To the editor:
I have been following with interest the series of letters regarding our ongoing South End Avenue / West Thames Street Study, and encourage readers to keep the input coming. The Battery Park City community is never wanting for ideas about how to make the neighborhood even better, and this has been no exception – from the reader who suggested consolidated newspaper boxes; to the gentlemen who wrote about improving the arcades and widening sidewalks to lend the street a more human scale; to those concerned with pedestrian safety and those others who want no changes whatsoever. This is exactly the kind of informed dialogue we’ve encouraged since the outset of the South End Avenue Study last year, through our Concept Development Open House sessions in recent weeks, and the type of active local engagement we hope to continue over the course of this iterative, deliberate, public process.
As is often the case with long-term projects there are some also misconceptions afloat, which I will take the opportunity to dispel:
– First, no work is currently planned on the South End Avenue / West Thames Street combined corridor: What we presented at the Open House sessions are visual representations of the ideas about possible ways in which the area may be enhanced.
– There will be additional opportunities for public input before any design decisions are made: Based on the feedback we’ve received, and continue to receive, BPCA will develop two concepts this fall. We’ll then solicit additional input on these concepts from the community, City government agencies, etc., as part of what is intended to remain a very iterative process. Engagement matters, and we’re committed to it.
– Pedestrian safety consideration will figure prominently in any improvements: BPCA’s South End Avenue / West Thames Street Study began in 2015, springing in significant part from the community’s concerns about pedestrian safety along these two thoroughfares. Our Study didn’t replace the City Department of Transportation’s previous suggestions for South End Avenue improvements; rather, it seeks to optimize them (and minimize attendant construction time) by taking a comprehensive look at potential improvements to the streetscape – including traffic and parking concerns, public amenities, and street vitality and appeal. Any changes would be made only with DOT’s approval, and in keeping with its recommendations to calm traffic, promote safer crossings, and reduce double parking.
– Any option for improvement pursued – if any option is pursued – would at the least preserve, or even add to, the available public space on South End Avenue: And making no changes to South End Avenue remains an option, too. It’s all part of the ongoing cultivation of ideas.
I invite you to submit feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and peruse the project materials available on our website, including the many comments of your neighbors from our Open House sessions. They certainly run the gamut, but all have as their aim delivering the best Battery Park City possible.
We couldn’t agree more.
Shari C. Hyman
President & COO
Battery Park City Authority