New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Council Member Letitia James, the Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPCo) and the Prospect Park Alliance (PPA) today announced the completion of a historic safety redesign of Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, simplifying traffic patterns while enhancing safety for pedestrians, motorists and bike riders at the gateway to Prospect Park, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, the Brooklyn Public Library and the Greenmarket. The $1.5 million project was designed in close coordination with local community groups and includes new landscaped pedestrian islands, new crosswalks, a new traffic signal that eliminated a dangerous vehicular conflict on the west side of the plaza and new bicycle routes through the south end of the plaza that connect to nearby bike lanes. Existing pedestrian islands and sidewalks were reconstructed, enlarged and landscaped while existing pedestrian spaces, including Brooklyn’s largest Greenmarket, were enhanced with a crushed gravel surface and protective granite blocks to provide a clear, visible distinction from the roadbed. Rob Witherwax of GAPCo, Emily Lloyd of PPA and representatives of Brooklyn Community Boards 6 and 8 joined Commissioner Sadik-Khan for today’s announcement, held in the newly enhanced public space near the landmark Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch, which is now more accessible and inviting via a wider crosswalk connecting to the plaza space at Prospect Park.
“With the completion of this project we’ve closed the gap on safety at Grand Army Plaza,” said DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “This gateway is now just as inviting, safe and accessible as Prospect Park itself and this process is a great example of how the City is working with communities to make our streets as safe and inviting as they can be, whether you’re in a car, on foot or on a bike.”
Implementation began in June and continued through October when pedestrian signals were activated at the new crosswalks. The changes included:
- New and expanded pedestrian islands installed at both ends of the plaza, as well as a major sidewalk extension at the plaza’s northern end, with 11 new planting beds added to the islands and the sidewalk to enhance the streetscape.
- A new traffic signal and barrier installed to separate vehicle movements on the west side of the plaza, and new and upgraded signage installed throughout the project area.
- Crushed gravel surfacing and granite blocks installed to enhance the plaza spaces near the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch and at the northern entrance to Prospect Park where the Greenmarket is held.
- Streets resurfaced and new markings installed on the roadways, at the five new crosswalks and along the new bike lanes, which connect to existing bike routes on Prospect Park West and Plaza Streets East and West and improve bike access to Prospect Park while clearly separating bicyclists from pedestrians in the plaza space near the entrance to the park.
DOT has made several improvements to Grand Army Plaza over the past decade that have dramatically reduced crashes, most recently in 2007 when three concrete islands, five crosswalks and a protected bike path were added to the southeastern section. In 2009 DOT held a walk-through with members of GAPCo and local Community Boards to gather input on the current project. In 2010 DOT presented a preliminary design and held several meetings with those groups as well as the PPA and Greenmarket. The final design was presented earlier this year before implementation began.
The past four years have seen the fewest traffic fatalities in recorded history in New York City and these improvements at Grand Army Plaza are part of DOT’s citywide efforts to reduce serious injuries and cut the number of traffic fatalities in half by 2030 compared to 2007. Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway are two of the corridors where pedestrian countdown signals will be installed to help pedestrians avoid being caught in the crosswalk when the signal changes.
For more information, visit nyc.gov/dot.