Central Park Sidewalk Restoration Project Balances Accessibility, Preservation

The original tile and brick sidewalks now pose safety hazards and don’t fully serve modern accessibility and mobility needs.

1 minute read

March 17, 2024, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

CLose-up of bottom of lamp post with NY CITY plaque on cobblestone sidewalk in Central Park, New York City.

arlenehauck / Adobe Stock

A project to repair 108 blocks of sidewalks around New York City’s Central Park will make them more accessible to people using wheelchairs, strollers, and other mobility devices.

As Anna Kodé explains the The New York Times, the granite blocks and asphalt tiles in the century-and-a-half year old sidewalks now pose safety and accessibility hazards. “When the paved sidewalks were originally being installed in the 1930s, over 70 years after the first section of the park opened to the public, there were no electric scooters, Citi Bikes or people getting in and out of Ubers. Natural impediments have cropped up, too: Overgrown tree roots push up sections of the sidewalk, and pools of storm water collect in its dips.”

Now, the Central Park Conservancy is undertaking a massive restoration project that aims to balance preservation with accessibility. The group plans to restore some of the original design patterns while enhancing accessibility and safety, as well as preserving the park's elm trees, one of the largest stands remaining in the country. “The park’s prized American elm trees are a large part of why the restoration will take years to complete. The conservancy planted 58 new trees around the perimeter and is taking care to disturb the existing roots as little as possible as it installs the new sidewalk blocks and benches.”

Friday, March 15, 2024 in The New York Times

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Close-up of electric stove range with front burners red-hot.

California Cities Suspend Natural Gas Bans Following Court Ruling

A Ninth Circuit court ruling forced Berkeley to reverse its ban on natural gas in new buildings, prompting other cities to suspend their own efforts to promote all-electric buildings.

May 28, 2024 - East Bay Times

Panorama Close up of pedestrian traffic light signal against blue sky and bright clouds.

Traffic Safety Efforts Chug Ahead — Too Slowly for Some

Around the United States, traffic deaths are growing or plateauing, yet efforts to make roads safer still face political opposition.

1 minute ago - KFF Health News

Aerial view of downtown Auburn, Indiana on a clear, sunny day.

Study: Indiana Regional Planning Project Pays Off

The Regional Cities Initiative funded economic development projects and capacity building to help local agencies collaborate more effectively to promote growth.

1 hour ago - Ball State University

Colorful vacant, boarded-up two-story rowhouses in East Baltimore, Maryland.

States Move to Limit ‘Squatters’ Rights’

A wave of new legislation targets people who reside illegally in properties they don’t own.

2 hours ago - Smart Cities Dive

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.