Concord Village residents say the Adams Street overhaul could move car traffic too close to their doorsteps for comfort

Brooklyn Bridge revamp plan raises noise fear among neighbors

The Brooklyn Paper
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A massive overhaul to the Brooklyn Bridge entrance-way that the city says will make it safer for pedestrians and bicyclists headed to and from Manhattan could make neighbors’ lives a noisy nightmare, residents warn.

The revamp proposal widens and extends the walking and bike path in the center of Adams Street, replacing the cement and metal barriers that are there now, which planners call “the cattle chute,” with trees and plants. It also eliminates one of two rows of parked cars on a service road on the Manhattan-bound side of Adams and moves the bridge traffic one lane closer to the neighboring apartment complex Concord Village, which residents say will increase traffic noise so much it could threaten their well-being.

“Noise is not a matter of comfort, but a matter of health,” said Denise Maher, a Villager and member of the activist group Everyday Adams Street, which formed in response to the proposal. “The public health of the people who live on Adams Street should be the biggest concern.”

Residents of the cooperative buildings overlooking the bridge ramp also worry that construction work for the project will kick up dust and rattle their nerves and are demanding that the city do an environmental study before lifting a single jackhammer.

“There’s such a large population of both young and old people here,” said Concord Village resident Anita Maldonado. “What’s this going to do to us?”

The proposed sprucing-up extends the Adams Street walking and cycling path from Tillary Street to Johnson Street and removes the Adams service roads between Tillary and Johnson. It also adds features such as water-bottle filling stations, benches, street lights, trash cans, and bike racks. The Adams Street work is the first phase of a larger overhaul and is projected to cost $19.5 million.

The second phase adds trees and widens sidewalks along Tillary Street and eliminates a lane of car traffic on the thoroughfare between Cadman Plaza East and Jay Street. Under the plan, the auto areas are replaced with grassy medians and bigger strolling expanses, as well as a new row of street parking on the bridge side of the street.

Downtown’s Community Board 2 backed up the nervous neighbors when it approved a revised version of the plan at its Feb. 12 meeting, calling on the city to address the concerns before moving forward.

The city says it hears residents’ concerns loud and clear.

“We look forward to working with them further as this project proceeds,” said Nicholas Mosquera, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation.

And one group that advocates for taking back city streets from cars say that plan is a win for drivers, cyclists, and walkers because it will improve the traffic flow while reducing the noise and air pollution of idling autos and providing more space for pedestrians and two-wheelers.

“It’ll be a more calm, easy to navigate street-scape,” said Miller Nuttle, a safe streets organizer with the car critic group Tranportation alternatives.

The plan will now be reviewed by the city’s public design commission. The transportation department hopes to begin work by the end of the year.

Updated 3:20 pm, February 26, 2014: Plan details added and clarified.
Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
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Reasonable discourse

Stu from Slope says:
Let's never change anything anywhere in New York City because that involves construction which might bother a few people for a defined period of time.

Thank god these people weren't around when Roebling started to build the Brooklyn Bridge. We might all still be taking ferries across the river.
Feb. 24, 2014, 9:30 am
Bruce from Midwood says:
Took the words right out of my mouth Stu
Feb. 24, 2014, 9:58 am
judahspechal from bedstuy says:
well said!
Feb. 24, 2014, 10:34 am
Joe R. from Flushing says:
OK, if motor vehicle noise is such a problem (and I agree that it is), then how about just closing the entire area there to motor vehicles? That would neatly solve any noise issues, and greatly increase safety besides.

