Another view of the new 20th Street
To the Editor:
I was surprised to read the letter describing chaos and danger on 20th Street due to the street redesign (“You don’t have to drive to hate 20th Street,” T&V, Jan. 17). I’ve never witnessed any of this. But if you are interested in street chaos, I recommend the intersection of 14th St and 1st Ave. There you can witness hundreds, perhaps thousands of pedestrians an hour, in crosswalks, dodging aggressive drivers. Personally I’ve witnessed two people get hit (one pedestrian, one bicyclist, fortunately no serious injuries).
On 20th Street, I see a street redesign, which citywide, will prioritize public space for pedestrians, bicyclists and mass transit riders. I support bike lanes, bus lanes, expanded pedestrian space and light rail in this city.
Try this: dare to look at our streets with fresh eyes. Look at the cars passing on First Ave. See how many TLC license plates pass by. Stunning. Second, count how many cars, including the “For Hire” vehicles, which have only one person, the driver, in the car. Think about the public space, our streets, filled with this inefficient and dangerous form of transportation for so many individuals in individual cars. Then, look around and see how much space is devoted to parked cars.
You don’t have to drive to hate 20th St.
Well, I’ve just about seen it all in my six decades here living in ST/PCV… mostly good, some great, some questionable, but now I have seen it all! The asinine idea by some “brainiac” in NYC government that decided to totally screw up East 20th Street between First Avenue and Avenue C!
No, I’m not a car owner that lost one of the few precious parking spaces; just a good ol’ fashioned resident that cares about his neighbors and most importantly, our safety. Over the last few years we went from the normal two east and westbound lanes, to one more narrow lane to appease all the Bloomberg/Big Bird bike riders.
And now we have the narrowest east/westbound lanes for traffic so that a two-way bike lane could be constructed on the north or Peter Cooper side… not to mention that those bike lanes must be crossed to get to a parked car, the two new bus stop islands or to simply cross the street to go to Lenz’s Deli, Mount Sinai or Oval Fitness. Bozos!
Workers remove signs surrounding the L train construction zone on East 14th Street after Governor Cuomo’s announcement for an alternative plan to the shutdown. (Photo by Hermann Reiner)
By Sabina Mollot
With the dreaded L train shutdown no longer in the works, residents along the East 14th Street construction zone are now wondering if this means they can finally get a break from the endless construction, at least on Saturdays, while others are hoping the city will undo the recent reconfiguration of East 20th Street that’s led to a slew of parking tickets and towed cars.
Susan Steinberg, president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, is among those wondering about both.
“What effect will the change have on the construction on East 14th Street?” she asked. “Did the relevant agencies just spend two years doing work they didn’t have to? Will East 14th Street still be a staging area? Will there be impacts on noise, dust and debris? Does that mean the East 20th Street redesign was not required? Can 20th Street be restored to what it was originally?”
Until those questions are answered, Steinberg said the TA has no position on the new plan.
A royal screw-up on East 20th Street
I am deeply disturbed by the current state of our city. It appears from all indications that our dear mayor and his erstwhile Department of Transportation have absolute “Royal Authority” to change whatever they feel like without any community review or input.
Case in point is their recent removal of parking spaces along 20th Street between First Avenue and the FDR. To make matters worse they (without any notice or review) changed the traffic pattern on 20th Street. One can no longer access the FDR North by turning left at 20th Street. There is absolutely no explanation for this. There is no traffic coming from the opposite direction. What is the problem?
Now if you are uninformed you must turn right going south rather than being able to turn left to go north. There is absolutely no logic whatsoever that would explain this.
Stuyvesant Cove (Photo by William Farrell)
By Sabina Mollot
On Monday, December 10, a man was found dead at the shoreline of the East River and 20th Street.
Police found the man, who hasn’t been identified and was in his 40s, at around 7 a.m. after responding to a call about an unconscious person. He’d appeared to have been in the water and was taken to Bellevue Hospital, but he couldn’t be saved.
The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing. A spokesperson for the medical examiner didn’t have further information about the individual.
Police are asking that anyone who might have information about the man or the circumstances surrounding his death to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
As Town & Village reported this week, a number of community residents have gotten parking tickets or even towed for parking in spots along the newly designed 20th Street east of First Avenue that used to be legal.
While the city has already made the choice to justify the permanent loss of 12 parking spaces in the interest of enhanced traffic safety (an important issue to be sure) it’s unfortunate that this plan was enacted with almost no heads up to the community (unless you count a tweet in September by the Department of Transportation, followed by an article in this newspaper after residents noticed the sudden loss of parking spaces).
It is also unfortunate that this lack of communication extends between city agencies. Ideally, there would have been a message given to the NYPD that parking spaces that are no longer legal were legal up until very recently and that perhaps motorists parking where they have always parked might be deserving of a grace period, as Council Member Keith Powers is asking for.
The newly laid out street east of First Avenue, with two protected bike lanes, has confused drivers and worried pedestrians. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
The traffic safety enhancement project along 20th Street, east of First Avenue, which has so far included creating two protected bike lanes on the north side of the street and moving a bus stop to an island outside the bike lanes, apparently isn’t making neighborhood residents feel any safer.
In fact, many residents have been complaining to Council Member Keith Powers that they’re now more afraid for their safety now that they have to cross the bike lanes to catch the bus. Additionally, at least 15 drivers have contacted Powers to say they’ve gotten tickets, usually for $115, for parking in spots that were legal up until very recently. A few people have also been towed at an additional pickup fee of up to $225.
The project, which began in October, was aimed at making the streets safer in anticipation of increased bike and pedestrian traffic to the Stuyvesant Cove ferry landing once the L train shutdown begins on April 27.
