Rethinking Grand Army Plaza
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Rethinking Grand Army Plaza

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Rethinking Grand Army Plaza

Rethinking Grand Army Plaza
Placemaking Workshop Summary
March 2007

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    Rethinking Grand Army Plaza Rethinking Grand Army Plaza Presentation Transcript

    • RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA Placemaking Workshop Summary March 2007 COMMUNITY WORKSHOP MARCH 10, 2007 BROOKLYN PUBLIC LIBRARY GRAND ARMY PLAZA 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Community Planning Workshop March 10, 2007 Brooklyn Public Library Grand Army Plaza 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Workshop Hosted by: Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPco) Workshop Facilitated by: Project for Public Spaces Special Thanks to: Brooklyn Public Library Heart of Brooklyn Prospect Park Alliance Park Slope Civic Council Gowanus Community Stakeholder Group StreetFilms NYC Street Renaissance For more information on Grand Army Plaza please visit: http://www.grandarmyplaza.org/ 2 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA TABLE OF CONTENTS PLACEMAKING WORKSHOP PROCESS SUMMARY 5 INTRODUCTION 7 QUALITIES OF A GREAT PUBLIC SPACE 9 VISION 11 KEY ISSUES 13 OVERALL RECOMMENDATIONS 15 PLACEGAME PARTICIPANTS 17 PLACEGAME SITES AND RESULTS 19 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 3
    • 4 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • COMMUNITY WORKSHOP PROCESS SUMMARY March 10, 2007 GAPco and Project for Public Spaces presents 1 the goals of the community Placemaking work- shop and describes the day’s events. Workshop participants break into groups and 2 go out to Grand Army Plaza to perform the Place Performance Evaluation at 7 different locations. Participants return to discuss the Place Game, 3 draw recommendations and summarize their groups impressions of: • What they like best about Grand Army Plaza • Short term improvements • Long term vision • Potential partners Each group reports back to all workshop par- 4 ticipants, describing issues and opportunities they identified for Grand Army Plaza. RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 5
    • PPS’ Place Diagram. 6 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • INTRODUCTION Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPco) was formed successful public spaces involve more than just design. by a group of committed local residents in March of Rather, improvements should grow out of a public 2006 to focus on ways to improve Grand Army Plaza involvement process that defines and responds to and connect the surrounding neighborhoods with community conditions and needs from the outset. what could potentially be one of the most important Our experience has shown that this is one of the public spaces in the borough of Brooklyn. Since its most critical factors in achieving a public space that is founding, GAPco has undertaken a number of activi- truly sensitive to its context. ties to better understand how the plaza functions, including: a walk-through with interested community Placemaking, as PPS approaches it, begins with a members to more closely observe the area; hosted thorough understanding of the dynamics, desires, and the Danish architect Jan Gehl to conduct a design conditions within a community. It involves looking at, study and present design alternatives for the plaza; listening to, and asking questions of the people in that met with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to community about both their problems and aspira- propose desired recommendations to the plaza; initi- tions. We work with them to create a vision around ated a clean-up effort for the plaza; and now, hosted a the places they view as important to community life community planning workshop. and to their daily experience; we help them imple- ment their ideas beginning with short term, often Project for Public Spaces, Inc. (PPS), a New York- experimental improvements. based non-profit that has worked on the design and management of public spaces around the world, is Based on our work in Placemaking, we have developed working with GAPco to help rethink the plaza. PPS’ the Place Diagram: What Makes a Great Place? (shown Placemaking process allows diverse constituencies to at left). This diagram outlines the major attributes identify how a public space can be reshaped to make of well-functioning places, along with the intangible it a welcome, well-functioning and attractive place for qualities that people use to positively describe them, people. In the case of Grand Army Plaza, this includes and the elements that can be used to measure their local residents, cultural institutions which surround success. The major attributes outlined on the diagram the plaza, elected officials, neighbourhood and advo- are sociability, uses and activities, access and linkages, cacy groups, and nearby business owners. and comfort and image. We have found this tool to be particularly useful in helping communities discuss the Over the past 32 years Project for Public Spaces issues of importance to them. They also reflect issues has evaluated more than 2,000 public spaces, and that consistently surface in the communities where informally investigated tens of thousands more. Our we have worked. approach to Placemaking is based on the idea that RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 7
