Category Archives: Cars vs People

A Tree Falls in Park Slope

Whoa… Diane writes on the Park Slope Message Board:

“Wow! At 3 AM, my son looked out the window – 6th Ave bet.10-11th St. and witnessed this huge tree come crashing down…totally destroying a Honda. Thank goodness this happened in the middle of the night and so there were no cars or people walking around. This happened because the city is finally taking down the “eyesore” vacant buidling and were digging with a big piece of machinery right in front of building.”

“Apparently they severed the roots of the tree & last night it came tumbling down. I think the initial digging had something to do with disconnecting the pipes but I really don’t know exactly what they were doing. The fire dept. sawed off the limbs but the entire tree trunk was still there this morning blocking all traffic in both directions.”

Here’s an image that was also posted over at the Brooklyn Record:

treeImage028.jpg

LINK: A Tree Falls in Brooklyn [Park Slope Message Board]

No Bikes in Greenwood Cemetery??

Cars: Of course.
Bikes: No.

communitybuilder writes: “The no bikes rule in Green-Wood Cemetery is bizarre, nonsensical, and most of all, a real shame. Why can’t I go with my old Brookyn cousin by bike to visit his parents’ graves?”

“That was our plan a couple of summers ago, but we weren’t allowed. Green-Wood management didn’t think biking to the grave site was ‘compatible with the decorum’ of the cemetery. Rather, they preferred us to visit the cemetary in an exhaust-spewing, loud, broken down ’87 Toyota pick-up. Rolling up in that piece o crap vehicle, we were given carte blanche to drive anywhere we wanted on the grounds. Rolling up on bikes, we were treated like criminals.”

“I think this rule is so ridiculous that I actually wrote Green-Wood’s management a letter a few years ago urging them to change the rule. I hope other people might write them too. Their response to me was that they view bicycles ‘as recreational in nature.’ Try telling that to the 130,000 New Yorkers who now use bikes to commute to work at various times during the year…”

“I know it seems weird to some people to get exercised about not being able to ride a bike around a graveyard. But it’s actually a common thing in other cities. I’ve done bike rides through the old historic cemetaries in other big cities, and it’s fantastic…”

“As to this idea that Green-Wood is all about decorum… the cemetery was originally conceived as a recreational area as well as a place to bury the dead…”

Time to give back Greenwood to the biking public? More info in the Prospect Heights Message Boards

Parking Spot Squat on 7th

What are car owners getting away with in Park Slope?

Monthly rent for a 750-sq-ft apartment in Park Slope: $2500
Hourly “rent” for a 250-sq-ft metered parking space: 25 cents

parkingsquat3.0.jpg

Did anyone see this or talk to these people? This was reported on Naparstek.com a few days ago:

“On Saturday, a group of Livable Streets advocates staged a ‘parking squat’ in Park Slope, Brooklyn (see QuickTime video here). Organizers David Alquist, Jeff Prant and Geoff Zink showed up in front of the Connecticut Muffin shop on 7th Avenue and 1st Street at 9:00 am, dropped quarters in two parking meters, unfolded lawn chairs and proceeded to hang out, drink coffee, read the paper and chat with friends, neighbors and passersby in street space that would typically be occupied by two lifeless automobiles.”

“A parking squat challenges the idea that the vast majority of a crowded city’s street space–its public space–is best used for the storage and movement of private automobiles. Space is one of New York City’s most precious and valued commodities. The sidewalks of Park Slope’s shopping avenues are narrow and on nice weekends they are jam-packed. Yet, while pedestrians hauling strollers and shopping carts jostle up against one another on tiny strips of sidewalk, single-passenger vehicles frolic across vast swaths of asphalt.

“And while some people in this neighborhood pay as much as $2,500 per month to rent an apartment the size of a parking spot, renting an actual parking spot costs a mere 25 cents per hour.”

Is it really only a quarter?? If so, that’s maybe $3 a day (assuming meters are “read” only 12 hours per day) and $90 a month. At that rate, you could rent a 1,000-square foot apartment for $360 a month.

Read more here: Naparstek.com: Parking it in the Slope

What if They Strike and Scabs Take Over?


Brooklyn Subway Refugees

Scenes from summer 2003, originally uploaded by CatsFive, who wrote: “During the 2003 blackout, the subways, which run on electricity, all stopped. Lots of riders had to exit the subway in some pretty unusual ways.”

