Eyes on the Street: At Knickerbocker Ave. Station, No Such Thing as TOD

With the Knickerbocker Avenue subway station visible in the background, this land is being used for a single-story building and a surface parking lot. The sidewalk, meanwhile, is blocked by federal employees headed to the armed forces recruitment center. Photo: Christopher Taylor Edwards.

This isn’t what transit-oriented development is supposed to look like.

Reader Christopher Taylor Edwards sent us these photos from two blocks of Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick. Immediately adjacent to the M train, suburban-style development  — complete with single-story buildings, drive-throughs and underutilized parking lots — marks the end of a vibrant commercial corridor.

One block down Knickerbocker from the subway is a single-story strip mall with a surface parking lot between the sidewalk and the door. The biggest tenant is a cell phone store, but for pedestrians headed to the subway, the most important might be the Armed Forces Career Center, which regularly hosts a fleet of government cars parked illegally on the sidewalk. Reported Edwards: “The cars parked on the sidewalk is a once a month or more occurrence. They are federally tagged cars generally or from Virginia and Maryland. No one is ever ticketed.”

This Burger King features a drive-through and surface parking lot, despite its location adjacent to a subway station. Photo: Christopher Taylor Edwards.

Directly underneath the Knickerbocker station sits a one-story Burger King. Behind the restaurant’s drive-through, which requires curb cuts on two sides of the intersection, sits a large surface parking lot. According to Edwards, the Burger King lot almost always sits empty.

Zoning may not be the chief culprit here. Head a block west along Knickerbocker, or follow the elevated subway tracks along Myrtle, and you’ll find vibrant commercial corridors with stores facing the sidewalk, not a parking lot. Even so, this seems like a location crying out for an intervention from New York City’s planners and economic development officials.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Billyburg bike bandits strike again

|
On Sunday, the New York Times City section ran a story called "The Bicycle Thief: It’s Not Who You Think." It went like this: On Wednesday, 28-year-old graphic designer Miao Wang rode her bicycle 12 blocks from her apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to the Bedford Avenue L subway station. She locked up, boarded her train […]

Illegally-Parked and Abandoned Cars Plague Queensbridge Houses, Greenway

|
A bicycle and pedestrian greenway that connects protected bike paths on the waterfront to Queens Plaza and Queens Boulevard has become a parking lot, with private and government-placarded cars lining its southern curb for months. The Parks Department knows about the vehicles parked in the path and “has been ticketing when they are observed,” according agency spokesperson Meghan […]

Small Step for Pedestrians & Cyclists; Giant Leap for NYC

|
The Department of Transportation’s recently announced streetscape renovation at the Bedford Avenue L subway station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn marks the first time ever in New York City that car parking spaces have been removed to make way for bicycle parking. Since breaking the news of this development on Monday, Streetsblog has learned more about the project. DOT’s plan […]