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Anchorage Place pedestrian plaza plan

Tiny DUMBO street would go car-free under new plan

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The city and DUMBO merchants are working together to close the tiny street of Anchorage Place to cars and expand a pedestrian plaza at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge.

The short street would become a walker’s paradise under a plan drafted by the DUMBO Business Improvement District and the Department of Transportation that would convert the roadway into an extension of the Pearl Street Triangle that connects to the pedestrian-only Manhattan Bridge archway.

Demapping the street would make strolling through DUMBO safer and give the neighborhood more space for outdoor events and programming, proponents say.

“This will continue the remarkable transformation of this part of the neighborhood into a retail corridor,” said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Business Improvement District.

Closing Anchorage Place, which runs between Plymouth and Pearl streets, will cost the neighborhood 24 parking spaces according to planners — but the city will change parking regulations on John and Pearl streets to allow parking at 20 to 30 new spaces.

The proposal has won the endorsement of Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee. It must go before the full board and face an environmental assessment before it becomes reality.

If all goes according to plan, the hypotenuse of the Pearl Street Triangle will be closed off with planters or other movable bollards starting this summer — which is way too soon according to Doreen Gallo, executive director of the DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance, who fears the plan will push traffic to the other side of the pedestrian plaza.

“It’s going to impose a lot of vehicles over on Pearl Street, and it’ll dramatically change what’s happening there,” said Gallo. “The [city] is taking the street away from real uses — a lot of cars are depending on using that way.”

Gallo says the project should be put on hold — at least until the city repaves Anchorage Place with classic-looking Belgian Block, a $20-million proposal expected to begin in 2014.

Her organization also says reserving the road for pedestrians only makes little sense because of Anchorage Place’s industrial feel.

Project backers say closing the throughway will have little impact on automotive traffic because most cars frequent Pearl Street already.

And many DUMBO denizens — especially those lunching in the Pearl Street Triangle — say the asphalt should be re-purposed for the people.

“It isn’t really used as a roadway, I think it’d be more useful as a bike lane or a pedestrian walkway,” says David Chang, who works nearby.

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Reader Feedback

T from Brooklyn says:
YES! Great idea for the majority of people in Brooklyn who don't drive. Gallo is clueless and doesn't speak for me. There's so little traffic on that street and a ton of pedestrians using the triangle and archway.
July 11, 2012, 9:54 am
Jacob from Clinton Hill says:
Fantastic idea! That street is tiny and has almost zero cars on it anyway, and lots of pedestrians. I have no earthly idea what Gallo is talking about.
July 11, 2012, 10:49 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Unfortunately, and I hate to be the one to say this...This will never happen.
July 11, 2012, 3:05 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
When you go to DUMBO, you already drive around and around for 15 minutes trying to find somewhere to park.

Unless you go to DUMBO like a normal New Yorker and don't drive there. Then there's no problem.
July 11, 2012, 4:04 pm
T from Brooklyn says:
It's happening, John. Soon.
July 11, 2012, 5:36 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrece says:
I'm sorry, but no it isn't.
July 11, 2012, 5:39 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Why do they need to close off a street in this neighborhood when there is already a park nearby? Are some people that lazy to go over there when it's only a few blocks away? Perhaps to make up for this, we should take away part of the park since it's not being used for the most part. Even if that street is nothing more than an alley, it doesn't mean that it's not used, plus it can sometimes help when it comes to taking a short cut rather than just going around like the Panama Canal.
July 11, 2012, 6:27 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal -- Is that actually you? Cuz you're normally not *this* stupid sounding... I mean, really?

The park is not used? It's the pedestrians who are lazy? But the people with self-propelled machines need a "short cut"?
July 11, 2012, 6:45 pm
Ru from Brooklyn says:
It is happening and it's going to be great. More space for pedestrians!!!
July 11, 2012, 10:04 pm
Smarty from DUMBO says:
“It’s going to impose a lot of vehicles over on Pearl Street, and it’ll dramatically change what’s happening there,” said Gallo.

Really, Gallo?! Please define "a lot of vehicles" and "dramatically change."

Ridiculous. Please get a grip. Can't wait to see this happen.
July 12, 2012, 12:18 am
Brian Van from Kips Bay says:
Everyone! The residents of a neighborhood want something, but...

HOLD ON! Tal Barzilai from 50 miles away owns all of Brooklyn and ought to have a say! And he says... I need to take shortcuts in my car sometimes, so leave that street alone! As a matter of fact, chop off part of the building next door and widen the street! And maybe tear down the whole block so we can have another street! And take down the Manhattan Bridge too, so it'll leave room for SO MANY STREETS! ALL OF THE STREETS!
July 12, 2012, 9:25 am
Peter from Brooklyn Heights says:
>Her organization also says reserving the road for >pedestrians only makes little sense because of >Anchorage Place’s industrial feel.

Please, someone, explain what is meant by that. What should we put there? A steel mill, giant oil derricks?
July 12, 2012, 10:35 am
S from PPW says:
Remember when Gallo was against putting Jane's Carousel in its current and wildly popular location?

