Park to Park 103 | New York, NY

Street Plans, in partnership with NYC DOT, the Park to Park 103 Community Coalition, and Open Plans, recently completed a nearly four-year planning and public engagement effort culminating in a Street Improvement Project (SIP) on New York’s Upper West Side. Starting in late 2019 Street Plans undertook a study about West 103rd Street with the goal of improving safety and connectivity between Central Park and Riverside Park.

In early 2020, our team began measuring and analyzing just a single block — West 103rd between Broadway and West End Avenue. This block has a large senior supportive housing population, as well as additional NYCHA housing where many residents are unable to access Central Park or Riverside Park.

Street Plans also generated multiple surveys for block residents, which were distributed by the Block Association to better understand what public space enhancements were desired, if any. The most common responses were more streetside greenery and other public amenities in place of a few parking spaces.

By May, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Park to Park 103 was designated as an Open Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive. 

Alongside a range of partners in October 2020, our team implemented “Here’s Looking at You Kid,” a demonstration project adjacent to the Marseille Senior Supportive Housing paying homage to actor and cultural icon Humphrey Bogart who was born on the Broadway-West End block. 

The City’s Open Street program continued into 2021 and the open street was expanded to include the Broadway – Amsterdam block, thereby linking to the Frederick Douglass Houses, a public housing complex with nearly 5,000 residents. Additional outreach and community-led programming continued. 

In 2022, our team issued a full report on what was learned over two years of outreach, programming, and coordination amongst partners. We also developed a more coherent vision for the corridor, including drafting a proposed technical redesign plan to slow traffic, increase public space and greenery, shorten crossing distances, and improve cycling. 

Further into 2022, Street Plans undertook additional surveys and used multiple demonstration projects to engage and test additional design concepts. 

Based on the preceding work, the NYC DOT  developed a SIP, which passed Manhattan Community Board 7 with only one dissenting vote in September 2022.

Thanks to  an Al Fresco NYC grant from Regional Plan Association, the Park to Park 103 team was able to onboard a cohort of Teen Ambassadors who helped program the open street and co-develop asphalt art design concepts to be installed alongside the SIP. With a long list of critical partners, we installed the asphalt art component of the project entitled “New Beginnings” during the first week of November 2023.

In total, the final result encompassed two blocks and added more than 6,000 square feet of new pedestrian space, safer crossings for pedestrians and bicyclists, and the new asphalt artwork.