Make way for Lower Manhattan

This week, Manhattan’s Community Board 1 (which represents residents in Lower Manhattan) passed a unanimous resolution in support of continuing a study spearheaded by Buro Happold that focuses on mobility issues in Downtown Manhattan, including the identification and implementation of “beta test” measures in the historic core. The initiative, Make Way for Lower Manhattan, tackles the issues related to the often congested and confusing streets of Downtown.

Over the course of four months, Buro Happold led a multidisciplinary team in preliminary research and stakeholder engagement on the issue of mobility in Lower Manhattan. The Buro Happold team set out to quantify the underlying problems and identify the opportunities associated with addressing them.

What they uncovered was a tremendous amount of growth that shows no signs of slowing down: since the turn of the 21st century, residential and tourism numbers have effectively doubled, the number of hotel rooms have increased fourfold, and retailers and creative industries are moving to Lower Manhattan in droves. All this growth is increasing the strain on the physically constrained colonial grid; dramatic intervention needs to be undertaken to facilitate vehicular movement, provide room for people, facilitate movement between key destinations, and enhance the tourism experience.

At a workshop in November 2014, there was overwhelming consensus from public agencies, cultural institutions, and neighborhood and business organizations that dramatic interventions are needed to improve Lower Manhattan’s public realm. Since then, Buro Happold has presented the findings to high level city officials and will be working with sponsors at The J.M. Kaplan Fund to determine the appropriate approach to undertake further research and planning activity.

To read more about the inventive scenarios unveiled this week, click here

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