Choose Your Own Hells Kitchen

The Ninth Avenue Renaissance project continues to evolve into the most thorough and impressive community-driven Livable Streets effort currently underway in New York City (the Gansevoort Project runs a close second). Following up on a design workshop facilitated by Project for Public Spaces in January, Ninth Avenue Renaissance has launched a survey that allows you to choose and comment on three different redesign options for the avenue.

Click here to take the survey.

For example, the option below proposes reconfiguring the avenue to three lanes for travel and one for parking. It widens the sidewalks and installs dedicated bus and bike lanes and adds a number of pedestrian-friendly amenities:

Then there is this neighborhood-friendly vision for Hells Kitchen’s side streets — mid-block neckdowns and pedestrian crossings, little bump-outs for cafe tables, benches or bike parking, raised crosswalks, basically all of the great street design stuff that you see in European cities these days:

The Ninth Avenue Renaissance project was initiated by the Clinton Hell’s
Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety
, a group of neighborhood stakeholders who want to reclaim Hell’s Kitchen from "hellish"
Lincoln Tunnel traffic. The goal of the project is to develop a shared vision
of street design and traffic calming measures aimed at turning Ninth Avenue into a vibrant community Main Street.

You’ve got to think that this could be an ideal showcase for Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030 vision. One thousand days is enough time to do something like this and it is entirely within city government’s power to make it happen — no begging or bribing up in Albany necessary. It strikes me that this sort of Livable Streets project could be a direct and tangible way to show New Yorkers how the PlaNYC process is making city life better right now.

Frankly, the redesign can’t happen soon enough. Yet another elderly pedestrian was mowed down and killed crossing 23rd Street at Ninth Avenue on Friday afternoon — the third such victim in three months.

  • comentz

    One way to deal with the nay-sayers at DOT would be to partner with a politician working in the area. Are there allies of the group’s efforts who can spearhead a charge to get these or other fresh ideas implemented?

  • Hugo

    I agree that the tunnel traffic on 9th Ave can be hellish and the proposals for 9th are a nice concept but where exactly would the Lincoln Tunnel traffic go? It doesn’t really solve the problem – it would just push the traffic onto another street.

  • Anonymous

    I can tell you where the Lincoln Tunnel traffic could go. It could go away (or at least be very reduced) by introducing tolls and license plate-specific restrictions on driving into or through Manhattan, like those they have in London and a lot of other major cities around the world. These restrictions work, and no, they don’t oppress the poor while favoring the rich–everyone with, say, even-numbered license plate is barred on designated days (ever heard of public transportation?). We might then eventually have a city where one could walk several blocks without getting poisoned by fine particles and ground-level ozone (NYC is one of the worst places in the U.S. in that regard), and even–imagine that!–be able to actually enjoy sitting at a sidewalk coffee table on 9th Avenue.

  • comentz

    There is ample evidence that water hypothesis can’t explain traffic flow, as explained by Jacob Jacob’s in her book titled “Dark Ages Ahead.”

    She provides, on page 75 of her book, a section from a report conducted by a research team at the University Of London which states that, on average, 20% of traffic vanishes when a road is closed in cases studied, and in some cases that rate jumps to 60% (page 75).

    She also writes that in and around Washington Square when a street was closed there was no evidence that “other streets were inundated by thwarted traffic, and speeding traffic wonderfully decreased.” (page 74)


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