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Transportation Concerns Shadow Sugarland

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Williamsburg’s transportation advocates are raising questions about the expansive New Domino project’s effect on the region’s infrastructure, if approved in the coming months.

The proposal calls for the addition of 2,200 new units on an 11-acre site from South 5th Street to GrandStreet along the Williamsburg waterfront, with towers ranging fromsix to 40 stories high. Once constructed, the new complex could bring in an approximate 5,000 people to Williamsburg’s South Side. New Domino, according to estimates from an ecological design engineer at the Pratt Center for Community Development, would double the population within a quarter mile radius and boost the neighborhood’s population by 10 percent.

Several community groups, including Neighborhood Allies for Good Growth, have argued that the project’s developers, CPC Resources, have not properly accounted for the effects of the increased population on the neighborhood’s crowded subways and roads.

In her testimony to Community Board 1, NAG Transportation Working Group Chair Lacey Tauber outlined the organization’s concern over the addition of 1,700 parking spaces on site. Instead, NAG has requested that the number of parking spaces be reduced in half and build a 10-foot setback from Kent Avenue in order to expedite the development of an expensive protected bike and pedestrian lane connecting Greenpoint to Bay Ridge, known as the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.

The Williamsburg-based group also wants the developers to work with the MTA to increase public transportation options in Williamsburg, which include a Bus Rapid Transit plan connecting to New Domino and crossing over the Williamsburg Bridge.

“If this line were to further into North Brooklyn and over the Williamsburg Bridge, the entire community would benefit, and this would help mitigate the doubling in bus ridership expected to result from the Domino development,” said Tauber.

They’re not the only ones with suggestions. Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-Williamsburg) cites the density and height of the project and its effects on Williamsburg’s infrastructure as the chief reasons why he has reservations supporting it as proposed.

“The transit system, traffic and road transportation, education system, emergency and police services, social services, open space and the character of the neighborhood would be completely overwhelmed by this plan,” said Lentol. “While I am thrilled by the affordable housing, nothing has convinced me that this kind of density and height is necessary to pay for it. This kind of project needs complete transparency before I would consider otherwise.”

When asked for comment regarding NAG’s letter, CPC Resources Senior Vice President Susan Pollock issued a statement, “there were a number of transportation issues that were raised and we’re looking into those and related transportation issues now.”

At a Community Board 1 meeting on February 9, Pollock highlighted the importance of exploring Bus Rapid Transit systems from the project to alleviate traffic at nearby L and J lines and noted that four new public streets on the site would be constructed to connecting Williamsburg to its waterfront.

New York Community Council President and Williamsburg resident Phil DePaolo argues that more communication between the developer and the MTA needs to occur.

“Lay low on Marcy Avenue! That’s the big joke,” said DePaolo. “The Environmental Impact Statement by AKRF, that CPC Resources hired, is saying make the Marcy Avenue exit only. The sad thing is that there are no conversations with New York City transit and MTA. They’re just worried about getting people through the turnstiles. After that it’s not their problem.”

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