Mixed Emotions Over Beverly Road Permanent Pedestrian Plaza

The Beverly Road Open Street on Oct. 11 during the plaza’s official opening. (Photo by NYC DOT)


New York City Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and community leaders gathered at the new Beverly Road Plaza to celebrate the plaza’s official opening on October 11. But residents of the Kensington, Brooklyn, neighborhood have mixed emotions regarding the colorful street art and car-free open space.

The block between Church Avenue and East Second Street is now closed for the foreseeable future. The new plaza is an extension of Kensington Plaza and a project of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT).

“So with this expansion I am just thrilled to witness what is going to come around creating a stronger Kensington community, ensuring the safety of pedestrians and cyclists and of course reducing our growing car culture in the city,” said Shahana Hanif, member of the New York City Council for the 39th district.

At the grand opening of the renovated and traffic free street, officials said that this project has been in the works for almost two years. According to NYC DOT , the department “works with community-based organizations, educational institutions, and groups of businesses to execute Open Streets citywide.”

But there are many residents who were confused as to why the street was closed off to begin with. Usually decisions like these are brought to the community board, but the proposal of adding the Beverly Road street to the Open Streets initiative was never brought up at a Community Board 12 meeting.

Some people are happy about the street being closed off as they see it having a calming effect. The street has been turned into a mural painted by Misha Tyutyunik, a Ukrainian Brooklyn based artist.

During the day there are chairs and tables put out so that residents can sit down and make use of them. However, these chairs and tables do not get put out everyday so they are not always available for the public. When they do get placed outside, they tend to stay empty for most of the day. It is unclear if residents are not interested in the open street or simply that the initiative has not caught on yet.

In the evening, children who skateboard have taken one of the barriers used to block off the street and laid it flat down in the middle of the street to serve as a challenge for them to jump over.

The closure of the street adds 5,600 square feet of pedestrian space to the Kensington Plaza, making a total of 9,400 open square feet, according to Rodriguez.

While some community leaders see this as a beneficial space for people living in the neighborhood, other residents are upset about the loss of parking spaces as it was already difficult to park without the closure.

There are more Open Streets being planned for the future, according to Rodriguez.