October 11, 2019
By Tracey Porpora
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- A new study suggests that the city revise its Bay Street Corridor plan to allow for more open space.
The Bay Street Corridor Open Space Index, released by New Yorkers for Parks -- an independent group that fights for quality parks and open space -- said the Bay Street Corridor, which recently received City Council approval for rezoning, lacks enough open space.
The report found the Bay Street Corridor failed 11 of the 14 open space goals put forth in the report. Goals include total amount of open space, access, tree canopy and overall maintenance.
The Bay Street Corridor area, which encompasses St. George, Tompkinsville and Stapleton, was approved for rezoning in June 2019. The plan aims to develop and revitalize the North Shore along the waterfront into a mixed-used urban area and turn part of the Bay Street into a connector to the town centers of St. George, Tompkinsville and Stapleton.
It is expected to bring 6,500 new residents to the North Shore in addition to 1,800 mixed income apartments.
RESIDENTS VOICE CONCERN
Some residents have voiced concern about how increased density and construction are going to affect the area.
“For too long, Staten Island has suffered from being disconnected—from resources, and from other parts of the city,” said Kamillah Hanks of the Historic Tappen Park Community Partnership.
“As we prepare for the changes that a rezoning promises, we have an opportunity to create safer, more connected parks. This report gives us the tools and data we need to make compelling points to the city’s agencies leading the incoming changes. Our neighborhoods need more parks, more services, and more connections. And the proof is right in this report," she added.
Said Lynn Kelly, executive director of New Yorkers for Parks: “Quality open spaces are important for all New Yorkers, but particularly in areas that are undergoing rapid changes to their built environment. Communities facing changes to zoning or increased density have responded with clear and comprehensive needs and wants for their communities, including their open spaces, and with this data their advocacy will be even stronger."
“These reports also present an opportunity for the city to expand its work on park equity in order to create more creative partnerships across agencies to build more open spaces and livable neighborhoods in every corner of every borough,” she added.
However, the Department of City Planning and the city Parks Department said the rezoning takes open space into consideration and allows for waterfront access.
The two agencies issued a joint statement to the Advance:
"Green space is among the most important features of any New York City neighborhood, and it is always part of any city comprehensive neighborhood plan. With community input, we gave careful consideration and made significant investments in parks and open space — including a commitment to complete the waterfront esplanade — in the Bay Street Plan. "
The two agencies said the Bay Street Corridor Neighborhood plan includes public realm enhancements such as:
In addition, the city has committed $92 million for reconstruction of the Cromwell Recreation Center at the site of Lyons Pool, a major community priority, according to the rezoning plan.
The Bay Street Corridor Open Space Index made the following recommendations for the area: