‘stage’ for Memorial

Proposed Glendale Triangle Plaza Unveiled

The Department of Transportation (DOT) returned to Redeemer Lutheran School in Glendale last Tuesday, May 1 to unveil their proposed plans to turn the nearby Glendale Memorial Triangle into a public plaza.

RBA Group’s Alex Berryman unveils the proposed public plaza at Glendale Memorial Triangle at a meeting last Tuesday, May 1 at nearby Redeemer Lutheran School. The setup shown in the slide is for the summer months.

The pedestrian plaza program was instituted as part of PlaNYC 2030, the DOT’s Emily Weidenhof noted, and the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation (RLDC) applied to be part of the program in 2009.

Theodore Renz, the RLDC’s executive director, noted that this is just the latest in a series of improvements the RLDC and its sister organization, the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, has championed.

The RLDC will provide maintenance, including cleaning, sanitation and snow removal.

Weidenhof then gave a short overview of the triangle, bounded by 70th Street, Cooper and Myrtle avenues. Currently, the triangle features a World War I monument “in rela- tively good condition.”

“This is a really kind of dangerous intersection,” she claimed, as Cooper and Myrtle avenues are both truck routes.

After the DOT solicited local opinions in January and received what Weidenhof called “quite detailed feedback,” the DOT and RBA Architects, which will design the plaza, incorporated the feedback into the design, as unveiled by RBA’s Alex Berryman.

According to Berryman, the triangle area will jut out six inches from the curb, and 70th Street between Myrtle and Cooper avenues would be closed and incorporated into the plaza.

The 14-foot monument will remain the central focus of the plaza, with a large oval greenspace surrounding it bounded by granite stones which will serve as seats.

“It needs a base, it needs a stage on which it can sit on,” he explained.

Planting beds along Cooper and Myrtle avenues-using poppies, poinsettias, red tulips and forget-menots- will “frame the space” and provide a visual barrier for vehicles. Berryman later added that the beds may be “bioswales,” which would suck in water from the street.

Standard city benches will be available for residents, along with a bike rack and drinking fountain, and temporary “bistro”-style seating.

Weidenhof, noting that vagrants are “definitely a concern,” noted that permanent seating is being kept to a minimum, and the DOT will work with the RLDC and the NYPD to curb it further.

She claimed that if the plaza is properly maintained and used, “people who are going to cause any trouble, they don’t want to hang out there.”

Tinted, scored concrete will provide the floor of the plaza. A flagpole- with a compass at its base-will be located closer to the eastern point of the triangle.

Near the western end, space will be made for a 38-seat café, ostensibly for Zum Stammtisch, the German restaurant located alongside the triangle. In the wintertime, when the café is not operational, the area can be used for the area’s annual Christmas tree lighting. A power supply will be made available.

The plan will be modified again and may be presented to Board 5’s Transit and Parks committees as early as May 22, with a vote from the full board planned for June 13, according to Weidenhof. After that, the city will review it further.

Weidenhof added that plaza construction would begin either in fall 2013 or spring 2014.

One resident expressed concern with the water fountain, claiming that they rarely work and spread disease whenever they do.

Weidenhof argued that it’s a cleaner and greener way of bringing water to residents than shipping bottled water throughout the area.

In response to questions from residents, Weidenhof told the crowd that traffic lights would stay on both sides of the triangle.

“We took a bunch of traffic counts,” she added; the DOT found that traffic is “extremely low” on 70th Street; at maximum, the street sees 66 cars an hour, or about a car a minute.

In addition, she pointed out that the FDNY has vetted and supports the plan.

Other residents claimed that the additional patrons heading toward Zum Stammtisch would circle around the neighborhood looking for parking, causing traffic woes when searching for a spot and parking woes once they find one.

One man warned that “you’re pushing traffic into other residential areas and they will park in driveways or end up parking in the gas station (across from the plaza).”

“What will occur is that there will be an adjustment period,” DOT Queens Commissioner Maura Mc- Carthy admitted, claiming that as drivers become used to the new traffic pattern they will get around the area faster.

“It’s not cast in stone and we’ll work with folks here,” said the DOT’s Michael Marsico.

Gary Giordano, Board 5’s district manager, suggested a traffic signal at Cooper Avenue and 68th Street to help drivers and pedestrians alike.

“We’ve been denied at least two signal requests at that location, but this dynamic could change everything,” he warned.

The DOT and RLDC also announced that the triangle across from the memorial triangle is being looked at not as a second plaza but rather as an area for safety improvements, such as a larger “refuge island” to aid people crossing Myrtle Avenue.