OK, we got a temporary reprieve… last we heard, the latest deadline is tonight at 12:01 am. To get you in the mood, STACEY posted the following tidbit (about the strike from the early 1900s) in the Message Boards:

“Subway motormen on the BRT had gone out on strike on Nov. 1st, 1918. Dispatchers and supervisors were pressed into service as replacement workers. That day, dispatcher Antonio Luciano was assigned as motorman on the Brighton Line that ran at that time from Park Row over the Brooklyn Bridge (which had train traffic at the time) and Fulton Street to the current Franklin Shuttle. He had never before operated elevated trains in passenger service.

“… Luciano had to navigate an S-shaped curve on what would later be called the Franklin Shuttle at Malbone Street. The speed limit at the location was posted as 6 MPH, but those on the scene later reported that he roared through at what must have been 50 MPH. The first car held the rails, suffering only minor damage, but the second and third cars derailed, the second being demolished and the third nearly so. About 100 passengers lost their lives, though Luciano was spared.”

Don’t PANIC: Message Boards

Stroller Survey: Cross “Improved” GAP at Your Own Risk

363-stroller.JPGElizabeth Hays writes in the Daily News: “It’s a jungle out there for frazzled city parents forced to push a stroller along bumpy, treacherous streets, a new (Transportation Alternatives) survey shows.”

Grand Army Plaza was hands down the most notorious Brooklyn spot. The busy traffic circle is near stroller-heavy destinations, such as the Brooklyn Public Library and Prospect Park.”

QUOTES FROM PARENTS who answered the TA survey:

“The corner of Flatbush and Grand Army Plaza in front of the library is a KILLER. Please fix.”

“You feel you are risking your child’s life on a daily basis [at GAP].”

“My son flew out of stroller flat on his face (with a ‘thunk!’) when we hit a bump once.” (This one was actually regarding a treacherous situation in Park Slope proper, not GAP)

Daily News Photo (Bales): Cecilia Varas, of Prospect Heights, uses a pedestrian crossing to wheel 2-month-old son, Aedan, across Grand Army Plaza: “I pray and hold on to my stroller because I’m scared.”

BONUS:Is GAP really that much better?? KAY SARLIN of the Transportation Department claimed that Grand Army Plaza has already been improved, with longer crossing times (huh??), added sidewalk space (you mean the pedestrian island? that’s so far outside of any traffic path that it’s still as pristine as the day it was poured), ramps (about time), and pedestrian barriers (the bollards are a huge improvement, even if the vast majority of them protect that no-mans-land that Sarlin described as a “sidewalk”).

Discuss in the Message Boards

Honking on 8th Ave.




Originally uploaded by propaganda panda.

Jennifer White Karp in the New York Times:

“At 12:30 a.m. one recent Thursday, a car horn outside our window wakes us. The offender leans on the horn for a good 10 seconds, only to pause and honk again and again…”

“In the age of the cellphone, this is outrageous! Why honk? Especially at this hour, when the residents of Eighth Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn, are seemingly tucked in bed.”

“‘Can you actually reach the car with the flashlight?'”

Read more…

Bollards: Will Pedestrian-Hostile NYC Join the Rest of Western Civilization?

Must read: Aaron Naparstek’s lengthy treatise on Bollards, the hardened steel, concrete or stone posts buried into the pavement of city streets and sidewalks:

corner.jpg-762414.jpg“In Northern European cities, you see bollards all over the place. They are used to make sure that if a motor vehicle accidentally jumps up on to a sidewalk, pedestrians are protected. Bollards are a kind of urban preventative medicine. They stop crashes before they happen.”

“We have bollards in New York City. But … rather than using them to protect people, we use them to protect things — fire hydrants, pay phones and important buildings into which we believe terrorists might want to drive car bombs.”

“…There is often a sense in New York City that motor vehicle traffic is akin to a natural phenomenon… we’ve become conditioned to motor vehicle carnage as the natural order of things … It’s no wonder. In the same week that the Reyes family was run over there were at least three incidents of vehicles jumping up onto the sidewalk and doing serious damage to people and property in Park Slope, Brooklyn, my neighborhood.”

“Bollards are cheap and easy. Even some of the most run-down and industrial parts of East Berlin have pedestrian bollards … We could afford this if we wanted. We could show they are successful and worth it …”

GAPtraffic.jpg-730043.jpg“This sad state of affairs on NYC’s streets is slowly beginning to change. Last year, a group of Park Slope advocates, myself included, teamed up with the Prospect Heights Parents Association and Transportation Alternatives and successfully lobbied DOT to install protective bollards around the intimidating traffic island in the middle of Flatbush Avenue between Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library.

“It’s not ideal. The traffic signals are still timed in such a way that they trap pedestrians on the island in the middle of Flatbush. They could have done much better.”

LINK: Making NYC’s Streets Safe for Hydrants & Pay Phones [naparstek.com]

DISCUSS: Park Slope Message Boards