    • Traffic, transit and the pedestrian: the area is well connected to other places. Identity and image: the area highlights its history and has district-related signage. The inner and the outer park: there are active edge uses, gateways and entrances, and the area is visible from a distance. Amenities: the area attracts a variety of users, there are comfortable places to sit, and the area serves as a source of local and regional civic pride. 8 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • QUALITIES OF A GREAT PUBLIC SQUARE Whether they are parks, plazas, public squares, streets, · Flexibility in Design civic institutions, sidewalks or the myriad of other Grand Army Plaza should support overlapping outdoor and indoor spaces, improving or creating and changing uses, form should support function, successful public spaces all have, to varying degrees, experimentation, and small-scale activities. the following qualities: · Amenities and Image · Traffic Transit and the Pedestrian Grand Army Plaza should have a variety of com- Grand Army Plaza should be visually and function- fortable places to sit and types of seating; attract ally connected to surrounding destinations and and be comfortable for a range of ages and users; areas, by a range of transportation options. There and be a source of local and regional pride. should be a balance of modes; private and com- mercial vehicles should not dominate. · Management: Central to the Solution Management presence should be felt through se- · The Inner and Outer Park curity maintenance, knowledgeable and accessible Grand Army Plaza should have active edge uses, staff, ongoing and visible improvement efforts. gateways and entrances, and focal points to draw visitors in and through the space to and from a range of activities. · Seasonal Strategies Programming should be year-round. · Attractions and Destinations Grand Army Plaza should have numerous choices · Diverse funding sources of things to do, and opportunities should be Grand Army Plaza should not rely on only one clustered around destinations. Grand Army Plaza source of funding. Partner with local institutions should be part of/help catalyze/ a district with and other stakeholders to foster stewardship of 10+ distinct places, each with 10+ things to do in the area. them. · Reach out like an Octopus · Identity and Information The activity at Grand Army Plaza should better Grand Army Plaza should showcase local assets, serve and connect to the surrounding neighbor- culture and civic identity. hoods. Prospect Park, Flatbush Avenue,Vanderbilt Avenue, Union Street, Prospect Park West, Eastern Parkway, St. John’s Place and Vanderbilt Avenue should all feel like a part of this larger district. RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 9
    • 10 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • VISION (DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION) GET CONNECTED • Improve the links, physically and programmatically, Grand Army Plaza, as one of Brooklyn’s most signifi- between the plaza with the surrounding neighbor- cant destinations, should draw on and highlight the hoods, institutions, commercial areas, and Prospect cultural, institutional, neighborhood, historical and Park economic assets of the surrounding neighborhoods. The experience of the plaza should be broadened by linking it with its surroundings and engaging neighbor- hood institutions and communities as a part of the process of furthering the vision. Presented below is the start of a vision that could be evolved with fur- ther input from local stakeholders. MAKE IT A HEALTHY HEART • Already known as “the heart of Brooklyn”, work to make the heart more healthy—increase people presence and activity, reduce the noise and pollu- Make Grand Army Plaza a comfortable and easy place to get to and from. tion from automobile traffic • Increase the amount and variety of activities that PUT PEOPLE IN THE PLAZA happen on the plaza • Reduce the amount of surface area dedicated to • Celebrate the area’s present and past at Grand automobiles and create more space for people Army Plaza • Improve public safety Work to create a plaza that draws people to it and creates lasting memories-- a place people will want to return. Plan for the place we want Grand Army Plaza to become. RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 11
    • 12 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • KEY ISSUES The following are key issues identified by workshop participants. CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL TIE-INS Within a few blocks’ walk of Grand Army Plaza are PEDESTRIAN WAYFINDING, ORIENTATION the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Museum, Brook- AND ACCESS lyn Botanic Garden, the Prospect Park Zoo, count- less shops, restaurants and homes, and the renowned Participants continually highlighted the lack of connec- Prospect Park. Though many of Brooklyn’s greatest tivity between the various parts of Grand Army Plaza, cultural institutions are located within minutes of the specifically lack of neighborhood connections and the plaza, there is little evidence of the physical and pro- disconnect between Prospect Park and the fountain/ grammatic connections they have to this area. arch plaza. Although there is good transit access at the plaza, with both subway and bus connections, there There are many statues and monuments to the Civil was not enough supporting