Could Grand Army Plaza Go Car-Free? What the Future Holds for Brooklyn Landmark – NBC New York

Could a center for Brooklyn foot traffic become car-free in the near future? It’s an idea for Grand Army Plaza reportedly under review by the city’s Department of Transportation.

The plan currently up for consideration would connect the plaza to the Open Streets on Vanderbilt and Underhill avenues, Gothamist reported. The DOT is collecting feedback in the coming days “for the long term capital vision” of the area.

“We want to take it to the next level and not just have it be reliant on people moving barriers at certain times of day, but having these turn into more consistent and better designed public spaces,” DOT Deputy Commissioner Eric Beaton told the outlet. “I would say at the moment we’re not taking anything off of the table.”

On Saturday, DOT workers will be tabling Saturday at Grand Army Plaza before holding a virtual online workshop Wednesday.

Funding for an overhaul of the plaza could come from the $904 million pot earmarked by Mayor Eric Adams for street safety improvements, the deputy commissioner said.

The safety of the plaza already has the attention of a few elected leaders. City Council Members Crystal Hudson and Shahana Hanif wrote to the DOT back in May, calling for safety improvements.

“Notably, the site has seen numerous pedestrian injuries and crashes in recent years, including a 2021 incident in which a woman and her 1-year-old son were hit by a car at the intersection of Plaza Street West and Berkeley Place. In the In the past five years, 89 people have been injured at Grand Army Plaza, including 19 cyclists and 12 pedestrians,” they wrote.

The electeds urged the agency’s commissioner to look at additional improvements to broken benches and fences, empty tree pits, and crumbling sidewalks.

A timeline for implementing a car-free zone around Grand Army Plaza isn’t clear, but Beaton told Gothamist the department should have plans soon.

“We’re not sitting around, we’re moving it quickly,” he told them.

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