City May Turn Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel Ramp Into Pedestrian Space

Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza and Trinity Plaza, currently separated by a Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel ramp, may be merged into a large pedestrian plaza. Image: Google Maps
Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza and Trinity Plaza, currently separated by a Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel ramp, may be merged into a large pedestrian plaza. Image: Google Maps

A nice-sized pedestrian space is shaping up in the Financial District, thanks to the Downtown Alliance, City Council Member Margaret Chin, and Community Board 1.

Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza is separated from Trinity Plaza by a redundant exit ramp for the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. The Broadsheet Daily reports that the Alliance wants the city to close the ramp so the plazas can be merged into an 18,000-square foot space.

Berger Plaza is bordered by Edgar Street, Greenwich Street, Trinity Place, and the tunnel ramp. Broadsheet Daily describes Trinity Plaza, to the immediate south on the other side of the ramp, as “a forlorn, irregularly shaped expanse of concrete that is bordered by Trinity Place on the east, but largely cut off from the surrounding community on all other sides by fencing and guard rails for the tunnel.”

Former City Council member Jessica Lappin, who is now Downtown Alliance president, said DOT has completed its studies and a Parks Department design is pending approval from Commissioner Mitchell Silver. Community Board 1 asked the city to fund the project, and Chin allocated the capital funds.

“As the Financial District’s residential population continues to grow,” Chin told Broadsheet Daily, “we must make it a priority to improve and increase public open space within the neighborhood.”

Lappin says the Alliance hopes to bring the proposal to CB 1 soon after Silver reviews it.

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Nice! This is no-brainer and should be implemented. That ramp is not really needed as motorists can just use Edgar Street to turn onto Trinity Pl. This is remove some blighted fencing, will actually make traffic run more smoothly, and expands some much need park space in Lower Manhattan. A win-win.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I don’t see to that way, because I am in favor of the MoveNY plan.

    That would mean much more traffic using the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel rather than going out of its way to the free Brooklyn Bridge.

    As it is, there are two options arriving on the Manhattan side, and the lights could be timed so that one of them is always green.

    Implement that plan, and you could have the tunnel backed up and lose one of the benefits of the Move NY plan.

  • jackson

    great idea , and brought up at least 10 times over the last 25 years

  • BrooklynBus

    Where are the traffic counts that justify this? Why not just narrow the exit ramp to one lane instead of completely closing it? If West Street gets backed up, there needs to be an alternative exit.

  • Tyler

    Stop with the hysteria… this article stated that the DOT completed its studies. Dontcha think a traffic count might have been included in such a study?

  • Andrew

    Tyler, meet BrooklynBus, who has never encountered a traffic impact that has not given him an extreme case of paranoia.

  • Andrew

    Your bias is showing. This is Lower Manhattan, where pedestrians vastly outnumber motorists. Why are pedestrians in Lower Manhattan entitled to badly needed only on condition that drivers never have to slow down?

    Despite their numbers, pedestrians get far too little space in Lower Manhattan, and this is one of the pockets of Lower Manhattan that’s most unfriendly to pedestrians. Trinity Plaza is home to a busy subway station exit, with other station exits across the street and a block or two to the north. Instead of granting pedestrians space only on condition that vehicular traffic continues to move fast, how about we grant pedestrians the space they need and then think about what impacts, if any, it will have on traffic? This ramp isn’t even open during rush hours! In my experience, it carries very, very little traffic. It’s an absolute waste of space in its current configuration.

    My only fear here is that too little will be done to improve the pedestrian environment.

  • Kevin Love

    “…closing it.”

    Looks like this space is going to be opened up for people.

  • Matthias

    Great idea. This area is awful to walk through, and the #1 subway entrances are isolated (literally fenced in) inside this traffic island. Lower Manhattan needs to get more people-friendly. With just a few improvements, it has the makings of a great neighborhood.

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