wayfinding information to War and various leaders with connections to Brook- give people clear direction of where to go, or infor- lyn’s past, yet it was felt that some statues were mation as to why they may want to explore the area being dishonored by the lack of care shown from beyond their direct purpose of being there. them through maintenance, etc. Furthermore, there are portions of Brooklyn’s history which people felt Several issues relating to wayfinding/access were: deserved to be more appropriately highlighted in the • Unclear sight lines to the fountain and arch from plaza, such as a statue or memorial commemorating the neighborhood streets African American contributions to the Civil War. • Lack of informational and directional signage about institutions and destinations in and around ROAD SPACE VS. PUBLIC SPACE the Plaza. People thought there was too much space dedicated • Inability to clearly and quickly get from one area to cars, as proven by the amount of asphalt in the of the plaza to another plaza. “Unsafe”, “dangerous”, “traffic-dominated”, and • Isolation of the arch and fountain area by traffic “unused” were all words commonly used to describe the area. All the asphalt separated various areas, and • Dangerous intersections to navigate on foot made crossing various areas difficult, especially difficult was the access to the central arch and fountain area. Paving and other treatments to connect current pub- PUBLIC AMENITIES lic spaces, such as the area in front of the park en- Participants in all the areas evaluated commented on trance where the greenmarket operates, to the arch the lack of basic amenities that would better serve and central fountain, were encouraged. the pedestrian, including seating options, drinking fountains, bathrooms, better signage, safer gather- MANAGEMENT AND PROGRAMMING ing spaces, and small kiosks or coffee carts near the transportation connections and the green market. The In order to reach its potential, the entire plaza needs noise from the traffic was also noted as something to be managed and activated in such a way to put the that influenced people’s perception of the comfort of needs of people, transportation, culture and nature in the area. a more harmonious balance. People wanted to build RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 13
    • off the success of programming from this past winter gested opening up the fences and making pedestrian with the blue lights at the plaza and host other events paths through them to the center plaza. Installing a to draw people to the area. Expanding the green mar- dog run or children’s play area were other sugges- ket presence, both physically and in terms of operat- tions. The lack of maintenance and upkeep of the ing days, was also desired. berm and sidewalk areas was consistently highlighted. Involving co-op boards in the management and pro- The berms and the sidewalks along them were high- gramming of the berms, and the sidewalks along lighted for increased management. They were the Plaza Street, was recommended by various groups. source of much debate in terms of the benefit they A greater sense of ownership could be achieved by caused in reduced noise traffic on Plaza Streets East including a small portion of their maintenance fee for and West versus the physical boundary the create in berm/sidewalk upkeep. terms of access to the arch and fountain. People sug- 14 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • OVERALL RECOMMENDATIONS Several big ideas came out of the workshop. The fol- 6. Transfer asphalt to more pedestrian-friend- lowing recommendations resulted from the Placemak- ly spaces. Ideas included extending the paving ing workshop, and are presented through the lens of surface of entrance of the park across to the arch PPS’ experience in evaluating and improving public and fountain area and closing the right-hand turn spaces in general. ramp from traffic going south in the plaza making aright-hand turn onto Union Street. This would 1. Conduct short-term improvements. Take indicate to cars they are in a special place and the most feasible suggestions from the workshop would need to drive more carefully and slowly. and start experimenting. Start showing people the 7. Connect the west berm area to the arch future of Grand Army Plaza can start now. and fountain by converting the west side of 2. Close the gap. Connect the arch with Prospect the inner circle from traffic lanes to a pedestrian Park by extending the entrance plaza to the arch plaza. Traffic would be rerouted to the east side of (using paving, etc.). the arch and fountain area. 3. Improve access to the plaza and connect it 8. Partner with local institutions. Partnering into a broader circulation system for pedes- with local institutions to improve this area as the trians, bicyclists, automobiles and transit users. heart of Brooklyn would not only strengthen the Balance the user needs. Make sure bicycle lanes plaza but also the various institutions. For exam- aren’t dumped into fast-moving traffic. ple, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens could display rotating horticultural displays, the library could 4. Create clear pathways to the “center” host events in the plaza, and the zoo could part- across the berms. Create access (visual and/or ner with the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to host pedestrian) through the berms in a continuation an event oriented to children in the plaza. of Berkeley Place, Lincoln Place, St. John’s Place, and Butler Place. Sight lines and physical connec- 9. Continue this process. Formalize GAPco’s role tion will increase presence and use of arch and as an advisor and manager of the public process to fountain. keep the community visioning productive and ef- fective. Use the March 10 Placemaking Workshop 5. Relocate the “entrance” to Prospect Park and this document to raise funds for increased to the north side of Grand Army Plaza. Cre- participation and ideas to improve the heart of ate a symbolic entrance on the north side of the Brooklyn. plaza that marks the beginning of Prospect Park at Grand Army Plaza. Treat this area as a part of the park rather than a traffic circle. RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 15
