Friday, October 10, 2014
By Kathleen Horan : Reporter, WNYC News
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By Brigid Bergin : Reporter
As New York's new first family prepares to pack up and move to Gracie Mansion, a fellow Park Sloper bids farewell and vows not to trash their house with a rager.
Monday, November 25, 2013
By Kate Hinds
Calling it "a gift to the city," a group of activists changed the speed limit in Park Slope this weekend by hanging rogue 20 mph speed limit signs along Prospect Park West.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
By Janet Babin : Economic Development Reporter, WNYC News
A Brooklyn, New York subway station house shuttered some four decades ago is open again.
The station at Fourth Avenue between 9th and 10th streets in Park Slope will allow customers on the F and G subway lines to avoid crossing the six-lane avenue to reach their trains, or going in a roundabout way through the R train service entrance to reach the F or G lines.
The NYC MTA says more than 11,000 people use the station on a typical weekday.
The renovation is part of the a broader rehabilitation project called the Culver Viaduct.
When the station was closed in the 1970's, Park Slope was considered a slum -- "blighted" as was the mot du jour.
The station house looks quite a bit different from what it looked like back in the 1970s. The transformation includes new lights, floors, repainted walls, and new turnstiles.
Additional restorations at the station house yet to be done include plans to restore all four entrance globes, store front windows and the installation of a public address system on station platforms. The historic archways, now covered up, will also be restored.
The Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz, kicked in $2 million towards the restoration.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Opponents of a bike lane in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood are formally appealing a judge's decision to dismiss the group's lawsuit.
Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety had sought removal of the mile-long protected bike lane, claiming the city had pitched it as temporary. But their argument was dismissed by a judge, who ruled in August 2011 that the group had “presented no evidence that D.O.T. viewed the bikeway as a pilot or temporary project.”
"We still want to have a full hearing on all the issues raised by the DOT’s failure to conduct a proper safety study and collusion with pro-lane advocates,” said Georgia Winston, an attorney for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the firm representing NBBL.
Mark Muschenheim, the attorney who has argued the case for the New York City Law Department, said in an emailed statement: "We are confident that the trial court's decision in our favor will be upheld on appeal. The popular bike path continues to enhance the safety of all who use Prospect Park West."
The city has 30 days to respond by submitting its own brief, after which point the court may schedule an oral argument.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Scenesters, make room for the strollers. One of Brooklyn's best known music venues, Southpaw, is shutting down at the end of February. A branch of NY Kids Club, which offers classes and an after-school program for children, will take over the 7,500 square foot-bar and club in Park Slope. Would you rather have a music venue or a children's recreation center? Cast your vote here.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
By Maria Newman
Vasiliy Bogin, the director of a private Moscow school, hovered over first graders at P.S. 321 who were engaged in a writing lesson, and met with a variety of education officials during a whirlwind day that introduced him to New York City schools. His takeaway? "There are a lot of people who want to make education better."
Monday, August 29, 2011
By Annmarie Fertoli : Associate Producer at WNYC
New York City officials are keeping a close eye on one of the steeples of a more than 100-year old church in Brooklyn, following Tropical Storm Irene.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Wednesday was the first day of formal court hearings in Brooklyn's Prospect Park West bike lane case (see our coverage here for more information). And as we reported, the judge adjourned the case for a month to give the group suing the city time to review the documents from a Freedom of Information Law request it made.
We are also looking at those documents. Here's the background:
Soon after Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes/Seniors for Safety (NBBL) filed a lawsuit earlier this year seeking the removal of the Prospect Park West bike lane, the group's attorney, Jim Walden, submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request seeking all records AND /emails between New York City Council member Brad Lander and/or his staff and a group of known bike-lane supporters.
In a statement today, Walden said: “We are pleased that Justice Bunyan has given us adequate time to review the FOIL documents - all 691 pages of them – that Councilmember Lander provided the night before today’s hearing. We are confident that we will find even more evidence that will help our case, given the close relationship between Councilmember Lander, DOT, and bike lane lobbyists."
Lander also provided Transportation Nation with copies of the emails.
It's no secret that the Brooklyn councilman is a longtime supporter of the PPW bike lane. He's filed an amicus brief in support of the New York City Department of Transportation (the agency being sued over the lane's installation), and he held a rally outside a Brooklyn courthouse Wednesday morning, just before the hearing. And an initial read of hundreds of pages of email correspondence between Lander and others, including members of Brooklyn's Community Board 6 and various bike advocates, provides a glimpse into Lander's strategy to advocate for the lane: facilitate public displays of support for the lane, make the case that Prospect Park West is now safer for everyone, and keep hammering home the message that both the data -- and the majority of Park Slope residents -- support the lane.
Below, some excerpts of the correspondence.
Following a New York Times profile of embattled city DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Lander moved to quickly mobilize support both at the grassroots level and in City Hall.
