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Park Near Lincoln Tunnel Kicks Into High Gear with Community Board Approval

By Mathew Katz | January 3, 2013 12:53pm

HELL'S KITCHEN — A plan for a park at the current entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel would create roughly 7,200 square feet of space for the community to enjoy along traffic-clogged Dyer Avenue, supporters said Wednesday night.

At a meeting of Community Board 4, both board members and residents praised the idea for the Dyer Avenue green space — though a plan to make it a reality is still in the early stages.

The plan for the Port Authority-owned land would convert three lanes between West 34th and 35th streets into a park, creating green space where residents say it's sorely lacking. To make it work, organizers would have to remove both a concrete median and traffic light at the location, at a cost of roughly $15,000 to $20,000 that has yet to be raised.

Community Board 4 unanimously recommended the plan to the Port Authority Wednesday, but said the coalition of tenants and transit advocacy groups that came up with the proposal, which lacks a formal name, still has much more work to do.

"We want them to host public forums, a minimum of two, kind of like the High Line did," said Jay Marcus, co-chairman of CB4's Transportation Committee.

"They also should not move forward until they raise the money to remove the median and traffic light. We want a full budget — the Port Authority has no money for this."

The Port Authority plans to remove one of the four lanes of traffic regardless of whether the plan goes forward, meaning the park would not take away any car space on its own.

"We've made a tremendous amount of progress so far," said Jeffrey Peyser, who's part of the effort to create the park. 

"We've done outreach for corporate sponsorship to fund the initial aspects of the park and are working on getting matching grant programs."

Meta Brunzema, an architect who helped create the initial design for the park, said that despite its tiny size, the green space would include new trees, seating areas and other amenities.

"Our group's intent was really to make this a park for everybody — for seniors, for people with disabilities, for young people, for old people," she said.

"The goal here is to make a real park."