Aiming to create a safer, more efficient five-way intersection, in 2009 the city shared plans to realign several high-traffic roadways and create new green space in the neighborhood formerly know as the Five Points.
Located just south of the Manhattan Bridge ramp in Chinatown, the project centers on Chatham Square, the plaza where Bowery, East Broadway, Worth Street, and Park Row -- along with several smaller adjacent streets -- meet to form one of the city’s busiest intersections.
In early 2009, the city outlined a two-phased plan to improve vehicular and pedestrian conditions unique to the Chatham Square area. The most significant change would essentially flip the pedestrian plaza, now on the east side of the Kimlau Memorial Arch, to the west side -- allowing Bowery to be realigned with St. James Place, Division to be realigned with Worth Street, and Park Row to directly connect with Mott Street.
The resulting new plaza would be landscaped with trees, terraces, benches, planters, and a fountain. A new plaza also would be created between Park Row and St. James Place, where the statue of Chinese scholar Lin Zexu would be relocated.
Additionally, security checkpoints at Park Row, called “sallyports,” would be replaced by Delta barriers and new guard booths. The walkway outside Police Plaza also would be revamped as a landscaped pedestrian promenade and bikeway, using colored pavement, cherry trees, and other greenery.
The results of this reconfiguration, according the city Department of Transportation (DOT), would be a more streamlined traffic flow between Chinatown and Lower Manhattan, better pedestrian safety, and shorter bus travel times.
However, this project has been postponed and will be reevaluated at the conclusion of the Brooklyn Bridge rehabilitation project.