Sunday, October 12, 2008

Joe Chan is at it again

I'm sorely tempted to write something really insulting about Joe Chan, the president of the Downtown Brooklyn partnership, but I think it's wiser to let his record speak for him. Let me just say that I think the fact that Dan Doctoroff likes this guy so much says volumes about Doctoroff and Bloomberg and the depth of their commitment to transit, livable streets and urban diversity. Thanks to Brownstoner for keeping us abreast of the latest Chan news.

Here's Chan last August about his plan to demolish a few historic houses in Downtown Brooklyn for a 700-car parking garage with a park on top:
The goal is to have a vibrant, alive, energetic park, and have a critical piece of infrastructure underneath it. It will really be the centerpiece for a couple of million square feet of mixed used development in Downtown Brooklyn.

Here's Chan, who's supposed to be Downtown Brooklyn's chief business booster, in December about the Fulton Mall:
With all the housing stock that we have now and the demographics in the communities that surround Downtown Brooklyn, the fact that there’s not a Bed Bath & Beyond, a Pottery Barn, a Pier 1 in the downtown of a city of 2.5 million people is odd.

Now the Brooklyn Paper reports that Chan "lobbied the transit agency on the Nu Hotel’s behalf" to prevent a bus stop from being reinstalled in front of the hotel.
It’s a weird place for a bus stop. For a guest’s first experience [to be] inhaling a bunch of bus fumes — it’s less than an ideal way for them to experience a morning in Downtown Brooklyn.

So that's Chan's vision of downtown Brooklyn: a place where tourists arrive at hotels in cars, and the main "vibrant, alive, energetic" attractions are Pottery Barn and Pier 1. Is this really what the rest of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership wants as well?

I also wanted to comment on this part of the Brooklyn Paper article:
“Why not keep it where it was?” asked Nu Hotel General Manager Bertrand Nelson, who not only deals with exhaust from buses, but also a procession of transit riders coming into his lobby to use the always-spotless bathrooms.

“People waiting for the bus come into our vestibule when it gets cold, and we can’t have that,” he said.

This is connected to my recent post on places to rest. If the city or the Partnership provided decent public toilets and a warm place to wait for the bus, there would be a lot less people asking to use the hotel's.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the status is of this crazy plan to build an underground garage in a traffic choked area (free bridges, let's drive across them!). Maybe it wasn't so obvious in 2004 when the plans were drawn up, but it's going to be hard to make back the construction costs on such expensive automobile-only infrastructure; any public or private money invested in it is a fool's.

I guess, when talking about the 700 spaces created, we should be aware of how many are eliminated by the lots that were (are?) on the site—I am not. Maybe they'll just make it a regular old park with the earth beneath it, and we'll have a net loss in auto magnets. It wouldn't be the first time the administration has bumbled into doing the right thing.