Board members voted against a proposal to co-name a section of Utica Avenue to “Guyana Avenue” at the March 15th meeting of Community Board 18 (CB18).
At the February 15th meeting, a vote on the proposed co-naming of Utica Avenue, from Eastern Parkway to Avenue H, was tabled after board members pointed out that people from other Caribbean countries reside in that area and need equal representation. They also felt that the stretch of Utica Avenue in question, which encompasses Community Boards 9, 17 and 18, was too long (see “Community Board Speaks Out Against City’s FY2024 Budget and a Local Street Co-Naming,” Canarsie Courier, February 23, 2023).
At last week’s meeting, a public hearing was held to vote on a revised proposal to co-name Utica Avenue, from Foster Avenue to Avenue H, a three-block stretch within CB18.
CB17 District Manager Sherif Fraser, a member of the Co-naming Committee, wants to co-name the strip “Guyana Avenue” to celebrate the contributions of the Guyanese community in Brooklyn. She also stated that many of the businesses on Utica Avenue are Guyanese-owned.
“This is not a regular co-naming. It’s a co-naming with a purpose,” Fraser said, stating that she plans on bringing resources to the area and that she has already received calls regarding seed money from people who are interested in working with her. “We would love to include our neighbors in some of the resources we intend to bring to Guyana Avenue.”
Many board members, and elected officials, shared their thoughts on the issue. Some suggested calling the strip “Caribbean Way,” so just not one culture is represented. As an advocate for over 36 years, Fraser said she is advocating for the entire community and to enhance all of the businesses in the area.
Board members suggested applying for a BID (Business Improvement District) so businesses could get city funding and questioned why seed money was needed for a co-naming to which Fraser replied, “It gets the work done” and “It’s only a start. The money would be distributed evenly among all cultures.”
Councilwoman Farah Louis, who expressed her full support for the co-naming at the beginning of the meeting, switched her position after hearing from a majority of board members who were in opposition to the co-naming.
Initially not aware that the approval would extend to Avenue H, Louis said, “I am in support of Guyana Avenue. I am not in support if it trickles into an area that people don’t want. I have to stand with my community.”
A vote was taken, and the proposal was turned down, with 27 board members voting “No.” Five were in support of the co-naming, and there were two abstentions.
Joan Byrnes-Daly from the Department of Sanitation said that waste set-out times will be changing effective April 1st, “reducing the time that trash obstructs sidewalks, making our streets cleaner and reducing rats.”
Residents that use containers (55 gallons or less) with a lid must set out their waste after 6 p.m. Black bags must be set out at the curb after 8 p.m. and before midnight.
Residential buildings with nine or more units can opt in to a set-out time between 4 and 7 a.m. by filing an application, which will be available next January. Visit nyc.gov/multiunitsetout for more details.
Businesses (that don’t use loading docks) must place their waste at the curb one hour before closing if it’s in a container with a secure lid or after 8 p.m. if using a black bag.
After discussing the MTA proposal to designate a bus lane on Flatbush Avenue for the B41 bus with district managers in Community Boards 8, 9 and 14, Partnow said they are planning on sending a letter to the MTA and DOT opposing the idea.
The MTA Bus Redesign virtual meeting was held on March 9th, which covered changes to strengthen routes and create new connections. MTA representatives will be coming to CB18 to address everyone’s concerns.
In construction news, the Bergen Avenue Construction Project is complete, with minor last minute adjustments, and 103 pedestrian corner ramps have been completed in CB18. Partnow said that numerous cars were towed from the construction sites for not obeying parking rules, while construction was in progress.
A Green Infrastructure Project will begin in a few months. “The project will capture heavy rain runoff from streets and sidewalks and prevent sewer overflowing from Avenue J to the railroad (just before Clarendon Road) and from Rockaway Parkway to Ralph Avenue,” Partnow explained.
She praised a new pilot program by the NYC Department of Aging that was launched at 13 Brooklyn high schools. The purpose is to curb discrimination against older adults, teaching students tolerance and compassion for older citizens.
The next meeting of CB18 will take place on Wednesday, April 19th at the board office, 1097 Bergen Avenue, as well as virtually. The meeting will be broadcast live via YouTube.