As densely packed as Manhattan is, it might surprise you to learn that 30% of the city's square footage is dedicated to roadways. But according to studies, less than half of New York residents make use of that space, as they don't drive and don't take taxis.
So architect Ruchika Modi, from the firm Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), recently unveiled a new plan for the city that gets rid of vehicles. The project, called "NYC (Not Your Car)" looks at how all of that street space can be repurposed for better use of the citizens of the city.
"There's an assumption among the general public that streets are for cars, but when you stop to think about it, streets as a space predate the invention of the automobile by thousands of years," PAU Senior Associate Skylar Bisom-Rapp said in an article with Smart Cities Dive. "And even in a relatively young city like New York, if you look back at the history… they weren't meant for private vehicles."
The new plan takes out cars and narrows most streets into bike lanes, or in some places, dedicated bus routes. The rest of the space is turned into expanded walkways with more outdoor retail space, kiosks, green space, and art installations.
With the intent of being an available plan and not an utterly futuristic reimagining of the city, the design doesn't call for massive construction projects that would shut down the city to change the infrastructure. Instead, the plan uses concrete barriers and repainting street lines to use the existing streets until, at a time in the future, more permanent structures can be built.