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]
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