FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2005
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES INTERIM PLAN TO REOPEN PARK ROW TO CITY BUSES AND PEDESTRIAN TRAFFIC
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced an interim plan to reopen Park Row from Chatham Square to City Hall Park beginning May 15th to city buses and pedestrian traffic, which will significantly improve access between Chinatown and the rest of Lower Manhattan. As part of the plan, the City will reopen Park Row to up to 200 buses a day - this represents about one-third of the pre-September 11th weekday bus traffic and two-thirds of weekend volume. Buses will be required to pass through a New York City Police Department (NYPD) checkpoint. After 90 days, the NYPD will assess the advisability of opening Park Row to additional bus traffic. Park Row and the area surrounding 1 Police Plaza have been closed since late 2001 due to the sensitive nature of police headquarters, and the closure has affected city bus service that terminates at City Hall Park and serve much of the east side. The closure also affected the residents of Chatham Green and Chatham towers, two apartment buildings located directly on Park Row, making the area unfriendly to pedestrian traffic and forcing residents who drive to go through a police checkpoint. Assembly Speak Sheldon Silver, Councilmembers Margarita Lopez and Alan J. Gerson, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Chinatown community leaders attended the announcement at City Hall.
"The Chinatown community has more than shouldered their part of the burden in keeping New York City safe from further terrorism," said Mayor Bloomberg. "After the September 11th attacks, Chinatown, a community that relies heavily on the tourism, was especially hard hit. Prior to September 11th, Park Row was essentially a high-speed connector to the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Broadway from the Bowery and the rest of the Lower East Side. To remediate the problem, we have developed a interim plan that will provide direct access between Chinatown and the City Hall Park area while simultaneously maintaining or improving security for 1 Police Plaza. We recognize that these improvements are a long time in coming and the fact that we can begin to return one of the most security sensitive thoroughfares in New York to normalcy in a post-September 11th world is evidence of the spectacular resilience of New Yorkers."
"Reopening Park Row to bus and pedestrian traffic is another encouraging step, yet there remains more to do in our united effort to bring back Lower Manhattan bigger and stronger than ever," said Assembly Speaker Silver. "Our actions are being noticed, our voices are being heard and our spirit to succeed has never burned brighter."
"The decision by the Mayor to open Park Row speaks to a sound and solid commitment to the economic health of Lower Manhattan and Chinatown, while unequivocally protecting our safety and security for years to come," said Councilmember Margarita Lopez.
"I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his responsiveness to the needs and concerns of the Chinatown and Downtown communities," said Councilmember Alan J. Gerson. "This action shows that with good government, this City can address both the security and the daily livability needs of our neighborhoods. These communities lived through the tragic events of 9/11 and remain committed to their neighborhood and the City. Our downtown community will serve as an economic and cultural engine for the rebuilding effort and today's announcement marks the foundation of Chinatown's and Lower Manhattan's continued renaissance. Again, our communities thank the Mayor for both his recent signing of Local Law 24 and his swift action."
"This plan intelligently accommodates security and improved transportation simultaneously," said Commissioner Kelly.
In addition, the City is working closely with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) to develop a long-term plan to improve traffic and the pedestrian environment on and around Park Row. These planned improvements include moving the police checkpoint at Chatham Square to allow unimpeded access for residents of Chatham Green and Chatham Square, and a hardening of the northern façade of 1 Police Plaza through the construction of a blast wall along the eastern half of Park Row. This wall will double as a pedestrian ramp which will connect the elevated plaza in between 1 Police Plaza and the Municipal Building with Pearl Street. This new pedestrian amenity will greatly enhance pedestrian's connection to Chinatown from the City Hall Park area by providing a direct route to Chatham Square, the heart of Chinatown.
Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
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