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Fourth Avenue will go from a concrete wasteland straight out of “Frogger” to a thoroughfare with a green oasis in the middle — if Borough President Markowitz gets his way.
The Beep announced a new pet project during his “State of the Borough” address on Wednesday at the Park Slope Armory, revealing that a team of urban planning grad students from New York University is spearheading a redesign project.
“I have long imagined this bleak stretch of road transformed into something reminiscent of the tree-lined portion of Park Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side,” Markowitz gushed. “My hope is … for a stunning thoroughfare reaching from Atlantic Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean!”
Along with the floral additions to Fourth Avenue, Markowitz’s vision includes a revitalization of the area through street furniture (a la Times Square), wide pedestrian walkways and space for vendors.
The graduate students will present their final proposal in April. Their professor, Frank Fish, said that the final presentation “could form the basis for a more detailed proposal that city agencies or an architectural firm might do.”
Still, it is unclear how feasible the facelift is, given that there is almost no room for tree roots under the sidewalk, which is above a series of shallow subway tracks.
Fish said that the students would focus on making the avenue more pedestrian friendly — an improvement that would be most welcome.
Back in 2008, an assortment of “green designers” submitted various nature-friendly solutions to the death trap for pedestrians and bikers at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street.
For now, Fourth Avenue remains a sketchy experience, as its six lanes still look like a racetrack to speeding drivers. But the stretch from Atlantic Avenue to the Prospect Expressway has been booming with residential development, a phenomenon that has renewed urban planners’ interest in calming traffic and beautifying the now-residential corridor.
Indeed, in at least one prior State of the Borough address, Markowitz referred to his dream of seeing Fourth Avenue rechristened “Brooklyn Boulevard.” In April, he’ll be one step closer to realizing it.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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