Between efforts to make bicycling better and improve the public realm in Manhattan, New York City has been making some steps to upgrade boulevard streets for more users — making the center medians of these facilities into usable and attractive public spaces rather than just an area between two directions of traffic.
Case in point: Pike Street. The city’s Transportation Department has been working to add physically separated bike facilities (or cycle tracks) along the central median in both directions and creating plaza-like public spaces by closing off certain intersections. Plans eventually call for adding trees, benches and gardens to the median promenade, through the Parks Department. (Streetsblog provided a picture showing some of the initial changes, see at right.)
The changes are supported and were devised with input by the local community. A model for this concept has been the Boulevard de Clichy in Paris, which is essentially a linear park with cycle tracks on each side, separated from traffic by landscaped buffers. Below are some pictures of that boulevard and plans for Pike Street’s further upgrades from the Department of Transportation.