Lawsuit aims to stop L-pocalypse

Apr5 14th St coalition Schwartz Prentiss

Attorney Arthur Schwartz (pictured with Edith Prentiss, a disabled rights activist) says disabled commuters aren’t being considered, nor are the neighborhoods that will be dealing with chaotic traffic. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday morning, a coalition of neighborhood groups sued in a Manhattan Federal Court in an attempt to stop the planned L train shutdown starting a year from now. The suit accuses the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the city Department of Transportation and the Federal Transportation Administration of ignoring the needs of disabled riders along the L line, and disregarding the communities who’ll be dealing with constant congestion from diesel-spewing buses.

According to the attorney representing the groups, dubbed “the 14th Street Coalition,” Arthur Schwartz, the FTA “has failed to enforce compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) even though the nearly $1 billion project is being federally funded.” The MTA and DOT meanwhile, he said have failed to prepare a required Environmental Impact Statement, which he said would have compelled the agencies to be more responsive to community input.

The suit aims to halt the work as well as its federal funding until the plans do something about the lack of elevators in each L station and about the expected environmental impacts from substituting the L train with significantly expanded above ground mass transit.

The plan calls for creating a 14th Street “busway” between Third and Eighth Avenues going west and from Ninth to Third Avenues going east. Car traffic will not be able to cross anywhere along the busway. Access-A-Ride will be included along with emergency vehicles. The plan is to enforce these rules during “peak” hours. A constant fleet of shuttle buses will be traveling from Brooklyn to Manhattan over the Williamsburg Bridge and there will also be a protected bike lane on East 13th Street.

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USP wants to modernize Union Sq. station

The Union Square Partnership proposed a few technological enhacements for the subway station at a Community Board 5 meeting. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The neighborhood BID for Union Square wants to help make the chaotic station more navigable for commuters and tourists alike and this week offered some suggestions to Community Board 5. Union Square Partnership director of economic development Monica Munn said that the impetus for the plan is partially due to the changes the neighborhood will be undergoing with the upcoming L train shutdown but also is a push to generally modernize the station.

“(The L train shutdown) is not just about changes happening above ground,” she said, referring to the planning related to bus and street improvements to mitigate the 15 months without the L train. “We’re thinking about what needs to be done to mitigate that as much as possible but we also want to think about modernizing as much as possible.”

Representatives from the Partnership presented the suggestions to members of Community Board 5’s transportation and environment committee this past Monday.

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Rivera focused on mom-and-pops and affordable housing at tech hub

Council Member Carlina Rivera outside her district office in the East Village (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Newly-elected City Council Member Carlina Rivera spoke with members of the community media in a round-table discussion this week, covering affordable housing, the plight of small businesses and the transit woes affecting District 2.

Rivera, who took over the seat from Rosie Mendez, who was term-limited after 12 years in office, previously worked with Mendez as her legislative director and is a long-time community activist working in the East Village and the Lower East Side.

One of the subjects she brought up was the new “tech hub” the city is planning on East 14th Street, and Rivera said she wants to make sure affordable housing is factored into the plan.

“In terms of the zoning, it’s going to be important to look at how we can incentivize affordable housing,” she said. “People are worried that this tech hub is going to be a purely commercial development and one of the most important things we need is affordable housing.”

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Cops looking for L train masturbator

Masturbating suspect

Police are looking for a man who exposed himself and then began masturbating in front of a woman on the L train on Thursday, January 25.

The 45-year-old victim said it happened at about 9:40 a.m. as the L headed towards 14th Street and Third Avenue. She snapped a photo of the suspect before he fled the train station.

He is described as Hispanic, about 25 years old, 5’11” and was last seen wearing a large backpack with all dark clothing.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

More details (and concerns) on 14th St. ‘Busway’

Stuyvesant Town resident AJ Miller expresses her concerns to transit officials at an open house at the 14th Street Y. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA and DOT released details on the “Busway” coming to 14th Street during the expected L train shutdown at Community Board 6’s transportation committee meeting on Monday. The agencies also gathered feedback on the plans during an open house at the 14th Street Y last Wednesday.

The new Busway will be on 14th from Third to Eighth Avenues going westbound and from Ninth to Third Avenues going east.

