Lengthy-Stalled Third Avenue Security Venture Lastly Begins … And Leaves Out Harmful Areas and Communities of Shade – Streetsblog New York Metropolis

Town has lastly damaged floor on a 15-year-old plan to guard cyclists and pedestrians alongside a stretch of scary roadway in Sundown Park — however the plan falls wanting what most commuting and dealing cyclists want, and doesn’t repair essentially the most harmful a part of the neighborhood, elected officers and advocates say.

Approach again in 2005 — sure, when George W. Bush was nonetheless the president — the federal authorities allotted $14.6 million to construct the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. Fifteen years later, giant swaths of the protected route have but to be constructed, and the protected pathway deliberate for the higher a part of Third Avenue in Sundown Park stops wanting its extra lethal sections, leaving pedestrians and cyclists, particularly delivery workers, as weak as ever.

“What number of extra individuals should die earlier than motion is taken on Third Avenue?” César Zúñiga, the chairman of Neighborhood Board 7, mentioned throughout a vigil earlier this month for the most recent sufferer of Third Avenue — 31-year-old Clara Kang, who was killed close to fifty fifth Avenue on Oct. 3 by a motorcyclist after ending her nursing shift at NYU Langone Hospital–Brooklyn. “I’m going to proceed to ask in my function as chair to ask all our elected officers and companies to step up and do one thing about one thing so fundamental as pedestrian security and visitors calming.”

Third Avenue beneath the elevated Gowanus Expressway between 18th Avenue and 54th Avenue is an notorious dying entice — it has three lanes of visitors heading north and one other three heading southbound. South of 54th Avenue, the configuration is totally different: two lanes of visitors on a service highway on all sides of the expressway, and 5 high-speed lanes immediately beneath the freeway.

Drivers and truckers typically keep away from the gridlocked Gowanus through the use of Third Avenue, turning it right into a harmful speedway. And that it’s much more perilous at evening, when the avenue, which is riddled with potholes, double-parked vehicles, and automotive washes with autos jutting out, is enshrouded in darkness due to the expressway above it.

Locals warn that Third Avenue is simply anticipated to worsen earlier than it will get higher as non-public builders are planning to construct the nation’s largest last-mile truck distribution center within the neighborhood a while this yr, making it much more crucial that town repair the lethal roadway now. 

“Third Avenue is de facto darkish. The streets are in disrepair and there are a selection of issues that may be executed virtually instantly to make it a safer place earlier than we even get the greenway going,” mentioned Elizabeth Yeampierre of UPROSE, a Latino community-based group that promotes sustainability and resiliency. 

This is the intersection where Clara Kang was killed on Oct. 3. There is no way a cyclist tries to cross nine lanes of Third Avenue without the light. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
That is the intersection the place Clara Kang was killed on Oct. 3. There isn’t any manner a bike owner tries to cross 9 lanes of Third Avenue with out the sunshine. Picture: Gersh Kuntzman

Fortunately, there’s a plan — one which dates again to 2005, when Rep. Nydia Velázquez secured the $14.6-million federal grant for the whole thing of the greenway, together with a portion of Third Avenue south to twenty ninth Avenue, the place the protected bike path (see map beneath) turns west in the direction of the waterfront as an alternative of continuous down Third Avenue.

A visual representation of the Brooklyn Greenway in Sunset Park. Source: DOT
A visible illustration of the Brooklyn Greenway in Sundown Park. Supply: DOT

Kang’s dying was mourned at a vigil final month that includes most of the similar individuals who had gathered late last year close by for a vigil for the 4 people who had been killed alongside Third Avenue in 2019 — three of them south of twenty ninth Avenue.

In December, a truck driver killed 85-year-old Brendan Gill close to thirty ninth Avenue; in July, the motive force of a tractor-trailer fatally ran over 30-year-old Em Samolewicz after she was doored into visitors close to thirty fifth Avenue; and in January, drivers killed 27-year-old Fernando Trejo close to 52nd Avenue, and 26-year-old Hugo Garcia close to twenty eighth Avenue.

