BY KEVIN DUGGAN
They’re not gonna be meek
A week after locals panned
a city scheme to add hundreds
of metered parking spaces beneath
the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway
in Williamsburg, activists
have taken matters into
their own hands to discuss alternative
improvements to the
long-neglected stretch along
“The fact that the Department
of Transportation is
striking the ground over there
and putting in meters means
we’ll have to do it ourselves,”
said Greenpoint organizer
Kevin LaCherra, who hosted
a virtual Nov. 12 discussion
about the issue.
The north Brooklynites
fl oated a wide range of proposals
to transform the area under
the Robert Moses-era roadway
that cuts through the neighborhood
into a welcoming open
space that could reconnect the
divided community, according
to one advocate.
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“We do not need, nor want,
paid parking underneath this
roadway — and what we do
need is this space to be a connector
that for so very long
has been a disconnector,”
said Lisa Bloodgood of North
Brooklyn Neighbors. “It separated
us, and we need it to
bring us together.”
Just days after fi nding about
about the parking plan, the local
Community Board 1 unanimously
rejected the scheme at a
Nov. 5 meeting, though the vote
was purely symbolic.
Transportation offi cials argued
that the paid parking plan
was necessary to fund their efforts
to clear out tons of illegally
dumped trash and move
away homeless encampments,
which will pave the way for future
improvements to the space
— but residents lambasted bureaucrats
for pitching the unpopular
idea in exchange for
basic municipal services.
An agency liaison said it
will be tough to fi nd the funding
to implement any more
ambitious proposals due to the
city’s cratering budget, but offi -
cials told the board they would
hold off progress for now given
their dismayed reaction.
LaCherra and other activists
convened a week later to gather
better ideas for the space, which
included green infrastructure,
safer street designs for pedestrians
and cyclists, and highquality
Some advocates said the urban
wasteland could become
a linear park that linked residents
on both sides and to other
open areas nearby — such as
the recently completed Under
the K Bridge Park, McGolrick
Park, McCarren Park, and
Bushwick Inlet Park.
“It’s got to be like a corridor
DOT wants to turn three blocks of Meeker Avenue beneath the BQE into
more than 300 metered parking spots. Google Maps
where it is opening up the
neighborhoods and bringing
connectivity and safety to these
neighborhoods,” said Katherine
Thompson of Friends of
Bushwick Inlet Park.
Yet, area Councilman Antonio
Reynoso’s chief of staff,
Jennifer Gutiérrez, warned
the civic-minded attendees
that lame-duck Mayor Bill de
Blasio’s administration would
be unlikely to embark on any
large-scale public infrastructure
project — and they should
instead focus on the next mayor
and crop of Council members.
is a little weary about what we
can get accomplished as far as
with this current administration,”
said Gutiérrez, who is
running to replace Reynoso.
“But I feel good about pushing
DOT to table this absurd
proposal and whatever story
they’re selling us on this generating
signifi cant revenue.”
DOT reps promised the community
board last week that
they will pause their plans for
now, but Meeker Avenue will
be back on the agenda for the
board’s December Transportation
BRIDGE THE GAP
Locals propose plans for Meeker Avenue
after city’s metered parking proposal
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