The Chatham Redesign Task Force met Monday, focusing on the many weaknesses of the city's plan. The whole redesign twists tortuously around a tiny piece of state park (the few feet of the memorial arch) in the middle of the square for no other reason than the city thinks it would take too long for the state to move it. The city can't wait: they've got to reroute traffic for the upcoming Brooklyn Bridge repair project.
In other words, this is a rush job dressed up as planning, and Chinatown pays.
Chatham Square is a mess as it is; the redesign will create another mess. SNAFU. Re-opening Park Row, which would solve everything, does not seem to be on the table.
The Chinatown Working Group, on a happier note, continues with a remarkably open process that has already attracted twenty-five local organizations as members. They are looking for more participation. All the local electeds attend, though not allowed membership. To give a sense of CWG scope, here's a list of the teams they've created:
Historical and Cultural Preservation (28 volunteers)
Affordability [housing] (24 volunteers)
Zoning (22 volunteers)
Economic Development/Revitalization (21 volunteers)
Immigrant Affairs/Services (13 volunteers)
Parking, Transportation & Circulation (11 volunteers)
Education & Schools (7 volunteers)
Parks, Open Space & Recreation (7 volunteers)
Security/Park Row (3 volunteers)