Credit Where Credit is Due
Via The Brooklyn Politics Blog, here’s Marty Markowitz’ statement on the “Special Enhanced Commercial District” designation for Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue:
I urge the City Planning Commission to adopt the proposal by the Department of City Planning as part of its contribution to the overall plan—with two changes that I have recommended. First, the Commission should modify the proposal by prohibiting trade schools, business schools, and medical and dental labs from being located within the mandatory commercial use portion of the ground floor level. I believe they don’t lend themselves to a lively and engaging environment and are not necessarily even pedestrian-friendly.
Second, we should take a page from the Special Downtown Brooklyn District, and require that the maximum sill height of transparent “show” windows be two-and-a-half feet above the curb, rather than four feet, the figure in the current proposal. This height would allow better views of merchandise for pedestrians walking down the Avenue.
For once, I agree with Marty. In order for Fourth Avenue to come alive as an active commercial and residential boulevard, it needs the types of businesses that promote foot traffic. A dental office that closes at 5 pm just doesn’t give the area the Jacobian “eyes on the street” it needs to feel like a community. Stores, restaurants, and businesses that provide a wide array of services do.
Traffic calming will also have to be a big part of Fourth Avenue’s improvements going forward; the speeding on Fourth Avenue is perhaps a bigger impediment to the street becoming more pedestrian friendly than any number of medical offices and dental labs could ever be. My biggest fear in life is crossing the street with my daughter to get to and from her daycare and with the growing number of big condo and rental buildings on both sides of the avenue I’m sure a number of families share the same concern. Still, it’s nice to see this kind of statement coming from the Borough President’s office.