By Brian J. Pape, AIA
Public hearings at a Community Board 2 of Manhattan (CB2) meeting revealed plans to add a new crosswalk on Highway 9A, aka West Street, but, borrowing a trick from long midtown avenues, this one will be in the middle of the long block between Houston and Spring Streets.
Hudson River Park (HRP) and Google are cooperating with the state DOT (Department of Transportation) to work out the best configuration across West Street. Although there are half a dozen other similar crosswalks at intersections adjacent to this new one, the difficulty seems to be where the crosswalk will “land” on the west side of West Street, abutting Hudson River Park.
Google is asking for the crosswalk due to the anticipated thousands of workers who will soon be commuting to their new headquarters when construction is complete next year. Many are expected to walk to work or use bicycles to commute, or may simply want to take a mid-work stroll along the river front. The existing small CitiBike dock next to the tennis courts in the park will likely be overwhelmed if it is not expanded. The landscaped plaza next to the bike dock is cherished by current users, who may be doomed due to its popularity.
On Google’s side of the street, there is a space between buildings (it doesn’t quite line up with the Charlton Street ROW, or right-of-way) that is being paved and landscaped through to Washington Street as a driveway and drop-off for Google,. On the HRP side, the tennis courts won’t be moved, but the bike docks can be. Once the crosswalk lands at HRP, then it is up to HRP to redesign the area where people enter from the crosswalk.
The crosswalk construction is scheduled for this fall, which is very soon, so stay tuned for final decisions about HRP’s redesign.
Brian J. Pape is a citizen architect in private practice, LEED-AP “green” certified, serving on the Manhattan District 2 Community Board Landmarks Committee and Quality of Life Committee (participating solely in a personal, not an official, capacity). He is also co-chair of the American Institute of Architects NY Design for Aging Committee, a member of AIANY Historic Buildings and Housing Committees, and is a journalist specializing in architecture subjects.