Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today launched the Citywide Public Plaza Initiative with the opening of a pocket park in DUMBO where a parking lot stood just weeks before.
“This is a celebration, not of our ability to move, but of our ability to stop, to take a moment, to chat with our neighbors and to be part of our communities,” Commissioner Sadik-Khan said. “And it's just the beginning. As part of the Mayor's PlaNYC, DOT will create a pedestrian plaza in every New York City community, transforming road space in all five boroughs into vibrant public spaces.”
“This has been a remarkable partnership that produced remarkable results,” said Tucker Reed, executive director of the Dumbo Improvement District (DID). “The community is delighted.”
The Pearl Street Plaza in DUMBO was previously used as a parking lot for 12 vehicles when DID asked DOT for help in turning it into pedestrian space. Together, they enlisted the help of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and set about transforming the asphalt triangle with a green-painted floor, café tables and chairs, umbrellas and planters filled with flowers and trees. Great granite blocks from the Williamsburg Bridge delineate the space, which also showcases a large abstract sculpture.
The Public Plaza Initiative is essential in meeting the goals of PlaNYC, which calls for the creation of 800 acres of new public space by 2030. As the City adds more parkland, upgrades and makes more accessible existing parkland, DOT will contribute by re-conceptualizing underutilized streets as public plazas. Over the next two decades, the Department will create a public plaza in every New York City community.
In the coming year DOT will complete several more new plazas throughout New York City, including Lou Gehrig plaza in the Bronx, Harriet Tubman Square in Manhattan, and the Williamsburg Bus Depot in Brooklyn.