Borough President Marty Markowitz took another small step this week towards his dream of transforming Fourth Avenue into a of its loathsome self.
On Tuesday, Markowitz sent a letter approving the , which changed the Avenue’s zoning in order to beautify and add more retail space to the speedway, but added a few modifications. Now the plan is in the hands of the City Planning Commission and City Council for consideration.
To ensure a rich commercial district, on Fourth Avenue between Pacific Street in Boerum Hill to 24th Street in Sunset Park, Markowitz proposed that no trade schools, business schools nor medical dental labs be allowed on the Avenue. He thinks they are “not lively or engaging uses or necessarily pedestrian friendly.”
Part of the plan is to control the construction of new developments so they do not “add to the Avenue’s unattractive corridor of masonry walls,” but rather promote a positive streetscape experience for pedestrians.
He also wants to lower the windowsill height from four feet to two-and-a-half feet above the curb, to create more visibility in and out of the windows, to help people shop and “put more eyes on the street.”
In addition, Markowtiz wants the Department of City Planning to conduct a zoning analysis along the west side of the Avenue between Douglass and 6th Streets and south of the Prospect Expressway to 24th Street to possibly add residential developments and potentially create affordable housing north of 15 th Street. Lastly, he wants to build sufficient parking areas within the enhanced commercial district.
“This rezoning… would, with my recommendations, provide the opportunity for exciting new retail—a necessary component of a vibrant and active street life—as well as more residential space and affordable housing, additional parking, and aesthetic changes resulting in an enhanced ‘Brooklyn Boulevard’ from Atlantic Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean,” Markowitz said of the plan he first proposed in February. “I urge the Planning Commission and City Council to give my modifications serious consideration so that we can move ahead with transforming Fourth Avenue into a grand thoroughfare worthy of the great neighborhoods it traverses.”
In early August Markowitz assembled a to help kick start Fourth Avenue's transformation. The task force’s job is to enhanced safety measures, beautify the subway median vents, plant trees along the entire corridor from Flatbush Avenue to Shore Road and design a better use of the newly expanded Times Plaza at the intersection of Fourth, Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.
“The creation of the Special Enhanced Commercial District will go a long way in helping our task force turn what is now only a plan on paper into an exciting reality for the future of Fourth Avenue and all of Brooklyn,” Carlo Scissura said, who is the chair of the task force. “By requiring more retail and having developers incorporate enhanced streetscapes and landscaping with each new project, we are bringing together all of the elements needed to make Fourth Avenue what it was always meant to be: a majestic, user-friendly, economically viable and safe thoroughfare for everyone to enjoy.”