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Posts from the "Milton Puryear" Category

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Sunset Park Greenway: Big Challenges, Bigger Potential

Sunset_Park_Waterfront.jpgA map of potential greenway routes and east-west connections in Sunset Park. Image: UPROSE
A full crowd of about 60 people turned out for NYCDOT's Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway workshop in Sunset Park last night. The meeting was the second of four sessions the city is putting on with the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative and the Regional Plan Association, as the years-in-the-making project of a continuous pedestrian and bicycle path tracing the Brooklyn waterfront moves from the concept phase to more detailed planning and engineering.

Determining a buildable greenway route in Sunset Park is a complicated proposition. The waterfront is an active industrial district filled with the sort of facilities that pose logistical hurdles for safe walking and biking. West of the BQE, the greenway route will have to negotiate obstacles like the 65th Street rail yard, the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and the active freight rail corridor on First Avenue. It won't be easy, but as Brooklyn Greenway Initiative planning director Milton Puryear told me last night, it's a place where you've got to think big.

A finished greenway in Sunset Park would bring huge payoffs. Sunset Park has one of the highest walk-to-work rates in the city, and a major new waterfront park is slated for the Bush Terminal Piers. So in addition to providing a route along the waterfront, the greenway project is a chance to connect the residential areas east of Third Avenue to the new park and the waterfront's industrial job center, using safe walking and bicycling paths. There's already a well-established base of local support for creating those connections: The United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park (UPROSE) started holding public workshops about the greenway and waterfront access in 2005.

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Brooklyn CB1 Approves Bike Path in Place of Parking

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Here's how space is divvied up on Kent Avenue today...

On Tuesday night, Community Board 1 in north Brooklyn voted 39-2 to support adding a separated bike path to Kent Avenue, a truck route through Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The path will be part of the Brooklyn Greenway, which is slated to follow the waterfront from Greenpoint to Red Hook when complete.

What makes the overwhelming "Yes" vote especially noteworthy is that the greenway section on Kent Avenue will displace hundreds of on-street parking spaces. "That was one of the biggest hurdles, getting a community to accept a loss of parking," says Milton Puryear, director of planning for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. "For people who have cars that’s a lightning rod issue."

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...and how it would be allocated under the proposal approved by CB1 on Tuesday. (Rendering by the Regional Plan Association.)

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Streetfilm: Transforming NY City Streets


Streetfilms' Elizabeth Press was in attendance this week at the New York Historical Society where neighborhood activists, professional planners, and experienced advocates gathered to share their secrets on how New Yorkers can transform the public realm. The event was hosted by NYC Streets Renaissance and was moderated by Streetsblog editor Aaron Naparstek.

Panelists included:

Here are some highlights.

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Next Monday: How You Can Transform New York City Streets

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What can you do to reduce automobile dependence and improve conditions for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders in New York City? As an individual with finite time, energy and resources, how can you make a Livable Streets revolution happen in your own neighborhood?

On Monday I'll be moderating a panel discussion with eight of New York City's most successful neighborhood change-makers. They'll be sharing inspiring stories and practical advice on what it takes to transform the public realm.

If you're interested in getting more involved with New York City's growing Livable Streets movement or you have ideas for changes you'd like to see made in your own corner of the city, don't miss this event. Seating is limited, so RSVP now.

Street Renaissance: How You Can Transform NYC Streets
Monday, January 28
New York Historical Society
170 Central Park West. Enter at 77th Street.

6:00 pm: Panel discussion
8:00 pm: Reception and exhibit

This event is free and open to the public but seating is limited.
Please RSVP online

Panelists include:


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Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway: Important Meeting Tonight

columbiaAfter.jpgThe Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway Inititiave is one of the most inspiring and visionary development projects going in New York City right now. The project is very grassroots. Over ten years ago, three Brooklyn residents, Brian McCormick, Milton Puryear and Meg Fellerath got it in their heads that Brooklyn's waterfront should have a bike path and linear park just as good as the popular Hudson River Greenway in Manhattan (see the rendering of Columbia Street at right).

When I first met these guys in the Spring of 2002 they were going out on weekends planting tulips and picking up rubbish alongside a BQE off-ramp. The Sunday morning that I ran into them, that was all that they could do to make the Greenway a reality -- just get together as a group of volunteers, clean up some trash, and plant flowers. That was it. That was the Greenway. There was no office or federal funding. The Economic Development Corporation wasn't knocking on their door.

Today, the Greenway Initiative looks from the outside like a healthily-funded and well-oiled machine. Yet, as Brian, Milton and Meg have shown for well over ten years now, the vision will not become reality without strong community advocacy. Here is your chance to participate and make a difference:

The New York City Economic Development Corporation is rezoning piers 7-12, including Columbia Street, which is part of the proposed Greenway route. There is a public meeting this Thursday, October 12th at 6pm at Long Island College Hospital, corner of Hicks St & Atlantic Ave (use the Hicks St entrance & ask security guard to direct you). Greenway supporters need to be there.

It is very important that Greenway supporters tell EDC that the rezoning must be expanded to include the areas recommended by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, and that the open space plan for the west side of Columbia Street should be included as part of the scope of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

More information and the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative's statement are available here.

EDC's proposal is available here

If you can't make the meeting you can send written comments to:

Ms. Meenakshi Varandani
Assistant Vice President, Planning
New York City Economic Development Corporation
110 William Street, New York, NY 10038