Flashback: Grand Army Plaza Public Workshop, March 2007

With Brooklyn Community Board 6 unanimously approving DOT’s modifications to the Prospect Park West bike lane, the public process surrounding this project has passed another milestone. Including committee votes, last night marked the fourth CB vote in the last two years in favor of the PPW redesign or the city’s proposed changes to it. The process that led to those votes goes back even further, and it’s worth a reminder of just how long the idea of calming traffic and improving bike access on PPW has been bubbling up from local residents.

This clip from the Streetfilms vault recaps a public workshop held by the Grand Army Plaza Coalition in March, 2007. GAPCO had been organizing for a year already at the time of this event. Participants in a May, 2006 site visit concluded that “vehicles travel southbound from Grand Army Plaza into Prospect Park West at a high rate of speed.” Speeding and poor conditions for cycling on Prospect Park West had emerged as key concerns at the Park Slope Civic Council’s traffic and transportation forum that same year.

Participants at the 2007 workshop also identified the lack of multi-modal access to GAP as a problem. The final workshop report [PDF] offered this recommendation:

Improve access to the plaza and connect it into a broader circulation system for pedestrians, bicyclists, automobiles and transit users. Balance the user needs. Make sure bicycle lanes aren’t dumped into fast-moving traffic.

These efforts were initiated by community groups while Iris Weinshall was transportation commissioner. The city was not trying to “sell” the idea of calming traffic on Prospect Park West or improving bike access to the Brooklyn Public Library and the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket. Residents were trying to motivate the city to act on their concerns.

A few months after GAPCo published their workshop report, CB6 passed a resolution including a request that DOT study the implementation of a two-way protected bike path on Prospect Park West.

This is the process that Iris Weinshall, Norman Steisel, and Gibson Dunn attorney Jim Walden are seeking to discredit and circumvent by suing the city.

  • Ed Ooms

    Very heartening to see New Yorkers devoting so much time, energy and ingenuity to making their community better. Thanks for sharing this. What a shame that Iris Weinshall and her friends have made it that much harder for concerned New Yorkers in groups like GAPCO to reclaim spaces like the plaza. Given their antics on PPW and Bay Ave it appears that the DiBlasios, Weiners and Weinshalls of the world care more about the right to double park in total comfort than making streets friendly to pedestrians and bikers.

  • Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Wow, I had forgotten about that video. We have even more stuff we pull up.

  • Thanks for posting this – GAPCo’s 2011 Annual Meeting is tomorrow, 11 AM at 1 GAP (the Richard Meier building) and we hope to see a lot of people come out and hear DOT and Heart of Brooklyn present on some of the projects that grew out of this workshop, the fruit from the seed we planted that day.

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