Could a bench make the city more pleasant?
New Yorkers are so often rushing around to-and-fro, there is no time nor place to stop and rest those weary legs. For those looking for a little sidewalk respite, the Bloomberg administration has created the CityBench. Designed by local industrial designer Ignacio Ciocchini, director of design for the Chelsea Improvement Company, the city just announced plans to install 1,000 of these new benches in locations across all five boroughs.
“CityBench brings a new design standard that elevates our streetscapes and simply makes it easier and more enjoyable for New Yorkers of every age to walk and take transit,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a press release.
The benches are meant to make the city more accessible to the elderly and to encourage mass-transportation—after the office, most Americans do the bulk of their sitting in cars. The challenge is finding room on the already crowded sidewalks, where the 600 new bike share stations are also bound to go. The city has already designated 250 locations, and they are looking for more between street trees, next bus stops and at the base of buildings—hello POPS!
The program is also seen as boon for business, as the CityBenches will be primed for high-traffic commercial districts, a convenient place to put down all those bags and take a break.
The program is expected to cost $3 million, and as with so many programs under the Sadik-Khan regime, 80 percent of the funds for the benches will come from the Federal Transportation Administration, with an additional 10 percent from the state DOT. The city will cover the remaining cost and is currently seeking suggestions for other bench marks.