Today’s Headlines

  • Gerritsen streets

    See follow-up blog entry
    Green Streets Died Tonight
    http://www.gerritsenbeach.net/

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    That CBS News video is amazing. Has anyone else here seen “the Amtrak subsidy” compared with subsidies to other modes so directly in the mainstream media?

  • Eric

    Nice to see the good folk of Gerritsen Beach filling an auditorium to kill a plan to plant trees and calm the streets in their neighborhood. If there’s more to this story than meets the eye, please enlighten me.

  • Franklin

    Indeed, Eric, Gerritsen Ave. appears to be the Park Slope 9th Street story on steroids.

    It appears that the Green Streets plan was killed b/c people were concerned that the planted median would disrupt traffic flow and the ability to double-park. No talk about how to prevent the double parking or create an environment where kids can walk and bike to school rather than being dropped off by double-parking parents.

    As on 9th Street, pedestrians have been killed on this street. But, no, traffic flow and double parking is the priority, apparently.

    They seem very proud of themselves for having killed the Green Streets plan.

    It won’t be soon enough for a 25-foot climate change induced storm surge to roll ashore and wipe this neighborhood off the map.

  • Josh

    People get the streetscape they want. If that’s what people in Gerritsen Beach want their neighborhood to be like… I don’t know, there’s part of me that says “that’s their prerogative.”

    I guess it bothers me less because I don’t actually even know where Gerritsen Beach is and therefore don’t anticipate being there anytime soon.

  • Brooklyn

    Most Green Streets become overgrown, litter-and-vermin infested mini-jungles anyway. The city plants with zero planning for how to maintain.

    The outcome is hardly surprising. Gerritsen Beach is at the very heart of car-centric Brooklyn. There isn’t a subway for miles, and your only non-car commute is a nausea-inducing express bus that wends its way through East Flatbush, Midwood, Ditmas and Kensington.

    Let them do as they please — nobody goes there who doesn’t live there anyway.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “People get the streetscape they want. If that’s what people in Gerritsen Beach want their neighborhood to be like… I don’t know, there’s part of me that says “that’s their prerogative.””

    I agree. Were I running for Mayor, I would allow different community boards to vote for one of two packages of street-use rules, “auto-oriented” or “people-oriented.”

    The former would include free parking, signal timing at the state speed limit, limited pedestrian crossing times, liberal curb cut regulations, stronger enforcement of minimum parking requirements, no attempt to limit motor vehicle through traffic, liberal rules for trucks, no bike lanes except for through routes, and no block parties.

    The later would include:

    Resident parking permits for a fee with funds dedicated to local improvments, including public funding of sidewalk repair,

    Lights timed at bicycle speed (say 18 mph) with signs that indicate this is the case),

    More bike lanes, traffic calming to discourage through traffic except on major arterials,

    No parking requirement,

    Curb cut and parking restrictions,

    Alternate side reorganized so both sides of the street are done on the same day, with the no-parking hours extended for the streets to be used as play streets,

    Traffic free weekends on commercial streets.

    Etc.

  • Franklin

    Let them do as they please — nobody goes there who doesn’t live there anyway.

    DOT didn’t just randomly pick Gerritsen Ave. for a redesign. This whole thing was initiated after a pedestrian was killed here. There are serious implications to poorly designed, auto-oriented streets.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Were I running for Mayor, I would allow different community boards to vote for one of two packages of street-use rules, “auto-oriented” or “people-oriented.”

    I don’t think it’s anywhere near that simple, Larry. The Greenstreets plan might have had a chance of working, but for whatever reason it got the community up in arms against it.

    If you look at this photo, you’ll see a major part of their concern: at that point the four-lane avenue in question is the only land connection (besides a narrow footpath) to the outside world for hundreds of people living in an area vulnerable to hurricanes.

    In addition to the blog post and the photo gallery, Mr. Cavanaugh has put video of most of the meeting on YouTube:

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4

    He’s promised an edited version, but I think that all liveable streets advocates should sit through the full 30 minutes to see what happens when you fail to convince a community of the value of a proposed improvement. Sadly, we only get to see a few seconds of Lew Fidler, but I’m glad he understands the importance of deep breathing.

  • Jonathan

    Larry, considering there are only 837,971 licensed drivers (2007 data from DMV) in Kings County, population 2,508,820 (2006 Census estimate), or 33%, it seems mighty undemocratic to have any “auto-oriented” neighborhoods in the borough.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Mr. Cavanaugh has just posted part 5, which includes the rest of Lew’s speech.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Okay, here’s part 6. I don’t know how long this is going to go on, so I’ve made a playlist.

  • Swiss

    With regards to the comment of a storm surge washing away Gerritsen Beach – if there is a possibility that this could potentially happen, do you think these people might want want the chance to get to safety? With ONE lane in and ONE lane out how do you propose this to happen in a safe and orderly fashion? They are a peninsula for crying out loud. Green streets would make evacuations that much worse.

  • Franklin

    Swiss,

    In the event of a hurricane evacuation both sides of the avenue will be used for moving vehicle out of Gerritsen Beach. This small strip of green median is not going to be the significant bottleneck facing South Brooklyn hurricane evacuees in the case of an emergency.

