FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 5, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND DOT COMMISSIONER SADIK-KHAN UNVEIL NEW PUBLIC SPACE AT MADISON SQUARE
Combined with New Plazas on Broadway between Times Square and Herald Square, 65,000 Square Feet of Broadway has been Converted for Pedestrian, Bicycle Use
In the Last Year, City has Converted 49 Acres of Vehicular Space into New Recreation Space, Nearly Four Times the Size of the Great Lawn
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today unveiled 41,700 square feet of new public space at Madison Square, bringing new, landscaped pedestrian plazas, bicycle lanes and a safer and simpler traffic pattern at Broadway from 25th to 22nd Streets - one of the largest non-park public space projects undertaken by the Bloomberg Administration. Together with new plazas between Times Square and Herald Square, the projects have converted over 65,000 square feet of former roadbed along Broadway to enhance public life and create a more livable city. The spaces have already filled with pedestrians, tourists, people-watchers and nearby employees and residents enjoying lunch. Citywide, combining all public plazas, medians, bike lanes and other public space projects completed or now in progress, the City has converted 49 acres of former vehicle space for other uses in the last year-an area nearly four times the size of the open space of Central Park's Great Lawn.
"We've recently seen the incredible success of 'Summer Streets,' which gave New Yorkers the opportunity to enjoy increased open space," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We are now applying the same concept year-round by providing more and more venues for people to enjoy new city spaces and patronize city businesses, all while simplifying traffic patterns, encouraging biking, and reducing congestion."
"Projects like these are turning our streets and sidewalks into destinations in and of themselves," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "With Broadway Boulevard and Madison Square, we've made a down-payment on the more sustainable and livable New York City called for in the Mayor's PlaNYC agenda and we're already seeing the results."
The space at Madison Square will complement adjacent Madison Square Park, providing seating at tables and chairs beneath umbrellas. The work, which started in June, also simplifies the crosscurrents of pedestrians, bicyclists, buses and other vehicles.
At the project's center, a significant new plaza in the shape of the Flatiron Building offers over 16,000 square feet of space from which to view one of the world's most photographed landmarks. On Broadway between 22nd and 23rd streets, the two lanes of roadway adjacent to the Flatiron Building have been made into a plaza furnished with seating and tables. Several other pedestrian spaces were created, enhanced or enlarged, using former roadbed. Southbound traffic from Broadway and Fifth Avenue formerly made several splits, crossing 23rd Street in four different streams. The plan eliminates two of those streams, reducing seven combined lanes crossing 23rd Street to just five lanes, improving safety and comfort for those traveling.
The new traffic pattern simplifies the route for the M2, M3 and M5 lines, which will no longer need to turn off of Fifth Avenue to pick up and discharge passengers. New north-south crosswalks also were installed on 23rd Street, and existing crosswalks are now shorter and more direct. For bicyclists, the new, high-visibility bicycle lanes on both Broadway and Fifth Avenue will bridge former gaps. Pedestrian areas are protected by 170 planters weighing 600 or 1,000 pounds and also 43 roughly-hewn granite blocks.
Further uptown, along Broadway between Times Square and Herald Square, DOT recently completed another major pedestrian and plaza project, redesigning the geometry of Broadway from 42nd to 35th Streets and creating new plazas, a protected bike path running along the curbside, and abundant pedestrian space furnished with tables, chairs and benches, and protected by 173 planters. Broadway was reduced to two through-traffic lanes, consistent with its profile at Macy's and south through and beyond Herald Square. Left-and right-turn lanes were established at key intersections. DOT will continue to monitor the effects on traffic in the area in the coming months.
The plazas in both locations feature distinct, lightly-colored epoxied gravel surface treatment that provides the space with a distinct look that sets it apart from the road surface and sidewalk. The City is grateful for the support of the Business Improvement Districts along the corridor, including the Flatiron Partnership, the Madison Square Park Conservancy, the Fashion Center BID, the Times Square Alliance and the 34th Street Partnership, and it looks forward to working with them in the future.
Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna (212) 788-2958
Seth Solomonow/Scott Gastel (DOT) (212) 442-7033
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