    • Over fifty people gathered to participate in the Placemaking workshop on March 10, 2007. 16 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • PLACEGAME PARTICIPANTS The following organizations were represented at the ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS March 10 Placemaking Workshop. Citizens for NYC Brooklyn Greenway Initiative RESIDENTS Gowanus Community Stakeholder Group NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Eastern Parkway Project for Public Spaces Plaza Street East Transportation Alternatives Plaza Street West Prospect Heights Park Slope BUSINESS GROUPS North Flatbush Business Improvement District NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Coun- cil Crown Heights North Association Dean Street Block Association Park Slope Neighbors CIVIC LEADERS/ORGANIZATIONS Prospect Heights Parents Association Councilmember, 35th District Community Board 6 CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS Community Board 8 Letitia James, Councilmember, 35th District Brooklyn Botanic Garden Park Slope Civic Council Brooklyn Museum Brooklyn Public Library Heart of Brooklyn OTHER Prospect Park Alliance North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority Pratt Institute StreetFilms RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 17
    • Aerial of Grand Army Plaza. 18 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • PLACEGAME EVALUATION SITES & RESULTS Participants at the Placemaking Workshop evaluated seven spaces. The comments from each group are detailed below. 8A V L P PL EY EL LN PL RK CO 'S ST HN BE LIN 5 ST NT JO IDE ION AV ST ES SH UN U TW TB PR AS LA AZ F PL 6 Montauk PR OS PE CT Warren PA R KW LZ YP ARM 4 D RAN G 7 1 Skene Bailey DR WEST VAN D ERB Stranahan ILT A V 3 2 AV SH Maxwell U TB LA Slocum F E A ST PLAZ G PL WY BU RLIN EASTERN PK T ST LE R STE JOH PL N'S PL ¯ Feet 0 25 50 100 150 200 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 19
    • SITE 1 EVALUATION AREA ENTRANCE TO PROSPECT PARK, GREEN MARKET SP EC Warre T PA R KW 1 DR WEST Stranahan AV H US B AT FL S 20 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • SITE 1 ENTRANCE TO PROSPECT PARK, GREEN MARKET LIKE BEST • Large space with great potential • Lots of potential to green the area • Views from this area, especially of the arch • Proximity to the park • Location and relationship to recreation areas • The market • Watching people—kids and people exercising, and the dogs The green market is a popular draw for the area. ISSUES • Roadway entrance to the park very wide; very accom- modating to traffic • If you are using the park when cars are allowed, there is nowhere for people to be • The area is pretty drab • Currently more asphalt than “greenery” • Not a pedestrian or bicycle friendly area • On the way out of the park, bicyclists don’t have space • Greenmarket is very large, all asphalt, not much there The entrance to the park is most heavily geared for automobiles. to make it comfortable for people • Gazebos smell like urine, they are not a good place for sitting, hanging out o No restrooms • No area for bike parking: a major place for people on bikes, locked to sign poles, etc. • Not a good separation between greenmarket entrance and surrounding streets • If you are standing in area on a typical day, you don’t feel like you are in a park • Would like to be able to access the arch easier RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 21
    • • You are technically in the park, but have a long way to go before you are in a usable “park” space • Hard to cross the streets to get to this area SHORT TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Separate arch from roadway by creating a plaza that uses a different material than the road surface • Create a barrier between the traffic and the park; use garbage cans and cones to keep cars out of the green- market and park area • Send a signal to the drivers that they are in a park: have Extending paving, adding seating and planters all could make the entrance plaza to Prospect Park more inviting. a separated entrance into park drive for pedestrians (especially families with strollers) • Add seating • Add plants and trees • Add more decoration—lighting, fixtures, etc.