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Potential Pedestrian Plaza In Midwood Being Met With Resistance

A sign for the proposed pedestrian plaza in Dorman Square. (Credit: CBS 2)

A sign for the proposed pedestrian plaza in Dorman Square. (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Bike lanes and pedestrian plazas — supporters love them, critics hate them and the Bloomberg administration wants to keep building them.

But in Brooklyn, the latest proposed street re-design may have hit a road block.

At Dorman Square in Midwood, the Department of Transportation wants to shut down a one-block stretch of Elm Avenue and a create a pedestrian plaza, like the one in Clinton Hill, where the DOT kicked out cars and installed cafe tables and chairs.

“The DOT came to us, and said that they had the idea for the public plaza,” Shelly Eisenhart of the Midwood Development Corporation told CBS 2′s Tony Aiello.

The Midwood civic leader said her group is very supportive of the DOT proposal, and thinks it will benefit both the young and old.

“This would be a very lovely place for them to stop, to sit and to congregate, and we really don’t see any downside to it,” Eisenhart added.

But like the Prospect Park West bike lanes and the Fort Hamilton Parkway traffic islands, the Dorman Square proposal is meeting resistance.

“It’s a horrible idea to close this off,” one frustrated woman said.

There are fears about congestion, loitering and “Manhattanizing” Brooklyn for good.

Another woman disagreed, saying, “It’s a good idea — kind of ‘Manhattan’ style.”

Or is it?

“I just think it would be annoying with chairs and stuff,” another Brooklyn woman complained. “That’s cool in Manhattan, but not here.”

The local City Council member is working to kill the plaza, calling it “an attractive nuisance” that will offer “no useful purpose, no positive contribution.”

The DOT said it will listen to feedback from all sides, but on its website the department gives nine examples of how to write a letter supporting pedestrian plazas.  It gives no examples, however, of how to write a letter opposing them.

Supporters point out that the plazas are installed on a trial basis.

“It’s only for a year, it’s a pilot project,” Eisenhart said.

And it could be ready for takeoff early next month.

The DOT will decide whether to install the plaza after Community Board 14 votes in May.

Do you think a pedestrian plaza in Dorman Square is a good idea? Share your thoughts and comments below…