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Posts from the "Meatpacking District" Category

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West Side and Sunset Park Community Boards Advance Bike Lanes and Plazas

A capital reconstruction of this pedestrian plaza on Ninth Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets got a positive vote from Community Board 4's transportation committee last night. Photo: Google Maps

Last night, two community boards in Sunset Park and Manhattan’s West Side voted to support bike lanes, bike parking and permanent pedestrian plazas. As a result, Sunset Park will be receiving shared lane markings on Fifth Avenue, the permanent reconstruction of a plaza at Ninth Avenue and 14th Street will move ahead, and bike lanes and on-street corrals are on track for the West Side of Manhattan.

In Sunset Park, Brooklyn Community Board 7 voted to support the extension of shared lane markings on Fifth Avenue from 23rd to 65th Streets. (On Fifth Avenue between 23rd and Dean Streets, there are already bike lane and sharrow markings.)

The proposal received a supportive transportation committee vote in July, but stalled after a 15-9-10 vote at the full board in October. CB 7′s first vice chair, Daniel Murphy, reintroduced the sharrows resolution last night, and it passed, 23-5, with seven abstentions.

“We always planned to reintroduce it, it was just a question of when,” Murphy said, adding that a few board members who opposed the plan in October switched to support it this time around. “We didn’t get angry. We got rational,” he said. Murphy said he doesn’t believe this will delay DOT’s ability to install the markings this spring. Streetsblog has asked DOT to confirm an implementation schedule.

In Manhattan, Community Board 4′s transportation committee passed a resolution in support of the permanent reconstruction of a 9,000 square-foot plaza on Ninth Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets. DOT will add street trees on the east side of the plaza; the committee is asking DOT to add greenery to the center of the space, as well.

The Ninth Avenue protected bike lane, which shrinks to a standard painted lane at this location before becoming a buffered lane on Hudson Street, is often full of double-parked cars and trucks. “They told us there is not enough space on the avenue to create a protected bike lane,” committee co-chair Christine Berthet said. “We’re definitely not happy about it.”

A median pedestrian island on Ninth Avenue at 15th Street will be removed and replaced with a curb extension. The design will include cobblestones to match the aesthetic of plaza spaces on Ninth Avenue as it approaches Gansevoort Street.

Read more…

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NYC’s Hottest Commercial Districts Are Awash in Livable Streets

Which parts of Manhattan have seen the healthiest commercial real estate markets since the economic collapse of 2008? It’s the Meatpacking District and the area around Broadway between Union and Herald Squares, according to a new report by broker Janet Liff [PDF], covered by Crain’s last week. Notably, says Liff, both of those neighborhoods have received significant improvements to their streets, adding more public space and increasing safety for walking and biking.

In the Meatpacking District, Liff found, the availability rate of commercial space has dropped from its 2009 recession peak of 9 percent to just 3 percent, the lowest in the city. There’s almost no office space to be found. In 2007 and 2008, the Department of Transportation installed Meat Market Plaza, the Gansevoort pedestrian plaza and the city’s first protected bike lane on Ninth Avenue.

The story is similar, if less dramatic, in Midtown South, where new plazas have sprouted where Broadway meets other avenues. Rent is still cheaper than in the heart of Midtown, but since the recession, that gap has shrunk.

Of course, there are other factors at work, and we still don’t have enough information to isolate the effect of livable streets on these neighborhoods’ economic performance. Lower Broadway has been “Silicon Alley” for years and the city’s tech scene is booming — it’s no surprise to see rents in the neighborhood increase. Liff’s study looks at a handful of neighborhoods and doesn’t use rigorous statistical techniques, so more research is needed to understand the relationship between bicycle and pedestrian improvements and the New York City real estate market.

But Liff’s work shows once again that there’s no reason to heed the sky-is-falling headlines when the city reshapes streets to enhance the pedestrian environment. Two years after the advent of its car-free plazas, for example, Times Square made its first-ever appearance on real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield’s list of the ten most desirable retail locations on Earth.

