Pedestrians

Broadway

Safety and Access Improvements for Union Square North

DOT recently completed a redesign of the streets along the north, east and west sides of Union Square to improve the streets and sidewalks surrounding Union Square, bringing safety enhancements to one of the city's busiest and most popular destinations while making Union Square Park safer, more accessible and more inviting for residents and visitors.

DOT worked in consultation with local residents, the Union Square Partnership, and the Union Square Greenmarket to design this project. Read the project description Read the press release

reNEWable Times Square: Designing Temporary Surface Treatments

A winning design for has been selected that will refresh and revive the streetscape designs currently at the Times Square pedestrian plazas while DOT moves forward with the separate design process for the area's permanent capital reconstruction project. Construction on the permanent plazas is expected in 2012.

Submitted by Brooklyn-based artist Molly Dilworth, the selected design is composed of a graphical representation of NASA's infrared satellite data of Manhattan. Titled Cool Water, Hot Island, the artist's concept focuses on the urban heat-island effect, where cities tend to experience warmer temperatures than rural settings. The proposed design's color palette of striking blues and whites reflects more sunlight and absorb less heat - improving the look of these popular pedestrian plazas while making them more comfortable to sit in. The color and patterns evoke water, suggesting a river flowing through the center of Times Square, and they also provide a compelling visual counterpoint to the reds, oranges and yellows of the area's signature marquees and billboards.

DOT received 150 submissions for designs to replace the one currently used along the five pedestrian along Broadway from 47th to 42nd Streets. The winning design was selected by a jury composed of representatives from the DOT, Times Square Alliance, the Mayor's Office and the Design Commission as well as an outside artist as an advisor. Support for the winning artist is provided by donations made to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. The Mayor's Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting innovative public-private partnerships and projects such as those of the DOT. Read the press release about the winning design. Download renderings of the winning design. (pdf) Read the press release about the competition.

Photos of Cool Water, Hot Island

For larger versions of these images please see DOT's Cool Water, Hot Island photoset on Flickr. These photos are courtesy of the Times Square Alliance.

About the Green Light for Midtown Project

Green Light for Midtown is a major initiative in the City's efforts to improve mobility and safety. DOT began implementation in late May 2009, following Mayor Bloomberg's announcement of the project in February 2009. The work created new pedestrian areas on Broadway in Times Square (47th to 42nd Streets) and Herald Square (35th to 33rd Streets). Extensive safety improvements were also made along the Broadway corridor between Columbus Circle and Madison Square. >Watch a short video about the Greenlight for Midtown Project:

The project was based on a feasibility analysis that indicated it would improve traffic flow on Sixth and Seventh Avenue and improve traffic safety along Broadway. Both before and after implementing Green Light for Midtown as a pilot, DOT collected extensive data on travel times, traffic volumes, pedestrian volumes and traffic accidents in the months just prior and just following project implementation. According to this data, the project is delivering on its expectations.

DOT collected and analyzed extensive data from GPS units in taxis to understand the impacts on this project for travel in and around midtown. Findings show:

  • Travel speeds for northbound trips throughout West Midtown improved 17% from fall 2008-2009, compared with 8% in East Midtown.
  • Travel speeds for southbound trips in West Midtown fell by 2% while East Midtown showed an increase of 3%.
  • The speed of eastbound trips increased by 5% and westbound trips by 9% over the same time period.
  • Bus travel speeds increased by 13% on Sixth Avenue and fell by 2% on Seventh Avenue.

Safety has also been vastly improved as a result of this project.

  • Injuries to motorists and passengers in the project area are down 63%.
  • Pedestrian injuries are down 35%.
  • 80% fewer pedestrians are walking in the roadway in Times Square.

And the project has had additional benefits as well.

  • 74% of New Yorkers surveyed by the Times Square Alliance agree that Times Square has improved dramatically over the last year.
  • The number of people walking along Broadway and 7th Avenue in Times Square is up 11% and pedestrian volume is up 6% in Herald Square.

Based on these findings, Mayor Bloomberg has decided to make these changes permanent. DOT will begin a capital project to design and build the plazas and corridor treatments with permanent, high quality materials. Read the Green Light for Midtown Evaluation Report Check out photos of the complete project

Before and After Images

For larger versions of these images please see DOT's Green Light for Midtown photoset on Flickr.

Columbus Circle

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Broadway between Columbus Circle and Times Square

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Times Square

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Herald Square

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