Archive for the tag 'dot'

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?

Photos (see inset) by Allan Rosen. Click to enlarge

Photos (see inset) by Allan Rosen. Click to enlarge

THE COMMUTE: As the MTA contemplates today and on Wednesday how many more service reductions from 2010 they will restore, let’s focus today on a local matter.

During the past two weeks, NYCDOT repainted the much maligned and nearly totally worn out zebra stripes and bicycle lanes on Oriental Boulevard. This was the first restriping in about nine years since four traffic lanes were reduced to two.

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Photo by Allan Rosen

Photo by Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: For those who don’t know Yiddish, a “shonda” means a crying shame. That’s the only way I can think of describing the above picture showing an Adopt-A-Highway segment strewn with weeds and litter. It puts the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) and Community Board 15 (CB 15) to shame, although I doubt that the community board is at fault. I could only wonder that if this is a highway beautification zone, how high would the weeds be and how much more litter would have accumulated if CB 15 had not paid to have this site “beautified.”

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Photos by and courtesy of Allan Rosen

THE COMMUTE: In early 2012, we reported on confusing Department of Transportation (DOT) parking and traffic regulations and on confusing and outdated signage mentioning the taxi stand on Brighton Beach Avenue. That stand is not even listed in DOT’s database of taxi stands so apparently they are unaware of its existence.

In January 2013, DOT — realizing the problems with existing signage that were causing unnecessary confusion — unveiled a new format for parking regulatory signs, which shortly thereafter began to make their appearance in Manhattan. A consultant was hired who devised what you see here.

Click here to see the photo and continue reading.

The Boardwalk Flyer Ride will surround the proposed plaza space. Source: Facebook

Earlier in the week, we updated you on the somewhat controversial Department of Transportation plan to install a pedestrian plaza space on the southern end of Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, but those plans have been halted for the time being, according to a report by the New York Post.

Apparently, Councilman Domenic Recchia convinced the DOT to take the project off the table before it reached Community Board 13, deciding that there were more important places to direct city funds in Coney Island these days.

“Right now, spending [city funds] to fix Coney Island’s beaches, parks, playgrounds and school yards [following Hurricane Sandy] is much more important,” said Recchia, who contacted the DOT after The Post first reported of the agency’s plan two weeks ago.

To add to the list of things on which money would be better spent, there’s the post office, library and police station.

Although the plaza isn’t going to happen anytime soon, the DOT promised that they would consider it at a more prudent future date when Coney Island gets back on its feet.

The Boardwalk Flyer Ride will surround the proposed plaza space Source: Facebook

The Department of Transportation (DOT) wants to install a plaza on the southern end of Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, according to a report by the New York Post.

The plaza would replace 15 metered parking spaces with tables, chairs and decorative potted plants and will cover a block from the boardwalk to Bowery Street. The Post goes on to describe what would surround the plaza:

The dead-end street is currently flanked by the Scream Zone amusement park, go-kart tracks, a beach bar and a 110-foot-high Boardwalk Flyer thrill ride.

Valerio Ferrari, president of Zamperla USA, which runs the adjacent amusements, said he supports the plaza “100 percent” because “losing a few parking spaces” isn’t as important as “beautifying” the boardwalk’s main gateway and “making it more family-friendly.”
The DOT’s plan, to be presented to Community Board 13 tomorrow, isn’t being welcomed by everybody.
Steven “Butch” Moran, the CB13 vice chairman, worries that the plaza will just create more traffic on Surf Avenue and make it more difficult for emergency vehicles to reach the boardwalk. Moran also expressed a fear that the elimination of affordable parking will hurt local businesses due to the already limited parking options in the area.
Local business owners expressed mixed feelings regarding the possibility of a pedestrian plaza.

Jimmy Kokotas, owner of the nearby boardwalk eatery Tom’s Coney Island, said he fears that eliminating the spaces could hurt business but likes that the plaza would offer boardwalk patrons direct access to amusements abutting both sides of Stillwell Avenue without making them cross the street.

“We also don’t want it to become a hangout,” he said. “You want people eating and sitting there 15 to 20 minutes and then giving others a chance.”

We were wondering what our readers think. Does a pedestrian plaza located at the end of Stillwell Avenue seem like a good idea, or will it be a colossal waste of perfectly good parking space? Let us know.

Source: satyadasa via flickr

Progress continues on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) seven-year renovation plan of the Belt Parkway’s seven bridges and overpasses, as the Fresh Creek Basin Bridge opened to westbound traffic, according to a press release.

As we’ve previously reported, construction along the Belt Parkway has caused heavy traffic problems, so the opening of the Fresh Creek Basin Bridge should help the thousands of cars that run along the highway flow. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan seems to thinks so.

