This weekend begins the intensive work on the Sandy-ravaged tunnel on the R and (late night) N line connecting Court Street station to Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan, scheduled to last until October of 2014. On weekends (presumably this means from 11:30 p.m. Friday and 5:00 a.m. Monday) and late at night (again presumably 11:30 to 5:00) Monday to Friday, the trains will run in both directions on the Q line over the Manhattan Bridge between DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn and Canal Street in Manhattan. On weekdays (presumably from 5:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.) R trains will run between Court Street and 95th Street in Bay Ridge in both directions. They will also run between Whitehall Street in Manhattan and all points north in Manhattan and Queens.
There are no other planned diversions or cancellations directly affecting service at any local stations this coming weekend or the following week. For planned service changes, including skipped stations, that may affect your travel plans on other parts of the system, please consult MTA Info or The Weekender.
From the Web
New York Times writer Gina Bellafante writes about her experience with Citi Bike Share and it wasn’t totally awesome.
NYT: In light of these declaimed absurdities, I became determined to embrace bike sharing after having had reservations, not about the concept itself, but about its execution. Last week I set out for an inaugural ride with the goal of getting from Brooklyn Heights, where there are 10 Citi Bike kiosks (so many that it seems clear that Citibank pushed to have the heaviest presence in the most affluent neighborhoods to maximize promotion) to Pike and Monroe Streets in Lower Manhattan. There, in front of the Rutgers Houses, the Transportation Department was fitting people for free bike helmets, something it will continue to do in front of Housing Authority properties all summer. The idea was to get some sense of how low-income New Yorkers were responding to the bike-sharing program and how well it might serve them.
When I went to retrieve a bike at Clark Street, there was a problem with dislodgment; none of the various codes I entered managed to release a bike. It took eight calls to the help line to get to the automated voice system and ultimately to a human being. At this point I was running late and decided to take a cab to Manhattan and return home using a bike from the Pike and Monroe kiosk. As it happened, I had to ride back to Brooklyn from another station because that kiosk was shielded with blue tape, and none of the bikes was usable.
In April, Brooklyn Spoke looked at Bellafante’s earlier critiques of the program.
From the Web
Brooklyn Heights resident/NYC TLC commish David Yassky spoke to NY1 this week about the go ahead for the plan to bring hail cabs to outer boroughs. And the cabs will be painted green(sky). Watch the video here.
WNYC: In a decision issued Thursday, the state’s Court of Appeals reversed a previous decision by the State Supreme Court which had brought the city’s plans to a screeching halt.
Under the new ruling, the city can now issue up to 18,000 ‘hail licenses’ to livery drivers. In addition, the city will sell 2,000 new medallions for wheelchair-accessible yellow taxicabs. The city has said that auction could generate $1 billion in revenue.
From the Web
London’s Bike Share czar, Nick Aldworth, has some advice for New Yorkers on both sides of the Citi Bike Share scheme. Streetsblog reports on Animal New York’s interview:
Streetsblog: Citi Bike’s first days have seen some technical problems with glitchy docks and stations, and some distribution problems — early reports suggest that Midtown tends to have pronounced bike shortages at times. Aldworth says London is no stranger to the occasional un-docked Barclays bike, and that the greater challenge is managing the distribution.
“Redistribution is the key,” he says. “Once you have thousands of thousands of people cycling around, I think the negativity will quickly go away, but that challenge of redistribution won’t.”
Cobble Hill currently does not have Citi Bike docking stations, but suggestions are being taken now for future builds. Where would you put them?
From the Web
This dispatch just in from the Cobble Hill Association about a new traffic signal coming to the neighborhood:
CHA: Every day, scores of local residents cross Court street where there is a ADA accesible curb cut but no pedestrian signalization. As part of the Court Street corridor improvement plan which the Cobble Hill Association advocated for last year, a new crosswalk will remedy this danger and bring a signalized intersection to the pictured spot where Bergen becomes Congress Street. Latest word is that the safety enhancements should be installed by early summer, but fortunately you can already see the gray metal box in the ground which will soon house pedestrian signals. It’s a small but significant improvement and one we are thankful to the Department of Transportation for taking action upon our request.
From the Web
After so much whooping and hollering from all sides all sides, the Citi Bike Share program officially launched today, as evidenced by this pic along Hicks at Montague streets—where the newly filled racks extend from the corner at Heights Cafe to J. McLaughlin.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan christened the beginning of program at a docking station near the Brooklyn Bridge Monday morning. Bike-share launches with 6,000 bikes at 330 docking stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some reports claim 9,000 people have signed up for the program so far.
