If we're going to put more tall towers in Midtown, then we better put more public space, too. Vishaan Chakrabarti, a partner at SHoP Architects and director of Columbia's Center for Urban Real Estate, proposes putting a little more "park" in "Park Avenue" with a wide, tree-lined promenade cutting up the middle of the street. Capital NY reports that Chakrabarti is unveiling his proposal at the Municipal Art Society Summit today. The plan calls for doubling the width of the Park Avenue medians already in place from 46th Street to 57th Street. A 12 to 15-foot wide path in the middle would create a 2.45 acre landscaped green space. To do so, one lane of parking would need to be removed on either side of the median, but traffic flow would be improved by carving out turning lanes near intersections.
Chakrabarti's plan piggy-backs off of the idea to create more public space around Grand Central, but unlike a floating pedestrian halo, a street-level promenade using structures that already exist could actually become a reality. Capital notes that the city could even pay for the promenade's cost, about $50 million, with the fees it will collect from developers building new towers.
· Proposed: A Promenade Up An Expanded Park Avenue Median [Capital NY]