A $20 million capital project will reconstruct the cobblestone roadways and on several blocks in the neighborhood.
In the 1980s, the Department of Transportation (DOT) paved over the old cobblestone streets, but over time the asphalt deteriorated and now the streets are a mix of the two, creating problems for pedestrians, driver and bicycle riders.
The streets don't even meet accessibility requirements as outlined under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The city will tear out the old cobblestones and replace them with artificially aged, new cobblestones.
“DOT is the reason the streets are like that,” said Doreen Gallo president of DUMBO Neighborhood Alliance. “They let the utilities cut right through the street.”
Gallo said she believes the old Belgian cobblestones are important to the historical aspect of the neighborhood and should be preserved.
“What’s really cool about DUMBO is that the blocks are specific to the streets,” she said. “For instance, the cut and shape of the cobblestones on two different streets won’t match because of the size of the roadway itself.
The project will renovate Water Street from Vinegar Hill to Anchorage Place, Plymouth Street from Main to Pearl streets, Pearl Street from Plymouth to Front streets, Adams Street from Plymouth to Front streets, and Main Street from Plymouth to Front streets.
“Streets in DUMBO have been here for hundreds of years,” said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Business Improvement District. “There is need for rehabilitation.”
The Pearl Street Triangle pedestrian plaza will also be extended up to Plymouth Street, effectively eliminating Anchorage Place altogether, although one loading dock would still be accessible off Plymouth Street.
“It’s a redundant street,” said Sica, noting Anchorage Place and neighboring Adams Street runs parallel with each other and both operate as one-ways in the same direction.
The DUMBO BID has operated the plaza for the past five years.
“The plaza is the center of the neighborhood,” Sica said. “It’s an incredibly positive aspect of the community.”
DOT has held three public workshops since March regarding the project, and there is a granite cobble mock-up located at Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is open to the public on Thursday, July 11, from 8 to 11 a.m.; Friday, July 12, from 9 to 11 a.m.; and Saturday, July 13, from 9 a.m. to noon.