January 18, 2008
Empire State Development Corp.
633 Third Avenue, 33rd Floor
New York, NY 10017
Dear Chairman Foye:
I am in receipt of the latest "Community Notice" from the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) which announces the closing of the Carlton Avenue Bridge. The announcement states that it is necessary to close the bridge to accommodate upgrading the Long Island Railroad Vanderbilt Yard and eventual reconstruction of the bridge.To my dismay, there has been no attempt by the ESDC to have open public meetings to discuss the full implications of the decision to close the Carlton Avenue Bridge.
The closing of the Carlton Avenue Bridge will affect five neighborhoods in my district. I am making an official request as an elected official representing those neighborhoods to have a community meeting with your agency officials and the NYC Department of Transportation to address the following issues.
There are many questions and issues that I and my constituents need to have addressed in relation to this action including:
• The Carlton Avenue Bridge connects several neighborhoods. It is a major thorough fare between Park Avenue and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE). The closing of the bridge will cut off a major connector between Park Slope/ Prospect Heights, and Fort Greene/ Clinton Hill; not only for cars but also for other modes of transportation.
• It will create even more vehicle congestion than already exists on Flatbush Avenue. There is no indication vis a vis your map of the increases in congestion on Flatbush Avenue as a result of the Carlton Avenue Bridge closing.
• The map accompanying the "Community Notice" has arrows indicating redirected traffic onto Pacific Street. In addition, there are arrows that appear to direct traffic to several streets in Prospect Heights. That would mean that this neighborhood will experience increased congestion. However, there is no discussion about proposed mitigation for that and other areas, such as Boerum Hill, that will receive impacts.
• The map does not show where other construction and traffic rerouting is taking place such as a few blocks down at the intersection of Flatbush Avenues and Hanson Place and at Lafayette Avenue.
• Other plans and schedules that will affect traffic are the proposed narrowing of Vanderbilt Avenue, another link between Flatbush and Park Avenue.
• The Notice states that traffic will be rerouted to 6th Ave. which will become a two way street; however, 6th Ave is very narrow and is next to the 78th Precinct house where official police cars need to park.
• And, finally there is no mention how long the closing of the bridge will last.
Again, the closing of the Carlton Avenue Bridge will affect all of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Boerum Hill because the bridge’s closing will choke off a major connector for traffic and other transport modes among and between these neighborhoods. My office has already received numerous calls complaining of excessive honking and traffic gridlock in this area. In addition, I have been told that the local firehouse was not even officially notified of the planned closing; concerned residents notified firefighters to allow them to plan for different routes in case of an emergency.
I look forward to the opportunity for my constituents and I to share our concerns with members of your staff and the Department of Transportation.
Senator Velmanette Montgomery
18th Senate District