals to their RFPs right now. Here are the details from the press release.

All proposals submitted in response to these RFPs must be submitted no later than Monday, April 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm. There will be a recommended proposer meeting and site tour on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 10:00 am. Meetings begin in the multipurpose room (to the right of the lobby and down the hall) of Gateway National Recreation Area’s Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field, which is located at Aviation Road and Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn.

Hard copies of the RFPs can be obtained, at no cost, through Monday, April 8, 2013 between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays, at the Revenue Division of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which is located at 830 Fifth Avenue, Room 407, New York, NY 10065.

The RFPs are also available for download through Monday, April 8, 2013 on the Parks Department website. To download the RFP, visit http://www.nyc.gov/parks/businessopportunities and click on the “Concessions Opportunities at Parks” link. Once you have logged in, click on the “download” link that appears adjacent to the RFP’s description.

For more information or to request to receive a copy of the RFP by mail, prospective proposers may contact Lauren Standke from the Revenue Division of Parks at (212) 360-3495 or at lauren.standke@parks.nyc.gov.

Cyclists have been riding on the Belt Parkway to avoid dismounting at the destroyed portion of the bike path.

Bicyclists will have to endure another summer of rubble on the Plumb Beach bike path, as the city has again postponed repairs to the 300 feet of asphalt swept away by Hurricane Ida in 2009.

Authorities from the Parks Department confirmed to Sheepshead Bites that work on the Plumb Beach bike path – part of the popular Shore Parkway Greenway – will not begin at least until the Army Corps of Engineers replenishes sand at Plumb Beach. That task is not expected to begin until early fall.

Oh, and there may not be funds for the repairs. Keep reading to find out more.

The “transportation advocacy organization,” Transportation Alternatives — whose mission it is “to reclaim New York City’s streets from the automobile, and to advocate for bicycling, walking and public transit as the best transportation alternatives” — will be bicycling over to our neck of the woods this weekend, and I know all of you will give them a hale and hearty welcome… right?

According to the TA Brooklyn Committee calendar, for its “Monthly Ride,” members of the group will ride this Sunday, January 29 at 11:00 a.m., to Emmons Avenue, “since there has recently been discussion about problems for cyclists there and recommendations for improvement.” From the calendar item:

The riders will meet at the corner of Washington Ave/Eastern Parkway in front of the Brooklyn Museum at 11AM. We will ride a couple of blocks on Eastern Parkway, then make a right on Bedford Avenue and ride Bedford all the way to Emmons Avenue, where we will get a chance to see first-hand the current layout and what we can suggest to improve the situation for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. We will make a left on Emmons and ride until Knapp St, where we will make a left, go a few blocks and wind up at Jordan’s Lobster Dock, where we can warm up with some clam chowder, lobster rolls, grilled salmon sandwiches or other delights. Be sure to bring a lock so you can comfortably leave your bikes and head inside to eat. Heading back, we can take Bedford Avenue again, or we can ride Emmons a little further and hook up with Ocean Parkway. The ride will be 16-17 miles round trip including the lunch stop. Approximate time for people heading all the way back to the Brooklyn Museum location would be 2.5-3 hours.

For additional information, call (212) 629-8080 or go to www.transalt.org.

With a tainted history of traffic accidents and the death of a 4-year-old boy, Oriental Boulevard is now sporting brand new bike lane signs courtesy of the New York City Department of Transportation. The agency hopes the signs will provide a safer street, but local leaders are incensed, saying the signs indicate the agency is backtracking on community-led initiatives that the agency had previously appeared to support.

Keep reading to find out what locals have to say, and how the DOT defends its actions.

Source: Jaszek Photography via Flickr

A local advocate is proposing a marked bike lane on Emmons Avenue to make cycling on the busy stretch safer. The only problem is community leaders don’t care one iota for the plan.

Continue Reading »

It’s no secret that City Councilman Lew Fidler is not one to coddle bike lane advocates. The pol has been painted by bicycling enthusiasts as a car-crazed obstructionist hell-bent on keeping his district’s yokels addicted to gasoline. But to locals, he’s a bit of a savior, winning over Community Boards and civic groups in his district by blasting the Department of Transportation’s misguided installation of bike lanes in awkward, unsafe and unwanted areas.

But if you ask the councilman, he’s not on a crusade against peddlers and their thoroughfares; he just wants more community input – and input from local cyclists – before a bike lane “drops out of the sky,” as he put it in September 2010, when he announced he would draft legislation securing that right. (Sheepshead Bites was the first to report on the legislation, back in August 2010.)

Continue Reading »

As if the city’s bike lane battles weren’t serious enough – what with top-less protests, Holocaust comparisons, and misplaced priorities - Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz kicked it up a notch by skewering the city’s bike line obsession, and fanatical proponents, in a song and dance routine. Literally.

Joining the cast of Symphony Space’s political cabaret Thalia Follies during the production’s first Brooklyn performance, Marty Markowitz took to the stage to voice the plight of Brooklyn drivers, besieged by the city’s fast-and-furious implementation of lane alterations citywide. Bus lanes and bike lanes and sidewalk cafe lanes – all given a tribute of sort to the tune of “Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music.

“Strollers and schlepers and skaters and joggers,/ Holiday lanes just for all the egg-noggers,/ Let’s not forget cars, it’s getting insane./ Welcome to Brooklyn the borough of lanes,” Markowitz crooned in his Elmer Fudd-like voice.

Keep reading to find out the backstory.

Intersection of West 9th Street and Avenue T. Source: Google Maps

There is no shortage of tragic reminders about how dangerous reckless bicycling can be in New York.

Thirty-nine-year-old Bath Beach resident Joseph Granati was pronounced dead after the bike he was riding collided with a 2002 Nissan Altima at the Gravesend intersection of West 9th Street and Avenue T just after 3 p.m. on Sunday, according to The Daily News.

Police officers on the scene reported that the unidentified 24-year-old driver who Granati crashed into had the right of way and that Granati — whose head reportedly “smashed through the rear passenger-side window of the car” when he tried to turn onto Avenue T off of West 9th — had gone through the red light and was killed upon impact.

The driver stayed at the accident scene and was not charged with any crime.

It is unknown whether or not Granati was wearing a safety helmet.

 

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