Tag Archives: Belt Parkway

EXCLUSIVE: $40M Belt Parkway project to benefit Jamaica Bay


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the DEP

Hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage that now overflow into ecologically fragile Jamaica Bay every year will be diverted to treatment plants under a new project being launched by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

A new $40 million initiative split into two smaller projects is set to begin in 2015 in South Ozone Park by the Belt Parkway to reduce sewer overflows into both Bergen and Thurston Basin, two bodies of water that ultimately lead into Jamaica Bay.

City officials said they are taking pains to minimize the impact on traffic along the Belt Parkway from construction of one of the new sewage overflow pipelines that will cross under the highway.

The project is designed to ensure that about 300 million gallons a year of combined sewer overflow will be routed to the Jamaica Wastewater Treatment Plant, where it will be treated to Federal Clean Water Act standards, rather than being discharged untreated into the tributaries of Jamaica Bay.

As of now, there are two 36-inch sewer lines carrying sewer overflow from North Conduit Avenue under the Belt Parkway to 150th Street and 126th Avenue. When they reach that point, they connect to a 72-inch sewer line, ultimately bringing all that overflow to the Jamaica Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The DEP said that due to increased development of southern Queens, the existing pipes “no longer have sufficient capacity to carry combined flow generated north of the Belt Parkway and act as a bottleneck in the area’s drainage system.”

To relieve this issue, one of the small projects, which is slated to start in early 2015 and to be completed in 2017, will be building a new 48-inch interceptor sewer under the Belt Parkway, near the Lefferts Boulevard exit. The sewer is estimated to cost around $29 million and will provide significant additional capacity within the area’s drainage system, which will ultimately reduce overflows into Bergen Basin by approximately 135 million gallons a year.

Photo courtesy of DEP

Photo courtesy of DEP

The other project, set to start in late spring and finish in the summer of 2016, is estimated to cost around $11 million. In that phase, the DEP will install three hydraulic levees at key junctions in the area’s sewer network. During dry days, the levees will remain closed as the system will not need to push out any excess water into the basins. When there is a heavy rainstorm, the levees will be forced down by the pressure of the flow and allow for the water to be drained into the basins.

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This will optimize the carrying capacity of the sewer pipes during rainstorms and reduce sewer overflow into Bergen Basin by about 65 million gallons a year and into Thurston Basin by about 102 million gallons a year.

In order to minimize disruption to traffic on the Belt Parkway during construction, the DEP will be using a microtunnelling machine to install the new sewer line, allowing contractors to do most of their work underground, passing under the highway. The machine will launch from the north side of the Belt Parkway and be retrieved on the southern end.

The DEP has started to deliver the materials to the staging area for the project, which is along the southern side of the Belt Parkway by Lefferts Boulevard.

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

There will be some closures of  lanes in both directions, mostly at night and during weekends. The DEP said that they will be working with the Department of Transportation to notify communities and motorists of any closures.

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New routes proposed in Howard Beach, Ozone Park for Jamaica Bay Greenway


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Howard Beach and Ozone Park will be home to new bike routes on the Jamaica Bay Greenway, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The only problem is figuring out where.

The DOT has been hosting community workshops and asking for the input of residents on where they think the new routes are best for safety and convenience.

Currently, the Greenway is an 11-mile bike path that hugs Jamaica Bay, connecting Brooklyn and Queens.

It runs through Howard Beach, through Broad Channel to the Rockaways and then across the Marine Park Bridge to Brooklyn.

The DOT said there has been strong advocacy by residents for the Greenway to be expanded to Ozone Park to connect to the soccer and baseball fields on Conduit Avenue, across the street from Resorts World Casino.

For this connection, the DOT proposed using 155th Avenue or 156th Avenue.

While it’s looking to add new stretches to the Greenway, the DOT is also hoping to improve existing ones, like the part that connects the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge to the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach.

One is to use 84th Street, a two-way road, instead of the existing paths on 91st Street and 92nd Street, which are both one-way. This would give both cars and cyclists more room on the street, said Alice Friedman, the DOT’s project manager for the Greenway.

The other option would be to add a path where 78th Street meets the Belt Parkway and use the existing grass area along Spring Creek to connect to the Addabbo Bridge.

Finally, there is a plan to build a route through Spring Creek connecting the parkway and the bridge. But Freidman mentioned that would be a long-term plan.

For the path on the Addabbo Bridge, which connects Broad Channel and Howard Beach, the DOT proposed three options:

  • Keep the path the way it exists with one lane on each side of the bridge,
  • Move the parking lane out and let the bike lane hug the sidewalk on both sides, or
  • Put two bike lanes on the south side of the bridge next to each other.

Most people found the last option the most viable for this section but would like to see an actual barrier between the car and bike lanes.

When all community workshop events are finished, the DOT will draft a finalized plan of what it believes it should look like, based on the residents’ input and their own planning.

The DOT expects to have the draft finished by the spring of 2015.

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Two killed, teen injured in Belt Parkway ramp crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

ambulance

Updated 2:49 p.m.

