DOT Considers Banishing Cars from Grand Army Plaza

DOT Considers Banishing Cars from Grand Army Plaza

By Yehudit Garmaise

NYC’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering making Grand Army Plaza car-free and connecting it to the Open Streets on Vanderbilt and Underhill Avenues, DOT officials said this week. 

In recent years, the area around the Grand Army Plaza has proved more and more hazardous for pedestrians and cyclists.

Last year, a driver hit a woman and her 1-year-old child at an intersection on the west side of the plaza’s roundabout, and a bicyclist was also critically injured at the intersection.

Residents can participate in a virtual online workshop on Wed., Nov. 16 at 6:30pm, as the DOT gathers input from the public.

DOT deputy commissioner Eric Beaton, however, told Gothamist that he is ready to  “take bold steps” to create “better-designed public spaces.”

“I would say at the moment we're not taking anything off of the table,” said Beaton, who did not want Brooklyners to have to be reliant on “people moving barriers at certain times of day.”

“There's [only] so far you can get with paint, planters and barricades.”

Flatbush Avenue remains one of Brooklyn’s busiest bus routes, Beaton acknowledged, which means that any changes to the roads will must take care not to interfere with the  operations of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

To complete the construction required to create a care-free zone around Grand Army Plaza, Beaton hopes DOT can make use of some of the $904 million for street improvements Mayor Eric Adams pledged last April, which includes $580 million for capital improvements.

"We don't have to accept the status quo as normal,” said Juan Restrepo, Senior Organizer at Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit organization that advocates for street safety. “We can build streets for all by prioritizing people, not cars.”

Photo Credit: Flickr 

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