New York City is moving forward with plans to expand many of its pandemic-era efforts to make streets more accessible to pedestrians and bikers.
The changes are being shepherded through with the help of the city’s first public realm officer, Ya-Ting Liu, who has identified priority projects in each of the five boroughs. These projects, which tap some of the $375 million in funding earmarked to make the city “cleaner and greener,” include more pedestrian plazas on congested streets, wider sidewalks and expanded public space, such as an area below the Manhattan side of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
Liu is one of just a handful of public realm officers in major US cities tasked with repurposing public space, improving access to transit and making alternative transportation options like biking more accessible. The creation of the role in New York City was championed by community groups that found city agencies too difficult and time-consuming to navigate.