Two young men were killed and a 14-year-old was hurt Thursday night after their car lost control near the Belt Parkway before slamming into a pole and then a tree, authorities said.

The vehicle, a Mitsubishi Lancer, was apparently speeding westbound on North Conduit Avenue in Springfield Gardens at about 10:45 p.m. when it swerved to overtake another vehicle, according to police. It then tried to swerve back into the left lane and enter the entrance ramp to the Belt Parkway near 181st Street.

The Mitsubishi lost control, drove onto the grass shoulder, striking a light pole and then a tree, cops said.

The driver, 20-year-old D’John Arias, of Corona, was pronounced dead at the scene. His front seat passenger, 19-year-old Karim Carter, of Jamaica, was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, authorities said.

A 14-year-old boy suffered injuries to his legs and was transported to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is looking into the crash.

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24-year-old motorcyclist dies in Belt Parkway crash


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

POLICE TAPE

A Queens Village man was killed Wednesday in a motorcycle collision on the Belt Parkway, cops said.

Officers discovered 24-year-old Julian Smith lying on the ground in the center lane of the Belt Parkway near the Van Wyck Expressway at about 3:50 a.m., according to police.

He was found unconscious and unresponsive next to his bike, and was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

The investigation is still ongoing.

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62-year-old dies trying to cross Belt Parkway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A Bronx man was struck and killed as he was attempting to cross the Belt Parkway Tuesday night in South Ozone Park, according to police.

The victim, identified as 62-year-old Frank Korowitz, was trying to walk across the roadway near 150th Street around 11 p.m. when he was hit by a Nissan Maxima, cops said.

The Nissan was then struck from behind by an Isuzu Rodeo, according to authorities. Both drivers suffered minor injuries.

Korowitz was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Nissan, Karlmarx Waite, 44, was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle and motor vehicle license violation: no license, police said.

 

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Residents ask for parking lines along Lindenwood streets


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Residents of Lindenwood want parking to be spot on.

More than 100 cars can be parked nose-first adjacent to the Belt Parkway on 157th Avenue between 77th and 80th streets, but that number is often reduced because there are no marked parking spaces.

Street signs tell drivers to back in at a 90 degree angle but since spaces aren’t marked, there are often wide gaps between vehicles too small for parking, which cut down the available space for other drivers.

So residents and politicians are calling for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to draw lines perpendicular to the curb to create defined parking spaces.

“A small effort from the DOT will allow local residents to have more parking spaces to access their neighborhood,” said Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder, who wrote a letter to the DOT urging them to do so.

Some residents have received summonses for parking haphazardly along the avenue but feel they are not at fault due to the city’s lack of designated parking spots for them.
“Marked legal parking spots are unclear and people are receiving summonses,” said Joann Ariola, president of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association. “Redefining the lines will clear up all confusion when parking.”

The DOT is still reviewing Goldfeder’s request and did not have a response for how they would handle this situation.

 

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Bronx-Whitestone Bridge marks 75 years, more than 2 billion vehicles


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo: MTA / Patrick Cashin

The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which connects Queens to the Bronx, celebrates 75 years Tuesday.

Since opening on April 29, 1939, about 2.2 billion vehicles have crossed the span, the MTA said. Nearly 109,000 vehicles used the bridge on an average weekday last year.

Photo: MTA / Patrick Cashin

“This is a milestone anniversary for the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, which is not only used by commuters and weekend travelers but also serves as an economic engine, providing a crucial link in the transportation of goods in the tri-state area,” MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara said.

The bridge was constructed as a way for drivers from upstate New York to travel to Queens and Long Island without needing to go through Manhattan or central Queens and “became a key factor in the growth of Long Island after World War II,” according to the transit agency.

Photos: MTA Bridges and Tunnels archives

Robert Moses, who as chairman of the Metropolitan Council on Parks, proposed building it as part of his planned Belt Parkway system, and wanted the bridge to open in time for the 1939-1940 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the MTA said.

The project was completed in 23 months and opened the day before the start of the fair, according to the transit agency. At the time of its construction, its 2,300-foot main suspension span was the fourth longest in the world.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, MTA Bridges and Tunnels will host three exhibits featuring historical images from the agency’s special archive. The first exhibit will open June 22 at the Queens Historical Society. Another will open in July at a still-to be-determined Queens venue, and a third exhibit will be held this fall at the Bronx Historical Society.

Here are some figures on the bridge via the MTA:

  • In its first full year of operation, the bridge was used by 6.3 million vehicles. In 2013 it was used by 39.6 million.
  • Total cost of the bridge: $19,657,000
  • Passenger toll when opened: 25-cents; in 2014 E-ZPass $5.33 or $7.50 cash
  • Height of towers above mean high water: 377 feet
  • Width between cables: 74 feet
  • Length of main span: 2,300 feet
  • Number of cables: 2; length of each cable, 3,965 feet.
  • Total number of wires in each cable: 9,862
  • Total length of the cable wires equals 14,800 miles

 

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Woman charged with manslaughter, DWI in Belt Parkway crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 2:50 p.m.

A woman has been charged with manslaughter and driving while intoxicated following an accident on the Belt Parkway Monday that left a 29-year-old man dead, cops said.

