7:40 p.m.: And that's a wrap for Patch's coverage of tonight's workshop. Thanks for sticking with us and stay tuned for more coverage on the Fowler Pedestrian Plaza issue.
7:39 p.m.: A little bit more on the break-out table format of tonight’s meeting: Turns out it was rolled out at last June’s information sessions on the pedestrian plaza application. And it seems to be working—that is, if the goal of DOT and FAB is to get people to accept the pedestrian plaza as a fact. At each of the five tables set up, a diagram of the proposed Fowler Pedestrian Plaza is provided, along with markers so that participants can add features like bollards, planters, tables and chairs.
What’s missing from those tables, critics of the plan might notice, are erasers.
This plaza is happening, folks.
7:07 p.m.: A visit to one of the break out session tables revealed unanimous support for the proposed plaza. All three participants, Steven Matt of Fulton and St. Felix streets, Hari Khalsa of Ashland Place and Fulton Street and Dominik Eckenstein of Washington Avenue said they were for the plaza.
7 p.m.: Anger has begun to boil over with the DOT reps at the meeting refusing to allow residents to read statements on the proposal. Instead, the organizers of the meeting are trying to lead the meeting into separate "break out" sessions.
6:59 p.m.: There has been mixed reaction from businesses in regards to the plaza, according to Kellogg. Concerns include loading and unloading and other late night activity.
"We didn’t submit it without having the support of the key players," he said.
6:55 p.m.: In response to a question, flexible bollards will allow emergency vehicles to access S. Elliott Place, according to DOT.
6:49 p.m.: A resident of S. Portland Avenue asks a really good question: Who was General Fowler?
Fort Greene resident Ruth Goldstein has the answer: Fowler was a breveted, or honorary, general that got men to muster in Fort Greene Park in the run-up to the Civil War. The men, called the “red legged devils” for the socks they wore, later fought at Gettysburg. Fowler, she said, spent the rest of his days “taking care of his boys.”
6:45 p.m.: After temporary installation this summer, DOT will take add traffic and pedestrian counts and do a time-lapse analysis. The agency will then report back to Community Board 2 in the fall.
The presentation has ended. Now the public comments section of the meeting will commence.
6:40 p.m.: DOT notes that like the Putnam Pedestrian Plaza, a fire hydrant exists in the middle of the block of the proposed closed section of S. Elliott in front of The Smoke Joint. According to DOT, there is adequate access on Lafayette and Fulton for fire trucks.
Also, FAB Alliance made a commitment to pick up trash, clear the plaza of snow and water plants, among other maintenance tasks.
6:30 p.m.: The DOT presentation on the plaza has begun. One of the main points so far seems to be: The impacts on traffic in the area upon the closure of S. Elliott to vehicular traffic will be minor, and perhaps may even be beneficial for cars and trucks traveling along Lafayette Avenue without the option of making turns on S. Elliott.
According to the DOT, only 98 cars on average travel along S. Elliott between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street per peak traffic hour. During that same period, 398 pedestrian on average use the corridor.
6:23 p.m.: Letitia James, D-Brooklyn, reiterated her support for the Fowler Square pedestrian plaza, evoking the installation of another plaza in Clinton Hill:
"With the success of Putnam [Pedestrian Plaza], I can see how pedestrian plazas can bridge divides and bring the community together," James said.
James called the proposed pedestrian area a "summer plaza."
"I trust that with some time and use that the benefits will become clear to all of us," she said.
6:15 p.m.: Chris Hrones of the city Department of Transportation just kicked off the meeting explaining the history of the proposed pedestrian plaza at Fowler Square, which began two years ago with an application submitted by Fulton Area Business Alliance.
6:02 p.m.: With the room beginning to fill here in a meeting room at Lafayette Presbyterian (which by the way, is located at 86 S. Oxford St., around the corner from Lafayette Avenue), we spoke very briefly with Phillip Kellogg, manager of Fulton Area Business Alliance, about what he hoped to gain from tonight's meeting.
"First and foremost, it's about getting the facts out there regarding real traffic data that DOT has already collected," Kellogg said.
At various points called a "workshop" or an "informational meeting," tonight's event at Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church promises to give a cross-section of community attitudes to the city's latest pedestrian plaza experiment—this time at Fowler Square, in the heart of Fort Greene.
Stay with us as we give blow-by-blow coverage of the meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.