Vision Zero: Mayor de Blasio Announces Safety Project to Enhance Pedestrian and Cyclist Access to Park Row in Lower Manhattan
Result of years of advocacy and planning between NYC, U.S. Representative Velazquez, Manhattan Borough President Brewer, Assembly Member Niou, and Council Member Chin
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced the New York City Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the NYPD, would create new pedestrian and bicycle access through Park Row in Lower Manhattan. These enhancements will serve to help reconnect the Chinatown and Civic Center areas that have been somewhat physically separated since September 11, 2001. The road design efforts will be bolstered bynew Wayfinding signage that will be installed to better direct pedestrian traffic to Chinatown and Lower Manhattan and their many attractions.
“Park Row is a critical connector in lower Manhattan that connects the area to Chinatown,” said Mayor de Blasio. “After years of effort, I am proud that we have arrived at a design solution that strikes the right balance: increasing access through this corridor while at the same time maintaining the safety around one of our most sensitive locations, One Police Plaza. We thank Congresswoman Velázquez and other elected officials in Chinatown for their leadership in advancing this common-sense solution.”
“Sixteen years after 9/11, we will be enhancing Park Row, maintaining safety while also dramatically increasing mobility and accessibility for thousands of cyclists, pedestrians and bus riders,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “This year, working cooperatively with the NYPD, we have already made high-impact changes to Park Row, added critical new protected bike lanes and safer pedestrian crossings near City Hall.”
“The NYPD is pleased to have assisted in developing a plan that addresses both security concerns in this area as well the convenience of this important public thoroughfare. This was a true team effort by all stakeholders involved,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.
“Today has been a long time coming,” said U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez. “Since 9/11, the restrictions at Park Row have placed significant burdens on the neighborhood and local businesses, and created substantial traffic issues. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg and the New York Police Department for working with the community on this solution. Creating greater pedestrian access and bike lanes will mean more options for residents and visitors to this area alike. Achieving this took hard work on all sides, and I especially thank those community groups that have steadfastly advocated for better transportation options in the area.”
DOT expects to begin preliminary work on Park Row from Worth Street to Frankfort Street this fall after consulting with local Community Boards and stakeholders, with the project expected to be completed in spring 2018. When complete, this portion of Park Row, nearly a half-mile in length, will include 10,000 square feet of new pedestrian space and a two-way protected bike path (see proposed rendering, below).
Park Row has been closed to vehicular traffic other than emergency vehicles and MTA buses since 9/11. The Chinatown community has long sought for the City to consider opening up further access along Park Row to connect the neighborhood with the rest of Lower Manhattan, and this project makes great strides towards doing so. NYPD will develop protocols for select tour bus companies to apply for access to Park Row and there will be a comprehensive vetting process.
By the end of this year, DOT will resurface a section of the roadway in preparation for the project and NYPD will relocate the protective barriers along the corridor to allow for access while maintaining the necessary security for One Police Plaza. To further integrate the new bike and pedestrian space into the area and guide visitors, DOT will install new Wayfinding signage on both ends of the Park Row project this fall, and will update the information as the project proceeds. DOT’s Streetlighting Division will also transform lighting in the area to brighter and more energy-efficient LED bulbs. As part of the project, cement barriers, unused guard booths, shipping containers and some planters will be removed or relocated by NYPD. Service on the M9 and M103 MTA buses is not expected to be affected either during or after construction.
The City plans to further discuss the project this fall with local Community Boards 1 and 3 and stakeholders. 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 plans to study connections to Chatham Square and the existing bike path along East Broadway in Chinatown.
"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."
“We welcome plans to finally open up Park Row to pedestrians and cyclists,” said Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “Chinatown and its surrounding neighborhoods have long suffered from the closure of Park Row, an important thoroughfare in lower Manhattan. Since 9/11, small businesses have struggled to bounce back from the diminishing clientele brought on by this closure, and the steps being taken today can help alleviate some of these impacts. I, along with colleagues, pushed the City and expressed the importance of opening Park Row, and we are thrilled that steps are being taken to increase access and attract traffic through this area. I look forward to working with the local community, community boards, DOT and other stakeholders to ensure plans to open up Park Row meet the needs of our neighborhoods and local economy.”
“For decades, Park Row has served as a vital link between Chinatown and the rest of Lower Manhattan,” said City Council Member Margaret Chin. “Today, with the announcement of the new Park Row Access and Connectivity Project, the City will expand access for pedestrians and cyclists to this important thoroughfare -- all while maintaining security measures for One Police Plaza. I thank Congresswoman Velazquez for joining me to push for increased access to Park Row, and I thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg and the NYPD for their efforts to unveil such a critical project.”
“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.
“We would like to thank the Mayor, Representative Velazquez, and Council Member Chin for responding to the Chinatown community and taking these initial steps to reopen Park Row,” said Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. “The new pedestrian space, bike path, and signage is a good start, and we look forward to our continued discussions with the Department of Transportation on this effort.”
“Opening Park Row for pedestrians and bicyclists is a good step towards reconnecting Chinatown directly with the Civic Center and Financial District,” said Jenny Low, Chair of the Board of Chinese-American Planning Council, Inc. “I'm thrilled to see this progress. Thanks to Mayor Bill De Blasio, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Council Member Margaret Chin, and others who helped make this happen.”