Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Ten stripes for safety

Cobble Hill's newest crosswalk adds predictability to our pathways
It's now been over two months since NYC's Department of Transportation implemented a much needed crosswalk on Court street (near Bergen St) at the request of the Cobble Hill Association. Pedestrians had been walking sans crosswalk for years and risking their safety along what is a very obvious desire line for those crossing Court Street. Though it has likely taken both pedestrians and drivers some time to adjust to the new changes, there is now zero confusion as to when a pedestrian has right of way and drivers are legally obligated to yield.
Before the stripes were added, pedestrians crossed without a signal or any clear pathway.
Just how well does the new set up work? Yesterday I spotted an entire family walking safely and dragging a last minute Christmas Tree purchase across this safety zone. Cars calmly waited for them to pass before making the left turn from Bergen onto Court Street. While the tree itself probably made the family visible, there is no denying the new stripes and new signal made their intended pathway entirely predictable. Predictable patterns for cars, peds, and bikes alike, help keep us all safe on the road.

Once again, many thanks to the NYC DOT for their continued involvement and willingness to listen to the Cobble Hill Association's concerns along the Court Street corridor. Most especially, on behalf of the thousands who now cross Court street much more safely, thank you to Christopher Hrones at DOT. He has been the point person hearing us out, offering input, and coordinating our requests with the agency. We look forward to working with him to achieve even more improvements on our local streets in 2014.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

LICH updates

What seemed like an early Christmas miracle come to Cobble Hill last week when SUNY Downstate succumbed to our community's vigilant voices and withdrew its plan to convert Long Island College Hospital to condos. Our own local leader, Jeff Strabone, told the NY Times "This is a victory for community power." For more on the story, read the full article and other associated links pasted below.

NY Times: SUNY withdraws development plan
Crain's; SUNY tables LICH mall plan
Curbed: Condo Redevelopment Plan Halted For Brooklyn Hospital
The Real Deal: SUNY officials reject fortis hospital to condos plan

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Brownstone Blues: Update

Last week we mentioned the sidewalk construction that got neighbors wondering what would happen to the historic brownstone slates in the ground. Thanks to Catherine Zinnel at Councilman Brad Lander's office, we are happy to announce the Department of Transportation confirmed...
National Grid is required to replace the sidewalk in kind. This means that National Grid will lay down new bluestones (as opposed to filling them in with concrete). DOT's Highway Inspection & Quality Assurance Office (HIQA), which inspects sidewalks, is also going to visit this location.
We are very happy to know the bluestone sidewalks of Cobble Hill will be replaced and Henry Street's visual character will be returned.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bluestone Blues

19th century brownstones and a 50 foot heigh limit help give Cobble Hill its visual character, but they are only part of the equation. In our landmarked area, the most overlooked element may be what rests underneath our feet - the sidewalk.

Unlike most of the city that has concrete squares, much of Cobble Hill offers unique bluestone slates providing a smooth walking surface.

Construction began in late October along Henry Street's sidewalk, ripping up much of the surface with no notice of what project was underway. A tweet to Community Board 6 put it on their radar and brought the project's details to light. A water line running along Henry Street needs to be replaced. In order to safely replace it, Natural Grid needs to relocate an adjacent gas main currently too close to the water line for Department of Design and Construction to do the replacement work. Only the work done by National Grid requires cutting the sidewalk, which means it is National Grid's responsibility to repair the sidewalk.

Unfortunately their typical sidewalk repairs only involve poured concrete.

Having heard many concerns from the neighborhood, the Cobble Hill Association will work with the local community board to make sure the Department of Transportation pushes National Grid repair the sidewalks to their original condition when all construction work is complete. Stay tuned for more updates on this issue and ways to help make sure our landmarked area retains its distinct look.

Monday, December 2, 2013

76th Precinct Community Council Meeting, Tuesday Dec. 3rd

The next 76th Precinct Community Council Meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, 7:30 PM at the 76th Precinct Station House, located at 191 Union Street, between Henry Street and Hicks Street. We encourage all residents to attend these meetings and get to know their local officers. Whether its complaints or compliments, this is the place to have an open discussion of what's happening in the neighborhood and what else you'd like to see.