Transformation of Flatbush Avenue ‘Triangle Parks’ begins next week
In the works for more than a decade
After more than a decade of advocacy and planning, a project to transform three triangular parks along North Flatbush Avenue into pedestrian-friendly islands of green will kick off next week.
The North Flatbush Reconstruction Project will bring new sidewalks, benches, wayfaring signs, solar compactors, infrastructure and greenery to three traffic triangles formed where Flatbush Avenue intersects with Carlton, Sixth and Seventh avenues, not far from Barclays Center.
Along with digging up and expanding the triangles, the city will upgrade street infrastructure with new water mains, catch basins and manholes, traffic signals and street lighting.
In addition, four other intersections will be made safer with the installation of sidewalk “neckdowns” (curb extensions). These will be at Flatbush at Bergen Street, St. Marks Avenue, Prospect Place and Park Place in the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights and Park Slope.
The streetscape makeover, to cost $5.2 million, was first discussed by the North Flatbush BID back in the mid-2000s, with a public workshop held in 2009. Since then, plans have been ironed out by the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC), Department of Transportation (DOT) and the BID.
Foot traffic ‘through the ceiling’
“We understand it’s going to be a difficult process but hey, at the end it’s going to be great,” Regina Cahill, chair of the BID, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Thursday.
“Foot traffic has gone through the ceiling. There was a time when no one walked on Flatbush Avenue after 6 p.m.,” Cahill said.
“In 2009, we started conversations with the Department of Transportation (DOT) on traffic mitigation and safety,” she said. Between 2005 and now, the BID solicited funds from councilmembers and received intermodal traffic money, along with Vision Zero funds in the latest budget under de Blasio.
While looking forward to the outcome, merchants along Flatbush Avenue are concerned about water shutoffs during the upgrading of water mains from Bergen Street to Sterling Place, she said.
“That’s the thorniest issue. A number of businesses depend on that water,” she said. “Our phone and Twitter have been going crazy. Merchants are worried about lacking water all day. We’ve been doing some hand-holding.”
The BID is engaging with DDC and the 78th Precinct to mitigate some of the impacts, Cahill said.
While there are sure to be some bumps in the road, in the long term “it will be beautiful, with shorter crosswalks, benches, and major traffic calming,” she said.
The contract for the job runs 18 months and ends roughly a year from now, she said. “They have to get moving.”
James D. Ellis, current executive director of the BID, credited Cahill for pushing the plan for more than a decade.
“The previous administration and board advocated close to 15 years,” he said.
He said that he, too, was a bit nervous about a year’s worth of construction, but looked forward to the final results.
“The triangles will be much happier, hospitable space while increasing pedestrian safety at critical intersections,” he said.
DDC: What to expect
Residents can expect dust, noise and heavy equipment, DDC says.
Work will take place along Flatbush Avenue from Bergen Street to Sterling Place. According to the DDC, some partial street closures and limited access will be required throughout the job, but deliveries and emergency vehicles will be allowed. Pedestrian access will be allowed, but parking will be temporarily restricted.
Temporary water service disruptions will be necessary. Residents will receive advance notice and the water will be turned back on by 6 p.m. every day, DDC says.
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