Said one Broadway building manager Liff interviewed: ”It’s the greatest thing to happen to New York City since the subway. The plazas attract people. Anything that attracts people is good for the area and good for business.”

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The New Gansevoort: Pedestrian Godsend, Nightclubber Nuisance

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A DOT team received a mix of gratitude and derision at Tuesday's public forum about recent pedestrian improvements in the Meatpacking District, which attracted an audience of about 100 people to the Housing Works offices on West 13th Street. It was an interesting window onto the competing interests now vying to shape what has been, from the beginning, a genuinely community-based project seeking to put pedestrians on equal footing with vehicle traffic.

Those who came to praise described the new sense of safety they feel walking around the area near Gansevoort Plaza. Those who came to scorn suggested rolling back those improvements in the hopes that livery passengers might not have to wait another minute or two to be dropped off right at their luxe destinations. The former enjoyed a two-to-one advantage over the latter among those who spoke, with much of crowd opinion resting with a sizable, aesthetically-driven middle ground -- people who professed support for street reclamation in theory, but just don't like the look of nipple bollards.

The goal of the meeting, said DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Margaret Forgione, was to get "a sense of the overall feeling and a sense of what can be tweaked" about the project, which is slated to enter a permanent design phase this July, followed by construction the next year. There was no shortage of thoughtful ideas -- and clunkers -- for a neighborhood attempting to deal with the influx of cab and limo traffic on weekend nights. Taxi stands, anyone?

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T.A. to Kick Off Bike Month With Wednesday 9th Avenue Ride

logo_2008.jpgTransportation Alternatives will officially kick off Bike Month tomorrow with a morning ride down the 9th Avenue cycle track. The ride will start at 9th and 23rd Street, and will end at the 14th Street pedestrian plaza, where there will be a press conference to highlight Bike Month events. Word is DOT Commish Janette Sadik-Khan will be on hand.

The ride starts at 8:30.

For more info visit T.A.'s Bike Month web site.

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Streetfilm: The Transformation of Meat Market Plaza


The past few weeks, we've kept an eye on the rapid progress of Gansevoort Plaza in the Meatpacking District. Lest we forget about its slightly older neighbor to the north, Meat Market Plaza, Streetfilms' Clarence Eckerson, Jr. cut together this short video capturing the site (Ninth Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets) before, during, and after construction. The project was completed last fall and is enjoying copious use with the advent of spring.

Clarence hopes to give other street transformations similar treatment, and he expects to keep busy doing it: 

With announcements from city agencies coming fast and furious, Streetfilms will attempt to document what we can during this on-going renaissance for pedestrians, cyclists and denizens of NYC. This is not only important for our city, but to show the rest of the world the incredible leaps being attempted here. Heck, there’s no better tool to inspire change than a well-edited, before & after video short.

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Eyes on the Street: Gansevoort Plaza Open for Business (Updated)

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The view of Gansevoort Plaza looking west.

Less than a month ago, the Meatpacking District's Gansevoort Plaza was a chaotic free-for-all for vehicles. Today it sports a large pedestrian space lined with planters and bollards. The Open Planning Project's Lily Bernheimer snapped these photos showing the new seating and street furniture in action, two weeks after capturing the construction phase. In terms of getting a good bang for the livable streets buck, this project seems like a real winner -- a quick and inexpensive reallocation of space.

UPDATE: DOT says this phase of the project cost about $90,000, plus labor. Construction took three weeks (they're laying down crosswalks and removing the construction barrels tonight). Also, we should note, while the implementation went by in a flash, an extensive community process led up to this point, going back to meetings held in 2005 between Project for Public Spaces and local businesses and residents.

More pictures after the jump.

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Eyes on the Street: Get Ready for the New Gansevoort

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The view of Gansevoort Plaza looking west. The area to the right of the construction barrels will be set aside for pedestrian use.

Looks like the Meatpacking District is about to receive its livable streets makeover.

