Dreary, traffic-y 4th Avenue in Brooklyn is in the news. Uh, I mean "Brooklyn Boulevard."
- Today's WSJ has a pretty damning piece on the architecture of the new apartment buildings along 4th Avenue from the Williamsburgh Savings Bank down to 9th Street. Jauntily titled "Brooklyn's Burden: Fourth Avenue" it takes a swipe at NYC planning official Amanda Burden saying, "Because of bad decisions by Amanda Burden's City Planning Department and the profit-above-all-else motive of some developers, Brooklyn is going to be stuck for decades with this depressing wasteland of cheap materials and designs."
- Meanwhile, this is the same corridor that the Borough Prez Markowitz's office and the DOT have been considering renaming "Brooklyn Boulevard," holding a series of meetings last year and this past winter to take the temp of local communities who, it turns out, care less about the name than the safety of the street. (See local newspaper article; Home Reporter News)
- And, tomorrow June 19th, Develop Don't Destroy, the community-based organization that seeks to have some influence over what remains of future planning around the controversial Atlantic Yards, will be holding a "kickoff" meeting to organize a protest demonstration at the Barclays Center opening, saying "Atlantic Yards promised jobs, housing and hoops. All we're getting is hoops, parking lots, a demolition zone, an imminent traffic/parking fiasco, rats , and the Borough's biggest bar ."
WISH LIST: As for me, I'd like to see Fourth Avenue, which runs like a spine through Park Slope, Gowanus, Boerum Hill, Sunset Park, Bay Ridge merit being renamed"Brooklyn Boulevard." And that would take 6 things:
- reining in of the Barclays Center planned housing developments,
- a coherent parking and traffic plan for the stadium,
- more interesting architecture, including street level retail and even pocket parks that will draw visitors,
- greening: plantings in the media strip, trees on the sidewalks,
- a protected bike lane in both directions to accommodate the increasing numbers of cyclists, and
- safer pedestrian crossings, all the way from Flatbush Avenue to Bay Ridge.
Once this key artery is truly improved -- with more community input and less rush-rush avarice -- maybe then we get to brag that Fourth Avenue has become "Brooklyn Boulevard."