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Industry City Seeks $1.6M From State to Boost Safety on Dangerous Third Ave

By Nikhita Venugopal | September 10, 2014 3:05pm
 Residents and CB7 have long complained of poor pedestrian conditions on Third Avenue under the Gowanus Expressway, they say.
Third Avenue in Sunset Park
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SUNSET PARK — A company that runs a massive waterfront manufacturing complex overlooking Third Avenue is stepping up attempts to get the city to make the dangerous speedway safer for pedestrians — by applying for a $1.6 million state grant.

Industry City, which employs approximately 3,000 people inside its 6 million square foot space at 882 Third Ave. in Sunset Park, is teaming up with the city's Department of Transportation to apply for a grant from the state DOT to fix the dangerous street, a spokeswoman said.

A dozen pedestrians have been injured along Third Avenue since July, according to NYPD data and the intersection at 60th Street is the most dangerous in the community, according to Community Board 7.

“The goal of the application and funding is to really improve pedestrian safety,” said Cristal Rivera, director of community engagement for Industry City. Rivera added that many staffers live nearby and have to walk across Third Avenue under the Gowanus Expressway to get to and from work.

The state DOT grant serves to support infrastructure improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, according to the agency's website. The city DOT co-sponsored the application with Industry City, and would conduct the work if the grant were approved, Rivera said.

The city DOT confirmed they were co-sponsoring the grant with Industry city, but did not say why they included a partner in the application.

Community Board 7 has long asked both the city and state DOT to turn their attention to Third Avenue, even forming a Vision Zero Task Force which met to discuss safety concerns last week, board members said.

Industry City’s tentative plan would improve pedestrian infrastructure and lighting between 29th and 39th Streets — which is adjacent to its complex — but Third Avenue’s issues extend far beyond that stretch, locals said.

While Industry City's priorities are in line with CB7's goals, the board will continue its efforts to improve the entire avenue in this district, said CB7 District Manager Jeremy Laufer.

Laufer said Sunset Park's section of Third Avenue, which extends from the Prospect Expressway to 64th Street, is covered by the Gowanus Expressway overhead, which blocks out light and sprays debris on cars underneath. 

While there has been some cleanup work under the expressway and repainting of a handful of crosswalks, CB7's recommendations for additional streetlights and an overall safer pedestrian experience have not yet been addressed, Laufer said.

The state DOT told DNAinfo New York that a contractor's staging area where debris had collected on Third Avenue was recently cleaned up and would continue to be maintained.

Rivera said the company would wait until receiving approval for the grant before planning the project and seeking further input from CB7 and residents. The company has already received early support from local organizations and elected officials who have agreed to contribute funds if the application is selected. 

The finalists for the grant will be announced in October, officials said.