However Yeampierre says she’s not shocked that town’s greenway plan wouldn’t dare go deeper into Sundown Park, the place most of the neighborhood’s immigrant and low-income households dwell, and as an alternative embrace solely the realm that’s now referred to by actual property brokers as Greenwood Heights.

“Low-income communities of coloration get handled in a different way, they get totally different investments in infrastructure. I’m not stunned that it could finish in a spot we’re not even calling Sundown Park anymore, although it’s,” she mentioned. 

In response to Census figures, the Sundown Park tracts between Hamilton Avenue and thirty third Avenue have a median family earnings of $82,124 and are roughly evenly cut up, population-wise, between white and Latino individuals.

However within the tracts between thirty third and sixtieth streets — the place no security work is being performed — the median earnings drops to $48,996, and the ratio of Latino to white individuals will increase from 1:1 to five:1.

And as Streetsblog has reported beforehand, the richest and whitest neighborhoods on the town have the best bike infrastructure. Within the Bronx, for instance, bicyclist accidents are up 42 p.c this yr — the highest of any borough. The borough lacks high-quality, widespread protected infrastructure. It is also by far the poorest of the 5 boroughs of New York Metropolis.

Yeampierre says UPROSE’s personal plan for the greenway, which dates again to 2008, focuses extra on constructing out protected pathways that join all of Sundown Park’s communities to the waterfront — not only one that solely seems to be good subsequent to the water. 

“We predict greenways ought to join communities, not simply wrap across the waterfront,” she mentioned. 

To this point, solely the less-dangerous elements of the total greenway mission have been constructed: West Avenue, Columbia Avenue and in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Town is at present engaged on the Owls Head Connector, Flushing Avenue, Kent Avenue South, and Second Avenue close to Trade Metropolis and the Bush Military Terminal.

The just-begun work on the higher a part of Third and Hamilton avenues — a motorcycle lane on the southern facet of each roadways between Smith and twenty ninth streets — isn’t anticipated to be accomplished till the autumn of 2022, or 17 years after the federal authorities funded the mission and 5 years after the DOT initially mentioned it may end the work, in keeping with this 2014 presentation.

The DOT says the work was delayed due to “a number of funding and design points, in addition to delays associated to COVID-19.”

Velázquez blasted town for failing to right away allocate the cash she labored exhausting to get 15 years in the past. 

“Right here we’re many times. Too many occasions we have now come collectively [at vigils]. Town of New York, the state and federal authorities, should come collectively to guarantee that our communities are protected,” Velázquez mentioned. I secured cash, and I don’t need to undergo that once more. Imaginative and prescient Zero means nothing if we can not implement these most elementary measures to verify our youngsters, staff, everyone seems to be protected. It’s not about sitting round, it’s the method, the paperwork to maneuver all this cash, that’s the half that’s irritating.”

Nydia Velazquez is upset that her federal money hasn't been spent yet. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Nydia Velazquez is upset that her federal cash hasn’t been spent but. Picture: Gersh Kuntzman

The federal pol demanded that town “give you another cash” to supply security additional down Third Avenue. However DOT says the one greenway growth deliberate for Sundown Park contains twenty ninth Avenue between Second and Third avenues, and Second Avenue between twenty ninth and thirty ninth Streets (as proven within the map above).

Since 2005, town has executed some work to make Third Avenue safer, like lowering the speed limit late final yr from 30 to 25 miles per hour, putting in pace cameras, and improved pedestrians crossings. DOT additionally put in a two-way protected bike lane on Fourth Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and sixty fourth Avenue. But it surely clearly hasn’t been sufficient, activists say. 

“I need to see an finish to political pageantry like this and for the people who say they’re gonna repair one thing to truly do it,” mentioned Sundown Park resident and transit advocate Jorge Muñiz-Reyes. “Put some lights underneath there, do away with a number of the vehicles, possibly put a busway, repair it. Be sure it’s not harmful. I need to see our neighborhood get higher safer, stronger.”

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