To the editor:
Thank you for your coverage of the Downtown Brooklyn Plan. Your map clearly shows how much is going on in such a small area of our borough. As a member of the Traffic & Transportation committee of Community Board 2, I was saddened to see the Draft EIS for Downtown Brooklyn, submitted by the Economic Development Corporation.
They have submitted a plan that is flawed in more ways than I have the time or space to write. It projects so much traffic flowing into our streets that they are unable to mitigate the problems the plan would cause. This is unfortunate because we need more jobs in this city, and there is some room in the downtown area for new office and residential space.
But the current plan just doesn’t work. As you have reported, last week Community Board 2 voted against the Land Use committee’s recommendation but failed to pass a resolution voting either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the plan as a whole. In my opinion, the vote was a strong condemnation of the plan as being inadequate for Brooklyn and for being poorly thought out. Neil Sloane correctly pointed out that 10 members of the community board failed to show up for this important vote, and one “hid in the hallway.” However, he neglected to mention that at last months general meeting CB2 Chairwoman Shirley McRae told the board members who were present (no, they weren’t all there then either) how important the upcoming vote was. She asked the members present to attend not only the meeting last week, but she also encouraged them to show up for all of the committee meetings that month. She emphasized that every committee would be discussing the Downtown Plan.
A few weeks ago the Land Use committee spent over three hours trying to rewrite the draft EIS, which is commendable. The meeting room was packed with community board members. The real problem, however, is with the plan itself. It should not be the job of the community board to write or in this case, correct the plan. That job belongs to the EDC. It is the EDC that has failed because they submitted a plan that is so flawed that it needs to go back to the drawing board and be redone.
The bottom line is that Brooklyn deserves a real plan for the Downtown area. A plan that will work for new businesses, already established businesses, residents and commuters. Downtown Brooklyn needs and deserves a transportation study that will tell the EDC what is possible in the area.
The end result will be something that we, as Brooklynites, will have to live with for the rest of our lives.
—Kenn Lowy, CB2 member, Brooklyn Heights