Brooklyn to City Hall: Give us Planning Not Traffic Engineering

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Last night the transportation committee of Community Board 6 fully and unequivocally rejected the Department of Transportation’s proposal to transform Park Slope, Brooklyn’s Sixth and Seventh Avenues into one-way arterials.

I am a member of the commitee and typically we have about 15 people in the room. A big meeting will be 35. Last night, well over 400 people showed up for a meeting in an auditorium that held about 125. A line of people snaked around the block. 200 more jammed an ante-room just outside listening in on a speaker. I have never seen such an intense turn-out for a neighborhood-level issue. It was truly inspiring to see how much people care about their neighborhood and how well regular community people understand what’s at stake when we let traffic engineers do our planning for us.

Not a single person spoke in favor of DOT Deputy Commissioner Michael Primeggia’s plan to turn two community-oriented avenues into one-way arterials designed to move more through-traffic. Though the Community Board leaders cut off discussion very early, there appeared to be nearly total unanimity that DOT’s plan was a bad idea and a real desire among the crowd to see the city do some real, comprehensive planning for the neighborhoods around Downtown Brooklyn. The community’s message amounted to a total and complete rejection of secretive, top-down, traffic engineer-driven planning.

While I work on a more detailed write-up and upload a bootlegged copy of Primeggia’s presentation (it still has not been released to the public) let these photos tell the story:

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Standing at the entrance to the hospital looking up the street. None of these people got in to the meeting.

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The line actually snaked around the block. Community Board 6 thought to call the 78th precinct to ask for police to help manage the crowd but didn’t think to book a bigger venue. Strange.

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About 200 people filled an ante-room outside of the meeting hall listening to he proceedings on a speaker.

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Unable to voice their opinion at the meeting, community members turned this table cloth into an ad hoc petition.

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The auditorium was full beyond capacity.

Lydia Denworth, president of the Park Slope Civic Council explains why DOT’s plan is a bad idea. Everyone seemed to agree with her except for one stone-faced Deputy Commissioner of Traffic Operations.

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