The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Little Bit About A Lot of Tings

No, that's not a typo. I'm just reminding everyone to stop in a local greengrocer or deli and grab yourself a Ting soda, the Jamaican-born grapefruit spritzer in the small glass bottle (it's since been bought by a U.K. conglomerate, but the taste's the same). Delicious and hits the spot on a hot summer day! To my palate it reminds me of a non-diet version of Fresca. Residents of Kingston are apparently treated to the Ting logo as often as we see Coke here. I'd also add that a favorite cocktail is Ting and Vodka, known to locals as Ving. Try one and let us know what you think. I'll be abstaining per usual.
At the Community Board 9 meeting on Tuesday we learned more about the planned "fix" for traffic on Flatbush Avenue. It makes SO much sense to me that me can hardly contain me excitement.  More on the proposal and its history here. Let me just say though that this change is LONG overdue. There simply is not room for three lanes each direction (one parking and two driving). The constant darting back and forth has caused many a collision and injury. Cars feel they have a right to double-park, creating chaos. And anyone who says that merchants will be adversely affected by a plan to keep traffic moving is, in my view, placing a tiny bit of commercial convenience over safety and clean air for all. Double-parkers, please, please, stop!!! Delivery trucks only. Otherwise, you're just selfish, selfish, selfish. Okay, maybe if you're picking up an Air Conditioner or refrigerator or there's an emergency. But how often do we see people double-park to go get a Coke? Or a Ting? Or to WAIT for Peppa's (this one kills me; you've got plenty of time to find a place to park!) Or to just shoot the sh&t?

(yes of course the dollar vans are a problem too. but with less darting in and out i'll bet things get better. if i'm wrong, i'll buy you a Ting!)

Heading INTO town from 7-10am will be a No Standing situation...let's hope it's enforced so that cars, buses and vans get plenty of room to keep it moving. Left turn and right turn bays will get turners out of the way. And finally someone's had the good sense to kill the parking spots in front of the Popeye's-Family Pizza-Jeweler-TMobile stretch on Flatbush near Parkside, so that a right turn bay can be created. Drivers should now be able to SEE pedestrians in the crosswalk. If you've ever looked at the clusterf#ck at Parkside/Flatbush, or been stuck on a bus trying to navigate through it, you'll realize how crucial these changes are. To see how this all might look, you need only drive down Parkside towards the tennis courts. That's the same width, with just one lane of travel each way, and it works GREAT. Even the amount of double-parking has decreased, as folks choose not to stick out into the one lane of travel.

One strange addendum. A couple years ago, DOT added a right turn bay, with a median, for right-turners from Empire onto Flatbush at the Botanic Garden. They're going to take it away. Apparently the community of drivers hated this change, and DOT had to admit it backed up traffic horribly. And to those who've won a victory and an unusual apology from DOT, all I can say is I hope this means you'll remember how many pedestrians cross here every day and keep it slow when rounding the curve. (Actually, the biggest problem is people turning left from Ocean onto Flatbush, but that's a fight for another day.) Another major issue on Empire will be addressed by closing that tiny bit of Franklin below Empire. If you doubt the effectiveness of that change, go out and take a look some afternoon. You'll see the problems it causes. (Disco Princess thinks they should shut Franklin north of Empire as well, or put an end to turners).

Oh, and you won't be able to turn left from Lincoln Road onto Washington. That turn causes a pretzel in the middle of a very funky Flatbush/Lincoln/Washington intersection.

And how bout that plan to recreate the library at Medgar Evers? This one kinda snuck up on me. Now that Medgar's hired Rudy Crew as president (remember Rudy? superintendent of education Rudy? Rudy G telling him he ought to lose some weight and step in line, Rudy?), they're also going to get a bright and cheery new visage. I think it's much needed. Right now when I ride by M.E.C. the main entrance looks a bit like a prison or modern municipal building. Soon, you can expect something more like this:

Learn more about it all here.

Oh, and I almost forgot! You need mulch? Greenwood Cemetary has mounds of it and you can go pick up as many bags as you can carry - for free. According to local greenthumb Amy M., you can go get it anytime. Probably best to call first though. Enter at 25th Street and 5th Avenue and ask the guard for the mulch pile. This entrance is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 718-210-3080 with any questions

AND go see that free performance of Chekhov's The Seagull that's taking place by the rustic hut on the lake, just inside the park from my beloved Q at Parkside. It runs through Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Re: "Another major issue on Empire will be addressed by closing that tiny bit of Franklin below Empire."

No, I think it should be the other way around - closing off the tiny bit of Franklin above Empire.

I pass through that intersection every day coming to and from the Prospect Park train station. A right turn from Franklin onto Empire is not allowed, but I constantly see people disregarding this rule. This interferes with pedestrians crossing the street (some of which are students; there is a school a block away) and it exacerbates the traffic backing up from the Empire Boulevard/Flatbush Avenue intersection. There aren't enough cops from the 71 to pull those people over, I suspect.

