Times Square, NY by Michael Grimm + Snøhetta
Over 40 million people visit or pass through Times Square each year. The site is known as the ‘Bowtie’; its physical boundaries are Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th Streets. Facing extreme traffic and pedestrian volumes and safety concerns, the project began with the NYC Department of Transportation’s “Green Light for Midtown” safety and mobility project in 2009, which used temporary paving and street furniture to close Broadway to vehicular traffic between 42nd and 47th streets in order to alleviate congestion. Prior to the street closure, Broadway’s diagonal slant across Manhattan’s grid created an irregular, multi-legged intersection where Broadway meets the north-south running 7th Avenue. This difficult pinch point posed a hazard to pedestrians and car traffic resulting in narrow, overcrowded sidewalks that forced pedestrians to spill into the roadways, leading to 137% more pedestrian crashes in Times Square than on other avenues in the area. The temporary closures and pedestrian-only public spaces were hugely successful, easing congestion and helping make the streets safer for everyone using them. In 2010, following the success of the pedestrian-only public spaces, the New York City Department of Design and Construction and the New York City Department of Transportation selected architecture and landscape architecture firm Snøhetta to lead the design of the new permanent plaza in Times Square.