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Vision Zero: Mayor Announces Opening Of New Pedestrian And Cyclist Route Along Park Row, Easing Access Across Lower Manhattan

June 22, 2018

Changes modify the restricted access nearest One Police Plaza on Park Row, a vital connector from Chinatown to City Hall and Lower Manhattan that has been largely closed since 2001

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that Park Row in Lower Manhattan had officially opened this week to pedestrian and bicycle access in newly dedicated and designed space.   Vehicular traffic on Park Row has been limited since 2001; the redesign includes a new two way bike lane, new pedestrian space and Wayfinding signage to direct tourists to the many attractions of Chinatown and Lower Manhattan.  NYC DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez, NYPD Counter Terrorism Executive Officer Inspector Jeffery Schiff, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, State Senator Brian Kavanagh, Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, and Council Member Margaret Chin joined in today’s ribbon cutting.

“Park Row long served as the best and fastest route between lower Manhattan and Chinatown, and for the first time since 2001, we are fully re-opening the street for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We thank the elected officials of lower Manhattan and Chinatown for focusing our attention on how we could make these changes effectively – and to the partnership of DOT and the NYPD to redesign a street that could be both functional and secure.”

“For years, Chinatown residents, advocates and elected officials have asked that we find the way to ease access to Park Row, maintaining safety while also dramatically increasing mobility and accessibility for thousands of cyclists, pedestrians and bus riders,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.  “We worked cooperatively with the NYPD, and added to the high-impact changes we made last year on Park Row, added critical new protected bike lanes and safer pedestrian crossings near City Hall.”

This New York City Department of Transportation project, implemented in coordination with the NYPD, will help reconnect the Chinatown and Civic Center areas that have been somewhat physically separated since 9/11. 

DOT began preliminary work on Park Row from Worth Street to Frankfort Street last Fall after consulting with local Community Boards and stakeholders and substantially completion the project earlier this months. This portion of Park Row, nearly a half-mile in length, now includes  10,000 square feet of new pedestrian space and a two-way protected bike path. 

This project successfully addresses the Chinatown community’s long-term efforts to get the City to consider opening up further access along Park Row to connect the neighborhood with the rest of Lower Manhattan.  Park Row has been closed to vehicular traffic other than emergency vehicles and MTA buses since 9/11. 

As part of the project, DOT resurfaced a section of the roadway in preparation for the project and NYPD relocated protective barriers along the corridor to allow for the access while maintaining the necessary security for One Police Plaza. DOT also installed new Wayfinding signage on both ends of the Park Row project to further integrate the new bike and pedestrian space into the area and guide visitors.  DOT’s Streetlighting Division transformed lighting in the area to brighter and more energy-efficient LED bulbs.  The NYPD supported the efforts by relocating or removing cement barriers, unused guard booths, shipping containers and some planters.  Service on the M9 and M103 MTA buses was not affected during or after construction.

DOT has developed preliminary plans to connect the eventual Park Row bike path with the existing bike network via Frankfort Street, including the newly completed protected lane adjacent to City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge. On the north end of the project, DOT is studying connections to Chatham Square and the existing bike path along East Broadway in Chinatown.

“We have been anticipating this day for a long time,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez.  “Plagued with traffic congestion and burdensome restrictions since the aftermath of 9/11, Park Row will now be expanded to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists alike. The improvements unveiled today are a culmination of the tireless work of Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg and the New York Police Department. Importantly, I want to thank all the community groups that have consistently advocated for improved transportation at Park Row—today’s milestone achievement could not have been possible without their sustained efforts.”

“Lower Manhattan is known for its unique neighborhoods — but it’s important that while they each have a distinct feel, they stay interconnected. We must balance our city’s need for serious security infrastructure with preserving walkable, livable neighborhoods,” State Senator Brian Kavanagh said. “In the aftermath of 9/11, our communities faced real security concerns. Today, we still do, but I’m glad the City has re-examined this critical artery between Chinatown, the Lower East Side, and Lower Manhattan with fresh eyes and found ways to open up Park Row while protecting our neighborhoods. This street redesign shows that when city agencies, elected officials, and our communities work together, we can find a solution that works for everyone. I’d like to especially acknowledge Representative Nydia Velazquez, Council Member Margaret Chin, and the Chinatown community who made redesigning Park Row a true priority, and I’d like to thank the dedicated staff at the DOT and NYPD who made this possible, along with the community boards and neighborhood residents who advocated for these changes.”

“Manhattan’s Chinatown is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in all of New York City. As such, it is critical for Chinatown to be connected to the rest of the community. Opening Park Row to cyclists and pedestrians will help to make sure that all New Yorkers and visitors have the opportunity to explore Chinatown and all it has to offer,” said Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou. We also can’t forget that Chinatown is also residential. Moving forward, we must work with nearby residents to ensure that traffic is well managed and their concerns are heard. Thank you to the Department of Transportation for your work on this issue, and I look forward to discussing the future of Park Row with my colleagues in the weeks and months ahead.”

"Park Row should be a welcoming, safe, walkable and bike-able gateway from Chinatown and Two Bridges to the Civic Center, the Seaport area, and the rest of lower Manhattan," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I thank the Department of Transportation for taking on this project."

"Today marks the culmination of a longstanding community-wide effort to bring back Park Row, a critical transportation artery connecting Chinatown to the rest of Lower Manhattan, for public use," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. "By opening up a two-way protected bike lane and 10,000 square feet of brand new pedestrian space, the City is delivering on its commitment to enhance transportation access, encourage more New Yorkers to use greener ways to get around, and connect neighborhoods – all while meeting critical safety and security needs. I thank Mayor De Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg, NYPD and all the community stakeholders who have helped make our shared dream for expanded access to this thoroughfare a reality."

“Park Row remains an important artery for our community much like prior to 9/11 times, today's new initiative is a right step toward that direction and we look forward to working for further improvements to enhance our accessibility and connectivity,” said Chinatown Partnership Executive Director Wellington Z. Chen. "I want to thank everyone involved for getting this portion of the work done as we look forward to more pedestrians and riders having easier access and better connection."

"We've long-supported the efforts to reconnect Lower Manhattan and Chinatown through this major thoroughfare.  This new access for bicyclists and pedestrian access will do wonders for both neighborhoods," said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York.

“On behalf of faculty, staff and 8,700 students who call Pace University's NYC campus home, this is exciting and welcome news," said Vanessa J. Herman, Assistant Vice President for Government & Community Relations at Pace University. “We thank Mayor De Blasio, Congresswoman Velazquez, Council Member Chin, and DOT for their efforts.”

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