Volume 78 / Number 7 - July 16 - 22, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Transportation Dept. gets moving on new program for public plazas

By Gabriel Zucker

The Department of Transportation is kicking off an initiative to increase the number of public plazas.

The department announced the NYC Plaza Program last month, with the goal of creating “neighborhood plazas throughout the city” by “transforming underused streets into vibrant, social public spaces.”

“This program is a key part of the city’s effort to ensure that all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of quality open space,” D.O.T. said in a press release.

In choosing locations for the plazas, D.O.T. will focus largely on an area’s need for open space. Community Board 3 is one of three Manhattan community boards that have been singled out as being in need of open spaces — meaning it has fewer than 2.5 acres of open space per 1,000 people. C.B. 3 includes Chinatown and the Lower East Side, two particularly park-starved areas.

The plazas will be proposed and designed by local nonprofit groups, which will be selected through a competitive application process. Along with an area’s need, D.O.T. will give preference to applications showing “community initiative” in the planning process, applications that use sites in the context of the surrounding area and sites in lower-income areas.

Applications, by e-mail only, should be sent to plazas@dot.nyc.gov by 6 p.m. Tues., Aug. 19. Mailed or hand-delivered applications will not be accepted. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/sidewalks/publicplaza.shtml.



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