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Imagine Grand Army Plaza with a green ‘canopy’ bridge over Flatbush Avenue, which becomes the main vehicle route while a network of ramps and paths link the entire area.
These are a few of the main features of the first-place prize winner in the Reinventing Grand Army Plaza ideas competition.
The ‘Canopy’ idea actually tied for first place with the ‘Please Wake Me Up’ idea, which proposes squeezing traffic to the Plaza’s spine thus allowing the Plaza to reconnect with the surrounding neighborhoods.
Both designs, along with 28 others, will be on display for a month starting this weekend in an outdoor exhibit encircling the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch and the Bailey Fountain at Grand Army Plaza.
The Reinventing Grand Army Plaza Exhibition is running from Sept. 12 to Oct. 13 from dawn to dusk, according to Deborah Marton, executive director of the Design Trust for Public Space (DTPS).
The DTPS is co-sponsoring the event along with the Grand Army Plaza Coalition (GAPco).
Marton said the unprecedented exhibit will allow visitors to imagine the new plans while experiencing the plaza as it is today.
“Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza is one of New York City’s greatest unrealized assets,” said Marton.
“Beginning the process of its reinvention with an ideas competition opened our minds to the range of innovative design strategies that could make the plaza more compelling as a destination and safer for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists,” she added.
GAPco spokesperson Michael Cairl said with the ideas competition, the world has taken note of the great potential of Grand Army Plaza and weighed in with its thoughts.
“This is a primary reason why GAPco came together in 2006 – to make Grand Army Plaza a place that brings communities together instead of separating them,” Cairl said.
While different in approach, both first-prize winning schemes improve access from surrounding communities, provide activities and flexible spaces, and reorganize traffic patterns to increase clarity and safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
The first and second place designs were submitted by French teams.
A Brooklyn design team, Garrison Architects, received third place for their entry, ‘A Center for Brooklyn.’
The two first place designs will receive $5,000 while the second place designers received $2,000 and the third place design received $1,000.
Visitors to the exhibit will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite ideas via text message. The results will be announced on October 8.
After the exhibit, the DTPS, GAPco and local communities will continue working with the city’s Department of Transportation and Parks & Recreation, with the goal of producing a new master plan for the plaza.
The first step will be a series of open community workshops that will use the 30 schemes featured in the exhibit as springboards for discussion.
For more information on the exhibition, log onto www.designtrust.org.
For more information on re-designing Grand Army Plaza log onto www.grandarmyplaza.org.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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