Druid Hill Complete Streets

Graham Coreil-Allen headshot

Graham Coreil-Allen headshot

I’m honored and humbled to announce that I have been awarded a 2018 Open Society Institute (OSI) Baltimore Community Fellowship providing me with eighteen months of funding and organizing support as I collaborate with residents on reconnecting our West Baltimore neighborhoods with Druid Hill Park. Through the Druid Hill Complete Streets project I will be working with my neighbors to ensure that a forthcoming Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT) planning effort is as reflective of community voices as possible as we seek to convert the dangerous barrier highways around Druid Hill Park into complete streets safe and accessible for all – especially the approximately 50% of area residents who do not drive. Complete Streets are streets designed and operated to be safe and accessible for all, including pedestrians, transit users, wheelchair riders, and people who rely on bicycles. During the fellowship I will be working with local youth to create traffic calming public art to slow down cars and improve pedestrian safety. Potential ideas include mural-filled crosswalks, artistic planters protecting pedestrians, and creative signs reminding motorists where pedestrians have the right-of-way.

Auchentoroly Terrace walking tour

Auchentoroly Terrace community advocacy walk with city agencies, 2017.

West Baltimore’s historic work class neighborhoods of color have systematically been denied safe access to Druid Hill Park due to dangerous six-to-nine-lane-wide highways constructed over community opposition between the 1940s and the 1960s. Click here to read my story about the history behind the highways cutting off the neighborhoods of Mondawmin, Penn North, and Reservoir Hill from Druid Hill Park. The formerly two-lane, park-front streets of Auchentoroly Terrace and Druid Park Lake Drive were widened into high-speed highways primarily serving suburban commuters at the expense of park access for local residents.

Structurally racist urban planning decisions to build highways around Druid Hill Park make it difficult for the residents to enjoy the park’s public health benefits, including exercise, healthy food, and clean air. The Baltimore City Health Department’s 2017 Neighborhood Health Profiles show that the majority working class, African American communities around the park have some of the city’s highest mortality rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Click here for the Penn North / Reservoir Hill and Greater Mondawmin health reports. Census data also shows that approximately half of residents in the immediate area code of 21217 do not drive. As pedestrians, transit users, wheelchair riders, and people who rely on bicycles, our residents deserve priority access to the park.

Druid Hill Complete Streets map and challenges

Since moving to Auchentoroly Terrace in 2013 I’ve listened to my neighbors talk about and experienced firsthand the need for more crosswalks, narrower roadways, less vehicular traffic, and slower speeds. With no playground in our neighborhood, I all too often witness small children on foot and bike darting across eight lanes of high speed traffic to reach the safe green spaces and play areas of Druid Hill Park. I also see how my retired, car-free neighbors are unable to reach the Druid Hill Farmers Market due to a lack of safe, convenient crosswalks. Most at risk are wheelchair riders who along sections of the park are blocked by non-ADA pathways.

In response to community transportation needs, 7th District Councilman Leon F. Pinkett III convened the Druid Hill Park Stakeholders group in early 2017. The group includes representatives from Mondawmin, Auchentoroly Terrace, and Reservoir Hill; Baltimore City agencies including the Departments of Transportation, Public Works, and Recreation and Parks; as well as non-profits including Bikemore, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and Parks & People. We are also reaching out to more local leaders and organizations to bring into the planning and advocacy effort. Thanks to the councilman’s leadership, in February 2018 Baltimore City DOT agreed to conduct a major transportation study to address our community’s concerns. This study will build on two ongoing local initiatives, the Big Jump Baltimore and the Baltimore Greenway Trail Network northwest trail planning effort. As an OSI Community Fellow, I will work full-time with my neighbors to shape this forthcoming transportation plan for rebuilding the dangerous barrier-highways of Druid Park Lake Drive and Auchentoroly Terrace as accessible boulevards that safely connect our most vulnerable residents with Druid Hill Park.

The Druid Hill Complete Streets initiative will support community education, creative urban planning, and traffic calming through public art. We will organize community-led walking tours in which youth, seniors, wheelchair riders, elected officials, and city planners learn from one another while seeking common ground for enacting equitable park access. We will also creatively engage residents in the ongoing DOT planning process through a new website, social media campaign, and activities at places like the Druid Hill Farmers Market to get input from residents who may not be able to make traditional public meetings. Lastly, we will collaborate with youth to create traffic calming public art around Druid Hill Park based on community design workshops in which residents will identify sites for enhancing pedestrian safety and reconnecting with the park. These low-cost interventions will have an immediate positive impact on park connectivity and public health while enabling residents and the public at large to envision the possibilities for complete streets.

