Some locals are worried a proposed pedestrian plaza won’t be a walk in the park for drivers.
Under the plan, a public space would be constructed between famed German restaurant Zum Stammtisch and the Glendale Veterans Triangle, closing off 70th Street between Myrtle and Cooper avenues. Benches, greenery and outdoor seating for Zum Stammtisch would be installed, with the Glendale Veterans Memorial standing in the center.
The project, first proposed in February, was presented to the Glendale community by Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives at a meeting on Wednesday, May 2 at Redeemer Lutheran, a block from the selected location.
Raising the concern of residents was the inability of drivers to turn onto Myrtle or Cooper Avenues at the intersection adjacent to the plaza, removing another central access point for the major arteries in the area with 70th Street to be closed.
“It’s a little bit of give and take, we’re not going to make everybody happy,” said Emily Weidenhof, project manager of public spaces.
Rich Huber, who is on the Transportation Committee of Community Board 5, said that while he does not think the plaza is a bad idea, he is worried about the congestion confused drivers and those circling for parking will cause.
“There will be an adjustment period,” said Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy. “But as people get used to the closed street, they will find their way.”
Ted Renz, executive director of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation (LDC), said the organization will be responsible for the upkeep of the plaza — sanitation, removing tables nightly and maintenance. The LDC provides a similar service for the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District in Ridgewood.
Community Board 5 (CB5) is still awaiting DOT revisions and the plaza’s final plans, said District Manager Gary Giordano, before making a recommendation.
“I think having a pedestrian plaza at that location could be a lovely addition to the neighborhood,” Giordano said. “But we need to make sure that traffic concerns, especially safety, are addressed and need to prepare for any security issues that might arise.”
Though the DOT said that no security cameras would be installed, Zum Stammtisch’s owners said they would place a surveillance camera outside the restaurant.
The approximately $1.5 million plan, which has not yet been finalized, must still be presented to CB5’s transportation committee, voted on and reviewed by the Public Design Commission.
If approved construction would not begin until the fall of 2013 or spring of 2014.