Big changes may be coming to the area around Broadway Junction, where myriad transit lines converge—and where, according to a New York Times report, a “dingy warren of passageways” is “anything but welcoming.”
The city is hoping to change that, though not necessarily by focusing on improvements to the three discrete subway stops that make up the Broadway Junction transit hub. Instead, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with city officials like Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Council member Rafael Espinal (who pushed the city to include street-level improvements at Broadway Junction in the larger East New York rezoning plan), is attempting to “identify potential avenues of economic growth in and around the transit hub.” That growth, in theory, will come from commercial development—retail, office space, and the like.
There’s already one anchor tenant coming to the area; NYC’s Human Resources Administration has committed to moving to East New York, one of the Brooklyn neighborhoods that borders the transit hub. Over the summer, the NYCEDC issued a request for proposals for HRA’s HQ, which could occupy “one or multiple new developments, taking up to 300,000 square feet of office space.”
That’s part of a larger effort by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to spur job creation and economic growth, called New York Works; whatever development HRA moves into will have space for other businesses, with those promising to employ East New York and other local residents given a priority. In the EDC’s announcement of the RFP, Adams called it a “golden opportunity” to jumpstart change in the area near Broadway Junction.
#BroadwayJunction has been ignored for decades. As a transit cop in the mid-80's, I used to walk around and say, "#whatif?" I'm proud @NYCEDC, @RLEspinal, and I are launching a community working group to unlock great #qualityoflife possibilities here. https://t.co/WSiGVEHT95— Eric Adams (@BPEricAdams) November 26, 2017
But local residents have concerns—and unsurprisingly, gentrification is one of the biggies. “This is not a destination,” one woman told the Times, emphasizing that the area needs more affordable housing and crime-reduction strategies instead of “upscale amenities that would be out of reach for many residents,” per the paper of record. The rezoning of East New York was contested for similar reasons.
The transit hub itself is an issue, too; according to the Times, the city is in talks with the MTA, but “it was too early to say whether the subway station itself would be renovated.” And traffic through Broadway Junction—which is Brooklyn’s third most-trafficked subway stop, with about 100,000 commuters passing through each weekday—is about to get worse, with the looming L train shutdown expected to divert more people through the station.
Still, the key players in the plan are optimistic. “It’s been a long time coming,” Council Member Espinal told the Times. “I think this is going to be a turning point.”