This Is What Harlem Plaza Supporters Will Be Up Against at CB 10 Tonight
Neighbors have fought for years to get Manhattan Community Board 10 to support creating a small plaza by Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 150th Street. Tonight that proposal is up for a vote at a general board meeting of CB 10 for the first time.
Bradhurst Plaza would convert a short one-way “slip lane” segment of Macombs Place, which runs diagonally across the Harlem grid, into pedestrian space, connecting a small triangle-shaped patch of trees to the sidewalk in front of the Dunbar Apartments building.
Today, northbound drivers on their way to the Macombs Dam Bridge make a quick right turn from Frederick Douglass. With a plaza, pedestrians would no longer have to worry about getting hit by drivers taking fast turns. Drivers going to Macombs Place would have to turn from 150th Street instead.
In addition to improving the pedestrian environment, the plaza would provide space for a new farmers market. Local businesses and community groups, led by the Harlem Community Development Corporation, have signed on to maintain the plaza.
And yet, the proposal has languished at the CB 10 transportation committee in the face of vociferous opposition from members of the Dunbar Residents Association, local block associations, and committee member Barbara Nelson. A vote to support the plaza deadlocked at the committee in January.
In June, the issue was bumped up to the CB 10 executive committee, which voted to put it on the agenda for the September general board meeting.
Now, opponents of the plan are mobilizing. An anonymous email sent to CB 10 members yesterday urges them to vote against the plaza. Opponents lob the usual arguments against the plan, including questioning DOT safety data, proposing another location for the farmers market, and claiming the plaza will impede emergency vehicles [PDF].
Harlem CB 10 has a long record of opposing road diets, bus lanes, and plazas. Will fear of changing streets win out again, or will plaza supports muster a supportive vote? The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Harlem State Office Building, 163 West 125th Street, eighth floor [PDF].