Sunday, August 30, 2015

Welcome New CO Captain Elliot Colon at Tuesday's Precinct 76 Meeting

Precinct 76 will have it's first meeting after the summer recess on Tuesday, September 1st at 7:30pm. The community council gathers every month at the precinct on 191 Union Street between Henry and Hicks Streets. This month residents will be introduced to our new Commanding Officer Captain Elliot Colon. The new appointment follows the retirement of Captain Natalie Maldonado in earlier this year in June.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Cobble Hill Association Retains Walden Macht & Haran

Jim Walden, a nationally recognized litigator, has been retained by the Cobble Hill Association to help the community explore legal options regarding the proposed Fortis development on the former LICH Campus. Walden has extensive experience working on behalf of community and preservation groups over land-use disputes. Among his other matters, Walden successfully challenged of the Department of Corrections’ plan to double the capacity of the Brooklyn House of Detention. He also helped lead a trial-court ruling against a massive expansion plan in Greenwich Village (a verdict later overturned on appeal). In another matter, after successfully suing over the illegal conversion of parkland in Brooklyn Bridge Park, he subsequently negotiated a deal to add parkland to the site, while permitting a local theater group to develop part of the parcel. Walden was also then-Councilmember Letitia James’ choice to help her and community groups evaluate legal options when facing expansion of a homeless intake center at Bedford-Atlantic Armory. Walden brought all this litigation and negotiation experience to bear for CHA when SUNY sought to illegally close LICH. His work there resulted in a settlement resetting the RFP process to try to find a hospital operator. Before representing the CHA and other community groups, he was then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s “go to” lawyer in that matter, and once elected, Mayor de Blasio aptly described Jim’s special skills: “If there is magic in the law, Jim Walden has found it because we sometimes seemed out of options. And Jim Walden would typically burst into the room and come up with a new option. And [those options] had the extraordinary tendency to work.”

Jim was the unanimous choice of the Cobble Hill Association's Executive Board.

Friday, August 21, 2015

CHA Response to Fortis' Current Plans

Here is the complete text of the Cobble Hill Association’s response to the Fortis As-of-Right and ULURP Proposals (as they were presented on May 18, 2015). This was first presented on July 14, 2015 to local elected officials including Council Member Brad Lander, State Assemblywoman JoAnne Simon, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna, Council Member Levin’s deputy chief of staff, Casey Adams, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s Brooklyn director, Dan Wiley, Brooklyn Community Board 6 and the Fortis Property Group development team. This was also handed out in printed form at the meeting held by Council Member Lander on August 6th.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Muyassar Moustapha, Owner of Oriental Pastry & Grocery, was Killed in a Crash on Atlantic

Late Sunday night Muyassar Moustapha was killed in a car crash at Atlantic Avenue and Clinton Street while returning to his store from Key Foods. The driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene while the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad conducted conducted its survey. Moustapha was the owner of Oriental Pastry & Grocery, a family owned staple of the Arab-American community on Atlantic Avenue for over 60 years. The tragedy shocked those who knew him well as Al Shaia told the Gothamist, "he always crossed at the light and he was always careful."

Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise to those of us who know this street's dangerous conditions well. Less than two years ago another fatal crash at Atlantic and Clinton shook the neighborhood.  Last year, as part of Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative aimed at reducing traffic deaths, the speed limit on Atlantic Avenue was reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph. Although traffic engineers assert that crashes at this slower speed have a far lower fatality rate, the new regulation has seen little enforcement and is often ignored. At night drivers will often exceed speeds of 35mph.

Year to date there have been 66 NYPD recorded traffic collisions along Cobble Hill's Atlantic Avenue border, 18 of which have occurred on, or near Clinton Street. Since the beginning of 2013 there have been a total 343 traffic crashes on Atlantic from Hicks to Court Street, resulting in 58 injuries and now, 2 deaths. Data source: NYPD motor vehicle collisions.

Bill de Blasio has promised to address the dangerous arterial roadway in his Great Streets initiative announced in March. The program sets aside $276 million dollars to install engineering improvements on four of the city's most deadly arterial roadways. Construction has already begun on Queens Boulevard with improvements to Atlantic Ave slated to begin in Community Board Five in spring of 2017. Advocates at Transportation Alternatives, which runs the People First on Atlantic campaign, laud mayor's efforts but say that the DOT should study the entire Avenue, from the bay to Queens, to propose comprehensive safety improvements. Those of us who cross Atlantic daily know safety improvements can't come too soon. While not everyone agrees with the implementation of New York's Vision Zero initiative, Charlie Sahadi states the salient point,
"I don't agree with some of the things Mayor de Blasio came up with, but if that car was driving at 25 miles per hour, this gentleman would not be dead today"
-Charlie Sahadi 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

CitiBike is Coming Soon and Seeks Feedback on Station Locations

After a rocky first year CitiBike is now expanding its service area. New docking stations have already opened up in Long Island City with more slated to arrive in Bed Stuy later this month. This phase of expansion will also include Community Board Six, covering all of Cobble Hill. This can't come too soon for some of our more transit deprived neighbors in Red Hook and Gowanus. The company is currently gathering local feedback on the new stations' proposed locations.

On June 11 CitiBike held a public planning workshop at PS 58, where it unveiled the CB6 proposed station map available here. Brad Lander has joined the DOT to solicit community feedback on these dock locations through an online form available here. Use the form to tell CitiBike which location in your sector is best, and which ones just won't work.

Once they receive the community's comments CitiBike will prepare its final location proposals with the DOT, and present them to Community Board 6. The bike share says stations will be open by the end of 2017. Yearly memberships have increased to $149 per year, but to promote the expansion customers will save $25 by signing up before the end of August.

Monday, August 10, 2015

LICH Meeting Recap

Thank you to all who came out to the first meeting with our elected officials and the LICH Developer, Fortis. While the meeting was organized by our local elected officials, the CHA turned out over 200 people with door to door flyer efforts. The CHA presented a strong community consensus document which outlined the major, as well as very specific, areas of concern. A video of the meeting will be posted on YouTube and made available here. We have requested that future meetings occur after the Labor Day holiday, which our elected officials are now working on.

More coverage of Thursday night's meeting:
VIDEO: Pros & cons for LICH site hi-rises aired in Cobble Hill 
- Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Controversial Conversion of Cobble Hill Hospital Chugs Along