Designing NYC Streets for the 21st Century


Earlier this week Transportation Alternatives announced the winners of its "21st Century Street" design competition, selecting three entries from more than a hundred submissions re-imagining the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street in Brooklyn.

Juror Michelle de la Uz, director of the Fifth Avenue Committee, listed safety and the pedestrian environment as her top concerns. "That intersection has been the site of significant injuries to pedestrians, and it's screaming for a re-design for all the different users," she said. "What's going on at that intersection is representative of the whole stretch. When you go to Sunset Park, there are four, soon to be five schools along Fourth Avenue. Public safety has to be a priority instead of just moving traffic."

The jury split top honors among three designs:

"The entries really ran the gamut," said de la Uz. "There were definitely elements in each one that DOT could cull from, not only for Fourth Avenue but throughout the city."

T.A. wants to see the competition's best ideas factor into the city's long-term plans. "A lot of the City's current work is about triage -- bringing paint and asphalt to streets that really need immediate safety fixes," says Wiley Norvell. "The design competition was about leapfrogging ahead of the current generation of street designs to provide much more active and dynamic public spaces. We hope the DOT and City Planning take note of what's been generated."

Lots of drawings after the jump.

streets_alive.jpgTeam LEVON's "Streets Come Alive"

streets_nutter.jpgMichael Nutter's "Shared Space"

Honorable mention went to Brooklyn's own Mark Anders, whose proposal was well received for deftly allocating space between multiple modes. T.A. staff selected as their favorite "HUMUS = HUMAN," which crams in as much vegetation as possible, capturing copious amounts of stormwater in the process.

streets_honorable.jpgMark Anders' design, shown in plan

street_humus.jpg"HUMUS = HUMAN"

In one of the wilder entries, Streetsblog technical director Nick Grossman and graphic designer Carly Clark teamed up with landscape architect Wayken Shaw on "The Underpass," which places two basketball courts beneath the F train tracks that cross over Fourth Avenue.

streets_underpass.jpg"The Underpass"