Common Sense Wins: CB 12 Approves Plaza for Haven Avenue in Washington Heights

Rendering: NYC DOT
Rendering: NYC DOT

Last night Manhattan Community Board 12 signed off on a plan to build a public plaza on a segment of Haven Avenue outside NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in Washington Heights.

The vote was 27 to 16, according to a source who attended the meeting.

Right now, the short stretch of Haven between W. 169th Street and Fort Washington Avenue is a haven (zing!) for placard abusers, illegally parked FedEx and UPS drivers, and motorists who store vehicles on the street.

Given the proximity to the hospital and other health care facilities, two years ago Columbia University, which is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian, applied to the DOT Plaza Program to open the block for public use [PDF].

A plaza here is a natural fit, since it would serve an employment hub that sits on top of three subway lines in a neighborhood where 70 percent of households are car-free. With just two DOT plazas in Manhattan north of Harlem, Washington Heights needs all the pedestrian space it can get.

What the plaza will replace. Image: Google Maps (h/t Bernard Finucane)
What the plaza will replace. Image: Google Maps (h/t Bernard Finucane)

A series of temporary plazas and workshops drew thousands of people each, and the project was supported by more than a dozen local entities.

Last year, however, a CB 12 member mounted a campaign to quash the proposal in order to preserve 17 free curbside parking spots.

NIMBYs who live nearby succeeded in getting CB 12 to delay a vote on the Haven plan last fall before common sense ultimately prevailed.

The construction timetable for the plaza is still to be determined, a Columbia official told Streetsblog. We’ll keep an eye out for developments.

  • Avi

    Why is one of the goals of the project as mentioned in the city’s presentation to “provide equal or more parking than removed”? Such a nonsensical surrender to the loud car owning minority.

  • Georgie

    I would say that the majority of long time local residents own cars in the area and certainly a large number of hospital workers own cars. Parking spots are always at a premium.

  • Ayishagisel

    “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” ~Malcolm X

  • Deborah M Cardona

    You call that title and the reporting of events actual journalism when you editorialize what you believe to be “best”? Are you a resident? Do you know J Hood Wright Park? Do you know Audubon Avenue and 166th where the meeting took place?

    The idea is to develop an area that could use more pedestrian traffic and use? Audubon Avenue is perfect as there is virtually no traffic…. PS 128 is nearby as is Stitt Junior HS.

    One major construction job is about to start on RSD where 70 parking spaces are going to be lost….

    Interesting how you cite 70% of the community doesn’t have cars and that’s the reason why it’s a good idea….where did you get that figure from?

    Did you know however, the elite staff of the University will continue to park where they always do…and that the area just south and West of Haven will not be a part of the plaza?

    My God…. it’s just unbelievable the way things are done. So much for the fact that you don’t care that CB12 broke its bylaws for retrieving an issue that was voted down….and this time around we came back with over 700 signatures saying no to the idea….

    What Columbia wants; Columbia gets…. #NOtoHavenPlaza

  • RoughAcres RL McKee

    Would love to see more parking garages in Upper Manhattan. Ones that don’t cost $300+ per month would be great. At present, the GWB “Mercado” removed $250+ parking spaces for rent; this plaza will take away a dozen… the planned Riverside construction will take away another 70 or so…….. yet every day, I still see cars with PA license plates in long term street parking spots. Those owners don’t even pay LICENSE FEES to NY!

  • RoughAcres RL McKee

    I certainly hope attention is being paid to the increased traffic on Fort Washington Avenue, which is already so jammed during the day – BECAUSE OF the hospital – that buses are never on time. Are police primed to hand out double-parking tickets and to move traffic along at that corner? If they’re not, this is gonna be intense.

  • jzisfein

    Haven Avenue is the preferred route for cyclists coming southbound off the GWB. The public plaza should include a bollard- or planter-protected bike lane. Without a protected bike lane I expect there to be cyclist-pedestrian conflicts.

  • Dimitris Koutoumbas

    more parking garages = more cars = more congestion. its like expanding a highway

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