The schedule of events and public art production will be determined by the yet-to-be-confirmed DOT study timeline. The Druid Hill Complete Streets project will bring together diverse neighborhood groups to shape the upcoming improvements around the park, empowering communities to claim our public spaces through creative city planning and public art interventions.

The Big Jump Towards Druid Hill Park Access

180816 Big Jump Madison Ave entrance

180816 Big Jump Madison Ave entrance

Listen: Urban Planning History and Park Access in Druid Hill Park, Graham Coreil-Allen, Maryland Humanities podcast, August 30, 2018

If you’ve recently visited Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park, you may have encountered a long row of orange and white plastic Jersey barriers running along the Druid Park Lake Drive and across the 28th Street Bridge. This is the Big Jump Baltimore shared-use path. Championed by local residents like myself, 7th District Councilman Leon Pinkett, Baltimore City Department of Transportation, and Bikemore, this temporary project counteracts decades of highway expansion with a protected space for pedestrians, wheelchair riders, and bicyclists to connect with green space, school, and jobs. Those of us living in West Baltimore certainly need it as for the past seventy years, walking or bicycling to Druid Hill Park has proven prohibitively dangerous. As a local resident and public artist, I’ve been working with neighbors on creating public art along the Big Jump pathway to make it safer for all people to enjoy the cultural and public health benefits of Druid Hill Park.

160706 Auchentoroly Terrace Druid Hill Park 8 lanes wide

Half of residents around Druid Hill Park do not own cars. So why does the area feel like a suburban highway? From the 1940s through the 1960s, car-focused transportation projects drastically changed the face of the park. The city’s goal was faster commute times for downtown workers living in the suburbs. Back then the surrounding neighborhoods of Reservoir Hill and Mondawmin were largely Jewish and African American communities. Proposed in 1945, the “Druid Hill Expressway” would convert Druid Hill Avenue and McCulloh Street to one-way thoroughfares connecting with a widened and extended Auchentoroly Terrace. By 1947 the highway plans had sparked a robust public debate

When the “Druid Hill Expressway” was proposed, NAACP Labor Secretary Clarence Mitchell Jr. argued that increased traffic speeds through westside neighborhoods would imperil black residents effectively barred by racist real estate practices from moving to the very suburbs that the highway would serve. Shaarei Tfiloh synagogue Rabbi Nathan Drazin expressed concern that traffic would endanger children attending Hebrew school as well as the throngs of congregants who traditionally walked down the middle of Auchentoroly Terrace during the high holy days.

Despite local outcry over the expressway plans, the three local council members were asked by area political boss James Pollack to ignore the opposition of their constituents and support of the “city wide” highway effort. In those days Pollack’s Trenton Democratic Club ran a political machine that effectively picked and elected all northwest Baltimore politicians. While the councilman had local independence, they dared not to cross Pollack over issues he considered important to the city at large. It didn’t hurt that the soon-to-be widened Auchentoroly Terrace just happened to end at Anoka Avenue – the calm, tree-lined street that Mr. Pollack called home. [Hat tip to my neighbor Dr. Daniel Hindman for discovering the connection to Pollack’s home.]  In the end, the councilmen appeased the local political machine and voted in favor of cutting down over 250 trees in Druid Hill Park to make room for widening Auchentoroly terrace into a highway flushing cars in and out of the central city at the expense of safe park access for west side residents.

Just a few years later Reservoir Hill residents in on the south side of the park found themselves facing a similar fate. In 1951 Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro Jr. proposed the Jones Falls Expressway. Druid Park Lake Drive would need to be expanded to serve as a feeder road to this new highway. Ensuing years of residents’ protests were ignored and construction began in 1956. Completion of the 1948 Druid Hill Expressway and 1963 Jones Falls Expressway resulted in the widening of Auchentoroly Terrace and Druid Park Lake Drive. Two-lane, park-front residential streets became dangerous five-to-nine-lane-wide highways difficult for people to traverse on foot, and virtually impossible to cross for wheelchair riders. These expressways literally paved the way for white flight while cutting off the surrounding working class African American and Jewish neighborhoods from the park. A park once served by over 20 footpath entrances is now only equipped with merely five sets of badly deteriorated, nearly invisible crosswalks.

