By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Bridge Park attracts a steadily increasing number of visitors, and Brooklyn Heights civic groups are pushing for the city Department of Transportation (DOT) to close Joralemon Street to vehicles at Furman Street, near the entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Quaint and residential, the one-lane, cobblestone street connects directly to the park and the BQE. Local residents were assured early in the planning process that Joralemon Street could be blocked near the park’s entrance to prevent it from becoming a conduit for thousands of vehicles. But the park has been open for four years now and Joralemon Street is still a through street.
Ted Wright, Director of Greenways for DOT was set to appear appear at Community Board 2’s Traffic and Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday night at Saint Francis College to respond to requests from the Willowtown Association to move forward with the closure.
Since it opened, millions of visitors have flocked to Brooklyn Bridge Park to enjoy its waterfront views, playing fields, and events like movies and the weekly food festival on Pier 5, Smorgasburg. Ongoing residential and commercial development at both ends of the park are expected to bring in even more traffic.
The park’s 2005 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) operated under the assumption that Joralemon Street would be blocked at Furman. Joralemon would remain open to pedestrians and cyclists, however.
The Brooklyn Heights Association backs the street closure. In its response to the EIS in 2005, BHA said, “This fragile, historic, cobblestone street must be protected from excessive vehicular traffic, both during the park’s construction, as well as once the park is open.”