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Grand Army Plaza, Reinvented

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Last Saturday, the opening of the Design Trust for Public Space's "Reinventing Grand Army Plaza" exhibit quickly transformed the plaza, normally devoid of any street life, into a vibrant public space. Visitors were welcomed with live music, a dance performance, food and exhibition tours. This photo set on Flickr has over 400 shots from Saturday's event. City Room reports:

Gone are the wasted expanses of concrete behind the arch, whereambulances used to lie in wait for traffic accident victims. Thewinning ideas include squaring the traffic circle to make more regularintersections, putting a canopy or elevated pedestrian walks over theplaza, creating a shelter for a year-round green market, adding a bikerental shop, and putting a visitor center at the subway stop.

The plaza, home to the city’s second-largest green market, close neighbor to four top Brooklyn attractions, and the occasional rooster, was done in by the car.

Residents in Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, the four neighborhoods it separates instead of unites, are hard pressed to figure out how to reach the Bailey Fountain and the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch without becoming roadkill. The traffic whizzing around the plaza has been called “the only concrete and asphalt roulette wheel in the world.”

You can check out the designs of all 30 finalists here, and if you see one that you think promises to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, don't forget to give it your people's choice award vote.

Photo: The Design Trust for Public Space

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