2018 Druid Hill Park highways

Structurally racist urban planning decisions to build highways around Druid Hill Park made it difficult for the existing majority working class, people of color living in Auchentoroly Terrace, Mondawmin, Penn North, and Reservoir Hill to enjoy the park’s public health benefits, including exercise, cultural gatherings, healthy food, and clean air. The Health Department’s 2017 Neighborhood Health Profiles shows that the majority lower income, African American communities around the park have some of the city’s highest mortality rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Census data also shows that nearly half of neighbors around the park do not have access to cars. As pedestrians, wheelchair riders, transit users, and people who rely on bicycles, neighbors deserve priority access to the park.

180816 Big Jump pedestrian

Seventy years after the first highway was built around Druid Hill Park there is now a movement afoot to rethink how these barrier roadways can become connectors enabling more equitable access to our historic, 714 acre green space. In 2017, Councilman Pinkett convened the Druid Hill Park Stakeholders group to counteract years of urban planning that prioritized cars over the public health and economic opportunity of residents. We are pushing for “complete streets” to safely connect our neighborhoods with Druid Hill Park. Complete streets are designed and operated to be safe and accessible for all, including pedestrians, children, seniors, mobility users, transit riders, and bicyclists. Earlier this year Baltimore City Department of Transportation agreed to conduct a corridor study that has the exciting potential to address our community’s concerns. Leading up to this study, a newly created, temporary shared-use path now connects Reservoir Hill and Remington. The Big Jump Baltimore pathway previews what life could be like if we privileged all people, not just outside car commuters.

180816 Big Jump vinyl signage Remington

With the Big Jump temporary infrastructure now in place, myself and other residents and artists are adding public art enhancements making the trail more visible and usable for neighbors. In close collaboration with Bikemore, we’ve designed and installed creative wayfinding to show that the Big Jump Baltimore pathway is for everyone. Wayfinding consists of any number of sensory cues, such as signs, maps, textures and sounds, that provide travelers with orientation and possible paths. The Big Jump logo was designed by Danielle Parnes on behalf of Bikemore, with icon input from myself. I then adapted the logo to serve as pathway signage and wayfinding. For the Big Jump path we designed a street-sign-inspired logo featuring icons of the trail’s many different active uses, including but not limited to walking, wheelchair riding, bicycling dog walking, and skateboarding. We then went to our local makerspace Open Works and used their special equipment to cut the signage and icons out of adhesive backed, colorful vinyl. We used this cut vinyl to label and decorate the plastic jersey barriers so that both pedestrian and passing motorist can understand the purpose of the pathway.

180816 Big Jump Eutaw Pl entrance

To provide wayfinding for people not in cars we made our own set of large scale street stencils highlighting the pathway primary uses – walking, wheelchair riding, and bicycling. With these stencils we boldly marked the pathway as an active place for people. We also made several different footprint cutouts representing the people and creatures that travel daily between Druid Hill Park and surrounding neighborhoods. Stenciled with colorful traffic paint, these footprint trails visually lead residents from surrounding blocks to safe access points for the Big Jump Baltimore pathway and Druid Hill Park.

180816 Big Jump side street stencil wayfinding Eutaw Pl

Local residents deserve priority access to Druid Hill Park. The Big Jump Baltimore shared use pathway shows that through low cost traffic projects, public art and community collaboration we can make immediate positive impact on the lives of our neighbors. For the first time ever wheelchair riders and people who rely on bicycles can actually cross the Jones Falls Expressway. More work needs to be done, but the Big Jump is a step in the right direction towards reconnecting our neighborhoods with Druid Hill Park. Starting in 2019 Baltimore City DOT will be conducting a roadway alignment study through which residents will have the opportunity to shape how the city converts the dangerous highways around Druid Hill Park into “complete streets”: streets safe and accessible for all, including pedestrians, children, seniors, mobility users, transit riders, and bicyclists. In the meantime, it’s up to us take advantage of the Big Jump pathway while to creatively envisioning how our neighborhoods will one day reconnect with Druid Hill Park.

