Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bike Racks for a New City

On Friday the NYC Department of Transportation and the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum announced an international design competition for bike parking in New York City. The design competition's website explains that although U-racks, the current model, are functional in many ways, the current design "does not fulfill the potential to be an icon for New York City cycling."

They are soliciting a new design that will become the standard for sidewalk bike racks and racks inside buildings and garages. The City plans to add at least 500 bike racks per year to the existing stock of approximately 4,000 bike racks. Your design could be the new model. The international competition will be juried by a panel of experts from the worlds of industrial design, art and transportation.

Find out more and register at City Racks Design Competition.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

It's Spring, Let's Play!

I may be getting a wee bit ahead of the season but I saw my first Mr. Softee truck last night. It's spring!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hearing Today on Proposed Gowanus Development

Thanks to Eric McClure over at Park Slope Neighbor for this heads up on a hearing that's happening today about proposed development along the Gowanus Canal.
1) City Planning Scoping Hearing for Proposed Toll Brothers Gowanus Project, Thursday

Just wanted to remind everyone that the Department of City Planning will be holding a public scoping hearing tomorrow pertaining to the large housing project being proposed by Toll Brothers for a site along the western bank of the Gowanus Canal. A scoping hearing is the first step in the City's land-use review process. The final scoping document sets the "scope," or the parameters for what will be studied in the Environmental Impact Statement.

Toll Brothers Gowanus Scoping Hearing
Thursday, March 13th
2:00 to 5:45 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:45 p.m.
Department of City Planning
Spector Hall
22 Reade Street

Toll Brothers only recently revealed details about its plans to build a 577-unit mixed-income project (130 of the units would be below market rate) on a three-acre site along the Gowanus, bordered by Bond, 2nd and Carroll Streets. The development would include buildings ranging from four to 12 stories in height, with the tallest building, at about 125 feet, adjacent to the canal. The project would include a small amount of retail and "community" space, and 260 off-street parking spots.

The developer is seeking a special "spot rezoning" of the parcel in advance of a likely overall rezoning of the Gowanus by City Planning. The Gowanus Lounge has renderings and a map of the project.

More information, including downloads of the Draft Scoping document and scoping meeting protocol, and contact information, is available at the Department of City Planning website. Written comments regarding the draft scope can be submitted through March 24th.

If you're interested in the future of the Gowanus Canal, you might want to attend the hearing or submit comments. The City's willingness to consider a special rezoning for one site seems backward; some critics believe that a multi-agency Master Plan for the entire Gowanus should be put into place before any rezoning is undertaken. Count us among them.

Opening Screening of 'A Hole in a Fence'

I had the pleasure last night of attending the opening screening of A Hole in a Fence, a documentary by Brooklyn-based filmmaker D.W. Young. A Hole in a Fence visits a hidden corner of Red Hook where a massive boat repair yard used to be. By interviewing neighbors, homeless residents, graffiti artists, photographers (full disclosure - me), businesses and non-profits, Young captures varying visions of and perspectives on a quickly changing site. It was exciting to see the final cut, and a lot of fun to meet some of the other interviewees.

For anyone who's enjoyed a summer afternoon eating tacos at the Red Hook Ball Fields and wondered what else Red Hook is about, here's your answer.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Vote or Die

Seen on Crosby St, just south of Houston. But I'm not sure what Laser Guided Democracy means.