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Posts from the "9th Avenue Renaissance" Category

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Streetfilm: City Officials Talk Up Bike Month


In contrast -- or, conceivably, as a complement -- to the L.A. Times portrait of city cycling, here's a Streetfilm from Elizabeth Press, shot yesterday at Transportation Alternatives' Bike Month NYC kick-off.

At a press conference held in the new 14th Street plaza, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan talks about present and future street-level improvements, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe sums up progress on greenways, and Health & Mental Hygiene Assistant Commish Jane Beddell promotes biking as part of the solution to the city's obesity problem. TA's Paul Steely White then gives a quick run-down of some of the 200+ Bike Month events.

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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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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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Streetfilms: Street Star Christine Berthet



Today, StreetFilms debuts Street Stars, the first of many planned vignettes for 2008 which will focus on the amazing organizers in our communities who are fighting constructively for livable streets. Hopefully, these Stars will provide a road map for change and inspire others to work to transform their neighborhoods.

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Their first choice is Christine Berthet, co-founder of Chekpeds, the Clinton/Hell's Kitchen Pedestrian Safety Coalition. Together with Transportation Alternatives and the Project for Public Spaces, she was also instrumental in organizing the Ninth Avenue Renaissance, a movement to re-imagine neighborhood streets as a healthier place for people. She is an indefatigable advocate working hard for the community, organizing rallies, and is omnipresent at community hearings and testifying at City Hall.

According to surveys conducted in Hell's Kitchen: 75 percent said that they were afraid for their safety because of motor vehicle traffic, 5 percent because of crime.

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Meat Market Plaza is Open for Business

The interim redesign of Ninth Avenue and 14th Street is done. Tables, chairs, planters and some of those giant granite blocks from DOT's Bridges Division have been set out as multipurpose bollard-bench-tables atop a gravelly, earth-tone pavement surface. 

What was very recently one of the longest and most hectic pedestrian crossings in Manhattan, and no treat for drivers, cyclists or nearby businesses, is suddenly a place where you can sit down and enjoy a Fat Witch brownie from the Chelsea Market after a busy morning of couture shopping at Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. And soon you'll be able to get there via New York City's on-street, parking-protected "cycle track." As Danish urban designer Jan Gehl says, "How nice is it to wake up every morning and know that your city is a little bit better than it was the day before."

If DOT's new plazas on Willoughby and Pearl Streets in Brooklyn are any indication, the demand for this type of public space is huge and it's going to be a hit with lunchtime and evening crowds regardless of the proximity to busy traffic. Word has it the granite blocks and tables on the south side of 14th Street were already seeing heavy use on Tuesday evening at around 11:00 pm. Meat Market Plaza seems to be particularly popular with the smokers, banished, as they are, from the city's indoor spaces. Get ready to clean some cigarette butts out of the planters.

We'd love to get more photos of people using the new plaza spaces. If you're in the area, snap 'em and send 'em to tips@streetsblog.org.

Before:

After:

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Related:

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Ninth Ave. and 14th Street Redesign Update

Ben Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas is keeping track of the street redesign currently underway at Ninth Ave. and 14th St. in Manhattan. Here is his Flickr photo set.

Lockhart Steele at Curbed has named this project the "Bizarro Meatpacking Plaza."

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Construction of Piazza de Meatpacking is Underway

Dept. of Transportation street design projects are moving incredibly fast these days. Only a few weeks ago the City announced that, in response to long-standing community requests, it would create a new public plaza, buffered bike lane, and major pedestrian improvements at that big, crazy intersection in the middle of the Meatpacking District.

Work has already begun. Yesterday, (in the middle of a driving rain storm) Ben Kabak, author of the Second Avenue Sagas blog, snapped the photo above, and these too.

It's not too pretty right now but when it's all done it's supposed to look something like this:


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Choose Your Own Hells Kitchen

The Ninth Avenue Renaissance project continues to evolve into the most thorough and impressive community-driven Livable Streets effort currently underway in New York City (the Gansevoort Project runs a close second). Following up on a design workshop facilitated by Project for Public Spaces in January, Ninth Avenue Renaissance has launched a survey that allows you to choose and comment on three different redesign options for the avenue.

Click here to take the survey.

For example, the option below proposes reconfiguring the avenue to three lanes for travel and one for parking. It widens the sidewalks and installs dedicated bus and bike lanes and adds a number of pedestrian-friendly amenities:

Then there is this neighborhood-friendly vision for Hells Kitchen's side streets -- mid-block neckdowns and pedestrian crossings, little bump-outs for cafe tables, benches or bike parking, raised crosswalks, basically all of the great street design stuff that you see in European cities these days:


The Ninth Avenue Renaissance project was initiated by the Clinton Hell's Kitchen Coalition for Pedestrian Safety, a group of neighborhood stakeholders who want to reclaim Hell's Kitchen from "hellish" Lincoln Tunnel traffic. The goal of the project is to develop a shared vision of street design and traffic calming measures aimed at turning Ninth Avenue into a vibrant community Main Street.

You've got to think that this could be an ideal showcase for Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC 2030 vision. One thousand days is enough time to do something like this and it is entirely within city government's power to make it happen -- no begging or bribing up in Albany necessary. It strikes me that this sort of Livable Streets project could be a direct and tangible way to show New Yorkers how the PlaNYC process is making city life better right now.

Frankly, the redesign can't happen soon enough. Yet another elderly pedestrian was mowed down and killed crossing 23rd Street at Ninth Avenue on Friday afternoon -- the third such victim in three months.