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.


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 […]

Grand Army Plaza Bollards: Saving Lives and Wrecking Cars

The scene on Monday morning at the pedestrian refuge island in the middle of Flatbush Avenue between Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Public Library. The bollards this guy smashed into surround the infamous pedestrian refuge island where the "little walk man" beckons people into the middle of Flatbush Avenue and then sadistically traps them there as heavy traffic flies […]

Public Picks Grand Army Plaza Design

The people have spoken, choosing a design for Grand Army Plaza that connects it to Prospect Park, taking Flatbush Avenue underground and making pedestrians the primary users of the space. "Canopy," a plan submitted by a team of French designers, took people’s choice in the "Reinventing Grand Army Plaza" competition, sponsored by the Design Trust […]

You Can Finally Walk to Grand Army Plaza Without Fear

Gathering at the new public space beneath the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza this morning, city officials and community leaders celebrated the reclamation of asphalt for people at the crossroads of Brooklyn. One of the borough’s iconic places is finally a destination that people can get to comfortably, thanks to a slate […]

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 […]