City envisions more pedestrian-friendly Water Street

Water Street
Water Street

The City Planning Commission is slated to approve changes today that would allow for farmers markets, art exhibitions and food kiosks in the 12-block stretch of Water Street from the South Street Seaport to Battery Park that was hard-hit by Hurricane Sandy, the Wall Street Journal reported.

To potentially recapture the business that was lost, the plan is to “Weave Water Street back into the fabric of Lower Manhattan a little better,” said Andrew Wiley-Schwartz of the New York City Department of Transportation.

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City officials aim to create pedestrian plazas, widen walkways and increase events in the 20-plus private courtyards in the area. The markets and exhibitions would be open in the courtyards from June to January, the Journal said.

To make room for those walkways, the city also plans to shut a southbound lane to Water StreetTraffic From Whitehall Street to Old Slip. Closing Gouverneur Lane and Coenties Slip to car traffic would widen space for new trees, movable tables and chairs.

The Downtown Alliance proposed a similar plan in 2010, but Sandy’s impact upped the urgency, the Journal said. [WSJ]Mark Maurer