Posts tagged with "Pedestrian Plazas":

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Fordham Plaza, one of New York’s busiest transit hubs, is now one of the city’s most pedestrian-friendly

The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) recently unveiled the redesigned, ultra pedestrian-friendly Fordham Plaza. Vision Zero's mandate to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities guided the $34 million renovation of the north Bronx transit hub. Bounded by Webster Avenue, East Fordham Road, and East 189th Street, the Grimshaw Architects–designed Fordham Plaza now boasts fresh plantings, as well as stationary and movable seating elements to provide a respite for the nearly 80,000 pedestrians per day that travel along Fordham Road. True to the plan released in 2014, the plaza features a new market canopy, kiosks, a cafe, and—rare for New York—a public toilet. The redesign was carried out in collaboration with the NYC Plaza Program, a NYC DOT program that has spearheaded the creation of 69 plazas, 16 of which are in development or currently under construction. A 40 percent reduction in asphalt created more space, and more safety, for pedestrians at Fordham Plaza. The plaza now sports shorter pedestrian crosswalks, "direct" crosswalks that discourage jaywalking, and a 25 percent increase in pedestrian-only space. These interventions should improve access to Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus, right across the street. Fordham Plaza primary program is transit: 12 local and express bus lines, as well as the fourth-busiest Metro-North station. Bus stops were redesigned to improve pick up, drop off, and the loop-around, especially around East 189th Street and Webster Avenue, that guides buses off towards Westchester County, Manhattan, and all over the Bronx. OneNYC Plaza Equity Program will provide the Fordham Road BID with funding to maintain the plaza. $10 million came from a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant, and $2 million from the state Department of Transportation.
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In the Bronx, delays seem interminable for long-anticipated Roberto Clemete Plaza

"The Hub," in the Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven, couldn't be better named: it's the center of commercial activity in the South Bronx, and one of the busiest intersections in the city. As its dense avenues are packed with shoppers and commuters, the city moved to expand and improve Roberto Clemente Plaza, a public space that's a respite from the hectic nearby streets. In 2008, the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) upgraded streets and public space in the area, improving walkability with 15,000 additional square feet of sidewalks, pedestrian islands, and streets partially reclaimed for pedestrians. As part of these improvements, the NYCDOT remade Roberto Clemente Plaza, at Third Avenue and 149th Street. Extra street space was repurposed into a temporary pedestrian plaza with the addition of paint, planters, and gravel. In 2010, NYCDOT passed the torch to the NYC Department of Design & Construction (DDC) Design Excellence Program to create a permanent Roberto Clemente Plaza. The DDC partnered with Brooklyn-based Garrison Architects to design the plaza. Renderings show a curved green strip, lined with benches, that lets plaza visitors take in the streetscape. It's been over two years, however, since the project with an 18 month timeline began, and there's no firm end date in sight. The DDC estimates that construction will last through 2017 (though its website says construction will be complete by August 2016). Neighbors are furious. The constant construction has caused declining revenues for businesses bordering the plaza, and the ever-present construction equipment is an eyesore, residents and business owners claim. In conversation with Streetsblog, Third Avenue BID Director Steven Fish summed up the community's attitude towards the project. “General consensus is that this is a hellhole and there’s no end in sight.” The DDC claims to be "working diligently" with the contractor to minimize further delays.  
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Philadelphia’s Bergmann Associates reveal plans for Grays Ferry Triangle pedestrian plaza on South Street

Philadelphia's South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) Grays Ferry Avenue Triangles Committee is making moves on a new plaza at 23rd Street at South Street. This plaza follows the well-trod path of its predecessors, touting amenities like seating and trees, as well as building South Philly's neighborhood identity and civic pride. The Grays Ferry Triangle Project, presented at DesignPhiladelphia this month, will convert the area into a pedestrian plaza with cafe seating, a bike docking station, and benches made of local Wissahickon schist. Concentric cobblestone circles will help manage stormwater runoff. Philadelphia's Bergman Associates drafted the plaza design. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPWJRNk1SRA A major feature of this plaza is a seven-foot-wide drinking fountain. Erected by the Women’s Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1901, the fountain provided free drinking water for horses on the top tier and dogs on the lower level. Grays Ferry Avenue Triangles Committee stipulated that in the design there be enough room to sit "campfire style" around the fountain. SOSNA will use the design to solicit funding to implement the project. Consequently, there is no construction timeline in place at this time.
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Neighbors give mixed feedback on pedestrian plazas near Penn Station

