September/October 1996, p.10-11

Neighborhoods

Brooklyn

Boerum Hill: McDonald's Update
As reported in May/June issue, McDonald's wanted to build a drive-thru restaurant at the corner of 3rd and Atlantic Avenues. They withdrew the proposal, but still want a parking lot. The Boerum Hill Association has vowed to fight any plan out of context with historic Atlantic Avenue storefronts.


Manhattan

Upper West Side: New Planetarium May Mean New Parking Lot
The Museum of Natural History's plans to replace the aging Hayden Planetarium with a larger, state-of-the-art facility are marred by the proposal to expand museum parking from 180 to 370 spaces. Residents are concerned that increased traffic will degrade their quality of life. T.A. and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign have asked the Museum to reconsider its plans in favor of encouraging transit use and making arrangements with existing local garages for special event parking.

Village: Fewer Meters to Trip Over
After months of negotiations with the NYC DOT to install double-headed meters on West 8th Street, the Village Alliance BID has finally succeeded. DOT is now eliminating half of the meter poles to make 8th Street more pedestrian-friendly.

West Village: New Island Rises
The corner of Christopher and Grove is to receive a raised island where paint and plastic bollards have failed. The lowly painted island at the foot of Christopher Park has long been ignored by cars trying to take a short-cut from Grove to West 4th Street-creating danger for pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists. The work is scheduled to be completed in September.

Flatiron: Madison Square Crash Zone
A new traffic study of Madison Square, sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, proposes reducing the high pedestrian and bicyclist crash toll there by expanding the eastern sidewalks so that speeds and crossing distance are reduced. According to traffic engineer Phillip Habib, it would cost about $700,000 to fix the intersection. Over a three-year period, 29 pedestrians and 13 bicyclists were hit by cars at Madison Square.

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Midtown: Car-Free Lunch
For the past several summers, the Grand Central Partnership has created "Pershing Square Park" on southbound Park Avenue between 42nd and 41st Streets. From 11 to 3, the lightly trafficked street is turned into a plaza with tables, live music, and food vendors. Brown bag lunchers are encouraged. The Partnership has received hundreds of positive comments-"I think it's great: the people and the atmosphere… the show outsiders what NY is about," said one Staten Islander who works in the area. The Partnership has expanded the Park to the northbound lanes as well in a month-long experiment. Plans are in the works to make the "Park" permanent, with trees, brick paving and a new restaurant underneath the Park Avenue viaduct.

Washington Heights: Henry Hudson Bridge Path Reconnect
In 1990, when the Henry Hudson Bridge toll plaza was widened, a few hundred feet of Inwood Park were paved over to build two new toll lanes. The path connecting the park to the bridge sidewalk was severed and non-motorized users of the bridge had to go through the toll lanes or climb over "decorative" planters to pass. In July, the path was reconnected with new pavement, about ten feet west of the original route.

Soho: New Greenmarket and Less Through-Traffic
Trees Not Trucks, a Soho citizens' group, has secured two major victories. In July, a new Greenmarket opened at the corner of Spring and Lafayette Streets. Open every Thursday, it is the first step in the community's reclamation of Lt. Petrossino Park. They have also secured a promise from DOT and the Port Authority to direct Holland Tunnel traffic up 6th Avenue instead of onto local West Broadway.


Queens

Broad Channel: Cross Bat Blvd Gets Bike Lane

As part of an attempt to reduce speeds on the section of Cross Bay Blvd that runs through the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, DOT has painted bike lanes between 165th and 208th Avenues. Although the lanes are too narrow and crooked lines make it appear that the line painter was drunk, the lane provides dedicated bike space on one of the two major bike routes to the Rockaways.

Elmhurst: 34th Avenue Bike Lane Nears Reality
T.A. first reported two years ago that DOT was considering bike lanes on two-way 34th Avenue from Broadway to Flushing Meadows Park. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, street reconstruction is almost complete, and the bike lane should be in place by the end of September.


Staten Island

South Shore: Fr. Capodanno Bike Lane May Be Replaced By Buses
Father Capodanno Boulevard has two problems: backed-up traffic slows express buses during rush hours, while wide lanes encourage high speeds at other times. Narrowing the road with a bike lane helps keep speeds down, but limits space for a bus lane. DOT and Island politicians are pushing a solution that would replace the bike lane with an express bus lane. The bike lane would be moved to a service road inside South Beach Park. Other alternatives include a lane that is for buses during rush hour and bikes at other times.