And yes, I agree with Stu here. It's getting really annoying having people who try to freeze the city into whatever time period they see with rose-colored glasses. NYC has always been about change. If you want to live someplace which is still nearly the same today as it was a century ago, try a small town in some backwater state.
Feb. 24, 2014, 1:13 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, try being one of those residents over at Concord Village, and then you will understand why they are concerned by what's going on before you start making personal attacks at them. Then again, since they are the low income, their issues just don't matter to any of you, who probably have way better living conditions than they do. More importantly, eliminating the service road portion of Adams Streets can make it difficult for those who are trying to avoid to using the Brooklyn Bridge since no right turn is allowed from the main road, and I highly doubt that will be allowed when the service road won't be there anymore. Let's not forget that the Brooklyn Bridge does have a lot traffic on it right now, so closing certain roads to them or reducing the travel lanes can actually make it worse than it already is, though this is probably a great way to help promote congestion pricing just by creating the very congestion itself, which is the Bloomberg way.
Feb. 24, 2014, 3:52 pm
PJL from 11201 says:
This isn't just about construction noise or change.

If you lived near a very busy street or highway and the municipality proposed moving it 20% closer to your doorstep by moving/removing lanes, etc.(without any consideration of your health, safety, etc.), how would you react?
Feb. 24, 2014, 4:16 pm
Villheeelhm from ParkVine says:
"Then again, since they are the low income, their issues just don't matter."

Exactly. Let's move on with construction.
Feb. 24, 2014, 4:41 pm
Tony from Concord Village says:
The Slope, Midwood, Bedstuy, Flushing, Pleasantville, interesting fact, none of you live here so until you do and have to deal with this project, you should keep you mouths shut. And to say this is a low income housing complex is not accurate.

I'm 100% for the improvements but there are concerns that are being missed in the conversation.

It appears the courthouse loading dock is more important - that is why they are moving the traffic east toward concord village.

Instead of fussing about air pollution which will really won't matter because of road being moved 10 feet east, the real concern should be about emergency vehicles, deliveries, access a ride for the elderly and taxi service for CV residents. The courthouse should make changes to the loading dock entry so the road can be moved west.

Feb. 24, 2014, 4:42 pm
AJ from dumbo says:
I agree with the local residents here. I would be very concerned if a two lane highway was moved closer to my apartment's windows.
Feb. 24, 2014, 4:49 pm
Zo from Concord Village says:
I don't want pollution and noise to be increased for our homes. I agree with 99% of what the plan is trying to achieve. We just want to maintain the current distance to the main roadway. The federal courthouse is getting what they want, but we the people are getting screwed. If maintaining the roadway distance is not possible, then we need some sort of noise / pollution mitigation plan implemented to maintain existing quality of life. There are so many ways this plan can be adjusted or amended easily to benefit taxpayers, not federal workers or a DOT designer's ego.
Feb. 24, 2014, 5:07 pm
BL from Downtown Brooklyn says:
If the DOT believes that this project is safe for those that live adjacent to the bridge, then why is it not coming forth with the data to demonstrate its safety? Also, it should be pointed out by those claiming the Concord Villagers just don't want change, that Community Board 2 agreed with the idea of baseline testing for noise and air pollution as well as more appropriate barriers between the highway on the bridge being moved closer to the residential area and the Adams Street service road which is full of residential buildings. This is a pedestrian safety issue as well for anyone walking to the High Street A/C station or using the service road as a way to reach DUMBO with its fast growing tech businesses and entry to the Brooklyn Bridge park.
Feb. 24, 2014, 7:42 pm
Common Sense from NEW YORK CITY says:
Safety > Noise

Sorry, you loose!
Feb. 24, 2014, 7:51 pm
MD from Downtown Brooklyn says:
I don't think I've heard anyone say to scrap the project. It does appear that it needs to be modified. Forging ahead with massive construction projects without doing any research on how it affects noise and pollution is an interesting precedent to set. Removing the pedestrian barrier that some crazy tourists already jump over to cross through bridge traffic will likely lead to tragic results pretty quickly. When traffic is at a standstill because a family of tourists have decided they no longer want to walk to the end of the block to catch the train and cross right through bridge traffic, come back and let me know if this is just a local resident problem.
Feb. 24, 2014, 10:16 pm
Guest from Park Slope says:
^Speak for yourself. I welcome any traffic safety improvements.
Feb. 25, 2014, 1:13 am
Molly from concord village says:
I wouldn't lump all of Concord Village together in this. I support the project as it is and attended all the early planning meetings. They were just barely able to get 100 people to sign on to their petition (and if you look at who is signing, many of those signing on are part of the same family)- it's a small fraction of the community who lives there and would like to see improvements sooner rather than later.
Feb. 25, 2014, 7:52 am
Ronnie from I walk to work over that bridge says:
Am I reading the argument right?: I live steps from the highway on-ramp to the busy Brooklyn Bridge. Please don't rationalize the intersection and create a lovely park here because that will be too noisy.

