After complaints about longstanding issues were raised at the January meeting of the Nieuw Amersfort Community Association (NACA), staff members from Councilwoman Farah Louis’ office responded by taking quick action, as announced at NACA’s February 28th meeting.
Monthly NACA meetings held every fourth Tuesday in the basement of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, at 3913 Avenue J, recommenced after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 in October 2022. Members met for the first time with Louis’ Constituent Service Liaison Sabrina Dieujuste last month to discuss their concerns, including Department of Transportation (DOT) related issues in their neighborhood.
“Tomorrow, our office is hosting a walkthrough of District 45 with DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez,” Dieujuste announced. She said that they will have an hour to visit a prioritized list of problem areas and asked members to submit locations with major transportation issues such as ponding, potholes, street cleaning and any issues that have been prolonged and unaddressed.
As promised, the walkthrough took place the next day covering several locations in the area. The commissioner said that he was making this his priority and praised Louis for being a great council member and advocate for her district.
“Mayor Adams wants for us to be sure that we listen to the community and we get stuff done,” Rodriguez said. “So, we’re trying to be helpful to improve the situation.”
Dieujuste said that the DOT has promised them five speed bump priorities and they should submit any locations in dire need of one; installations will take place in Spring 2023.
A request to resurface the service road from Utica to Flatbush Avenues on Kings Highway was also made at the meeting. Dieujuste took note of any other complaints and then introduced her colleague, Outreach Community Liaison Daniel Heredia.
They encouraged everyone to attend the MTA Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign workshop for Community Board 18, scheduled for March 9th, to bring up previous concerns expressed about the B41 bus line. Recordings will be made available for those with access issues to the virtual meeting.
Residents living near the railroad line had questions about a State-driven proposal to build an Interborough Express connecting the northern parts of Queens, from Ridgewood to Bushwick, following along the “L” train, and then making a turn to use tracks in the area out to Brooklyn College and then to Bay Ridge.
There were concerns about how the construction line will affect the surrounding homes, the amount of noise that the trains will create and other construction-related issues.
“We have to make it very clear that we have to preserve the interests of the homeowners who live along the track,” Heredia said. He recommended that they speak with MTA and State officials while the plan to install a light rail along the proposed route is in the planning phase.
Heredia also addressed questions raised last month about how redistricting has affected District 45. He helped directly with opposing the changes to keep Flatlands from being divided into three different districts as proposed in original plans in 2022. Opposition letters were sent and the lines redrawn.
“The main shift is that we no longer have Remsen,” he said. “We actually have a little bit more of the Flatlands area, Fox Playground and P.S. 251.” District 45 has moved farther south to Avenue P and Bedford Avenue and is now more connected with the Marine Park neighborhood.
Residents were also concerned about zoning because of their observations about how the character of the neighborhood was changing with the construction of taller buildings in between houses, particularly on Brooklyn Avenue, between Avenues H and I, and now a new location at 1484 Brooklyn Avenue has just received a permit.
Heredia and the residents had a conversation about how zoning laws worked for their community board, transparency, loopholes and how residents feel that some developers will work with the community, but many will not.
Other speakers included NACA President Steven Yamin; Sector D Neighborhood Coordination Officers Jonathon Perez and Mario Guerrero; 63rd Precinct Auxiliary Inspector Jeff Zweig; former NACA Vice President Elaine Henry; and former president of the East 43rd Street Community Garden Rochelle Sanders.