Concerns Aired at Fowler Square Plaza Meeting

Last night, and the night before it, the Fulton Area Business Alliance, DOT and the Pratt Center for Community Development hosted community workshops about plans to transform Fort Greene’s Fowler Square, between Lafayette and Fulton Avenue, into a public plaza. The Alliance hoped to get feedback and ideas for possible designs schemes, but last night the meeting instead involved a great deal of shouting from residents who are strongly against the idea of the plaza. There are currently three options on the table for the plaza’s redesign: The space can remain its current size (3,200 square feet); there could be a partial extension to Lafayette and South Elliot Place (making it 4,800 square feet with no parking spots lost and traffic flow maintained); or there could be a full extension to South Elliott Place (which means it would 8,600 square feet, two parking spots would be lost, and no through traffic would be allowed on South Elliott). Members of the community mostly focused on the possibility of cutting off traffic on South Elliott, with one saying, “This is like a mini Forest City Ratner.” Another resident said she didn’t like the idea of the city becoming countrified…

Some community members said they were upset because the plaza already felt like “a done deal,” despite DOT reps assuring the audience that no plans had been set in stone and that’s why the meetings were being held. A Clinton Hill resident who said she was leading a fight against the proposed Putnam Triangle Plaza said, “We have to turn all our streets into picnic areas? This is a city, not the country.” Regardless, the DOT has awarded up to $2.5 million in funding for the Fowler redesign, and it will take into account all the input from the meetings. The DOT will then hold more public workshops after they conduct a traffic study. If the plans go through, construction should begin around the spring of 2013.
Workshops About a Fort Greene Public Plaza [Brownstoner]

15 Comment

  • This nimbyism is sad and disappointing. There is way too much asphalt at this intersection, and hardly any cars use this block. The proposed expanded plaza would be an enormous asset for the whole community (most of whom don’t own cars). Unfortunately, supporters didn’t turn out, and mostly only those dead-set against it showed up.

  • This mentioned Clinton Hill nut-job needs to move to the country. Make the entire neighborhood a pedestrian plaza!!!

  • This has always been a difficult intersection to cross. The cars who do use it speed around recklessly, and it’s just so many lanes of competing traffic that for the sole pedestrian (me for instance) it’s a dangerous hop from Fowler Square’s pathetic little refuge to the next sidewalk. Strangely enough, it’s always populated by scores of pedestrians.

    Why any of these car crazed people want it to remain that way is selfish. It doesn’t need picnic tables or lounge chairs but at least some bit of traffic calming would be welcomed.

    And to claim that the city is becoming countrified… well, please… move there.. and you’ll soon realize you’ll need a car for everything to get around.

    The rest of us will happily take the G and enjoy our pedestrian improvements.

  • I wish I had gone – drives me nuts that people think tht the tiniest rolling back of the last 50 years of turning over every space to cars is somehow ‘country’. Nothing is more urban than walking and having a place to gather in public.

  • Why would anyone be opposed to more plazas with trees and pedestrian amenities? We need more “country” in the city, not less.

  • People spoke in support of this plaza/park’s expansion too. Why were none of those comments from last night’s meeting mentioned in the article?
    The expansion of Fowler Square could improve pedestrian safety and support local businesses and last night’s meeting was to brainstorm potential designs.

  • Complete idiocy. Giving space to pedestrians so they don’t have to worry about getting hit by cars doesn’t mean the city is getting “countrified.” If anything, having cars as your only option of getting around is exactly what it means to live in the country. Walking is a hallmark of city living and you should be able to do it safely.

    If these people love cars so much, perhaps they should move to the country, or at least the suburbs. Give us back our walkable neighborhoods!

    The person who compared this to a mini Forest City Ratner will hopefully welcome the thousands upon thousands of cars that will flood Ft. Greene on game nights when the Barclays Ctr. opens. Perhaps then she’ll be wishing for a few more “countrified” places.

  • Cars are anti-urban; they actively degrade the urban experience.. Therefore, catering to people, not cars, is the opposite of countrified.

  • Unfounded Selection of Fowler Square Plaza A Protest

    Dept of Transportation Guidelines for Selecting Fowler Plaza and Responses to it’s site-specific criteria

    “Pedestrians & Sidewalks Public Plaza Program
    Round III Plazas
    DOT has selected three sites for the third round of the NYC Plaza Program. In total, twelve applications were submitted from throughout the City. Applications were reviewed and evaluated according to the City’s strategic goals as presented in PlaNYC and site-specific criteria, including:

    • Open space – whether or not the neighborhood lacked open space”
    Response: There is ample space!!! Ft Greene Park and Cuyler Gore Park (a few blocks away) to say nothing of the fenced-in , unused, and inaccessible BAM Park…lovely to look at but no one can take advantage of it!?! Why not fix BAM Park?

