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42nd PARK


New York City, ZDA

Anna Kravcov, Blaž Babnik Romaniuk, Dušan Stupar


The focus of the 42nd Park proposal is to present a design solution that would bring together people and businesses with their different interest behind Visions42 proposal for Auto-free 42nd Street. To create a multi-purpose public space which is open to everyone, easy to build and manage. The proposed plan meets this criteria by paying close attention to the principles of shared space, diverse traffic demands, and Manhattan-specific landscaping in a way that fosters communal use of the available space while creating a new identity, specific of the 42nd Street. The Design of the 42nd Street proposes continuous paving between buildings along the lenghth of the street. While the irregular larger scale pattern reflects the large scale of the street and its diverse character, the triangular smaller scale pattern introduces predictability and human scale. Continuity of the pattern is an important feature of the shared space as it raises attention of the users to one another. To ensure maximum practicality, versatility, and foremost safety of all users we structured the shared space in such a way that does not impede with its open character and traversability in all directions. The space is diveded in three sections: 1 ñ an entirely unobstructed pathway between the buildings and the row of large trees, 2 ñ area for permanent and temporary use between the large row of trees and the biking lane, and 3 ñ areas for faster moving traffic (light rail, cyclists, skaters). While being only subtly divided by rows of trees and a gutter, these lanes clearly hint at the various ways in which they could be used. They also enable easy management of the way the street is used, for example the stalls and bars with their tables can be positioned between the gutter and the row of large trees; the area between the trees and buildings must be left unobstructed for emergency vehicles. Due to its length the street needs to provide room for both the strolling pedestrians and faster moving cyclists, as well as offer good visibility for light rail conductors. The proposed plan achieves this by introducing a sense of shared space and raising awareness among all groups of users, as well as by subtly structuring the space itself. The faster vehicle lanes are positioned side by side so the pedestrians cross their path in one go. By turning the users' attention to the bicycle lane in front, it also acts as a safety zone next to the light rail path. A large area of paved, unobstructed space could provide a more versatile space suitable for accomodating more people, though this would lead to an uninviting public space. In order to create a public space of high quality we propose to divide it into several small, carefully designed parks, which would serve as settings for various activities. They could be used as areas for lunch breaks, places for relaxation among the green surroundings, play or rest. The appeareance of the street is further diverisfied by including several different paving patterns and by varying the density of trees in places of special importance or use such as in front of the Grand Central Station and the entrance to the Chrysler Building. The street design in its entirety adheres to the existing landscape layout of Manhattan which includes clearly defined areas of greenery, following the Manhattan urban grid. Because of this the proposed solution also creates a clear and unified green line traversing the entire width of Manhattan ñ from Hudson to East River. This will not only ensure an additional green area for Manhattan but will also serve as a strong point of reference for locals and visitors alike. Manhattan has outstanding potential to become a great pedestrian and cyclist friendly city. The 42nd Street could most certainly serve as the green starting line.

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