Link: Brooklyn’s Boulevard of Broken DreamsBy
Although I don’t often delve into urban planning policy here, it is of course closely intertwined with public transit policy. Walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods that are pedestrian-friendly will feed a smart, growth-oriented transit system and vice versa. One of the city’s greatest misses in the recent decade is, unfortunately, a three-avenue-block walk from my apartment, and I frequently see how poor urban planning can lead to some very pedestrian-unfriendly areas even amidst a wealth of transit options.
That avenue is Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn as it zooms past Park Slope. A change in zoning regulations in the early 2000s led to a renewed interest in development, but because of parking requirements and generally shoddy construction, the area is filled with ugly buildings with no commercial frontage on the avenue. It turned what could have been a grand boulevard into a wasteland with isolated pockets of alluring drinking establishments.
Today, in The Wall Street Journal, Robbie Whelan explores the mistakes made along Fourth Avenue and the street’s current state of affairs. As one with close ties to the area, I found the piece to be both depressing and illuminating. Hopefully, the Department of City Planning has already learned from its mistakes, and we can avoid creating through zoning boring streets in what should be a vibrant neighborhood.