180830 Big Jump father and son bicyclists, photo by Brian O'Doherty www.odohertyphoto.com

Big Jump father and son bicyclists, 9/26/18, photo by Brian O’Doherty

180830 Big Jump Walking Tour with Graham & Ms Dee, photo by Brian O'Doherty

Big Jump Walking Tour 9/26/18 with Graham & Ms Dee, photo by Brian O’Doherty www.odohertyphoto.com

Listen to a version of this story on the Maryland Humanities Podcast: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-cwqjv-9886f5

Click here to see more photos of Big Jump wayfinding: https://grahamprojects.com/projects/big-jump-wayfinding

Learn more about the Big Jump: https://www.bikemore.net/bigjump

Group photos courtesy of Brian O’Doherty: https://www.odohertyphoto.com

Read related letters to the editor by community leaders:

Op-Ed: Pinkett: We must make Druid Hill Park accessible, Leon Pinkett, Baltimore City 7th District City Councilman, Baltimore Sun, July 5, 2018

Op-Ed: Right a past wrong by opening access to Druid Hill Park, Daniel Hindman, Medical Doctor, Baltimore Sun, October 17, 2018

Op-Ed: Asphalt arteries cut off communities from Druid Hill Park, Davin Hong, Architect, Baltimore Sun, June 8, 2017

Why I support the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network

33rd street median

33rd street median

The Baltimore Greenway Trail Network is an exciting vision for connecting our amazing urban trails and park system into a 35-mile loop around the city. I support this vision and have been working with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and Bikemore to communicate the many exciting traffic calming and public health benefits of the proposal. With their support, last fall I was able to collaborate with neighbors on creating a demonstration public art crosswalk at Gwynns Falls Parkway and Auchentoroly Terrace that called attention to the need for such safety and connectivity improvements.

Rails-to-Trails and the city have begun a long process of engagement to design the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network. Last night I attended the Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition public meeting regarding their proposal for a multi use path down the middle of 33rd Street. Below are the concerns I heard, plus some facts.

  • Concern: No one tried to inform neighbors about the Greenway Trail Network plan. Fact: Rails-to-Trails has been reaching out to community associations for at least year now. I first heard about the plan in February 2016. Several meetings have been held for both 33rd Street and Gwynns Falls Parkway communities, including last night’s gathering. This is the beginning of the planning process, not the end. Nothing is approved or fully designed. Lets keep on participating!
  • Concern: A median trail will destroy the historic Olmsted plan for boulevards connecting Baltimore’s parks. Fact: over 100 years ago, the Olmsteds’ designed numerous multi-use, tree-lined paths for cities across the country. The Baltimore plan for boulevards connecting parks was never fully realized and quickly compromised by increased car traffic choking off the median green spaces from people who would like to use them. A median trail will in fact help properly realize the Olmsteds’ historic vision for Baltimore.
  • Concern: A median trail will kill trees. Fact: there are numerous examples of historic and modern trails that do not kill trees. The city’s arborist must approve any such design, and the proposal is for a pervious trail surface that will allow the trees to continue to thrive.
  • Concern: The trail will take away green space used by kids for playing. Fact: I lived on 33rd Street for five years with a bedroom overlooking the median. I never saw kids playing because the median is locked off from pedestrians by curbs and dangerous traffic. A median trail will make the space safe and accessible for kids learning to ride bikes, people traveling in wheelchairs, walkers, runners, and cyclists.
  • Concern: The trail will cause an increase in car traffic. Fact: the trail’s many bumpouts and crosswalks will help slow the dangerous traffic on 33rd while giving people more options for commuting without needing a car, thereby reducing traffic.

From 2008-2013 I lived on 33rd Street and wished we could add a path down the middle and calm traffic. In 2013 I moved to Auchentoroly Terrace and now hold similar pedestrian safety and connectivity hopes for our community. Many of my neighbors and I are excited to help support the median trail proposal for the Olmsted-designed Gwynns Falls Parkway. A multi use, center-running trail will help calm traffic and enable our many differently abled neighbors to connect with Druid Hill and Leakin Parks. I’m excited to share this vision with my friends and former neighbors along 33rd Street

— Graham (a guy who likes to hang out on median strips)

Read about the trail network from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: https://www.railstotrails.org/our…/trail-projects/baltimore/

More facts from BikeMore: https://www.bikemore.net/news/fact-check-the-greenways-trail-network-plan-is-awesome-support-it

Citizen Artist Baltimore

CitizenArtist-logo-horizontal

I’m honored and excited to acknowledge my role helping to co-organize the art voting initiative Citizen Artist Baltimore along with my friend and fellow arts and equity advocate Rebecca Chan. Citizen Artist Baltimore is a non-partisan advocacy effort that is helping to mobilize the creative community in Baltimore City, by providing the opportunity for mayoral candidates to outline their positions and goals related to arts, culture and humanities. The effort serves as a call to action for individuals, organizations, and institutions to work together to advance inclusion of these issues in the April 2016 Primary Mayoral Election and beyond. The initiative also encourages voter registration and long-term engagement in the democratic process. We are collecting the top priorities of people who care about the arts through a citywide series of six facilitated listening sessions in January 2016. Input gathered from these listening sessions will be used to inform a questionnaire that will be sent to mayoral candidates in February. All candidate responses will be made public, and will culminate in a March candidate forum leading up to the April 26, 2016 Primary Election.

