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Worth Square Project

Jan 5, 2017 | Park

Worth Square Project


The Flatiron Public Plazas and Worth Square expansion was implemented in August of 2008 as temporary spaces, stretching from 22nd Street to 25th Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway.  The project was initiated by the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) in coordination with the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership (Flatiron BID) and Madison Square Park Conservancy (MSPC) to both address dangerous pedestrian and vehicular conditions as well as provide 37,000 square feet of new, public open space to residents, workers, and visitors in the area.

Working collaboratively, DOT, Flatiron BID, and MSPC have reorganized traffic, pedestrian, and bicycle flows; added a traffic lane to Fifth Avenue, new crosswalks, and a bike lane connection; and beautified and activated the public space with amenities such as granite blocks, planters, tables, chairs, and umbrellas. Now this successful project is being made permanent by undergoing capital reconstruction, replacing, and upgrading all of the temporary materials with new paving, seating, and plantings. The first public design workshop for the permanent reconstruction was held on November 10, 2015, and further outreach is expected in summer and fall of 2017.

As an interim step in the project, in spring of 2017 DOT plans to implement a new geometric traffic design that is intended to simplify the intersection of 24th Street and 5th Avenue, enhancing pedestrian circulation and safety. This new configuration is meant to be the basis for the permanent reconstruction to follow.

The Project

To date, $10 million has been secured and a conceptual design has been donated by internationally-renowned architect Lord Norman Foster.

Public Benefits of 2008 Project

Improved Pedestrian and Vehicular Safety

  • Total crashes have decreased by 29%
  • 34% fewer injuries for all users
  • Pedestrian injuries have decreased by 18%
  • Is a natural fit with Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan

Improved Transportation Flow

  • Average AM peak travel speeds for southbound trips increased by 9%
  • Southbound bicycle volumes at the Broadway and 5th Ave intersection increased 160% during the weekday PM peak
  • Fifth Avenue bus routes no longer diverted to Broadway, shortening route by 111’

Improved Community & Quality of Life Improvements

  • 86% of respondents to a 2014 Flatiron BID survey liked the public plazas
  • Creates 37,000 square feet of public, open space that improves safety
  • Enables new community programs such as dining, art and music exhibitions and promotional and culinary events
  • Improves environmental condition through flood mitigation, design and greening

Economic Impact

  • Median building values at Madison Square increased 22%, which is 18% more than Manhattan as a whole and 10% more than nearby comparison sites
  • Increased customer base have enabled adjacent properties to be transformed into vibrant retail and office spaces and the plazas are used for public programming
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Abigail Deville: Light of Freedom
Abigail Deville: Light of Freedom, Narrated by Brooke Kamin Rappoport