—endless possibilities • Have the green market operate more than once a week • Create places for kids to play—sculptures, not a tradi- tional playground—a reason for families to go there o Families would not have to enter into the more Non-traditional play areas, such as this sculpture from Alice in Wonder- formal park but could play right in this area land in Central Park, could draw families to the area. o A children’s book sculpture (relating to the library) would be appropriate • Improve signage for people walking through—current ones not in convenient places • Create a dog run • Have a place for street performers LONG TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Cut back traffic lanes and remove vehicular traffic from Prospect Park • Create a performance area 22 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • • Install a Shake Shack like at Madison Square Park in Manhattan o A permanent vendor at the greenmarket site • Extend the tiles that are currently on the walkway to expand the plaza and create a special place • Crosswalk improvements o Widen the crosswalks o Lengthen the crossing times INTERVIEWS Widen crosswalks and adjust light timings to allow more time for people Like Best to cross the streets. • Farmers market • Social place • It is a community meeting place Issues • Needs to be calmer and safer for pedestrians • “Crossing is a nightmare!” • No where to sit and have a cup of coffee • Not enough benches Improvements Cleaning the gazebos was desired; they are reported to smell. • Clean the gazebo • Have a coffee truck • Add services like food and beverage vendors • Add benches LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS • Castle Senior Living • Preschoolers at Union Temple RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 23
    • SITE 1 ENTRANCE TO PROSPECT PARK, GREEN MARKET GROUP ONE’S VISION FOR SITE 1. 24 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 25
    • SITE 2 EVALUATION AREA EASTERN PARKWAY, LIBRARY PLAZA & 1 PLAZA STREET EAST y T DR Stranahan 2 AV H US B AT FL Slocum Y ASTERN PKW ST JO 26 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • SITE 2 EASTERN PARKWAY, LIBRARY PLAZA & PLAZA STREET EAST LIKE BEST • Potential is great • Great vistas—of the park, arch, fountain, library, Eastern Parkway, Flatbush Avenue ISSUES • Don’t get a sense of where you are—no signage to connect you to the various areas • Can’t see the connections with Eastern Parkway hill The area has great views, and with the new library plaza coming soon, SHORT TERM IMPROVEMENTS the potential will only increase. • Add more/improve existing crosswalks o Eastern Parkway median to the berm o Create crosswalk from the berm to the arch o Crosswalk across Flatbush: needs to be bigger and more accessible o Make crosswalks more identifiable from Eastern Parkway service road to library; not very easy to see as is • Planters and planting near the subway vent • Improve signage Improving the existing crosswalks was a repeated suggestion for im- provement. LONG TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Redesign and extend the berm south o Widen it, more medians—make it connected with the Eastern Parkway median widening • Reduce traffic lanes • Add traffic light RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 27
    • INTERVIEWS Like Best • Great space Issues • Lack of crosswalks • Crossing from the market to the arch to the berm is difficult LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS • Neighborhood groups and tenants associations Crossing from the arch to the berm is difficult. • Prospect Park Alliance • Library—Friends of Central branch o Could help with maintenance • Heart of Brooklyn • Brooklyn Botanic Garden o The garden could help with plantings and landscap- ing • Brooklyn Museum o Temporary artwork from the museum • BYC The Brooklyn Botanic Garden could become an involved partner with Grand Army Plaza by installing plantings or landscaping. • PPWC • Brooklyn Children’s Museum 28 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • SITE 2 EASTERN PARKWAY, LIBRARY PLAZA & PLAZA STREET EAST GROUP TWO’S VISION FOR SITE 2. RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 29
    • SITE 3 EVALUATION AREA PLAZA ST EAST, VANDERBILT AVE, THE BERM, NEIGHBORHOOD CONNECTIONS 7 WITH BUTLER PLACE & ST JOHN’S PLACE ey VAN DERB ILT A 3 Maxwell ST E A PLAZ PL LING BU TL ST ER R STE JOH PL 30 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • SITE 3 PLAZA ST EAST, VANDERBILT AVE, THE BERM, NEIGHBORHOOD CONNECTIONS WITH BUTLER PLACE & ST JOHN’S PLACE LIKE BEST • It works—on the outside side of the street • Bike lane • Seating • Green-ness; an oasis • Sheltered • Wide sidewalks • Connection with other areas Wide sidewalks and being sheltered from the inner circle were impor- ISSUES tant characteristics of Plaza Street East. • We’ve got to get people to the fountain—how do you do it? • Bus transit area: no shelter there—windiest corner on the street • People drive in the bike lane • On the “inside” part of the circle: there is so much that is not being used—you have benches and berm but you have a view of Daytona 500—seems like you are at a NASCAR event SHORT TERM IMPROVEMENTS Creating a covered bus shelter on Vanderbilt Avenue was desired. • Make it nicer: better maintenance, cobblestones/pavers, garbage collections • Cut out the grass out of the northern part of the berm and create a semi-circle plaza extended from Plaza Street around the corner for a new bus stop plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue o Evaluate the current bus shelter • Delayed-pedestrian head-start for crossing the street • Calm Plaza Street East • Hatch out unused portion of the street • More benches and planters/trees RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 31
