Open Thread Wednesday

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  • Jorale-man

    That garden on Remsen Street gets more stunning every summer. Too that cul-de-sac seems to attract late-night ruffians who loiter and leave trash everywhere. For a while a barricade was set up to keep cars away but people just moved it out of the way.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Am I living in the past to think that “no cops on the beat” HAVE TO result in what you’ve described. Heck, while the 84th covers a lot of territory, Brooklyn Heights does not. The “brass” has got to be aware – does anybody look at 3-1-1 calls on matters like this? – of where the roaches are located. If all cops are in squad cars these days, they could “hit” a spot like this 10 times or more between 8 PM and 2 AM.

    I know “smart policing” morphed into something racist, and whack-a-mole always is easy to criticize, but inaction is even worse. The reality that fully half the teens who use subways to go to school enter illegally goes beyond “broken windows.” A generation is growing up taking lawlessness for granted, and otherwise liberal people want OUR city back. That can’t end well.

    I have many misgivings about Eric Adams as our incoming Mayor, but just maybe, his one-note campaign will have some positive effects. (And maybe, he was well-advised re the campaign and will govern with a more nuanced style and agenda.)

    Also, I know that literal “community policing,” i.e., the BHA or some “block association” putting uniformed but presumably unarmed people out there raises all kinds of issues – even assuming that they’d listen if 60% of their members or 70% of their community “voted” for it – but I think it’s overdue. I’m sure Joralemon Street residents have very mixed feelings about BBP. A few good men and women – definitely not all white – might stave off a serious incident.

  • Andrew Porter

    Claude has captured it after the first bloom; here’s one of my photos showing less building, more flowers:

  • CommentsSection

    Mayor just announced — BQE will be reduced to two lanes in each direction with new waterproofing and sensors + fines for heavy trucks.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Thanks for posting this. Hard to believe that almost 8 years as Mayor, and he bungles a major issue. ITEM: Reducing heavy truck traffic is a great goal, but HOW to achieve it. You’d think that if it HAS gone down in the last year – see previous “orders” – he would boast of that. So, presumably, it hasn’t – now what?

    ITEM: [fortunately, works to making the BQE survive] Mayor says that he expects traffic to go down by 11%. When common sense is SO VERY different, I think it’s right. True, there are many people who “have to” use the BQE, so one shouldn’t be simplistic and say 1/3 lanes closed will reduce traffic by 33%…. But drivers of all varieties understand that time=money, and reducing the lanes WILL lead many to look for alternates – be they different driving routes or [!!] maybe even a decision not to drive to this or that destination.

    Obviously, the latter is unpredictable, but car traffic definitely will decline by 20% or more. (One knows that a breakdown on a busy 2-lane road can result in HOURS-LONG delays, and 1 or 2 of those WILL change behavior.

    ITEM: The Mayor – one who couldn’t open schools or move the needle on affordable housing – pins his hopes on freight moving on the waterways. Good idea, but wishing won’t make it so. I’m glad there are ferries, but they mostly enrich a couple of sketchy operators and drain money from other forms of mass transit. Unless there’s a billion in infrastructure money that can be used for barges, tugs, etc. – and political will aplenty in NYC and Albany to make that happen, this is our outgoing Mayor “wishing for a pony” as a retirement present.

    But mostly I fear that truckers – they may not all be bad guys, but they and their employers have no viable options really – will ignore the proposed changes (there are countless examples where laws get broken because the fines are a cost they can pass on to customers that is lower than any alternative.) … Or they’ll replace 1 oversize truck with 2 just under.

    And they’ll organize – EASILY – and get the new Mayor to ACTUALLY THINK about what’s best to do. In a time of inflation and vastly increased Uber and Amazon usage, I predict that weekend closures for 5 years (estimated; much more in reality) will be the ACTUAL “remedy.” It’s a toss-up in my mind as to whether reducing the lanes is either good or politically viable.

    I think “BQX” was an early-on Bill deBlasio pipedream. He goes out on the same “I’m a talker/not a doer” note. As with Cuomo, we needed more than press conferences, but that’s the only thing these 2 guys do well..

    ITEM: “This will buy us 20 years more life for the BQE.” LOL – but anger, too – let’s not even think about climate change until we’re literally losing lives and neighborhoods to flooding!

  • CassieVonMontague

    This is their solution for the next 20 years.

    NYC’s new Transportation Commissioner, Hank Gutman, has been trying to sell his house on Pineapple Street since 2017. He is on the board of Brooklyn Bridge Park and lives in Pierhouse next to the BQE.

    Gutman’s home for sale, 13 Pineapple St:

    His purchase of a home in Brooklyn Bridge Park adjacent to the BQE:

  • Jorale-man

    Pretty pathetic. While cities like Boston, Seattle and Buffalo have been tearing down decrepit old urban highways and burying the underground, NYC makes patches while it thinks about a long-term vision for 20 years from now. The sad part is, there’s probably some actual $$ available from Biden’s infrastructure bill for this. But de Blasio has never exactly been an urban planning visionary.