Going back on topic: I don't see the point of closing off that small bit of Franklin below Empire Boulevard.

There should be a No Standing zone enacted beyond the PLG catchment; it should go up to at least Church Avenue, but that's another story. :)

Is the No Standing zone really going to be enforced?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

The Flatbush Corridor project extends down to the junction. So yeah, Church is in there.

Maybe that upper Franklin was part of what they were talking about, Princess. They def want to shut it down south of Empire so that they can create a left turn bay so you have to turn onto Washington. Backs things up apparently.

But look, now's when we've got their attention. If there's something y'all think'll help, speak up.

Alex said...

Tim, thanks for the reporting! Any details of what's in store for the Lincoln/Flatbush/Washington intersection? Please tell me that they didn't leave it out of the plan...

Anonymous said...

Please tell me the no standing from 7-10 goes all the way to GAP since the bottleneck of traffic in the morning on Flatbush from Empire to GAP usually makes this 5 minute drive into 25 minutes! If parking were not allowed as is the case north of GAP to the bridge the rush hour congestion would be greatly reduced! Same thing from 4-7pm!

Anonymous said...

Anon at 3:53 PM, are you suggesting that parking should be eliminated on Flatbush between Empire Boulevard and Grand Army Plaza?

Anonymous said...

Yes I am, between 7-10 and 4-7 just like Flatbush from GAP- the bridge. It's a bottleneck driving there in the morning and there's no need for parking there when it takes up an entire lane that could allow the buses and cars to move. For all of us who have to take our kids out of the neighborhood for school it's an absolute nightmare on Flatbush with the congestion that could be relieved by having an open bus lane or just another car lane!

Tom G said...

I get mulch almost every other week at Greenwood. I never call in advance. Just enter the 5th ave 25th entrance and fill up!

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:10 PM, why do you have to take your kids outside one of the greatest zoned districts in all of Brooklyn? Unless they are in high school.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:34, please say you're joking!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:10 PM, the main bottleneck happens at GAP. I don't think the parking on Flatbush Ave between Empire and GAP is the problem.

Those are precious unmetered spots. Those have saved me many a day when I had to move my car for street cleaning in the morning and couldn't find a spot for blocks near my building.

Anonymous said...

No disco princess, the bottleneck begins at empire at the worst case and near the zoo most often because there are so many cars and buses trying to get north and to the city! With an extra lane whether dedicated to B41 or for more cars that bottleneck will not happen at GAP! More cars could move. I have been making this trip every school morning for the past few years so I speak from experience.

peter said...

I have to agree that I like those unmetered spots by the park for parking on street cleaning days. And I have never noticed a bottleneck there. To the extent there is a bottleneck, I think its because of the volume of traffic going through the Plaza. Moving cars up Flatbush faster is not going to get them through that light in front of the Library any faster. Also, I think Flatbush by the park is enough of a superhighway as it is-- having parked cars on both sides helps slow down some of the speeding.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Agreed. The bottleneck is absolutely not the result of a lack of lanes leading to GAP...there are only so many cars that can move through per light change.

This gets to a misconception people have about why traffic slows everywhere. It's about merging and rubbernecking. It's poor driving and selfish driving that leads to slow downs. That's what the new plan for Flatbush tries to take into account - the reasons for the delays. Sure it's nice to have an extra lane, but as soon as that lane disappears, it causes trouble and backups. If there's a place to get rid of parking on Flatbush before GAP, it's right before you get to the circle, near the Library. That's where you want to free up traffic.

Anonymous said...

Re: "If there's a place to get rid of parking on Flatbush before GAP, it's right before you get to the circle, near the Library. That's where you want to free up traffic. "

If I recall correctly, the parking spots by the library on Flatbush are metered.

As much as I'd like for a bus lane to be dedicated for the B41, I don't think that is realistically going to happen unless Flatbush Avenue magically were to grow an extra lane on both sides.

diak said...

Timing matters too on the Empire to GAP raceway... in years past I did this run every school day around 8:20 and traffic was often backed up. This year, I was doing it around 7:55 or 8 and it seemed quite a bit better. Usually we waited only through one or two sequences of the stoplight.
Still, every once in a while, for no apparent reason, there was traffic backed up to the zoo or beyond. Nothing to do but crank up the tunes and wait...
And I agree with Mr CB and the others who said it isn't the parked cars that are creating the problem. Except up near the library; those metered spaces aren't supposed to open up until 10am but if someone is in that space, it blocks up the busses and the cars trying to turn right onto Eastern Parkway. And the blockage seems to have a ripple effect behind it.

cheryl on parkside ave said...

Maybe Medgar Evers College will now become an academic institution, interested in becoming an integral part of the Crown Heights/Flatbush community!!!!