May/June 1998, p.10

Triangle Triumph

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Manhattan's grid system gives way once you travel south of 14th St. In Greenwich Village, the quirky geometry allows for some innovative urban design - "triangles" like the ones at Jackson and Sheridan Squares are used to channel traffic, create pedestrian refuges and provide much needed greenspace. However, last February when NYC DOT built a triangle at the confusing intersection of Eighth Avenue, Jane Street and West Fourth, initial community enthusiasm quickly soured. Residents did not like how forty unusable bike racks fenced off the triangle, forcing pedestrians into the street and creating an eyesore.

Fortunately, the DOT proved willing to listen to community concerns. In early March, DOT unveiled the innovative design below, which provides for a pedestrian refuge complete with new crosswalks, trees and a partial closing of West Fourth Street. While the dialogue between DOT and neighborhood critics - including T.A-was at times contentious, it produced a creative and attractive solution. As the City's traffic calming agenda expands, the flexibility and willingness to listen to the community displayed here bodes well for DOT and the New Yorkers it serves.

DOTís new triangle at W. 4th St is a good example of pedestrian-friendly urban design. The new stone benches and garden at center reclaim for pedestrians the portion of W. 4th intersecting with 8th Avenue.