In the summer of 2009, following an increase in the number of traffic accidents in the Times Square area, the city’s Department of Transportation closed off Broadway to vehicles and created temporary pedestrian-only spaces. The change was such a success that the city decided to make it permanent. They brought on Snøhetta the following year to design a new permanent plaza, the first section of which was unveiled in 2014.
Last December, and just in time for the New Year’s celebration, Snøhetta wrapped work on this $55 million project that pertains to the “Bowtie” bounded by Broadway and Seventh Avenue between 42nd and 47th Streets. The project added 110,000 square feet of pedestrian space, 10 new 50-foot-long granite benches, and designated activity zones to improve the pedestrian traffic flow in the area.
Earlier today members of the design team, elected officials, and representatives from the city’s DOT and Department of Design and Construction officially celebrated the completion of the project.
“Conceived as a project whose success would be measured not only by its new aesthetic but also the long-term physical, psychological and economic benefits on its community, the reinvention of Times Square stands as a model for how the design of our urban landscapes can improve health and well-being of its users while providing an important stage for public gathering,” Craig Dykers, a founding partner at Snøhetta said in a statement.
Since Broadway was closed to traffic in this area, pedestrian injuries have reduced by 40 percent and vehicular accidents by 15 percent, according to data obtained by Snøhetta. How much did this project really change the way Times Square looks now? Check out all the great before/after shots below to see the transformation.