DOT can eliminate cars from the Prospect Park Grand Army entrance

The city’s DOT may soon ban cars from the Prospect Park entrance as part of a plan to encourage cycling and walking by radically reducing the number of vehicles passing through busy Grand Army Plaza.

A senior transport official said “nothing is off the table” when it comes to making the area more pedestrian-friendly as they unveiled three potential transformation ideas at a virtual meeting for the neighborhood on Wednesday.

Concepts ranged from a low-impact concrete reinforcement of existing car-free painted areas to a more ambitious design that splits the roundabout in half to connect the pedestrian plaza at the park’s entrance with the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch memorial in the center of the plaza .

“We’re not taking anything off the table right now,” Deputy Commissioner Eric Beaton told Gothamist last week.

Located at the north point of Brooklyn’s famous Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza dates back to the existence of automobiles in New York City.

The last time city officials added pedestrian and bicycle space to the giant traffic circle was in 2011. The redesign added an unprotected bicycle lane in both directions to the plaza’s outer ring service streets and added pedestrian space at the park entrance.

In 2018, DOT banned traffic from the park entirely, eliminating a brief window in the morning rush when drivers were still permitted on East Drive.

an aerial view of Brooklyn's great army square
Grand Army Plaza is Brooklyn’s crown jewel.
Renderings show possible redesigns of the large army square
DOT presented three possible design concepts at a public hearing on Wednesday.

The area is packed with park-goers on weekends, especially when the popular farmers’ market is in operation, and has been the scene of several fatal and near-fatal car accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.

Locally elected officials recently asked the DOT to conduct a study of the area “to address concerns about road safety, pedestrian safety, and bicycle safety,” Gothamist said.

a photo of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument of the Great Army Square
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch, pictured in 2020, is in the center of the roundabout.
Paul Martinka

City Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said “New York City’s future is car-free,” but Brooklyn-based street design consultant Mike Lydon said that given transportation demand, it would be difficult to completely eliminate cars from the circle.

“This is a very complicated crossing. I think you could probably take up quite a bit of space on the plaza streets all around the entire exterior/perimeter. Those are a bit redundant,” Lydon said.

DOT is currently only soliciting feedback and has not yet started developing actual design proposals, a spokesman said Thursday.

Interested citizens can register their opinion with an online survey, said the spokesman.

Marc Russo, 71, an attorney who has lived in Grand Army Plaza for 44 years, said he thinks the DOT should make minimal changes to the area.

“That would cause chaos. This suggestion is insane. It’s going to bring a lot of vehicles onto the side streets,” Russo said. “They fixed it about 10 years ago and now it’s very safe apart from one area by the library that could use some work.”

“Basically, it’s all designed to cater to a few selfish ego maniacs who think the road network is their own private playground. It is very safe as it is.” DOT can eliminate cars from the Prospect Park Grand Army entrance


JACLYN DIAZ is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. JACLYN DIAZ joined USTimeToday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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