3/6/11 email from Brad Lander to Aaron Naparstek (founder of Streetsblog and bike lane advocate) and Paul Steely White (executive director of Transportation Alternatives, also a bike lane supporter):
"Yesterday’s article obviously makes it even more imperative that we (a) win the April CB6 vote on PPW by a large margin, and (b) get the pedestrian islands poured quickly. So we’re planning to treat the next 5 weeks like a mini-political campaign. Looking forward to working with you guys on this. I'm sharing this separately with a very small number of other mutual friends. Please keep it within this very tight circle, and be mindful of what it will look like in court. : - )"
3/7/11 email from Brad Lander to Howard Wolfson (NYC deputy mayor):
"There is very strong majority support for the PPW bike lane in Park Slope….We did an online survey (CM Levin*, CB6, and me), to which over 3,000 people responded. 70% of Park Slopers (including PPW residents, who were evenly split) favor keeping the lane. The calls, letters, emails, hearing & rally turnout, comments on the street, facebook pages, etc all run strongly (about 2 to 1) in favor of the lane. I know this may be different than in other neighborhoods around the city; but, well, it is Park Slope...Assuming that the Community Board votes in favor next month, I'm asking City Hall support DOT (and the community board, and the councilman, and majority sentiment in the neighborhood) on this one."
*NYC Council member Stephen Levin
When the bike lane isn’t plowed, no one is happy – not even bike lane opponents.
1/23/11 email from Aaron Naparstek to Brad Lander:
“I’ve been asking around trying to figure out who is responsible for the PPW bike lane not being plowed for the second time in the last few weeks. I assumed it was Steisel* talking to some old friends in Sanitation. Tupper** – very off the record – says Marty*** has insisted that the PPW bike lane be the last street in Brooklyn that gets plowed and, for some reason, Sanitation is complying. Apparently not even Norman is happy with this. Tupper first asked Steisel if the lack of plowing was his doing. He said that the lack of plowing has actually made it harder for him to access his car and he doesn’t like it either.”
*Norman Steisel, former Deputy Mayor, former Sanitation Commissioner and member of Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes
** probably Tupper Thomas, the former head of the Prospect Park Alliance
*** Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President
Even if a few parking spaces are returned, the bike lane still probably won’t please the borough president:
2/7/11 email from Brad Lander to David Woloch (deputy commissioner of external affairs for the NYC Department of Transportation):
“I’m waiting for a response from Carlo* on whether Boro Hall will take part in my ‘let’s find a few parking space’ exercise. I was clear with him that the goal is to have it included in the CB6 resolution in favor of pouring concrete, but that Marty would of course be free to fulminate against the lanes until the end of time (or his term, whichever comes first).”
* probably Carlo Scissura, Marty Markowitz's chief of staff
About that survey: bike lane opponents were concerned about who would participate.
10/18/10 email from Lois Carswell (member of Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes) to Craig Hammerman (district manager of Brooklyn's Community Board 6); cc: Brad Lander
“But the larger concern is that anyone, anywhere can participate and receive consideration. The bike lobby is extremely well financed and organized. At the push of a button they can elicit hundreds if not thousands of responses from people who have never – and will never – cross the Brooklyn Bridge. This is something that is basically impossible to check. It is one thing to say that park users who do not like in Park Slope deserve to be heard, but to allow well organized bikers from anywhere in the city who have no intention of ever casting their eyes on Prospect Park West to influence the survey’s outcome is just plain wrong. None of these people have to live with the dangerous, congested conditions and the defacement of a magnificent boulevard that installation of the bike lane has caused. Responses of Park Slope residents—especially those in the Prospect Park West corridor—should be heavily weighted. The others should be heavily discounted, even though they might support the overarching agenda of a bureaucracy which does not have to live with the consequences of its actions.”
Sometimes Lander wanted to keep the more vocal bike lane supporters out of the spotlight:
3/8/11 email from Brad Lander to Aaron Naparstek and Paul Steely White (leading up to a press conference on the steps of City Hall):
“Can I make a somewhat sensitive request: For today, I think, it would be better to minimize the ‘radical bike extremists’ part of this story…so while it would indeed be great to have a few people at the presser, I’d like to keep the speaking to Park Slope leaders who have not already been tagged in this light…and I also think it makes sense (though I recognize this will read like a megalomaniac politician) to try to have people who reach out to TA*, Aaron, Streetsblog instead talk to me, Michael Cairl**, etc. (Sorry! I hope you know this is for the cause.”)
* Transportation Alternatives
** Michael Cairl is the president of the Park Slope Civic Council
Lander felt that opponents weren't just reacting to the bike lanes.
12/12/10 email from Brad Lander to Aaron Naparstek:
“On the one hand, there is a strong outer borough populist strain, which is what I think is strongest in the opposition, and lumps bikes, Bloomberg, Park Slope/UWS*, congestion pricing all in one big lump. SO it doesn’t help us much with this crowd that there is support in Park Slope for PPW. (And this is why I think it is hard to make Marty feel any pain on this: for him, culturally, this is an extension of the Atlantic Yards debate.)”