As all of my public art projects, I’m operating in a few different ways to to amplify our message and mobilize participants. As the initiative’s Creative Director, I designed the the #CitizenArtistBmore visual identity above, built the website, assisted with co-writing all of the copy featured, am designing all of the print collateral (such as these fun buttons), and am documenting events and pushing a multimedia story out across our facebook and twitter pages. As a co-organizer, I’ve been working closely with Rebecca, GBCA, MCA and our diverse steering committee members to host our series of six listening sessions across the city. We talking with anyone who benefits from arts and culture about their top priorities with it come to the arts, Baltimore City, and our next mayor. From block parties and creative upstarts to public art and marching band performances, the arts have for decades been making a tremendous social and economic impact in Baltimore. We all know this and want to make sure that the next mayor includes arts and culture in their vision for healing and strengthening an already vibrant and unparalleled cultural epicenter: Baltimore, the Greatest City in America.

– Graham

160109-CitizenArtistBaltimore-Southwest-ListeningSession-01

The Baltimore Uprising

150428 Baltimore Uprising Mondawmin Cleanup

Over the past week we’ve seen an outpouring of peaceful protests and direct actions as Baltimore residents express the pain of economic inequality and seek justice for victims of state violence. Out of respect for the Baltimore Uprising, I have cancelled the May 2 New Public Sites “Formative Drift” walking tour so that we can focus on helping our neighbors. On Tuesday, April 28, we came together to clean up our neighborhoods and share public expressions of positivity. This is the Baltimore we know and will continue to nurture. Lets stand in solidarity of the people of Baltimore in this struggle to bring peace, opportunity and improvement to our people and places.

A message on ways to help from local art-activist group Force:

The best way to help right now is to support grassroots organizations who have been doing sustained organizing to combat poverty and racism in Baltimore, through policy, direct action, and education. Here are a few groups to consider:

Bmore United is a coalition of concerned citizens and organizations working for justice in Baltimore City.
http://bmoreunited.org

The No Boundaries Coalition is a resident led community organization working to bring neighborhoods in Central West Baltimore together across race and class.
http://www.noboundariescoalition.com/get-involved/donate

Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle is a grassroots think-tank which advances the public policy interest of Black people, in Baltimore, through: youth leadership development, political advocacy, and autonomous intellectual innovation.
http://lbsbaltimore.com/donate

We need Larry Hogan to save the Red Line

 

My Neighbors, Baltimore and Maryland need Governor-elect Larry Hogan to save the Red Line

As a Baltimore City homeowner, professional artist, millennial and pedestrian, I am expressing my unequivocal support for the Red Line as planned by the MTA. Governor-elect Larry Hogan must help our city achieve its fullest social and economic potential by making this long-planned transit project a reality.

I moved to Baltimore City in 2008 to go to MICA, and have since stayed, got a job teaching art, bought a house and joined an ever growing community that I love. With my student loans, I cannot afford to own a car, and therefore must walk, cycle and take transit within a certain radius of my home. I honestly could not have afforded to stay in Baltimore were it not for metro access to downtown and light rail access to BWI airport.

Building the Red Line will give our transit starved neighbors in East and West Baltimore, and the County access to jobs while also attracting new residents who are unable or prefer to not rely on the expenses of owning a car for work. The construction period is estimated to generate nearly 10,000 jobs and its completion is expected to create access to more than 200,000 jobs within the next 15 years.

The Red Line will not only serve East and West Baltimore, but also multiply the effectiveness of our regional rail transit network through integrated connections at key hubs. Such regional impact will also help the state as a whole by attracting environmentally friendly new urban development while preserving vital farmland across the state.

Great urban cities need great transit – just look at NYC, Boston, DC and even LA. The Red Line is no doubt expensive, but no more so than other similar rail transit projects around the country, such as Portland’s Milwaukie Light Rail line. For 12+ years the MTA has worked closely with residents along the Red Line corridor to plan this shared vision. People wanted trains on dedicated tracks, not buses on clogged roads. Changing the current plan by even a few feet will mean losing nearly $1 billion in secured federal funding. With Red Line planning this far along, and Baltimore City and County residents in need of transit access to jobs, we literally cannot afford to stop this train!

