This letter from an architect who identifies himself only as JL, comes our way via the CORD neighborhood group. We’re running it because we think it makes some interesting points about how development is outstripping the community’s ability to handle it:
As a trained architect and urban planner, but more importantly, as a concerned 20-year resident of Carroll Gardens, I write to register my utter incomprehension of the real estate development scenarios being played out in my Brooklyn neighborhood. The scale and density of the developments planned and conceived for the Carroll Gardens area, since it’s creation a part of ‘brownstone Brooklyn’, are grotesquely out-of-place and severely at odds with the realities of the current economy. Just as the laissez-faire de-regulation and greed of the financial industry fanned the flames of the present economic disaster, ill-conceived planning motivated by the greed of outside developers will lead to the unraveling of Carroll Gardens’ charming neighborhood fabric. In the same year that our fire-house has been abandoned due to the inadequacies of City funding, the Toll Brothers development alone aims to add some 500 additional housing units to the area.
At the same time that the MTA threatens service cuts and austerity measures, the current wait for morning and evening F-line service has entered the realm of the ridiculous, with the subway platform crowds swelling as already fully packed trains pull into the station. So, now, add a significant percentage of these developments’ occupants into the mix, and an already bad commute just becomes that much worse. I implore you to join our rush-hour commute from Carroll Street to Manhattan one weekday morning between 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM, and enjoy the wait for a train that just might offer enough space to squeeze onto. Meanwhile, with the rush to development at both the Clarett Group and Oliver House sites, the community has so far been left with nothing more than huge holes in the ground –now more blight than benefit. On-street parking has become increasingly more difficult, as crossing both Court Street and Smith Street has become more dangerous.
These being just a few examples of the contradictory logic at play here, there appears to be a disconnect, whether political or financial in nature, I don’t know. However, the irony of these facts is not lost on the neighbors of Carroll Gardens, as we remain actively engaged in the fight to protect the unique character, historic charm, look, feel and sense of community which is our neighborhood. Whereas our Mayor seems to speak frequently of ‘quality of life’, I can only assume that the billionaire quality of life is far more immune from these mundane daily concerns than our working middle-class quality of life.