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July 22, 2006 / Brooklyn news / Development / Around Brooklyn

Every group hates traffic

The Brooklyn Paper
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A coalition of 28 community groups — spanning a wide swath from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint — are demanding that Mayor Bloomberg focus more attention on the traffic that is “blanketing our streets with cars and trucks.”

The groups’ demands — contained in a July 13 letter to City Hall — come as traffic is increasingly perceived as a leading quality-of-life problem.

From the opening of a Fairway in Red Hook to development in Williamsburg that has caused overcrowding of the L train to the failure to update truck routes even though many pass through booming residential neighborhoods, residents of many communities are screaming, “Enough!”

“Traffic and transportation are huge issues and they … are not being addressed,” said Aaron Naparstek, community organizer and Park Slope Civic Council member.

The traffic concerns are especially acute, given the pace of recent development, such as in Williamsburg and Greenpoint and along Fourth Avenue, where upzoning has encouraged rapid growth.

And hanging like a specter over central Brooklyn is Bruce Ratner’s nearly 7,000-apartment, 18,000-seat basketball arena proposed for Prospect Heights.

The letter — signed by a veritable United Nations of groups, such as the Bay Ridge Community Council, the Gowanus Community Stakeholder Group, the Polish Slavic Center Community Services, South Midwood Residents’ Association, United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg, United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park and the Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association — was received with some confusion at City Hall, which prides itself on its traffic and transit efforts.

“People may be frustrated that it’s not going quickly enough, [but] we’ve done more than anyone in recent memory to prepare against excessive growth and to protect it where it’s appropriate,” said mayoral spokeswoman Sharon Fuchs.

But Naparstek was quick to dispel the notion that the community groups are anti-development.

“We want Brooklyn to grow,” he said. “Brooklyn’s gotta grow. But it’s gotta grow smart.”

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