    • • Create a dog run on the inside of the berm • Install pedestrian-oriented signage • Contextual fencing with regard to the berms LONG TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Rethink the berm o Create view corridors from the side streets o Have walking paths through them • Take ownership of the berms Activate the berms; one suggestion was to create a dog run inside the • Create a street-level pedestrian crossing to Bailey berm. Fountain • Possibly create a subway tunnel to the arch/fountain INTERVIEWS Issues • It is dangerous • Usually walk on the “outer” side (Plaza St., not the circle) • A lot of wasted space in this area Improvements Create a visual or pedestrian access through the berms to reach and view the fountain and arch area. • Needs a barrier of flowers • Improve garbage can maintenance LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS • Co-op boards to help support the maintenance and care of the berms • MTA New York City Transit • Vanderbilt Avenue Merchants Association • Flatbush Avenue business groups 32 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • SITE 3 PLAZA ST EAST, VANDERBILT AVE, THE BERM, NEIGHBORHOOD CONNECTIONS WITH BUTLER PLACE & ST JOHN’S PLACE GROUP THREE’S VISION FOR SITE 3. RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 33
    • SITE 4 EVALUATION AREA VANDERBILT AVENUE, FLATBUSH/ VANDERBILT INTERSECTION 4 Skene VAN DERB ILT A V 3 34 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • SITE 4 VANDERBILT AVENUE, FLATBUSH/ VANDERBILT INTERSECTION LIKE BEST • Trees • The area is a gateway/entrance to this area • Good transit access with bus and train connections • Pedestrian traffic on Plaza Street • Plaza Street seating • Efficient traffic • The part outside the berms Good transit access, seating, and pedestrian traffic were the highlights of this area. ISSUES • Overwhelming traffic • Safety issues: traffic doesn’t always stop at the red light • Area not connected to the arch • No reason to stop and linger; people just pass right through • Traffic merging onto Flatbush is a problem SHORT TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Striping of Vanderbilt for pedestrian crossing An info kiosk to show directional information as well as information on local cultural institutions and events. • Safe berm access • Better pedestrian signage for more attractions, ban- ners, or anything else that attracts attention • Berm programming with a variety of activities • Better timing for pedestrian crossings, less lane turning movements • Kiosk—we may need two of them (one already exists) • Kiosk could have a directory that brings people on board—local organizations—residence participation in berm design and maintenance • Add a children’s playground RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 35
    • LONG TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Encourage commerce in the area o Commercial overlay o Push carts with coffee o Kiosk • Flatbush Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) • Change the signal timing for pedestrians on Vanderbilt corners • Decrease lanes and turning movements Like this coffee cart on 8th Ave, have a kiosk in Grand Army Plaza to • Create better direct routes to the “park”—arch/foun- encourage commerce and activity. tain • Create sight lines from the side streets to see arch • Underground programming in berms—Irish Hunger Memorial • Extend island so the traffic from Flatbush Ave and Van- derbilt Ave doesn’t collide—many accidents there • Increase bike safety through installing a stoplight on Plaza Street East INTERVIEWS Increase bike safety on Plaza Street East. Like Best • Transit options are good • Close to the park Issues • Concern for getting stuck on traffic islands • Danger for pedestrians at Vanderbilt corner Improvements • More places to sit 36 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS • Prospect Park Alliance • Parks Department • Department of Transportation (DOT) • Community Boards • BIDS (North Flatbush and Vanderbilt Avenues) o Activate space to draw customers to their busi- nesses • Involve local merchants Local co-op boards can help contribute to berm maintenance and o Fund information kiosk, directory of locations design. o Contribute to upkeep • Residents’ participation in berm design and mainte- nance RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 37
    • SITE 4 VANDERBILT AVENUE, FLATBUSH/ VANDERBILT INTERSECTION GROUP FOUR’S VISION FOR SITE 4. 38 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 39
    • SITE 5 EVALUATION AREA FLATBUSH AVENUE, LINCOLN PLACE, ST JOHN’S PLACE L NP LP OL 'S C HN LIN 5 JO AV ST SH U TB LA F Montauk 4 40 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • SITE 5 FLATBUSH AVENUE, LINCOLN PLACE, ST JOHN’S PLACE LIKE BEST • Potential • Scale of the area • Lots of trees • Quiet area • Great architecture • Good transit connections and accessibility ISSUES The scale of the area, along with the trees and quietness were all ap- • Greatest sensory element: the traffic noise, even on a preciated aspects of this area. Saturday morning • Went across the center island: ten crosswalks to get there • An awful lot of noise, traffic behaving in strange ways • Traffic flow on Flatbush/St. John’s Place is a big deal • Orientation is to the outer ring, nothing to draw peo- ple into the circle • Signage a problem • Newsstand by subway is an eyesore—not open all the time and is getting less and less business Heavy traffic was an issue; the St. John’s/Flatbush Ave/8th Ave intersec- tion was mentioned as being particularly dangerous. • High-traffic area • St. Johns/Flatbush/8th Avenue junction is very unsafe— right hand turns very dangerous • Frequent use of bike lane by cars • Cars barely stop at Berkeley Place and Plaza Street West • Inner circle unused by the public • Excessive number of traffic lanes • Berms are filthy o Some dead trees in the berm; some brush cleaning in berm, but cuttings left behind RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 41
