New York City unveils plan to transform kerb space for a greener future

Posted: 20 September 2023 | | No comments yet

Consisting of 10 strategic initiatives, the plan aims to optimise kerb space utilisation, reduce congestion, enhance safety and promote sustainable practices, ultimately creating a more vibrant and accessible city for all New Yorkers.

New York City

Credit: New York City Department of Transportation

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez have unveiled an ambitious plan to transform the city’s kerb space, aiming to create a cleaner, greener and healthier urban environment. The “Curb Management Action Plan” comprises of 10 strategic initiatives designed to better manage kerb lanes, catering to the diverse needs of New Yorkers.

Kerb space in the city has become increasingly contested due to the surge in home deliveries and a growing array of transportation options. The plan is aligned with the city’s broader goals of sustainable development and enhancing the quality of life for its residents.

Mayor Adams emphasised the importance of safe and sustainable street activity, stating: “With the Curb Management Action Plan, our administration is re-imagining and better managing increasingly contested kerbs to make our limited space work better for residents, businesses and visitors.”

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Key elements of the plan include:

  • “Smart Curbs” Pilot: Collaborating with business improvement districts (BIDs) and community partners, NYCDOT will revamp kerb space in select neighbourhoods. Innovative approaches like micro-hubs, public space enhancements and expanded bike parking will be explored to reduce congestion and double parking. Data-driven technologies will also be tested for efficient kerb space utilisation
  • Prioritising Kerb Uses: NYCDOT will establish a kerb management hierarchy to guide planning decisions, ensuring that kerb usage aligns with neighbourhood characteristics and transportation goals
  • Safer and Sustainable Deliveries: The plan addresses the growth of e-commerce by incentivising off-hour deliveries, creating dedicated loading zones and establishing micro-hubs for transferring goods to eco-friendly vehicles
  • Low-Emission Zones: NYCDOT will pilot low-emission zones in areas with high truck traffic and adverse health impacts, promoting the use of low- and zero-emission trucks
  • Passenger Pickups and Drop-Offs: To streamline for-hire vehicle operations, dedicated pickup/drop-off zones will be designated in high-volume areas, reducing violations and enhancing safety
  • Expanded Bike Parking: With the increasing popularity of cycling and micro-mobility devices, NYCDOT will install more bike racks and corrals while piloting secure bike parking facilities
  • Public Realm Improvements: Kerb lanes will be re-purposed for pavement widenings, public art installations and outdoor dining to create vibrant public spaces
  • Kerb Management Technologies: Proven and emerging technologies, such as pay-by-plate parking meters and enforcement cameras, will be deployed for efficient kerb management
  • Price On-Street Parking: Parking meters will be expanded and priced closer to market rates to improve turnover, benefiting local businesses
  • Charge for Non-Transportation Users: A framework will be developed to charge for non-transportation uses of kerb space, discouraging excessive private occupancy.

The plan will begin with the Columbus Avenue BID in Manhattan, with future implementations informed by community feedback and data-driven decision-making. The ultimate aim is to create a more vibrant, accessible and environmentally friendly city for all New Yorkers.

“This administration is re-imagining the use of public space, and our streets are public spaces that should benefit all New Yorkers,” said DOT Commissioner Rodriguez. “The priorities in the Curb Management Action Plan will help reduce congestion, improve safety and enhance New Yorkers’ quality of life.”