  • Andrew Porter

    Apparently the enormous new building at 30 Front Street in DUMBO has reached its highest point. You can see the photos (and my comment) here:

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    While some local electeds applauded the SELECTIVE! (Atl. Ave. to Brooklyn Bridge only!) LANES REDUCTION, YOU KNOW that there will be lots more traffic on Hicks St.

    One hates to predict traffic fatalities, and I’ll admit that there are no GOOD choices here, but this is not great, considering things like P.S. 8 and Grace Church & “Plymouth,” the latter 2 with big pre-school programs.

    People with traffic engineering expertise should be thinking NOW about how to address this. Sometimes, the “cure” can be worse than the disease!

    Not to mention increased pollution – probably VASTLY increased – when the cantilever section averages 5 mph, 6 hours a day, Mon-Fri.

  • Nomcebo Manzini

    Psst. How good a view there is from where you live looking down Hicks St. is NOT germane when it comes to construction.

    If I thought you understood that, I wouldn’t write this. And if you’ve ever been to Dumbo, you should know that this is not really “out of scale!”

    I, too, wish that the City vetted projects like this more carefully, but “if you’re standing at Hicks and Cranberry, it’s just terrible” are grown-up words for a 4-year old’s temper tantrum.

  • RickP

    I read that there will be a shoulder. That should help with breakdowns while reducing weight. Not perfect, but better than nothing.

    I could not find a unit for that 11% figure.

    That is, 11% of exactly what? Not peak — that will be closer to 33%. Maybe daily total? The difference might be some calculation of more hours of peak (2 lane) flow than were needed at 3 lanes.

    If it’s helpful, I recall from somewhere that a lane carries up to around 2000 vehicles per hour under ideal conditions. Wiki says 1500-2400. Hicks will be a fraction of that, or worse, I’d guess.

    If the problem is weight (and I want to warn that I claim no expertise on this issue or the BQE design in general) then reducing peak weight is probably a very good idea. You can leave 200 lbs of something on your kitchen table all year. But don’t try 2000 pounds for even a moment. Some reasoning like that might apply.

    They’re planning to include some kind of automatic scale technology. Presumably, weigh the truck, take a pic and send out the fine.

  • Effective Presenter

    It’s DUMBO not Dumbo

  • CassieVonMontague

    I prefer the original name from the 80s: “Rundown Industrial and Loft Section that is all but Deserted at Night”

  • lois

    What’s with all the cars being “booted” on Montague Street – it used to be that cars were booted only when the car had many outstanding unpaid tickets.

  • CassieVonMontague

    Your vehicle can be booted for owing the city more than $350 in parking ticket or camera violations that are in judgment.

    Violations go into judgment if you don’t pay them in 100 days. I bet a lot of people are getting camera violations and disregarding their mail.

  • Arch Stanton

    There will be no 33% reduction in traffic it will be a 33% reduction in capacity. If there is only a 11% reduction in traffic as predicted, that would mean roughly a 22% reduction in capacity. That would mean all the remaining vehicles would have to cram into less space = more traffic jams.

  • MaggieO

    your car can be booted and towed simply for being parked illegally if someone complains about it. no outstanding tickets necessary. this is why I regularly advise people not to just “take the ticket” rather than moving for alternate side. I was booted at the bottom of State street about 5 years ago, the only ticket on my record was the one the agent was writing as the car was being booted. I was also towed from Garden Place with, again, no outstanding tickets. My guess, if this is focused on a specific street, is that folks have been making complaints about illegally parked cars.

  • MaggieO

    for more info on all the ways your vehicle can be booted and what to do about it:

  • Andrew Porter

    “If I thought you understood that…”

    Yes, insulting the person you reply to works every time.

    I was going to DUMBO before it was a thing. Didn’t take many photos there because I was afraid my camera would be stolen; this was in the 1970s.

  • RickP

    I’m thinking it’s 33% less capacity, but the road isn’t at capacity 24/7. So that 11% figure needs a unit after it. 11% of what?

  • Arch Stanton

    Yes, it only matters during peak usage, say 6am-9pm, most of the waking hours for most people.
    But remember, “they” are counting on the reduction coming from the fact that traffic will become so horrible that 11% of the drivers will choose other ways or simply give up. That still leaves 89% of the traffic on a road with 66% of the capability.

  • RickP

    to take some vaguely plausible numbers, by eliminating the third lane they remove 2000 veh/hr for 3 hours. That 6000 (maybe minus 11%) needs to be added back on top of whatever traffic is already on the 2 remaining lanes on the shoulders of the peak. Or, diverted elsewhere. My guess-longer peak traffic hours and more crowded alternative routes.