May/June 1996, p.10-11

Neighborhoods

Brooklyn

Brooklyn Heights: Cops to Ticket Speeders Who Aren't "Speeding"
The 84th precinct hears lots of complaints about speeding, but often finds that drivers aren't breaking the 30 mph speed limit. The DOT is considering a 15 mph speed limit for Brooklyn Heights' narrow brownstone streets, but the precinct plans to act now by ticketing drivers for speeds above what officers find 'reasonable or prudent."

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Downtown: Fulton Mall Takes a Hit
One of New York's most successful business streets took a hit recently when the city replaced Fulton Mall's brick paving with conventional asphalt. Brooklyn Borough DOT Commissioner Joanne Foulke called it a gut-wrenching decision." Now Downtown Brooklyn's best pedestrian space looks, like any other street. Ironically, the Regional Plan Association's recent blueprint for a revitalized downtown calls for more cobbled streets.

Boerum Hill: Community Fights Drive-Thru
Businesses and residents along Atlantic Avenue are fighting a McDonald's proposal for a drive-thru restaurant that would bring more cars and pollution to the brownstone neighborhood. Because a walk-in store would fit better with existing stores and homes, T.A. has asked the city's Board of Standards and Appeals to reject McDonald's application for a zoning variance.


The Bronx

Co-Op City: Auto-Dependent Designs Threatens to Implode:
Years ago, Co-op City hastened the Bronx's decline when residents of old neighborhoods moved into new auto-dependent homes. Now the city's largest housing development is in trouble because of its auto-dependent design. A new J.C. Penney, multiplex theater, and Home Depot are planned, but residents are wary of the traffic that will be created. Maybe once the whole thing seizes up, businesses and residents will see the benefits of setting up shop in transit-friendly areas like the Hub and Fordham Road.

Madison Avenue Bridge: Sidewalk Repaved
Described in City Cyclist's September 1994 Bridges Special Report as the worst Bronx-Manhattan crossing, the Madison Avenue/138th Street bridge sidewalk has finally been resurfaced. The sidewalks are now smooth as a baby's bottom. Work is underway on the roadway surface.


Manhattan

Tribeca: Greener Greenwich Street
Community Board One and the city's Economic Development Corporation (EDC) have finally agreed on a plan to narrow Greenwich Street and create a vibrant pedestrian plaza. Real estate developers had originally provided $9.1 million, but the city spent the money on other projects. The outraged Board agreed to a scaled-down $2.8 million version. CB 1 plans to hold public hearings by June.

Union Square: Park Expanding, Piece by Piece
DOT is expanding Union Square into Union Square West in order to give the Greenmarket space to operate while the MTA rehabs the subway station. The city has already narrowed the roadway at 17th Street and plans to close a vehicle lane in the next few weeks. As we reported in our March/April issue, the DOT has plans to turn Union Square West into a pedestrian space, but is waiting for Community Board Four to decide what it wants before conducting traffic studies. TA. is working with local businesses to reach a compromise within the next few months.

Harlem: Community Board Wants to Ravage City College Campus
City College has closed St. Nicholas Terrace between 135th and 140th Streets to work on a utility tunnel, and Community Board Nine doesn't like it. The board wants to re-route traffic down car-free Convent Avenue, the heart of the campus. The board's goal: to harass the university in order to speed up construction.


Queens

Hillside Avenue Bus Lane Dead in Water
The Transit Authority loses more than $250 million a year because its buses sit in traffic behind cars and taxis. In late 1994, the agency proposed a new "New York Bus Lane" that allows buses to move and trucks to unload, but discourages cars from entering. The feds even agreed to pay for a test on Hillside Avenue. The catch? The City Office of Management and Budget won't accept the money because it would make the budget look bigger.

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Staten Island

Shades of Robert Moses: Greenbelt Threatened Again
Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari announced recently a plan intended to improve the Island's severe congestion problems. His proposal calls for new road connections, extensions, widenings, and realignments, but offers no recommendations for mass transit services, express bus lanes, or other measures that could reduce the number of miles Island residents drive. Worst of all, the plan would pave undeveloped Greenbelt property.

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