As part of a broader effort to create a pedestrian-friendly environment in the Hudson Square neighborhood, a half-acre open space at the intersection of Spring Street and Sixth Avenue is being re-envisioned as a park for the community.
The design, which was created by award-winning landscape architects Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects for the Hudson Square Connection (HSC) and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, was presented to Community Board 2 on Feb. 4 and the committee is drafting a resolution in support of the design, recommending that the Public Design Commission approve it on March 2.
The proposed design will make the space safer, greener and more resilient, and will give it a new identity as part of the transformed neighborhood.
The design for the space incorporates suggestions from a community input process that began last June. The proposed design:
• Increases the site’s permeable surface from 7.5% to 35% and, in turn, increases the site’s ability to capture storm water from 7.5% up to 87 percent — critical to relieving the City’s overburdened sewer system and mitigating flooding in the area.
• Increases the number of healthy trees on the site from 36 to 42. The trees along Sixth Avenue and Spring Street will be planted or retrofitted using the “Hudson Square Standard” (HSS) – an advance in urban forestry that increases storm water capture and vastly improves tree health. This regimen includes expanded tree pits, tree guards, and permeable pavement over structural soil.
• Features distinctive, energy-efficient lighting that will provide a safe, inviting atmosphere during the day and night.
• Adds 120 moveable chairs, 29 moveable tables, 24 benches, and 21 swivel chairs to the park.
• Includes a water fountain and 4 solar-powered compactors for waste and recycling.
“This project, which is the result of a partnership between the City, the BID and community stakeholders, is a milestone in our efforts to make Hudson Square a place for people,” said Hudson Square Connection president Ellen Baer.
“Our new, innovative design completely redefines this open space into something Hudson Square’s growing community of creative workers and residents will enjoy. It also serves two other main purposes: it invites people into the neighborhood and encourages them to continue west along a newly revitalized stretch of Spring Street and dramatically boosts the area’s and the City’s sustainability by incorporating the best in green infrastructure.”
The $6 million renovation of the space, the cost of which will be split between the BID and the City, is part of the BID’s broader streetscape improvement plan for the area.
Unveiled in October 2012, the Connection’s $27 million, five-year plan seeks to improve pedestrian safety, traffic flow, and the overall streetscape environment through public-private partnerships.
The plan was conceived to accommodate the influx of residential and retail development in the recently rezoned area that has become a hub for creative sector businesses.
Other public spaces created by HSC under this plan include Freeman Plaza North, East and West near the mouth of the Holland Tunnel.