Are you an armchair urban planner? Do you have ideas about how to make our community more livable? Have you ever crossed under the BQE and thought, “there’s more to life than this!!!!”? Well, it’s your chance to make your voice heard. The NYC Department of Transportation is soliciting input from the public about how to reimagine the stretch of Meeker Avenue that runs under the BQE from Metropolitan Avenue to Varick Avenue.
Today, Meeker Avenue is best known for its abandoned cars and under-utilized space, but City Council members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso, along with Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol and State Senator Martin Dilan hope to improve the roadway by “increas[ing] street safety, [improving] neighborhood bike connections, including access to the Kosciuszko Bridge path, and activat[ing] the space under the BQE.”
DOT street ambassadors for the project conducted community outreach over the summer at Jaime Campiz Playground, Marci Triangle, and at the intersection of Meeker and Graham Avenues. The results of their pedestrian survey found residents are most interested in public spaces or plazas under the BQE, followed closely by greening, lighting, bicycle facilities and art, with a smaller percentage of people hoping for recreation and concessions under the BQE.
During the “Meeker Avenue Visioning” community workshop held September 14th at the Swinging Sixties Senior Center (211 Ainslie St), participants discussed pedestrian safety, traffic improvements, bike connections, public spaces, streetscape enhancements, and maintenance and programming partners. To successfully implement these improvements, the DOT is looking to similar projects that have already been realized throughout the city, such as the East River Esplanade and 125th Street Plaza in Manhattan, Bliss Plaza and Myrtle Wyckoff Plaza in Queens, Freeman Street Station in the Bronx, and New Lots Plaza in Brooklyn. The DOT also proudly points to The Silent Lights Project temporarily installed under the BQE at Navy Street and Park Avenue in Brooklyn.