Third Brooklyn Heights Branch Library Design Workshop Monday Evening

The third and final in the series of design workshops for the new Brooklyn Heights Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, to which the public is invited, will be Monday evening, May 18 in the ground floor auditorium of the Brooklyn Heights Branch Library, 280 Cadman Plaza West, starting at 6:30. Representatives of Brooklyn Public Library and of Marvel Architects, the designers of the new library, will be there to discuss design issues with the members of the public who are present and who will offer suggestions.

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  • Quinn Raymond

    Despite Michael shouting and interrupting people repeatedly it was still a productive and interesting meeting.

    There are a lot of questions about the residential portion of the building that still need to be answered, but the preliminary designs of the library portion were already significant improvements over the existing building.

    I will be satisfied when the BPL is able to demonstrate:

    A) There will be no additional parking, either on or off-site and

    B) The developer is unable to change the substance of the design/agreement once our community has provided input and it’s too late to change things.

    The real issue that needs to be overcome is our community’s lack of trust coming out of the Pierhouse betrayal:

    Without some kind of binding agreement it’s hard to feel good about a process.

    I believe our community needs a new library. I believe our borough needs the funding this will generate for the other libraries in worse shape. I also believe this site’s proximity to transit makes it appropriate for high-density development.

    Now the BPL just needs to help me believe that the developer will keep their word– not just to the BPL but to Brooklyn Heights as well.

  • Reggie

    Quinn has it right. MDDW went from table to table, interrupting the separate conversation at each. He acts like a poorly behaved tween. There will be opportunities to oppose what BPL has planned; this workshop was not one of them. After about a half-hour of opponent nonsense, people were able to settle down to work.

  • Banet

    Quinn, thanks for your feedback.

    I’m just curious — why the concern about parking? While I’m not a fan of massive parking garages, above-ground garages, and encouraging driving when there are so many nearby subways, I do think a small garage with some space for some of the residents makes sense.

    There will always be some residents of this building who own a car (most likely for driving on the weekend to their beach houses). I much prefer they park on-site, underground then add to the endless parade of people searching for street parking and idling their cars for 2 hours a week for street cleaning.

    (Full disclosure: I own a car but park it off-street.)

  • Banet

    Quinn, I’m also curious as to what you liked about the library design. I wish I could have made some of the meetings but my schedule didn’t allow.

  • Quinn Raymond

    Good question–

    The specific neighborhood issue with parking at this site is these cars would be pulling onto a heavily congested part of Clinton Street. Anyone who has walked or driven down Clinton on a weekday knows it can get severely backed up. Additional vehicles pulling out at that spot would make things even worse. Worse traffic for existing drivers, worse noise pollution, worse air pollution.

    There is a broader city-wide issue as well, which is that mandatory parking minimums are an outdated relic of 1950’s planning. The reality is that developers (for all of their many, many flaws) have little interest in building parking– it is a City zoning mandate.

  • Cranberry Beret

    Thanks, good summary.
    I would like to see revised designs that minimize the shadow onto Cadman Plaza and Columbus Parks. Various groups have big plans for those areas, it’d be a shame to turn the parks into a dark canyon before they’re revamped. I think this is achievable.
    Beyond the design, and maybe I’ve missed it, but to me the whole legitimacy of the project hinges on whether the library system actually gets dedicated funds from the land sale. They’ve been promised the money, but as we all know when it comes to the sell-off of public property, a promise is different than a legally binding agreement. The city is the land-owner, it should be obligated to give the proceeds to the library system.

  • Quinn Raymond

    I agree on all of these points.

    I imagine the key to minimizing the shadows on Cadman Plaza is keeping as much of the new building in the pre-existing shadow of the adjacent high-rise (1 Pierrepont Plaza).