Press Releases

Press Release #16-097
Monday, October 17, 2016
Scott Gastel/Alana Morales (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT Announces Safety Improvements and Partners with Senator Squadron and Hester Street Collaborative to Unveil New Artwork on South Street in Lower Manhattan

Safety improvements include a six-foot concrete safety median separating and protecting pedestrians and bicycles from vehicular traffic

One hundred and twenty-four colorful abstract sculptures will help beautify the new safety medians

The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced several pedestrian safety enhancements along South Street in Lower Manhattan. In partnership with Hester Street Collaborative (HSC) and State Senator Daniel Squadron,  DOT also unveiled today the installation of “We Call This Place Home,” the first temporary art intervention positioned on the new medians located along South Street between Rutgers Street and Montgomery Street.

In response to community concerns for safety measures in the area, the stretch, located along the Manhattan waterfront, is now home to a six-foot concrete safety median running adjacent to a two-way bike path.  The new barrier will help reinforce separation between vehicular traffic and those using the path.  The medians will also be home to temporary public art, designed by artist team Chat Travieso and Samuel Holleran and will transform the space into an outdoor gallery for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists to enjoy. In response to Senator Squadron’s request for beautification along the corridor, DOT and HSC released an open call to solicit proposals for the three medians. The design features one hundred and twenty-four colorful abstract sculptures, calling attention to the dense and lively signage and advertising imagery of the neighborhood.  It was selected for the quality of design, as well as for the inclusion of community residents in the design process.

“This project exemplifies the result of collaboration among DOT units with input from our elected officials and partnership with a neighborhood non-profit,” said Wendy Feuer, Assistant Commissioner of Urban Design + Art + Wayfinding. “In addition to the much needed safety improvements, this DOT Art project further enhances and activates the South Street corridor with a community-based art intervention.”

A signalized crosswalk has also been implemented at Clinton Street after a request from Council Member Margaret Chin, asphalt has been repaved along the stretch and grade separation has been added to separate cyclists and pedestrians. These additional safety measures will help reduce speeding, calm traffic, and enhance 0.5 lane miles of the bike network by establishing a critical link in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. The project gained support from Community Board 3 in April of 2015.  For more information about DOT’s safety improvement projects throughout the city, please visit

“After listening to and engaging with the local community, I am proud to unveil these safety measures in Lower Manhattan today” said NYC DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez. “Together, we’ve created a much safer stretch along this waterfront.  As part of Mayor de Blasio’s critical Vision Zero initiative, these much-needed improvements help ensure that you get you to your destinations safely.”

"Today's the trifecta -- safety improvements, public art, and public engagement. This is proof that the smallest changes can have a great positive impact," said State Senator Daniel Squadron. "Thank you to Commissioner Trottenberg, Borough Commissioner Sanchez, Assistant Commissioner Feur, Rebecca Zack, and DOT, Congressmembers Nadler and Velázquez, Hester Street Collaborative, Community Board 3, and Samuel Holleran and Chat Travieso."

“These steps will make this area safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike, while enhancing the neighborhood aesthetically” said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. “I’m pleased to see this project moving forward for the benefit of Lower Manhattan residents, businesses and workers.”

“‘We Call this Place Home’ contributes to the ongoing community-led improvement of the Two Bridges waterfront, which has long been advocated for by residents,” said Dylan House, Community Design Director at Hester Street Collaborative. “Through the art installation that Chat and Sam have created, community members will see their own creations side by side with their neighbors’ through these colorful and playful sculptures. The project, along with the new protective median, helps to improve access and safety for pedestrians crossing and moving along South Street and makes the greenway more inviting for everyone."

About NYC Department of Transportation's Art Program:
Since 2008, the DOT Art Program has installed over 220 engaging temporary art installations throughout the city. The program partners with community-based organizations and artists to present murals, sculptures, and performances on public property such as: plazas, fences, barriers, bridges, step streets and sidewalks. Projects are presented within four program tracks: Arterventions, Art Display Case, Barrier Beautification and Community Commissions. As part of the Barrier Beautification program, thirty-one barriers spanning nearly six miles have been beautified throughout four out of the five boroughs. For more information about the DOT Art Program, visit

About Hester Street Collaborative:
Hester Street Collaborative (HSC) is a participatory community planning, design and development organization focused on the equitable, sustainable and resilient development of underserved communities throughout New York City and the US. We offer technical assistance and capacity building to community-based organizations, private firms and government agencies on land use processes, neighborhood planning and design, and public and private community development projects. Our mission is to provide people with the tools they most need to determine the shape of their built environment. HSC seeks to create more equitable, sustainable, and vibrant neighborhoods where community voices lead the way.

Before photo of Safety Medians on South Street
Before photo of the safety medians on South Street from Rutgers Street to Montgomery Street in Lower Manhattan

After photo of Safety Medians on South Street
After photo of the safety medians on South Street from Rutgers Street to Montgomery Street in Lower Manhattan

New Artwork on South Street in Lower Manhattan

Plaque on street pole on South Street
‘We Call This Place Home’