Tunnel plaza study
The square block of access ramp, shrubbery and crushed rock at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel has been off limits to pedestrians for about as long as anyone can remember.
But the Hudson Sq. Connection, which runs the recently established Business Improvement District in the neighborhood, is joining with the Regional Plan Association to study the possibility of transforming the block from Broome to Watts Sts, between Varick and Hudson Sts. into a thriving public space.
The study, funded by $25,000 in grants from The Atlantic Philanthropies and the Fund for the City of New York, began last week and will be completed in June or July.
Ellen Baer, president of the Connection, said she hopes the study will come up with ways to reconfigure the space known as Freeman Plaza, named after Milton H. Freeman, the engineer who ran the Holland Tunnel construction for a few months before he died in 1925.
The Connection’s district extends from Houston to Canal Sts. between Sixth Ave. and Washington St. The plaza is near the southern boundary of the district.
“Our goal is to create a pedestrian friendly district and Freeman Plaza’s location at the Holland Tunnel entrance presents a great opportunity to start thinking about how we can integrate a regional transportation facility into the Hudson Sq. neighborhood,” Baer said.
The study is part of the Connection’s mission to address traffic congestion and streetscape in the district. The findings will be included in the conversation between property owners, government agencies, residents and businesses about a long-term vision for the plaza.
— Albert Amateau