Straus Square will Permanently Close to Traffic this Summer

Posted on: June 16th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

Major changes are coming to Straus Square, the small Lower East Side traffic median. Namely, it’ll soon be absorbed by the larger Seward Park at its back, and lose that scruffy feel.

As previously reported, Seward Park is the recipient of $6.4 million in funding as part of the Park’s Without Borders program. While much of that sum is earmarked for the so-called “Library Plaza,” there was apparently plenty of neighborhood demand to connect the green space to the adjacent memorial. In effect, annexing the territory and incorporating it as part of a unified park.

(All this after the entire intersection was realigned two years ago in a $6.5 million project.)

Parks Department presented the proposal of the shutdown and subsequent designs – with Tim Laughlin of the Lower East Side Partnership in tow – during last night’s Parks subcommittee meeting of Community Board 3. The project is pitched in two specific phases.

Summer 2017 design

First, the city kicks it off this summer with the termination of traffic flow through Straus Square. Subsequent steps include – pavement resurfaced with a rumble-strip-type coating that might deter skateboarders from the area; taxi stand moved to the no parking zone along East Broadway; the Citibike dock removed and likely relocated to the sidewalk outside Wu’s on Rutgers Street; planters, temporary seating, and umbrella will arrive shortly thereafter. The Parks Department and the Seward Park Conservancy are the maintenance partners responsible for the area, with plans to host “programming” here.

By next summer, Parks will install a “cycling amenity” for the community. A shed and bike repair shop under the tutelage of Bike New York’s “Recycle-a-Bicycle” program.

Summer 2018 design

As rosy as the business improvement district would have you believe, there were still legitimate concerns aired by the panel, such as the potential impacts on traffic in an already bottlenecked area. Especially given the rerouted cars to the Rutgers light, influx of pedestrians, and the M9 and Chinatown bus situation. Much of this came up during the CB3 agenda last month, but Laughlin reiterated the DOT determination of “minimal” effects on the local patterns. Other concerns included security and potential vandalism.

Looking into the future, the ultimate goal here is for Straus Square to become part of Seward Park. However, it’s going to happen at a reduced pace, since cash is tight.

But will this still happen…?

Recent Stories

‘Writing On It All’ Reclaims Space For Community Arts On Governor’s Island

There’s one more week to write and draw on a Nolan Park House. Just a short ferry ride away from the LES, Governors Island is an adventure that we should all take, and regularly as weather allows. For one more week you can catch the community-oriented interactive installation, ‘Writing On It All.’ Nolan Park House […]

Hanksy Brings ‘Market Surplus’ of 10 Artists to Paint Vacant Essex Market Warehouse

Street artist Hanksy this week continues the tradition of hosting art shows in buildings doomed for demolition. With the Lowline Lab months in the grave, he’s gathered a gaggle of creative friends for a group exhibition inside the vacant Essex Street Market building at 140 Essex. The show – dubbed “Market Surplus” (get it?) – […]

Traipsing Around Town with Ugo Rondinone’s ‘I ♥ John Giorno’

Imagine having been part of the Beat Generation and Pop Art era. You could go to a phone booth (remember those?) and dial a poem; You could be filmed by Andy Warhol for hours – while sleeping; You might even be neighbors on the Bowery with William Burroughs. Or be a fly on the wall, […]

Someone Trashed the Blueprints for the Ace Hotel Bowery on the Sidewalk

Trash is sometimes treasure. Everyone knows that 225 Bowery is to become the newest Ace Hotel in the stable. However, the company never officially confirmed their intentions here. Even as the transformative construction work atop the building proceeds. Well, official blueprints trashed on Chrystie Street late Tuesday night all but confirm this. We had received […]

Essex Street Light Poles are Now LED-Equipped

The lighting scheme along Essex Street is presently undergoing a complete shift to more modern technology. That warm glow is now replaced with the blinding antiseptic flood of LED. The Department of Transportation has begun swapping the infrastructure, and at least four new poles are now installed. We caught this crew hoisting one into place […]