Third gives the bird! Locals slam Golden’s plan for pedestrian mall

Third gives the bird! Locals slam Golden’s plan for pedestrian mall
Photo by Michelle Manetti

Locals are slamming a Bay Ridge pol’s plan to turn a 10-block stretch of Third Avenue into a Manhattan-style pedestrian plaza nine times this summer — banning cars in favor of shoppers and pedestrians.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) wants to close the important artery between 82nd and 92nd Streets every Friday from 6 to 11 pm during July and August to create what he thinks would be a more inviting atmosphere for shoppers.

But workers of Foodtown between 91st and 92nd Streets have started a petition to stop Golden.

“How are we supposed to make deliveries and make money?” said John Colverg, the manger of the store. “We had to start a petition because this idea will block all the traffic.”

Colverg says he’s collected 946 signatures from residents and shopowners who think that closing the avenue will be bad for business.

“I’m not only a business owner, but a resident,” said Damien Christopher, the chef at Hom near 88th Street. “This plan will just cheapen the neighborhood.”

A spokesman for Golden said the plan will “invite people to shop, dine and visit.”

“Sen. Golden is hoping that such an event will create an atmosphere on Friday nights during the summer so to invite people to shop, dine and visit,” said John Quaglione, a spokesman for Senator Golden.

Golden has the support of Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge), who agrees the pedestrian mall could attract attention to the bustling avenue. But Gentile said he would defer to the “community.”

“Whether we implement a temporary Third Avenue pedestrian mall this summer is ultimately up to our community,” Gentile said. “The proposal has the potential to bring money and attention to our local economy, which would be a great thing for Bay Ridge.”

The “community” will get its say on the idea at the Community Board 10 Traffic and Transportation Committee hearing on June 8.

If the plan gets approved, Bay Ridge will join a number of neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn that have such “summer street” pedestrian plazas, including Fort Greene and Brooklyn Heights. But it’s not the first time that business owners have revolted against a streetscape scheme supposedly designed with them in mind.

In Williamsburg, Bedford Avenue business owners were so put off by “Williamsburg Walks” that its original six Saturday closures were cut to just one weekend last summer.

Community Board 10 Traffic and Transportation Committee meeting at St. Anselm’s Church [365 83rd Street between Third and Fourth Avenues in Bay Ridge, (718) 745-6827] on June 8 at 7 pm.