[Carfreeliving] Car free Bedford Ave movement in NY
Cheryl.Brinkman at McKesson.com
Wed Apr 13 09:38:06 MDT 2005
In a Bid to Ban Cars, a Little Bit of Quixote
By JAKE MOONEY
Published: April 10, 2005
On a nice day, the stretch of Bedford Avenue that runs through
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, resembles some combination of flea market and
fashion runway. On weekend nights, it is a sort of linear nightclub.
Other times, the exotic plumage of its inhabitants recalls the rare bird
room at the local zoo.
Through it all, Bedford Avenue is also a city street, and a major one.
But must it be?
Emil Kozerawski, a 20-year-old native Pole who has lived in the
neighborhood for nearly two years, has dared to ask the question. Late
last year Mr. Kozerawski started the Web site carfreebedford.com in an
effort to get cars and trucks banned from a four-block stretch of
Bedford Avenue, the area's main drag.
The Web site has been getting more attention in recent weeks, thanks to
postings referring to it on the real estate Web logs Curbed.com and
Brownstoner.com. And so Mr. Kozerawski, a student at the School of
Visual Arts with a firm handshake and a toothy smile, took time last
week to sit down over a cup of black coffee in a Bedford Avenue cafe and
make his case.
"It's something I grew up seeing lots of times in Europe," he said.
"That's why when I walk down here, I say, 'Why isn't it happening here?'
His goal is a pedestrian mall between North Fifth and North Ninth
Streets, complete with benches and greenery. Mr. Kozerawski said that
the response to his idea had been warm, and that signatures had been
appearing on his online petition (as of Wednesday night there were six).
Still, hurdles remain. Teresa Toro, chairwoman of the Community Board 1
transportation committee, said that while she appreciated Mr.
Kozerawski's outside-the-box thinking, she had doubts about whether his
idea had any chances for success. The B61 bus travels along Bedford
Avenue, and the street is lined with stores and restaurants that require
Mr. Kozerawski himself knows that any changes will have to come
gradually. In the meantime, there is the dream.
"I remember during the blackout, people were just all over the place,
people were playing music in the street," he said as the sun glinted off
a parade of cars outside the cafe's window. "There was just a really
good vibe of being able to walk all over the place."
Sr. Product Manager
415-732-2699 - fax
cheryl.brinkman at mckesson.com <mailto:cheryl.brinkman at mckesson.com>
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