DOT rejects proposal to turn 25th Street into a pedestrian plaza
Published: Sunday, November 27, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 28, 2011 11:11
Baruch students were eagerly looking forward for the closing down the closing down of 25th Street and creation of a pedestrian plaza.
However, a recent complication in the Department of Transportation's (DOT) approval process has everything on hold.
"We received a letter from the DOT indicating that they had declined our application," said Christina Latouf, Baruch College's chief communications and marketing officer, in a phone interview with The Ticker.
According to Latouf, "The information and the reasons as to why are still very unclear."
Approximately a month ago, Baruch's plan for the pedestrian plaza was approved by Community Board 6. The next step in what has proven to be quite a long process was to obtain the approval of New York City's DOT.
It is this next step that has become a wrench in the wheel of plaza progress.
Undergraduate Student Government President Antonio Alfonso acknowledges the setback, but maintains its temporary status.
"Initially the plan was rejected due to confusion on multiple levels. By no means is this a ‘nail in the coffin event,' it's a temporary setback in the plan although it is a major setback," said Alfonso.
As Latouf mentioned earlier,, there is still a lack of clarity surrounding the DOT's reason for rejecting Baruch's plan; the college is inquiring about and investigating those reasons.
Latouf explained that once more information is obtained, Baruch can begin "appealing that decision."
"Although there was a lot of miscommunication [...] I still feel confident that the issue will be resolved and that we will have 25th street in the near future," said USG Vice President Daniel Liong.
Senior USG member Hiren Desai emphasized that the delay is "unfortunate."
"There has clearly been student support behind [closing 25th street] but the DOT doesn't see it the same way," Desai noted.
Baruch students generally remain hopeful that 25th Street will be acquired.
In light of recent protests around the school, sophomore Kevin Dorisca said, "It's unbelievable we don't have anywhere to protest or hang out."
WBMB manager Frank Delarosa believes the space would benefit the students. "It would be nice- just closing [25th street] off would've created more of a campus environment. It would've been dope to have events there."
Latouf, Alfonso and Catalano all emphasized that obtaining 25th Street is by no means out of the question.
"I think the main point is yes, we've hit a little bit of a bump in the road but this is by no means the end of the process and it's really honestly just the beginning," said Latouf.