Now that Cadman Plaza East between Tillary Street and Red Cross Place
has become a private, guarded parking lot for courthouse employees, it’s
time for area residents to get something back.
Each day, as I take my 15-minute stroll from the Court Street subway station
down the hill to The Brooklyn Papers’ offices in DUMBO, I get increasingly
annoyed as I’m forced to weave around the bumpers of cars pushed
up onto the curbs to maximize parking spaces in this now-privately run
public street dividing Cadman Plaza and Walt Whitman parks.
I guess I should just be happy that the security guards, who sit in idling
Ford Crown Victorias at either end of the lot, allow me to pass through
— although I should wear a gas mask to guard against the fumes spewing
out so they can remain warm in the winter and cool in the summer (when
they have to pop the hoods of the vehicles so the cars don’t overheat).
Considering that the federal government absconded with the street without
any public discourse (Was there ever a meeting? Did CB2 ever bring this
up?) I think we deserve something in exchange, something that would be
a boon to the people of DUMBO, visitors from around the world and, most
What I’m proposing is a trolley that would run from Borough Hall
down Cadman Plaza East, to Washington Street with a turnaround at the
existing Brooklyn Bridge Park at John Street.
Along the way, the trolley could make stops at the main Post Office and
the exit (or entrance, depending on whether you’re coming or going)
to the currently decrepit Brooklyn Bridge footpath.
Of course, it would not stop at the courthouse as, apparently, everyone
who works there drives — hence the need for the private parking lot
on the stolen street.
Such a trolley would accomplish three things: First, it would give the
good people of DUMBO easy access to Downtown Brooklyn’s extensive
network of subways. Second, it would give every Brooklyn-fearing traveler
from around the globe easy access aboard a historic train to our great
Borough President’s tourist information center at Borough Hall. (And
finally, it would cut a good 20 minutes off my daily commute.)
The trolley could be funded with federal money — as reimbursement
for the seizure of our street — and could cost a buck a ride, or
$2 with a free transfer to or from any nearby subway when using a Metrocard.
I discussed this proposal with Borough President Markowitz a few months
ago, and he told me he was working on bringing back trolleys throughout
the Downtown area, possibly connecting to Red Hook. The only problem,
he said, was funding.
While that’s all well and good, methinks Marty is doing things on
too grand a scale. My 4,000-foot trolley line would require less money
and, hence, less politics, and would provide a simple good.
And we could finally get something in return for those two idling Crown
Vics we have to walk past every morning.
is The Brooklyn Papers’ senior editor. His e-mail is Production@BrooklynPapers.com