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Beginning next week, New York City Transit and the Department of Transportation are holding a series of workshops across the city to get feedback on where new bus rapid transit (BRT) routes should be established and how they should operate.

BRT provides dedicated lanes for buses, and creates an integrated system designed to reduce travel time, improve reliability, and increase the level of comfort for bus customers. In June 2008, NYCT and DOT launched the City’s first BRT Phase I route, the Bx12 Select Bus Service (SBS) on Fordham Road in the Bronx.  Now they are looking to add 8-10 new corridors throughout the city. Read more here.

The meeting schedule is as follows:

Workshop Date Location
Bronx Thursday, May 28 College of New Rochelle
332 East 149th Street (bet. Morris and Courtlandt Avenues)
Queens Tuesday, June 2 P.S. 69, Jackson Heights
77-02 37th Avenue (bet. 77th St. and 78th Street)
Queens Wednesday, June 3 Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL)
161-04 Jamaica Avenue (at 161st Street)
Brooklyn Tuesday, June 9 Polytechnic University
6 Metrotech Center (entrance on Jay Street bet. Myrtle Avenue and Johnson Street)
Brooklyn Wednesday, June 10 Brooklyn College
2900 Bedford Avenue (at Campus Road)
Staten Island Tuesday, June 16 New Dorp High School
465 New Dorp Lane (bet. Hylan Boulevard and Mill Road)
Manhattan Thursday, June 18 Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) (Bldg A – entrance on West 27th Street between Seventh and Eight Avenues)
7th Avenue and West 27th Street

The Department of Transportation’s NYC Plaza Program partners the agency with local non-profit organizations to turn underutilized DOT property into thriving public space.  DOT funds design and construction of the new plaza, while the non-profits are responsible for maintenance, programming, community outreach, a long-term funding plan, etc.

DOT recently selected nine  sites in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan, for Round One of the Plaza Program.  These sites were chosen based on the City’s goals as outlined in PlaNYC 2030, and the following criteria:

  • Open space – whether or not the neighborhood lacked open space
  • Community initiative – the extent to which the applicant had developed a community plan, consensus for the site, and garnered local support
  • Site context – the proposed site’s relationship to surrounding land uses and businesses, proximity to transit, the presence of significant view corridors or historic sites, and pedestrian activity
  • Organizational capacity – the extent to which the applicant is willing and able to program activities, maintain, operate and manage the plaza once it is built
  • Income eligibility – applicants received additional points for proposals located in neighborhoods that qualify as low- or moderate-income

DOT is about to begin Round 2 of this initiative, and is holding informational sessions in each borough:

Manhattan
Monday, May 4
3-4 pm
NYC DOT
220 Church, Rm. 814
New York, NY 10013

Brooklyn
Tuesday, May 12
3-4 pm
Brooklyn Borough Hall, Community Room
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Staten Island
Tuesday, May 19
3-4 pm
Staten Island Borough Hall
10 Richmond Terrace, Conference Room 122
Staten Island, NY 10301

Bronx
Wed, May 13
3-4 pm
Bronx Library Center
310 East Kingsbridge Road
Bronx, NY 10458

Interested parties should RSVP to plazas@dot.nyc.gov. The deadline to submit applications is Tuesday, June 30, 2009.

Via the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council:

“NYMTC announces a public comment period on behalf of its members – specifically the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Nassau, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties – for transit projects proposed for funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. ”  The list of projects is available here. (PDF)

“The comment period will open on Thursday April 16, 2009 and end on Wednesday April 29, 2009. Comments are due in writing via mail, e-mail or fax by 4 pm on Wednesday April 29th to NYMTC-Public-Info@dot.state.ny.us or 212.383.7266 (fax).”

NYMTC will hold a public hearing on April 28:

What: Public Hearing on Combined Program of Transit Projects

When: Tuesday, April 28, 4:30pm

Where: NYMTC – 199 Water Street, 22 fl., NYC (webcast)

Contact: Lisa Daglian, 212.383.7241

NYC.gov has revealed a new feature: the NYCStat Stimulus Tracker. This handy tool allows users to find more information about how federal stimulus dollars will be spent in NYC in five categories: Infrastructure/Energy Efficiency, Economic/Workforce Development, Social Safety Net, Fiscal Assistance, and Public Safety/Criminal Justice.

Projects of interest include the rehab of a number of bridges (including the Brooklyn), creation of a greenway in the South Bronx, reconstruction of the Coney Island boardwalk, and the reconstruction of 125th Street.  See the full list of transportation-related projects here.

Newsday reports today that agreement in Albany on a bailout plan for the $1.2 billion-in-debt MTA is unlikely to happen by the MTA’s Wednesday deadline:

“Paterson and the Assembly’s Democratic majority back a plan from a state commission led by former MTA chief Richard Ravitch that would close the $1.2-billion budget deficit with new tolls on the now-free East River and Harlem River spans, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, and a payroll tax on employers in the 12 counties served by the authority.

At least seven Democrats in the State Senate majority oppose the bridge tolls. And the Republican minority objects to the payroll tax and absence of a plan to improve roads and bridges upstate and on Long Island. So the 32 votes needed in the Senate aren’t there.”

As the deadline draws closer, groups around the city are working to get the word out to constituents and help people contact their State representatives.

The Regional Plan Association has recently mapped the proposed service cuts by Senate and Assembly District, and on an interactive map.  Comptroller Thompson’s office has also created a similar interactive map.

Last week, a group of representatives from a number of City organizations attended a lobby day in Albany.  They brought back this film documenting their efforts.

Transportation Alternatives relased a funny video depicting the “MTA 2009 Telethon,” but will also be hosting a very serious phone-a-thon on Wednesday from 8am to noon with tables, phones and district maps stationed on the south side of Union Square.

