Artist Cekis’ “Street Patterns” is a key element of the Downtown Brooklyn Shared Street initiative + DBP’s Public Realm Action Plan to reclaim streets for pedestrians and cyclists and upgrade streetscapes.
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) in partnership with New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is installing an unprecedented number and square footage of ground murals – “Asphalt Art” – to the neighborhood’s ever-expanding Shared Street network. NYC-based Chilean street art pioneer Nelson Rivas AKA Cekis, was selected to create the vast and vibrant streetscape that incorporates new planters, granite blocks, bike corrals, and street furniture. Cekis’ work – entitled Street Patterns – will adorn over 17,550sf across existing and expanded Shared Streets, plus Jay Street pedestrian and bike corral spaces – enhancing the public realm, visually connecting the area’s core streets, and increasing pedestrian safety.
These improvements are part of DBP’s Downtown Brooklyn Public Realm Action Plan, created in partnership with design firms Bjarke Ingels Group and WXY architecture + urban design. The plan puts forth a series of transformative measures that prioritize people and the environment, and will take Downtown Brooklyn’ streetscape from a dated central business district to a citywide model of designing a downtown for people.
DBP, in collaboration with the NYC DOT Art Program, issued an RFP in March 2022 seeking designs for ground murals that would enliven the neighborhood and increase pedestrian safety by visually delineating pedestrian spaces from roadways. Following review by the DOT Art Advisory Committee, DBP selected celebrated street artist Cekis, who has worked extensively throughout Brooklyn, including Into the Wild, Brooklyn (2016), a mural on the underpass of the BQE which acts as the Atlantic Avenue gateway to Brooklyn Bridge Park
Also known as a “pedestrian-priority” streets, Shared Streets are designed to slow travel speeds where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritized, and motorists are treated as guests. Necessary vehicular access is maintained for loading, carting, parking, and other services. Slow vehicular speeds are maintained through traffic calming measures, signage, street markings, and the addition of public space amenities in expanded pedestrian spaces. The Shared Street model was launched in Downtown Brooklyn on Pearl and Willoughby Streets in 2019 and is being expanded across blocks in the core of Downtown Brooklyn.