In the decade since releasing recommendations to improve the Water Street corridor, many of the suggestions have been implemented, and the area is in the process of transforming into a world-class pedestrian space.
To provide much-needed public space along the Water Street corridor, the Alliance collaborated with the Department of Transportation to create three interim pedestrian plazas located at Water Street and Whitehall Street, Coenties Slip and Gouverneur Lane.
Additionally, pedestrian sidewalk extensions (bump-outs) were added to enhance safety by extending the sidewalk and shortening crossing distances. The Alliance maintains planters in these spaces to further distinguish the space.
In June 2016, the City Council adopted a zoning text amendment — filed by the Alliance for Downtown New York, the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and the Department of City Planning (DCP) — for properties along the Water Street corridor. The improvements facilitated by the amendment will create opportunities for active retail uses for nearby populations and improvement and activation of public spaces. The amendment allows:
- horizontal enlargements (infill) within existing arcades and the improvement of existing plazas and urban plazas by certification and City Planning Commission authorization;
- public events and the placement of publicly-accessible tables and chairs within arcades, plazas, and urban plazas as-of-right; and
- continues to allow cafes within arcades by an approval from DCP
In 2021, New York City’s Economic Development Corporation will reconstruct the southern portion of Water Street to create permanent plazas at Water Street, Whitehall Street and Coenties Slip, as well as widening the sidewalks and upgrading the plazas’ infrastructure. The Downtown Alliance will maintain the two permanent pedestrian plazas which will feature:
- Large planters with seating
- Additional landscaping
- Movable tables and chairs
- Concession kiosks