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New York City’s Union Square Getting $100 Million Pedestrian-friendly Makeover

The transformation will make the area feel like a "town square."

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Union Square in New York City is about to look very different. In particular, New Yorkers won't have to dodge quite as much traffic any more.

According to Time Out, the Union Square Partnership teamed up with architecture firm Marvel to transform Union Square into a pedestrian-friendly, car-free zone.

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The $100 million plan involves closing certain streets to traffic and extending the park to nearby buildings, thereby increasing public, pedestrian space by 33 percent, Time Out reported.

Public transit, of course, will still be available along 14th street, which is currently a busway around the park, according to Time Out. The pedestrian area would be expanded with more seating and a bigger subway entrance at 16th street, creating a "town square" feeling that has more space for people to walk without crowding. New plants, trees, sidewalks, and benches will also be added throughout, creating a greener space for people to spread out.

"After a year in which so many in our community have been isolated and forced to be socially distanced, it's refreshing to re-imagine a once again thriving Union Square made more commodious with additional public space carved out for people to be with people. We crave and need that," said Danny Meyer, the founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, to Time Out.

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In addition, the plan also includes upgraded infrastructure, including upgraded public restrooms, bike parking, improved wheelchair access, renovated dog run, better lighting and drainage, and more.

"As we've seen from the success of the 14th Street Busway, prioritizing streetscape and open space for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation, can have a unique and positive effect for nearby businesses, residents, and our City as a whole," said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera to Time Out.

Locals who are interested in more details about the new Union Square can attend a Zoom webinar discussing the plan on Tuesday, Jan. 26. A timeline and completion date for this plan is not yet available.

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