Tuesday’s Headlines: Sharpen Your Pencils Edition

The sudden return of seasonal weather is always accompanied by the sound of the pencil sharpener in the Streetsblog newsroom and old-timey reminders from our old man editor that pens clog up on your notebooks once the weather gets below 40. “I don’t want to hear that you couldn’t take notes,” he bellows (he obviously is too old to know what Otter is).

So we share that leaden reminder with our fellow reporters before getting to the news digest from a very busy yesterday:

  • Our friends at amNY joined us in covering the DOT’s efforts in Grand Army Plaza, but repeated Gothamist’s flawed premise that the large traffic circle will someday be “car-free” (Our story was a bit more nuanced.) A car-free Grand Army Plaza is about as likely as Mayor Adams having a quiet evening at home.
  • Aaron Gordon’s long-awaited must-read Vice piece on the failure of “public feedback” in the age of Trump is finally out. The takeaway won’t surprise anyone whose been to even one community board meeting: “The community feedback process is an inconvenient annoyance that brings out the worst in people. It is also at the heart of why U.S. cities can’t build new housing or transportation. … The problem with community feedback is not the concept itself, but the way it is executed. We do it too often, for too many things, for too long, and in the wrong manner. We ask the wrong questions of the wrong people and use the answers in the wrong way.” Is there anything more depressing than such a massive breakdown of democracy … as it tries to do democracy?
  • Like Streetsblog, Gothamist covered the expansion of the Bronx scooter pilot.
  • And like Streetsblog, Gothamist and amNY also covered the Council’s anti-e-bike battery hearing.
  • Hat tip to Hell Gate for jumping all over the arrest of lawyer Adam White for fixing a perp’s license plate (to make it readable!). This is a story you must read (we’re also on the case).
  • Jay Leno’s gross car obsession caught up with him in the worst way. (TMZ)
  • The Times did an explainer on lithium-ion batteries, which we did a long time ago.
  • Wired looked at what cities had great pandemic-era bike booms … and which ones let them go to waste. Paris and Tuscon are both mentioned, but New York isn’t even name-checked. Ouch!
  • Friend of Streetsblog (and of Queens) Peter Beadle is kicking off the “car-free Austin Street” movement with this petition:

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Ideas Competition for Brooklyn’s Grandest Plaza

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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 […]

What is Your Idea for Grand Army Plaza?

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The Grand Army Plaza Coalition, which recently won a grant from the Design Trust for Public Spaces, has launched an Ideas Competition for its Reinventing Grand Army Plaza project. If you want to participate, answer the following questions in full sentences, and email your responses by the end of the week to survey@reinventingGAP.org. 1. What […]

Reinventing Grand Army Plaza: What Are Your Ideas?

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The Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPCo) and the Design Trust for Public Space are launching an "Ideas Competition" called Reinventing Grand Army Plaza. Building on GAPCo’s on-going effort to re-envision this historic Brooklyn crossroads, the Ideas Competition will solicit new, creative proposals for Grand Army Plaza’s re-design. Top submissions will be exhibited in the summer […]

Streetfilms: The Transformation of Grand Army Plaza

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In the second installment of his "Street Transformations" series (here’s the first), Clarence Eckerson shows the progress underway at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza. The package of pedestrian and bicycle improvements you see in the video was first unveiled by DOT last spring. Says Clarence: As one gentleman said to me while admiring the new greenery […]

Visions of a Grander Grand Army Plaza

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One vision: Grand Army Plaza’s fountain and arch connected to Prospect Park. The summary of the brainstorming done at last month’s placemaking workshop of the Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPco) is now available, and it’s full of rich possibilities for this vitally important yet underused space. Download the PDF here. The DOT’s recently announced plans […]