Wrong direction: City altering Sheepshead Bay Road plan, but keeping unpopular elements

Wrong direction: City altering Sheepshead Bay Road plan, but keeping unpopular elements
Photo by Angel Zayas

They want a total reversal.

The Department of Transportation made minor changes to its much-maligned Sheepshead Bay Road re-jiggering last week in an attempt to appease locals who have been fighting with officials to reverse it. But the city has remained steadfast in the plan’s most despised aspects — making the road one-way, closing two side streets to traffic, and moving the B36 bus stop a block away — and the slight modifications are a distraction from the larger issues, one local said.

“It’s not good — they are trying to appease a little bit, but they clearly don’t want to change,” said Ellyn Rothstein. “They are throwing us a bone.”

The department plans to create about 20 new parking spaces along Sheepshead Bay Road between E. 15th Street and Voorhies Avenue this summer, added 24-hour lighting under the Sheepshead Bay Road train trestle, and created a taxi stand right outside the Sheepshead Bay Road subway station, according to a spokesman.

But E. 15th Street between Sheepshead Bay Road and Avenue Z remains closed to vehicles, which funnels drivers headed toward Downtown onto Jerome Avenue and E. 17th Street and creates chaos, according to Community Board 15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo.

“Jerome Avenue still poses a problem,” she said. “The new traffic pattern, putting all the traffic down to Jerome and E. 17th Street, and the little stop sign on Jerome Avenue and E. 17th, that’s going to create havoc.”

And the new lights under the train trestle were merely an afterthought that should have been added before the city’s plan to move the B36 bus stop to Avenue Z and E. 15th Street went into effect, said board member Maurice Kolodin.

“It doesn’t change the fundamental problems that were created,” he said. “Had they really had a plan, that would have been done before. They would have known what is patently obvious — if they intended to move the bus stop over to Avenue Z, the lighting had to be done so for the opening day, so things would be safe. They didn’t do it, it was all responsive.”

And for some, the main issue with the B36’s new home is something even 1,000-watt light bulbs cannot solve, because straphangers must still wait outside for the bus at its new stop, instead of inside the Sheepshead Bay subway station, said Rothstein, who catches the bus there.

“I really, really think they should put it back,” she said. “When it’s cold, when it’s dark, I like to stand inside and I can’t do that anymore, now I’m stuck in the elements and I have to stand out there in the freezing cold and inclement weather.”

The Department of Transportation also repaved Sheepshead Bay Road and corrected a flooding problem where the road meets with E. 15th Street so that the water runs into the draining catch basin rather than pooling in the street, said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay), who was influential in advocating for the changes.

“There was a large pooling condition on E. 15th and Sheepshead Bay Road — one of my commitments was to make sure that condition gets corrected,” he said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Hail one over here!: The Department of Transporation installed a new taxi stand sign on Sheepshead Bay Road outside of the subway station to clear up congestion on the busy thoroughfare.
Photo by Angel Zayas

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