Lower Manhattan: Room to move
War is being waged on the streets of New York City. In Lower Manhattan, commuters, tourists and residents engage in a daily battle for space on the sidewalk as they struggle in to work, attempt to snap a landmark, or simply try to get home at the end of the day.
In a recent article for the New York Times, Winnie Hu discussed the reasons for this conflict, and spoke to BuroHappold Partner Kate Ascher about our work to rectify the situation. Putting our people flow expertise to good use, we have been collaborating with city officials, community leaders and residents to find a route that will allow 13.5 million people a year to pass comfortably through the historic streets of New York’s oldest neighbourhood.
Every year 300,000 commuters, 70,000 residents and 13 million tourists compete for space on the streets of Lower Manhattan. With a people flow of over 8,000 per hour there is hardly room to move.
Having over 40 years’ experience of creating design driven, innovative engineering solutions for the built environment, BuroHappold is turning its creative minds to this issue. In December 2015, we ran pedestrian counts and video surveys at seven locations across Lower Manhattan, allowing us to identify key pedestrian flow models and areas of high congestion. Currently, tourists compete with local residents and commuters, creating these highly congested zones.
Using the data from our survey, supported by modelling of current and potential people flow scenarios, BuroHappold believes that the introduction of a new tourist trail will help to alleviate congestion and reduce the competition for space. By attracting tourists to areas with a tourist trail that runs along Maiden Lane and Nassau Street, we can improve circulation by separating pedestrians into two distinct flows, and give the people of Lower Manhattan the space that they deserve.