Use these websites to find the contact information of your State Senator and Assemblyperson.

The MTA’s series of public hearings on its plan to increase fares while scaling back service have ended.

The Save the G Coalition notes that, at the MTA’s hearing in Brooklyn, “several MTA officials made a point of explaining that concerned riders should appeal directly to their State officials, who will ultimately be responsible for either accepting or rejecting the Ravitch Report.”  The Ravitch Report is a “rescue plan” for the MTA, which includes a new “mobility” payroll tax; tolls on the free East River and Harlem River bridges; a much smaller fare and toll increase; fewer service reductions; and improvements in bus service.  The report is not without its own controversy – Save the G reports that Senator Daniel Squadron, who represents Greenpoint-Williamsburg, said, “There could end up being three toll bridges in one district of Brooklyn, and it will be really horribly affected.  These cuts will affect populations least prepared to deal with them.”

State Senators are now holding their own hearings to gather public feedback about the plan.  Today at 1:30pm, Senator Martin Dilan, Chair of the State Transportation Committee, will hold a hearing at Brooklyn Borough Hall.  Tomorrow, the State Senate Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee, led by Senator Bill Perkins, will hold a hearing from 3-9pm at the State Office Building in Harlem (163 125th Street). Oral testimony is by invitation only, but interested persons may attend the hearing or submit written testimony to ccleare@senate.state.ny.us.

Citing a $1.2 billion budget deficit, the MTA has proposed a fare increase up to 23%, coupled with major cutbacks, including decreased service on a number of subway lines; complete elimination of some bus lines and major reductions in others; and permanent closure, reduction of hours, and or reduction in staffing at 42 subway stations citywide.  (The changes are outlined in detail here).

While two hearings have been held already (in Queens and Manhattan), three opportunities remain to participate in hearings in New York City:

Mon Jan 26
College of Staten Island, CSI Center for the Arts, Springer Concert Hall

2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island

Wed Jan 28, 2009
NY Marriott at the Bklyn Bridge

333 Adams St, Brooklyn

Wed Feb 4, 2009
Lehman College, CUNY, Lovinger Theatre

250 Bedford Park Blvd West, Bronx

All hearings begin at 6pm, registration to speak will be open until 9pm, and testimony is limited to three minutes.  Comments can also be submitted in writing to:

Douglas Sussman
Dir, MTA Community Affairs
347 Madison Av
NY, NY 10017

and/or online.

The Community-Based Plan of the Month is a new feature, highlighting plans included in Planning for All New Yorkers: An Atlas of Community-Based Plans in New York City, an interactive map created by the Municipal Art Society and the Community-Based Planning Task Force.  As the recent economic slowdown gives us the opportunity to take a step back and reevaluate New York City’s planning processes, community-based plans can provide a framework for growth that works for all New Yorkers.  The plans featured in this column will provide examples of how inclusive planning processes work on the ground, and ideally will help inspire future community planning efforts.

Stable-izing Brooklyn

When the Fort Hamilton Parkway interchange of the Prospect Expressway was completed in 1962 under the direction of Robert Moses, a small, eight-block section of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn was severed from its neighbors.  This quirky area was once home to a number of horse stables due to its proximity to Prospect Park, but now only one remains: Kensington Stables, located at East 8th Street and Caton Avenue.  Since Claremont Riding Academy near Central Park closed last year, Kensington Stables is among New York’s few remaining urban stables.

The desire to preserve the stables and the low-rise residential enclave that surrounds them inspired a group of residents to come together in 2005 to plan for their neighborhood’s future.  Calling themselves the Stable Brooklyn Community Group, they began organizing their neighbors with a walking tour to survey vacant lots and buildings under development (shown above in front of the stables, via the group’s website).  Next, homeowners, renters, visitors, and equestrians discussed the neighborhood’s development, traffic, sanitation, and safety concerns with representatives of Brooklyn Community Board 7 and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office.  In spring 2006, representatives from the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development led two community visioning workshops in the neighborhood.  The process culminated in the release of a report, Stable-izing Brooklyn (PDF), in July 2006.  Read more after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

The New York City Department of Transportation is conducting a comprehensive study of transportation conditions and safety issues in the Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. They are examining pedestrian patterns, cycling, auto traffic/safety/accidents, public transit, and parking. DOT held a public meeting on these issues in April, and now, the agency is planning to walk the neighborhood with local community members in order to seek their input.

The schedule is as follows:

Tuesday 12/2 – 7:30 AM – 40th & Dyer

Wednesday 12/3 – 3:30 PM – 29th & 8th

Thursday 12/4 – 3:30 PM – 50th & 9th

Friday 12/5 – 7:30 AM – raindate for AM walk, same starting point

Tuesday 12/9 – 3:30 PM – rain date for one or the other PM walk

Sign up online.

Yesterday, the Department of City Planning proposed a new zoning text amendment that will require indoor, secure, long-term bicycle parking in new multi-family residential, commercial, and community facility construction.

With commuter cycling on the rise in the City, this new amendment seeks to support current riders and encourage new ones, while decreasing congestion and air pollution. The DCP website outlines the details, including the fact that these bike parking areas would not count toward a building’s floor area.

ULURP for this proposal will begin with review by all community boards starting November 17.

Photo of indoor bike parking at a Portland, Oregon office building by Mark Stosberg on Flickr.

Since 2000, The Community-Based Planning Task Force has been leading the effort to create a more meaningful role for communities in New York City’s planning and decision-making processes.

This blog intends to connect our Task Force and the public with opportunities to participate in shaping the city's future, and to inform about issues related to planning, decision-making, equity, social justice, and public participation.

Visit our About page for more information.

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