The Clinton/Hell's Kitchen neighborhood is a New York City community known for its history, diversity, and food culture. Unfortunately, this vibrant area is overrun by traffic congestion, primarily caused by its proximity to the Lincoln Tunnel. The neighborhood's main thoroughfare, 9th Avenue, famous for its local shops and restaurants, is now infamous for its four lanes of traffic, which often resemble a parking lot.
However, this is also a community with a strong history of civic leadership and awareness. In this tradition, the 9th Avenue Renaissance project was founded as a campaign to generate ideas for improving 9th Avenue's ability to function as a vital neighborhood main street. To broaden the community dialogue and begin describing the community's vision, PPS designed a six month community input process for the Clinton/Hell's Kitchen Pedestrian Safety Coalition (CHEKPEDS).
Throughout this process, the residents of 9th Avenue and its surroundings were the experts. PPS worked with well over 1,000 citizens through town hall meetings, surveys, a community design workshop, street audits, booths at street fairs, blogs, video, web sites, and countless one-on-one conversations.
As the community input process unfolded, it became clear that many different constituencies, each with their own interests, shared similar concerns and desires. The final report presents concepts and best practices as potential solutions that deserve consideration, including a "new" 9th Avenue with separate bus and bike lanes, increased sidewalks, and a pedestrian refuge median.
The report was the first of several significant steps forward for the 9th Avenue Renaissance. On June 6, 2007 Community Board 4 voted on a motion to support the findings of this final report and adopt them as the official community vision. The final report will become the official input in the federally funded engineering study, part of a recently awarded grant of $250,000 to CHEKPEDS from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council for technical study of Lincoln Tunnel traffic.
Transit is a component, but by no means the extent, of your experience at a station that is a place. Memorable and enjoyable stations and stops that create value for neighborhoods are perfectly attainable. In fact, a transit station or stop can serve much more than a transportation function; it can be a setting for community interaction, a place that fosters a diversity of activities.