Transforming a transit hub into a commercial center — that's what city officials hope will be an economic boon to a much-neglected area of Brooklyn. NY1 Brooklyn Reporter Jeanine Ramirez has the details.
The maze of elevated tracks at the Broadway Junction station in East New York resembles a roller coaster. Five subway lines, the Long Island Rail Road, and six bus lines run through there, a major transit hub used by 120,000 local residents every day.
But with so much activity, the area remains blighted with vacant buildings and empty lots.
"It's not very inviting," said Genese Morgan, the chair of Community Board 16. "It would be nice to see more things happening in the community that makes people feel safe and want to be in this area, as opposed to rushing through it to get wherever they need to get."
To reverses decades of neglect, the de Blasio administration is bringing together community leaders. Led by Brooklyn City Councilman Rafael Espinal and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the group will study the neighborhood and make recommendations for development.
"We can do this and build it in a manner where development won't equal displacement," Adams said. "It's a community-driven concept."
Officials call Broadway Junction's redevelopment a natural outgrowth of the de Blasio administration's rezoning plan to revitalize all of East New York. A quarter-billion dollars already have been set aside for improvements at the bub, from new housing to improved street lights.
To drive more investment, the city says job creation is a key.
"Maybe bringing additional city jobs out here to anchor office developments," said James Patchett, the president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. "So, if we could see more and more jobs coming out here to support and enhance opportunities for local residents, that would be a win."
The MTA also has a big presence, using much of its land as parking lots. Espinal supports putting those sites to better use.
"Let's try to turn those lots into spaces where we could possibly create new markets, create new artist spaces, create new educational spaces for the people who currently live in this community," he said.
"If you bring stakeholders to the table that can give you the perspective of indigenous businesses and indigenous residents, then you're going to get it right," said Bill Wilkins, the director of economic development for East New York Local Development Corporation.
The city says the Broadway Junction Study is expected to be completed by the spring.