West 27th Street Commons – F.I.T. capital project to close West 27th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues to thru traffic and create a landscaped pedestrian commons open to the public.
WHEREAS, The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) has made an application to the New York City Department of Transportation to permanently restrict 27th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues and proposes to implement a commons design to achieve a "campus" atmosphere; and
WHEREAS, The FIT proposal would close 27th Street to westbound traffic, restrict vehicular traffic westbound on the street for about 2/3 of the block between Seventh and Eighth Avenues to create a pedestrian plaza, and make the western 1/3 of the block accessible to two-way vehicular traffic from Eighth Avenue with a cul de sac for a turnaround; and
WHEREAS, FIT brought a similar proposal before Community Board Five in July 2000 (see attached resolution) which was rejected by the Board; and
WHEREAS, FIT is a major presence on 27th Street but shares the southwest end of the block with non-FIT buildings which have both business and residential use; and
WHEREAS, The Board held a public hearing where members of the community raised the following concerns about the project including:
the safety of having two-way traffic on the western end of 27th Street
vehicles double parking on the two-way street
the inability of large vehicles to turn around in the cul de sac
the loss of parking and changes in parking regulations; and
WHEREAS, Although FIT addressed some concerns raised by the Board in the July 2000 resolution and was open and accessible during the process, it did not address other outstanding issues; and
WHEREAS, The Board continues to have concerns about the loss of more than 70 parking spaces throughout the year; and
WHEREAS, FIT continues to rely on a six-year-old traffic study which does not take into consideration the development of numerous new residential buildings in the area or the potential development on the far Westside; and
WHEREAS, FIT has not adequately addressed the safety concerns about two-way traffic on the western end of 27th Street; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That Community Board Five rejects the Fashion Institute of Technology's proposal for a 27th Street commons in its current form.The above resolution passed with a vote of 20 in favor, 6 opposed, 1 abstention.