The Plan to Transform NYC's Broadway Into 40 Blocks of Green Space

Joey Lax-Salinas via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Joey Lax-Salinas via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Joey Lax-Salinas via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Following the High Line's evolution from abandoned railway to bustling park, urban planners have been brainstorming creative ways to develop more green space for New York City. This latest proposal from Perkins Eastman Architects is unique—instead of utilizing unused space, it would re-purpose one of the busiest streets in the borough.

The Green Line would turn New York’s iconic Broadway into a 40-block stretch of green space running through central Manhattan. Broadway was chosen because of its unique layout: instead of following the conventional grid pattern, it cuts diagonally through the lower half of Manhattan, which has allowed for the construction of public squares. In addition to providing an outdoor area for pedestrians and cyclists, the “linear park” would act as a thread connecting some of the most famous public spaces in the city, including Union Square, Madison Square, Herald Square, Times Square, and Columbus Circle. 

Actually going ahead with the proposal would be a major undertaking, but a few recent changes to the area have already laid the foundation for the project. Broadway already includes a protected bike lane, and the stretch of road running through Times Square has been closed to cars for over six years. And while the new park would be primarily used as a space for pedestrians, it would still remain accessible as a shortcut for emergency vehicles.

The architects behind the proposal say the added real estate value the park would introduce to the area would eventually outweigh the costs. The project would also come with another unexpected benefit: Soil obviously absorbs rainwater much better than tarmac, so transforming the road into a park would offer some much-needed relief to the city’s overburdened drainage system.

[h/t: Dezeen]