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BHA, BID launch study of Montague Street geared to ramping up businesses, attractions

December 1, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The Brooklyn Heights Association and the Montague Street BID have commissioned a study by Sam Schwartz Engineering to collect data on Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights’ main business street, what residents and business owners want, and how it can be improved as a shopping street and strolling destination.

The Curbed real estate and urban design website, which is part of Vox Media and has been integrated into New York magazine, recently published an article with the provocative title “Why Is Montague Street Perpetually Drab?” 

The article makes several statements, often with sarcasm, that both Heights residents and people who work in nearby businesses, banks and the courts would definitely disagree with. 

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For example, the author, Lysandra Ohstrom, says there’s one place to eat worth mentioning, a Vietnamese restaurant. She also says that the hardware store (presumably Variety Mart) sells items that everyone orders on Amazon anyway, and that the frame store sells items that someone’s grandmother might like. 

She does, however, say that from her point of view, Montague Street was a vibrant place to shop and eat in the early 2000s. 

The Brooklyn Heights Association, in a statement, said that the piece highlights valid concerns: “The frustrations of a variety of stakeholders: the small businesses struggling with rising rents and an uncertain customer base, the landlords dealing with an unwieldy tax burden, and local residents (us!) craving a lively and vibrant shopping and strolling destination that doesn’t yet exist. None of this is news to us.”

“The BHA is working hard to bring the types of businesses you said you want to Montague Street,” the organization said in its statement, which was addressed to Heights residents. “We’ve had some successes, but there is yet more work to be one. We are also working to understand more about who is coming to Montague Street, how they are getting here, and what they do once they’re here.”

After the study is released, the organization will be holding community meetings to discuss its findings. Sam Schwartz, by the way, has been a well-regarded transportation consultant with internationally renowned clients in government and business who is known as “Gridlock Sam.” 

It’s been common knowledge for years that much of the business on Montague Street comes from workers in nearby businesses and government agencies, not always from Heights residents.

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