What Should Happen at Myrtle Avenue’s New Plaza? The Public Weighs In

A two-block pedestrian plaza is coming to Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill, replacing an underused service road between Grand Avenue and Emerson Place. Last Friday, the local business improvement district unveiled eight potential ideas for the site (check out the BID’s Flickr stream to see them all) and asked viewers for their feedback.

Myrtle_Avenue_Service_Road.jpgMyrtle Avenue today. The service road on the left is slated to become a pedestrian plaza. Image: Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, via Flickr

NYCDOT selected the Myrtle Avenue site last year to receive funding in the first round of the agency’s plaza program. The Myrtle Avenue plaza will reclaim a significant amount of street space for pedestrians, converting a lane of traffic and 38 on-street
parking spaces to public space (and metering another 52 spaces that were previously free).

Although
DOT and the Department of Design and Construction will ultimately
select their own design team, local partners like the Myrtle Avenue BID were invited to
hold "visioning workshops" for their sites. Rather than selecting a final design for the project, Friday night’s event was intended to generate ideas and gauge public interest in different uses, with
attendees writing their thoughts on clipboards and post-it notes.

The "New Wave" design featured an eye-catching centerpiece in its cantilevered
awning, ecologically-minded materials like permeable pavement, and a sunken amphitheater for performances — ideas that seemed to align well with the elements that participants asked for.

New_Wave.jpgThe New Wave design, by Jonathan Joseph, Gregór Nemitz-Ziadie and Lee Norsworthy. Image: Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, via Flickr.

Aaron Follett put forth one of multiple proposals emphasizing transportation connections, anchoring his design with a bus shelter and including high-design bike racks:

Aaron_Follett.pngAaron Follett’s bus shelter. Image: Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership via Flickr.

Christopher Peli offered perhaps the most fantastic vision of Myrtle Avenue. Calling his project "a movement against suburban planning techniques," he proposed a "dramatic overhead canopy" across the entire plaza which would light up section by section as pedestrians walked beneath:

Chris_Peli.pngChristopher Peli’s design. Image: Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership via Flickr.

Michael Blaise Backer, the BID’s director, said he saw three major themes emerge from the designs and the public feedback: public art, environmental sustainability, and spaces for unplanned performances. Those broader themes will now be communicated to DOT as guidelines for its design process. According to Backer, the city should announce an official design team for the plaza in about two months. 

  • The “New Wave” design is great for its humanistic scale, ease of use and relation to street.

    Hope you choose it.

    JS

  • sivia braunstein

    It’s terrific to see the creative juices flowing on this crucial need! Especially good isss that the visual aspects of the designs are not being shortchanged for the concepts!

  • Kaja

    How about making it a pocket park, like all the other beautiful pocket parks in Brooklyn, and eschewing the postmodern embellishment?

    Wrought-iron fence, 3-5 gated entrances, trees and undergrowth; a brick or hex-block path running through it; benches.

    All of these designs look both awful and expensive.

  • will

    SAVE THE SERVICE ROAD!
    This beautiful example of 60’s urban vernacular needs to be preserved & cherished!

  • That service road is a clusterf*#%k, mostly because of the Associated Grocery store and because people feel the need to drive their lazy asses to Bergen Bagels. Glad to see it’s getting a makeover. I favor any design that would add some trees and make that place a pleasant place to walk through or hang out in.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

This Week: DOT Workshop on Myrtle, Wyckoff, and Palmetto

|
The intersection of Myrtle Avenue, Wyckoff Avenue, and Palmetto Street, on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, is chaotic and deadly. According to city crash data, drivers have killed three pedestrians at this crossing, a hub for subway and bus commuters, since 2009. At least two of the victims were struck by MTA bus drivers. […]

This Week: Plaza for a Day at Myrtle-Wyckoff

|
DOT is looking to simplify the intersection of Myrtle Avenue, Wyckoff Avenue, and Palmetto Street. On the border of Brooklyn and Queens, this crossing is a hub for subway and bus commuters, and its poor design has contributed to the deaths of three pedestrians since 2009. As Streetsblog recently reported, the heart of the DOT plan — […]

Four More Street Redesigns That Are Taking Forever to Build

|
On Monday, we posted a list of seven street redesign projects that remain unfinished years after they went through the city’s public planning process, with the Department of Design and Construction far behind schedule. DDC gave varying reasons for the delays, citing subsurface infrastructure work that precedes above-ground construction, as well as “changes and updates during the design phase of the project,” and “additional work […]

Seeing Myrtle Avenue With Fresh Eyes

|
The folks over at the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership have unveiled the results of a collaboration with the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) undertaken over the last couple of years. Two public workshops were held to get community input on the plans, which address four different areas of Myrtle Avenue, one of the main commercial […]

Brooklyn’s Myrtle Avenue Renaissance

|
  In an attempt to turn Myrtle Avenue into a thriving "Main Street" for Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership is now working with Project for Public Spaces "to survey, analyze, and produce conceptual recommendations for four underutilized public and quasi-public spaces on the avenue." You can see the 4 locations […]