Protecting Brooklyn's greenspaces

City: No sound wall for Belt Parkway

for The Brooklyn Paper
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The city has swatted down the hopes of green-thumbed Bay Ridgites who want a sound wall built along their beloved Narrows Botanical Gardens in Shore Road Park.

The Department of Transportation said it would not build a seven-foot barrier gardeners say would protect the greenspace from plant pluckers as well as muffle the constant droning of cars passing on the nearby Belt Parkway.

“It cannot be included in the constructi­on,” city officials said, adding that the Department of Transportation only builds noise barriers when realigning highways and widening thruways.

Gardeners were hoping that the city would be able to throw up a sound wall along the lip of the Belt Parkway between 69th Street and McKay Place as it refurbishes a pedestrian bridge at 69th Street.

Gardeners were crushed by the city’s response, but vowed to scale the insurmountable obstacles their plan faces.

“Our idea has a lot of good points to it,” said CB10 member and Narrows gardener Greg Ahl.

Landscape designer Jimmy Johnson — who helped build the Shore Road Park oasis of rare flowers and shrubs in 1995 — said the barrier is absolutely necessary to stop plant bandits who pull over on the Belt Parkway and rip up thousands of dollars in precious perennials.

“The community garden needs a security system,” said Johnson, who explained that the Narrows board had already installed motion detectors around the garden’s perimeter to ward off thieves. “With all the work we do, and all the disruption we have to deal with, it’d be nice to have something protecting the area.”

Critics of the proposed partition argued that a sound wall would block views of the harbor, but Johnson dismissed such claims, arguing that the view would only be lost is on the walkway closest to the fence — where there isn’t much to see, he claimed.

“The only view that would be missing would be cars going by on the highway,” Johnson said.

Ahl said he and his fellow gardeners would lobby state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) and Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) to get the sound wall built, even though the city opposes the plan.

“Sooner or later, someone’s going to help us,” Ahl said.

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Reader Feedback

kjude514 from Bay Ridge says:
Somehow, Staten Island and Queens don't seem to have these same rules. Wonder why.
July 23, 2012, 1:27 pm
Sam from Bay Ridge says:
use lots of bamboos, they absorb sounds and it's green
July 23, 2012, 2:23 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Seriously, this stupidity again. There is a tremendous disconnect between the article and the title. The biggest complain is the theft of plants from the belt parkway side and not the noise. What you need is a good fence and not a wall. By the way if anyone wants to take plants it is a lot easier to park on shore road where no one drives at night or will see odd a car parked there then on the belt were more cars go by.
July 23, 2012, 7:55 pm
Z from Bay Ridge says:
John, I totally agree. There really is not easy way to get to the plants from the Belt. You really have to want to get those plants off the highway to do it.
July 24, 2012, 12:30 pm
Carl from Bay Ridge says:
This article is clearly written to promote wild eyed Weedwacker Johnson and his wretched weedpatch in a favorable light. In reality very few nearby residents care about that garden, which was once a very nice parkland that boasted beautiful views of the harbor & promenade until a collection of local kooks turned it into some sort of gated in fantasyland of towering trees and mangled shrubberry. I have lived nearby for 40 years and can assure you, it was better before it was taken over by local yokels who cannot properly manage it. As for the determination to build a wall on a Shoreviewing Parkland, all I can say is the proponents are coming off as mad and obsessed with obscuring the shoreview. Theres more to this,,theres self interests at play..
July 24, 2012, 11:44 pm
Bruce Nightfalls from Shore Wall Rd? says:
wow, walling in shore rd because some guy runs a gardening business out of a park , sounds crazy to me, this guy must have something on somebody..
July 24, 2012, 11:58 pm
Jacques Trapp from 69th St Farms says:
I heard that Johnson honed his gardening skills years ago when he was a resident of an Insane Asylum.
July 25, 2012, 12:36 am
ed from Shore rd says:
Seems like that Garden needs to be closed down by the city,
July 25, 2012, 6:20 pm
Wendy from Bay Ridge says:
Re Ed, I does not need to be closed down but perhaps the current group of gardeners there needs to be removed, why lose a great Eco Greenspace because of a few bad apples
July 25, 2012, 6:38 pm
Tamsen from Fort Hamilton says:
I thought this garden was shut down by the Board of Health for illegally running a poultry farm?
July 25, 2012, 9:05 pm
Irene from Bay Ridge says:
As a Bay Ridge resident,I went to CB 10, with some of my neighbors to put in a complaint against the wall going up.
1.The sound of traffic is not from the Belt's from Shore Road. We all live on Shore Road in the front.
2. My tax dollars are going to be used to wall me in from my view.( which has already happen)
3. This is self serving and its time someone should look into what is realy going on in .
4.With all the trees and shrubs that have been planted ( not flowers)it is not safe to wall in the park. All this has done is cover up what is realy going on.
July 25, 2012, 10:10 pm
VY from Briarwood, Queens says:
I am sick of seeing sound barriers go up in places where the highways pre-date the homes built next to the roads.
It's a very expensive waste of money, and makes the homes next to the wall appear to be living next to a prison.
July 26, 2012, 1:40 am

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