Community Board 5 is experimenting with a temporary pedestrian plaza and sidewalk expansion around Penn Station to manage foot traffic around one of the busiest rail stations in the world. A guiding vision behind these projects is to link Penn Station and Madison Square Garden to the more pleasant Herald Square and Greeley Square area. Snøhetta designed the master plan for the area while Brooklyn's W Architecture & Landscape Architecture, working with Production Glue and in partnership with Vornado Realty Trust, designed Plaza33 on 33rd Street between 7th and 8th avenues. The plaza is intended to create a smoother gradient between the street and the sidewalk to streamline pedestrian flow. The trial period for Plaza33 began July 19th and runs through October 11th. So far, Plaza33 has received positive feedback from Community Board 5's constituents. Street furniture, including hybrid benches and planters, offers a place for pedestrians to relax and socialize. Public art by Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein enlivens the corridor, while community programming, including yoga and film screenings, are planned to activate the space. The West 32nd Street sidewalk expansion transforms the space more minimally but is far more controversial. In principle, residential and commercial stakeholders on the target blocks strongly support the plazas. In practice, however, the re-arrangement of space creates conflicts for users. Loading zones on 32nd Street were reduced by 500 feet. Trash collection, boarding for the M4 bus, and services for residential tenants compete for only 180 feet of loading space. Vornado is working with property owners and renters on the block to mitigate the impact of reduced street space. It remains to be seen whether these problems can be resolved to the satisfaction of all (or most) parties before the end of the trial period.  
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The roster of cities across the world going car-free is growing, joining Paris, Stockholm and Dublin

The concept of car-free city centers is fast spreading throughout Europe as increasingly gridlocked thoroughfares render the private car intolerable. Brussels, Belgium, has announced the development of pedestrian boulevards in its city center—with a ban on cars effective from June 29, 2015—where the city will stage recreational and cultural activities throughout the summer. A new traffic circulation plan will be test-driven, literally, for an 8-month trial period, during which the city will submit a request for an urban planning redevelopment permit. In the meantime, expect the development of eight distinct temporary spaces to enhance the appeal of a car-free city—from a welcome space with picnic tables, a dedicated area for rollerskaters and bikers, a stage at the Place de la Bourse, and a game area for kids at the intersection of Marché aux Poulets street. Stockholm, Sweden, well-reputed for having Europe’s highest share of clean vehicles, will host a one-day car ban on September 19 to galvanize citizens to envision life in the city without four wheels. Automobiles will be barred from the streets of Gamla Stan, the partially pedestrian “old city” of Stockholm, to the perpetually thronged Sergel’s Square, as well as roads around the central station and some of the city’s surrounding bridges. The ban is the Stockholm's contribution to European Mobility Week, a project by the European Commission that seeks to promote sustainable transportation. Over 200 cities will participate this year, touting various green initiatives. For instance, Ridderkerk, in the Netherlands, will hold Groene Voetstappen from September 14–18, during which children will be expected to walk and cycle to school. Meanwhile, Mosfellsbær, Iceland, will start a widespread distribution of bike maps, create new bike trails near Mount Esja and Reykjavik city, and launch a pilot project offering tourist bus services between the main attractions of the municipality. Appetite to reappropriate the roads has spread even to Mumbai, where car-free Sundays on a scenic, oceanside road are a much-anticipated affair on roads that are ordinarily lethal to cyclists and pedestrians, some of them lacking sidewalks and choked with vendors or parked cars. Given the proliferation of cities subscribing to car-free ideals—even those lacking public transportation networks sufficient to replace the private car—New York City’s passivity on this front becomes even more stark. On June 18, Mayor de Blasio announced a ban on cars at Central Park north of 72nd street and the West Drive of Prospect Park starting June 29 and July 6 respectively, but these vehicle scale-backs are minor in comparison, especially for one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the USA. New York does set aside half a Sunday three times a year for its popular Summer Streets event where Park Avenue from Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park is temporarily shut to cars. This year's event kicked off over the weekend with a large slip-n-slide in Foley Square among other attractions.
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Norwegian Invasion: Norsk design and architecture is having a moment