In both directions between Third and First Avenues, there will be a painted bus lane on the street but traffic will not be restricted and cars will be able to head across 14th Street, whereas traffic will not be allowed to cross anywhere along the Busway.

Meeting attendees asked DOT representatives why the Busway was not extended all the way to First Avenue or Avenue C and DOT representative Aaron Sugiura explained that it wasn’t ideal, but that the negatives outweighed the positives.

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Woman rescued from L train tracks

Feb26 L Train

By Sabina Mollot

The MTA temporarily suspended L train service between Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenue in Brooklyn and First Avenue in Manhattan after a woman either jumped or fell into the tracks.

Police said the victim was seen jumping into the tracks and that no crime is suspected at this time, although an MTA spokesperson said the woman fell into the tracks. The FDNY said she was hit by a train. The Post reported she was pulled out from underneath a train where she was trapped.

Her age is unknown. The victim, who the MTA said was injured at the Bedford Avenue stop at 11:20 a.m., was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Responders do not yet have information on her condition.

At 12:17 p.m., NYCTransit tweeted that train service had resumed. An emailed advisory noted passengers should expect delays. Shortly prior to that service had resumed, bypassing the Bedford stop in both directions.

Letters to the editor, Dec. 21

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Nightmare on East 14th Street

We were all aware of the closing down of the L train in 2019 due to repairs required in the tunnel damaged in superstorm Sandy. This was a known fact to our community and the entire city. However, we were not aware of the construction that would start a few months back building an entrance to the L First Avenue station on Avenue A, as it was almost impossible to find room on the platform.

In any event, about 4-6 months ago, we noticed bus stops were being moved and a lot of fencing was being put  up. Then we realized, this is it; the construction would start on a subway entrance to the L train on 14th Street and  Avenue A. Instead of being good news, it became difficult to get past the construction site, the noise, the dust, the trucks the workmen standing around, causing causing smoke, litter, clutter as even if our neighborhood is not crowded enough.

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Stuy Town gets new temporary bus stop shelter

The new shelter at the northeast corner of East 14th Street and Avenue B (Photo by Lawrence Scheyer)

By Sabina Mollot

On Saturday, a temporary bus stop shelter was installed on the northeast corner of East 14th Street and Avenue B as preliminary work continues along 14th Street for the looming L train reconstruction.

A rep for City Council Member Dan Garodnick told Town & Village the shelter’s installation is unusual for a couple of reasons. First, because the city had initially said that temporary shelters aren’t normally installed at stops that get relocated due to construction. However, Garodnick was able to convince the city to install this one as well as another at a different stop on Avenue A over the summer.

The new shelter is also unusual because it had to fit alongside the L train construction site and still have an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalk.

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Hoylman to push for lower MTA fares and congestion pricing

State Senator Brad Hoylman (pictured at right) spoke about the need for transit improvements at a recent meeting of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

State Senator Brad Hoylman, who’s been an outspoken critic of the bus used by many of his constituents, the M23 a.k.a. the turtle, is now setting his sights on the MTA as a whole, saying he’s sick of seeing funds intended for mass transit get steered elsewhere.

Hoylman brought up the subject on Sunday, November 19 at a public meeting held by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association during a Q&A period.

The topic was first brought up by a woman who, during a Q&A period, said she didn’t like that a fleet of 200 diesel buses have been announced as a solution to the looming L-Pocalypse in 2019, rather than hybrid buses.

At this, Hoylman said he agreed and wanted to help “wean Albany off of Diesel,” despite the pollution-spewing option being cheaper.

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Female pickpockets pummel victim for asking for her wallet back

Police are on the lookout for a trio of pickpockets who gang-assaulted their victim when she realized her wallet was gone.

On Saturday evening at 6:45 p.m., police said the victim, a 19-year-old woman, was at the L train platform at the Union Square subway station when she was approached by the three suspects, who managed to swipe the victim’s wallet when boarding the train. The victim then confronted them, and asked for her wallet back. But instead of handing it over, as the train came to stop at 8th Avenue and 14th Street, the suspects punched and hit the victim on her face and body, then fled.

The victim was taken to Healthplex Medical Center for her injuries, which police did not specify.

The suspects are described as being black and 17 to 19 years old.