* Upper West Side of Manhattan
1/22/11 email from Brad Lander to Aaron Naparstek:
“Backlash is definitely more organic than that. Jimmy Oddo & Eric Ulrich & Lew Fidler & Dov Hikind & Jimmy Vacca* are all acting on their own here, none influenced by PPW. I think CQ** is very unlikely to get involved. It’s not only the physical manifestation of Bloomberg (though it is very much that), but it also links the things they hate about Bloomberg with the things they hate about Park/Slope/Upper West Side/liberals.”
* all are members of the New York City Council
** Christine Quinn, the Council speaker
It's not easy being one of the only elected officials who vocally supports the bike lane.
Despite his position as a bike lane standard bearer, at one point Lander seemed to be a bit piqued when he felt Transportation Alternatives had misrepresented his position on the bike lane as being lukewarm -- as shown in this 7/15/10 email from Brad Lander to Paul Steely White:
"We're very glad to get the pro-bike calls on the bike lanes, so that we will be able to report accurately that the calls are running strongly in favor of the bike lanes. But I wouldn't mind also getting a bit of credit with the TA crowd for being the only elected official who's been willing to stand up in support of this. Yes, I've tried to cover my flank a bit by asking for the data from the study period, and have tried to engage the NIMFY's* in an open spirit...but in every communication I've been straightforward about my support...so I certainly have not been winning any love from them! And as the only elected official I know of who's been willing to clearly express support...I'm taking plenty of their fire."
* Not In My Front Yard
And remember: other eyes may be reading.
3/9/11 email from Brad Lander to Eric McClure (founder of Park Slope Neighbors and a bike lane supporter), Aaron Naparstek, Benjamin Fried (editor of Streetsblog), Paul Steely White, Michael Freedman-Schnapp and Rachel Goodman (latter two are staffers in Lander's office):
"One thing it made us fairly certain of: this email chain will be subpoenaed!"
3/11/11 email from Brad Lander to Paul Steely White:
"I'm optimistic, but not taking anything for granted. I've been talking with CB6 (and transportation committee members, and will keep doing so, over the next week until the committee vote, and over the next month until the CB6 vote...NBBL may, of course, also reach out to CB6 members, but I think all are very clear that the 'alternative' is no 'compromise' but in fact the elimination of the bike lane. We are working with CB6 on the 'find a few more parking spots' plan, which I think (rightly) has a much better chance of being seen as an appropriate additional modification to address some of the PPW resident concerns....
PS: Hello Jim Walden!”
TN Moving Stories: Park Slope Residents To Air Feelings About Bikes Tonight, and Tulsa Transit To Do a Fast Forward
Thursday, January 20, 2011
By Kate Hinds
Support for making people register their bicycles hits Park Slope (Gothamist)--which is also where, tonight at 6:30 (Old Reformed Church - Carroll and 7th Avenue) the NYC DOT will present their preliminary Prospect Park West bike lane findings to Community Board 6. The Brooklyn Paper says that the bike lane is working, and "accidents have plummeted dramatically since the installation of the controversial Prospect Park West bike lane in the spring, new city data reveals."
The NYC MTA says Select Bus Service has sped up travel on Manhattan's East Side by up to 19% (NY1).
Gen Y housing preferences were the subject of at least two panels at the National Association of Home Builders convention. A key finding: They want to walk everywhere. (Yahoo Real Estate)
Tulsa unveiled Fast Forward, that city's new transit plan, which will include standard buses, express buses, streetcars, commuter rail and light rail transit. (Tulsa World)
China is planning on installing 10 million electric vehicle charging stations by by 2020. (Autoblog Green)
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials kicked off a six-week social media campaign Wednesday to generate public response about the country's transportation needs. The group plans to present the videos and comments to federal officials in March. (Washington Post)
These are strange transit days in Toronto. One Globe and Mail columnist writes: "First, a new mayor refuses to go ahead with a light-rail network that has been planned, approved, announced and funded, with contracts signed and construction under way. Now, the regional transit agency, Metrolinx, recommends going ahead with a project – electrification of GO Transit lines – that would take two decades to plan, approve and build and that lacks any government funding whatsoever."
Brooklyn residents say MTA platform closures leave them stranded. (WNYC)
Chrysler is partnering with the EPA to develop a new minivan that doesn't use batteries or electric motors to drive it (CNN Money). Meanwhile, Toyota is developing a car battery that doesn't use rare earth metals (Gas 2.0).
Is Venice going on a "road diet?" Suck it in, cars! (LAist)
One KALW listener witnessed a bus rider roasting marshmallows with a Bic lighter on a MUNI bus.
Mayor Bloomberg tweet from yesterday's State of the City address: "If subway fares increased as fast as pensions, by next year it would cost $8.39 a ride!"
Top Transportation Nation stories that we’re following: Mayor Bloomberg talked about livery cabs and ferries in yesterday's State of the City address. NYC's first rental of a Chevy Volt happened yesterday. And: What can the US learn from Europe's restrictive parking policies?
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010
By Kathleen Horan : Reporter, WNYC News
Snowed-in streets have made life difficult for those who make deliveries across New York City and those who receive them. Park Slope, Brooklyn, is one of the neighborhoods that has experienced a slowdown in food and beverage service.