PlaNYC Program Will Bring 1,000 Sleek New Benches to City Sidewalks

DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan with City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito (left) and Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs (background right). Photos: Brad Aaron

Joined by East Harlem seniors, advocates and City Council members, transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today kicked off a program to provide new and improved sidewalk seating.

CityBench, a product of PlaNYC 2.0, will bring 1,000 shiny steel benches to locations across the five boroughs. The first two were installed outside the Leonard Covello Senior Center on E. 109th Street, where Sadik-Khan said the primary aim of the initiative is to make streets and sidewalks more accommodating to seniors and the mobility-impaired.

“CityBench brings a new design standard that elevates our streetscapes and simply makes it easier and more enjoyable for New Yorkers of every age to walk and take transit,” said Sadik-Khan. The benches will be sited strategically near bus stops, commercial districts and areas with large populations of seniors and the physically disabled. Members of the public may also recommend locations via 311.

“Not only will these benches allow seniors and other residents to sit down and rest, they will also enable them to chat with their neighbors about their day, their families, and the overall state of the community,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was lauded by Sadik-Khan for her work in bringing separated bike lanes to First and Second Avenues. Council Member Jessica Lappin and Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs were also on hand.

The lion’s share of funding — 80 percent — for the $3 million CityBench program comes from the Federal Transit Administration, with New York State DOT covering another 10 percent.

After the crowd from the presser had for the most part dispersed, I spoke with bench designer Ignacio Ciocchini, who is director of design for Chelsea Improvement Company. Ciocchini said every facet of the bench was developed with the city in mind, from the powder-coated steel, designed to dissipate heat and shed snow, to the 26-inch seats, allowing for what Ciocchini described as “proper social space” and intended to leave room for whatever a pedestrian might be carrying, from a shopping bag to a small child.

“It fits all sizes,” said Covello Center executive director Suleika Cabrera. “It’s fantastic.”

Residents can suggest a CityBench location by calling 311.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Eight Electeds Back Protected Bike Lanes for Manhattan’s West Side

|
Protected bike lanes would enhance safety for cyclists and pedestrians on Amsterdam Avenue. Several representatives in the City Council and state legislature, as well as Borough President Scott Stringer, have signed on in support of protected bike lanes for Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Last fall, Manhattan CB 7 passed a resolution asking DOT to prepare […]

Sadik-Khan is Next at DOT

|
Employees at the engineering consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff were recently informed that senior vice president Janette Sadik-Khan will be leaving because she has been selected by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as New York City’s next Department of Transportation commissioner. She is reportedly due to start work on May 14. Today’s Crain’s Insider reports: Insiders say Janette […]

Pricing Hearing: Sadik-Khan and Aggarwala Explain the Details

|
Yesterday morning’s hearing at City Hall, which garnered much press today, gave Janette Sadik-Khan and Rohit Aggarwala the chance to clarify a number of misconceptions about congestion pricing in front of a sizable contingent of City Council members. As expected, one of the first points to come up was whether drivers from New Jersey will […]

It’s Official: Sadik-Khan in at DOT

|
After weeks of speculation, City Hall has announced that Janette Sadik-Khan, a senior vice president at Parsons Brinckerhoff, will be the new commissioner of the NYC DOT. This from a press release issued this afternoon by the mayor’s office: "Janette Sadik-Khan has a superb mix of public and private sector transportation management experience and she […]

DOT Installs 58 Muni-Meters in Bensonhurst

|
Is the Department of Transportation laying the groundwork for market rate, on-street parking? From a DOT media release yesterday:  New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today joined State Senator Marty Golden to announce the installation of credit card friendly Muni-Meters along 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The Department of Transportation (DOT) installed 58 Muni-Meters […]
STREETFILMS

Five Eclectic Questions for Streetfighter Janette Sadik-Khan

|
Right before former New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan set off on a multi-city book tour for Streetfight (along with co-author Seth Solomonow), I was able to get a few minutes to ask her five eclectic questions in Washington Square Park. Want to know the story behind the appearance of hundreds of cheap lawn chairs on opening day in car-free Times […]