MAS In April – Celebrating Our Streets!
April 4th, 2011, 4:19 pm
Back by popular demand, it’s the second annual MAS Streets Month! Thanks to the popularity of our first Streets Month programs, we are back with a great lineup for this April. Great cities start with great streets, and next month, MAS will celebrate what’s new, interesting, and controversial about New York City’s largest and ever-changing network of public spaces. New York’s streets have seen a great deal of change in the past few years. New bicycle lanes, public plazas, and dedicated bus lanes have had dramatic effects on how we use and experience our public spaces. Although some of these innovations have had their share of controversy, New York has become a model for localities seeking to create usable and enjoyable public spaces. During our first panel discussion, to be held on April 4th, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan will review recent NYCDOT projects intended to improve the public realm and discuss future plans for the city’s streets. Building on this, an April 16th MAS walking tour will focus on some of these projects and include a ride on one of the new Select Service Buses. Along with a focus on how city streets have evolved, we will also explore big streets and look at how cities around the nation are dealing with changes in how people are using streets. A number of movements are underway to demolish elevated highways that were built through urban neighborhoods as a way of quickly whisking workers in and out of the suburbs. How relevant are these big thoroughfares now, at a time when people have a new appreciation for urban living, and see them more as barriers? Community groups across the United States, from New Orleans to the Bronx to Seattle, have developed plans for how their neighborhoods would look and function with the removal of huge transportation infrastructure. On April 12th, we’ll host a panel discussion on the role of big infrastructure and how it can be creatively adapted for the changing ways that we actually use it. The evening will be kicked off with a presentation by the Congress for the New Urbanism’s John Norquist who, as mayor of Milwaukee, removed a stretch of elevated highway to the delight of the community and the economic benefit for the city. Streets Month will conclude on April 23rd with a MAS walking tour of the Sheridan Expressway—the mile-long stretch of elevated highway in the Bronx that is being considered for possible reinvention in order to reconnect the neighborhood with its waterfront. You can register online or by calling 212 935 2075. Visit our Streets Month page to learn more about the programs. Streets Month is made possible by the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation.