standard Private ‘Campus’ Roadway for Medgar Evers College Scaled Back

Crown Street to Remain Open to Public
Crown Street, between Bedford and Franklin Avenues (Photo by Matthew Taub)

Crown Street, between Bedford and Franklin Avenues (Photo by Matthew Taub)

Officials at Medgar Evers college have partially retreated on plans to convert a public roadway into a campus-style plaza, according to community leaders who opposed the measure.

Crown Street, between Bedford and Franklin Avenues, is also known as ‘Medgar Evers Lane’ and runs through the center of much of the university’s infrastructure. Officials wanted to create a more pedestrian-friendly (and college-oriented) experience on the roadway, similar to Baruch College’s annexation of 25th street in Manhattan (details of the plan were recently chronicled in the Daily News). But the thoroughfare also provides at least sixty parking spaces, and its closure would lead to further traffic congestion. Critics points to the college’s own parking lot adjacent to Crown Street, which on most school days is already filled to capacity.

Brooklyn Department of Transportation Commissioner Keith Bray heard from the Crown Heights community about the issue last month. Medgar Evers College President Rudy Crew attended the meeting, where he advised he would respect community wishes and work wit the DOT to find ways to create a campus type atmosphere without closing the block.

A meeting of college officials, the DOT, and the local community (via F. Richard Hurley)

A meeting of college officials, the DOT, and the local community (via F. Richard Hurley)

“President Rudy Crew is a man of his word and he kept his promise to the Community that closing the block is not an option,” said F. Richard Hurley of the Crown Heights Community Council. “We look forward to continuing our work with Rudy Crew of Medgar Evers College and the Department of Transportation on the parking issue.”

Going forward, there are three options on the table for DOT to consider: (1) no closure or changes to the street; (2) a partial closure, which includes having the roadway closed to traffic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but open at all other times, or (3) open at all times, but with a speed bump and or other devices to slow down traffic.

“Medgar Evers College is committed to creating a transparent and open process in all capital projects,” read a statement from the University. “We have worked together with the community to ensure public trust and establish a system of transparency and collaboration.  To date, we have conducted 4 public meetings to discuss the upcoming  project and we will continue to meet with the community in the weeks and months ahead.”

As for the Department of Transportation, its main concern at the meeting was the safety of students and the general public.

We have reached out to the DOT and can update this post if they respond.

The college's own parking lot adjacent to Crown Street, which on most school days is already filled to capacity (Photo by Matthew Taub)

The college’s own parking lot adjacent to Crown Street, which on most school days is already filled to capacity (Photo by Matthew Taub)

  • Albert

    “But the thoroughfare…’s closure would lead to further traffic congestion.”

    The article makes this statement as if it’s a fact. The article should either have provided evidence to back up the claim or else explained that such a statement is (only) someone’s fear about what might happen. There is plenty of evidence out there, over decades, that the exact opposite is the most likely result. Creation of other pedestrian plazas have actually led to a reduction of traffic congestion in the vicinity, as drivers learn to avoid the area and/or find other ways to get there (foot, bike, public transit). DOT studies of the pedestrianization of Times Square have even shown a slight increase in taxi speeds.

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  • Tyson White

    Parking uber alles!