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December 20, 2023
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NYC DOT Kicks off Public Outreach for ‘Smart Curbs’ Pilot, Launches Online Feedback Portal to Reimagine City’s Curb Space

Manhattan’s Upper West Side to become the first ‘Smart Curbs’ neighborhood, a key piece of city’s Curb Management Action Plan to modernize the city’s streets to meet 21st century demands.

NYC DOT to gather feedback on curb-related issues like double parking, truck deliveries, and parking availability through public workshops and online feedback portal.

New York – NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today announced the agency will hold public workshops in early January to inform planning for a ‘Smart Curbs’ pilot on the Upper West Side. The agency also requests New Yorkers to use its online feedback map to share curb management-related problems in the neighborhood. Working in partnership with the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (Columbus Avenue BID) and local stakeholders, this pilot reflects a new, neighborhood-first approach to redesigning the city’s curb space. In September 2023, NYC DOT announced Smart Curbs as part of its Curb Management Action Plan. The action plan represents another step in the Adams administration's efforts to reimagine the use of public space, supporting the goals laid out by the “New” New York Panel's "Making New York Work for Everyone" action plan and Mayor Adams' "PlanNYC: Getting Sustainability Done."

“As our city evolves, it’s clear our curb space no longer reflects New Yorkers’ needs,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Our curbs need to be smarter, and that education is happening through using new methods and technologies that can reduce friction and provide New Yorkers with more usable space. At the same time, this new approach will improve safety and access to small businesses, putting some of our greatest and underappreciated assets to better use.”

“Upper West Siders, we want to hear from you! Through our ‘Smart Curbs’ pilot, NYC DOT will be taking a blank-slate approach to how we allocate our curb space to better meet the demands of today and tomorrow—and make our streets safer for everyone. Your voice is critical in guiding our plan to develop this pilot, which would provide new curb uses like loading zones, bike parking, carshare, public space, and other innovations," said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. "We thank Mayor Adams, the Columbus Avenue BID, and all of our partners for their support on this exiting project.”

NYC DOT invites New Yorkers to give feedback on curb management on the Upper West Side at two upcoming public workshops:

Monday, January 8 - In-Person Workshop

P.S. 9 Sarah Anderson, 100 West 84th Street
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
No advance registration required.

Wednesday, January 10 - Virtual Workshop

Zoom, registration required. Participants can register for the workshop at:
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

New Yorkers can also share their observations on curb management-related issues at any time using the online feedback map.

Map of Smart Curbs pilot area on Manhattan’s Upper West Side
Map of Smart Curbs pilot area on Manhattan’s Upper West Side

Smart Curbs is being piloted on the Upper West Side, bounded by West 86th Street to the north, Central Park West to the east, West 72nd Street to the south, and Broadway to the west. The Upper West Side is one of the densest residential neighborhoods in the United States and has several major commercial streets. This high density and the significant increase in demand for different curb uses make it an ideal location to pilot the Smart Curbs comprehensive curb planning approach. The Upper West Side also has one of the lowest vehicle ownership rates in the United States, with approximately 73% of households not owning a car; the neighborhood's limited curb space must accommodate a diverse range of needs, beyond just vehicle storage.

A drawing of an intersection as seen from above. Pieces of the area along the curb are highlighted in different colors. Transportation access issues such as cargo bike and commercial loading zones and Taxi zones are in orange. Public Realm issues such as street seats, outdoor dining and Food Vendors are in light green. Services and safety such as bioswales, waste containers, daylighting and temporary construction are dark green. Vehicle Storage such as commercial parking, care share parking, electric vehicle charging, micromobility parking, citi bike stations are blue. Circulation and movement such as bus lanes, bike lanes and curb extensions are purple.
A visualization of the variety of curb uses

Smart Curbs could include the implementation of various existing and new policies and technologies such as delivery microhubs and loading zones; curb sensors; Pay-By-Plate meters; short-term parking; and bike parking and corrals in more condensed, defined locations, to make curb access easier and adaptive to community needs.

Through robust public engagement and a data-driven approach, NYC DOT is working to explore new curb uses in a more comprehensive, geographically focused way. Demand for curb space in New York City – from trash collection and bike lanes to truck loading and parking – is increasing. Many factors are driving the increased demand for curb space, including online shopping, food delivery, app-based for-hire vehicles, outdoor dining, waste containerization, and evolving modes of transportation. Smart Curbs and the Curb Management Action Plan are efforts to address the dynamic community needs of today while better preparing the city's streets for the future. Improved management of the curb can improve safety, mobility, access, and the flow of people, goods, and services, while moving the city closer to achieving its sustainability goals.

"The upcoming public workshops in the Upper West Side create a vital opportunity for NYC DOT to work hand-in-hand with the local community,” said Assemblymember Daniel O'Donnell. “This initiative is not only about collecting valuable feedback for the Smart Curb Initiative. It's a broader endeavor, to create a shared vision of our neighborhood, and I'm excited to see what ideas and insights emerge from this collaboration."

"Credit to DOT for holding workshops to gather feedback from the public on the Smart Curbs pilot," said Council Member Gale A. Brewer. "There's no question that reimagined curbs will be a great benefit to the city. Thoughtful community engagement is essential to the program's success. I encourage West Siders to attend the upcoming workshops."

"We’re thrilled to have the Smart Curbs pilot coming to Columbus Avenue and the Upper West Side,” said Nicole Paynter, Executive Director of the Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for our community to explore innovative solutions that will enhance safety and mobility for everyone in the area. We encourage all residents and local businesses to share their ideas and feedback, so we can ensure that this project is a success and benefits the community to the fullest."

“The American Museum of Natural History is committed to working with the Department of Transportation to ensure the curb lanes and sidewalks around the Museum are safe, accessible, and functional for our visitors and members of the surrounding community,” said Dan Slippen, vice president, Government and Corporate Relations at the American Museum of Natural History. “We look forward to serving as a location for this forward-thinking pilot.”

"New York City desperately needs a smart and modern curb management program,” said Carl Mahaney, Director of Open Plans' Streetopia Upper West Side. “In every corner of the city, this incredibly valuable real estate is languishing as free, long-term storage for private vehicles. Meanwhile, congestion, traffic violence, climate change, and public space needs intensify. The Upper West Side’s diverse needs and streetscapes make it an ideal place to host New York’s first foray into the type of strategic curb reform that has helped other cities better utilize this public space. We look forward to this initial pilot pointing the way toward impactful curb reform across all five boroughs.”