GreenStreets Pedestrian Plaza Blooms Despite Mess of East Houston Reconstruction

Posted on: May 12th, 2016 at 5:10 am by
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Some additional good news to report regarding the black hole of East Houston Reconstruction. The GreenStreets pedestrian plaza carved out of East First Street is sprouting. Initial completion (and planting) here was actually pushed up from its revised October 2016 target.

Until now, the Department of Design and Construction and Department of Transportation were slow to remove the staging area there, and make good on the promise to finally plant greenery and park benches. This prompted backlash from Community Board 3, and, of course, the Punjabi Deli on its backside.

But pressure from District Manager Susan Stetzer helped accelerate this part of the project. She had argued earlier this year that since the plaza was complete, there was no reason the neighborhood couldn’t have its park back. Especially given the promises that a spring planting would happen.

Progress was made on that front yesterday. Two of three trees were replaced, and new benches will be installed later this spring.

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Other positive steps in the long-delayed project include the new sidewalks and curbs installed between Chrystie and Orchard Streets.

Six years after crossing the Bowery, the East Houston Reconstruction project is still a mess. It’s over-budget and more than three years behind schedule. The multimillion-dollar capital works program began on the west side of Manhattan over a decade ago and reached the Bowery around June 2010. This was the start of Phase II, initially slated to last three years. Not surprisingly, the estimate was thrice revised – first to December 2015, then September 2016, and most recently, the ambiguous “end of year.”

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