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Planners again consider Promenade ‘park’ link

The Brooklyn Paper
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A controversial connection between the famed Brooklyn Heights Promenade and a proposed development along the Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO waterfront is back on the table.

Planners overseeing a $1-million transportation study are again examining the feasibility of creating a “vertical connection” between the two waterfront vistas.

“This would be a way to get people to the [proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park] without increasing car traffic in the surrounding neighborho­od,” said Jee Mee Kim, one of several consultants hired by the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront Local Development Corporation, which is overseeing the feasibility study in conjunction with Brookliyn Bridge Park planners.

Early in the long-awaited development’s planning process, a pedestrian bridge between the two public overlooks was nixed after project engineers estimated its cost at $15 million and some Heights residents complained that an influx of visitors could overwhelm the Promenade and bring more visitors onto Heights streets.

On Wednesday, planners also said they would ensure that the aesthetics of any future elevator would be in context with the affluent neighborhood — the city’s first landmark district.

“Anything that would be constructed there would be constrained by the Promenade’s landmark status, the historic view [of the Manhattan skyline] and the very residential nature of the area,” said Hank Gutman, a DBWLDC board member.

But already, Brooklyn Heights civic leaders are expressing renewed opposition to such a connection.

“We have concerns about marring the landmark or obstructing the view,” said Irene Janner, a member of the Brooklyn Heights Association. “I have trouble imagining how [a connection] could work.”

The study was funded by a $1 million federal grant secured in 2002 by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D–Cobble Hill). Funding to implement any DBWLDC recommendations would not come from the Brooklyn Bridge Park’s existing $150-million construction budget, but would require a new allocation.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation told The Brooklyn Papers that the agency does support improving public access to the proposed park and waterfront development. But he said it was too early to weigh in on the specifics of DBWLDC’s just-initiated study.

The study will also look at the possibility of creating a new entrance to the Clark Street subway station in the park.

The link between the station might be created by converting a ventilation shaft that opens at the foot of the proposed park into a station entrance.

Updated 4:23 pm, November 17, 2017
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