By Jill Colvin
CITY HALL — The southern entrance of Grand Central Terminal will soon be a bit more pedestrian friendly.
The Department of Transportation will hold a forum Monday nighy with Community Board 5 to discuss plans for the new Pershing Square pedestrian plaza, which would permanently bar vehicle traffic from the southbound lanes of Park Avenue between East 41st and East 42nd streets — just south of Grand Central.
The Grand Central Partnership has been using the stretch as a temporary plaza outside of Pershing Square Café during the summer months.
The location was selected as a winner of the "NYC Plaza Program" in 2009, which is aimed at making better use of public space.
The Grand Central Partnership describes its vision for the permanent park as "an urban oasis in the heart of midtown."
They envision a thriving plaza, filled with trees, café tables and chairs.
"Once completed, the project will transform the site into a permanent year-round plaza for the benefit of visitors, commuters, and residents of the Grand Central neighborhood," the project description reads.
Dave Roskin, a partnerships spokesman, said that the area is in serious need of public space since there are no parks or seating areas nearby.
"I think it will be a focal point for the neighborhood," Roskin said.
So far, neither the city nor the partnership have come up with any concrete plans about what exactly the space will look like.
An engineering firm and landscape architect were selected by the city in August, but they have been waiting for the public's input before moving forward with a design, Roskin said.
"Before pens are placed to paper, we want to reach out," he said.
Nonetheless, those who work nearby seemed excited to hear that a plan is in the works.
"That would be a welcome change," said Christopher Caoili, 46, who has worked at a tourist information desk across the street from the proposed plaza for the past two years.
Michael Laytin, 28, who lives in the East Village and works nearby, agreed.
"There's not much traffic anyway," he said.
Monday's meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Bartholomew's Church at 109 E. 50th St.
The Transportation Department hopes to have a final design by the end of August 2011 and expects to complete construction by March 2014.