DOT Drops Sheepshead Bay Plaza Plan After Oppo From Deutsch, CB 15

The plan would have added pedestrian space, straightened out a bus route, and created a taxi stand. The local council member and community board aren't interested. Image: DOT
The plan would have added pedestrian space, straightened out a bus route, and created a taxi stand. The local council member and community board turned it down. Click to enlarge. Image: DOT [PDF]
More space for people near the Sheepshead Bay subway station? Council Member Chaim Deutsch and Community Board 15 aren’t interested.

A proposal from DOT to add pedestrian space near the Sheepshead Bay express stop [PDF] was panned last month by Deutsch and the CB 15 transportation committee (that would be these guys). The project now appears to have been dropped by the agency.

Sheepshead Bay Road snakes across the neighborhood grid. It’s busy with shoppers and people heading to the subway, as well as illegally parked livery vehicles waiting for passengers getting off the train.

There were seven severe injuries in the area from 2009 to 2013, according to DOT, including five pedestrians and two cyclists. A pedestrian was killed on Avenue Z beneath the train overpass in 2008. But Deutsch and CB 15 rejected DOT’s proposal to shorten crossing distances and eliminate potential conflicts between pedestrians and motorists.

Under the plan, a “slip lane” from E. 17th Street to Sheepshead Bay Road would be converted to a pedestrian plaza, as would E. 15th Street between Sheepshead Bay Road and Avenue Z.

The B36 bus route would stay on Avenue Z instead of detouring to the subway station entrance on Sheepshead Bay Road. Bus riders would walk along the E. 15th Street plaza to get between the subway and the relocated bus stop. An extra-wide crosswalk and painted curb extension would link the E. 15th Street plaza to the station entrance, and a taxi stand would be added west of the subway station.

New pedestrian islands and crosswalks were also in store for two triangle-shaped intersections on Sheepshead Bay Road.

Deutsch and community board members panned the proposal last month, concerned that a pedestrian plaza would become a gathering place for the homeless, especially if no one is in charge of maintaining the space. Deutsch also opposed having people walk a block to transfer between the subway and the B36.

“I wasn’t happy with it, and I didn’t think [community board members] were going to be happy with it,” Deutsch said. “If they come up with something that the community is able to agree on, then I would be happy with that.”

“Everyone in the room was in agreement that this was not going to fix the problem. It is going to create new problems,” said CB 15 chair Theresa Scavo, who said the street needs a taxi stand but not any other design changes. “The problem comes down to enforcement. If you have proper enforcement, traffic will move on Sheepshead Bay Road.”

Scavo said CB 15 has “constantly” been in touch with the 61st Precinct about enforcement against illegally parked livery cars, but it “is not exactly a priority” for the department. While NYPD is ignoring the issue, it seems DOT’s solution isn’t satisfying Deutsch and Scavo, either.

“My impression was that they were dropping it,” Scavo said of DOT’s plan. “Last I heard, DOT wasn’t even going to pursue it.” Deutsch said he hasn’t had any communication with DOT since the plan got a negative review at CB 15 last month.

DOT did not respond to Streetsblog’s questions about the proposal or whether it is working on a replacement plan.

  • Van Lingo Mungo

    Can’t wait to read Al Rosen’s 15-part series on why DOT is filled with a bunch of fascists and these improvements would have been the worst thing possible for cars in Sheepshead Bay.

  • Van Lingo Mungo

    Deutsch and community board members panned the proposal last month,
    concerned that a pedestrian plaza would become a gathering place for the
    homeless, especially if no one is in charge of maintaining the space.

    If they put in the plaza, the homeless would take the Q train to Sheepshead Bay just to sit there all day. What the actual fuck is Deutsch on?

  • millerstephen
  • Reader

    By now one would think we have enough evidence that this doesn’t happen. It’s like every time DOT proposes something it’s a complete effing mystery as to how it will all work out.

  • ohhleary

    I stopped at “Portions of this article were significantly changed due to factual errors that have since been corrected.”

  • That post should just be titled “Strikethrough.”

  • “There were seven severe injuries in the area from 2009 to 2013, according to DOT, including five pedestrians and two cyclists. A pedestrian was killed on Avenue Z beneath the train overpass in 2008.”

    What a community. Its civic leaders are more concerned with theoretical vagrants than they are with actual injuries and deaths.

  • I know you know this better than anyone, Stephen, but for the rest of you:

    Worth noting that “community” boards are at their most unrepresentative in areas with rapidly changing demographics, like this part of Sheepshead Bay, which is seeing a huge influx of immigrants, especially Chinese and those from the former USSR, replacing the old Italian and secular Jewish populations that traditionally dominated southern Brooklyn. So for example, the two Census tracts that cover this area are 25% Asian, of which the overwhelming majority are Chinese.

    How many Chinese names are there on the 65-strong members list for CB 15?

    Precisely one.

  • Andres Dee

    I’m not sure I disagree with Deutsch on this one. As Jane Jacobs said “A park is not automatically anything”. If there’s no grassroots support for a space, it won’t thrive. “The homeless” might not trek across town to camp out there, but without local support for its use and upkeep, it risks becoming a barren space. And IIRC, Sheepshead Bay has a not great history with public plazas, like this one that started “public”, then had its sign painted over, then got annexed to the buildings next door. https://www.google.com/maps/@40.583848,-73.94398,3a,75y,357.75h,90.91t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sA–74ZnXc3xWAIvs49BGHg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

    And having commuters walk an extra block to transfer is IMHO a big deal.

  • Van Lingo Mungo

    Rosen’s column in general should just be titled “Strikethrough.”

  • Alexander Vucelic

    it will be interesting a decade from now when the neighborhoods that embraced complete streets become thirving places whose property values are quadruple those neighborhoods that rejected complete streets.

    this divergence in property values is becoming evident with parts of Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan becoming more pricey than 10021.

  • AnoNYC

    This is exactly what is going to happen.

  • ohhleary

    With decisions like these, it’s no wonder TWU is pushing for an exemption from the Right of Way Law. This project would have eliminated 7 turns through crosswalks on an MTA bus route — the only way, they claim, to really reduce injuries to pedestrians.

    It says a lot about money and power in politics that it’s easier to change a citywide law implemented less than a year ago than to get a small project past a Community Board.

  • Andres Dee

    Of few of these southern Brooklynites’ kids will decide that there’s actually a better life in the denser parts. They might even decide that they don’t need to own, park and maintain a car. (I’m one of those.) Most will remain so wedded to their cars that they’ll eventually abandon Brooklyn for the land of free surface parking.

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