More is More: City Unveils Painted ‘Super Sidewalks’ Expansions in Hells Kitchen

“A recently completed, decade-long overhaul of the sewers and water mains on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan gave city officials the opportunity to expand pedestrian space along the strip — a design feature the Department of Transportation on Tuesday pledged to roll out to other parts of the city.”

And more is in store for the area – super sidewalks are coming to replace the  Avenue’s narrow sidewalks which hearken back to the days of Robert Moses who trimmed them in favor of making room for more cars. By taking advantage of the opportunity to revamp streets while the streets are already being torn up for utility work is smart.

That’s just an obvious way to get things done efficiently and take that opportunity to expand the quality of the public realm. The city could have used the chance to expand concrete sidewalks, too. That would have allowed for other permanent improvements like street trees and rain gardens, while also discouraging drivers from parking illegally in the new pedestrian spaces.

It’s quick and it’s cheap and it gets the job done, but it also has its limitations. You’re spending all that money on the sub-surface infrastructure … adding actual curb and concrete expansions to the sidewalk, [it] would be a big opportunity to do that as well.

– Mike Lydon, Street Plans

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Above: The revamp gives a majority of space between buildings to pedestrians and cyclists. Graphic: DOT

Top image: The painted extensions add 11 feet of space for pedestrians on the once-crowded avenue. Photo: Kevin Duggan