Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Department of Parks & Recreation

Pedestrians Shoved Aside as Brooklyn Judges Cling to Plaza Parking

2:00 PM EDT on October 6, 2008

plaza_parking.jpg
Court personnel have again appropriated downtown Brooklyn parkland for their own private cars.

The saga of the Brooklyn judges who just can't stand to part with their parking spots inside Columbus Park turned into a case of whack-a-mole last week. First, the judges finally agreed to stop parking in a pedestrian walkway, backing down from threats to sue the city in order to preserve that privilege. Under the compromise, however, a much bigger swath of the park has been turned over to the judges' parked vehicles, a supposedly temporary giveback while a new permanent configuration is implemented.

Borough blog McBrooklyn posted photos of how the arrangement squeezes out pedestrians, and the Brooklyn Eagle picked up the story:

Many pedestrians appeared to assume that the blockaded park was just aone-day disruption, due, perhaps to a water main break or a bomb scare.When the actual purpose was explained to one man, however, he wasincredulous: "No, you're joking, right?" he said.

"I'm really pissed off," said a woman who works at City Tech (New YorkCity College of Technology) on Jay Street. "I don't think that theyshould take the park. I hope it's temporary -- and I hope theydiscontinue it."

The Parks Department approved the new arrangement despite the fact that court personnel already have access to a courthouse garage at 330 Jay Street and 150 placards for free use of on-street spots. "They have all these spots on the street, they can go to 330 Jay, and they're just taking advantage," says Irene Janner of the Brooklyn Heights Association. "We're not happy with their decision to just come in and take up half the park."

Administrative Judge Abraham Gerges says the blockade will last one or
two months. But prior "temporary" measures have left pedestrians out in
the cold for far longer. In fact, judges were first allowed to store
cars in the Columbus Park pedestrian walkway while the city constructed the courthouse at 330 Jay Street -- including a garage for court
employees -- in 1999. When the garage was completed, some court personnel refused to use it and insisted on keeping their newly acquired parking perk.

"We have very little confidence in their willingness to uphold this
arrangement," says Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives. "They've broken faith before
with the community."

Norvell criticized the Parks Department for acceding to the judges' demands. "Their job isn't to find parking spaces," he said. "It's inconceivable that at every turn, the convenient parking of the judiciary takes precedence over public space."

Photo: McBrooklyn

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Serious Crash in Greenpoint Again Reveals Flaws in City Design, Enforcement Against Reckless Drivers

A woman was seriously injured — and is clinging to life — because a driver with a long record of recklessness slammed into her on a Greenpoint Street as she came home with milk.

February 22, 2024

POWER PLAY: City Moves to Put Thousands More E-Car Chargers on the Sidewalk

We should stop and think before giving over curbside space to car drivers, a mistake the city made in the 1950s.

February 22, 2024

Bill to Cut Vehicle Miles in New York Would Also Reduce Traffic Deaths, Costs and Pollution

"As this data makes clear, a new approach will not only protect our climate, but also make New York a safer, more affordable place to live," said state Sen. Andrew Gounardes.

February 22, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines: Celebrate What’s Good About Our City Edition

It's now less than one week til the annual "Public Space Awards" on Thursday. Get your tickets now. Plus other news.

February 22, 2024

Underhill Ave. Still In Limbo Two Weeks After Mayor Promised Decision in ‘A Day Or So’

The mayor's perception of time differs from that of mere mortals, but he did say on Feb. 5 that he would decide "in a day or so." It's been two weeks.

February 21, 2024
See all posts