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City Considers Expanding Park Avenue Median in Midtown

The New York City Department of Transportation is working on plans to revamp the Park Avenue median, the NY Times reports. The work would require “ripping up nearly a dozen streets along Park Avenue, from East 46th to East 57th Streets, making possible a new vision for that stretch of the thoroughfare,” writes John Surico of the Times.

The DOT is considering adding more seats, expanding the median, eliminating traffic lanes and creating more room for bike lanes and walking paths between East 46th and 57th Streets.

We reached out to Barbara McLaughlin from the Fund For Park Avenue, one of the organizations behind the proposal. She tells us that “Along with several other stakeholders (in an effort spearheaded by the Grand Central Partnership), The Fund is advocating for the involvement of a world-class landscape architect in what is sure to be one of the most impactful public realm improvements the city has seen in decades.”

Not everyone is behind this, though, with drivers showing particular concern. “Without plans to reduce the number of cars in Manhattan, I think it’s just going to make the traffic congestion much worse,” a Midtown employee told CBS New York.

The Park Avenue median was almost 40 feet wide back in the 1920s. “It was the city’s first linear park, where pedestrians took precedence over cars and there were plenty of benches to take a break,” the Times writes, adding that it was almost cut in half in 1927 to “make room for another traffic lane in each direction and accommodate the city’s growing car culture.”
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