Photo: Jill G/Flickr
During a long day of errands, New Yorkers know the great relief a public bench can provide. Much of the Big Apple’s public seating comes from the CityBench program, which has installed 1,500 benches across the five boroughs and has plans to add 600 more by 2019.
What most New Yorkers do not know, though, is that the public has a say in where these benches will go. CityBench invites citizens to recommend locations for new seating in Department of Transportation right of way areas — places not on private property.
People can search CityBench’s web map to discover underserved areas, or simply use past experiences to guide their recommendations. CityBench is especially interested in “priority areas” such as bus stops without shelters, sidewalks near subway stations, commercial zones, senior centers, hospitals, libraries and schools.
Benches must benefit the general public and can not be “restricted to tenants of any particular building or patrons of any particular business.” They are also not to be used to displace street vendors, and ideal locations must adhere to safety requirements.
The CityBench program’s mission is to make streets “more comfortable for transit riders and pedestrians, especially for those who are older and disabled.” Their benches include backless and backed versions and are made of durable, weather-resistant metal.
The program is funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Authority’s (FTA) Section 5310 Program. Section 5310 aims to improve mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities by “removing barriers to transportation services and expanding the transportation mobility options available.”