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Parkside Avenue pedestrian plaza push

Flatbush residents to city: Turn our drab corner into a lush greenspace

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A dangerous and dilapidated intersection near Prospect Park should become a dazzling urban sanctuary overflowing with trees, seating areas, and tiled concrete, say community leaders who want the city to green-light their plan to makeover the neighborhood eyesore.

Members of the Parkside Project Committee, which held a contest to come up with ideas for redesigning the corner of Ocean and Parkside avenues, said the city must develop the patch of concrete outside the Parkside Avenue Q station — claiming that their neighborhood deserves the same attention as bucolic Park Slope and Windsor Terrace.

“There are dozens of leafy trees on the streets in those neighborhoods, while ours is barren,” said Chairman Rudolph Delson, who submitted his group’s winning design to the Department of Transportation. The city agency works with non-profit groups to create pedestrian plazas and beautify under-utilized public spaces.

Delson said that even though Prospect Park, the borough’s biggest greenspace, is right across the street, the corner of Ocean and Parkside has absolutely no greenery.

“It’s as if the park were miles away,” he said, adding that an elegant square would attract more pedestrians exiting the park and boost the area’s economy. “When people leave Prospect Park, they don’t see a viable neighborhood, they see a traffic jam.”

The winning design was submitted by ChoShields Studio, a neighborhood architectural firm. Designer In Cho envisioned a leafy, tree-lined plaza filled with circular pits ringed by benches that would bring the park experience to pedestrians walking by.

“You really feel the disconnect between the park and what’s right outside of it,” Cho said. “We think that it can be a more social dynamic space.”

Parkside Station was built as a regal gateway to Prospect Park in 1905, but years of neglect by the MTA resulted in peeling paint, chipped tiles, and trees growing through the roof, residents say.

The Department of Transportation 2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fdot%2Fdownloads%2Fpdf%2F20111206_ocean_parkside_slides.pdf&ei=8bMMUNvJN6nj0QHum8jLAw&usg=AFQjCNE-5aWWGf2fRLMcMmaRgKFHAr756g&sig2=djIxv7ilMwpOslCw-_QMpg">rehabbed the intersection earlier this year — a project that included closing the park to cars and extending crosswalks — after an agency study revealed that 20 people a year were injured at the corner.

The city said it’s more than willing to create pedestrian plazas in underserved areas, as long as the entire community backs the plan.

That rule didn’t fare well in Midwood, where a plan for a pedestrian plaza on Avenue M was shelved because some neighborhood residents opposed the project.

A Department of Transportation spokesman said his agency has received a dozen applications from groups wanting to develop public spaces in their neighborhoods. The city will announce the next round of pedestrian plaza projects in the fall, the spokesman said.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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