Safer street conditions and more space for pedestrians and cyclists could soon be coming to Union Square under a plan to be unveiled by DOT today.
We haven’t gotten our hands on the drawings yet, but media reports say that by Labor Day, East 17th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue South, along with part of Broadway north to East 18th Street, are slated to be converted to a pedestrian plaza and car-free thoroughfare.
According to the Times, the pedestrian plaza would run along the north side of Union Square
Park between Broadway and Park Avenue South, with a bike lane and
pedestrian walkway on the south side. Drivers heading south on Broadway would be directed to make a left at East 18th, while East 17th would become a one-way westbound with a single lane. One lane for auto traffic, as well as street parking, would be maintained on Broadway between East 17th and 18th Streets. DOT is reportedly also looking to reclaim parts of Union Square West for pedestrians.
The area around Union Square is notoriously dangerous. Between 1995 and 2005 there were 95 pedestrian- and cyclist-involved crashes at Broadway and Union Square West alone, according to Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat. Three pedestrians lost their lives during that same period at Fourth Avenue and Union Square East.
DOT is scheduled to present the plan to the Community Board 5 transportation committee tonight at 6:30 at McBurney YMCA, 125 West 14th Street.