Willowtown Associations’s Linda DeRosa Clarifies Joralemon Street Closing Suggestion

In a telephone interview on Friday, Linda DeRosa, Vice President of the Willowtown Association, clarified her block association’s position regarding traffic congestion that has bedeviled the community located on the cusp of Brooklyn Bridge Park. As was reported last week by News 12 Brooklyn, Willowtown residents have been alarmed by a drastic increase in traffic on Joralemon Street as a result of drivers taking advantage of the only direct route in Brooklyn Heights to BBP.

“We are working with DOT to evaluate safety issues due to the ever increasing volume of cars, pedestrians, bicyclists and families with strollers using Joralemon Street as an access to BBP,” said the long-time Brooklyn Heights resident about increased traffic on the quaint, one-way cobblestone street that intersects with Furman Street underneath the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

“As the park is now developed, here we are in 2014 it’s clear that a lot of the [BBP] venues are large scale destinations especially for visitors to the south end of the project,” said DeRosa. “They [the DOT] anticipated the problem because they suggest [in a 2005 Environmental Impact Study] that at a given time the issue becomes necessary that… Joralemon Street is to be closed to vehicular traffic.”

Saying that both Willowtown and the Brooklyn Heights Association are in contact with the DOT, Ms. DeRosa suggested there’s likely to be a formal traffic study “by the end of the summer.”

“We’re not trying to promote anything that wasn’t expected to happen,” explained DeRosa. “One of the things the DOT said was to let the community know that there would be changes made on [Joralemon]. This is the reason that we did a couple of press situations, to get the word out.”

DeRosa also made reference to “pedestrianization”—linking the Association’s concerns in their community with the Vision Zero initiative for safer streets being promoted by Mayor Bill deBlasio and the NYPD.

“There’s no signage now, there’s no traffic pattern down there [at Furman and Joralemon],” said DeRosa. “It’s a bigger issue that the DOT is studying and we hope the decision will be to close the end of the street.”

PHOTO: Cars, bikes and pedestrians all competing for space on Joralemon Street in Willowtown

Share this Story:

, ,

  • petercow

    What I’d love to see is a red-light camera on Furman. Cars treat that street like an expressway, and many blow that light – esp. southbound.

  • StoptheChop

    Except for the tour buses, of course, which creep down Furman at 7-8 mph until they stop in the No Standing zones, so their precious passengers can get “the shot”. I’m more concerned about the several near-miss head-on collisions I’ve seen, when frustrated southbound drivers try to pass these pests (and of course, whether it’s cars speeding or scofflaw tour buses, traffic cops are never anywhere to be seen)….

  • Eddyde

    What a bunch of crybaby NIMBY-ist, BS. I walk down that block (Joralemon to Furman) almost daily, I never see any “traffic congestion” there. Cars do use it to get out of the neighborhood and blocking it would add more cars to the more heavily traveled Henry, Hicks and Clinton streets. Henry at Atlantic is already a Traffic issue as well as Clinton and Montague. Those streets would become worse if this idiocy were to actually happen. Residents there should fight this proposal, as should anyone who uses that route to get out of the neighborhood.

  • OBBP Resident

    I completely concur. As a current resident of the much-maligned (on the BHB) One Brooklyn Bridge Park, and former resident of the north Heights, I generally see one or two cars per light turning onto Furman from Joralemon. I drive down Joralemon about once or twice a week, and find it impossible to go more than 20 MPH even if I wanted, thanks to the built-in speedbumps. If there are a few moments when there is a lot of traffic, on a beautiful weekend day, that is unfortunate for the residents in the area, but life in the city. I’ve read more complaints by residents of Willowtown about the pedestrians (out-of-neighborhood’ers walking down Joralemon!) than cars, and believe that if they had their way, many would blockade the intersection for pedestrians as well. On the other hand, I admire how clever they are, trying to wrap this issue into our mayor’s concern for pedestrian safety.

  • mikeyank

    I am a car owner and need Joralemon Street to be open to access the streets such as Garden Place and Willow Street, in my nightly search for on the street parking. I am all in favor of strict traffic enforcement but as others have said it is impossible to move too fast on the cobblestone street of Joralemon. Some of us do need cars for our employment and cannot afford parking garages. This neighborhood is for all residents and we must learn to share the streets with one another.

  • Heightsman

    Forget the cars. I was walking on Joralemon today and the sidewalks were packed with people.

  • stuart

    while I understand the desire of home owners to decrease traffic on their street I do not believe that closing off Joralemon Street is practical. It is the only street that connects with Furman Street and the new park between Atlantic Avenue and Old Fulton. It is a vital traffic link. Now that 360 Furman is full of residents and the city is looking to build two new residential buildings nearby, how can you close off the connection between the Heights and the folks who live in these new buildings? It is illogical.

  • ClaudeScales

    Under the proposal, as I understand it, Joralemon would be closed at the Furman Street end, not at the Hicks Street end, so it would become a dead end street, with access to Willow and Columbia places still open. Garden Place is east of Hicks, so access to it wouldn’t be affected in any event.

  • Eddyde

    Thanks for adding 1BBP to the equation.

  • Eddyde

    Furman St does or did, frequently have cops with radar guns looking for speeders. They hide at the end of Montague St. Though, I haven’t seen them there since the R train tunnel reconstruction.

  • Eddyde
  • David on Middagh

    Smorgasburg is people?

  • Eddyde


  • Bud Wiser

    Wait – did Judi Francis Sloane move back to Joralemon St.? This was her pet peeve — she didn’t want The Unsullied thronging Joralemon and sullying its Quaintness. Oh, how I miss Judi!

  • flagel

    Aside from traffic concerns.. when will the incessant pile driving at BBP end. Every morning at 7 am sharp the assault begins.

  • Andrew Porter

    They are pile driving for the second, southern building under construction there. I hear it myself, about 4 blocks from the site. Think of it this way: every aural assault makes it closer to ending.

  • Andrew Porter

    Middagh Street has had the same enormous increase in traffic, with the exception that cars don’t drive through, but rather park illegally in the area so people can walk across the bridge—now temporarily closed as construction continues—on Columbia Heights, which has also seen an enormous increase in car and foot traffic.