On Saturday the Department of Transportation announced it would start construction this summer on traffic and pedestrian improvements to Grand Army Plaza first outlined a year ago (PDF). But as Streetsblog notes, the part of last year's proposal that would have made a two-way bike lane on Plaza Street—connecting the forthcoming Eastern Parkway lane and controversial Prospect Park West lane—has been dropped from the project.
First, the good news: construction on improvements to the north and south ends and inner ring of Grand Army Plaza will begin this summer and conclude at an as-yet undetermined date. Those include four new landscaped pedestrian islands and expanded sidewalks at the north end of the intersection, with shorter crosswalks and a dedicated bus lane; new traffic-calming barriers and traffic signals around the inner ring to reduce confusion among merging vehicle lanes; and expanded pedestrian islands and sidewalks especially around the intersection with Union Street and the area that hosts the Saturday farmer's market, and five new crosswalks at the south, Prospect Park-adjacent end of Grand Army Plaza.
And now for the bad, or at least puzzling part. Though the decision to forgo the two-way, Kent Avenue-style lane on Plaza Street—which currently has a one-way buffered lane—seems an affront to local cyclists (perhaps the DoT is gun-shy following the PPW lawsuit?), one hopes it's because they're planning more substantial bike infrastructure within Grand Army Plaza, rather than making cyclists circumnavigate the whole massive intersection. Riders who've attempted to negotiate Grand Army Plaza know just how confusing and terrifying it can be, but for how much longer?