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City: Bus a move — away from Brooklyn Bridge Park

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The city is moving to stop droves of double-decker tour buses from idling and clogging the foot of Old Fulton Street during the summer — a traffic debacle that’s reached a breaking point since Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park opened early last year.

The Department of Transportation and NYPD will install new “No Parking” signs — and step up enforcement — at the entrance to the park near Furman Street this spring, in order to end the giant buses’ reign over the streets before they start making their rounds again this summer.

Tourism isn’t the problem — locals argue that the buses double- and triple-park on the two streets near the pier to let their customers get off and tour the area. The buses idle for long periods and frequently block Furman Street, which acts as an access road for trucks coming from the beer distributors at Pier 7 and an alternative to the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.

“It’s become a hazard because there’s so much traffic down there,” said Joan Zimmerman, Old Fulton Street resident and president of the Fulton Ferry Landing Association. “[Last summer], we counted 44 buses in one hour on that stretch, most of them double- and triple-parking.”

State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D–Brooklyn Heights) echoed Zimmerman’s woes at the Community Board 2 meeting last week, saying that he’d frequented the park in the summer and that the bus problem is “insane.”

He and Zimmerman said that they’re working with the city to eventually install a cement median in the middle of Old Fulton Street, which would replace a painted median that the buses currently use as a parking space.

That said, nobody wants to hinder the tourists from getting to the popular strip that features Grimaldi’s, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Ignazio’s, the River Café and Fulton Ferry Landing. But the new enforcement plan will certainly force planners to revisit the biggest gap in access to Old Fulton Street: parking. Park advocates have long complained about lack of spaces in Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, especially since Pier 1 opened last year and park-goers flocked in.

A new median and a handful of ticket-toting cops are bound to prompt complaints from drivers. Brooklyn Bridge Park officials acknowledged the horrible parking problem on Old Fulton Street in their original environmental review, promising “approximat­ely 1,283 new parking spaces in five parking facilities” due to high demand and lack of free spaces during peak park hours.

Of course, those facilities aren’t built yet — nor have they been discussed as imminent by park officials.

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Reader Feedback

Joe from Brooklyn Heights says:
This should have been done this year. (2010) It should have been planned out beforehand in case something like this would happen. Everyone knows that Brooklyn Bridge Park has the million dollar view that everyone has to see, that is Everyone and it doesn't take a genius to figure that a lot of people will be there to see it everyday.
Jan. 18, 2011, 1:37 am
Mike from GP says:
Sorry, but more parking is not a solution. That would only ruin the neighborhood.
Jan. 18, 2011, 5:25 am
freddy from slope says:
Mike:

Don't ruin this thread with logic.
Jan. 18, 2011, 9:03 am
Mike says:
How about if we pave Fulton Ferry Landing and Brooklyn Bridge Park to add more parking?

Part of the charm of this area is that it's NOT a car-dependent hellhole with a giant parking lot!
Jan. 18, 2011, 9:16 am
Steve F. from Park Slope says:
I'm glad tourists like the park, but it seems the main benefit of the park is for people in the neighborhood and those who come via subway, transit, foot, and bike. More parking would only ruin the very thing people are coming to enjoy!
Jan. 18, 2011, 9:28 am
Jacob from Prospect Heights says:
Parking is not the answer. What popular, high quality locations have benefited from giant parking garages? They detract from the visual environment and ADD to the very congestion they are designed to solve. This is 1950's planning all over again. It's like we haven't learned a thing.
Jan. 18, 2011, 9:38 am
Sean from SI says:
So you mean people have been driving to the Brooklyn Height's promenade all these years without adequate parking facilities? What this part is right now is hype. Just like the highline, the newbies that dont belong in the area will get bored of it and depart. However the bus situation will be a problem since there is room to do so and anything that is free, those tour buses will take advantage of (take a look at the SI ferry terminal in Manhattan for example). There should be a sticker sold to tour bus companies at a price to allow them to idle in the area. That money can then be used to pay for the traffic cops to enforce the signage rules that will be implimented. That's my idea of a solution but any idea that would deter the buses is a good one.
Jan. 18, 2011, 9:38 am
jj from brooklyn says:
brooklyn bridge park is an excellent case study of a grand idea poorly planned and executed. that assertion will hold no matter how beautiful the view and how enjoyable a visit there might be (pier one is beautiful). residents of brooklyn heights, in particular, will regret this project in their backyard. (ok, maybe not the bha leaders who have $300-$400/mo parking spaces and spend their free time at the casino on montague and in manhattan).
Jan. 18, 2011, 9:40 am
Jef from BathBeach says:
We park our car near Columbia Street and Union Street, a bit away, and either walk or ride our bicycles to the Park. We have no problems doing this and there is ample parking there, plus the walk is fun.

The helicopters are what the real pain in the ass is, never mind the buses.
Jan. 18, 2011, 10:03 am
transalt from bike nation says:
@jef: We don't want you and your evil polluting dinosaur in our neighborhood. You have a car. You are evil. Stay out in Bath Beach and pollute the air there.
Jan. 18, 2011, 11:51 am
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
a world class park needs world class transportation. the buses are a symptom of the park's success. Instead of banning them they need to accommodate them-with their engine's OFF- IMO... somewhere and then have a way for the people on them to get to the park...perhaps a trolley...
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:03 pm
Sid from boerum hill says:
The park needs revenue. Its either apartments or other revenue producing ventures. parking is one of the alternatives to housing being considered(which I don't frankly like but it will generate revenue).

"no matter what they do or say, I am going to oppose it anyway...whatever it is I'm against it" Groucho Marx in one of his satirical movies...ain't it the truth- they even oppose St Ann's warehouse because of not enough revenue...
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:08 pm
tk jones from prospect heights says:
It needs revenue because they designed a park with high over head on purpose. Think Madison Square park or Battery Park. The revenue that exceeds the need does not go back into the whole park system. So parks else where get nothing. Does the city need a carousel which will need a high upkeep? No.
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:16 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
TK you compare all the parks on land. Most of this park is on a pier and the Wallentas's gave a 2 million dollar endowment to pay for the upkeep and are building at their cost the building the Carousel will be in. The upkeep of the Carousel pales in comparison to the cost of the piers...and the money for upkeep at Battery park city comes from the many apartment buildings there....which also pays for the entire Hudson River park maintenance and upkeep...It has literally millions of dollars in excess all from the apartments and by law that money stays in Manhattan(which I don't like but it is what it is)...
Jan. 18, 2011, 12:27 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Maybe the buses can shut their engines off and coast down the hill. It will be just like bikes!

You can get everywhere on a bike! In all weather!

And if we only allow bikes then we can be sure there won't be many senior citizens coming to the park and ruining it for our drum circle!
Jan. 18, 2011, 4:22 pm
Mike from GP says:
bike nation -- you're pretty ridiculous and doing a disservice to your case, not to mention smearing the name of an excellent organization.
Jan. 18, 2011, 5:50 pm
moshe aron kestenbaum from wiLliamsburg ODA says:
How about If your run your motor for more then one minute after passengers depart you get fined
Jan. 18, 2011, 9:10 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
The current idling law has a 5 minute limit and the fine is up to $18,000.00

http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8585.html
Jan. 20, 2011, 11:29 am

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