The Battle in Park Slope

What's going on in Park Slope, Brooklyn is a microcosm of the war that is being waged all over NYC: communities with smart ideas, good intentions and the capacity for volunteerism are being completely ignored by the Department of Transportation in the planning process.

Yesterday, Sean and I went out to cover a public planning workshop run by the Project for Public Spaces for the Grand Army Plaza Coalition. About 50 people got up way too early on a Saturday morning to give four hours of their time to walk around and brainstorm how Grand Army Plaza could better function for pedestrians - and serve as a more vibrant space.

GAPCO Charette 1

GAPCO Charette 2

It was an amazing example of community-based planning. The energy in the room was electric. The ideas were diverse. People had fun.

And yet with this kind of activist atmosphere, Thursday the DOT is presenting a plan to the same community to turn two-way neighborhood streets into one-way highway corridors. (Streetsblog has the nitty gritty.) People are upset - and rightfully so - since the rest of the country is moving in the opposite direction when it comes to livable communities.

Fear not, we are hard at working cranking out some videos on both these vital newsmakers to post this week. Stay tuned.