New Initiative Rethinks Lower Manhattan Streetscape to Clear Tourists and Congestion

Posted On Thu, July 16, 2015 By

Posted On Thu, July 16, 2015 By In City Living, Financial District, Urban Design

If you’ve ever attempted to go shopping at Century 21 on a weekend or take a selfie with the Charging Bull, you know very well the perils of tourist-laden lower Manhattan. The confusing street layout, lack of open gathering spaces, and non-pedestrian-and-cyclist-friendly thoroughfares make the historic neighborhood a bit of a jumble, especially as it’s currently undergoing a huge development boom and both residential population and tourism have more than doubled since September 11th. But a new initiative called Make Way for Lower Manhattan hopes to change all this.

As DNAinfo reports, the plan’s goal is to “highlight tourist areas, like the Seaport, the 9/11 Memorial, The Battery, Wall Street, and connect the dots better for tourists — giving them a means to find their way, stay and spend money without completely congesting the neighborhood.” The group presented at this week’s Community Board 1 meeting, unveiling ideas like creating a more accessible entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge that also connects people to the nearby South Street Seaport and moving the bull across from the New York Stock Exchange, its original home and much less congested site.

Make Way for Lower Manhattan, BuroHappold, Kate Ascher, WXY Studio, J.M. Kaplan Fund, NYC urban design projects

Make Way for Manhattan is being spearheaded by engineering firm BuroHappold and architecture and design firm WXY studio. Kate Ascher, a principal at BuroHappold and former executive vice president of the Economic Development Corporation, said at the CB1 meeting “What we’re really trying to do is make room for the growth in Lower Manhattan, and improve the quality of life here. This is our most historic part of the city, but it’s hard to find your way around, and there’s no space for reflection — the history gets lost in the crowd.”

Make Way for Lower Manhattan, BuroHappold, Kate Ascher, WXY Studio, J.M. Kaplan Fund, NYC urban design projects

Make Way for Lower Manhattan, BuroHappold, Kate Ascher, WXY Studio, J.M. Kaplan Fund, NYC urban design projects

The group arrived at their goals after a year-long study of the neighborhood, which was commissioned by the J.M. Kaplan Fund. In addition to moving the Charging Bull and reconfiguring the Brooklyn Bridge entrance, other ideas include creating new corridors on historic streets that can serve as public gathering spots; making a tourist hub at Wall and Broad streets near the Stock Exchange and Federal Hall; and turning the Battery’s historic Castle Clinton into a waiting area for the ferry to Ellis and Liberty Islands; limit on-street parking; and close certain streets to vehicular traffic. The next steps are to find an area to serve as a test “special mobility district” and secure funding for the project’s next phase.

[Via DNAinfo]

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All images via Make Way for Lower Manhattan

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Neighborhoods : Financial District

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