When the words “Scandinavian Design” come up, most people quickly think about Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. But Norway is no slouch, either. Recently, the nation's designers have been drumming up noise in the worlds of furniture, product design, and architecture. A string of exhibitions, a master plan for New York’s Times Square, and a robust program of roadside pavilions and viewing platforms highlight this Norsk moment. Leading the way are architects Snøhetta, who have been on quite the streak in the last year, most recently gaining commissions to master plan Penn Station and Times Square, just ten blocks from each other in New York. While their Times Square design isn’t the firm's most dramatic work—indeed, it's intended to be a subtle backdrop to the chaotic public space—but it should be a welcome, nuanced addition to the commercial free-for-all that includes Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. Just a few blocks to the west—towards the Hudson River—the Royal Norwegian Consulate General showed off the country’s design prowess at a recent series of events. At Wanted Design, Calm, Cool and Collected: New Designs from Norway, a booth full of Norsk people and treasures, showcased the subtle use of wood characteristic of Scandinavian design. The up-and-coming studios on display included A-Form, Stokke Austad, Anderssen & Voll, Lars Beller Fjetland, Everything Elevated, Kristine Five Melvær, and Sverre Uhnger. Also sponsored by the Norwegian government was Insidenorway at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), which hosted a group of classic Norwegian brands: Figgjo, Mandal Veveri, Røros Tweed, and VAD. Plates by Figgjo were offered in three styles and featured an elegant flat base and flared edge. Røros Tweed showed off textiles by other famous Norwegians—Anderssen & Voll, Snøhetta, and Bjarne Melgaard. At Collective Design, Oslo- and Tokyo-based Fuglen Gallery showcased an assortment of objects both new and old, alongside work by Norwegian artist Arne Lindaas. The eclectic assortment showed the thematic extension of Norwegian modernism into the 21st century, encompassing much of the iconic work with new, up-and-coming designers. In 2014, Norwegian Icons was curated by Fuglen and Blomqvist at Openhouse Gallery in New York, and showcased the Midcentury design that peaked in Norway around 1950–1970. This exhibition actually continued the tradition of Norway’s promotional shows on the international stage, while also setting up some context for the other shows. It is not just international exhibitions and commissions that have drawn attention to Norway’s strong design culture. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration famously commissions its infrastructure to architects. Across the country, there are points of architectural interest, many of which are located in scenic areas. Most famously, the Trollstigen National Tourist Route has six stunning overlooks. Besides Snøhetta’s iconic designs such as the Oslo Opera House, there are architects like Fantastic Norway and Reiulf Ramstad who are consistently producing top work. At institutions like Fuglen, 0047, and the Oslo School of Architecture & Design, intellectual communities thrive, fostering a strong community of young designers like MMW and Atelier Oslo. The city will get an additional cultural boost during the 2016 Oslo Triennale, curated by New York–based team at After Belonging Agency, a group of five Spanish architects, curators and scholars. Take a look at some of Norway's top new design in the gallery below.    
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Meet Elmar, the giant pedestrian pasted onto a New York City pedestrian plaza by artist JR

The artist JR described his latest gargantuan artwork best in a Tweet sent out this morning, "People walked on him all day without noticing him...now he is on the cover and everyone else is in the shadow." That cover is the new special issue of The New York Times Magazine, which features the larger-than-life pedestrian completely filling up the Flatiron pedestrian plaza next to Madison Square Park. https://twitter.com/tminsberg/status/590916655003369474 The cover and the artwork were announced this morning by Times Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jake Silverstein, who explained that the plaza was just photographed with a helicopter. The magazine's Director of Photography Kathy Ryan described the cover as in terms as big as the artwork itself, "Our biggest, wildest, most fun cover ever." JR is known for his larger-than-life pasted-paper faces and bodies that often appear on the sides of buildings and other monumental objects. Over time, the images fade and disappear. "Last month the New York Times Magazine...reached out to me to think about a project together," JR said on his website. He had been working on his Immigration series and chose to continue the theme. "So, we started looking for people who arrived less than a year ago," JR continued. "We pasted Elmar, 20 years old who came from Azerbaijan, on the floor of Flat Iron Plaza in New York City." The 150-foot-tall Elmar is now on view in the plaza and the new issue of The New York Times Magazine will hit newsstands this Sunday.
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Thomas Balsley’s geometric pedestrian plaza reclaims roadway for neighbors in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

After years of planning and workshops, Brooklyn's Community Board 2 recently approved a redesign of Putnam Triangle Plaza in Clinton Hill. The $3.75 million project, led by Thomas Balsley Associates, will significantly upgrade and expand the existing plaza that opened in 2011. The new space comes with a gray geometric paving pattern, new lighting, benches, tables, chairs, and bike racks, along with twice as many plantings and trees. There will also be new space for public art and events. The green light for the project comes months after Thomas Balsley Associates presented four options for the site to community members. That was the final stage in the plaza's public review process that had become notably heated; some local stakeholders decried the current plaza and the expensive plan to expand it. DNAinfo reported that the project will be primarily funded by the federal Transportation Enhancement Program with money also coming from New York City's PlanNYC and some local officials. Construction on the plaza is slated to start summer 2016 and last about one year.
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This roadway in New York City’s Washington Heights is being replaced by a pedestrian plaza with playfully meandering paving

