By now, the “Bilbao Effect” is metonymy for a culture-led revitalization of a postindustrial city driven by a single institution housed in a starchitect-designed complex. The wild success of Manhattan’s High Line generates regional seismic effects—the Lowline, the QueensWay, and the Lowline: Bronx Edition all cite the high queen of linear parks as their inspiration. Upping the ante, Perkins Eastman unfurls the Green Line, a plan to convert one of New York’s busiest streets into a park.
The Green Line would overtake Broadway for 40 blocks, from Columbus Circle to Union Square, connecting Columbus Circle, Times Square, Herald Square, Madison Square, and Union Square with pedestrian and cyclists’ paths. Except for emergency vehicles, automobiles would be banned from the Green Line.
The proposal has precedent in Bloomberg-era “rightsizing” of Broadway. Traffic calming measures closed Times Square to cars, increased the number of pedestrian-only spaces, and installed bike lanes along Broadway, reducing vehicular traffic overall.
In conversation with Dezeen, Perkins Eastman principal Jonathan Cohn noted that “green public space is at a premium in the city, and proximity to it is perhaps the best single indicator of value in real estate. [The] Green Line proposes a new green recreational space that is totally integrated with the form of the city.”
Value, moreover, isn’t linked exclusively to price per square foot. Replacing two miles of asphalt with bioswales and permeable paving could help regulate stormwater flow for the city’s overburdened stormwater management infrastructure. Right now, rain falling to the west of Broadway discharges, untreated, into the Hudson, while east of Broadway, stormwater gushes straight into the Hudson.
What do you think: is the Green Line on Broadway feasible, or totally fantastical?