Our Vision For Empire Blvd.
The Concept of Empire Boulevard:
Let's begin with the name "Empire Boulevard". The word "empire" is derived from the Latin word imperium - meaning power and authority. In modern day usage, empires are typically formed from separate components - ethnic, cultural, religiously diverse sectors that come together and become more powerful in that union - like our community. A "boulevard" is a wide multi-lane thoroughfare usually designed for slow travel, with parking lanes, bicycle and pedestrian usage and often with an above-average quality landscaping and scenery. We can all agree that in its present state Empire Boulevard does not live up to its name - but we would like and deserve for it to.
Empire Boulevard begins at the intersection of Prospect Park and the Botanic Gardens. Our vision is for it to be physically transformed to be in uniformity with the Park and Gardens - tree-lined, open, airy and inviting to the entire community. We do not want large luxury residential buildings - they are not open, airy and definitely not inviting to the entire community. We do not want or need any more storage units.
We would like to see a vibrant, low rise, one-story commercial corridor that empowers local entrepreneurs and employs and serves local residents. We would like, need and deserve a safe, pedestrian friendly shopping district that will be a lovely community gathering place with vibrant ethnic restaurants, sidewalk cafes and boutiques. We would like 45- degree angle parking in order to provide more spaces for cars. We would also like above average quality landscaping and scenery that flows from Prospect Park and the Botanic Gardens - trees, benches and decorative street lamps that would enhance the beauty and illuminate this Empire Boulevard.
One of the most important aspects of rezoning is the creation of a vision that a community might have for itself. As long term and newly arrived residents, homeowners and business owners it is important to look ahead and make decisions for what is coming.
With the construction of over 14 Luxury units being developed, there will be an influx of a wealthier group of residents, who will want to shop, eat and relax within the community,
and at the same time we want to preserve the existing shops and eateries that currently cater to the modest community residents. We also want to increase commerce within the community with the creation of small businesses and encouraging visitors to visit us.
Empire Blvd is the answer. With Empire’s large airy streets, small one story heights, this could be place that is the envy of other communities. Instead of an eye sore, (20 story out of context buildings). We could have small mom and pop shops, outdoor cafes, parallel parking, tree line streets and sunlight and moon light.
This can be done in several ways.
- Doing contextual zoning on Empire Blvd. Currently the majority of Empire Blvd is one story commercial units. Let’s keep it that way!
- Put restrictions upon the types of structures that can be developed, no storage units, auto shops, large chain stores, fast food restaurants (don’t we have enough?) etc…
- Work with the city to put trees along the Blvd.
- Redesign the streets to increase the traffic flow and parking to accommodate the increase in traffic, without imposing upon the adjoining residential streets .i.e. parallel parking.
- Put in decorative street lighting (lampposts) and other street adornments.
- Create an open community meeting space to experience what a true integrated Brooklyn community feels like.
Encourage the creation of boutiques, shops, outdoor cafes etc, by providing tax incentives to small business owners.
Community Board 9 members, Eric Adams and City Planning position is that we can’t build up Empire Blvd unless we have residential and that is a lie! That is the justification to create 20 story buildings to get the park view to make some developers rich. And at the same time displace a large group of people of color.
With us being the densest populated area in Brooklyn, we deserve open space that is productive, but also that preserves not only the existing affordable housing (by not building luxury) but also to preserve the small local businesses that exist all along Flatbush Ave.
MTOPP has formally submitted a request to City Planning, with these objectives in mind for the rezoning of our community!
No Residential on Empire Blvd!
Contextual Rezoning on Empire Blvd!
Preserve Our Affordable Community!