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March 23, 2007

That's One-Way To Do It, But...

Not Our Way, Sez Slope

Brooklyn Downtown Star
By Norman Oder

Last Thursday, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) got an earful of opposition in response to its plan to turn Park Slope's Sixth and Seventh avenues - a residential street and a shopping corridor, respectively - into one-way thoroughfares, ostensibly to enhance safety but seen by critics as leading to speeding.

More than 600 people showed up last Thursday to attend a Community Board 6 Transportation Committee meeting on the proposal, but barely 150 got to hear it in person, given the limits of the New York Methodist Hospital Auditorium. In a vote seen by some as too conciliatory, the committee voted to table the proposal until DOT deals with more pressing local traffic issues.

No issue has galvanized the neighborhood this much, observed Park Slope Civic Council President Lydia Denworth, except perhaps Atlantic Yards. However, unlike with Forest City Ratner's project, Denworth said, locals have reacted with near unanimous opposition to DOT's plan. Not only would it change the character of the neighborhood, critics said, it was a sneaky way to relieve congestion related to Atlantic Yards.

Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman explains why the words "Atlantic Yards" were not uttered by the DOT Deputy Commissioner, who presented the plan:

Craig Hammerman, district manager for CB6, said after the meeting that he had asked DOT if the changes were to mitigate the effect of the 17-building Atlantic Yards development planned across Flatbush Avenue north of Park Slope. The response, he said, was no, because the changes were not studied in the Atlantic Yards Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Had DOT claimed the changes as a mitigation, he said, the EIS would be vulnerable to a lawsuit over its inadequacies. Though Hammerman said he didn't think Atlantic Yards was the trigger for the change, "any responsible planner would have had to consider it."

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NoLandGrab: Hammerman's point undercuts the DOTs claim that these changes have been in the works for years and therefore are NOT a reaction to Atlantic Yards. If they have been in the pipeline for years, then they should have been included in the EIS.

This is another Alice-in-Wonderland situation where something isn't as it seems to be, nonsense stands in for facts, and things get curiouser and curiouser.

Posted by lumi at March 23, 2007 6:04 AM