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Could this be the new face of Flatbush Avenue?

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Flatbush Avenue would become a walkable, livable, shoppable boulevard — no, really! — under a new plan being put forward by a local business group that is frustrated by the dour, traffic-choked strip between Grand Army Plaza and Atlantic Avenue.

The North Flatbush Business Improvement District will soon solicit bids on its architect’s plan for turning the concrete jungle from an uninviting and unsafe highway to “a people-friendly destination,” said BID Executive Director Sharon Davidson, who presented the plan to local merchants at the group’s annual meeting on Wednesday night at Ocean’s 8 pool hall.

The problem with Flatbush, Brooklyn’s oldest thoroughfare, is that its diagonal configuration cuts across seven streets between Atlantic Avenue and Grand Army Plaza, creating tiny “triangle parks” that are little more than cement pits.

“We haven’t had a facelift since the 1970s,” Davidson said. “We should be more of a destination than a conduit to Downtown Brooklyn.”

Using a grant from the city, Davidson’s group hired W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, a Manhattan-based firm that wants to turn the triangles into seating areas and to calm traffic on side streets by installing plants.

It’s unclear how much the work itself will cost, but Davidson said Borough President Markowitz has pledged $200,000, bringing the group’s cash-on-hand up to $600,000, thanks to prior grants.

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Reader Feedback

j from Prospect Lefferts says:
The area pictured is actually Park Place as seen from Flatbush Avenue.

Are there any images for Flatbush Avenue itself? (and its sidewalks, not just those of side-streets as pictured above)

Specific to this particular proposal pictured above: Given the number of delivery trucks that stop in that particular stretch of Park Place as it meets Flatbush, I seriously doubt they could eliminate the parking lane and another driving lane and leave just one lane total.

Traffic would be heavily backed up on Park Place clear back to 5th Avenue all day, and no doubt people would lean on their horns. Heck it already backs up at least half way down to 6th Ave with 3 lanes (1 parking, two driving) as it is.

Eh, should be interesting to see the full set of proposals.
June 24, 2009, 9:27 am
Matt from Prospect Heights says:
Good points, j

Maybe this is part of Bloomberg's traffic calming plan, you know, make driving in the city impossible by putting in pedestrian plazas that don't allow cars to get through. It's working so well in Times Square and Herald Square..............
June 24, 2009, 10:10 am
Adam from Park Slope says:
A better balance between traffic, commerce, bicycles and pedestrians is needed for Flatbush Ave. At the moment everyone is losing because of poor design.

A traffic study of Flatbush and it's surrounding traffic flow patterns would probably reveal that by reconfiguring some intersection and lane designs could make for a better experience for everyone.
June 24, 2009, 10:38 am
Danny from Queens says:
Matt,

Don't blame Bloomberg. Blame me. Blame everyone under the age of 30. My generation is sick of oil-funded terrorism, carbon-fueled climate change, and not being able to play in the street. Consider this the backlash.
June 24, 2009, 10:39 am
Mike from Ft Greene says:
Looks great! Can't wait for more livable streets.
June 24, 2009, 10:44 am
Steven M. from Prospect Heights says:
“We should be more of a destination than a conduit to Downtown Brooklyn.”

Close -- but it's actually a conduit to the Manhattan Bridge, still free, to the detriment of the neighborhoods along Flatbush.

Tolling the bridges would have been a huge quality-of-life improvement -- too bad we lacked the political will to charge for the privilege and improve transit at the same time.
June 24, 2009, 11:58 am
Howard M. from Park Slope says:
Another dumb idea from Mayor Elitist. To ease congestion, how about truck deliveries at night? How about no parking or left turns on Flatbush Avenue? How about more traffic agents to keep the traffic moving? How about a couple of parking garages so business owners can actually attract people to shop and eat in this area.
June 24, 2009, 2:26 pm
Phil from P Slope says:
These triangles today are generally wind tunnels of swirling trash. Anything would be an improvement. But the challenge will be the fact that Flatbush Ave itself remains a perilous speedway dominated by commuters.
June 24, 2009, 2:48 pm
Steven M. from Prospect Heights says:
Nice knee jerk, Howard. What does the business improvement district have to do with the Mayor?

Guess what: it's the local businesses proposing this, because they realize that more foot traffic equals more foot traffic.
June 24, 2009, 3:37 pm
tessie from Park Slope says:
Hey Steven,Mike, Phil, Adam, Matt and J,
Why dont you do what I am doing. I live in this neighborhood and would like to find out more about what the BID is doing. They always to a fine job representing the landlords and merchants of the area. So I plan on going to the annual meeting which is open to the public tonight at Oceans 8 at 6pm. They are showing a slideshow presentation of the entire stretscape design plan and I want to know what they plan on diong in my neighborhood. And as a long time resident, I feel this neighborhood is in great need a change. Any improvement is a good improvement.
June 24, 2009, 4:33 pm
Jerome Robbins from Park Slope says:
That sidewalk (Park Pl. b/w Flatbush and 7th) is jam-packed crowded enough as it is during the day. We don't need more cobblestones and bike racks there; we need more space.