An Infiniti sedan, driven by 28-year-old Sharlene Numa, of Roosevelt, N.Y., was traveling eastbound down the parkway about 4:15 a.m. when she rear-ended a Mercedes near Springfield Boulevard and Merrick Boulevard, officials said. Her car then overturned around South Conduit Avenue and Brookville Boulevard.

The driver of the Mercedes, an 18-year-old man, was taken to Franklin Hospital in stable condition, according to police. Both occupants of the second vehicle were taken to Jamaica Hospital, where the passenger, 29-year-old Kendall Heard, of Freeport, N.Y., was pronounced dead.

Numa has been charged with manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter and DWI, police said.

 

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Two deadly Queens pedestrian accidents within 12 hours


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Two Queens pedestrians lost their lives in separate accidents Tuesday.

The first incident occurred around 12 p.m. when a woman in her 50s was trying to cross the westbound lanes of the Belt Parkway near North Conduit Boulevard and was struck by a motorcycle. She was pronounced dead at the scene and the motorcyclist, a man in his 40s, was taken to Jamaica Hospital in serious condition.

The NYPD Highway Patrol Accident Investigation Squad is investigating the accident.

Later the same day, around 11:15 p.m., a Chevy Avalanche hit and killed a 22-year-old woman as she was attempting to cross the intersection of 47th Street and Laurel Hill Boulevard. She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The operator of the vehicle remained on the scene and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Arrest in connection to bodies found in Howard Beach brush fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

A Brooklyn man was arrested in connection to the two bodies found in a brush fire in the Spring Park Preserve last week, authorities have announced.

Rogelio Rodriguez, 34, was charged on Tuesday, March 12 with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s Office, Rodriguez is only one of four men involved in the brutal homicide of 22-year-old Rudy Superville and 25-year-old Gary Lopez, both of Brooklyn.

“The defendant is accused of participating in the brutal murder of two men whose bodies were dumped and intentionally set on fire in an attempt to cover up the alleged crime,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

The two men’s bodies were discovered after firefighters put out a blaze around 4:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 6 near the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach. The medical examiner later determined that both victims had been shot several times and had blunt force trauma to the head. Superville had also been stabbed.

A day earlier, inside Rodriguez’s 143 Grove Street residence, he allegedly struck the two victims with a gun and kicked them after they had already been shot by one of the unapprehended suspect. Lopez was shot again by another one of the apprehended suspects, then struck by a third. It’s believed that Superville was also stabbed during that time.

The men may have been killed after a botched drug robbery, according to reports.

In an apparent attempt to cover up the crime, a day after the bodies were dumped, Rodriguez went to Newton Creek in Maspeth and threw seven firearms, including the two of the guns involved in the homicides, into the water.

If convicted, Rodriguez faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

 

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Vehicles sought in connection to Howard Beach brush fire bodies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Authorities are looking for the occupants of three vehicles wanted for questioning in connection to two bodies found in a Howard Beach brush fire yesterday, said police.

The vehicles are described as a two-tone dark colored custom van, four-door light colored sedan and four-door dark colored sedan.

Police have also identified the victims as 22-year-old Rudy Superville and 25-year-old Gary Lopez, both of Brooklyn.

The men’s bodies were found after police put out a blaze in a grassy are near the Belt Parkway around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.

An official cause of death has not been released,  but, according to published reports, the victims were found with gunshot wounds.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.  All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Bodies found in Howard Beach brush fire


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Police recovered two bodies in a Howard Beach brush fire near the Belt Parkway this morning.

Authorities responded to a 9-1-1 call for a fire in the grassy, undeveloped area around 4:30 a.m. near the intersection of 159th Avenue and 78th Street. When the fire was out, police said, they found the bodies of two black men.

The medical examiner, on scene along with NYPD and U.S. Parks Police, will determine the men’s identities and cause of death.

Tom Folchetti, who lives just up the block, said his daughter was alarmed when she saw fire trucks outside, so he headed toward the scene.

Folchetti said he was surprised to hear that bodies were in the fire.

“It’s not an everyday occurrence,” he said, adding that the neighborhood should be “definitely concerned about what goes on here.”

 

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Howard Beach

Fatal Accident on the Belt Parkway


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

On Saturday, December, 17 2011 at 0420 hours, police responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident in the vicinity of the Belt Parkway and 116th Street, located within the confines of the 106 Precinct.  Upon arrival, responding officers determined that a 2009 Toyota Corolla, operated by a M/B/26 along with 4 additional passengers, was traveling eastbound on South Conduit Avenue when it left the roadway and rolled over onto the eastbound Belt Parkway causing a F/B/21 to be ejected from the rear of the vehicle.

EMS also responded to the location and transported the F/B/21 passenger to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced DOA.

EMS also transported the operator (M/B/26) and the front passenger (M/B/24) to Jamaica Hospital where they are listed in stable condition.  The remaining passengers (F/B/25 & F/B/24) were transported to Brookdale Hospital where they are listed in stable condition.

There has been no arrest(s) in regard to this incident and the investigation is ongoing.