The pedestrian plazas in Times Square have been a success (for most people) so why not bring more of them to the city, right? Like, say, around the entrance to the Holland Tunnel! Yeah! That, at least, is what the local BID the Hudson Square Connection is proposing [PDF]. Bring on the seats, trees and, uh, street fairs!
The Hudson Square area isn't the most obvious one for street seating—all that traffic-induced air pollution might bother some people—but stranger things have happened? The DOT's Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, for her part, says that the plan has "some promising concepts that could lead to safer streetscapes that work better for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists."
But the plan, which wants to make the area more residential friendly (as Trinity Real Estate tries to get the area more residential developments), already is confusing some neighbors and nearby BIDs. "This is a high-pollution area," SoHo Alliance director Sean Sweeney told CBS, "and I would want to know why you want to bring people into a high-pollution area." He also pointed out that the plan's $27 million price tag, half of which would be paid for by public funding, could probably be used better elsewhere.
Still, parts of the plan are already happening. Right now the lanes near the Holland Tunnel are extra-wide, which Hudson Square Connection wants to change. Already they've gotten one lane removed and turned into a gravel-covered sidewalk with potted plants.
Meanwhile, the idea of a sitting and watching the traffic go into and out of New Jersey isn't the most exciting part of the BID's plan to us, though. No, what really caught our attention is the idea of installing "container forests" to provide "greening and seating on streets in transition." Like dumpster pools but for trees! That we would like to see around town.