Prospect Heights

[Press Release] Prospect Heights residents lead in supporting local public space initiatives

October 11, 2023

Strong support for Open Streets, bike boulevard, among Prospect Heights residents, analysis of petition signers shows

 

BROOKLYN — A recent analysis of petition signers shows that locals strongly support public space initiatives in Prospect Heights, including Vanderbilt Open Streets, Underhill Plaza and the Underhill Avenue Bike Boulevard. The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC) announced the launch of the Prospect Heights Streets for People petition on September 22, 2023 in response to hearing from Mayor Adams that the Underhill Ave redesign was under review, and to combat misinformation alleging a lack of local support for these projects. As of today, the petition has received over 2,500 signatures.

A new analysis by BetaNYC of the first 2,000 petition signers found that:

  • 56% live in Brooklyn Community District 8 (Prospect Heights and Crown Heights North).
  • 66% live in City Council District 35 (represented by Council Member Crystal Hudson).
  • Nearly three-quarters live in Prospect Heights and the surrounding neighborhoods of Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Crown Heights.
  • 93% live in Brooklyn, and 99% live in New York City.

“Early petition results confirm not only that streets initiatives on Underhill and Vanderbilt Avenues are extraordinarily popular among nearby residents, but also that they are important to a larger community from Brooklyn and greater New York City, consistent with our experience and that of local businesses over the last four years,” said Gib Veconi, chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council. 

Although more than 66% of petition signers live in City Council District 35, CM Crystal Hudson has not taken a public stance on these projects and has made no statements responding to the support demonstrated by the petition. “We hope Council Member Hudson and our other elected officials now hear the voices of supporters from every block in Prospect Heights, and we look forward to their response,” added Veconi.

Yesterday Mayor Adams made a statement praising the effects of Open Streets city-wide, but he has yet to voice his support for these initiatives in Prospect Heights.

 

Background

  • NYC DOT has conducted extensive community engagement over the past three years in support of thoughtful and responsive street planning in Prospect Heights.
  • Work on the Underhill Avenue Bike Boulevard in Prospect Heights, which began this summer, was inexplicably stopped just before completion. Mayor Adams confirmed to PHNDC that his office is reviewing the project.

Benefits of public space initiatives

  • The Underhill Avenue bike boulevard and the Vanderbilt Open Streets program are vital public space and economic development initiatives that support local businesses and provide jobs. These programs are incredibly popular, benefit the community and have widespread community support.
  • DOT’s own surveys found 86% of residents support permanent changes to make Prospect Heights Open Streets pedestrian and/or cycling priority corridors and only 10% of survey respondents want to drive on the street.
  • PHNDC regularly hosts programming on both Underhill and Vanderbilt Avenues, providing a variety of enrichment activities to residents at no cost.
  • Restaurants along Vanderbilt’s Open Street, which contribute funds to help run the program, have seen a 20% increase in sales compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

Resources

Related coverage

Please contact Alex Morano ([email protected]) to request interviews with key stakeholders, community members and activists who are engaged in these efforts.

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