FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #15-097
September 22, 2015
Scott Gastel/Gloria Chin (212) 839-4850
NYC DOT Announces $1.5M in New Federal Funding To Expand Citybench Program
NYC DOT Also Marks Installation of 1,500th CityBench Which Provides
Public Seating In All Five Boroughs
As part of the “22 Festival” at M.S. 22 in The Bronx, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) announced a new $1.5 million dollar federal award that will expand the CityBench program to ensure more New Yorkers have a comfortable and convenient place to sit in public spaces. NYC DOT also announced the installation of the 1,500th CityBench at M.S. 22 in The Bronx, where six new CityBenches were recently installed as part of a community beautification project at the school.
“DOT is proud to install our 1500th CityBench and receive additional federal funding to continue serving our communities, particularly our children and seniors,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Not only are CityBenches a valuable urban amenity in this dense city but they also add to the changing New York City streetscape. I’d like to thank our partners at the federal level for their continued support of this much needed project.”
“New York’s City Bench program is a welcome reprieve for many who pound the pavement every day,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The additional funding for this program will benefit many, especially those in my district of East Harlem, which has a prominent and growing senior population. I want to thank DOT and our partners in government for looking at innovative ways to help New Yorkers get around.”
“Benches give residents a respite from our fast pace city and increase the quality of life for all,” said City Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. “Congratulations to the DOT for their 1,500 bench and for the expansion of this great program.”
“These six new benches will enhance the streetscape and make it more inviting,” said New York City Board of Education Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose. “The whole school community will benefit, from students and staff to parents and other caregivers, and I encourage them to take advantage of this new public amenity.”
Through the Federal Transit Authority’s (FTA) Section 5310 Program, DOT’s CityBench Program was awarded an additional $1.5 million dollars in funds. The goal of the Section 5310 program is to improve mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities throughout the country by removing barriers to transportation services and expanding the transportation mobility options available.
Thanks to an initial $3 million in federal funding, the CityBench program started as a three-year initiative that promised to bring 1,000 new benches in all five boroughs where there were few or no places to sit. These sturdy, attractive benches now exist at bus stops, in commercial districts and areas with a high concentration of seniors and persons with impaired mobility. To date, more than 110 seniors have made requests for benches, while 31 requests have been made by health care facilities, as a goal in the second edition of PlaNYC 2030, the CityBench program encourages active use of the streetscapes by making streets more walkable and inviting for shopping and transit users. It was also developed in response to several reports, including the City’s Active Design Guidelines, DOT’s World Class Streets report, and the Age-Friendly NYC report, all of which called for more publicly available seating on the streets of New York City to make the city more walkable and friendly, especially for seniors and the mobility impaired.
Designed by New York City-based industrial designer, Ignacio Ciocchini, Director of Design for Chelsea Improvement Company, the CityBench provides comfortable seating with backless and backed styles that are durable and require little maintenance. Made from domestic steel and manufactured in the USA, they are designed to meet the rigorous demands of New York City’s streets and are coordinated with the look of existing street furniture.
Working with neighborhood groups and institutions, DOT will continue to expand seating at bus and subway stops, outside senior centers, hospitals and community health centers, commercial areas and other locations with high volumes of foot traffic in all five boroughs. All proposed locations are reviewed to ensure there is sufficient room and clearance on the sidewalks from obstructions to provide a clear path for pedestrians. To request a CityBench installation, visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/pedestrians/citybench.shtml.