BP MARKOWITZ ANNOUNCES TASK FORCE TO TRANSFORM FOURTH AVENUE FROM ATLANTIC AVENUE TO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN
On Wednesday, August 10, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz hosted a long term planning meeting at Brooklyn Borough Hall for the transformation of 4th Avenue, and announced the formation of a task force, chaired by Chief of Staff Carlo Scissura, to oversee planning of project specifics, including tree planting and use of a newly expanded Times Plaza—the intersection of 4th, Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues.
Attendees included Councilmembers Vincent Gentile, Sara González, Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, as well as representatives for Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Congressman Michael Grimm and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. Community board members, civic organizations and representatives from the DOT, City Planning, Parks Department, MTA and other agencies also participated.
Among the task force’s key planning initiatives:
- Planting sidewalk trees along entire length of 4th Avenue from Flatbush Avenue to Shore Road
- Design use of newly expanded Times Plaza at the intersection of 4th, Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues
- Ensuring safety for all users of 4th Avenue
- Enhance subway median vents with artworks and/or plantings
- The co-naming of 4th Avenue
In May, 2010, BP Markowitz released “Vision for the Fourth Avenue Corridor,” a collaborative effort with urban planning students from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (NYU Wagner) to begin the process of initiating a community-driven transformation of Brooklyn’s 4th Avenue into “Brooklyn Boulevard,” a signature street worthy of the great communities that surround it. The vision plan proposes an active street for residents, economic opportunities for local businesses and exhibit spaces for the artist community. These goals will be achieved through traffic-calming measures, streetscaping, placemaking and wayfinding improvements, and community partnerships. To view the report, visit www.brooklyn-usa.org.
Last month, BP Markowitz hosted a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) hearing on a new Special District that would enliven 4th Avenue as a local commercial destination. To ensure its transformation into a mixed-use corridor, the proposed Special Fourth Avenue Enhanced Commercial District would promote a vibrant mix of active uses, including stores and offices along 4th Avenue in Park Slope and South Park Slope. According to the City Planning Department, “the District would require commercial and community facility uses on the ground floor, would restrict residential parking entrances to side streets and would limit lobby frontages and blank walls. The new proposal will help transform the avenue into a more dynamic, pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use corridor.”
“I am thrilled that the City Planning Department is moving ahead with recommendations I proposed in a February letter to Commissioner Burden,” said BP Markowitz. “This proposed commercial rezoning along Fourth Avenue from Atlantic Avenue to 24th Street—on which it was a pleasure to work with Councilman Brad Lander and the Park Slope Civic Council, among others—will allow for new retail and other appropriate uses while preventing the changes that have resulted in an aesthetically unpleasing environment for pedestrians. For years now, I have called for the transformation of Fourth Avenue into a signature street worthy of the great neighborhoods it traverses, and street-level retail is a necessary requirement to facilitating a vibrant and active street life.”
BP Markowitz has also committed $2 million in capital funding to improve the streetscape around the 4th Avenue/ 9th Street subway station. “The station was designed as one of the grandest in the entire MTA subway system,” said BP Markowitz. “And now, with funding I have allocated along with Assemblywoman Joan Millman, the MTA can pull back the billboards, fix the crumbling bricks and restore this 1930s art deco beauty to its former glory. Its location on 4th Avenue at the crossroads of Gowanus and Prospect Park is highly visible from Downtown Brooklyn to Sunset Park, and its restoration as a signature streetscape element will mark the beginning of what I hope will be many more efforts to transform the entire stretch of 4th Avenue.”
“Fourth Avenue has the potential to become a showcase of Brooklyn’s great diversity,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. “I look forward to seeing our community continue to develop for Brooklyn residents.”
“I thank the Brooklyn Borough President for his effort,” said New York City Councilmember Vincent Gentile. “I look forward to working with this Committee and seeing that a comprehensive plan for Fourth Avenue goes from one end to the other.”
“Implementing the Fourth Avenue Vision Plan will have a transformative effect on parts of my District that have gone neglected for too long,” said New York City Councilmember Sara M. González. “Working with my colleagues in government, community advocates, and local residents, I look forward to delivering comprehensive improvements for the entire stretch of the Avenue I represent. From planting trees and installing public art to increasing pedestrian safety and creating public plazas, the residents of my community and Fourth Avenue at large have a great deal to look forward to in the coming years. I’d like to thank our Borough President for his incredible leadership on this issue.”
“I am excited to see this new initiative from the Borough President to improve ‘Brooklyn’s Boulevard,’ said New York City Councilmember Brad Lander. “The Park Slope Civic Council should also be recognized for focusing attention on 4th Avenue. This plan should bring more energy and activity to 4th Avenue while making it a safer and more beautiful street for pedestrians. I look forward to walking the new 4th Avenue.”
“This signals a new era for the 4th Avenue corridor,” said New York City Councilmember Stephen Levin. “4th Avenue has so much potential and I look forward to having a safe and vibrant thoroughfare that spans the length of Brooklyn. I would like to thank Borough President Markowitz for calling this session, as well as the other Councilmembers, Community Boards and civic organizations that provided great ideas for the future of 4th Avenue.”