In Progress: The Reclamation of Grand Army Plaza for Walking

Large new pedestrian areas have added safe space for walking and imposed order on traffic at the intersection of Vanderbilt (with the cars queued up) and Flatbush. Photo: Ben Fried

Construction work is nearing completion at one of the summer’s biggest livable streets projects: DOT’s improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza. Spurred by the advocacy groundwork laid by the Grand Army Plaza Coalition, the city has added huge new pedestrian islands on the north side of the plaza and created safer biking and walking connections on the south side, near the entrance to Prospect Park. All together, the changes make it much easier to walk to GAP’s central public space and navigate the whole area on foot or by bike. Here’s a peek at the pedestrian improvements on the north side.

Above is the intersection of Flatbush and Vanderbilt, looking north from one of the new pedestrian islands. Below is a similar angle, pre-makeover, grabbed from Google Street View.

Image: Google Street View

The view of GAP's northern end, looking east from the point where Flatbush Avenue enters the traffic circle, before the changes. Safe passage for pedestrians was non-existent. Image: Google Street View
The same view today, with a clear, direct path for walking. Photo: Ben Fried
The plan. Image: NYC DOT
Together with the walking and biking improvements to the south side of GAP (more on those later), the remake of the north side is making the central plaza a much more accessible public space. Photo: Ben Fried