Residents Protest Over Planned Pedestrian Plaza at Putnam Triangle

Makeover of busy intersection draws battle lines between two community organizations.

Not everyone is pleased with at Putnam Triangle in Clinton Hill. 

On Saturday, a small yet passionate group of protestors rallied at the intersection in the hopes of heading off changes that include a new paint job, planters, tables and chairs, which opponents said are being pushed through with little to no public review. 

"This is being forced upon us without any proper research," said Schellie Hagan, a member of the community group, Fulton Area Coming Together, and an organizer of the protest.

Announced in February by the Fulton Area Business Alliance, the proposed changes would partly transform the busy intersection into a pedestrian plaza similar to one instituted in Times Square in 2009—with mixed results for pedestrians, drivers and adjacent businesses. 

Despite those concerns, one of the neighborhood's biggest business boosters said that many stakeholders located near the proposed pedestrian plaza had lined up behind the plan. 

"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 Phillip Kellogg, manager of the Fulton Area Business Alliance, speaking of the intersection between Fulton Street and Grand and Putnam avenues.

However, members of group like FACT challenged that view, calling the use of $400,000 in city funds a waste of taxpayer money. 

"This 'English country tea garden' is absurd. It's unneccesary. It's totally ridiculous," said Schellie's sister and fellow FACT member Patty Hagan.

Clinton Hill resident Paulette Durham, who joined approximately 25 others at Saturday's protest, also said she thought the project was a bad idea. "It's just going to attract undesirables," she said.

Fowler Square at Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue will also be totally redesigned as part of the project. Gates Triangle Park at Vanderbilt Avenue and “Seven Corners” between Fulton, S. Oxford Streets, and Greene Avenue will also be similarly renovated.

For more information on the plaza, check out FAB's plan layout here or check out the FACT blog.

EARLDINE JACKSON July 18, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Why is the money always avaiable for projects the community has no need for. One day the city is crying broke the next day we have money for useless projects.
j.b. diGriz July 18, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Ha, too funny trying to make the Times Square pedestrian plaza for a 'mixed results' label by linking to NY Post coverage on the issue. That's like asking Pat Buchanan for his opinion on the best gay bridal registry options.
Fred Quimby July 18, 2011 at 10:08 PM
What does the Fulton Business Alliance guy mean??? People don't bring their sick animals to the vet because of "foot traffic" or a pedestrian plaza. They take them to the doctor because they need medical attention. What is Fulton Business Alliance? Looks like a another waste of public money to me.
Jake July 19, 2011 at 07:29 AM
This is a great project. Shelly has many thoughtful positions - this isn't one of them. At times people oppose new things, it seems, just because they are new. To the extent that this seems unfair in that it was just begun when the neighborhood had significant racial and class changes, I understand. But you need the synergy of the new surrounding businesses to make sure it will be used for licit rather than illicit purposes. Too long has the Putnam triangle been an open drug market - time for us all, newly arrived and long-term resident, to reclaim it for public use.
Melissa Koszer July 19, 2011 at 10:45 PM
Hi Liam, Just wanted to let you know the proposal link actually is in the article above. Very last line. Thanks to Liam and to all for your input! Melissa Koszer
Paul Leonard (Editor) July 20, 2011 at 10:02 AM
Liam, While attempting to remove spam from our moderation queue, I accidentally deleted your comment. Apologies.
FAB Alliance July 25, 2011 at 07:19 PM
There a couple of things that need to be clarified and inaccuracies to correct: - where the protesters say there has been “little to no public review” for the project, the story should have included information previously provided to Patch.com that both Community Board 2 Transportation and Executive Committees were unanimous in their support for the Putnam Triangle Plaza. And that came after a public workshop was held to solicit community input - the budget for the Putnam Triangle Plaza is not $400,000. It comes from an existing NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) budget utilizing internal resources - Fowler Square is not part of this project. And the areas known as 7-Corners and Gates Triangle Park are getting improvements but are not being “similarly renovated” Here again is that link to the presentation made by the DOT to Community Board 2: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/110621_putnam_triangle_cb2_slides.pdf Fulton Area Business (FAB) Alliance
Bunny Bunny July 28, 2011 at 12:08 AM
I went to the public workshop on the Putnam plaza project, with the understanding that it was exploratory. Dumb me! Now FAB says they and DOT already had the cat -- Putnam Ave. -- in the bag that night when they showed up asking for "neighbourhood input." Community Board 2 is not "the community," neither by executive or transportation vote. We neighbors of the "Putnam Avenue Community Board" were not asked what we thought, and the next thing we know, our 50-years-standing Putnam Ave. B26 bus stop has been removed. Did CB2 unanimously approve that? As fas a we know, no one on CB2 lives anywhere near Putnam Avenue, rides the B26 bus, or came to scope out what the implantation of a pedestrian plaza would mean to those us us who do reside here. Nor does FAB talk to us. Re: FAB's "correction" that the Putnam pedestrian plaza has not been allocated at $400,000. Okay, isn't Putnam part of that $400K public wad meant to be wasted equally on Seven Corners (the site of an intensive, expensive reworking by DOT and Parks just a couple of years ago) and the FAB-called "Gates Triangle Park," which was designed and finalized, again at great public expense, years ago? Maybe FAB would like to be a little more precise as to the "unsimilarity" of the unneeded renovations cited among the four targets of theirs.
Bunny Bunny July 28, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Thanks to FAB and DOT for releasing the presentation they gave to CB2 on the decommissioning of Putnam Ave. The slide of Putnam from Grand to Fulton titled "Current Eastbound Traffic" caught my eye, and not only because it follows two other slides of the same block identified as westward bound. Possibly FAB and DOT don't notice the direction of one-way traffic since their attention is focused on the elimination of the street itself. No street=No traffic. Can't argue there! FAB really is a model of public thrift, committing itself to the myriad labor-intensive resposibilities in tneding the pedestrian plaza without raising the fee for these services by a single dollar. The folks in D.C. could learn a thing or two from FAB. A tiny correction should be made in the slide of the May 10 public meeting to the line that the "vast majority of participants (were) enthusiastic about plaza concept." FAB personally solicited the enthusiasts to attend. The others, probably half the crowd, were not and left before the "breakout session" because they could see the fix was in. As for the Q&A mentioned, FAB and DOT intended not to have questions but had to relent under pressure from the many skeptics.


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