  • Eric

    Since some residents of Gerritsen Beach don’t seem to have a problem with driving on the sidewalk, they should manage a vehicular evacuation just fine.

    Pedestrians fleeing a hurricane, however, might not fare so well.

    More greenspace and fewer car trips would also do wonders for reducing storm surge and the likelihood of a catastrophic hurricane, respectively.

  • Swiss

    That picture doesn’t represent someone from Gerritsen Beach, not even someone from New York. Look at the plate carefully.

  • Swiss

    That picture is not necessarily representative of a driver from Gerritsen Beach. Look at the plate carefully. That doesn’t even represent someone from NY.

    Points well received gentlemen. No harm, no foul.

  • Swiss

    That picture is not necessarily representative of a driver from Gerritsen Beach. Look at the plate carefully. That doesn’t even represent someone from NY.

    Points well received gentlemen.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    I used to live on Gerritsen Ave. further inland, traffic sewer for the Belt Parkway. Cars frequently mounted the curbs. Go down Gerritsen Ave today and look at the fences of the houses, especially on the corners of Gerritsen and the alphabet Avenues and you will see where the cars can’t stay on the street and smash into the fences. One night an SUV full of NYPD recruits flipped over on our stoop totaling our neighbors car. The young kids in this neighborhood start drinking and driving at a young age. Though I still have many friends there Gerritsen is a neighborhood full of angry white people and 60-70 mph is frequent for drivers there. They probably think they need six lanes.

  • Argue

    DOT didn’t just randomly pick Gerritsen Ave. for a redesign. This whole thing was initiated after a pedestrian was killed here

    From what I understand in viewing the clips, it was a fight for a light, not green streets after a pedestrian was killed.

  • Eric

    Swiss, I knew about the Florida plate when I posted. But do you really think that the driver is from Florida? In conjunction with its recent Residential Parking workshop in Park Slope, DOT reported that 15% of vehicles in the area were registered outside New York State.

    Do we really think this was a Florida resident escaping the lousy 80-degrees-and-sunny weather in Miami for Gerritsen Beach? And do we really think someone from Florida is more likely than a local resident to drive on the sidewalk? Maybe he or she was in a hurry to get back to Florida.

  • Swiss

    Eric,

    Look, I’m not trying to be nit-picky here, really, I’m not – but that picture was outbound – from Knapp Street onto Gerritsen towards Avenue U (see Key Food on the right) because of the snow (apparently I think the Belt was backed up). I’m just saying it could have been anyone – to say it was someone from that area wouldn’t necessarily be true.

    I think everyone can agree that there are horrific drivers everywhere, doesn’t matter where you live, unforunately. If that neighborhood is happy with the outcome, then so be it. That’s all I’m saying.

    I apologize that my comment posted a few times didn’t mean for that to happen after I edited my comment.

  • GB Lifer

    Before readers start villifying the residents of Gerritsen Beach, you should check your facts. The majority of residents have been requesting some sort of traffice control, i.e. traffice lights and/or stop signs for THIRTY YEARS! It took a child’s death back in the fifties and picketing by mothers with baby strollers (who were arrested and subsequently released) before a light was installed at the grammer school. That’s the last light that was installed in GB proper. Instead of the light that has been requested numerous times, money was spent on a feasibility study for the Green Streets – which the community did not want. The money spent would have paid for that traffic light many times over. I think that residents are just frustrated over the fact that the politicians have been ignorng this request for more than an unreasonable amount of time. Other neighborhoods have had traffic lights installed on corners that weren’t even in existence when we started our requests for a light Don’t be so quick to throw stones unless you live here.

  • Traffic Lights Stink

    GB Lifer — Why are you so sure that a traffic light will solve your pedestrian safety problem? Traffic professionals — especially those with expertise in pedestrian and safety issues — will tell you that traffic lights can actually make crossings more dangerous for pedestrians. Studies have found that motorists with a green light are more aggressive. They drive faster through intersections, turn faster, and tend to ignore the right of way of pedestrians in crosswalks. This is probably why DOT proposed street engineering to “calm” traffic and reduce vehicle speeds. European cities with the safest conditions for pedestrians are actively removing traffic lights and traffic calming streets for this reason. I’ve been in your neighborhood. The DOT proposal would increase safety far more than a traffic light.

  • poster

    is probably why DOT proposed street engineering to “calm” traffic and reduce vehicle speeds

    Lights Stink,

    I can appreciate this point, and Calming traffic sounds like a fantastic idea, however, there are many factors to consider in that area.

    It seems that a big concern was that the proposed green streets would considerably narrow the already narrow main thoroughfare and according to teh site maintained by Mr. Cavanaugh, many people there feel that it would cause concern for other things such as passing of emergency vehicles and so on and so forth (see website for more info if interested).

    I’m sure these folks had more reasons than one for vetoing (sp?) such plans. And I’m afraid to say that the GB lifer person is right – you should not cast stones if you don’t live there to know all, or at least some of the facts.