Upper West Siders rejoice! A stretch of Columbus Ave. is about to get a green makeover with solar technology infusing the sidewalks. The Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the Department of Transportation (DOT) is moving forward with Phase One of their Streetscape Master Plan which includes a new row of trees, benches, in-ground solar lighting on the sidewalks, and rainwater-purifying channels to help beautify the block.
BID hopes these eco-friendly features will draw more people to the block between West 76th and West 77th, which currently is adorned with nothing but a chain-link fence. Solar panels inset into the sidewalk will soak up energy during the day so they can illuminate the path at night. A bioswale installation will also feature a sloped drain filled with vegetation to naturally treat excess water from storms or other runoff.
Proceeds for this project have come exclusively from the BID’s annual fundraiser of the past four years, Whole Foods Market New Taste of the Upper West Side.
A community board will evaluate the plan at its July transportation meeting and the DOT is reviewing it with the Landmark Preservation Commission. If all goes well, the BID expects construction to begin this fall.
Images © The Columbus Avenue Business Improvement District (BID)