A proposal to add pedestrian and cyclist space to a redesigned Chatham Square in Lower Manhattan will be the subject of a Tuesday public hearing co-hosted by Community Boards 1, 2 and 3.
Since streets in the area near One Police Plaza, including Park Row,
were completely or partially closed to motor vehicles after 9/11, several lawsuits have been filed by Chinatown residents and merchants, some of whom say decreased vehicle access has, among other things, worsened gridlock and lowered property values.
Now, the city plans to reconfigure Chatham Square, and convert Park Row into "a landscaped promenade for pedestrians and bicyclists" by reappropriating "nearly half" of the space once reserved for cars and trucks. Details are a little murky in the mock-up now posted online [PDF], but it looks like the mess where seven streets currently come together at the Kimlau Arch will be cleaned up considerably.
Unfortunately, the proposal — a joint project of Parks, City Planning, Design and Construction, and DOT — is likely to draw opposition from those who consider auto traffic key to Chinatown’s prosperity. As always, turnout by livable streets advocates is key.
WHAT: Public Hearing on Chatham Square Traffic Redesign
WHERE: PS 124, 40 Division St.
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 2, 6:00 p.m. (sign in starts at 5:30)
Before and after sketches of Chatham Square after the jump.