Any change to this embarrassing entrance to our great borough is an improvement as far as I am concerned.
Feb. 25, 2014, 10:41 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
The intersection of Tillary and Adams is hairy for pedestrians and cyclists. Tourists on foot and bike commuters get a 6ft x 4ft space to stand on between multiple lanes of rushing car traffic. The stats in the linked report bear that out: this intersection's accident rate is nearly 10 times the state average. So it's welcome that the DOT is planning to modify it and the other approaches to the bridge. I wonder why it never occurs to the DOT to employ pedestrian/bike overpasses such as they have in Asia. Much safer and all three modes of traffic can continue unimpeded.
Feb. 25, 2014, 11:51 am
Chris M from Crown Heights says:
The DOT faces a lot of opposition whenever it tries to make more space for pedestrians. Eliminating parking on both sides of both service roads would have been a better solution than moving the onramp closer to Concord Village. Car storage (completly free right?) takes up valuable land we could be using to make that entryway beautiful and welcoming to people.
Feb. 25, 2014, 11:56 am
Mike D from Downtown Brooklyn says:
I live in the building right at the entrance (in CV) to this project and facing the street I'm actually ok with it. But I was thinking - did the DOT consider moving this project "westerly" as opposed to bringing it closer to Concord Village? Why not take parking away from the court building instead of CV? Shift the lanes towards the court building so everyone's happy.
Feb. 25, 2014, 2:14 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
All this project just shows is who has the connections here. If you make a lot, you can get whatever you want whenever you want it, but if you don't, you're screwed. This is exactly how Ratner got his way on the Atlantic Yards. As for making the pedestrian and bicycle entrance more inviting, how about fixing up a public space that already exists such as Cadman Plaza, which is already there? I never really got why so much money is created to make new public space when hardly any of it is used these days for what's already there.
Feb. 25, 2014, 4:02 pm
Jill Espinoza-D'Angelo from Fort Greene says:
Waste of $$$; I'm a cyclist, runner, walker and things are fine as is.

Where's "Miller Nuttle" from anyway?

And how many black people work for "Transportation Altneratives" again?

Feb. 25, 2014, 6:35 pm
TT from Ps says:
Things were always fine till we got invaded with out of staters who complain about birds chirping, ice cream, and the color of grass!!
Feb. 25, 2014, 7:55 pm
sharon from brooklyn heights says:
Low income? a one bedroom in concorde village is now $400,000 ...has that become low income?
It's a private coop, not subsidized, and quite lovely at that.
March 28, 2014, 9:07 am
PJL from 11201 says:
Community Board 2 has advised that NYC DOT rejected all of the Community Board's recommendations.

So much for hopes that this new administration actually would value community input (as promised)....
April 4, 2014, 3:19 pm
Roberto Gautier from Cadman Plaza West says:
Here's a smart paradigm to consider: areas of intense traffic concentrate dangerous levels of air pollution and noise pollution. All three form a vortex of health hazards which should not be dismissed in the name of progress. More advocacy needs to be focused on victims of the three-pronged vortex. Projects like the Brooklyn Bridge Rehabilitation Project (June 2010 - ?)
need to include environmental impact studies, rather than just traffic flow analyses that care most about commerce and least about people. Moving a two-lane road filled with motor vehicles 24/7 next to residential housing is a foolish plan because it does not take peoples' health and sleep into consideration. Pressure must be exerted on our so-called progressive municipal government's response. Let's see how things change after the billionaire mayor's departure.
May 1, 2014, 10:47 pm

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