Crown Heights

Private ‘campus’ roadway for Medgar Evers College scaled back

October 15, 2014 By Matthew Taub Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn Brief
The stretch of Crown Street between Bedford and Franklin avenues is known as Medgar Evers Lane.
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Officials at Medgar Evers College have partially retreated on plans to convert a public roadway into a campus-style plaza, according to community leaders who opposed the measure.

The stretch of Crown Street between Bedford and Franklin avenues is also known as Medgar Evers Lane and runs through the center of much of the university’s infrastructure. Officials wanted to create a more pedestrian-friendly and college-oriented experience on the roadway, similar to Baruch College’s annexation of 25th street in Manhattan (details of the plan were recently chronicled in the Daily News).

But the thoroughfare also provides at least 60 parking spaces, and its closure would lead to further traffic congestion. Critics point to the college’s own parking lot adjacent to Crown Street, which on most school days is already filled to capacity.

Brooklyn Department of Transportation Commissioner Keith Bray heard from the Crown Heights community about the issue last month. Medgar Evers College President Rudy Crew attended the meeting, during which he advised he would respect community wishes and work with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to find ways to create a campus-type atmosphere without closing the block.

“President Rudy Crew is a man of his word and he kept his promise to the Community that closing the block is not an option,” said F. Richard Hurley of the Crown Heights Community Council. “We look forward to continuing our work with Rudy Crew of Medgar Evers College and the Department of Transportation on the parking issue.”

Going forward, there are three options on the table for DOT to consider: (1) no closure or changes to the street; (2) a partial closure, which includes having the roadway closed to traffic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but open at all other times, or (3) open at all times, but with a speed bump and/or other devices to slow down traffic.

The DOT’s main concern at the meeting was the safety of students and the general public.

“Medgar Evers College is committed to creating a transparent and open process in all capital projects,” read a statement from the college. “We have worked together with the community to ensure public trust and establish a system of transparency and collaboration.  To date, we have conducted 4 public meetings to discuss the upcoming  project and we will continue to meet with the community in the weeks and months ahead.”

Brooklyn Brief has reached out to the DOT and will update this story if they respond.

 


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