Let it grow! City OKs McCarren Park expansion, forcing drivers to look elsewhere for the kind of park space they crave

Park vs. parking: Plan to expand McCarren isn’t getting a greenlight from drivers
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

McCarren park is about to get bigger, forcing drivers to go around so that park lovers can go greener.

The city just gave the go-ahead to a park expansion that will have the Parks Department digging up a block of Union Avenue between Driggs Avenue and N. 12th Street to add green space the size of Michael Jordan’s mansion compound in the Chicago suburbs, leaving car commuters feeling dunked on while park patrons are walking on air.

“It is great news” said Joel Carrack, who lives near the park on N. 10th Street. “It is about the time we got some more park around here.”

The plan would connect a small triangular section of McCarren Park — which currently holds dog runs and the weekend farmers market — with the rest of the park’s southern end, replacing the roadway with plant beds featuring lush perennials, low-growing shrubs, loading zones for vendors, and subterranean catch basins to improve drainage.

Area motorists cried foul over the plan this spring, saying the 34 parking spaces the park expansion will block out are not worth the extra acreage.

The parks and transportation departments apparently disagree. The city agencies will work with the Open Space Alliance, a park activist group, to create a temporary design that the city will build by next summer, a parks department spokesman said. It will take longer to create and fund a permanent reconstruction of the area and the city does not know how much either design will cost, according to the parks department.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.