Seriously, it's as if this city is becoming increasingly more and more tailored toward jobless parentally-funded hipster yuppie transplants who have tons of time to doddle around town all day every day, with their bike lanes and pedestrian malls, while life just keeps getting harder for the real working people who were here before Brooklyn and NYC became the latest Pied-Piper trend for these mindless suburban-transplanted followers.
June 24, 2009, 10:34 pm
tessie from Park slope says:
Hey Jerome, if I recall a walk I recently took to the Public Library at GAP, I noticed every bench on the park side of Plaza Street was filled with middle aged to elders sitting and, well just sitting. As I got to the Library, sitting at the brand new stoned plaza, well, there they were, middle aged couples, elders with their companions, a few college kids on their computers, couples with children. Isnt that this neighborhood is filled with, a diverse community filled with all kinds. And I guess when they find a respite that has a friendly view, free, they will, well.... sit. and rest. What do the real working people like to do????
June 24, 2009, 10:39 pm
Jerome Robbins from Park Slope says:
That's funny, Tessie, because as a lifelong resident of Park Slope, one of the most marked changes I've noticed occur in my neighborhood in the last 10-15 years is the rapid disappearance of most of our elderly residents due to the incredibly overpriced and transient nature that Park Slope has taken on. The older members of our community don't last long in their homes once you've got outsiders freshly arrived from the suburbs lined up willing to pay $4500k/mo of their parents' money for the same apartment.

And you say Park Slope is "diverse" filled with "all kinds"? Again, maybe you are thinking about 15 years ago. In its current incarnation, this neighborhood is about as "diverse" as an Amish village. Filled with nothing but identical 20-50yr old white hipster yuppie transplants who have no visible signs of employment. All I see now is 35 year old men riding around on skateboards like they're still in high school, and yuppie women lolling around 7th Avenue with yoga mats and shopping at useless overpriced 'gourmet' grocery stores.

But then again, you may be counting the West Indian nannies in your 'diversity' formula, which would then bring the non-white population of Park Slope to oh, maybe 5%?
June 24, 2009, 11:08 pm
Rocky from South Brooklyn says:
The worst part of Flatbush above GAP is not the run between there and Atlantic ... but the run from Fulton to the Manhattan Bridge. Ruts, construction, bad places with parking [at LIU, Junior's, and across from Metrotech under the Toren building] ... SUpposedly plans are afoot to re-do that strip ... then they ought to do Tillary from the BQE exits to Flatbush.
June 25, 2009, 2:25 am
tessie from park slope says:
what's funnier, Jerome, is that you think a woman, in her 30's holding a yoga mat, cannot possibly hav a job too? I take classes at Bikram on Flatbush Avenue and the class is filled with 40, 50 year old long time residence, some even, dare I say....... school teachers? Some teaching in the pub lic schools and living in this neighborhood for 30 years. oh my. And the last time i was in the local grocery store, Key Food, they were just as overpriced as any gourmet market. by the way Jerome what would make you happy in this neighborhood? and if the elderly are disappearing, its because of overpriced apartments, most live in rent controlled or rent stabalized partments anyway, its because they are dying off. As most of the 40 and 50 year old will be doing in the next 20 or so years. So Jerome, what would you like to see in this neighborhood. ??
June 25, 2009, 6:55 pm
Jerome from Robbins says:
Oh that's wonderful Tessie, so let me get this straight--the reason why there are no more elderly residents in Park Slope isn't because they've been evicted or priced out to make way for more suburban hipster yuppie transplants, but rather, because "they are dying off"? May I ask, what is it about Park Slope that makes our elderly residents "die off" so much more quickly than normal working neighborhoods that are still home to normal working people like, say, Bensonhurst or Bay Ridge? Is there some sort of deadly Park Slope virus that's killing all of our older residents off?

And as for the hipster yuppies becoming elderly one day here too--don't bet on it. Once the novelty of living in Park Slope wears off, the Johnny-come-lately, fly-by-night hipster yuppies will be back off to the suburbs just as quickly as they appeared. When that time comes, let's hope Park Slope can once again return to its former incarnation as a normal working class community, instead of a playground for the trust-funded children of Red State suburbia.
June 25, 2009, 10:09 pm
Danny Hellman from Park Slope says:
The "after" photo makes it look like a parking lane has been turned into a BIKE parking lane. What's the use in that? How about a dedicated bicycle lane on Flatbush Ave? The traffic there is truly frightening.
June 26, 2009, 10:59 pm

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