The Department of Transportation (DOT) may soon deem Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza car-free, according to Gothamist‘s exclusive first report.
Though no final decisions have been made, the DOT is looking to residents for feedback on the future they envision for Grand Army Plaza. The agency had set up a booth this past Saturday and will host a virtual online workshop on November 16th at 6:30 p.m. Residents can also share their thoughts and opinions through an online survey from the DOT.
Officials shared that a car-free Grand Army Plaza could connect to Open Streets on Vanderbilt and Underhill Avenues. “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,” said DOT deputy commissioner, Eric Beaton. “I would say at the moment we’re not taking anything off of the table.”
Traffic at Grand Army Plaza has been a point of frustration for cyclists, pedestrians and city council members for some time now. Restricting cars on the plaza could potentially reduce dangerous accidents and improve overall public safety in the area.
Moreover, this decision could be exciting for not only residents, but local surrounding businesses. According to a recent press release from the DOT reflecting on the Open Streets program, restaurants and bars on car-free streets “strongly outperformed” those on nearby streets with existing vehicular traffic.
Supposedly, Beaton hopes the DOT could use some of the $904 million that Mayor Eric Adams allocated for city street improvements last spring. As of now, there is no official date for when the project could be fully implemented, but Beaton told Gothamist the agency is “not sitting around, [they’re] moving it quickly.”
“We don’t have to accept the status quo as normal — we can build streets for all by prioritizing people, not cars. We look forward to working with DOT as they begin this outreach process,” said Juan Restrepo, Senior Organizer at NYC non-profit, Transportation Alternatives.
Stay up to date on the DOT’s website here.