Photo By Allan Shweky
The shark-painted walkway stretching over Surf Avenue at the corner of West 8th Street was torn down over the weekend, just like the city promised.
Last May, we reported that the rusted bridge was being dismantled for safety reasons. Originally, the bridge was put up 50 years ago to transfer people coming off of the Culver and Brighton lines into the then newly built aquarium.
Critics, including City Council candidate Todd Dobrin, charged that the removal of the overpass would make the intersection less safe, as pedestrians would have to contend with traffic. Allan Shweky, who runs Friends of Ocean Parkway, a blog focused on pedestrian safety, provided us with the images of the now removed overpass and lent his thoughts.
“As you know a traffic light will replace the bridge. There will be a new entrance to the Boardwalk on West 10 Street but the walk from the subway will force subway riders to cross a crowded Surf Avenue to get to the beach. Will be as safe as the Stillwell Avenue intersection which is not saying much,” Shweky told us.
Photo By Allan Shweky
Photo By Allan Shweky
Avenue Z between East 7 Street and Coney Island Avenue (Photo via Allan Shweky)
Sheepshead Bites reader and Friends of Ocean Parkway blogger Allan Shweky sent us this photo of Avenue Z between East 7 Street and Coney Island Avenue with the following message:
Here’s a pic that I shot using my new telephoto lens. Sign congestion. There are over 30 signs of every type, shape and size on both sides of Avenue Z between E. 7 St and Coney Island Avenue. Feel safer crossing CIA?
Good question Allan.
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.
The New York City Department of Transportation is seeking recommendations for the CityBench program, an intiative to increase public seating on New York City streets.
Sheepshead Bay has numerous bus stops, retail corridors and areas with high concentrations of senior citizens that have inadequate public seating. The program is directed towards making pedestrians and transit riders more comfortable, as well as keeping senior citizens, children, and the disabled safer throughout New York’s busy high volume streets.
The benches come in two forms, one with a back and the other backless with seating availabitlity on either side. They’re three feet tall, 7.5 feet long, and two feet deep. The program aims to install 1,000 benches throughout the city on a rolling basis from 2012 to 2015.
The best part is that anyone can request a bench. The DOT is crowd-sourcing the placement, which they hope will include bus stops without benches or shelters, sidewalks near transit facilities, areas near senior citizen facilities and community health centers, hospitals, childcare facilities, schools and municipal buildings. The general restrictions concerning the bench placement is that the sidewalk must be at least 12 feet wide and the location cannot be opposite a building entance or cellar door.
The bench application is available on New York City’s DOT website, along with a list of the bench restrictions and requirements. Up to two benches can be requested for a single site by either an individual or organization, and the applier will be notified by phone and/or email about the status of their application. The local community board and property owners near the proposed benches will be notified of the program. The DOT will cover the costs of installing and maintaining the benches, with a $2.4 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration in order to further their goal to “help integrate transit into community through neighborhood improvements and enhancements to transit facilities or services”.
Where in Sheepshead Bay or Southern Brooklyn is in desperate need of a public bench? Any recommendation is appreciated. Let’s hear it!
– Taylor Reynolds
Hurricane Irene may not have been the Storm-To-End-All-Storms as promised, but it did cause a bit of a tree massacre throughout the neighborhood. Dozens of trees were felled, and some blocked streets for days. One month later, those trees are all cleaned up – except the damage that they caused to sidewalks isn’t.
Super-reader Randy Contello sent in the above photo, and an explanation:
The sidewalk on the south side of Avenue T, between East 17th and 18th Streets, has been broken and raised up since the hurricane. Now over a month later, it remains un-repaired, with no tape to stop people from walking over it. The concrete at the highest point is almost two-and-a-half feet above normal sidewalk height.
When walking on the block closer to East 18th Street, it will shift under the weight. This is a serious safety hazard for all people, especially the young and elderly. The photos that are on the site from after the hurricane show that it was been in the same shape for weeks.
Further more, the utility pole at this location also remains in a broken and unsafe, yet somewhat rigged fashion to keep it up, as it was at a 40 degree angle, hovering over Avenue T, after the storm.
I know I’ve seen other spots in similar condition since Irene. If you know of a sidewalk damaged by a tree falling during Hurricane Irene, and it hasn’t been fixed yet, let us know in the comments.
Photo courtesy of PEDS.org, via Flickr
Kings Highway and Ocean Parkway are two major Southern Brooklyn roadways to soon be fitted with pedestrian countdown signals.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that 1,500 of the signals are being installed across the city beginning this month. The countdown signals use LED lights to display the number of seconds remaining before the light changes and pedestrians lose their chance to cross the street.
According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Ocean Parkway from Park Circle to Sea Breeze Avenue, and Kings Highway between East 22nd Street and East 98th Street, will feature the new signals.
The city said the countdown will reduce the number of pedestrians in the crosswalks during the “Do Not Walk” signal, and will also reduce the high rates of pedestrian involved accidents along these corridors.
The countdown signals were also a component of the DOT’s “Safe Streets for Seniors” program, which identified intersections that have higher accident rates among pedestrian seniors. Sheepshead Bay is a test site for the program, which targets corners along Ocean Avenue and Coney Island Avenue.
Following the first round of 1,500 intersections, the DOT will roll out the new signals along other corridors where need exists.