The Prospect Expressway is a 2-mile urban highway that slices through the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Sunset Park, Park Slope, and Windsor Terrace. When plans for the Expressway were first presented to the public in 1949 it was touted as “an inviting ribbon of super-roadway” helping connect southern Brooklyn motorists to Manhattan, but it displaced thousands of residents, permanently severed connectivity through the surrounding area. Moreover, it was never fully completed due to popular protest, and for decades has failed to serve its intended purpose. Today, cities around the world have begun to remove and redevelop urban highways to reconnect neighborhoods, and provide new opportunities for open space, housing, and economic development in the process. It is within this context that the Regional Plan Association (RPA) engaged a team of urban planning graduate students from Hunter College in a visioning studio, intending to shed light on the possibilities and potential redevelopment opportunities that a contemporary analysis of the Prospect Expressway may afford.
The PX Connects studio provides an assessment of existing conditions in and around the Prospect Expressway and proposes a set of recommendations and implementation strategies for addressing both local and regional needs. PX Connects proposes the demolition of much of the urban highway—replacing it with a fully at-grade street grid—reconnecting the surrounding neighborhoods and opening up developable land for vital affordable housing and economic development, in a high-opportunity neighborhood. These changes will improve the larger pedestrian realm, will discourage private vehicular traffic while maintaining a crucial channel for freight and public transit, and provide affordable housing and employment opportunities for surrounding marginalized communities on either end of the study area.