New plan unveiled for a more pedestrian-friendly Lower East Side

City Terrain East News Urbanism
The transformed Orchard Street. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

The transformed Orchard Street. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

One of Manhattan’s most historic streets could soon become one of its most pedestrian-friendly. That is, if a plan for a revamped Orchard Street from the Lower East Side’s Business Improvement District (BID) is approved by the city. The plan, which was unveiled at a community board meeting last week, calls for curb extensions, bike corals, planters, tree beds, and benches along a six-block stretch of the street. The plan also calls for a pedestrian plaza on adjacent Broome Street.

The pedestrian plaza. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

The pedestrian plaza. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

“As Orchard Street continues to evolve, it finds itself tying together historic neighborhood fabric with large scale real estate development on all sides,” said the BID in its proposal. “As pedestrian and bike traffic on the street continue to grow along with motor vehicle traffic, a safe and welcoming streetscape that maximizes the pedestrian and bike experience while accommodating is more important than ever.” DNA Info reported that the plan follows an interactive planning process that let residents rearrange pieces of the the street on a 16-foot-long replica.

The new Orchard Street. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

The new Orchard Street. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

The plan was reportedly well-received overall, but the BID will continue to study the impact of the pedestrian plaza, which would block a connection for drivers to the Williamsburg Bridge. If approved by the city, the project could begin construction next spring.

The community planning process. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

The community planning process. (Courtesy The Lower East Side Business Improvement District and PilotProjects)

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