The History, and Bright Future, of Eastern Parkway


The Architect’s Newspaper has a nice overview of Eastern Parkway in light of its recent revamp. It’s been a long road to bring improvements to the thoroughfare: once construction wraps next spring, it’ll be 15 years since residents first pushed for streetscape improvements. Eastern Parkway was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and built in the 1870s, a thoroughfare he hoped would serve as a greenway connecting the park with surrounding neighborhoods. It doesn’t feel so much like a greenway these days, but the extensive renovation brought in numerous safety measures the street was missing for today’s transportation needs. Originally this was envisioned to be a $4 million dollar project; it’s ended up costing over $18.6 million and engaging the DDC, DOT, DPR, DEP, MTA and the LPC. It includes redesigned medians, a narrower service road, pedestrian signage, and the elimination of a westbound traffic lane. And here’s what the Architect’s Newspaper says about the new paving, which replaced the bumpy, unsafe medians: “A two-foot layer of structural soil was laid first, allowing for compaction; topsoil came next, to allow the tree roots to stretch out. Then came reinforced concrete, in case an errant garbage truck should one day wander onto the median.” The final step of the renovation: tree planting, which happens this spring. The trees will join historic lampposts, benches and plaques commemorating World War I soldiers to add to the aesthetic of the parkway.
Polishing the Necklace [Architect's Newspaper]
Photo via A/N

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