The Open Planning Project's Lily Bernheimer snapped these shots of Gansevoort Plaza earlier today. The orange barrels and dashed lines appear to demarcate what will soon be new pedestrian areas and rows of planters. These improvements emerged from the efforts of the Greater Gansevoort Urban Improvement Project, an initiative begun in 2005. More tantalizing pics after the jump.

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CB 4 Wants On-Street Bike Parking for Ninth Avenue

CHEKPEDS reports that Community Board 4 voted last week for the creation of on-street parking spots for bikes along Ninth 200692876_7c5971f0f7.jpgAvenue:

DOT had sent the board a list of bike racks to install on our sidewalks. After an extensive review, it became apparent that in many locations there is not enough space to accommodate both large bike racks and pedestrians, while the many bike deliveries businesses definitely need a solution. This concept should sound familiar, since the community recommended this approach as part of the 9th Avenue Renaissance vision.

It's a concept that's also familiar to DOT, as last year the city swapped three car spaces for 30 bike spots in Williamsburg. CHEKPEDS is proposing that two car parking spots per intersection -- one on the east, one on the west -- along Ninth between 36th and 56th Streets be converted for bike parking.

Photo: musiquegirl/Flickr

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Silver: “We’re Not Doing Gansevoort Today.”

From City Room:

Speaker Sheldon Silver told City Room this morning that the Assembly would not act on the proposed West Side trash transfer station near Gansevoort Street in the meatpacking district, in his latest snub of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The station has been a priority for the mayor, who held a news conference with City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn last week urging the Legislature to approve the station. The debate over the station has also led to contentious arguments among the Assembly Democrats.

But once again, Mr. Silver and Mr. Bloomberg are not seeing eye to eye.

“We’re not doing Gansevoort today,” Mr. Silver said, adding that he was not satisfied that alternatives to the proposal had been fully considered and did not think the mayor lived up to commitments made earlier this year to provide more financial details of alternative proposals. “I had an understanding back in June, despite any newspapers of record that might think otherwise — editorial-wise or news-wise — that they would present the financial undertaking of alternatives,” he said, adding, “Those numbers are not yet in, the use of Gansevoort is 2013, still more than five years away, so waiting for all of that to be completed does not impact in any way shape or form from the use of it.”

He added, “The mayor decided to do press availability or a press conference notwithstanding the understanding predates his press conference by five months, and that’s unfortunate, that in an irresponsible fashion, despite everything we had as an understanding, he chose to do that.”
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Silver Stalls Plan to Reduce Garbage Truck Traffic

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Under the city's proposed waste management plan, more trash would be hauled by trains and barges.

Reactivation of a garbage transfer station that the city considers crucial to its waste management plan -- a plan it says will reduce truck traffic and allow more waste to be moved by barges and trains -- is being held up by three Manhattan Assembly members and Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is characteristically refusing to allow a vote on legislation necessary to move the project forward.

The transfer station, located on Gansevoort Peninsula near West 14th Street, would handle recyclables, and is needed as part of an effort to have each borough handle more of its own garbage. Officials say the station will ease the environmental stress of waste disposal activity in areas like the South Bronx, where much of the city's trash is now hauled by truck.

Assembly members Deborah Glick, Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal, whose districts include or are close to the peninsula, say they don't want the station reactivated because of its Hudson River Park location, and have suggested Pier 76, north of West 34th Street behind the Javits Center, as an alternative. The city says it would cost three to five times as much to prep Pier 76 as it would the Gansevoort site.

The waste management plan as proposed would reduce truck traffic by an estimated 5.7 million miles per year, according to PlaNYC documents.

Supporters of the city's plan are encouraged to call Silver's office (212-312-1420 or 518-455-3791) today and ask for a vote on the amendment to the Hudson River Park Act.

The Post has endorsed the plan and has called on Silver to get out of the way. The Times did much the same yesterday. For more background, check out City Room's coverage and this June editorial from Daily News columnist Errol Louis.

Photo: Phil of Photos/Flickr