    • “Community initiative – the extent to which the applicant had developed a community plan, consensus for the site, and garnered local support”

    Response: The so called community seems to be the community of retailers and FAB business vested interests. The neighbors with whom we’ve spoken to object to this so-called community plan. You need to specify the ‘local support’…who are they and what are their numbers?

    • “Site context – the proposed site’s relationship to surrounding land uses and businesses, proximity to transit, the presence of significant view corridors or historic sites, and pedestrian activity”

    Response: The proposed space is very, very small and insignificant compared to the 3 aforementioned park spaces within one to 3 blocks. What creating this plaza will do is block off emergency service vehicles …i.e. Fire Engines, Police Cars, and Ambulances from responding to neighborhood emergencies.

    • “Organizational capacity – the extent to which the applicant is willing and able to program activities, maintain, operate and manage the plaza once it is builtIncome eligibility – applicants received additional points for proposals located in neighborhoods that qualify as low- or moderate”

    Response: There are many Music Festivals, Street Festivals, Anniversary Festivals (i.e.Cakeman Raven), Art Festivals (i.e. Mocada), etc. and more on their way. Unfortunately, it has not always been the case that the impact such as garbage left, amplified sound, and curfews have been properly monitored by those who have the responsibility. The applicant may be “willing” (as indicated above) but has not managed it well. Speaking of this…who gets to determine these “activities” FAB or the actual community members? And what about all those who just want to linger after 4 AM after leaving Frank’s? For that matter…all those kids en masse leaving their schools and needing to hang out? Who will manage that?

    • “Income eligibility – applicants received additional points for proposals located in neighborhoods that qualify as low- or moderate-income”

    Response: Where this plaza is planned for, may suggest a difference of low or moderate income residents. Ft Greene and the zip 11217 encompass a wide swath of income levels. Is the DOT (who evaluated the 12 proposed plaza entries) measuring all of 11217-Ft Greene or just the immediate adjacent blocks?

  • Okay, I’m a little pissy right now. Someone idiot took my old BrooklynGreene moniker. I’m just registering now. I find it a little aggravating that someone would do that. I spotted a “BKGreene” person below but I haven’t spotted a BrooklynGreene anywhere–although I simply haven’t had time to check Brownstoner for some time–let alone rekindle ID or sign up again. If someone is making comments posing as “me” on here under my old BrooklynGreene (haikus and all, I’ll point out that it is rather adolescent).

    Anyway, What I wouldn’t mind seeing is A LOT more traffic safety around everywhere. Drivers blow through stop signs. They floor their engines coming up to red lights to go through them…they have a terrible level of disregard for pedestrians. There are unbelievable U-turns I see nearly every day. People backing up whole blocks for a parking space. It’s really unacceptable.

    What I would like to see at this intersection is a curb extension on the west side of Fulton. Please give us a pedestrian bump out at the ugly former bank (now the uglier “medical ‘plaza'”)…In fact, that building itself is ready for either a massive redo or a replacement. Anyway, that corner is terribly hazardous if you’re trying to cross Fulton!!!

    Drivers coming “up” (going east on) Lafayette Avenue who take a right turn onto Fulton, are often completely insouciant or actually very aggressive toward pedestrians on the crosswalk trying to get to Fowler Square. When you’re walking from the BAM side, crossing Fulton to Fowler Square, you have to be hypervigilant and/or take your life in your hands to cross. I find it very upsetting.

    And yes, take over that little piece of S. Elliott! Expand the heck out of the Fowler “Square” Triangle. Frankly, it should allow for buses to pull up along side it. Please put in benches, native shrubs, more trees and have buses pull up there. Another thing I have not appreciated is seeing the 18-wheelers coming along there illegally. Take out that little piece of South Elliott and it will thwart big-rig drivers using Fort Greene to reach the mall. Oops…the mall interests are reading this and will now fight the Fowler Sq/ changes. The trucks should be coming from Atlantic, not crossing South Elliott.

    Again, I’m a little shocked that someone already took my old sign on name. Maybe that’s a message that I shouldn’t bother with Brownstoner. Frankly, I do not like the redesign. Of course, yes, it’s free. But from an objective standpoint, I have to criticize the redesign. I think the team should figure out how to have more links on the morning opener, the evening blogwrap, and the weekend events. I don’t want to click “more” to read the full list of links. I find this makes the site less user-friendly.

  • I would say that these people deserve an eyesore of a plaza for being such inane contrarian nimbys, except that this triangle is near my apartment. It’s clearly an underutilized space–it’s impossible to hang out there because there’s nowhere sit, and it’s basically the functional equivalent of those traffic medians on 4th Ave. I’m also surprised that motorists are such a vocal constituency in a place that’s two blocks from 11 subway lines. God forbid the government should make something in your neighborhood nicer, you know?