City lacks vision for Meeker Avenue
by Emily Gallagher
Nov 18, 2020 | 435 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Emily Gallagher is a neighborhood activist and organizer in Greenpoint.
Emily Gallagher is a neighborhood activist and organizer in Greenpoint.
As an open space and safe streets advocate, I’m very disappointed by the DOT’s recent announcement to install a paid parking lot underneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) on Meeker Avenue.

For many years, the area under the BQE has been a dead zone crying out for a makeover. It’s unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists, and it creates a low visibility zone that attracts dangerous behavior.

For the last several years, the Make Meeker Move campaign has taken this dead space and envisioned a bright, interactive, dynamic area that increases access to public space and safety through better visibility, bike and pedestrian infrastructure that is desperately needed to ease mobility concerns for the area.

For seven decades, the stretch of the BQE from the Williamsburg Bridge to the Kosciuszko Bridge has bisected the North Brooklyn community, blanketing our neighbors in shadows, air pollution, traffic and noise. It should never have been built and some day it should come down.

But while that's admittedly a very distant vision, we cannot in the interim backslide into the same short-sighted car-centered projects that created these problems in the first place.

My Assembly office will do whatever we can, at the level of state policy and through neighborhood organizing, to support a different vision: quality open spaces, sustainable environmental planning and green infrastructure, as well as crucial safety measures like protected bike lanes, pedestrian pathways and longer timed cross signals.

The area in question under the BQE includes 25 acres, so there is room to meet a variety of community needs. Many of these ideas do not take significant financial resources, but they do require collaboration, openness, and vision.

None of that is represented by the Department of Transportation's sudden decision to install these paid lots.

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