The streets of Manhattan’s touristy Meatpacking District are going car-free forever after Mayor Bill de Blasio closed them and dozens of others to regular car traffic during the height of COVID.
Gansevoort Street, Little West 12th Street, West 13th Street between Ninth Avenue and Washington Street and the Ninth Avenue slip lane are all getting hexagon-shaped planter barricades to block out car traffic, the local Business Improvement District said.
“We see the Meatpacking District as an ideal location to promote and support changes to the public realm that emphasize pedestrians, promote foot traffic for businesses, support outdoor café culture, and allow for more cultural programming on our streets,” BID Director Jeffrey LeFrancois told TimeOut New York.
LeFrancois told TimeOut the area’s “unique geography… lends itself to an organic pedestrianization of the streetscape.”
The hexagonal shape of the barriers represents that unique geography — referencing the angle that Greenwich Village streets meet the rest of the Manhattan grid, TimeOut said. The barriers were made out of rusty steel to evoke the area’s history.
The three blocks have been closed to most car traffic seven days a week since last September, when Hizzoner expanded “open streets” to weekdays as well as weekends.
De Blasio banned all but local and emergency traffic on 83 miles of streets to add more outdoor space for New Yorkers to eat at restaurants and socialize amid COVID-19.
The mayor signed a bill in May of this year making the program permanent.