Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dollar vans to replace the B71?

Gary Buiso of The Brooklyn Paper reports that the Taxi and Limousine Commission--now headed by former Brooklyn City Councilmember David Yassky--has approved a plan to turn the former B71 route into a dollar-van route.

As best I can tell, this doesn't mean we'll actually have dollar vans running up and down Union Street. The TLC just approved the concept. No dollar-van operator has actually said he or she will take the route.

Writes Buiso:
The Taxi and Limousine Commission quietly approved the privatization initiative that will allow livery vans to operate along bus routes eliminated by the cash-strapped state agency — including the B71 route that once journeyed from Columbia Street through tony Carroll Gardens and Park Slope on its way to Crown Heights.


Under the plan, the vans will only be allowed to pick up passengers at specified locations — but drop-offs can be at locations negotiated by the driver and commuter.
Some neighborhood activists are dubious about this proposal:

“Oh my god, it’s insane!” said Maria Pagano, president of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association. “You’ll have guys dive-bombing in and out on Union Street between school buses.”

Roy Sloane, president of the Cobble Hill Association, added that the “public-private partnership” leaves a bad taste in his mouth.

“The government should be providing essential services that don’t necessarily make a profit,” he said. “The government and this administration seems to be keen on privatizing all the services that [they] used to provide.”
What do you think?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Explosions" in Columbia Waterfront

Did you hear the loud explosion-like sounds in the neighborhood yesterday? Deputy Inspector Kenneth Corey, from the 76th Precinct, emailed an explanation (h/t Craig Hammerman, CB6):
During the past several hours, several "booming" noises have been heard throughout Carroll Gardens and parts of Red Hook. We have heard them here in the station house as well. Obviously, this has concerned many residents of the area, as 911 and the precinct switchboard quickly became inundated with callers reporting explosions, fireworks and gunshots. We have been informed that the booming noises are caused by the electrical transformers, something to do with the heat and the demand for power. We have surveyed the precinct along with the Fire Department. None of the transformers or manholes have actually "exploded," or gone on fire, and there are no reports of power outages within the precinct, and the noises heard are definitely not caused by gunshots or fireworks.

We will continue to respond to all calls for service. At this time, there is no cause for alarm. This is an issue with the Con-Ed transformers, and not a criminal or other sinister act.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Your Input Needed for BQE Enhancement Workshop

Now's the time to Fix the Ditch. CoWNA encourages all Columbia Waterfronters to attend the community workshop on the BQE Enhancement Project that the NYC Economic Development Corporation is holding next Tuesday. If you want something that's more than cosmetic, it's essential that the engineers and designers hear from the community.

When: Tuesday, July 20
Time: 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Long Island College Hospital

Here's some info on the last workshop. Make sure you com on Tuesday -- and please help spread the word.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Please join us for our summer general meeting of the Columbia Waterfront Neighborhood Association membership. Items on the Agenda include:

  • Guest speaker from the DDC reporting on the final phase of the Columbia Street Reconstruction Project
  • Update on BQE Enhancement Study (Remember workshop is on 7/20!)
  • Report on the DEP Gowanus Facilities Upgrade work on Degraw Street
  • Committee reports
Date: 22 July 2010
Time: 6:45p
Location: 29 Tiffany Place Community Room (more chairs this time).

Monday, July 12, 2010

People's Hearing on the B71 Bus

Join the Straphangers Campaign and former B71 riders for a People's Hearing on how the loss of the B71 bus has affected our neighborhoods. This event will take place just before the MTA's public hearing on station booth closures.

When: Tuesday, July 13
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Where: Cooper Union

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Enjoy the Fireworks ... But Not Here

Disappointing news from the 76th Precinct:
As many of you are aware, the Macy's fireworks display, which is traditionally launched from barges in the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan, will be relocated this year to the Hudson River, between Manhattan and New Jersey. Unfortunately, this means that we will not enjoy the spectacular view from the Brooklyn waterfront that we have in years past. It is unlikely that we will be able to see any of the fireworks from the piers off Columbia Street or from the Valentino Pier this year, as they will be obscured by the Manhattan Skyline. If you have come to the waterfront in years past to enjoy the show, we encourage you to make alternative plans this year.
(H/t Craig Hammerman, CB6)

Improved Safety at Pier 6 Entrance

Ellen Whelan-Wuest, the soon-to-be-departing director of Senator Daniel Squadron's Brooklyn office, sends word of some good news:
After extensive conversations with the New York City Department of Transportation about the lack of safe crossings and traffic controls at the new Pier 6 entrance of Brooklyn Bridge Park on Atlantic Avenue, Senator Squadron received word from DOT today that they have heard his and our constituents' cries for improved safety. DOT outline the following steps they are taking to make these intersections safer for all Park visitors and pedestrians:
  • "Stop Here on Red" sign on Atlantic Avenue at the eastbound approach to the on-ramp, to communicate to drivers that they do not have a free left turn when the light ahead is red and the pedestrian indication across the ramp is WALK.
  • "Turning Vehicles Yield to Pedestrians" sign on Atlantic Avenue at the westbound approach to the on-ramp, to emphasize to drivers that they must yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk.
  • Conducting a traffic study to determine if further signal or regulation changes that will reduce vehicle-pedestrian conflicts at this location are feasible. Additional recommendations will be share publicly in near future.
  • Evaluating medium term opportunities for more significant reconfigurations to the street network around Pier 6 that will assist with bicycle and pedestrian park access, including the intersection of Columbia Street and Atlantic Avenue, and Atlantic Avenue west of Columbia Street.
We wanted to make sure that everyone knows right away about DOT's response to advocacy from Senator Squadron and members of the community. Senator Squadron will, of course, continue his work to improve pedestrian safety around Pier 6 and in the community. If you have any questions or concerns, please to not hesitate to contact me.
Senator Squadron's Brooklyn office, where you can still catch Ellen for a short while longer, is reachable at (718) 802-3818.

Your Weekly Public Services News Roundup


WSJ: Forced to Hire From Within, Principals Balk

NYT: Last Day of ‘Rubber Rooms’ for Suspended Teachers


Brooklyn Eagle: Safety Steps for Park’s Pier 6


Daily News: The great train robbery: These pols slashed transit funds then blamed the MTA

Brooklyn Paper: MTA service cuts make it a Monday from hell

NYT: As M.T.A. Cuts Bus Service, a Look at Who Rides Where

Crain’s: MTA to borrow $600 million amid budget woes

Brooklyn Eagle: Futile Rally Against Bus Cuts

Daily News: MTA blows millions on real estate management

Daily News: MTA won't raise fares early but will hike Metrocard, commuter train tickets in January 2011


Daily News: Union Radio Ad Slams National Grid, Con Ed on Wages