HARLEM — The local community board squashed plans for a pedestrian plaza on 150th Street and Macombs Place after a raucous meeting Wednesday night.
The proposal, dubbed Bradhurst Plaza, would replace a triangular street with a public space for benches and a farmers' market. In June, the board’s Transportation Committee approved the proposal, which has support from both Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilwoman Inez Dickens.
“Where we are there really are no good produce,” said Barbara Williams, the president of the Polo Grounds’ tenant association. “We really need this program in our community.”
A group of people who oppose the plaza — mostly residents of the building directly in front of it — attended Wednesday night’s meeting at the State Office Building to voice their concerns.
They have previously raised questions about loss of parking spaces, safety in the plaza at night, and senior citizens not being able to get picked up in front of their building. Proponents of the plaza have said a local nonprofit will be tasked with maintaining the plaza and an emergency lane will allow Access-A-Ride to pick up people outside the building.
Bobby Jones, the president of the building’s tenant association, criticized the board for not letting him or the opposition know of the June vote. He said he has gone to all of the meetings to speak against the project but the one meeting that resulted in a vote of approval wasn't publicized enough, he said.
“People now feel that they can't rely on either their elected officials or the bodies that work under them to operate fairly or honestly to conduct their business,” he said.
The community board considered tabling the meeting to allow for more discussion and push the vote back to October. But, because the proposal has been presented and voted on in the committee level multiple times, they decided against the delay.
“If we say we don’t want it then it’s a done deal and it’s over,” Transportation Committee chair Maria Garcia said before the vote.
After more than 90 minutes of deliberation, the board voted against the plaza.