Broadway is Manhattan's most under-used resource.
In its current state, Broadway, the avenue, has no identity. It no longer serves as a thoroughfare for traffic, since many blocks in Times Square and Nomad are cut off to traffic. Still, it isn't closed to traffic or parking, so pedestrians can't enjoy it safely, instead, they simply tolerate it—to get to their destination. Although a handful of blocks are open to restaurants, that eclectic mix doesn't form a continuous whole. Moreover, most of Broadway's blocks appear devoid of much of anything. They are waiting to be put to use.
Broadway should and could have a strong and coherent identity to offer an inviting experience all along the length of the parkway — that's what The Broadway Linear Park— The BLiP—will create.
The BLiP vision calls for each Broadway block between 14th Street and Columbus Circle to have a series of offerings, but all with a common vision that replaces cars with an accessible and usable space. Together the blocks will form a fascinating pastiche that will draw visitors to explore, always excited about what lies beyond the next cross-street.
The BLiP will be great for locals
Situated in areas with a mix of commercial and residential (Union Square, Flatiron), more commercial areas, and destinations like Koreatown and the Theater District, Broadway is in the right place and ripe for locals to embrace it. But its hodgepodge of a few broader sidewalks, occasional plazas and outdoor dining areas aren't creating a cohesive whole.
For New York residents, all that will change with The BLiP. Much like its northern cousin, Central Park, The BLiP will draw families and friends who live in all five boroughs but seek a convenient, centralized and attractive location to gather. It will be an explorable place, with distinct areas, so another inviting destination is only steps away. This will help make Midtown Manhattan a place locals enjoy going to, not just for work, but for shopping, eating, and recreation.
Dedicated loading zones on each cross street will provide local residents and businesses with convenient delivery access and ensure that those with impaired mobility can access buildings. The BLiP will simplify the street network and ease congestion for drivers in addition to pedestrians and cyclists.
The BLiP will be an essential tourist destination
Broadway is one of the most famous streets in the world, so has instant global recognition. Tourists love to visit "Broadway"—but they really just are referring to their visits to Times Square and the Theater District. Although they also visit the various parks that interrupt Broadway, mostly Union Square and Madison Square Park, the rest of Broadway is unexplored and not counted among New York's must-stops.
If there was something interesting, permanent, and unique on those other parts of Broadway, tourists would make the walk from Times Square to Union Square, or up to Columbus Circle, more frequently, enriching the area. Already, hotels have been built around Broadway, especially recently in Nomad, so tourists are well positioned to visit the street, if only it had something to offer them.
Each block along the Broadway Linear Park will feature its own unique design and vibrant community space.
Illustration By Noelle Hunter