    • • Wide sidewalk around plaza with very little use SHORT TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Open up the berm • Neighbors need to be engaged to a greater sense of ownership about the berm o Especially for maintenance/upkeep • “You gotta have park”—get people coming out to clean up berms and sidewalks • Improve signage, create a sense of entry Opening up the berm and/or improving the fencing were short term actions identified to improve the area. o Make local destinations known—i.e. Prospect Park, Brooklyn Public Library, etc. • More modern-designed benches: current ones are clunky, not comfortable or inviting to sit on • Improve the kiosk at the subway station; have some- thing more architecturally appropriate—a café or shake shack • Remove ads from subway • Remove bus lane • Improve fencing Create a grand entranceway from Flatbush, to feel like one enters the Park at this spot. LONG TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Open up the berms • Seek to introduce a greater commercial element • Create a portal/entry to Prospect Park from the north (Flatbush Ave/subway) o Currently, you only see the lamppost—nothing else o For further thinking: how do we improve this as a visible entry point and orientation to the park? • Possibly re-route the traffic through this area o Close St. John’s Place between 8th Ave and Flatbush 42 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • • Move bike path next to the curb (other side of parked cars) INTERVIEWS Like Best • Convenient subway access • Can use subway to cross Flatbush • People sit in the triangle Issues Move the bike lane to the other side of the parked cars to protect rid- • No sign indicating the blinking red is a stop/go—install ers. a green arrow? Improvements • Close St. John’s triangle LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS • Montauk club • Flatbush Ave businesses • Co-op boards • Expand the green market presence Engage businesses on Flatbush Avenue in activating Grand Army Plaza, o Have it run on more days through small satellite kiosks or other programmatic contributions. o Introduce a market-based restaurant (Al Di La, Garden Café?) • “Gotta have park” as a catalyst for local resident own- ership RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 43
    • SITE 5 FLATBUSH AVENUE, LINCOLN PLACE, ST JOHN’S PLACE GROUP FIVE’S VISION FOR SITE 5. 44 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
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    • SITE 6 EVALUATION AREA UNION STREET, PLAZA STREET WEST EL RK T TS BE ST EN I ON SID UN TW S ZA A PL 6 Warren TP AR KW PLZ Y ARM AND GR 7 46 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • SITE 6 UNION STREET, PLAZA STREET WEST LIKE BEST • Berkeley Place and Plaza Street are very quiet and peaceful • Historic significance of the area • Potential to be a great public space • Potential to connect plaza • The corner at Prospect Park West at entrance to the park is an attractive ceremonial entrance to the park • Plaza Street West is a pleasant oasis; feels sheltered • The green market South end of the berm island has the potential to be a social place. • The south end of the berm has potential as a social space ISSUES • Street crossing from green market across Plaza Street West is difficult at best o Really long crossing, you have the senior housing, etc. o Union Street/Plaza Street West feels very danger- ous to cross o Senior Center needs access Crossing is dangerous and time-consuming; hatch marks and highway lighting are out of context; pedestrian/cyclist access is poor. • West-bound Union St traffic dangerous • Farmers market disconnected from plaza • Cyclist access very poor • Hatch marks are really ugly, blocking the box, highway signage and lamppost doesn’t fit with the context of the park • Horrible bottle-necking on Union between 7th Avenue and Prospect Park West • The statue area is unkempt; the statue seems dishon- ored • Useless space near the statue; no one goes/walks there RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 47
    • • Bike lane on Plaza Street West is absurd—lets bikers off in the middle of traffic • Subways and buses are in the inaccessible inner-berm area • Bus stop is not safe at night • Bumpy cobblestones • No protection from traffic in the inner-berm area • People never walk the shortest distance—go around the plaza • Wayfinding information is lacking and is necessary Inner circle area is unprotected; bus stop is not located where people want to go and is reported as being unsafe. SHORT TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Install a bathroom in the area • Bump-out curbs—for shorter crossing across Prospect Park West • Enlarge/integrate market space • Connect the arch to the green market • Improve bike/pedestrian/transit access • Off-ramp area from inner ring to Union Street (right- hand turning traffic) Chess and other games could be installed in near the statue. o Traffic-calm this area o Close off-ramp and connect statue area with island • Increase seating area and greenery • Open up the berm • Create pedestrian access through the berm • Create a better way-finding system • Install chess and other inviting activities LONG TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Turn Union Street into a greenway street— connect to 48 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • future Brooklyn Bridge Park and Brooklyn Greenway from Prospect Park • Close westbound Union Street; make it one-way • Make Prospect Park West two-way • Create a green bicycle two-way path separated from traffic • Create accessibility across the berms—could be a site line into the neighborhoods and into the fountain • Taking down the berms a possibility • Take back some of the eight lanes of traffic in inner Use greenery and planters to enhance the area. circle o Row of parked cars inside the area could calm traf- fic o Greenery, planters INTERVIEWS Issues • Pedestrian crossing at Union and Plaza Street is danger- ous; cars going toward 8th Avenue—hinders people crossing • Need better pedestrian crossing Better pedestrian crossings are needed. LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS • Encourage local groups to maintain berm and addition- al greenery by bus stops along Grand Army Plaza RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 49
    • SITE 6 UNION STREET, PLAZA STREET WEST GROUP SIX’S VISION FOR SITE 6. 50 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
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    • SITE 7 EVALUATION AREA 6 THE ARCH & FOUNTAIN Warren PLZ Y ARM AND GR 7 Bailey 3 2 52 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • SITE 7 THE ARCH & FOUNTAIN LIKE BEST • Like that it is a quiet, majestic, grand area, like the feel • Architecture and beauty—the arch and fountain • Monumental scale • Historic value • Lighting this winter helped activate the area—now we have to let people get closer • Could be a grand entrance and promenade to Prospect Park • Open space, trees The majestic and historic quality of this area is one of the area’s great- est assets. • View corridor down Vanderbilt Avenue • Peaceful in the middle of the space ISSUES • Accessibility a big issue • No connection to side streets and poor connections with Flatbush Avenue and Prospect Park • Too empty, doesn’t feel safe • Usually empty, except for wedding photos • Kind of useless Use bollards to control traffic and create pedestrian places. SHORT TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Space between the arch and fountain—add bollards to make a space for pedestrians • More connections o Provide traffic light crossing between arch and the park o Mid-block crosswalks across straight-a-ways with walk- ways through berms o More crosswalks and striping to surrounding areas o Add orientation maps RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 53
    • • Increase lighting • More seating and flowers inside fountain area • Install drinking fountain • Add public art or temporary shows at various times • Increase programming • Orientation maps in the area to make it part of the area (with park rules) • Activity tables for chess or other games • Study where people are coming from and going to and do they have to go through this area Have more seating options and decorative flowers near the fountain. • Clean out trash and dead leaves • Narrow emergency through-way o Use alternate road treatment to diminish the visual presence—i.e. slightly raised cobblestone • Close Prospect Park to cars • Eliminate crossover at south end of plaza LONG TERM IMPROVEMENTS • Close one side of inner-circle lanes to traffic and make the other side two-way Reduce the number of traffic lanes surrounding the center island. • Close inner ring to cars o Convert whole area to pedestrian area o Widen outer ring • Reduce lanes in plaza to reflect input/output streets o Take away some of the traffic lanes (at least one) • “Drive less” campaign • Add permanent art piece adding into the civil war theme to show African American contribution to civil war • Add bathrooms in the area • Connect subway station underneath 54 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • • Open new 2/3 subway entrance in circle center • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Flatbush; connect to subway • Close space between arch and park • Cut through berms to increase access • Hiking on the berms to allow access • Library is going to have food and seating—how to har- monize with that? • Cobblestone the area between arch and fountain • Look at traffic speeds from feeder roads vs. on the circle—are people just speeding up when the hit it? When the library plaza opens up, how will the center arch and fountain relate to the plaza seating and food? • More public events for the community INTERVIEWS Like Best • The mellowness • Love the fountain • European feel Issues • Sycamore trees block view Create the flexible stage for informal community events to occur. • Hidden/notorious destination • No connection to park; accessibility is perilous Improvements • Clean the arch and fountain area • Vendor activities might help LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS • BIDs • Civic organizations • Art organizations • Performances under the arch RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 55
    • SITE 7 THE ARCH & FOUNTAIN GROUP SEVEN’S VISION FOR SITE 7. 56 RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA
    • RETHINKING GRAND ARMY PLAZA 57