Can someone tell me what she is for, other than preserving things in some sort of motor-era amber?
July 12, 2012, 11:19 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Ty, I take great issue with your "stupidier than usual" comment so just cut it out. In my view, that is a hit way below the belt and is the mark of a coward. Back to the issue. My view that there should be no special considerations for pedestrians as there are less of them and nobody needs to walk, especially when there is already ways to walk without having to provide panama-canal-like shortcuts but most of us need to drive. In my opinion, many pedestrians are like bikers: underworked and overpaid, or leeching of off the taxpaying motorists. Don't attack me for saying this, as it is my opinion which I know many share. Stop with the personal attacks and impersenations which is nothing less than a form of hamasing.
And leave my mother out of this. The woman has suffered enough already reading the nefarious comments and endless hamasing directed at my person from you streetsblogger zealouts.
July 12, 2012, 11:50 am
ty from pps says:
OK, whoever is writing these Tal comments is awesome! They have truly captured the true essence of his unique mix of ignorance, irrationality and general dimness.
July 12, 2012, 12:45 pm
Bob from Dumbo says:
The street is important for drivers who get lost in Dumbo's bizarre street grid, not so much for parking.

You really can't park there most of the time (during the day) since it's essentially become a private parking lot for the local car service, with drivers holding spaces for other car services drivers, who recklessly — and illegally — back up the street to grab those spaces; this goes on all day.
July 12, 2012, 2:03 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Tal, you can't hide behind it being your "opinion" that most of us need to drive. Most of us don't drive. Unless you're suggesting most of us need to drive like most of us need 5-6 servings of vegetables a day, there's not much more to say about it.
July 12, 2012, 3:38 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
How nice that someone here uses my name when I wasn't even at a computer at 11:50 this morning when I actually have a job unlike most of you who probably don't. Also, I don't finish work until 3 PM, so that couldn't have been me. It's obvious that it was either ty, Mike, or Brian Van especially because of their personal hatred towards me, so any of them could have done that unless they had an alibi for that time. Nevertheless, we don't need pedestrian plazas when there already public spaces that are already there such as parks. Why doesn't the local BID just improve the park instead, which will probably cost less than this pedestrian plaza? When you are in the shadow of both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, you can expect there to be a lot of traffic.
July 12, 2012, 5:21 pm
ty from pps says:
I don't know which Tal comment is the dimmest.
July 12, 2012, 6:28 pm
mike from GP says:
Looking forward to this!
July 12, 2012, 8:21 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
It would be great to see more initiatives like this one. Pedestrian plazas are common in Europe, Asia, and many other parts of the world. They don't impede traffic, but spur business activity because they attract pedestrians/potential customers. Re-supply deliveries are made after business hours, just like much of New York now.
July 13, 2012, 11:04 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Sorry to burst your bubble, Scott, but NYC just isn't Europe. This country fought a whole war just to break away from such a culture. If you love Europe than go live there. It's not like anybody is stopping you from going. Believe or not, most actually oppose pedestrian plazas all over the city. If you don't believe than go over to the entries on Queens Crap, which state the truth about that. I wouldn't be surprised if this pedestrian plaza will become a haven for the homeless, and I would love to see how the BID is going to take care of that, which will probably be costing a lot just to get them off.
July 13, 2012, 5:24 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Haha I just wanted to try this "being Tal Barzilai" out for a few minutes. Pretty funny. I wish all commenters posted using this name and neighborhood.
July 14, 2012, 11:31 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Pedestrian plazas have more positive effects than for commerce and transportation, of course. Areas where people can mix, hang out, or sit and read the paper while people-watching create vibrant civic culture. And New Yorkers must be craving more spaces like this than they have now, because every one of the pedestrian areas they've created in Manhattan in the past few years has been instantly popular.
July 15, 2012, 11:34 am
Mike says:
Yes, Tal, the reason we fought the Revolutionary War is that we didn't like England's pedestrian plazas and bike lanes.
July 16, 2012, 11:07 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Scott, Bloomberg and his cronies have a history of fudging numbers to make in their favor. I have seen blog sites that took those stats and found them to be wrong. Again Queens Crap, a known blog site, disproved a number of his claims, but I guess there will always be those like you who will continue to believe them no matter what. Also, we already have places for them known as parks. As for Mike, you miss my point, NYC is NOT like any European city. Just because some of these can work there, doesn't mean that it will work here, and the same goes with other parts of the country. Everyone knows that NYC has a high population than just about all others you give combined. While it must so great for your kind to live close to everything, especially when you have the luxury to do so, the rest of don't, so we have to drive to get to places. Unfortunately, there are still many places in this country where there is no alternative in terms of getting around by driving.
July 16, 2012, 12:22 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
NYC's urban density is similar to older cities around the world. Europe leaps to many people's minds, but the same is true of many places in Asia, Asia Minor, and elsewhere, because most cities predate the invention of the car and grew organically to accommodate pedestrians. And it is exactly that population density that makes NYC the perfect American candidate for the same pedestrian areas those other world cities have.

Note, creating a pedestrian area does not mean or have anything to do with eliminating all cars everywhere in the city. Doing that wouldn't make any sense, because there is and always will be a valid reason to use cars for certain applications (hauling cargo, emergency vehicles, occasional personal trips) in NYC. But where's the harm in giving New Yorkers a bit more of the public space they so clearly crave? Every time they shut down a road for a block party or fair or what-have-you it's immediately packed; human beings crave company, they want to mingle.
July 16, 2012, 12:30 pm
Save DUMBO from Doreen Gallo says:
Doreen Gallo really puts the DUMBO in DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance.
July 16, 2012, 3:30 pm

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