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Con Ed crew at work on East 14th Street in wee hours on Tuesday

Con Ed trucks on East 14th Street (Photo by Sherman Sussman)

By Sabina Mollot

With construction a constant in Manhattan, some residents have the misfortune of hearing trucks back up, pile drivers pound and re-directed motorists curse as the soundtracks to their day. However, one resident of Stuyvesant Town, who lives down the street from the Extell development site and across the street from Con Ed, reached out to us after being woken up at 2:45 a.m. on Tuesday due to work crews on the street.

According to Sherman Sussman, it was at that time that he saw a crew in Con Ed trucks doing non-emergency work in front of 635 East 14th Street. He knew it was non-emergency work after heading downstairs and speaking with the foreman. There were also other trucks idling for over 15 minutes by then, he told us.

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Police Watch: Man breaks EMS worker’s nose, Person assaulted on L train

MAN BREAKS NOSE OF EMS WORKER AT BELLEVUE
Police arrested 27-year-old Jeremy Santiago for allegedly assaulting an EMS worker in front of Bellevue Hospital at 462 First Avenue last Monday at 4:02 a.m. Police said that Santiago acted uncooperative while an EMS worker was trying to get him inside an ambulance and he allegedly behaved erratically by running towards oncoming traffic. Police said that the EMS worker attempted to grab Santiago and pull him out of the road to prevent him from getting hit by a car and in the process he allegedly hit the worker in the face, causing a broken nose.

MAN ARRESTED FOR L TRAIN ASSAULT
Police arrested 24-year-old Curtis McIntosh for allegedly assaulting a fellow straphanger on the L train last Wednesday at 5:45 a.m. Police said that McIntosh punched a passenger in the back of the head on the L train as it was at Union Square/East 14th Street. The district attorney’s office said that McIntosh received a desk appearance ticket for the incident.

MAN ARRESTED FOR ASSAULT AT EAST 16TH AND FIRST
Fifty-year-old David Wilson was arrested for assault at the corner of East 16th Street and First Avenue last Saturday at 9:06 p.m. Witnesses told police that they heard a commotion outside and broken glass, and when they went to check, they saw that Wilson was allegedly on top of the victim, who had sustained a cut on the back of his head. When the victim struck the sidewalk, Wilson allegedly fled. Another witness said he had seen Wilson tackle the victim to the ground. Police searched the area and Wilson was arrested shortly after.

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Man rubs against woman on L train at First Avenue

Forcible touching suspect

By Sabina Mollot

Police are looking for a man who rubbed himself against a female straphanger on the L train last Wednesday.

Police said the victim, a 33-year-old woman, was on the train at the First Avenue station when a man who was standing behind her forcibly rubbed himself against her buttocks. The victim then snapped a photo of the man who was sticking out his tongue before he fled the train. Police said it isn’t clear if the man was grinding against the woman with his crotch.

Update: The victim told DNAinfo he was gyrating his hips repeatedly and she could feel he was aroused.

The suspect is described as Hispanic, approximately 5’6″ with brown eyes and black hair and was last seen wearing an orange t-shirt.

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Bus stop shelters on East 14th Street removed, will be relocated

Bus stop removal1

The MTA said the removals were because of impending work. (Photos by Hermann Reiner)

By Sabina Mollot

On July 1, an eagle-eyed reader informed us an unannounced removal of M14 bus stop shelters had occurred that day and the day before from Avenues A to B. We reached out to the Department of Transportation for an explanation and the agency responded via email Thursday evening to say the stops were removed due to impending work, but would be relocated this week.

The agency didn’t say what project the impending work is for, but Council Member Dan Garodnick said he was told by the MTA it had to do with the looming L train line repairs, which include building an Avenue A subway entrance.

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MTA to reduce L train shutdown by three months

Straphangers waiting for the L at First Ave.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The MTA announced at the end of last week that the L train tunnel will likely be closed for 15 months instead of the originally-proposed 18 for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs and the shutdown will begin in April 2019 instead of that January.

Transportation blog Second Ave. Subway first noticed the changes to the plan in the board’s materials last Friday and MTA spokesperson Beth DeFalco confirmed via Twitter that the timeline had changed.

The materials released last Friday note that the agency chose to award the contract for the project to joint venture Judlau Contracting Inc./TC Electric, LLC because of the work the contractors have done for the MTA on other Sandy-related projects, and could apply their previous experience from similar projects to lessen the impact on the community and, ideally, shorten both the full closure and the entire project duration.

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