Design requirements for covered pedestrian spaces

In order to qualify for a floor area bonus, a covered pedestrian space shall be directly accessible to the public from the adjoining street, arcade, through block arcade, publicly accessible open area, court, yard, pedestrian mall or other covered pedestrian space which is a part of the public pedestrian circulation system, and shall:

(a)        have an area of at least 3,000 square feet and a minimum width, at any point, of 20 feet. For spaces between 100 feet and 150 feet in length, the minimum width shall be 25 feet. For spaces longer than 150 feet, the average width shall be at least 30 feet;

(b)        have a height of at least 30 feet;

(c)        have appropriate uses permitted in the district, such as, but not limited to, small stores and cafes, occupying the maximum feasible frontage along those bounding walls of the covered pedestrian space which do not abut lot lines or street lines. At least 50 percent of such frontage shall be comprised of individual uses, each of which has a frontage not exceeding 25 feet, and the frontage of any other single use may not exceed 40 feet. In no event may banks, loan offices, insurance offices or similar office type uses occupy any portion of the frontage of the covered pedestrian space. Access to other uses within a building may be provided from the covered pedestrian space if such uses are not located at the same story as the pedestrian space;

(d)        be adequately illuminated, utilizing natural daylight wherever possible; and

(e)        be suitably maintained and kept open to the public between 7:00 a.m. and 12 midnight or on a schedule suitable to meet the public need.

Obstructions such as awnings, canopies, pedestrian bridges, escalators, stairs, balconies or other architectural elements above the floor level of the covered pedestrian space are prohibited unless it can be clearly demonstrated that they will enhance design or pedestrian circulation. In any event, horizontal projection of balconies into any covered pedestrian space shall not exceed five feet.

Planting, landscaping, ornamental fountains, statuary, outdoor furniture, kiosks, works of art, light wells and other features may be permitted in a portion of the pedestrian space, but not to the extent of impeding pedestrian movement.

Columns or similar elements may be permitted within a covered pedestrian space, but the aggregate area of such elements may not exceed two percent of the total pedestrian space. The clear span along the main path of pedestrian traffic shall not be less than the figure indicated for minimum dimensions of pedestrian space in paragraph (a) of this Section. However, when two or more pedestrian paths are provided, the minimum clear span widths of such paths may be reduced by five feet.

Where multiple access to the covered pedestrian space is provided from an arcade, the minimum clear spacing between columns at the face of the building may be reduced to 18 feet, provided the height of the arcade is not less than 30 feet.

A portion of the covered pedestrian space shall be public sitting areas with appropriate facilities such as cafes or other public seating arrangements.

Entrances to lobbies may be permitted along the boundary of a covered pedestrian space. The floor area of an entrance lobby shall not be considered as part of the covered pedestrian space. Where a zoning lot is bounded by more than one street, or by the combination of streets, publicly accessible open areas or other public rights-of-way, the covered pedestrian space will provide a connection between at least two such areas.

Where the space is heated or air-conditioned, the standards for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning shall be at least equal to that of the lobby.

For the purpose of ensuring prominent public attention to the covered pedestrian space, the openings at the face of the building for entrances to the covered pedestrian space shall be at least 20 feet wide, 30 feet high and unobstructed for a depth of 30 feet, except, where the covered pedestrian space is air-conditioned, the openings at the entrances may be partially enclosed. Such enclosure at the entrances shall be transparent in nature, commence at a height not less than eight feet above the floor level at the entrances, and be set back from the face of the building at least 12 feet. Air curtains are permitted but shall be located at a height not less than eight feet. Such entrances are permitted to be fully enclosed only for that portion of the year between October 15 and April 15, provided, however, that such space is readily accessible to the public between 7:00 a.m. and 12 midnight or on a schedule suitable to meet the public need.

An information plaque shall be provided that contains a public space symbol and required text that matches the dimensions and graphic standards provided in the Privately Owned Public Space Signage file from the Required Signage Symbols on the Department of City Planning website. Such symbol and required text shall include the phrase “Open To Public” and shall be provided with a highly contrasting background, in a format that ensures legibility. Additional requirements and review procedures for privately owned public space signage systems are specified in Title 62, Chapter 11, of the Rules of the City of New York.

When a through block arcade provides public access to a covered pedestrian space, the opening at the point shall be at least 30 feet wide and 30 feet high. The two openings at the face of the building to the through block arcade shall be at least 20 feet wide and 30 feet high for a depth of 30 feet and shall be unobstructed except for stairs, ramps and escalators. If such space is air-conditioned, only one opening at the face of the building need comply with the partial enclosure requirements of the preceding paragraph.

A covered pedestrian space located at 12 feet or more below the sidewalk level shall provide direct subway or below grade pedestrian concourse access. For such covered pedestrian spaces, the entrance openings at the sidewalk level may be less than 30 feet in height, but not less than 15 feet, provided the entrance opening is unenclosed for its full height and is extended along the face of the building for the entire width of the covered pedestrian space.