Rally at the New York City Council in support of plaza regulation

Photo: A Better Times Square

We are thankful to our supporters for signing the Design Trust for Public Space’s petition, Don't Rip Up Our Plazas, last fall to preserve the pedestrian plazas in Times Square. Their voice was heard!

The Mayor's Task Force has been working on a series of creative solutions since last year. The New York City Council recently introduced legislation informed by the Task Force’s work to give the NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) the authority to manage and regulate pedestrian plazas throughout New York City. Click here to read the full text of the proposed legislation.

We submitted testimony in support of the Intro. 1109 Pedestrian Plaza Legislation for the City Council hearing on March 30, 2016. The proposed bill provides a democratic, creative and flexible approach for designating areas as ‘pedestrian plazas’, not only in Times Square, but in all five boroughs, especially in underserved neighborhoods with little open space. 

This legislation fills the regulatory and enforcement gap by defining the code of conduct and assigns clear roles for NYC DOT and plaza partners to manage, maintain and program these plazas. It will restore order without banning any category of activity to uphold the highest standards of human rights and freedom. It would be regrettable for these shared spaces to return to over-crowded and accident-prone vehicular streets. Times Square demonstrates how popular public space in our city can function more safely and more enjoyably, not just on New Year’s Eve.

The Design Trust for Public Space greatly appreciates and supports the City’s commitment to public safety in NYC. NYC DOT’s dedication to safer streets through Vision Zero and better plazas has proven there are effective tools to make NYC’s neighborhoods and districts throughout the city more livable and economically successful. The proposed rulemaking responsibility for NYC DOT can be similarly viable. NYC DOT would be able to establish constitutional rules for where activities like taking photos with costumed characters for tips can take place and where they cannot.

The New York City Council will vote on April 7, 2016. Your support will help ensure that this network of new public spaces remain as true community assets for all New Yorkers and visitors alike to pass through, gather, find the unexpected or rest to watch the world go by. Click here to add your voice.

Click here to learn more.

It would be regrettable for these shared spaces to return to over-crowded and accident-prone vehicular streets.

Susan Chin, Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space