What’s Wrong With Wall Street? Businesses Want ‘Sense of Place’

(Bloomberg) -- Curbless streets, better lighting and fewer “no-go’s,” those geometric boulders scattered around the New York Stock Exchange to thwart truck bombers. Those are among the suggestions in a study to make the historic locale more inviting.

The 83-page study is an effort by the Alliance for Downtown New York, a neighborhood business group, to improve the eight-block district’s “ill-fitting and unsightly streetscape elements,” responsible for its having “no sense of place.”

The report, scheduled for release Monday at a news conference across from the stock exchange, calls for the removal of curbs on Wall and Broad streets and the reduction of the giant rocks. Instead, a mix of fencing, planters that double as seats, and bollards, or cylindrical barriers, would “dramatically expand pedestrian circulation” and “signal a clear priority” for those on foot. The Alliance would use cable lighting, strung Spider-Man style between buildings, instead of the “cobra head” streetlights whose bases obstruct pedestrian flow.

What’s Wrong With Wall Street? Businesses Want ‘Sense of Place’

The changes would cost roughly $30 million, according to Andrew Breslau, senior vice president of the group, which would seek to raise funds and support from both the public and private sectors.

The group, which worked with WXY Architecture + Urban Design to create the report, consulted with both the stock exchange and the New York Police Department to strike a balance between protection against terrorism and the ordinary needs of people and delivery vehicles.

Fewer than 800 people lived in the Stock Exchange district before 2001, according to the study. Now, about 2,000 do, and 1,237 apartments are in the pipeline. Almost the entire south side of Wall Street is residential.

The proposed changes are for tourists, too. Lower Manhattan had 13.6 million of them last year, up 8 percent from 2016, according to the Alliance.

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