The Meatpacking Business Improvement District (BID) announced the opening of “Future Streets,”a three-day installation on Little West 12th St. between Ninth Ave and Washington St. reimagining the street as pedestrian oriented public space.
Expanding on the City’s “Open Streets: Restaurants” program, “Future Streets” is executed in partnership with the American Institute of Architecture (AIA-NY), the American Society of Landscape Architecture (ASLA-NY) and the American Planning Association (APA-NYM), with the goal of demonstrating how the Meatpacking District’s streets can be re-imaged to increase public space, promote a range of responsibly distanced community activities, and respond to the heightened demand for open street space from the community and local businesses.
Over the course of the three-day installment, “Future Streets” enhances the City supported “Open Streets: Restaurants” program and adds 13,000 s/f of public space to the neighborhood’s already existing 30,000 square feet of public plazas.
The space will house flexible socially-distant seating, a “front yard” space with greenery and innovative seating, an outdoor lounge space, and dining area. Throughout the weekend, MISHA TYUTYUNIK will paint a mural at 18 Little W 12th Street.
With the introduction of “Future Streets” in September, the Meatpacking BID aims to demonstrate that New York City can have a high quality pedestrian-prioritized streetscape that supports the community and local business alike.
Following the weekend long program, the BID intends to take their findings to create a proposal for an upgraded pedestrian oriented district that serves the City throughout the day and night, and in all seasons.
“Over the past few months we have seen firsthand how vital open streets and expanded pedestrian spaces have been to helping our neighborhood businesses reopen,” said Jeffrey LeFrancois, Executive Director of the Meatpacking BID.
“We are thankful to the City for allowing the Open Streets program to happen, and for being able to work with some phenomenal partners to showcase our neighborhood’s potential. With progressive planning and design from our friends at the AIA-NY, ASLA-NY and the APA-NYM, we hope to demonstrate that the Meatpacking District can be a ‘pedestrian first’ neighborhood that entices New Yorkers to explore the City and witness a reimagining of our streets.”
Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, said, “The recent economic threats due to the COVID-19 pandemic have hit restaurants, retailers and other small businesses the hardest. Orienting the streets around pedestrians is a natural solution to help New Yorkers and visitors feel safe to head back to New York for the cultural experiences the city is known for.”
The Meatpacking BID has worked with the neighborhood’s stakeholders to develop the “Future Streets” program into an adaptable initiative which ultimately benefits the health and prosperity of the neighborhood.
To help execute on the program, Celine Armstrong, the Committee Leader for the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter Planning and Urban Design Committee, led a multidisciplinary team in creating this pedestrian-prioritized space.
Armstrong, who has been involved in similar projects at 18th St. & 10th Ave., Broadway between 19th and 20th Streets and Laguardia Place between Bleeker and Houston, comments, “Public space in a city like New York is an asset that we must prioritize. The creative conversation started in the Meatpacking District must continue from here focused on how we can deliver this model across the City and make pedestrian oriented urban space a pillar of New York City’s future.”
“Future Streets” will be open on Little West 12th St. between Ninth Ave and Washington St., from Friday, September 11 through Sunday, September 13th. Street closures will take place during Open Street Restaurants hours, 4 PM – 11 PM Friday, and 12 PM to 12 AM Saturday and Sunday. The neighborhood will have signage and staff in place to remind visitors to wear masks and maintain a responsible distance. The neighborhood’s sanitation team will also be engaged to keep the street clean and safe for all who visit.