CHELSEA — The city has offered to build spaces for small gardens on the pedestrian islands coming to Sixth Avenue — but only if local residents or businesses volunteer to care for them.
In September, the city’s Department of Transportation announced it will build a protected bike lane on Sixth Avenue from 14th to 33rd streets.
As part of the proposed plan, DOT has said it plans to construct 33 pedestrian islands between the bike lanes and vehicle lane — with a micro-garden on each island.
But unless a committed maintenance partner steps forward to adopt the micro-garden, the islands “will just be cement,” president of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations Bill Borock said.
He and Chekpeds co-founder Christine Berthet have found gardeners committed to maintaining micro-gardens on 16 of the 27 islands in Chelsea, but still need commitments for 11 remaining islands — one each at 14th, 15th, 24th, 27th and 29th streets and two at 16th, 28th and 30th streets, Berthet said.
“We are really happy that the DOT found a way to implement a pedestrian refuge, and we think these micro-gardens make a huge difference in the bike and pedestrian experience,” Berthet said. “This is good for everyone.”
The micro-gardens on the islands will measure approximately four by five feet, Berthet said.
Residents or businesses with a green thumb will be asked to provide soil, plant flowers in the spaces and maintain them.
Prospective gardeners have until May 1 to commit to caring for one of the five micro-gardens, Berthet said.
Borock is accepting volunteer submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A previous version of the story incorrectly stated the number of gardens that need caretakers. As of Wednesday, 11 micro-gardens were up for adoption.