Battery Park City is a 92-acre planned community on Manhattan?s lower west side, initiated by Governor Nelson Rockefeller as a vision of what urban life might be. Today, Battery Park City contains 9,000 residents, 9.3 million square feet of commercial space, 35 acres of parks, 3 public schools, 2 hotels, museums, and the Irish Hunger Memorial. Built over Hudson River piers with dirt from the World Trade Center construction, it sits adjacent to the WTC site.
After 9/11, the Battery Park City Authority commissioned Rogers Marvel Architects to redesign its streetscapes to improve building security and pedestrian connections around the World Financial Center and throughout the North Neighborhood. Establishing connections and providing for safety are the critical issues throughout all of the options explored and recommended. Axes of pedestrian circulation and visual connection are used to guide each of the suggested designs. Each axis acts to link the amenities of Battery Park City into a useful and accessible whole.
Recommendations for the Vesey Street region and the World Financial Center are guided by security needs, traffic control, and pedestrian access. Truck queuing is controlled and regulated. The configuration of curbside barriers and lay-by lanes can improve building stand-off and security while enhancing the streetscape and safety for pedestrian crossings. Closing selected streets enhances security stand-off at the New York Mercantile Exchange and provides additional park space and direct pedestrian access to the Irish Hunger Memorial.
Improvement for the North Neighborhood residential region focuses on safe pedestrian crossings and neighborhood amenities, including a new seating area, a dog run, and a plant nursery.
The quality of the public space was a driving force in the design of security measures that were to be implemented in subtle ways throughout the site. Traffic calming measures such as raised crosswalks and narrowed intersections allow for both safer pedestrian passage and forced vehicular slow-down. The materials used were those common to the established vocabulary of Battery Park City, with the infusion of sparkling new elements with dual purposes. Lit glass benches stretch the length of Vesey Street to provide way-finding and rest for the pedestrian and a barrier, in combination with a ?Tiger Trap?, to vehicles. This axis is crossed by the steel and specialty glass shade structures on North End Avenue, which provide shade in the daytime and reflected light at night.
The project combines diverse programmatic requirements into a synthesized urban design and management solution. This approach is in accord with the Battery Park City Authority?s mission to develop and maintain a world-class residential and commercial community in Lower Manhattan. Through design strategies and innovative security measures being explored with the US Army Corps of Engineers, these disparate elements are combined into a viable whole.