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Nostrand Avenue Construction in Bed-Stuy to Finish Next Spring, City Says

By Camille Bautista | November 19, 2014 2:12pm
 Construction on Nostrand Avenue in Bed-Stuy is expected to end in May 2015, city officials said. Local owners complain the ongoing work has negatively impacted their businesses. 
Construction on Nostrand Avenue in Bed-Stuy is expected to end in May 2015, city officials said. Local owners complain the ongoing work has negatively impacted their businesses. 
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DNAinfo/Camille Bautista

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — After more than two years, construction on Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant is slated to end in May 2015, according to city officials.

Ongoing work for the more than $23.5 million project will reconstruct roadways from Flushing to Atlantic avenues and improve street infrastructure.

The city initially anticipated completing the work by June 2014, as DNAinfo previously reported. The next end-date was slated for November, but additional efforts and surveys of pipes were necessary following inaccurate sewer records, according to Howard Pollack, spokesman for the NYC Department of Design and Construction

The Department of Environmental Protection also added unspecified new designs to the project, tacking on to the timeframe, Pollack said. 

Construction has restricted parking and limited traffic to one-lane on weekdays to make changes including the revitalization of streetscapes, installation of water mains and the changing of signal lights on the commercial strip.

While the work has upgraded sidewalks and roads and brought the B44 Select Bus Service through Bed-Stuy, business owners along Nostrand said they have struggled with the continuing excavation.

Achuziam Maha, owner of Peace & Riot, told DNAinfo there was no coordination from the city when crews dug up the sidewalk in front of the shop this past summer. The store closed for two days as a result.

“We had to stand outside and tell people we were here and open,” Maha said. “Pedestrians don’t want to come over here because of the dust…When there’s lack of activity, you just become invisible.”

The store at 492 Nostrand is anticipating its one-year anniversary, but Maha said people still don’t know they're around because of the construction.

“Half the time we’ve been open we’ve been looking at construction. We’ll still be here after a year with all of this garbage going on. I’m shocked, but we’re still surviving.”

City crews have been “very helpful” and responsive in correcting issues, such as providing businesses with access ramps during sidewalk work, according to Michael Lambert, executive director for the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District.

While he said response has been adequate, problems such as miscommunication could have been avoided, he added.

Shernell Prescott, owner of Palaite Pleasures between Greene Avenue and Quincy Street, said she had to stop offering menu items such as fresh smoothies due to the lack of walk-ins. Equipment was stored in front of her establishment, she said, making it difficult for the business to be seen.

“People are creatures of habit and if they can’t find parking or a way in because of all the construction, they just won’t come,” Prescott said. “Walk-ins have pretty much come to a screeching halt.

“The foreman told me to think about the long-term but, in the meantime, I can’t afford to stay open."

During work in recent months, another business, Nostrand Wine and Liquors on the corner of Atlantic Avenue, lost power for nearly four hours, Lambert said.

“It just took too long in their minds,” Lambert said of the affected businesses, whose owners have complained to him of the major shopping seasons they have missed during construction.

During a community board meeting in November, he called on residents to give extra support to establishments on the southern end of the strip.

DDC officials said all complaints have been addressed and there have been “no real horrible occurrences of people suffering” as a result of extensive surveys and careful construction.