On average, 330,000 people move through Times Square every day. Understanding the magnitude of these crowds and patterns of movement was fundamental to creating a successful new life for one of the most iconic public spaces in the world. The site forms the heart of the Times Square theater district, and situated between Port Authority Bus Terminal on the west and Grand Central Station on the east, it functions as one of the key gateways to NYC. The new design creates a unified ground plane from building front to building front, strategically consolidating “street clutter” or outmoded and redundant infrastructure. Ten fifty-foot long granite benches oriented along the Broadway Axis define and frame the area’s public plazas. These benches manage pedestrian flow, creating interior pockets or eddies for people to stop and gather. Simultaneously, this allows for continuous thoroughfares on either side of the benches for quicker foot traffic. New power and broadcast infrastructure embedded in the benches eliminate the need for of diesel generators, temporary power cables, and broadcast equipment, enabling swift and efficient set-up and break down of the over 350 public events that place in the Square annually.
Doubling the amount of pedestrian space in the site, the project’s impact on public health and safety improvements are evident, as pedestrian injuries in Times Square have declined by 40%, traffic signal compliance has increased by as much as 43%, and overall crime has decreased by 20% since 2009. Further, the plazas and simplified intersections have reduced air pollution in the Times Square area by 60% since Broadway was closed to car traffic. Transforming a dangerously congested intersection into vibrant public space at the heart of NYC, the Reconstruction provides a model for how generous public space can have a significant impact on the neighborhood, city, and regional scale.