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What is the "Times Square Transformation"?

The Times Square Transformation is a major capital project with one driving goal: to ensure that Times Square is designed to reflect the bold, cutting-edge spirit that has long-defined the Crossroads of the World while still catering to the needs and capacities of a 21st century urban space.

What improvements are planned?

In the earliest phase, Con Edison will undertake major infrastructure improvements below street level on Broadway, bringing up to date electric, gas, and steam equipment that has been untouched for many decades. (To give an idea of how long it has been since this infrastructure has been upgraded, the Department of Design and Construction will first have to dig up trolley tracks that have been buried under Broadway since the 19th Century!) Con Ed will move from south to north along Broadway, beginning between 42nd and 43rd Streets and ending between 46th and 47th Streets, excavating one block of the pedestrian plaza at a time.

Following closely on the heels of the Con Ed work, the City will begin improving the appearance of the Broadway plazas – transforming what is now painted asphalt into a world-class urban piazza. First, the curb-line will be eliminated, so that the plazas can extend uninterrupted from the building lines on one side of Broadway to the 7th Avenue curb-line on the other. Next, concrete pavers of different sizes will be laid along the plazas, following a distinct and ordered pattern. This pavers will also be laid along the 7th Avenue sidewalks opposite the plazas. Finally, granite benches will installed at regular intervals along the plazas, some housing electric and broadcast network plug in points for Times Square events, and excess street infrastructure will be removed to reduce clutter and streamline the space (ie light poles and phone booths). Again construction will move from south to north along Broadway one block at a time.

What are the origins of the Transformation?

The plans for the Transformation originated in several phases over the past decade. In 2002, the City first proposed upgrading the underground infrastructure of Times Square – a task that was delayed time and again, though a task that is long overdue. It was a convergence of projects that made 2012 the time for this upgrade to finally happen.

Four years ago, Mayor Bloomberg opened the Broadway pedestrian plazas in Times Square, creating new pedestrian spaces on the road between 42nd and 47th Streets. This landmark decision in transportation policy improved how employees, residents, and tourists experience Times Square, providing 50% more space for events, concessions, and the use of new street furniture for sitting and watching the urban bustle of Times Square. It also lessened the pedestrian congestion considerably, with 65% of New York City residents reporting that the plazas improved their experiences of Times Square. In February 2010, the Mayor announced that the plazas would be made permanent – and that they would be transformed from repurposed roadways into full pedestrian piazzas. Architecture firm Snohetta was chosen by the City to lead the design process.

The current project will both redesign the surface of the plazas and reconstruct and upgrade the underground infrastructure. Taking a cue from Broadway, the City wants to make sure that everything behind the scenes is up to date and running smoothly before the show – Times Square – goes on.

How long will the construction take?

According to the City, the construction -- from initial utility work to the installation of concrete street pavers and granite benches -- is set to last from Spring 2012 through Fall 2016.

What is the timetable for each phase of the Transformation?

Con Ed’s improvement of underground infrastructure commenced in June 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2013.

The City will begin transforming the plazas in the fall of 2012 through 2014.

The project will move to 7th Avenue in 2014, when the 7th Avenue sidewalks will be transformed to match the plaza followed by additional underground infrastructure work.

How will the community be affected?

Street removal will at times require noisy equipment such as jackhammers, backhoes, and excavators, and small portions of the plazas will temporarily be closed to pedestrians and sign trucks. We recognize what an inconvenience this will provide for many of our local businesses, employees and residents, and will do everything in our power to help mitigate and expedite the interruption.

Who is paying for the construction?

This is a Department of Transportation project, with some of the funding come through the federal government.