A pedestrian plaza is coming to the Fulton Mall, but shoppers looking to answer nature’s call on the busy commercial corridor should seek bathrooms in friendly stores.
“People can always use the bathrooms at Macy’s,” said Isaac Esterman, who is overseeing the Fulton Mall streetscapes for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP).
The DBP along with city officials confirmed last week that work on the pedestrian plaza minus bathrooms on the triangle where Dekalb Avenue and Fulton Street meet is expected to start before year’s end.
The project also calls for the closing of about 30 feet of the Dekalb Avenue roadway between Bond and Fulton Streets just outside the Washington Mutual Bank and the now demolished Albee Square Mall.
DBP President Joe Chan said the pedestrian plaza will be similar to the one in Herald Square across the street from Macy’s on 34th Street where Broadway and Sixth Avenue meet.
The two main goals for the plaza are to give the Fulton Mall Improvement Association a place to stage events such as small concerts and booths, and on an everyday basis to give people a refuge to sit, congregate and relax, said Chan.
Community Board 2 District Manager Rob Perris said that in January 2007, after learning that the city would start installing a small number of public bathrooms, the community board wrote the city unsuccessfully suggesting the triangle as a spot for one of them.
“Here we are giving up public space, but we’re not getting what the community feels is the fullest public amenity,” said Perris.
“There really isn’t anyplace else on Fulton Street where one of these bathrooms can go, and with the amount of pedestrian traffic on Fulton Street this is a logical place for it to go,” he added.
Perris there were also community board concerns that once the street is closed the westbound B38 will now have to make a very tight S-turn to continue on its trip into Downtown Brooklyn.
“Instead of coming down Dekalb and merging onto Fulton, it will now have to turn left onto Bond Street and then make a quick right almost immediately onto Fulton Street to continue on its way in Downtown Brooklyn,” Perris said.
Esterman said that MTA and Department of Transportation engineers studied the B38 turn and the existing curb line is being pulled back to accommodate the turn.
Additionally, the MTA and DOT did a simulation of the turn at Floyd Bennett Field in the southern portion of the borough.
Regarding the bathroom, Chan said there are only a limited number of them citywide and there hasn’t been a massive call for one in the plaza.
“We haven’t heard a rally cry [for a bathroom], but we’re happy to facilitate a discussion between the constituent base and the city for one,” he said.