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Monday, April 22, 2013

NYTs Op-Ed Piece on Midtown East Development - Some Simularities

A piece penned by Robert A.M. Stern questioning Bloomberg's push to redevelop Midtown East without proper foresight and planning, similar to how the push is being made to develop the PS 199 site and other school sites in the city.  Some highlights:

Protecting the integrity of the area:

Are we preparing to make the same mistake again, on multiple sites? The rezoning study makes no mention of protected-view corridors. Can we guarantee that in the future the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building will not be lost in thickets of taller buildings?
Planning backwards, infrastructure should come first:

And what of our streets and subway platforms? I commute through Grand Central several times a week, and at 6:20 a.m., when I catch my train to New Haven, the terminal is already full of people. When I return at 6:30 or 7 p.m., I can hardly make my way to the stairways and escalators that lead to the Lexington Avenue subway platforms.
How will the added workers quartered in these new buildings get from their trains to their desks? The plan says that special assessments and payments in lieu of taxes will guarantee “pedestrian network improvements as development occurs.” There is nothing wrong with privately financed infrastructure improvements. But the study, if I read it correctly, gets it backward: first you put in the infrastructure, then you build the buildings. Look at the example of Grand Central, the private enterprise that spurred all this development in the first place.

Read the full piece here. 

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