FORDHAM — Fordham Plaza is set to undergo an overhaul — complete with a cafe and markets — in an effort to make the area a more welcome destination for travelers, students and residents and cut down on pedestrian injuries.
The city held a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday for Phase 2 of the reconstruction, which is part of its Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths and injuries in New York.
A dozen bus lines and a Metro-North station converge on the area near Fordham Road and Webster Avenue and officials say there is traffic congestion, jaywalking and dangerous crossings where several streets converge.
Renovations at the plaza, located by Fordham University, will include planters with wooden seating that are landscaped with trees and other greenery, as well as a new bus loop to improve traffic that will include shelters and seating for riders.
Overall, pedestrian space will increase by 25 percent at the new plaza.
"The plaza's café and markets, along with new trees, plantings, and comfortable places to sit and relax will help transform this major transit hub and make it a more welcoming gateway to the borough," said Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora in a statement.
The plan will aslo include a new canopy over the Metro-North entrance to increase its visibility, new ticket machines and three kiosks for future vendors.
Fordham Road BID Executive Director Wilma Alonso said in a statement that the completed plaza will "create a major platform for retail and food concessions that will generate jobs as well as opportunities for new businesses and local entrepreneurs that will have a positive impact in the local economy."
A $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will partially fund the project, which is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2015.
"The thousands of shoppers, students and commuters using this hub each day deserve these substantial upgrades," said city Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a statement.