The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) today announced that Broadway – from 24th to 25th Streets – is officially open full-time to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists with a new “Shared Streets” redesign that enhances safety while increasing mobility and livability.
“The new Flatiron Shared Street gives an exciting window into the creative change that can come to a single block where pedestrians already outnumber cars by 18 to1,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “With so few cars moving so slowly, pedestrians and cyclists can now safely take up all the space they need. As with our other summer events, Summer Streets and Weekend Walks, we encourage New Yorkers to get out and enjoy our new Shared Street. The good news is that unlike those events, this new configuration is now available to enjoy 24/7.”
The new Flatiron Shared Street, just north of Madison Square, is the first street in New York City to be converted to a full time "Shared Street" configuration, where pedestrians and cyclists share space with slow-moving vehicles. The Shared Street is modeled on what has already proven safe and successful in many cities including Seattle, Pittsburgh, London, and Barçelona. Last year, DOT piloted a large zone of Shared Streets in Lower Manhattan on a single Saturday in August. Building on the success of that pilot, DOT decided to create a full-time Shared Street in the Flatiron District where traffic data indicate it could have a strong impact: on this single block of Broadway, during peak evening hour, pedestrians outnumber vehicles by 2,700 pedestrians to just under 150 vehicles – an 18:1 margin.
While not strictly "car free," Shared Streets are a new and sustainable use of limited urban space. This year, DOT has worked closely with local partners including the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership BID, Madison Square Park Conservancy, and Community Board Five to refine its proposal. In April, Community Board 5 voted in favor on the proposal, in which DOT used its entire toolkit to make a series of dramatic changes to the block, including:
- changing the direction of traffic on Broadway (from southbound to northbound), narrowing driving to a single lane;
- adding bollards and new signage;
- changing the color of the asphalt;
- relocating a Citi Bike station there;
- adding crosswalks and protected bike lanes;
- modifying intersection design to better accommodate pedestrians near the Shared Street;
- and instituting a new 5MPH advisory vehicle speed limit.
"The innovative shared street model that DOT implemented on 24th and Broadway will be a haven to pedestrians," said City Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "This innovative approach, announced first during our Car Free Day on Earth Day this year, is an excellent step in rethinking our street space for more than just cars. I'm interested in seeing the DOT continue to add these innovative approaches to our open spaces, as we continue to catch up to our sister cities around the world in putting pedestrians and cyclists first."
“The Shared Street project is a big win for the Flatiron District”, said Jennifer Brown, Executive Director of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID). “Since opening in 2008, the Flatiron Public Plazas have been our neighborhood’s town squares, serving as popular destinations for residents, employees, and visitors alike. By enhancing pedestrian circulation and safety in and around the plazas at this critical intersection, the Flatiron Shared Street project will continue to enhance the public realm for all. We were delighted to work with NYCDOT, Community Board 5, and the Madison Square Park Conservancy on this innovative project.”
“The Conservancy is thrilled to partner with NYC DOT, NYC Parks, and Flatiron BID on the implementation of Broadway's new prototype shared street,” said Keats Myer, Executive Director of Madison Square Park Conservancy. This project will expand public space, maintain critical vehicle access needs, and enhance pedestrian circulation in concert with the Conservancy's effort to renovate the Eternal Light Monument and create a new Park entrance at 24th Street and Broadway. With the restoration of Madison Square Park in 2001, the creation of the Flatiron Plazas in 2008, and now this shared street design and the eventual permanent reconstruction of the plazas and Worth Square, the Madison Square area is well on its way to having the finest public spaces in Manhattan."
For more information on our Flatiron Shared Streets, please visit http://on.nyc.gov/2o8ng3M. For information on Citi Summer Streets, which runs the next two weekends (August 12 and 19), please visit http://on.nyc.gov/1iOzGzM. For information on Weekend Walks, please visit http://on.nyc.gov/1HdyrMc.