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Construction On Putnam Triangle Pedestrian Plaza Set To Begin

Work scheduled to start Friday even as nearby business owners, residents continue to oppose the plan.

The city Department of Transportation said it would begin work on a pedestrian plaza at Putnam Triangle in Clinton Hill tomorrow.

Weather permitting, crews on Friday will begin installing markings on a soon-to-be closed section of Putnam Avenue between Grand Avenue and Fulton street, kicking off its transformation from a roadway .

Work will continue into next week, with gravel, granite blocks, planters, tables and chairs brought in. According to a DOT spokesman, the project is expected to be complete by Friday, Sept. 23.

Plans for the pedestrian area moved forward by nearby residents and business owners since the project was announced in February.

"Like farms along a river, our stores are sustained by the currents of the streets. Please don't drop a dam on us," wrote Hadbas Adel of Fairway Variety Market on Fulton Street, in a letter to Brooklyn DOT commissioner Joseph Palmieri protesting the plan to shut Putnam Avenue to vehicular traffic.

Backers of the project saw the proposed plaza as a way to increase pedestrian traffic on what some considered to be a "troubled" corner in Clinton Hill.

"The more foot traffic we bring to that corner of Fulton and Grand means more people shopping at delis, stores, going to the veterinary clinic," said FAB manager Phillip Kellogg in July.

However, several business owners, including Laki McLaughlin at at 19 Putnam Ave., insisted a pedestrian plaza similar to those installed in DUMBO and Manhattan's Herald Square was not a right fit for the neighborhood.

"If there is an argument to prove that a pedestrian plaza will give us more than a through street does, that argument has not been made," McLaughlin wrote in another letter dated Aug. 17 to Palmieri at Brooklyn DOT. "We are left with cookie-cutter plans for something that looks like a high-maintenance folly."

Part of the transformation of Putnam Triangle has already taken place. The B26 bus was rerouted away from the soon-to-be closed section of Putnam Avenue earlier this summer, causing a bus stop to be moved from Putnam to Fulton Street.

According to Clinton Hill resident Schellie Hagan, the bus stop's move from a street corner lined by storefronts to the Fulton Street side of Putnam Triangle proved to be unpopular with riders.

"It's a desert island," she said.

A time-lapse video shot on Sept. 12 shows buses making the sharp turn from Putnam to Grand Avenue and then to Fulton traveling westbound—often with some difficulty. In one portion of the video, a bus is seen barely clearing the side of an eastbound passenger vehicle stopped on Fulton.

lox lounge September 16, 2011 at 04:25 PM
We are in a neighborhood that is constantly changing.. the arrrival of new pedestrians to this plaza can have a positive effect on local businesses. Let's see where this goes.. ( Lox Lounge)
lox lounge September 16, 2011 at 05:01 PM
By the way... I would have appreciated a direct interview regarding ... these "quotes" made on my behalf. I'd like to add that will be in support of the block party September 25th.

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