Archive for the tag 'construction'

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.

http://d8bixwancjkpp.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/statenisland.jpg

Staten Island after the Hurricane Sandy
(Source: Flickr photo by Desiree Arroyo)

The Build it Back program serves to help people whose homes were destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, but for many people this either wasn’t enough or they weren’t eligible for assistance. Now a new, privately funded program aims to distribute $15 million  in privately raised funds to homes across the city.

The funds come from the Mayor’s Fund and additional support from the Robin Hood Foundation, the American Red Cross and JPMorgan Chase.

According to the program’s site, reconstruction will begin immediately. If you’re interested in applying, call NRNYC at 212-455-9309 for more information.

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!

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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Sleep Inn Hotel

Construction site for the Sleep Inn Hotel (Source: Amusing the Zillion)

Amusing the Zillion reported last week that Sleep Inn Hotel is now under construction on Stillwell Avenue and Avenue Z, just north of the Coney Island Creek, making it the first new hotel in the neighborhood in decades.

The site reports:

A sign on the construction fence says “Anticipated Completion: Fall 2015.” Mahesh Ratjani, one of the partners in the project, tells ATZ: “We are hoping to have it completed by the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015.” According to DOB records, a 12,989 square foot, four-story hotel will occupy the 13,000 square foot lot. Sleep Inn is a member of the Choice Hotels Group.

Documents on the Department of Buildings website show the hotel will have 53 guest rooms.

The problem is that the 2590 Stillwell Avenue lot, which was purchased in 2007 for $1.9 million, isn’t really part of Coney Island. ATZ says it’s the border of Gravesend and Bath Beach, and I’d agree. Regardless, it’s far flung from the amusement district, and ain’t the kind of hotel we were thinking when we heard hotels were coming to Coney Island.

hockejos

There are at least a dozen cameras between these houses.

John Hockenjos successfully won his freedom after fighting a false arrest in 2011, but he remains mired in a legal battle that threatens to see his property turned over to what he says is an unscrupulous developer. This month, a Queens-based state senator joined the battle, saying Hockenjos is another in a long line of victims of malfeasance and incompetence at the Department of Buildings.

Hockenjos and his wife, Irina, have been fighting with their East 23rd Street neighbors Elen and Argo Paumere since June 2009, when the Paumeres purchased the home next to them with plans for an ambitious overhaul. According to the Hockenjoses, red flags flew fast when they were approached to sign documents turning over a two-foot easement to their new neighbor.

They didn’t sign, and that triggered an all-out war between property owners, according to the Hockenjoses, which includes allegations of physical violence, corruption and even involvement in the false arrest. It has also cost them their jobs, their health, and more than $150,000 in legal fees, they say.

“We’re jobless. We’re money-less. Our health was destroyed tremendously. We lost our reputation,” Irina Hockenjos told Sheepshead Bites. “[The neighbors say] we’re criminals in all kind of ways. We’ve sued them in civil court because they’ve said we’re insane, and that John is a Russian mobster and he walks naked in the street.”

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construction

A long-standing sidewalk obstacle in front of the derelict Maimonides clinic at 3121 Ocean Avenue is finally being fixed, with contractors on the scene yesterday.

The site was previously a pit covered by a foot-tall concrete slab and surrounded by barricades.

Here’s what it looked like when we passed by in October:

construction2

It was covered in trash and debris, and was long on my to-do list for griping here on this site. It bothered me because it not only attracted garbage and was a fairly horrendous eyesore, but also because it was an obstacle that took up a huge portion of sidewalk. Next door to the site is the Bainbridge Center, an adult daycare facility. So it’s fair to assume the area is pretty highly trafficked by seniors and the disabled.

A contractor on the scene told us it was a telephone utility manhole damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Looking into the pit while they worked, it was deep and empty. While the contractor blamed Sandy, I recall this being a problem spot long before the storm, with the sidewalk broken and raised up. I can’t remember if they began the work before the storm, but I believe they did.

It also bothered me because it was supposed to be fixed nearly a year ago. A sign on the site over the summer indicated it was a ConEd job, not a telephone utility, and work was supposed to be done by February:

construction3

That never happened. Some time in the fall this sign was spray painted so that the construction information could not be read. Covering tracks much? Maybe.

Hopefully they finish the work quickly and responsibly. It’ll be nice for neighbors to have their sidewalk back, instead of covered in construction and trash.

upgrades

Allan Shweky of Friends of Ocean Parkway posted the above photo on Monday, showing a multi-level outdoor garage that serves a condo building on Ocean Parkway. In the photo, you see that a contractor is closing up the bottom level of the garage with cinder blocks.

It’s an attempt to prevent sand and water from flooding the garage, as it did during Superstorm Sandy. In the photo to the left, taken right after Sandy, you can see that sand dunes left behind by the storm buried the vehicles.

We’ve seen this tactic elsewhere. Several residential buildings in the flood zone have sealed up basement windows, leaving small holes or PVC tubes for ventilation. It’s not a flood proof tactic, of course, but it may help stem the force and speed of water as it pours in.

This got me thinking – what have large residential buildings in our area done to prepare? When Igor Oberman, president of the board at Trump Village 4, was running for City Council, he touted the storm preparation efforts he implemented at the complex, including an improved communication system, elevated generators, a satellite phone and more.

As far as we can tell, though, Trump is in the minority. Many buildings appear to have rebuilt as they were. But it’s hard to say without knowing management. So, if you live in a residential building, let us know in the comments what management has done to protect you and your neighbors from future floods.

bridge

Contractors for the Department of Transportation were at the Ocean Avenue footbridge today, putting a layer of primer down on the 132-year-old span – the first time it’s been splashed with paint since the structure was rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy.

It’s a welcome sight. Passing that bridge frequently, the unpainted portions wore on my heart, reminding me of how, the morning after the storm, I came to find it in tatters, with railing ripped off and planks long gone. As our Erica Sherman wrote at the time:

Thrashed by a combination of violent waves during the storm’s high tide, and the terrifying howl of 90-MPH winds, which sent untethered boats crashing wildly into the bridge’s structure, passersby were shocked the next morning to see huge portions of blue wooden handrail either dangling into the water or completely washed away, one of the more high profile symbols of destruction that trounced our area.

Thankfully, an anonymous reader texted me today, alerting me to the fact that the crew was there, working on it.

By the time I stopped by this afternoon and took the above shot, the crew had gone home. But the bridge is almost completely covered in brown primer, which will (hopefully soon) receive a layer of blue paint on top.

Today being the anniversary of the storm, it seemed especially fitting. I’m looking forward to seeing the work completed.

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