But from what Powers has been hearing, the general response has been that the work seemed unnecessary.
Scofflaw cyclists are out of control
Dear Town & Village,
On two separate occasions I have been knocked down by bicycles going the wrong way against the light! This has led me to look both ways on one-way streets and in all directions when crossing the street. Now I have come so close to having had been run over on sidewalks with bicycles riding on sidewalks, going the wrong way! Stuy Town is pretty strict about the rules regarding bicycles riding around the Oval (riders are approached by Public Safety Officers to dismount) but of course, they cannot be everywhere.
No one should be riding on sidewalks or riding the wrong way against traffic.
Something has to be done!
The construction east of First Avenue is part of the traffic safety enhancement plan. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Sabina Mollot
This week, numerous readers reached out to Town & Village, asking about all the work currently going on at East 20th Street, east of First Avenue.
As we reported last month, the Department of Transportation was in the early stages of a traffic safety enhancement project on East 20th Street along the route to the ferry. The project also unfortunately included the removal of 12 parking spots.
Work, however, began in earnest last weekend, with bike lanes being built on the north side of the street adjacent to bus boarding islands.
Council Member Keith Powers said his office has also received many calls, including some complaints, from residents, mainly over the loss of parking at a time when East 14th Street has also lost dozens of spaces due to the L train related construction work. In response, Powers said he’s asked DOT officials to walk along the street with him.
Markings made east of First Avenue and 20th Street (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
On Friday morning, residents of East 20th Street noticed some work being done on the street between Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village on the north side of the street, specifically painting the bike lanes black and adding a double line to the middle of the street. Not to mention, a dozen parking spots were removed.
Asked about this, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation confirmed the DOT was behind the project, which involves installing protected bike lanes and enhancing safety along the route to the ferry.
Peter Cooper Village
Police arrested a fourth teenager in connection with a robbery that took place on East 20th Street outside Peter Cooper Village in July and police are reportedly still looking for five additional suspects.
Police said that the teen was accompanied by eight other people who snatched the victim’s cell phone while hitting him with hockey sticks. Three of the teens were arrested earlier this month, as Town & Village previously reported.
Because all of the suspects so far are minors, no further information is available about where they live and their names are withheld from the public due to their young age. The most recent suspect was charged inside the 13th Precinct last Tuesday at 1:20 a.m.
Although the incident took place outside Peter Cooper Village and not on the property, StuyTown Property Services spokeswoman Paula Chirhart commented on the issue to note that management takes such incidents seriously.
An empty Citi Bike rack on East 20th Street on Tuesday morning (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Sabina Mollot
Last week, the Department of Transportation announced that bike ridership in New York City had reached a record high. This spike in cycling is due to, in large part, the arrival of Citi Bike as well as the addition of many new miles of bike lanes during the Mayor Bloomberg administration. However, this news likely didn’t come as a surprise to residents of Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village who, for the past few months, have been finding their Citi Bike racks empty when hoping to ride to work in the mornings.
“They take (the bikes) away at night and they bring them back in the morning but they stop at a certain time,” said Christopher Simonetti, a frustrated Citi Bike member told us recently.
Simonetti, who heads straight for the rack near his Stuyvesant Town building on East 20th Street each morning, said it’s always empty from 9-10:15 a.m.
He’s been calling the bike share service regularly throughout the summer about this issue and has also asked for more racks.
“It’s the forgotten area of Citi Bikes,” he said. “This area is not being serviced.”
Stuyvesant Town (photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A 24-year-old Stuyvesant Town resident was robbed in his building by a group of seven people he had invited back to his apartment last Saturday at 4:20 a.m.
Police said that the victim met the men in a bar where he had been drinking earlier that night and he invited them back to his apartment in Stuy Town at East 20th and Avenue C. He told police that when he got into the elevator, the men started pulling up their hoods and covering their faces. When they got out of the elevator, they reportedly attacked the victim, forcing him to the ground and removing his wallet before fleeing the building. The victim reported the incident at 4:55 a.m. and no arrests were made at the time of the crime. Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney said at the 13th precinct community council’s meeting this past Tuesday that police were still looking for the suspects.
Police would not release the exact building where the robbery occurred to protect the victim.
Management did not return a request for comment on the incident by Town & Village’s press time.
Timoney said previously that locally thefts in homes were also up as a result of people inviting dates over, only to wake up and realize they’d been stolen from.
UPDATE: StuyTown Property Services responded to the incident on Thursday.
“StuyTown Property Services is aware of the incident and is assisting the NYPD with their investigation,” community affairs manager Marynia Kruk said.
The site will be included in Open House New York, walking tours of important buildings. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace on East 20th Street, which has been closed for renovations for 16 months, will soon be reopening.
An official for the site, which is overseen by the National Parks Service, said there will be a soft opening on Tuesday, October 11.
It will then be included in Open House New York, a series of tours of important buildings in the city, which will take place on the weekend of October 15-16. There will also be a birthday celebration on October 29 although the time and other details are still being worked out.
The jeep crashed through the building’s front gate. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A woman seemingly lost control of her jeep and crashed it into the front gate of the Chabad of Gramercy Park synagogue on Wednesday evening.
Minor injuries were reported after the accident, which happened on East 20th Street near First Avenue at 5 p.m.
At least six cars were damaged as a result, with one bystander describing the accident as a “domino effect.”
Andres Gomes, whose vehicle was damaged, said that the incident was confusing because the driver who set off the chain reaction appeared to be driving erratically, pulling her vehicle forward, then putting it in reverse before driving forward again, hitting multiple cars with each change of direction, before she backed into the gate.