2005-08-12 / Front Page

New Parking On Beach 116 Street Either Parallel Or Nose-In

By Brian Magoolaghan


Pedestrians have to negotiate an obstacle course created by a narrow walkway, cobblestones, tree branches and, in this case, a tire that someone left behind.Pedestrians have to negotiate an obstacle course created by a narrow walkway, cobblestones, tree branches and, in this case, a tire that someone left behind.

  • The zigzagging concrete parking median on Beach 116 Street could begin to disappear as soon as next month, and the city is batting around two new designs for the busy street, The Wave has learned.
  • The first design calls for a 10-foot traditional median with parallel parking on both sides and along the sidewalk curbs. Lines painted on the road surface would designate parking spaces.

    The parking median on Beach 116 Street is unpopular with many because it blocks street sweepers from removing dirt and debris such as the motor oil and two DOT parking receipts seen here.The parking median on Beach 116 Street is unpopular with many because it blocks street sweepers from removing dirt and debris such as the motor oil and two DOT parking receipts seen here. The second design would eliminate the existing median and put angled, nose-in parking along the sidewalk curbs only with painted markings to guide traffic. The configuration would provide about 103 spaces – one more than what exists now.

    Official renderings of either plan were not available at press time.

    City and local representatives met Tuesday at the Beach Club to weigh both options. Sources said the Department of Transportation and Department of Design and Construction are backing the first plan because it includes a median. The DOT is a proponent of medians because they create a “pedestrian refuge” and “reduced crossing distances,” according to its website. The plan also adds about 30 percent more spaces.

    Citing the boost in parking spaces, Jonathan Gaska, Community Board 14 District Manager said, “It’s probably a no-brainer which way the merchants want it to go.” Still, some merchants on the block are worried about traffic congestion and their ability to load and unload delivery trucks.

    Joanie Omeste, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, said she has already started talking to merchants about it. Omeste has a birds eye view of the middle portion of Beach 116 Street from her office.

    “It’s extremely difficult on business owners, patrons and pedestrians – the people who use it,” she said. The current design has drawn widespread criticism because it traps dirt and engine fluids while blocking mechanical street sweepers and, with its cobblestones and narrow walking areas, is tricky to negotiate on foot.

    The reconfiguration was spurred by the plan to memorialize Flight 587 on the street’s southern end and is just one among several ongoing projects that will change the face of the key location. CB14, the Chamber and others have long requested a new parking pattern.

    The budget for the project is $1 million and work should begin shortly after Labor Day, according to Elizabeth Harris, a DDC spokesperson.

    Meanwhile, Gaska said CB14’s Transportation Committee will hold a special meeting before the board’s next regular monthly meeting, which is slated for Tuesday, September 13. This could allow the committee to present its findings, after which the board could vote to back one of the designs. A date had not been set for the committee meeting at press time.

    Gaska described the opportunity to reconfigure the parking “a second bite of the apple” but also expressed surprise over how quickly the city wants to get rolling. “We want to make sure that we get this right,” he said.

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