And the reactions from all over the city are trickling in:
News: Well, that was fast! First Citi Bike cycle stolen: The bike-share program rode into trouble last night b… tinyurl.com/nubqwlh
— New York Post (@new_york_post) May 27, 2013
I predict CitiBike will be a success in Brownstone Brooklyn, judging by this station in Ft. Greene. twitter.com/OrenNYDN/statu…
— Oren Yaniv (@OrenNYDN) May 27, 2013
Don’t worry guys, I just Chased the first Citi Bike I saw back to the Financial District (Manhattan) #Brooklyn
— Dan Meller (@Dan_Meller) May 27, 2013
— Lisa Soverino (@lisasoverino) May 27, 2013
@lpolgreen I rode in from Brooklyn this morning on a CitiBike. It was great! Though I had to divide the trip, so as not to face charge!
— Andrea Kannapell(@AKannapell) May 27, 2013
— David Bressler (@djbressler) May 27, 2013
The only two conversations NewYorkers are having today – opinion and info on CitiBike or how amazing this weather is and how to be outside
— Lauren Manning (@lmanningdesign) May 27, 2013
First #citibike ride: flawless 19-min ride from Williamsburg to Alphabet City. Took 2 tries to dock my bike. Saw lots of others out there!
— Chris O’Leary (@ohhleary) May 27, 2013
— Skift (@skift) May 27, 2013
Findings suggest that bike accident rates won’t soar, even if the Citi Bike program becomes as popular as many predict. theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/0…
— Thomas Le Ngo (@thomaslengo) May 23, 2012
Can’t wait to be a #citibike accident statistic. My bet? It happens with a tourist who stops mid-street to take a pic of an unimportant bldg
— Sabrina Zahran (@Sabrinaazah) May 24, 2013
How long before a clueless #CitiBike tourist gets hit by a car?
— David Stehle (@davidstehle) May 27, 2013
Citibike or citideath! You decide. Literally 45 seconds after getting on I hit a metal plate when… instagram.com/p/Z0oDMpoZPC/
— Tom Arthur (@tomarthur) May 27, 2013
— OccupyHQ (@HQOccupy) May 27, 2013
The citibike is like a visual metaphor for the banks dominating NYC
— Keegan (@KeeBro) May 27, 2013
From the Web
As Downtown Brooklyn’s population continues to grow, a new report suggests that public transportation in the surrounding neighborhoods—including Brooklyn Heights—is falling behind as congestion mounts. On Tuesday, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Councilwoman Letitia James and three local civic groups released the “Brooklyn gateway transportation vision,” which argues for congestion pricing, residential parking permits, more bike lanes, bike-share stations and more rapid-bus service.
Website Capital quotes the report: “Existing traffic and parking congestion, demands on transit service and dangerous roads for cyclists and pedestrians already pose hurdles for residents, businesses and the environment. The opening of Barclays Center in September 2012 has further compounded these challenges. The lack of a comprehensive and satisfactory transportation demand management plan from the Department of Transportation and developer of Atlantic Yards” stands to further complicate the area’s potentially stifling congestion.
From the Web
Subway service on the R train from Brooklyn Heights may not be returning before the end of the year. According to MTA in the New York Daily News, “The line’s Montague Street Tunnel, which connects Brooklyn and Manhattan, saw more flooding than any of the eight subway tubes inundated by superstorm Sandy.”
In addition, “Water from an unprecedented sea surge cascaded down a tunnel ventilation shaft at the southern tip of Manhattan, and it rushed down the stairs of the Whitehall St./South Ferry station. The volume of water in the tunnel was so great it extended up a steep incline into Brooklyn Heights, about four blocks from the riverbank. It stopped about 500 feet from Court Street station.”
MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota says, “That’s a long distance and the water was floor to ceiling. “The tunnel and the equipment was severely damaged.” NYC Transit President Thomas Prendergast said it will probably take at least two or three weeks to repair and replace signals, signal relays and other equipment. (Photo: The Brooklyn Paper)
From the Web
An article in Time titled “New York Transit System’s Openness about Sandy Recovery Makes New Yorkers Hate Them Less,” posted November 8, discusses MTA’s clean-up efforts following Hurricane Sandy, including 15 dramatic video clips uploaded in the past week showing their ongoing efforts.
Relevant to Brooklyn Heights: “The Montague Street Tunnel, which brings the R train under the river between Brooklyn Heights and Manhattan’s Battery Park, was inundated by millions of gallons of water and is still being dried out.” The L train, as we know, is also still AWOL… Sigh… One at a time.
The piece concludes, “The MTA is keeping commuters updated on every movement via YouTube and social media. It’s all very 21st century for a transit system with its roots in the 19th century. Fixing these problems has required bringing in powerful machinery—not to mention an Army Corps of Engineers ‘dewatering’ team from Illinois—as well of thousands of hours of overtime work by MTA employees. And riders, inconvenienced or not, are gaining a modicum of respect for the authority that is normally among the most hated-on in New York City.”