Shared Streets, New York City, United States
Perkins Eastman

Shared Streets proffers a novel approach to zoning and designing the streets of Manhattan. With the rise of the car- and ride-sharing industry, new innovations in public transit, and the imminent arrival of driverless cars, America’s densest and most populous city is obliged to lead the way in reshaping the urban streetscape. Streets must become shared spaces that give priority to pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit modes. 
This proposal organizes Manhattan’s streets into two types: Thoroughfares and Local Streets. The former, comprising several existing Avenues and wider cross streets, would accommodate daily traffic flow, bus routes, and commercial activity; the latter, comprising groupings of 10-15 blocks bordered on four sides by Thoroughfares, would be accessible to local traffic only, and re-purposed as destinations for public usage. 
The configurations of the Thoroughfares (e.g. 5th Avenue, 23rd Street, et 
al) remain more or less consistent with existing street conditions, in terms of separating motorized traffic and pedestrians. However, the dimensions of the actual lanes are largely modified, with parking lanes eliminated altogether and protected bike lanes now on every Thoroughfare. On wider streets, 10-foot wide bike lanes provide space for two-way traffic, while narrower streets feature a single 4-foot wide bike lane for one-way traffic. For motorized traffic, all north-south Thoroughfares feature one bus priority lane and one car lane, each 10 feet wide, which is required for emergency vehicles. The wider east-west Thoroughfares have two-way bus lanes and one 10-foot wide car lane; narrower east-west Thoroughfares have one 10-foot wide car lane and one 10-foot wide emergency lane. 
The aforementioned provisions take up less width when compared to existing layouts. Avenues reclaim 24 feet of width, wider cross streets gain 16 feet, and narrow streets gain eight feet. In this combined space, additional amenities can be provided, such as pop-up shops, food and beverage venues, and flexible work spaces. Reclaimed street space can also host charging and maintenance stations, as well as passenger pick-up/drop-off locations. 
Local Streets see far more drastic transformations. All are curbless, with motorized traffic and pedestrians occupying the same surface area, similar to woonerfs. In order to achieve this, car lanes are raised a few inches to the level of the original curb. Surface materials no longer wholly consist of monotonous concrete and asphalt, but give way to a more textured and varied street materials which provide visual cues for all modes. Paving for cars is differentiated from the rest of the street, and because of driverless cars’ built-in ability to stay within designated lanes, the use of bollards is not necessary. Therefore, it is possible for pedestrians and cyclists to enter car lanes during special events, and should the need arise, the configuration of Local Streets can be temporarily altered with the use of mechanized navigation devices.
With the expansion of the public realm into this network of Shared Streets, New York could follow through on a crucial opportunity to provide its citizens with unparalleled access to public amenities, improve safety, and incorporate new technologies.

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