Tag Archives: State Department of Transportation

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.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Little Bay Park project stall is little ‘comfort’


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Michael Pantelidis

Bayside elected officials and community leaders are campaigning for relief for visitors of Little Bay Park and hoping that millions of dollars in funding hasn’t been flushed by the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Senator Tony Avella united with Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, and residents of the Bayside community on November 29 to urge the Parks Department to begin the revitalization project of Little Bay Park – which includes the construction of a comfort station.

Avella, who previously allocated funding for a dog run in the park, apportioned $1.3 million for the public restrooms seven years ago – the same time Congressmember Gary Ackerman secured a $4.12 million federal transportation allocation to reconstruct and expand the Little Bay parking lot and rebuild the Cross Island Parkway Bridge overpass at 212th Street.

Neither project has commenced, and three port-a-potties are currently stationed in the park.

“This seems to be systematic of the Parks Department – getting money and then not moving ahead with the project,” said Avella, who believes usage of the park has increased by 1,000 percent in the past decade. “It is unfair to the community to have to wait seven years for something they have been asking for, and it is unfair to tax payers because each year you delay a capital project, costs go up. I would hate to even ask the Parks Department what this project would cost today.”

The senator blames the delay on a lack of communication and transparency and says he plans to introduce state legislation requiring all city agencies to provide information on their web sites about all pending capital projects, including where funding is coming from, the anticipated start and completion dates and where the projects are in the construction process.

“These were important funds that I fought hard to secure for our community,” said Ackerman. “It’s well past time for these projects to move forward. Hopefully, all agencies involved can cut through the bureaucratic red tape so that shovels can finally get into the ground as soon as possible.”

During the press conference, community leaders emphasized that there is “great fear” that the money is being used for other projects.

“It’s obvious that the planned park and traffic enhancements have somehow been derailed. It’s time to get them back on track,” said Schreiber, who called the Parks Department one of the most difficult agencies to deal with. “At some point you have to wonder if the money is still there or if it was used for another purpose.”

According to a Parks Department spokesperson, a number of outstanding issues exist that are preventing the initiation of the project, including state approval to build close to a coastal zone, state approval to handle archaeological finds – if any are discovered on site – due to the recent discovery of archaeological material within half a mile of the park, and permission from several agencies to utilize a sewer line owned by the FDNY.

“The total budget for the comfort station and parking lot is approximately $4 million,” said the spokesperson. “This includes both federal and city funds. The funding is secure and has not been reallocated. Because the project contains federal grant funds, the state is obligated to review all plans before Parks can bid or begin to build.  We’ve been working closely and actively with the State Department of Transportation (DOT) to address their comments and requests.”

After learning of the press conference on November 29, Avella says Parks Department officials and the Department of Transportation contacted him and arranged a meeting to discuss the project.

“At this point, I am optimistic that the Parks Department recognizes this is a serious issue for the community,” Avella said. “Hopefully they will realize that we need communication and transparency and we are here to work together to move this project along.”