The effort to enhance public access to Prospect Park along its Flatbush Avenue side got a huge boost yesterday.
The Prospect Park Alliance has won a $5 million grant from the City’s Parks Without Borders program to build two new Flatbush Avenue entrances between Grand Army Plaza and the Park’s “Children’s Corner” at Empire Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, and to restore a third entrance near the Corner, along with other improvements, the Alliance announced yesterday.
Currently, there are no entrances to Prospect Park between Grand Army Plaza and the Children’s Corner.
“The Prospect Park Alliance is committed to making the Park open and accessible to all communities bordering the Park,” Alliance President Sue Donoghue said in a statement yesterday.
Funding from Borough President Eric Adams’ office is also helping to pay for the new entrances.
The new funding will “allow for critical enhancements in the historically-neglected perimeter of the park along Flatbush Avenue,” said the Borough President, “allowing residents of Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens dramatically improved access to the many resources available in the park.”
Eight city parks, including Prospect Park, have been awarded funding to transform park perimeters and enhance public accessibility via Parks Without Borders. Winning parks were selected with public input; the City said it received over 6,000 suggestions for improving 691 different parks last winter.
Parks Without Borders is part of Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC initiative. The City has dedicated $50 million to the program, $10 million of which has already been allocated to parks throughout the city, with another $40 million determined through the public input process, the Prospect Park Alliance said.
The new Parks Without Borders grant will build upon additional funding from the City Council and Borough President’s office to restore Prospect Park’s Flatbush Avenue sidewalk and make other improvements to its eastern side.
The Park’s Flatbush Avenue sidewalk, between Grand Army Plaza and the Prospect Park Zoo, will be broadened from 16 to 30 feet by setting the Park’s fencing back, the Alliance said.
Even more intriguing — “an allée of trees will flank the sidewalk, providing shade for pedestrians and restoring this section of the avenue to its original grandeur.”
Traffic Calming Along The Flatbush Avenue Side Of Prospect Park
As part of expanding Prospect Park’s accessibility to communities on its eastern side, Borough President Adams is advocating that the City’s Department of Transportation examine the feasibility of “improved traffic-calming infrastructure” on Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Empire Boulevard.
Numerous residents and stakeholders have spoken out regarding that stretch of Flatbush Avenue, the Borough President said in a statement today, which “serves as a speedway for motor vehicles in an area where there are numerous pedestrians and cultural institutions.”
[Adams has established CROSS (Connecting Residents on Safer Streets) Brooklyn. The initiative uses capital dollars from the BP’s office to invest in sidewalk extensions at “dangerous” intersections across Brooklyn near significant concentrations of senior citizens.]
Adams said there is a need to replicate the “positive impact of similar efforts taken along the Prospect Park West corridor in order to protect bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians traveling around Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, and Prospect Lefferts-Gardens.”
“This is a stretch of roadway that’s crying out for traffic-calming — a woman was struck and killed by a driver there less than two years ago,” said Eric McClure, executive director of StreetsPAC.
“We took speed readings there just this past Friday evening, during rush hour, and found that drivers were averaging 38.8 miles per hour, more than 50 percent above the legal New York City speed limit, with a top speed of an expressway-like 66 MPH,” McClure stated.
The long-term goal, Adams said, should be to “advance street safety around the full perimeter of Prospect Park as well as to improve the quality of life along its eastern border.”