New York City recently broke ground on a 14,000-square-foot public plaza in Washington Heights with a very wavy paving design. The Plaza de Las Americas  is intended to reference town squares found in the Caribbean, Central and South America. It was designed for the city by the RBA Group, a landscape architecture and engineering consulting firm. The plaza's design does feel reminiscent of the monochromatic wavy designs of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx like the 1970 Copacabana Promenade, itself influenced by the Portuguese paving patterns of the 1930s. In more modern times, the design also reminds us of Bjarke Ingels' Superkilen park in Copenhagen. Plaza de Las Americas will replace a block of roadway between a grocery store and an old theatre. The city says the plaza is designed to enhance the local markets that currently operate on the site by offering water and electrical system to vendors' booths. The plaza will also include new trees, benches, "pedestrian scale lighting," cafe seating, an information kiosk, and an artsy fountain by Ester Partegás. When completed early next year, the space will host public events including concerts, dance shows, art and craft fairs, performances, and poetry readings. [Correction: An earlier version of this story did not give proper credit to the RBA Group which designed the plaza. We regret the error.]
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Los Angeles transformed this alley in North Hollywood into a polka dotted pedestrian plaza

The first project in LADOT's People Street program has opened in a former alley near corner of Magnolia and Lankershim Boulevards in North Hollywood. The project, called NoHo Plaza, has been repurposed with cafe tables, chairs, umbrellas, a colorful surface treatment (which looks almost exactly like the dotted green and gold surface of Silverlake's Sunset Triangle Plaza), and perimeter planters. People Streets allows community groups to partner with the city to make public spaces. Each project type—including parklets, plazas, and bicycle corrals—offers a preapproved kit of parts containing packaged configurations to choose from. NoHo's kit of parts was supplemented by technical design (road marking, signage, signals, etc) from LADOT. According to LA Streets Blog, the park cost only $57,000. The plaza is managed and maintained by the NoHo BID. Two more plazas are about to open in Leimert Park and Pacoima, while four parklets are set to open this summer throughout the city. According to LADOT Assistant Pedestrian Coordinator Valerie Watson, all of People Streets' inaugural projects are running ahead of schedule.
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Archtober Building of the Day #28> Snøhetta’s Times Square Reconstruction

Archtober Building of the Day #28 Times Square Reconstruction Broadway and Seventh Avenue (West 42nd to West 47th Streets) Snøhetta “Looking for calm within the chaos,” was how Nick Koster of Snøhetta, described the firm’s design for the Times Square Reconstruction. Just then a topless woman dressed as a super hero sashayed past the Archtober tour group, which contained about a dozen school children. Snøhetta’s plan for Times Square is successful because it doesn’t assert itself as a piece of architecture or design. Instead, it serves as a foil for the craziness around it. At one of the brightest and loudest intersections in the world their goal was to create a space, “that’s open and flexible and can be used by a lot of different user groups for a lot of things,” said Koster. Broadway and 7th Avenue form a bowtie-shaped, four-acre space as they cross between 42 and 47 streets. Snøhetta’s challenge was to design a public space along the closed two-acre portion of Broadway. The constraints were many and various, from the “guests of the street,” as the city calls the utilities like Con Edison and Verizon whose cables lie beneath Broadway, to the Shuttle Train subway tunnel, which at some points is just three inches below the sidewalk. To unify the new public space the firm chose an iconic paving scheme anchored with fifty-foot stone benches, which are not yet installed. The dingy gum-covered sidewalk was demolished. What was once the street was raised to sidewalk level, and separated from the cross streets with a new granite curb. The former street and sidewalk were covered with a pattern of quartz-finished pavers punctuating by stainless steel bolts. “We wanted something really subtle that captures the light,” said Koster. Claire Felman, of Snøhetta, explained that the bolts are reminiscent of the marquis lights of “the great white way,” an older iteration of Times Square. Koster said a major objective was “the act of de-cluttering.” Events and vendors who use the plaza need electricity, but Snøhetta wanted to do away with the droning generators and wires that line the pavement. The solution was subterranean wiring built into the benches. The monolithic benches are also intended to direct the flow of pedestrian traffic and create quieter sub-spaces, as Koster put it, “a place of rest that people need.”
Tyler J. Kelley is a freelance journalist living in New York City. He also teaches printmaking at Parsons The New School for Design. Find more of his writing at the-jetty.com
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New plan unveiled for a more pedestrian-friendly Lower East Side

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. “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 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.