Friday’s Headlines: A Newsy Flushing Avenue Update Edition

The daily deadly mix on Flushing Avenue.
The daily deadly mix on Flushing Avenue.

To paraphrase the Ramones, “DDC did a job on me.” Yes, it’s time for our latest Flushing Avenue update. As we reported in September, the transformation of Flushing Avenue from a terribly unsafe place for cyclists into an oasis with a two-way, fully protected bike lane, was supposed to be done by this month.

Update: It won’t be. The Department of Design and Construction sent over the following statement, written to highlight the agency’s “Strategic Blueprint,” which the agency believes will change everything…going forward, that is.

The DDC Strategic Blueprint issued in January points out that street reconstruction projects are typically delayed three to nine months because of interference with existing utilities. This project [Flushing Avenue] is a classic example of that. Because of the need to wait for utility work this project is now projected to be completed by the end of 2019. However, the bike lane should be finished by mid-summer.

The DDC Strategic Blueprint would reduce the number of times DDC projects come into conflict with utilities and would improve coordination when utilities are impossible to avoid. It would also increase the use of joint bidding, which would allow DDC to contract utility work and its own work all at once, removing the need for DDC to wait for utilities to contract the work themselves. DDC worked with utilities in creating the Strategic Blueprint so they’re aware of the issue and they’re already working with us to improve the situation.

Yeah, yeah, but here’s some context: This project dates back to 2010. It was supposed to start in 2014, but didn’t start until late 2017, and not in earnest until 2018. And now it’s delayed until the end of 2019 — but the good news from DDC is it won’t happen again! Promise! We have a Strategic Blueprint.

And now the news:

  • Transit engineering expert (and also New York State Governor) Andrew Cuomo is telling MTA experts what to do again. The Daily News and amNY covered Cuomo’s belief that he knows signals better than Andy Byford. And the NY Post focused on the governor’s desire to review the almost-finished East Side Access project. At some point, Byford simply has to hand Cuomo the keys to all the trains and say, “You know what? You run them!”
  • As Streetsblog has reported, the congestion pricing devil is in the carveout details. The Daily News is also on the story. Meanwhile, the governor made the central point — albeit ham-handedly — about congestion pricing: All the outer-borough lawmakers who opposed it are wrong because so few of their constituents drive into Manhattan anyway. (NY Post)
  • Lost in the shuffle over the debate about what to do with the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway was this big of highway porn from Bjarke Ingels Group. But don’t be fooled: This buried roadway plan would increase the number of cars, which should be a no-no in the era of Vision Zero and Emission Zero (wait, did we just coin that?) (CurbedCrain’s). And NY1 did a segment on Mayor de Blasio’s new BQE panel.
  • The Post and Streetsblog covered Byford’s memo to his transit workers reminding them to use transit and stop parking wherever they way.
  • When is Mayor de Blasio going to crack down on this untested, dangerous technology? (West Side Rag)
  • And, finally, here’s our weekly tribute to Gridlock Sam, for reminding us that there’s always a better way to get around than using a car. (NYDN)