City Shows Off Plan to Reclaim Astor Place for Pedestrians [Updated]

New plazas would return Astor Place to pedestrians. Image: DDC.

New plazas would return Astor Place to pedestrians. Image: DDC.

Plans to transform another asphalt tangle into a great public space are moving forward at Astor Place, and Curbed has the details. With significant street space being reclaimed for pedestrians, the plan should serve as a new gathering place in the East Village and make the neighborhood safer for walking.

Here are a few of the highlights from the presentation made by the Department of Design and Construction to Community Boards 2 and 3 last night:

  • The block of Astor Place south of the cube will be completely replaced by a new plaza, integrating the island where the sculpture sits with the pedestrian environment.
  • The plaza around the subway entrance at Astor Place will be expanded considerably, as will the sidewalks around that intersection.
  • 8,000 new square feet of pedestrian space will be built at the southern edge of Cooper Square, roughly between E. 5th and 6th Streets.

As a capital project, the reconstruction will include more heavy-duty elements than the pedestrian reclamations built out on Broadway so far. Think concrete, granite, street trees, benches, bike racks, and a new green stormwater management system.

We’re still waiting for additional information about the plan from DDC and the local community board, like when exactly this plan, which has been in the works for several years, will become a reality. In the meantime, though, be sure to check out Curbed for the most comprehensive look at the new design so far, including 24 images. Here are two more images from last night presentation:

UPDATE: A DDC spokesperson informs us that the project will be put out to bid this summer and that construction should begin in spring 2012.

A diagram shows just how much new public space will be created under the new design. Image: DDC.

A diagram shows just how much new public space will be created under the new design. Image: DDC.

A rendering shows the southern "Village Plaza" in use by people, not cars. Image: DDC.

A rendering shows the southern "Village Plaza" in use by people, not cars. Image: DDC.