Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
With an average of 45 million visitors each year, Times Square is the most visited destination in New York and the United States. Today, the NYC Department of Transportation, Department of Design and Construction, Snøhetta, and the Times Square Alliance celebrate the completion of a reinvented Times Square, as the revamped “Crossroads of the World” embraces its role as a stage for public life and freedom of expression. Following the closure of Broadway to car traffic in 2009, Snøhetta’s design for the permanent pedestrian plaza cleared out decades of old infrastructure cluttering the square while creating a united ground plane from building front to building front. Ten 50-foot long granite benches allow pedestrians to move through the area more comfortably, complementing the energy of the lights and excitement above.
Since completion in 2016, the Reconstruction has doubled the amount of pedestrian-only space at Manhattan’s core. The design has transformed Times Square from one of New York’s most notoriously congested spaces into a radically open civic square, while also integrating crucial utility and event infrastructure upgrades. “Conceived as a project whose success would be measured not only by its new aesthetic but also the long-term physical, psychological and economic benefits on its community, the reinvention of Times Square stands as a model for how the design of our urban landscapes can improve health and well-being of its users while providing an important stage for public gathering,” said Craig Dykers, Architect and Founding Partner of Snøhetta.
The project site, known as the “Bowtie,” forms the heart of the Times Square Theater District, and is bounded by Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets. Since the Bloomberg administration closed Broadway to vehicles in May 2009, and the intersection of Snøhetta’s pedestrian street opened to the public in spring 2014, the transformation has already had a significant impact on public safety, economic output, and user experience. Pedestrian injuries have decreased by 40%, vehicular accidents have decreased by 15%, and overall crime in the area decreased 20%. And with the removal of vehicles, air pollution in the Bowtie area has fallen by as much as 60%, making the space safer and healthier for everyone. Over 80% over visitors now agree that the pedestrian plaza makes Times Square feel safer.