October 13, 2010

Grate seating


Photographed on West Broadway in Tribeca, this subway grate-seating-bike rack has a fourth use: to prevent stormwater runoff from entering the subway ventilation system.  Downtown Express journalist Julie Shapiro described the goal and design of the MTA's sidewalk furniture:
To prevent the ventilation grates in Lower Manhattan from becoming storm sewers, New York City Transit is raising a handful of low-lying grates 6 inches. So people don’t trip over the grates, the agency is planning to put benches on either end and a bike rack on top.
Both Streetsblog New York City and I (heart) Public Space have written about the subway grate design shown above.  Two of the concerns raised about the new subway grate are (1) they will reduce the sidewalk right-of-way and (2) there is limited space between sitters and cyclists (un)locking their bicycles.  What do you think?

This grate is one of three new designs developed collaboratively by DOT, the Public Design Commission of the City of New York, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Municipal Art Society.  The first of the new grates was designed by Rogers Marvel Architects and di Domenico & Partners and can be seen on the City Room blog.

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