Times Square in New York, one of the most famous places in the modern era, is receiving a facelift. The city council wants to ensure that the ‘Bowtie’, as the city’s residents refer to it, retains its outspoken and leading spirit, but also addresses the needs of an informal urban space successfully.
The project was started in 2012 and will, according to the planning, be completed by the end of 2016. Three major threats that began to rob Times Square of its status were:
- Overcrowded sidewalks (‘pedlock’, as Americans call it);
- Fierce competition among multiple users for limited space;
- An ugly and crowded ground level (‘streetscape schlock’).
The city’s point by point solution entails:
- world class design and focused programming to alleviate problems for pedestrians and to create additional public space;
- creating spaces where people – locals and tourists – are able to pause, meet and observe;
- reconsidering the relationship between pedestrians and vehicles and managing both kinds of traffic better;
- thinking of Times Square as a constantly changing theatre with unique opportunities for small-scale performances.
The traffic previously crowded out pedestrians and made the street inaccessible. By closing parts of the roadway to traffic and converting it into public spaces where people are able to sit down, stand around, exhibit, play and do much more, more people are now brought together successfully in the area every day. A unique character on a human scale is created anew.
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