NYC ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
NYCEDC is uniting community stakeholders, business and property owners, and public agencies around a shared vision and implementation strategy that transforms public space and improves walkability around this important uptown transit hub.
During 2013, NYCEDC worked closely with the NYC Department of Transportation, the MTA/Metro-North Railroad, Manhattan Community Board 11, and an experienced consultant team to identify, prioritize, and pursue public and private funding to implement the public realm improvements. Preliminary concepts for improvements in the categories of circulation and pedestrian amenities were presented in August 2013 and recommendations were finalized and presented in December 2013. Design of the pedestrian safety and plaza improvements began in the Summer of 2014 and continued through the end of the year.
In January 2015, NYCDOT selected the portion of the project site underneath the viaduct between East 124th and East 125th Streets to be part of the City’s Public Plaza Program with the New Harlem East Merchants Association (NHEMA) as the local nonprofit partner.
NYCDOT and NHEMA are now leading design and outreach for the plaza and plan to implement interim plaza improvements in Summer 2015. Following implementation, NYCDOT and NHEMA will continue to complete design the permanent plaza and other streetscape improvements, which are slated to begin construction in 2016.
Stakeholder input has been a crucial part of identifying public realm challenges and developing the best solutions safer and more appealing public spaces around the Metro-North station. In order to engage a diverse and representative set of stakeholders, NYCEDC formed a community working group that actively contributed to the development of the Park/125 Public Realm Project.
The community working group included:
-- Community Board 11, neighborhood organizations, and tenant associations;
-- Elected officials;
-- Economic development groups, planning advocates, and community development corporations; and
-- Local businesses, property owners/developers, and educational, medical, cultural, & religious institutions.
The community working group has met three times: April 2013, August 2013, and December 2013.
NYCDOT and NHEMA will continue to work with the East Harlem community throughout the design process as part of the Public Plaza program.