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A Giant $100 Million Expansion & Redesign Is In The Works For Union Square

It would essentially eliminate cars & increase public park space by 33%!

Claire Leaden Claire Leaden

A Giant $100 Million Expansion & Redesign Is In The Works For Union Square

It’s the year of expansions in NYC! First the High Line, now Union Square…

The Union Square Partnership just unveiled an ambitious new plan for the transportation hub & plaza…one that will completely change its look, but also its function.

The $100 million project hopes turn the greater Union Square-14th Street area into “New York City’s most accessible space” with five key improvements

Union Square West Looking North. Rendering from Union Square Partnership.

They are:

  1. Increase public open space by 33%: They would do this by expanding the park all the way to the edge of the surrounding buildings to create a “town square” feel, and add more space for pedestrians to spread out. They will also enlarge the subway entrance at 16th Street with an escalator and elevator.
  2. Add new trees, seating & “micro parks”: One of these would be in a new, large open space at the park’s southeast corner, opening the southbound side of Union Square East to pedestrians.
  3. Enhance Broadway Plaza at 17th St.: By making it a welcoming “gateway” into the square with “park-like elements.”
  4. Address infrastructure like landscaping, ADA accessibility, and permanent farmers market stalls: This is part of a new “Master Plan” for Union Square Park to update various park elements to “meet the needs of today and prepare for the needs of tomorrow” (like bike parking, new restrooms, WiFi, etc.)
  5. Turn 14th St. into a “world-class boulevard and permanent crosstown transitway”: This would focus on expanding pedestrian walkways and building on the city’s bus program with designated bus boarding zones and more.
14th Street Looking North. Rendering from Union Square Partnership.
Triangle Park Looking West. Rendering Courtesy Union Square Partnership.

Basically, it would totally reconfigure Union Square to add a ton more walking and accessible space for New Yorkers, plus much-needed updates and park elements like greenery and seating options!

The initial designs came after two years of interviewing and working with community members, local business leaders, urban designers, landscape architects, transportation experts, and City and State agency partners.

So, the group will spend the rest of the year conducting more analyses, public engagement, and finalizing concepts and designs. The project will be a “multi-year undertaking” and would be paid for by a combination of BID funds, bond financing, private contributions, and government funds.

You can read more about the plan and find ways to participate on their website here.

featured image source: Rendering from Union Square Partnership

In other news: A $51 Billion Redevelopment Of Midtown West Is Planned For 2021