New York to boost Chinatown’s public spaces, traffic safety 

February 21, 2024

New York City (NYC) and State will invest a combined $56 million to revitalize and redesign a section of NYC’s famed Chinatown neighborhood into a more pedestrian-friendly area. New York Mayor Eric Adams recently unveiled the launch of the “Chinatown Connections” joint initiative, which includes a trio of projects to beautify and reimagine an intersection identified as hazardous to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

“For far too long, Chinatown residents, neighbors, and tourists alike had to deal with confined public spaces and dangerous intersections at Kimlau/Chatham Square, but those days are coming to a close,” Adams said in a release launching the project.

The Chinatown projects are part of NYC’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Strategic Investment Plan to transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant walkable areas with a high quality of life that will attract businesses and residents and help grow the state’s economy. New York State selected the neighborhood in DRI’s fifth round of funding. The initiative is an economic development program that has committed $700 million to support 69 downtown areas.

The projects will use $44.3 million in city capital funding and $11.5 million from DRI to transform Kimlau/Chatham Square from a dangerous five-point intersection into a safer four-way intersection. The improved intersection will feature larger public space, shorter pedestrian crossings and direct cyclist connections.

The city launched the Chinatown revitalization effort following the mayor’s January annual address. Mayor Adams highlighted the transformation of the city’s neighborhoods, including a complete makeover of Kimlau Plaza, which serves as a gateway to the Chinatown neighborhood. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2027.

Kimlau Square’s five-point configuration creates complex traffic movements that generate many conflict points and pose hazards to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. City officials will consult the local Chinatown community as they conduct a traffic study later this year to inform the site’s redesign. Renovations to the square call for a $6.1 million investment to expand the space for community leisure and recreation. Potential improvements include seating, pavement, landscaping and lighting.

City officials will also consider either keeping Park Row closed to private car traffic or reopening Park Row in the future with a redesigned Kimlau Square. The $4 million project to beautify and improve Park Row accessibility could include sidewalk repair, street trees, seating, enhanced lighting and replacing barriers with bollards. Bollards are short vertical safety posts designed to keep vehicles from hitting pedestrians.

The project’s scope also includes creating a Chinatown Welcome Gateway, paying tribute to the neighborhood’s cultural heritage and attracting visitors to local businesses. The gateway’s location, design and size will draw from the traffic study, assessment of existing conditions and community input, city officials said. The construction timeline will depend on private fundraising to provide $2.5 million for the project.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will serve as the lead agency responsible for the procurement, engagement, design and construction processes. Additionally, NYCEDC will coordinate between NYC Parks, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). DOT will lead the Park Row and Kimlau intersection, plaza, and gateway projects. DCLA will help select artists for the Chinatown Welcome Gateway.

All news and information on this site is provided by the team at Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Check out this short 1-minute video that provides a quick overview of how we work with clients.

Photo courtesy of the city of New York City

Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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