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Flea bitten? Locals upset that antique and food market now wants a loading zone

The Brooklyn Paper
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Organizers of the Brooklyn Flea want the city to reserve a busy block of Lafayette Avenue as a loading dock for vendors at their bustling Saturday souk — but Fort Greene residents are complaining about the high cost: 10 parking spaces in an already crowded neighborhood.

Flea operators want to set aside the entire south side of Lafayette Avenue from 7-10 am and again from 5-8 pm so that vendors won’t double-park when they set up and break down their booths.

The Flea has operated in the schoolyard of Bishop Loughlin Memorial HS for four years. On a typical Saturday, roughly 150 vendors begin unloading when the gates open at 7 am. A handful of early birds park on Clermont Avenue at 6 am and wait.

Traffic is busiest from 7:30 to 9 am, when some sellers who don’t snag spots on Clermont and Vanderbilt avenues double-park on Lafayette Avenue to unload.

Some locals, however, feel that losing six hours of Saturday parking space is too much to ask from an area already teeming with cars.

“I live on this block, so why can’t I park on my block?” said Carolyn Mayers-Williams, who actually lives a bit further away near Carlton Avenue and was one of 17 residents who vented their anger to Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) on Monday night.

Mayers-Williams added that she gets angry when she sees vendors take up spots near her house while she’s forced to park in a garage.

Flea co-founder Jonathan Butler admitted that there’s “no silver bullet” to fix the parking troubles in the neighborhood, but added, “We are just trying to make life easier and safer.”

Butler said that parking is “the third rail of politics,” but argued that a free spot on the street is a privilege, not a right.

“The last thing we want to do is try to make it some adversarial thing,” he said, “but no one owns these spaces.”

Community Board 2 Transportation Committee will take up the issue at its next meeting at St. Francis College [180 Remsen St. between Clinton and Court streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 596-5410] on May 17 at 6 pm.

Updated 10:23 am, May 11, 2011: Includes some minor fixes all around, including in the headline, where some editor called the Flea an "arts and crafts" market. Arts and crafts? Come on!
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Reader Feedback

trans alt from bike city says:
Simple solution, get rid of your car and parking wont be a problem.
May 11, 2011, 12:55 pm
Robert Perris from Community Board 2 says:
Discussion of the loading zone proposal has been withdrawn from the agenda for next week's transportation committee meeting.
May 12, 2011, 9:24 am
Friend of Marty Mashugana from Borough Haul says:
F Brownstoner!
May 14, 2011, 1:26 am
stan from Fort Greene says:
F*** the Brooklyn Flea. The only benefit is rent for the high school, hopefully they are getting some good money because besides that it is nothing but a pain in the a** for those of us who have to put up with the weekend hoards of Manhattan, bridge and tunnel folks.
May 19, 2011, 12:14 pm
Clinton hill chill from Clinton hill says:
I love when they Robb the yuppies with —— people don't use anymore I say get rid of it move it down to navy street
May 23, 2011, 8:07 am
Clinton hill chill from Clinton hill says:
Why don't these same vendors do this in the walt Whitman houses I'm sure the residents there will love to shop free of charge on these crackers expense
May 23, 2011, 8:10 am
oldbaby from Ft. Greene says:
they should just allow them to use the huge church parking lot across the street on Clermont! DUH!!!!!

I love the flea, and Yes, I live right down the street from it.

as for the parking, don't drive! it's called public transportation.
May 23, 2011, 10:14 am
Wow... from Ft. Green says:
The need to take this second hand trash somewhere else. I would go if someone dropped me off!
May 23, 2011, 1:23 pm
Beatnik from Ft. Green says:
So we have to give up parking for 2nd hand wares?
Are these people kidding?
May 23, 2011, 1:23 pm
Wow... from Fort Greene says:
Wow..my post!
They need to take this second hand trash somewhere else. I would not go to the Flea if someone dropped me off there!
May 23, 2011, 1:26 pm

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