“Each day our Belt Parkway bridges come alive, carrying 150,000 cars and connecting commuters and commerce across the city and the region,” she announced in the press release.

The bridges and overpasses were built over a half century ago, forcing the impetus for revitalization and repair:

As with the other six Belt Parkway bridges, the total replacement of the Fresh Creek Basin Bridge and its approach roadways will provide the necessary upgrades to bring the structure into compliance with current State and Federal standards. This includes wider travel lanes, safety shoulders, median barriers, improved elevation of the roadway around curves and realignment for improving sight distances and drainage enhancements. This project replaces the original Fresh Creek Basin Bridge, which, along with the other Belt Parkway bridges, was constructed more than 70 years ago and has reached the end of its useful life.

Source: Jaszek Photography via Flickr

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), seniors account for 38 percent of pedestrian fatalities, yet represent only 12 percent of the population. The reasons for this discrepancy, they say, are the lack of “complete streets.”

What are complete streets, you ask? Well, according to the National Complete Streets Coalition, “complete streets are designed and operated so they work for all users—pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.”

Essentially, they are the sort of streets that are neatly organized with sensible traffic flow, clear traffic signs and wide walking spaces that compliment bike lanes so pedestrians and bikers aren’t getting in each other’s way.

An example of a “complete street.” Source: smartgrowthamerica.org

New Yorkers can sense when they aren’t on a “complete street.” Incomplete streets are the sort of narrow sidewalks that barely accommodate two-way foot traffic, have winding twists and no clear intersections that promote safe crossing. According to the DOT, the lack of complete streets present a real issue for seniors:

A recent report by AARP showed that 40% of adults over 50 reported inadequate sidewalks in their neighborhoods, and 50% reported they cannot cross streets safety. The report also revealed that many people would walk, bicycle or ride the bus if these conditions were improved.  Challenges that frequently affect people’s mobility as they age include declining vision, reduced physical fitness and flexibility, decreased ability to focus attention and increased reaction time.

For the DOT, the need to proliferate the city with “complete streets” will become a pressing issue within the next decade as 2025 the population of older adults will double, likely leading to an increase of pedestrian accidents. Because of this, they are advocating community involvement and awareness in “complete street” policies and planning. Here is some relevant information:

Attend a DOT forum or workshop about transportation or neighborhood planning.  Visit our event calendar or view upcoming events on Facebook. Participate in your community board’s transportation committee. (Find your community board).

Check out resources like the National Complete Streets Coalition, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management at NYU.

Source: Sébastien Santoro via Wikimedia Commons

A report from the American Automobile Association (AAA) came out last month stating that red light cameras rigged to traffic lights on Ocean Parkway and Emmons Avenue are 15 percent shorter than the average three second time for a yellow light to change into a red light.

The nationwide not-for-profit group called for widespread changes in New York’s yellow traffic light timings based on their findings. New York does not have a legal time requirement for a yellow light, and AAA claimed that this is a danger for pedestrians and drivers.

Now, information has come from the Department of Transportation that states the study done by AAA was completely bogus because the intersections they claim to have surveyed are timed at three seconds, an appropriate duration, while some of the intersections in question don’t even have red light cameras.

AAA is now saying it’s study wasn’t all that much a study at all.

“It wasn’t really a study,”said AAA Spokesperson Robert Sinclair, in a story published by Streets Blog. “It was an ad-hoc survey.”

What is factual is that the cameras brought in a lot of money from tickets issued, up to $235 million in funds in the past five years. As we’ve stated before, many drivers and advocates say that the cameras and quick-to-change lights are a danger and a way to collect quick revenue, rather than a means to control traffic safety.

After the AAA reports surfaced, DOT claimed they did their own survey on the intersections AAA mentioned and found them to be within regulation. They also put up a frequently-asked-questions post on their site refuting the claims that AAA made:

Myth: Traffic signals are timed with shorter yellow signals to snare motorists.

Fact: New York City’s traffic signals are all timed to provide a minimum of 3 seconds of yellow light, which is consistent with national guidelines. Red-light cameras take pictures 0.3 seconds after the light has turned red.

Myth: A news report found four camera locations where signals were timed to less than 3 seconds.

Fact: All four locations reported on were immediately inspected and all were found to have appropriate timing. Two of the four intersections reported on didn’t even have red-light cameras. There has been no substantiation that any red-light cameras in this report were improperly timed or led to any violation being issued incorrectly.

AAA still states that the unregulated lights need to be addressed.

“Whatever it takes — if it’s a city law, if it’s a state law, there need to be some standards put into place,” said Sinclair.

The following is a revised important notice from the NYC Department of Transportation Division of Bridges, noting nightly lane closures on the east bound Belt Parkway through mid-July.

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