Saturday, July 26, 2014

26th Street Line : Age-Friendly Active Recreation Walking Trail

NYC has done a heck of a lot to tout Biking as active recreation, but very little to tout walking as active recreation.Millions have been spent on Citybike and Biking trails. Biking is available as active recreation 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Walking trails are  available  as either parts of events or weekly meetups. Just like we have" anytime you want"  biking trails what's needed is some infrastructure to be created to tout  "anytime you want"  walking trails.  Here's one thought...

This is a proposal for NYC to add Walking  Trail Maps and  signage to 26th Street to delineate  a permanent  Age-Friendly River to River  Urban Walking Trail running from the Hudson River to the East River.

View 26th St Age-Friendly River to Riiver Walking/Recreation Trail in a larger map
(note Google recently updated Google maps, and "broke" our icons. Will be fixed sometime soon)

 - River to River Walking Trail
-25 Rest Stops (goal:within 3 block walk)
-11 Rest Rooms 
-5 Playgrounds 
-Seniors Shopping Trail
-3 Active Recreation parks

-Connects to North/South Age-Friendly Walking Trails  (Green arrows)
- Printable map
-On Line map (above) 

Park Wayfinding Signage

Along the east west axis of the park there should  be wayfinding  signage, letting people know where the next rest stop, rest room  and recreation  amenities are in either direction.
walk your city signage

other trail signage

also add signage to the trail to tout walking  link


Making 26th Street into an Age-Friendly Walking Trail 

Age-friendly Cities United Nations Report

Many older adults would like to visit the parks more often, but find it difficult because the parks are too far away from where they live, too difficult to enter or not comfortable once there.
 Older adults ask that more green space (e.g., trees and gardens with benches) be created closer to where they live.   Creating an Age-Friendly NYC-One Neighborhood at a Time,

 ". And as an inveterate walker, she is especially enamored of the benches recently installed on her block where she can stop and chat with friends. ." -NYT Aug 12, 2011

Studies have shown park usage drops drastically when parks are more then 3 minutes away.  So we aim to have a outdoor place to sit with a 3 minute walk of anywhere on the trail.
Here's how...

 -Add  Age-Friendly Sidewalk Parks  through the NYC Dept of Transportation Citybench program.

This Age-Friendly Sidewalk Park on 8th Ave near 25th St has proven very popular... is continually used

-Work with the Parks dept to add seating around sidewalk gardens .
Downtown Alliances Sidewalk Garden with  Seating

Active and Activities Recreation:

In 1990 there was no state in the US with an obesity rate over 14%, Today many states are above 30% and no state is below 20%.” -Center for Disease Control

 With the exception of Bryant Park, community board 5 and it's surroundings is totally  lacking in active recreation opportunities for adults link

    Active Recreation locations =1        Food Recreation Locations=16

Adding active recreation facilities to the CB5 segment of the the 26th Street Active recreation parkway is one way to help lessen this problem.

Store Calories to make Fat, or Burn Calories to make Energy? (Illustration | sociecity)


Expand  active and activities recreation offerings  by

-Swappable Parks Adding Active recreation to existing Parks and Plazas to meet the active recreation needs of everyone in the community

Hudson River Park is a linear park, mostly used foer passive recreation with specialized areas for active recreation throughout the park. In a similar way the 26th Street Parkway is mostly a Age-Friendly passive recreation  park. However throughout the park there are  currently a number of active recreation areas.  With a few exceptions these areas do not offer recreation staff. One of the defining features of the 26th St parkway should be the creation of Swappable Parks throughout the Parkway.

   Swappable Parks
-Swappable Park Locations  : Flatiron Plaza, Baruch Plaza 
Other swappable Park Locations: Chelsea Park, FIT,  Mt Carmel/Bellevue South park
-Staffed at least 1 day a week
- Active Recreation Parklets

Third Places
Third places are spaces where you hang out and schmooze. These should be scattered throughout the park

(show picture of 25th @10th Third place)

Restroom Additions: 
 There are never enough restrooms.  Two locations on the parkway where restroom additions could occur would be:

Penn South Playground
Worth Square Park

The 26th St Active Recreation parkway offers bikers  9 Citybike kiosks, a Bike Shop  at 130 West 26th St.  plus rest stops and restrooms.

 Institutions on the Trail with an interest in Health
 The following Institutions are on the trail. Each will be asked to create a Active Recreation Project/experiment on the trail that adds value to the Trail

4 NYC Parks: Chelsea Park, Penn South, Bellevue South, Worth Square
2 Dept of Health Facilities Chelsea Health Center, East Side Health center
4 Medical facilities  Bellevue Hospital, Medical Examiners Office, NYU Hospital
9 NYC Bikeshare
3 Conservancy parks Hudson river park, Madison square park, High Line
4 Senior Facilities: Elliot Chelsea NORC, Penn South Seniors/NORC, Senior Planet, SAGE
1 NYCHA Houses: Elliott Chelsea
1 settlement House: Hudson Guild
2 University FIT, Hunter College
DOT Plazas Baruch Plaza , Flatiron Plaza
2 DOT Citybenches
2 City Planning POPS
2 Health Committee Heads: Dick Gottfried, Corey Johnson
2 state offices: Dick Gottfried Office, Brad Holymans Office

Transportation Alternatives
Solar One
Chelsea Garden Club

Curator of Health  and Active Recreation

Madison Square Park  and the High Line both have Art Curators, A Curator of Health and Active Recreation should be the one staff member  of the 26th St Parkway .The Curator will work with public and private spaces on the parkway  to increase Active Recreation activities offerings. The Recreation Curator will spend 1 day a week at each of 5 public spaces on the Parkway and lead Active Recreation activities  at each space on that day. Funding can come from Parks Dept, High Line, MSP, and Flatiron Plaza.

Decentralized Planning
Rather then a central master plan. The plan is for block residents and businesses on each block  to plan its own  design.  Blocks may decide to plan a multiblock design together.  The Curator of Health and Active recreation  will work to make sure that, within the decentralized structure, the recreation needs of everyone are met. (signage, restrooms, seating, active recreation)
Active Design
Private buildings that are located on the Parkway should be encouraged to add active design elements to their properties. On eof the easiest ways to do so is to transform their staircases into "Stair Masters" . Make staircases more inviting by adding signage , staircase art exhibits and other elements that will get people to take the stairs more often.

 stairway gallery wall by Ilevel inc


See also:
The Street Line: 26th St Age Friendly Parkway,  Pictorial and Upgrade Possibilities
 The Swappable Park:Meeting the Recreation Needs of Everyone in the Community