Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Buses

Car-Free Washington Place? Not in My Driveway, Say Residents

ped_wash_place.jpg
A rendering in section of NYU's proposal for a pedestrian-only Washington Place, between Washington Square Park and Broadway.

Earlier this week, Community Board 2 in Greenwich Village held a public meeting to get feedback on NYU's proposal to pedestrianize Washington Place, part of a larger plan to improve public space in the school's core campus. Nearby residents aren't happy with the number of cars that park in the area now, but (surprise!) they don't want to do what's necessary to improve things, either. A tipster sends along this recap:

Tuesday night's CB2 meeting on pedestrianizing Washington Place turnednasty. There were about a dozen or so residents speaking decidedlyagainst restricting car access, including a couple folks who infused alot of hostility to the entire discussion. Even though residentscomplained that it was being used as an NYU parking lot, they also lovedthe fact that you can always make great time speeding down thisincredibly wide street.

Even the idea of taking away parking to plant trees seemed controversialto this crowd; they preferred the space to be taken from pedestrians.They were very hostile to the NYU presenters, and belligerent to thehalf dozen or more folks who thought more space for pedestrians was agood idea.

I hope this was simply a case of them hating the messenger (NYU) but notnecessarily the idea of giving more space to pedestrians. Still, therewere a lot of motorheads in the room. There was, however, a good showingon the pro-pedestrian side: George Haikalis, Barry Benepe, T.A. and afew others were there to fly the flag. Still, it's disappointing tothink that this is the community that closed the leg of Fifth Avenuethat used to run through Washington Square Park many years ago. Seemslike the Jane Jacobs legacy was lost on this crowd.

The full plan, called NYU Plans 2031, consists of an array of measures intended build the school's central campus within its existing footprint, while simultaneously improving the public environment. A full, up-to-date explanation, with renderings, is available in this PDF.

"NYU realizes that the pedestrian experience in their core area is not very pleasant," says Ian Dutton, vice-chair of CB2's transportation committee, who spoke favorably of the pedestrianization plan. He notes that most of the cars on this stretch of Washington Place are usually circling for parking, and that if full-on pedestrianization doesn't happen, NYU will most likely take other measures to improve the streetscape, like a greening program and adding street amenities.

Image courtesy of NYU

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Wednesday’s Headlines: Four for Fifth Edition

The good news? There's a new operator for the Fifth Avenue open street. The bad news? It's four blocks, down from 15 last year. Plus other news.

April 24, 2024

MTA Plan to Run Brooklyn-Queens Train on City Streets a ‘Grave’ Mistake: Advocates

A 515-foot tunnel beneath All Faiths Cemetery would slightly increase the cost of the project in exchange for "enormous" service benefits, a new report argues.

April 24, 2024

Full Court Press by Mayor for Congestion Pricing Foe Randy Mastro

Pay no attention to that lawyer behind the curtain fighting for New Jersey, the mayor's team said on Tuesday, channeling the Wizard of Oz.

Tuesday’s Headlines: Valley of Political Death Edition

Did you see the new poll showing congestion pricing is really unpopular? Ignore it! Good times are coming. Plus other news in today's headlines.

April 23, 2024

Open Streets Groups Warn of Extra Red Tape to Run Events

Two weeks notice for hopscotch or a yoga class?

April 23, 2024
See all posts