What’s Next at Grand Army Plaza?

GAP_North_End.pngThe asphalt expanse where Flatbush and Vanderbilt Avenues meet at the north end of Grand Army Plaza. Photo: Google Street View

We missed it in the run-up to the holidays last month, but this item in the Brooklyn Paper is worth a longer look. DOT has announced its intention to implement some safety fixes at the northern end of Grand Army Plaza.

According to the Brooklyn Paper, the agency may calm the racetrack conditions on the plaza’s north end, where drivers speed around the traffic circle without stopping:

The suggested improvements would do away with the loop in favor of a
normal traffic light with a left turn signal at the intersection of
Vanderbilt and Flatbush avenues inside the circle.

The Brooklyn Paper also published a drawing of a re-configured plaza, showing expanded pedestrian areas, but there is no official proposal yet. We asked DOT if they had any renderings of the plan to share, and it looks like they’re still putting together a proposal to present in the coming months.

Robert Witherwax of the Grand Army Plaza Coalition expects any changes on the north end will make it much easier to walk to the middle of the circle, helping to reconnect Olmsted and Vaux’s plaza to the public realm. "Right now," Witherwax said, "people who are running, and running fast, are the only people who can navigate Grand Army Plaza."

  • Cousin Al

    Grand Army Plaza is organized chaos. You always hear tires screeching and horns beeping as cars race around the circle. I’m happy to hear it’s going to become a little less hectic.

  • J

    This is a common sense solution that should have been implemented decades ago. Hopefully, this will be completed quickly.

    Also, does anyone know if the Prospect Park West protected lane has been implemented yet?

  • J. Mork

    As of Sunday evening, no PPW lane.

  • @J,

    The PPW road diet project is allegedly #1 on DOT’s and DDC’s list for 2010, and implementation should begin as soon as it gets warm enough to do the work.

    I hope.

  • Ian Turner

    Eric, why does Caterpillar make boots? The world may never know.

  • I was wondering, does anyone know the original traffic pattern that Olmstead and Vaux had envisioned for the plaza? Is the current nightmare really what they had intended? Seems Unlikely. What would the original layout of GAP have looked like? And would it have been safer for peds?

  • pher

    Joby, remember that this was designed in 1860, before cars and even before trolleys, so O&V had horses and pedestrians in mind. It was envisioned as an unregulated plaza a la European plazas and piazzas.

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