November/December 1998, p.5

Making Pedestrian Space Safer

Ten years ago the pedestrian plaza surrounding the Newkirk subway station in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn was little more than vacant storefronts, graffiti and litter. As with many downtrodden areas, crime ruled and folks getting on and off the D train were easy targets.

Flash to 1998: Now Newkirk Plaza is a delightful pedestrian space with a burgeoning commercial strip. Rather, Ditmas Park locals credit the Plaza's renaissance to the opening of several shops and restaurants. The constant flow of foot traffic from the subway alone was not enough to make the Plaza safe. It was missing what celebrated urbanist Jane Jacobs calls "eyes" on public space. The new amenities attract customers and diners who in turn act as the "natural proprietors" of the plaza.

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