Velazquez Calls for Greater Public Entrances to Brooklyn Bridge Park
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) urged the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) to consider adding additional entrance points to Brooklyn Bridge Park. In the wake of public support to increase park access, Velázquez wrote to Commissioner Polly Trottenberg stressing the importance of maximizing public access to the Park’s fields, facilities and public events. Over 330,000 visitors pass through the park each week.
“For native New Yorkers and visitors alike, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a space for recreation, events and relaxation,” said Velázquez. “In order to meet such high demand, I’m urging NYCDOT to consider the creation of additional entrances. I strongly believe that by making access to the park easier, we can fully maximize our public spaces.”
In 2008, Velázquez secured funding for a Brooklyn Bridge Park transportation access study. The study resulted in several lasting improvements, however a handful of these recommendations have yet to be implemented. As NYCDOT embarks on rehabilitating the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE), Velázquez urged the timeliness of simultaneously incorporating additional park entrances into rebuilding plans.
The text of the letter is below.
July 21, 2017
NYC Department of Transportation
55 Water Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10041
Dear Commissioner Trottenberg:
I am writing to urge full and fair consideration to add additional entrance points to Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is my understanding that a petition with over 1,000 signatories was recently submitted regarding an additional access point from Brooklyn Heights to Brooklyn Bridge Park at or near Montague Street. I encourage your consideration of this project as you undertake the engineering assessment of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) triple cantilever.
Brooklyn Bridge Park’s facilities, fields, and public events attract visitors from all over the city and the world. In fact, over 330,000 visitors pass through the park each week. It is my understanding that this influx of visitors, coupled with a lack of park entrances, has proven challenging for residents living near current access points. An entrance on Montague Street would both disperse the park visitors and create more foot-traffic for businesses located along that corridor.
In fact, the potential addition of new entrance points to Brooklyn Bridge Park has already been studied. Over ten years ago, I secured funding for a Brooklyn Bridge Park transportation access study. In 2008 this study yielded many good ideas for improving park access, some of which have been implemented during construction of the park, and others of which are yet to be realized. The study, funded through the US Department of Transportation, was conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of traffic engineers, transportation planners, and architects directed by Sam Schwartz PLLC on behalf of the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront Local Development Corporation.
The study yielded seven potential short-term and long-term transportation initiatives to improve access to Brooklyn Bridge Park without the use of private automobiles. Four measures have since been implemented and others are still on the drawing board. One of these measures includes a “Vertical Pedestrian Connection” - a structure to connect the Promenade with the Park.
A series of ramps and stairs that connect the Promenade at Remsen Street or Montague Street to a 35-foot berm in the Park was conceptually developed to create a mid-Park entrance from Brooklyn Heights that does not affect the scenic view plane and is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant. However, based upon the New York State Department of Transportation’s (NYS DOT) plan to study the potential reconstruction of the BQE triple cantilever, this vertical connection proposal was put on hold. Given the recent BQE rehabilitation study, now is a perfect time to consider anew ways to incorporate additional park entrance points into rebuilding plans.
To benefit the local community and the public at large, I strongly encourage your team to consider the creation of an additional Brooklyn Bridge Park entrance as you undertake plans for the BQE rehabilitation.
Thank you for your consideration on this matter.
Nydia M. Velazquez
Member of Congress
Bill de Blasio, Mayor, City of New York
Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor, City of New York
Joannene Kidder, Executive Director of Community Affairs, NYC Department of Transportation, Division of Bridges
Keith Bray, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation
Eric Landau, President, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation
Eric Adams Brooklyn Borough President
Daniel Squadron, NY State Senator
Jo Anne Simon, NY State Assemblywoman
Stephen Levin, NYC Councilmember
Joanne Witty, Vice Chair, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation
Henry B Gutman, Board Member, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation
Nancy Webster, Executive Director, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy
Peter L. Bray, Executive Director, Brooklyn Heights Association
Paul Germain, Organizer, Petition to Develop Montague Street Access Point to Brooklyn Bridge Park
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