A controversial plan to turn a small Midwood street into a pedestrian plaza is dead in the water now that a development corporation backing the proposal has pulled out of the deal, sources close to the project say.
The plan, which called for replacing cars on Elm Avenue between East 15th Street and Avenue M with tables and chairs, crumbled under complaints from Midwood’s Orthodox Jewish community.
Orthodox leaders claimed the city disrespected them by scheduling a key meeting about the plaza within days of Passover and failed to consult the Hatzolah Ambulance Corps, an Orthodox volunteer ambulance service, to see if closing the block to traffic would affect emergency response times.
Members from the Midwood Development Corporation — which had agreed to clean and maintain the proposed pedestrian plaza, which the city wanted to call Dorman Square — said they didn’t want to go ahead with the plan if it meant dividing the neighborhood.
“There was too much opposition from people who didn’t like the idea or had concerns, and we decided it was not appropriate to go forward,” said Linda Goodman, the director of the Midwood Development Corporation.
Without anyone pledging to maintain the plaza, the city has no choice but to shelve the project, a neighborhood source close to the Department of Transportation’s negotiations said.
“The city isn’t going to be able to do this without the support of a private organization,” the source said.
The Department of Transportation couldn’t be reached for comment by BrooklynDaily’s breakneck online deadline.
City officials held multiple community meetings about the plaza in an attempt to win over neighborhood residents. The Department of Transportation argued that the plaza — which is a short distance from the Avenue M train station — would be a boon to neighborhood businesses and would close a dangerous car slip lane. Elm Avenue feeds into Avenue M, an unfavorable street design that merchants say causes many accidents.
Yet many balked at the city’s proposal, claiming that closing Elm Avenue would cause traffic backups. Others said the plaza would attract nothing but hooligans and vagrants.
Community Board 14 was expected to vote on the proposal this Monday.Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg
©2012 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not BrooklynDaily.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynDaily.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.