The CityBench program is an initiative to increase the amount of public seating on New York City’s streets. DOT is installing attractive and durable benches around the city, particularly at bus stops, retail corridors, and in areas with high concentrations of senior citizens. These benches will make streets more comfortable for transit riders and pedestrians, especially for those who are older and disabled. Anyone can request a bench, and anyone can use one. DOT encourages all New Yorkers to recommend locations for benches on the DOT right-of-way (not private property). If you know of a good location that meets the requirements below, please complete the below form.
In order to support walking and transit, priority bench locations include:
- Bus stops without shelters
- Sidewalks near transit facilities (e.g. subway stations)
- Senior centers
- Hospitals and community health centers
- Commercial zones and shopping districts
- Municipal facilities (e.g., public libraries, schools)
The benches are for use by the general public and are not restricted to tenants of any particular building or patrons of any particular business. Benches cannot be used to displace street vendors.
For safety and engineering reasons, there are some base requirements for where benches can go:
- For benches with backs placed along the curb, the minimum sidewalk width is 12 feet from building to curb.
- For backless benches placed along the curb, the minimum sidewalk width is 14 feet.
- For benches placed against a building, the minimum sidewalk width is 10 feet, six inches.
- Benches cannot be placed directly opposite a building entrance or cellar door.
- Where there is a sidewalk café, the sidewalk width is measured from the outside of the café to the curb. The minimum widths listed above apply in these cases.
DOT covers the costs of installing and maintaining the bench. The CityBench program is funded by a $2.4 million Bus Livability Grant from the Federal Transit Administration to further their goal to "help integrate transit into a community through neighborhood improvements and enhancements to transit facilities or services, or make improvements to areas adjacent to public transit facilities that may facilitate mobility demands of transit users or support other infrastructure investments that enhance the use of transit for the community."
If for some reason, such as construction activity or changes to bus stop locations, a bench needs to be removed or relocated, please email email@example.com or call 311. DOT will replace damaged benches. Property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks around benches clean and cleared of snow as required by law.