Grand Plans for Brooklyn’s Iconic Public Space

In all of the uproar over DOT’s various transportation proposals for Park Slope last month (One Way? No Way! and 9th Street) this Grand Army Plaza project managed to slip beneath the radar. That’s too bad because it’s a really thoughtful and detailed piece of planning work that will help connect neighborhoods and improve the pedestrian and cyclist experience of Brooklyn’s most iconic public space (see slides 9 and 10 for a quick overview). And while DOT is, unfortunately, loath to acknowledge that it is actually responding to a community, this plan seems to do a really good job of answering many of the concerns raised by the Grand Army Plaza Coalition community planning process (see the StreetFilm). Grand Army Plaza still has a long way to go but this is a nice start.

The DOT plan highlights include:

  • Closing unused roads during weekend hours
  • 2,300 square feet of new landscaping
  • Removing a travel lane on Eastern Parkway
  • Providing a Class 1 bike facility through Grand Army Plaza
  • Five new crosswalks providing access to Prospect Park and the Arch
  • Eliminating one auto lane east of the arch

DOT presented this plan to Community Board 6 in March. They voted unanimously to support it.

  • todd

    The ingress and egress to the park for pedestrians and, especially, bicyclists at the Grand Army Plaza entrance is horrible. You have move from the left hand bike lane in the park to the left and then merge into traffic to get out of the park. I hope that they will be looking at this, also.

  • Joanna

    The plan needs to address the inadequate size of the pedestrian island between the park and the library. The timing of the lights is such that one must usually pause a whole traffic cycle on this island to make it across Flatbush’s two crosswalks, and the island is too small for the use it receives. People end up having to stand in the street, which is so dangerous.

  • Matt

    They need to do something about the right hand turn from northbound Flatbush onto Eastern Parkway. Too many times do I see cars make this right only to not see, or see too late the red light waiting for them in front of the library where peds/bikes are crossing Eastern.

  • resident

    How can you close down one eastbound lane of the Eastern Parkway?? even with three lanes now, if someone tries to turn left on Plaza St (across Eastern Parkway going west as it hits GAP) traffic backs up all the way around the circle. Stupid.

  • ly

    The last slide of the presentation is telling — several areas are marked as pedestrian space DURING AUTO-FREE PP HOURS. Says it all — the pedestrian and bicyling experience at GAP would be significantly improved by making Prospect Park auto-free, period. The results of the study showing that travel times during rush hour are only minimally affected by the closure of Park drives in the off-peak direction imply the whole truth — that a completely auto-free park would increase community times only minimally, thus causing minor inconvenience for a handful of automobile commuters while giving great benefit to all area pedestrians and cyclists. NO CARS IN THE PARK!!!!!

  • ly

    Meant to say above “a completely auto-free park would increase COMMUTING times only minimally”

  • jimbob

    resident – if you are really a resident then how can you not know that all of Eastern Parkway has 2 westbound lanes east of Washington Ave? This plan only removes the unnecessary third lane west of Washington Ave to bring it in line with the rest of Eastern Parkway.


It’s Time for DOT to Think Big at Grand Army Plaza

The view of Grand Army Plaza from Union Street. DOT has proposed converting parking on Union to another moving lane. Union Street in Brooklyn has a problem: The queue of cars waiting to drive through the intersection at Grand Army Plaza sometimes stretches as far as the eye can see. The bottleneck, which causes a […]

DOT’s Grand Army Plaza Plan: Bold, Exciting, Crowd-Pleasing

At last night’s presentation to a joint meeting of three Brooklyn community boards, DOT assistant commissioner Ryan Russo unveiled what he called "a pretty dramatic and bold, exciting plan" for Grand Army Plaza. The proposal lived up to the billing. Lots of asphalt will be reclaimed for walking and biking. Getting to the central plaza […]

DOT Minds the GAP

With city workers pouring concrete in the background (and StreetFilms’ cameras rolling), New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced pedestrian and cyclist improvements for Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza yesterday. The plan calls for 11,000 square feet of new, landscaped pedestrian islands, a separated bike path, new crosswalks and pedestrian signals. The redesign […]

A Community Workshop to Re-envision Grand Army Plaza

All across the city neighborhood groups are coming together to re-envision and plan their own communities. In the last few months we’ve seen valuable community-planning processes taking place in Hell’s Kitchen, the Meatpacking District and, to a certain extent, along Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. People aren’t waiting around for real estate developers or city […]

Ideas Competition for Brooklyn’s Grandest Plaza

The Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPCo) and The Design Trust for Public Space have launched a website for their "Ideas Competition" called Reinventing Grand Army Plaza, which is intended to generate new visions for the plaza’s design. The jury will award three cash prizes to the winners, and along with other top entries will be […]