Building the Red Line is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve Baltimore and Maryland’s social and economic potential. For the elders who can’t drive, for the working families who need access to jobs, for preserving rural sustainability and for investing in the future strength what is not doubt The Greatest City in the Greatest State in America, Hogan must do what he can to build the Red Line.

Thank you,

Graham Coreil-Allen

Auchentoroly Terrace
Baltimore City
Maryland
USA

The Forthcoming Reality of Holly Whyte Way

6-1/2 Avenue Crosswalk

6-1/2 Avenue Crosswalk
Image courtesy of NYC DOT via The New York Observer.

Only six months after the Arcade Parade, Holly Whyte Way is officially becoming a reality! This week the New York City DOT announced its proposal to connect the privately-owned public plazas and arcades that run from 51st to 57th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. Since then, Community Board 5′ Transportation Committee has approved the plans for crosswalks, stop signs and warning markers that will alert motorists to yield to pedestrians moving along what will be soon be officially known as 6½ Avenue. Needless to say, Friends of Privately Owned Public Space is celebrating. Special thanks to Matt Chaban for his wall-to wall coverage of the development. More details below…

Arcade Parade patch

Meet Me on 6½th Avenue: DOT Planning Public Promenade Through Middle of Midtown Towers / Matt Chaban, NY Observer, 3.26.12

Arcade Parade a Wandering Success

The Arcade Parade celebration of Midtown privately owned public spaces, October 2011, New York, NY. 1.5 hours, uniform, maps, performers, public spaces, participants. Combination view.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Arcade Parade on Saturday, October 15th. Together the F-POPS team, Hungry March Band, and over one hundred people festively wandered through Midtown’s largest network of privately owned public spaces. Under LeWitt stripes waving, the Arcade Parade fomented the Social Life of these Small Urban Spaces through festive music, critical observation, site specific play and interventionist sound. Through blocks played and plazas performed, Holly Whyte Way is cemented as path and place.

More pictures and info about Friends of Privately Owned Public Space at f-pops.org.

Special thanks to the 27 backers on kickstarter and the many other volunteers and supporters who helped make the Arcade Parade possible.

Organizers: Brian Nesin, David Gryder, Graham Coreil-Allen, Christina Kelly, Elena Volkova. Performers: The Hungry March Band, the children on scooters, Simone and Claire Ghetti

The Arcade Parade / 10.15.11 / 11am / Midtown-NYC [updated]

Arcade Parade flyer

Arcade Parade flyer
Join us on Facebook and visit our KICKSTARTER page to help make this parade a success!

Download your own Holly Whyte Way SELF-GUIDED TOUR here.

Arcade Parade
Holly Whyte Way Dedication
October 15, 2011, 11am-12:30pm
Starting at AXA Plaza
151 West 51st St, New York, 10019

Join us in Midtown New York on Saturday, October 15th for the Arcade Parade, a free pedestrian tour through a series of little-known shortcuts composed of privately owned public spaces. Between 51st and 57th Streets and 6th and 7th Avenues, there exists an exciting, if unfinished, network of privately owned public spaces (POPS) provided by developers in exchange for additional floor area within the buildings above. Friends of Privately Owned Public Space (F-POPS), in conjunction with the West 54th/55th Street Block Association, and openhousenewyork, is promoting the individual spaces along the parade route as a single entity called Holly Whyte Way. William “Holly” Whyte was an influential urbanist whose books and films championed the substance of successful public space. In addition to enlivening these midtown arcades, F-POPS also seeks to increase their visibility and accessibility by connecting the spaces along the parade route with crosswalks. The proposal for crosswalks has been approved by the Community Board and is now being studied by the NYC Department of Transportation. The Arcade Parade will mark the dedication of Holly Whyte Way through a series of festive events along the nine-block parade route, including presentations of architecture and history by architects Brian Nesin and David Grider, episodes of play from artists Graham Coreil-Allen and Christina Kelly, a moment of site-specific sound by Simone and Claire Ghetti, and raucous music by the Hungry March Band!

Friends of Privately Owned Public Space is an organization dedicated to the celebration and improvement of New York City’s eighty-two acres of POPS. A collaborative of architects, artists, and community leaders concerned with the civic realm, F-POPS seeks to raise public awareness of the existence and purpose of these unique spaces.

f-pops.org / ohny.org / grahamprojects.com

Holly Whyte Way map

Arcade Parade patch